Friday, October 30, 2009
Weird Hong Kong Disneyland television commercial for their Halloween time:

My question - some of this looks very inspired by Alien ... but nothing on the website says anything about 20th Century Fox or anything. But look at these:

posted by Josh at 4:46 PM | 0 comments
Wrote a bit on Justin Ellis' other blog this afternoon, you can check it out at: "Temp-one-n-one".

(The title is supposed to be a play on H1N1, by the way ...)
posted by Josh at 3:38 PM | 0 comments
Oh the tragedy in Iceland: "Thousands line up for last Big Mac in Iceland".

Haven't those poor people been through enough in the last year?!?
posted by Josh at 3:36 PM | 0 comments
Thursday, October 29, 2009
So forty years ago today - October 29, 1969 - two computer nodes connected between UCLA and SRI International (SRI) in Menlo Park, California.

These nodes eventually became the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) created by ARPA of the United States Department of Defense during the Cold War.

The ARPANET was the world's first operational packet switching network - the predecessor of the global Internet we know and love and can't live without today.

So today's kind of the internet's 40th birthday ...
posted by Josh at 6:46 AM | 0 comments
Monday, October 26, 2009
posted by Josh at 10:06 PM | 0 comments
Sunday, October 25, 2009
20091026_wdw1972.png38 years ago today Roy O. Disney officially dedicated Walt Disney World in Florida.

Roy was Walt Disney's older brother and the co-founder of what, at one point, was called the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. For forty-something years he was the financial genius that kept Walt's ideas going.

After Walt's death in 1966, Roy delayed his retirement, became the chairman of the company and renamed what was then called "Disney World" as "Walt Disney World" as a tribute to his brother.

Walt Disney World finally opened to the public on October 1, 1971, but the three-day grand opening celebration wasn't until October 23. It ended with Roy's dedication.


"Walt Disney World is tribute to the philosophy and life of Walter Elias Disney ... and to the talents, the dedication, and the loyalty of the entire Disney organization that made Walt Disney's dream come true. May Walt Disney World bring joy and inspiration and new knowledge to all who come to this happy place ... a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn - together."

After Walt Disney World was finally open, Roy retired from the company and planned on taking a cruise with his wife. Sadly, he died of a stroke a few weeks later on December 20, 1971.
posted by Josh at 7:57 AM | 0 comments
Apparently the Amazing Race is in Dubai again tonight. I have last week's episode recorded, but we haven't watched it yet. Liz is concerned it'll make her homesick.

Amazing Race Logo
posted by Josh at 7:54 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Back in 1998 when I graduated from college I moved to California to work at Walt Disney Feature Animation.

I can't remember how much I was earning per hour, but it seemed like a ton of money to me. One autumn day I was at work early (yes, I was an eager go-getter back then) and I remember making a list of stocks that I'd like to buy as I was so very flush with cash.

That paper went away long ago, but I remember a few on the list: American Skiing Company (back when they owned Sunday River and Sugarloaf), Sam Adams Beer, Disney, Pixar (back when it was its own entity) and Apple.

Of course, I never actually invested. Well, I invested; I bought stuff. CDs and a stereo at first, then DVDs became popular and I bought a slew of them, and well, it was the 1990s. Consumer culture reigned.

Anyway, this week, in case you missed it, Apple stock hit an all-time high.

So this morning I found historical prices for Apple and made a little chart.

Back on October 23, 1998 Apple closed at 8.88 per share. Yesterday it finished the week at 203.94.


That's almost a 2300% climb.

Sure, I probably would have sold it earlier, maybe on one of my moves, or last fall when the unemployment really was kicking us.

But still, if I'd invested $300 just eleven years ago, I'd have $6889.86 today.

posted by Josh at 1:44 PM | 0 comments
Lately our Netflix queue has been on a workout video tear. This morning we received a Boot Camp video from that show The Biggest Loser.

I noticed something goofy on the cover, however. Check out how Bob Harper is karate kicking at us:

Biggest Loser Boot Camp DVD

Oddly (or not so oddly, I guess) Lionsgate Video has airbrushed all of Bob's tattoos away.

