Sunday, January 31, 2010
From the father-in-law, from the Boston Globe: "O camel! my camel!".

Wow, this Chris Wright guy sounds like us a few years ago: he's an American in Dubai, we were Americans in Dubai. He's driving amidst the SUVs in a Toyota Yaris, we were driving around in a Toyota Echo. He's a real writer for the Globe and ... I was writing a silly website.

Anyway, for more on Nabati poetry, check out the always fun website for HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

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posted by Josh at 8:29 AM | 0 comments
A bit of comedy for you today: Misspelled Tattoos: Permanent And Hilarious.


Oh, if only the tattoo needle had spell-check ...

UPDATE: Yes, I am aware some of these look Photoshopped. But some just are too awsome to not share ...

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posted by Josh at 7:53 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, January 30, 2010
20100130_muppets.pngI love me some Muppets.

And I'm one of those rare Muppet fans who think that Disney purchasing them wasn't a bad idea.

Granted, I'm pretty pro-Disney, but I think that they can house a stable of evergreen characters better than the next mega-conglomerate.

However, since the 2004 announcement the integration of the Muppets into the Disney stable has been slow. What have we had, one special? A theme park advertising campaign?

But now we have this:


Disney is working on a new theatrical Muppet movie, tentatively titled The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made!, and now we get this news story: "Flight of the Conchords Co-Creator May Direct the New Muppet Movie".

If you haven't seen Flight of the Conchords you might be missing out on something terribly clever. I can imagine some people might not like it, but I think it's a riot.

But best of all, it's perfectly suited for the Muppets. The show has a dry sensibility, as well as the odd (and I do mean "odd") musical number.

This is fantastic news. Fantastic.

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posted by Josh at 8:31 AM | 0 comments
20100130_sarcmark.pngOh, this is a good idea ...

Those of you who've read a bit of my work can probably catch my oft-italicised sarcasm from a mile away. But in this internet age of random readers and writers who might not be blessed with such a clear voice as I, sarcasm can go undetected.

But not any more.

A clever and resourceful group of people have made a new "SarcMark" to indicate sarcastic sentences.

Because we need new punctuation.

Check these goons out at - apparently "" was already taken.

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posted by Josh at 8:20 AM | 0 comments
Friday, January 29, 2010
So I take it everything from Alaska is cliched and horribly violent?

I give you the Alaska Nanooks 2010 Hockey Intro:

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posted by Josh at 5:50 PM | 0 comments
Interesting article on the role text messaging is playing in spelling reform: "The Keypad Solution".

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posted by Josh at 6:51 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, January 28, 2010
So now that J.D. Salinger has passed away, how long before we see Salinger's Collected Works, 1963-2010?

Seriously, I bet before the end of February.

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posted by Josh at 2:45 PM | 0 comments
So you've probably read all of the gushing geeks on the internet twittering (some literally on Twitter) about the new Apple iPad, so I'll keep my remarks brief.

The Wi-Fi model ships in late March.

My birthday is in late March.



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posted by Josh at 7:22 AM | 0 comments
20100128_canada.pngThe Portland "International" Airport is international again!

Thank you Air Canada!

"Portland-to-Toronto flights to start in May".

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posted by Josh at 7:16 AM | 0 comments
You know we're still in a recession if CBS is having such a problem selling Super Bowl advertising that it has to go to hate-groups to fill air-time: "CBS Gives OK To Focus Super Bowl Spot".

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posted by Josh at 7:13 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I don't care if it's a sequel to the God-aweful sequel or a straight-up reimagining, I've been waiting for this news for 17 years: "Gladden sticks the Paddles on Bernie".


Bernie's back, baby!!

Although maybe the kids today would respond better if it was titled Wknd @ Bernie's, because, you know, they love texting.

Not trying to tell you how to do your job, just thinking of suggestions.

But no doubt Silverman and/or McCarthy have already mentioned this in what I can only assume is a weekly "hey, let's revive Bernie" emails they've been sending the production company since The Single Guy went off the air in 1997 ...

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posted by Josh at 6:26 AM | 0 comments
Hmm: "Victoria Beckham offered £25m to design ‘fashion hotel’ for Dubai".


Really, should she be allowed to design anything fashion related?

I mean, I don't know anything about fashion, but I've seen Barbie dolls more realistic than she.

And should Dubai be throwing around that kind of money ($40 million) these days? I think they'd both benefit if they just gave her a sandwich.

UPDATE: " Dubai denies inviting Victoria Beckham to design luxury hotel" - not only did they deny it, but the Director General of the Dubai Media Office used the opportunity to threaten publishers of false news with legal action - to "enhance media credibility".

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posted by Josh at 6:19 AM | 0 comments
Did you see this: "231-Mph NH Wind Gust Is No Longer World's Fastest"?

Crazy Australia now holds the title.

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posted by Josh at 6:12 AM | 0 comments
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
We're only a week out from season 6, but if you can't wait here's a little Lost.