Here's what he looks like in real life:

Bob Harper's Tats
posted by Josh at 1:29 PM | 0 comments
Hey, kids, you know what happened on October 24, 1929?

Black Thursday.

Not the Thanksgiving one - in fact, Franklin Roosevelt didn't fix the date of that holiday until 1939 - the one that precipitated the Great Depression.

While our crash last year during the week of October 6th was different (the stock market back then kept falling for almost three years, bottoming out on July 8, 1932, thankyouverymuch President Hoover) and even different than the crash in 1987, they all share one disturbing element - they all began in October.

So I don't know what the lesson is, but I'd certainly be wary of stock markets in month of October.
posted by Josh at 7:58 AM | 0 comments
Friday, October 23, 2009
An NFL team in the San Gabriel Valley is as much from "Los Angeles" as those "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" (congrats at beating the Yankees last night, fellas, by the way), but my overarching question is - does anyone in LA even want a football team?

Here's the full article: "Schwarzenegger signs bill boosting NFL stadium plans in San Gabriel Valley".
posted by Josh at 6:35 AM | 0 comments
I read this yesterday and thought it was interesting:

"George W. Bush White House veteran Peter Wehner wrote last month: 'Beck seems to be a roiling mix of fear, resentment and anger — the antithesis of Ronald Reagan.'"
posted by Josh at 6:31 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Did you see this yesterday: "Kuwait Grants Women Passports Without Spousal Nod"?

I always wonder what other countries in the Gulf really think of Kuwait when they do things like this. Do they feel it's against God's will? Do they fear it will make them look bad? Are they afraid they're next?

That's the part of the story we never hear ...
posted by Josh at 6:33 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
20091021_firewire.pngDid you see how yesterday Apple released a new MacBook and new iMac?

You did?

But did you notice that neither come with Firewire 400 - pretty much bringing that technology to end of life?

posted by Josh at 6:36 AM | 0 comments
I want to read his new book, and live his life. Check out these two articles "Boy to Man: Amazing Adventures" and Parents Burning to Write It All Down".

Key quote? "Four weeks later they were engaged."

Makes us look like dang prudes!
posted by Josh at 6:36 AM | 0 comments
Did you see this? "Howard Unruh, 88, Dies; Killed 13 of His Neighbors in Camden in 1949"?

We just talked about him last month (see WWII PTSD).
posted by Josh at 6:35 AM | 0 comments
Hmm, so what do you really think, Andrew Critchlow of the Wall Street Journal: "Dubai Inc. Is in Need of Change at the Top"?
posted by Josh at 6:35 AM | 0 comments
Hey, they stole this idea from that John Goodman movie King Ralph: "Former nurse's aide in US becomes Ugandan king".
posted by Josh at 6:35 AM | 0 comments
Monday, October 19, 2009
Did you see that the Egyptian government is contemplating a redevelopment plan in downtown Cairo which would transform the area into a pedestrian-only area?

Check out: "The Boursafication of Downtown" (or
مخطط شامل لتطوير «وسط القاهرة» خلال ٣ شهور.. ولجنة لإعداد «قانون العاصمة»
if you read Arabic).

It'll be interesting to watch this develop, as Cairo was by far the dirtiest and loudest city I've ever been to - or even imagined ...
posted by Josh at 7:14 PM | 0 comments
Sunday, October 18, 2009
20091018_race.pngThe Amazing Race is going to stop in Dubai tonight!

The listing detail is a little light, all I found was: "How hard is it to find the world's tallest building? Teams battle the heat of Dubai in the next episode, airing Sunday at 8/7c!"

The ep title is "I'm Like Ricky Bobby" - as in the Will Ferrell NASCAR movie - so I assume there'll be car racing at Dubai Autodrome. If the listing is true, they'll go to the Burj Dubai, the world's tallest building, as well.

And I'd be terribly surprised if they didn't work Ski Dubai in somehow, too.