Someone has gone through what we know from the first five seasons and edited together the crash of Oceanic flight 815 in real time, as if it were on the show 24. It's rather elaborate (and over 10 minutes) and pretty awesome:

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posted by Josh at 6:07 AM | 0 comments
Monday, January 25, 2010
I love those things that you'd never heard of, but once you learn about them, you see them everywhere.

Take, for example, the Maybach car company. The first I'd ever heard of them was back in 2007 while we were in Dubai (see Maybach 62 Landaulet).

Well today I saw that Puff Daddy / Diddy / Sean Combs gave his kid one. For his 16th birthday.

Unless you have rage issues, check out: "Diddy's Son Gets A $300K Maybach, $10K For Charity".

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posted by Josh at 1:09 PM | 0 comments
Have you seen the new issue (January 29) of Entertainment Weekly? It has a "photo illustration" by "R Mutt Studios" of an exploded Jay Leno.


Reminds me of a cover from October that just happened to feature Jay's once-and-future competition - Dave Letterman:


I'm not sure if I like these "photo illustrations". It's one thing for a personality to pose for a photo doing something shocking and have it end up on the cover of a magazine, it's something else completely for someone to make it look like Leno blew up or Letterman lost his drawers.

For example, I thought that Sarah Palin's Newsweek cover from last November might have been poor taste but certainly not sexist. I mean, she posed for it!


Palin knew that she was folding the American flag over a chair, she knew how much leg she was showing. It's not like they superimposed her head on a bikini-wearing, machine-gun toting chick.

I mean, on the cover.

My point is, she posed for this photo (apparently for some running magazine?) and Newsweek might have been ill-advised into picking it for their magazine, but they didn't alter it.

Unlike Time back in 1994 when they altered OJ Simpson's mug shot to make him darker and (supposedly) more foreign and scary:


That's just racist.

So why can't magazines stick to unaltered photos, or, if they want to show us a pantsless celebrity, why not hire an illustrator and draw us one. Because that never goes wrong.


Oh, wait ...

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posted by Josh at 7:36 AM | 0 comments
We live right up Washington Avenue from the Burnham & Morrill plant, makers of fine B&M baked beans and brown bread.

On Friday I read an odd little AP clip in Portland Daily Sun that B&M was trucking a bunch of beans and canned products to the earthquake relief effort in Haiti. Well that wasn't the odd part, what was odd is that the plant also produces chicken and roast beef under the 'Underwood' label, as well as Ortega refried beans.

Wait, what?

Ortega refried beans ... in Portland?

I figured it could be an error - the Daily Sun is a freebie, after all - so I went to the web and found an article from ... "New Jersey Real-Time News".

Well, that's less real-sounding, for sure, but they own the domain "" so they have to be sorta legitimate.

So here's it is in black and white:

    "In addition to Underwood canned meats, the Portland plant also makes B&M baked beans, Ortega refried beans and B&M brown bread."

The rest of the article is here: "Maine food plant for N.J.-based company sends food to Haiti".

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posted by Josh at 6:28 AM | 0 comments
Sunday, January 24, 2010
So I was thinking yesterday about the new LEGOLAND Florida they're building on the site of the former Cypress Gardens (see LEGOLAND Florida).

Specifically I was thinking of their logo. Then it hit me - other than the "D" all of the letters in "Florida" are in "California".

And I can steal the "D" LEGOLAND Deutschland or LEGOLAND Windsor.

So here's my totally not official LEGOLAND Florida logo:

LEGOLAND Florida fan logo

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posted by Josh at 8:11 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, January 23, 2010
How did I miss this story from October?

"Dallas is getting a LEGOLAND Discovery Centre".

The Discovery Centres are mini-LEGOLANDs, usually in malls. There's one in Chicago and two in Germany, with a few more in construction. But I didn't know that Dallas was getting one.


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posted by Josh at 8:04 AM | 0 comments
I like a good editorial.

I love a great editorial.

And this New York Times editorial regarding Citizens United V. FEC will knock your socks off: "The Court’s Blow to Democracy".

This is how it starts:

    "With a single, disastrous 5-to-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has thrust politics back to the robber-baron era of the 19th century. Disingenuously waving the flag of the First Amendment, the court’s conservative majority has paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials into doing their bidding.

    Congress must act immediately to limit the damage of this radical decision, which strikes at the heart of democracy."
And it gets better from there ...

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posted by Josh at 7:59 AM | 0 comments
Friday, January 22, 2010
I was planning on taking a few minutes tomorrow and writing a social commentary about the recent Supreme Court decision that will now allow corporations (and unions) to spend freely on political campaigns.

And then I read this: "A Modest Proposal: Let Corporations Vote".


For more info on how corporations became real people check out the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, possibly the most destructive decision in the history of our republic. Seriously.

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posted by Josh at 7:34 AM | 0 comments
Tonight marks the end of Conan O'Brien's wasted 7 months as host of The Tonight Show.

I'm a little overdosed on articles and video clips of this whole brouhaha, but I imagine we haven't seen the last of this saga.

While I'm not usually a betting man, I'd wager good money that sooner-rather-than-later we'll have a made-for-TV movie about this mess.

Although it might not be The Late Shift 2: The Rolling Thunder of Revenge that Quentin Tarantino suggested the other night on Conan's couch.

Anyway, at this point it's official, Leno to Return as ‘Tonight’ Host on March 1 and until then NBC Will Fill ‘Tonight’ Slot With O’Brien Repeats.

Those, and about 9,158 related articles on Google News, all say the same thing.

I did find this one article interesting, though: "O’Brien’s ‘Tonight' Era Ends With Some Jabs, and a Lot of Dollars".

Key quote:

    "In one glaring coincidence being noticed throughout the television business, the total amount that NBC is paying - just about $45 million - is precisely the amount that NBC had promised to Mr. O’Brien as a penalty payment if he did not get the “Tonight” show when it was first promised to him in 2004. In that case he himself would have received that entire amount, however, not him and his entire staff."


And this answers a question I first thought of last week when the writing appeared on the wall - where will Leno tape his new Tonight Show?

    "Nothing has been officially announced but NBC expects Mr. Leno will remain in the studio that was built for his 10 p.m. show. It will be reconfigured as a “Tonight Show” set, Mr. Gaspin said, though some details - like the return of the host desk - have not been worked out yet."

You might recall with Conan's show NBC moved the set from Burbank (where it had taped since the early 1970s) to a $25 million dollar set in Stage 1 of the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot. (NBC owns Universal now). I had choice words about the move from Burbank back then (see Tonight Show Tonight).

I have a little Burbank Pride from my 3 years living in the town.

See, Leno's first Tonight Show set was in Studio 3 of the NBC Burbank lot, then his new Jay Leno Show moved Studio 11 in the same complex.

So the one positive I have from this? The Tonight Show is back in Burbank!

Either way, The Tonight Show's new era ends tonight. Be there.

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posted by Josh at 6:13 AM | 0 comments
Interesting question: "Which country has the most special operations forces?"

If you guessed "North Korea" then you get a prize!


posted by Josh at 6:09 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Why haven't I heard this before?

I just started watching an episode of Nova from last March entitled "Last Extinction" and I came across an interesting fact - the person who has traversed more of the Antarctic ice sheet than anyone else in the world is Paul Andrew Mayewski, the Director & Professor of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine in Orono.


This guy's seen more of Antarctica than anyone else.

In the world.

And he's in Maine.

Why doesn't everyone in Maine know this?

I say we need a "Famous Mainers" television show, or newspaper insert, or website. Are we too modest? Why don't we all know this?

C'mon, this is cool stuff!

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posted by Josh at 8:12 PM | 0 comments
To the surprise of, well, nobody, Merlin Entertainments today revealed that they're turning the former Cypress Gardens into a LEGOLAND park.
Here's the Orlando Sentinel article: "Legoland Florida: Merlin Entertainments reveals details of new Winter Haven park".

The park will be their second in the states - LEGOLAND California opened in Carlsbad, CA just over a decade ago.

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posted by Josh at 7:57 PM | 0 comments
So big news from Dubai this morning is that Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, is reworking the workings of Dubai: "Dubai's Crown Prince Reorganizes Government".

Sheikh Hamdan, who goes by the handle "Fazza3", is still second in command to his father, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, the guy who got them into this mess, which the Wall Street Journal estimates at more than $80 billion.


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posted by Josh at 9:17 AM | 0 comments
I'll admit, sometimes I live in a cave and miss stories. Somehow I missed this one, well, until I heard a blurb about the court case on NPR: "Runaway Ohio Girl to Remain Free of Muslim Parents".

Any time you think you have problems, think of this poor kid.

More at the Columbus Dispatch: "Counseling next for Rifqa, family".

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posted by Josh at 6:43 AM | 0 comments
20100121_dodo.gifQuick blurb about Mauritius today. You might remember that's where we took our honeymoon (see Going to the Honeymoon Now! and Back from Mauritius!).

So they've had the Apple iPhone for some time (see What Do Qatar And Mauritius Have In Common?).

But now I just saw this article, apparently they don't have the App Store to go with the iPhone?

"Mauritius to Apple: Thanks for the iPhones, can we haz iTunes Store?".

I don't have an iPhone - Lord no, I don't have an iPhone - but as everyone else I know does have an iPhone (sans my wife, grandmother, and parents - although my Mom is always talking about the "there's an app for that" ad campaign, so she'll probably get one soon), I have a pretty good idea that without an App Store the phone is pretty hindered.

Very odd.

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posted by Josh at 6:32 AM | 0 comments
So we were told that the 2008 Great State of Maine Air Show was the final installment. That was back when we were living in Harpswell (see the very brief Air Show).