So look for it after 60 Minutes and after the Patriots (hopefully) beat the as-yet-to-win Titans.
posted by Josh at 7:31 AM | 1 comments
How did I miss this?

Until my mom asked me if I'd seen the article about Dubai in last week's Time Magazine (the one with the sinking 401(k) on the cover) I hadn't. Guess I flipped through too quickly.

Perhaps I was just subconsciously skipping past the newly buff Michelin Man (steroids? gastric bypass? mid-life crisis?) on the facing page.

Anyway, the article, "A Five-Star Ghost Town at the End of 'The World'", is a little stupid. The author tries to hire a dhow from the Dubai Creek to go out into the Gulf to see the World islands. The poor Bangladeshi boatman is like, "I want a fare, sure, but I don't want to die today, you crazy white man."

Because taking a flat-bottomed dhow that's about the size of an SUV into the open water of the Persian Gulf is the stupidest thing I've read this month. The author, Tim McGirk, makes some lame half-story that the islands are guarded by security. Even if they are, it's still like taking an 18 foot fishing boat into the Atlantic. You just wouldn't do it.

Whatsamatta McGirk, Time won't spring for a helicopter ride?

But still, thanks to my mom for pointing this article out, and happy birthday to her, too!
posted by Josh at 7:19 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, October 17, 2009
20091017_du.pngSo the second phone company in Dubai, "du", has just announced they're getting the iPhone.

Etisalat, the first phone company, has been selling the iPhone since February of this year.

As with most things in the UAE the government owns a significant chunk of both companies.

Also, as with most things in the UAE, it's tough to figure out just who owns what.

I've heard the government owns 60% of Etisalat, while du gets tricky. Here's one article I saw: "du is 39.5% owned by the UAE Federal Government, 19.75% by Mubadala Development Company, 19.5% by Emirates Communications & Technology Company LLC and the remaining stake by public shareholders. It is listed on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and trades under the name du."

The thing is, Mubadala Development Company is owned by the Abu Dhabi government, and Emirates Communications & Technology Company is owned by the government of Dubai.

So it looks to me (although I could be wrong), that the government really owns 78.75% of du.
posted by Josh at 8:22 AM | 0 comments
Remember last year how the New York Times travel page was stalking us?

One month we went to Khasab; they went the next month. Soon thereafter we went to Cairo; they were there a week later.

Well, we sure fooled them! We moved home, went broke and stopped traveling further than a 40 mile radius.

Or so we thought.

See, Liz and my first trip together was a quick weekend to Nova Scotia back in August of 2005. We went to Yarmouth, Kejimkujik National Park, Lunenberg and Peggy’s Cove.

So what did I see in the Travel section of yesterday's Times?

This: "The Other Nova Scotia: Where Pirates Prowled and Haddock Roam".

Their itinerary?

Yarmouth, Kejimkujik National Park, Lunenburg, Peggy's Cove ...

posted by Josh at 8:05 AM | 0 comments
Friday, October 16, 2009
20091016_pirates.pngWe're going to our first Portland Pirates game of the season tonight.

One of my brother-in-law's buddies plays for the Hartford Wolf Pack (gosh I love minor league sporting names!) so we're going to see him.

I was kind of hoping, however, that this kid would be there:

posted by Josh at 6:05 AM | 1 comments
Thursday, October 15, 2009
posted by Josh at 6:24 PM | 0 comments
Because when they can't play on fear, they play the gender card. Classy: "Conservative radio launches sexist attacks against Snowe, Collins".
posted by Josh at 6:24 PM | 0 comments
This seems like an invasion of privacy to me: "FBI delves into DMV photos in search for fugitives".
posted by Josh at 6:24 PM | 0 comments
For all of the anti-Obama folks out there, check it: "So what did Obama do to get the Nobel Peace Prize?".
posted by Josh at 6:24 PM | 0 comments
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I know you never tire of Jetta stories (see I Will Drive 100,000 Miles ...), so here's a photo of my odometer this morning at the corner of Forest and Riverside:

posted by Josh at 7:34 PM | 2 comments
So I just heard that my second favorite writer for the Portland Press Herald, Bill Nemitz, was on my second favorite MSNBC opinion show, The Rachel Maddow Show, last night discussing Olympia Snowe and health care and the vote yesterday and ... you know the drill.