At the time the Navy was busy preparing to leave Brunswick Naval Air Station and apparently folks thought the money would be better spent elsewhere.

But now we see this in the Times-Record: "Navy gives 2011 Brunswick air show high priority".

Yes, three months after the Navy leaves Brunswick, there'll be another final Great State of Maine Air Show.

For more information, don't go to the Great State of Maine Air Show official site, it appears it hasn't been updated since 2007. Apparently the people who update that website were the first to ship out of BNAS.

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posted by Josh at 6:19 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Two stories coming out of Hawaii today, both having to do with Disney.

First we have an official name for the new non-theme park resort Disney is building in Ko Olina - it's now "Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa".

"Disney Names Ko Olina Resort 'Aulani'".

Aulani is obviously a Hawaiian word - in English it means "the place that speaks for the great ones" or "the place that speaks with deep messages".

The resort opens in the fall of 2011.

Next we have more news about Pirates 4 - apparently it'll shoot in Hawaii this summer for a May 2011 release date: "'Pirates of the Caribbean' to shoot in Hawaii".

Wonder if they'll use any locations from ABC's Lost? Jack Sparrow in the Hatch? Creepy.

Although the Black Rock would make some sense ...

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posted by Josh at 10:23 AM | 0 comments
So Sundance Twenty-Ten kicks off tomorrow.

I generally don't care much for the indie crap that litters these festivals, but then I read this blurb about a film this year:

    Could there be a more hot-button topic than terrorism these days? Although it is historically the subject of serious documentaries and intense dramatic films, renowned British comedian Chris Morris finds the humor (and ultimately the humanity) in this extremist world.

    Four Lions tells the story of a group of British jihadists who push their abstract dreams of glory to the breaking point. As the wheels fly off, and their competing ideologies clash, what emerges is an emotionally engaging (and entirely plausible) farce. In a storm of razor-sharp verbal jousting and large-scale set pieces, Four Lions is a comic tour de force; it shows that—while terrorism is about ideology—it can also be about idiots.

    Based on three years of research and meetings with everyone from imams to ex-mujahedeen—not to mention a wealth of surveillance material from major trials, Four Lions plunges beyond seeing these young men as unfathomably alien or evil. Instead, it portrays them as human beings, who, as we all know, are innately ridiculous.

I don't know British comedian Chris Morris from Alan Partridge, but this sounds quite interesting.

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posted by Josh at 9:46 AM | 0 comments
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
So yesterday I was extolling the virtues of snow (see Snow).

But there's also a negative aspect to the weather, as well.

Take our poor neighbor's car. Yesterday morning at 7:40 am it was a fine automobile.

Last night, however, when Liz and I got home from dinner at the Indian place on Wharf Street, the car was a different matter. The whole trunk was smashed in - no doubt the result of a weather-based accident.

The other drawback to snow? When the apartment complex finally decides to plow and snowblow ... at 10:45 pm when I have to be up early the next morning and be in Bangor, which is two hours away, at 9 am for work.

Speaking of which, I've got to go get ready to go to Bangor.


posted by Josh at 6:14 AM | 0 comments
Monday, January 18, 2010
Waaay back in 2007 (remember the Aughts, kiddos?) I talked about Frenchman Alain Robert (known, much to Marvel Comics' chagrin, as "Spiderman") when he climbed the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority tower with his bare hands (see Spiderman in Abu Dhabi).

Well now it looks like to climb Dubai's Burj Khalifa: "French 'spiderman' eyes Dubai's Burj Khalifa tower: report".

Oh, I'm sure they'll love that.

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posted by Josh at 8:28 AM | 0 comments
I love Maine! (And no, I'm not being facetious).

Yesterday Channel 6 said we'd be getting some snow overnight, in the order of 1-3 inches.

Sweet! Nothing big, but it'll be nice to have some flurries after a week off.

Woke up this morning to a snowplow.

"Odd - they're plowing for 3 inches?"

No, they're plowing the six inches of snow outside!

I love in Maine that we get a surprise 1/2 foot of snow (well, maybe it wasn't a surprise to everyone, what did the 6 o'clock news say?) and everyone goes about their lives like nothing happened. Break out the Bean boots and get on with your morning.

"resilient" is the word of the day!

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posted by Josh at 8:05 AM | 0 comments
Hmm, so does this mean they'll rename the "Burj Khalifa" back to the "Burj Dubai"?

"Abu Dhabi's Dubai Aid Shrinks to $5 Bln".

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posted by Josh at 8:01 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, January 16, 2010
20100116_cypress.pngAs we've discussed here before, Merlin Entertainments Group owns the LEGOLAND parks as well as London's Madame Tussauds waxworks, the London Eye ferris wheel and some other small attractions.

The investment arm of the Government of Dubai actually owns a 20% stake in Merlin Entertainments Group, too, but that's a side story (see LEGO, Merlin, And Dubai).

Anyway, it turns out Merlin just bought Florida's Cypress Gardens: "Legoland owner buys Cypress Gardens".