Luckily that episode is available as a free download on iTunes.

posted by Josh at 6:45 AM | 0 comments
Monday, October 12, 2009
Last night, as the "Boston" Patriots were being crushed by the still undefeated Broncos in their throwback uniforms (a fitting reminder of the first AFL regular-season game at BU's Nickerson Field back in 1960), I got to thinking about how thought it was Matsuzaka pitching in the 9th last night and Yahoo! said it was Okajima.

I remembered that Okajima is a lefty and Matsuzaka is a righty.

C'mon, even if you can't tell the numbers apart, you have to know your right from your left!

Oddly, this morning none of the Globe articles mention who pitched after Papelbon, while every other article in the world mentions Okajima.

Guess I was wrong that the hometown writers would be able to recognize their own players ...
posted by Josh at 7:40 AM | 0 comments
Sunday, October 11, 2009
20091011_alds.pngWell, the Red Sox season is over.


They just lost three games to the Angels, three very sad games.

I don't have TBS, so I listened to today's game on the radio, then followed online at and Yahoo!

I thought they were safe with Papelbon coming in, guess I was wrong.

Soon he was pulled ... but for whom?

In a case of terribly inadvertent racism, said it was Daisuke Matsuzaka ... while Yahoo! said Hideki Okajima.


Isn't that part of the reason players wear numbers, so we can tell them apart on the field?

I'm apt to believe the site based in Boston, what with it being a home game and what with the Sox not having names on their home jersey.

But come to think of it, they both could have been wrong, it could have been Takashi Saito pitching.

Good thing Junichi Tazawa is done for the year, or we're really have a problem.

But now all of the Sox players, regardless of national origin, are done.

Go Twins!

And if they're not your cup of tea, the Patriots start in 2 minutes.
posted by Josh at 4:13 PM | 0 comments
20091011_fryeburg.pngToday's the last day of the Fryeburg Fair, a huge fair in the town of Fryeburg, about 25 miles to the west of us.

Yesterday, being sunny and the final day of the fair, the traffic was outrageous. I wanted to go to our PO box and pick up the Netflix DVDs and Time magazine that'd be waiting so they wouldn't waste away in there all weekend.

Of course, the post office closes at noon on Saturday, but it's only two miles away. Google Maps says it should take 3 minutes. Realistically it takes six, there's one stop light in there that I always seem to hit.

Well yesterday, with all of the fair traffic, it took me 20 minutes to drive the 2.2 miles.

I got there just before they closed.

At one point I almost stopped and walked the rest of the way. It would have been faster.

It's all well and good people want to go and enjoy the out-of-doors at the fair, but maybe next year they could help out the environment (and all of the folks who live along the route) and carpool to the damned fair.
posted by Josh at 10:39 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Nicholas Kristof had an interesting Op-Ed in the New York Times this week: "Let Congress Go Without Insurance".

The gist? Just that.

"About 15 percent of Americans have no health insurance, according to the Census Bureau. Another 8 percent are underinsured, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a health policy research group. So I propose that if health reform fails this year, 15 percent of members of Congress, along with their families, randomly lose all health insurance and another 8 percent receive inadequate coverage."

Of course, if we're playing this game 14% of Congress should also be Hispanic or Latino, 12% should be black, 1% American Indian or Alaska Native, 4% Asian/Pacific Islander and 51% should be female.

Something tells me Congress would rather go for the former than the later.
posted by Josh at 6:58 AM | 0 comments
Isn't this article kind of what happens in Mike Judge's 2006 film Idiocracy: "Birth Control Pills Might Alter Mate Selection: Study"?

Secondly, why don't I have a subscription to Trends in Ecology & Evolution magazine?!
posted by Josh at 6:50 AM | 0 comments
Friday, October 09, 2009
Holy shit: "In a surprise, Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize".