This matters to me because A) I like Floridian theme parks a whole bunch and B) Cypress Gardens is the sight of two of the cutest incidents from two of my favorite people.

I'll explain.

The first story is from my younger brother. He was six years old in February of 1984; while at Cypress Gardens on vacation he bought a fake mustache - one of those clip-on Halloween types that they made in the early 1980s. He wore it all day, assuming everyone would think he was a little man.

His dedication to the act was legendary:


The next is my wife, Liz. She was there even earlier in life, around 3 years old, and apparently she wouldn't leave one of the gardens because she loved a little Foo Dog statue. Thirty years later she still becomes wistful when she sees any little Chinese dog crockery.

Anyway, I'll be interesting to see what Merlin does with Cypress Gardens. Whatever the outcome, hopefully they won't remove the fake mustache shop or the cement foo dogs.

Oh, the other thing of note is that Merlin's parent company is Blackstone, a large large large investment company that also recently bought SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment (formerly Busch Entertainment) which owns the various Busch Gardens and SeaWorld parks and owns 1/2 of Universal Orlando Resort.

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posted by Josh at 9:13 AM | 0 comments
One of my cousins had her wedding in Big Sur, California almost five years ago.

I flew into Los Angeles and stayed with friends for a few days, and then drove up from the south, so I never saw the Bixby Canyon Bridge, it's just north of the park (map here).

The bridge is the new 2010 design of the Express Mail stamp on sale February 3rd:


I'm a fan of this one, too bad I don't send much Express Mail.

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posted by Josh at 8:57 AM | 0 comments
Friday, January 15, 2010
I know it's been a few weeks now, but I found another interesting article about what to name The Decade Formerly Known As 2000-2009: "The Uh-Ohs".

I still haven't made up my mind on what to call it other than not at all liking Britain's "noughties".

Interestingly, this article here has some historical context (mmmm, historical context): in 1933 the Chicago Tribune called 1900-1909 "the Naughty Aughts" - not unlike Britain's current phrase.

In related news, yesterday I caught myself referring to this current year as both "twenty-ten" and "two-thousand-and-ten" - so apparently I'm still wavering on that one, too.

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posted by Josh at 8:43 AM | 0 comments
20100115_cracker.pngI know quite a few people who'll be excited about this: "South Portland welcomes Cracker Barrel with open arms".

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posted by Josh at 7:28 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, January 14, 2010
One of the things that gets me about the internets is the ability to send a large number of hoaxes and false stories around and around ad infinitum.

In the olden days they were the mass emails to an address book full of people. Messages of Gap sending free clothes, Bill Gates and Walt Disney Jr (?!?) donating money on your behalf, things like that. Generally one had to send the message to a dozen or so people to reap the rewards.

Of course, technology these days has advanced beyond mere email, so it makes sense that the hoaxes have expanded their purview.

Apparently these days the fakery goes down on Facebook and Twitter: "Twitter hoax spreads rumors of airlines' free flights to Haiti".

The signal-to-noise ratio in the social networks is reportedly unbearable today.

But hey, at least my inbox is clear.

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posted by Josh at 2:11 PM | 0 comments
20090425_doomsday.pngOf course you still knew that we had a Doomsday Clock (see Five Of).

But luckily it's now only six minutes until the end of the world: "Destruction of world slightly less likely".

I'm feeling more safe already ...

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posted by Josh at 11:38 AM | 0 comments
I've been wondering about this since that Time Magazine cover story back in October - how can California's high tech firms generate enough new jobs to save the entire state? I mean, as we all know by now if California were an independent nation it would have either the seventh, eighth or tenth (depending on who you ask) largest economy in the world.

Now we have some answers - it won't. Check out: "High Tech Won't Save California's Economy".

They even have charts to prove it - Silicon Valley's San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties had very slight job growth between 1990 and 2009 while Los Angeles County lost jobs (and added almost a million people).

Key quote?

    Therein lies California's dilemma. The ability to generate large amounts of wealth on a narrow job base isn't enough to support a state of 37 million people. Brazil generates enormous wealth too, and supports lavish stores like Daslu, where you can't walk in off the street, but there's a helipad on the roof – and a favela just down the street. But Brazil doesn't have a middle class economy.

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posted by Josh at 9:56 AM | 0 comments
I for one am so excited for this ten part series: "Oliver Stone's 'Secret History' to put Hitler 'in context'".

Just the other night my brother was over and we were talking post-WWI Germany. I'm serious! I totally get what Stone is saying here ...

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posted by Josh at 9:40 AM | 0 comments
More on Vermont and their independent streak: "Vermont Candidates Join Growing Secessionist Ranks".

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posted by Josh at 8:42 AM | 0 comments
Interesting article about the internets: "The Madness of Crowds and an Internet Delusion".

Jarond Lanier, the guy who coined the term "virtual reality" and an all-around internet pioneer, has written a new book that finds a few problems with the current state of the internets.