President Obama is third sitting president ever to win, Teddy Roosevelt won for the Treaty of Portsmouth in 1906 and Wilson in 1919 for ending the First World War and creating the League of Nations.

Wow, this is heady stuff, I mean, ending the Russo-Japanese War, ending the war to end all wars, and now President Obama.

posted by Josh at 6:32 AM | 0 comments
Check out this AP article: "Report: Global Muslim population hits 1.57 billion"

So, going off the U.S. Census Bureau's population estimation of 6,789,349,164, that means 23% of the world is Muslim.

Other tidbits?

Two-thirds of all Muslims live in 10 countries (Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Nigeria).

Muslims are 0.8 percent of the population in the US, and 2 percent in Canada.
posted by Josh at 6:29 AM | 0 comments
20091009_ufo.pngTwenty years ago today the USSR's second most famous UFO sighting was reported.

On October 9, 1989 the official Soviet news agency, TASS, published a piece about an alien craft interrupting a childrens' soccer game in the city of Voronezh during September.

Further they said two creatures emerged from the craft - a three-eyed alien and a robot escort.

Apparently aliens are Communists?

Voronezh residents interviewed later claimed they had observed this UFO many times on September 21, 23, 29 and October 2.

Some of these incidents involved contact with a different entity - a small alien, with grayish-green face and blue overcoat resembling a loose raincoat.

This might, however, simply be a case of Soviet escalation - on September 16, 1989 the residents of the city of Zaostrovka reported six silver UFOs in a heated laser battle with a large golden UFO.

So what defeats a UFO dogflight?

Why, only a close encounter of the third kind.
posted by Josh at 5:50 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, October 08, 2009
I used to be a fan of Joel Stein when he wrote for Entertainment Weekly seven or eight years ago. His snarky columns were a perfect fit for their pages.

So of course they canned him.

Years later he moved to the more prestigious Time, an odd fit in my mind. "Don't get used to this," I thought.

Soon he was writing their back page column, and has been there for years.

Anyway, in his latest piece, "The Tough-Love Dictator of My Dreams", he makes an odd reference to Maine. Is it an insult? Does it even make sense?

"Obama is worried about seducing Olympia Snowe so he can say his health bill is bipartisan. Do you know how long it takes to charm people from Maine? They're uptight white people coated with a hard exterior made from other uptight white people."

I don't get it. Does that make any sense to you? Is my hard exterior made from uptight white people blocking my funny bone? Is it acting as some type of comedy interference?
posted by Josh at 6:53 AM | 0 comments
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
From today's Portland Press Herald: "Access to popular Casco hilltop threatened".

My grandmother was Hacker Hall's (older) sister. She was pretty much the last Quaker from Quaker Ridge, as far as I can tell. We had her memorial service on the hill back in 1992.

This pretty much royally sucks.

$1.7 million.


Personal check gonna be okay? Might have to wait till the end of the month to go ahead and cash her because I do have to switch some funds around.

Unfortunately, the charity I like to work with is gonna take a hit ...
posted by Josh at 6:41 PM | 0 comments
Did you see the Dubai World and MGM-Mirage's Las Vegas Boulevard South joint-project just got a lot cheaper?

They just slashed the price on 2,400 condos at CityCenter, their $8.5 billion (wasn't it formerly $11 billion?), project: "MGM Mirage Cuts CityCenter Condominium Prices by 30%".
posted by Josh at 6:34 PM | 0 comments
I love math stuff like this.

Check out this blog from the New York Times: "Do We Need a 37-Cent Coin?".

Of course, back years ago I talked about 18 cent piece (see 18 cents.).

That original article was from Discover: "The Physics of . . . Pocket Change".
posted by Josh at 6:29 PM | 0 comments
Sunday, October 04, 2009
What happens when you combine The Terminator with Back to the Future? This web cartoon.



Pretty clever.
posted by Josh at 8:06 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, October 03, 2009
100 years ago today my maternal grandfather, Rudolf Thumm, was born.
posted by Josh at 8:03 AM | 0 comments