The skinny? The internet has created a destructive new social contract.

    "The basic idea of this contract," he writes, "is that authors, journalists, musicians and artists are encouraged to treat the fruits of their intellects and imaginations as fragments to be given without pay to the hive mind. Reciprocity takes the form of self-promotion. Culture is to become precisely nothing but advertising."

He calls Google and YouTube the "lords of the clouds" and the proletariat masses the "digital peasants".

Nice pleasant way to start your day, no?


posted by Josh at 8:08 AM | 0 comments
From what I've seen Conan is really proving his comedic talents with this whole Jay Leno Show / Tonight Show brouhaha.

I love this joke from last night's monologue:

    "Hosting 'The Tonight Show has been the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for me – and I just want to say to the kids out there watching: You can do anything you want in life. Unless Jay Leno wants to do it too."

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posted by Josh at 8:05 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
You've probably all seen this Spanish promo for Lost - I try to stay away from spoiler stuff on the internet but this one was labelled spoiler free so I had to watch.

No new footage (obviously) but damn is it elaborate for a foreign promo.

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posted by Josh at 9:41 AM | 0 comments
Interesting blog post: "The iTunes Effect and the Future of Content".

Pretty much the gist is that consumers are now only buying hit singles (online) which is killing album sales, which in turn hurts record companies, making them no able to invest in as many new bands, and the ones they do invest in aren't doing as well because - surprise - instead of buying their whole album consumers are only buying their one hit single.

On the flip side - and this is as a consumer and not an economist - digital distribution makes it a whole lot easier to get an album (or single) from some band a half a world away. Because in the olden days (you know, eight years ago) if your local record store didn't stock a specific kind of music then you just didn't get the tunes.

Obviously the Tower Records and Virgin Megastores weren't meeting consumers demands, because both are broke and gone - relics from a long ago age.

I'm torn on the issue, obviously, I really do care for efficiency and value, but on the other hand I remember so many fun days in Boston buzzing between the three or four used CD shops between Kenmore and Newbury looking for a CD - and then, if all else failed, stopping at Newbury Comics or Tower (yes, back then it was Tower Records on the corner of Newbury and Mass Ave) to buy it from the man (if they even stocked it). That act of discovery - what CDs are next to other CDs? Are they similar? - is so much greater than clicking 'iTunes Genius' and letting some algorithm tell you that Reel Big Fish is like Suburban Legends.

So my thesis? Kids today. They don't know what they're missing.

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posted by Josh at 8:26 AM | 0 comments
Did you see this one this morning: "9 Vt. State Office Candidates Favor Secession"?

I have to say, I love Vermont.

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posted by Josh at 8:01 AM | 0 comments
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
"Move The U.N. To Dubai"?

Why the hell not?

I've heard crazier ideas - like building a tower 1/2 mile tall ...

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posted by Josh at 3:08 PM | 0 comments
It's video day at the zoo!

I don't watch Conan, mostly because he's on late and my TV doesn't work. But I think he can be funny a good chunk of the time.

Last night?

It was a good monologue:

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posted by Josh at 7:27 AM | 0 comments
So they're reviving the plans to expand Portland "International" Jetport.

To sell it they've made a video. With 8th grade production quality, and a score direct from a Jerry Bruckheimer movie.

I don't know much about airport security, but do you think Homeland Security would let people drive / load / unload passengers underneath one of the terminals?

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posted by Josh at 6:11 AM | 1 comments
Monday, January 11, 2010
... no, this has nothing to do with the Burj Dubai Khalifa, they paid good money to rename that building. This is actually about Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan - brother of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Abu Dhabi. And littl brother just got away with torture!

I swear I linked to the video here before, but I can't seem to find it, so here's a link (warning, it is messed up - you probably do not want to watch it. Seriousy. Don't watch it, just read a description - it'll astound you).

Anyway, yeah, he got off scot free, but the dudes who shot the video? Jail time (in absentia) and a fine.

The whole saga: "Sheik Acquitted in Abu Dhabi Torture Case".

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posted by Josh at 1:12 PM | 0 comments
I've seen before how viruses made us human, but even this startled me: "Evolutionary Surprise: Eight Percent of Human Genetic Material Comes from a Virus".

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posted by Josh at 1:03 PM | 0 comments
Apparently one has a 1 in 16.5 million chance of being on a flight with a terrorist. Huh.

Read all about it here: "The Odds of Airborne Terror".

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posted by Josh at 12:43 PM | 0 comments
Something to watch for on Tuesday’s BBC World News America: "Guantánamo Reunion, by Way of BBC".
posted by Josh at 10:15 AM | 0 comments
Sunday, January 10, 2010
This is what I felt like doing this morning:


I felt like Fred-Flinstoning the cat out the back door into the 8 degree Fahrenheit (-13.3 degree Celsius) weather.

Somehow, and I don't know how, six days a week he's still asleep when I get up. And invariably on Sunday, my only day off right now, he's up at 4:30.

Today he woke me up three times before 6:30. How is that even possible?!

I know it becomes a lot less possible if he's a catsicle ...

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posted by Josh at 7:18 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, January 09, 2010
I don't even know what to say about this article ... "Woman raped in Dubai charged for having illegal sex".

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posted by Josh at 7:48 AM | 0 comments
In case you missed it on Wednesday night, Disney announced a release date for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - clear your calendar on May 20, 2011.

On Stranger Tides logo

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posted by Josh at 7:48 AM | 0 comments
Friday, January 08, 2010
posted by Josh at 9:53 AM | 0 comments
20100108_expos.pngThere's been quite a bit of guessing as to which hat Andre Dawson will wear on his Hall of Fame plaque.

The Boston Globe has dug up an article from 1993 where he states he wants a Red Sox hat, even though he only played here for two years opposed to the eleven with the Montreal Expos.

As much as it pains me to say this, I hope they put an Expos hat on him. I kind of miss that goofy old logo ...

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posted by Josh at 7:17 AM | 0 comments
I think the LEGO toy company has a mole. Someone in a decision-making capacity who's trying really hard to screw the company up.

I just went on their website to look at the new "Toy Story" line, which actually are pretty cool, and I saw this new set:


Yes, that would be set 7684: Pig Farm & Tractor.

I'm not even making this up.

"Mommy Mommy, can I buy the pig farmer set?! I've always wanted to be a pig farmer! Now I can play pig farmer every day! Gee Willikers that'd be swell!"

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posted by Josh at 7:17 AM | 0 comments
20100108_BU_01.pngBoston University Mens Hockey plays rival Boston College (which, I might remind you, is technically not in Boston and technically not a college) tonight at some place called ... Fernway?

Yeah, that's it - Fernway Park.


Tonight is the Frozen Fenway game at 7:30 in Fenway Damn Park!

Also playing are the Northeastern and UNH women's teams.

The ice, of course, is still up from New Year's Day Winter Classic with the Bruins and Flyers.

So watch BU play BC tonight, if you get NESN.

Me? I'll be alone in my apartment, watching my cat meow at the walls.

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posted by Josh at 7:17 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Liz just sent me an article from Channel 6, apparently Anthony Bourdain went to a bean supper up in Milo on Tuesday.

Milo, for those who might be geographically challenged, is smack-dab in the middle of the state:

View Larger Map

That's kind of awesome.

Although I hope he doesn't mock our peoples. I hope he treats us like wih the reverence that he does a newly discovered tribe in some foreign land.

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posted by Josh at 8:28 AM | 0 comments
Interesting article about President Obama's redesign of the Oval Office: "Obama's Oval Office gets history makeover".

I like most of his changes, except why didn't he replace Bush's carpeting?

Jed Bartlet would never have had a damn tan rug.

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posted by Josh at 6:42 AM | 0 comments
Just read an article that says that late sci-fi author Philip K. Dick's family is upset at Google over the name of their new phone, the Nexus One.

In Blade Runner (based on Dick's “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”) the replicants are "Nexus-6" cyborgs - the sixth generation of Nexus robots.

Apparently the first generation would have been "Nexus-1"?

I know, it's a stretch, but the goofiest thing of all is that Verizon Wireless actually licensed the name “Droid” from LucasFilm for their phone.

I can see them doing that if it was white with a blue top and went beep-boop-bop-boop-beep - but it's not.

For the whole story, check out: "Is the Google Phone an Unauthorized Replicant?".

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posted by Josh at 6:39 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Have you heard that ESPN is launching a 3D network this spring? Here's the logo:


If you look quickly, you might think it says "ESPN 30", but it doesn't.

Besides, I'm pretty sure they only go up to #8 ...

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posted by Josh at 10:27 PM | 0 comments
20100106_bourdain.pngI'd heard the rumors, and I guess they were true. Looks like Anthony Bourdain visited Portland last weekend (during the snowstorm, no less) to film an episode of his show: "Host of 'No Reservations' TV show slips into town to sample seafood".

Can't wait to see it in April ...

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posted by Josh at 10:25 PM | 0 comments
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Yesterday the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, opened in Dubai. If you paid any attention to any media in the last twenty-four hours you saw something about it.

Back in my time in Dubai (Dubai photo gallery) I took a few photos of the mid-construction Burj. Here's one of my favorites:

Burj Dubai Construction, Dubai

Here's a rendering of what it would look like complete (obviously I've been home for a year and a half and don't have a good shot of the final tower):


When I returned home to Maine, I always wondered how the Burj would look in a city I'm familiar with. Drop the world's tallest building in Portland, you know?

Somewhere around then my father reminded me that the WGME Tower in Raymond was the world's tallest architectural structure back when he was a kid. How my grandfather used to eat lunch and watch the Navajo construction workers on the tip top (1,624 feet in the air) and how he was amazed and a little scared - heights are not the friend of the Edwards men.

So I got thinking - what if the world's tallest building was in Raymond, how would it stack up?

The Burj is 2,717 feet, so a thousand feet taller than the WGME tower. I didn't have any good photos of the tower (how does one get a good shot of an antenna?) but I did have a few shots of Portland and Boston, Mass.

So this is what it'd look like to plunk the Burj Khalifa in the middle of New England:

A good sight taller than the Pru

Towering over Portland's Back Bay

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posted by Josh at 7:15 AM | 0 comments
Did you read Bill Nemitz's column in the Maine Sunday Telegram this week? It's all about God, and how a good chunk of Mainers don't believe in him.

Apparently 41% of people polled in Maine don't believe in God - putting us dead last out of all of the states (46th - they combined some of the smaller states) for states who pray at least once a day.

On belief in God and weekly worship attendance we're 44th out of 46, and on mportance of religion in our lives we're 43rd.

I'm a little confused though - there're two other states that believe in God less, but pray more?

Anyway, those are the highlights, the whole article is here: "Most of us literally don't have a prayer".

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posted by Josh at 6:49 AM | 0 comments
Monday, January 04, 2010

Breaking news from the AP: "Dubai renames world's tallest tower Burj Khalifa".

That's as in Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan the ruler of Abu Dhabi and President of the United Arab Emirates.


After the bailout I guess moving it the 75 miles down the street was just too difficult ....

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posted by Josh at 12:20 PM | 0 comments
So now the National Association of Good Grammar has weighed in on what to call this year - they say it should be pronounced 'twenty ten'.

But technically wouldn't there be a hyphen in there? I'd say it should be 'twenty-ten'.

But then what the hell do I know, I still put the period outside of the apostrophe and quotation marks.

Either way read all about it here: "2010: 'Twenty ten' vs. 'two thousand ten'".

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posted by Josh at 10:40 AM | 0 comments
Apparently this photo was in Us Weekly recently:

So Locke is Jebus?

Sayid is Judas?

What does it mean?!

What does it mean?!?

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posted by Josh at 10:33 AM | 0 comments
Sunday, January 03, 2010
I can't believe I doubted James Cameron.

I'm such a skxawng.


Yes, we saw his film Avatar last night (along with many, many other people, apparently). Of course we had a blizzard in Maine, yet we still drove the 20 miles down to Saco to see it in Imax 3D.

Foolishly we thought we were going to be the only people out in the weather. Nope. The parking lot was full of trucks, Jeeps and other four-wheel drive machines. Gotta love Mainers. A little snow's not going to keep them from the visual event of the decade.

Thus we ended up in the second row, a bit close (especially for the subtitles ... in the lovely Papyrus typeface, no less). But still, it was an awe inspiring film.

I won't give anything away - it's one of those rare movies that everyone needs to see. It has elements for everyone: sci-fi, fantasy, love, war. It's also a metaphor for everything: the Iraq War, deforestation, the colonization of the Americas.

It's just one of those things that everyone should see.

I can't believe I doubted James Cameron.

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posted by Josh at 5:04 PM | 0 comments
This is what I'm looking at out our spare bedroom window:

Kind of peaceful, isn't it?

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posted by Josh at 3:06 PM | 0 comments
Friday, January 01, 2010
So after all of these posts today (sorry, it's very very very quiet at work) I went to my website and found ... none of them.

Apparently they weren't loading. Is my computer not recognizing 01/01/2010? Is this some sort of Y2K10 bug? Crickey!

So I did something I never, ever do: I hit that little "Next Blog»" button up at the top to see if that randomly generated site was current.

See, I never read blogs, and I never ever read random people's blogs. I know, it's hypocritical since I put so many words online, but am thoroughly sketched out by reading other people's thoughts.

But wouldn't you say, for the most part, that I keep things relatively impersonal here? I mean, there are jokes, but for the most part I wouldn't say anything here that I wouldn't say to my friends, or at work, or in the checkout line of the supermarket.

Although, to be fair, I generally don't talk to random people at the supermarket.

I guess I just don't see the internet as a two-way street. I like to consider it more "publishing" and less "conversing".

Anyway - as if you can't see where this is going now - I clicked the "Next Blog»" button and of course ended up on the most personal and shocking blog you could imagine (don't worry, it's not dirty or gross or anything - totally suitable for work) check out "Prayers for my cousins".

Apparently the author's cousin is in the ICU, and her cousin's twin children are "in the arms of angels".

Um, does that mean what I think it does?


It's not quite like the lady (from Merritt Island, FL, by the way) who was Twittering when her kid drowned - but still ... it's something.

I guess the disconnect I have is that I don't see the internet as a community, or at the least a community to which I belong. Back in the Dubai days was little different, random people read that all of the time for the Dubai insight, yet I still posted items on the deaths of Liz's paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather, but even those were a little detached.

And then there's my whole "asking random people for prayers" thing, which I won't get into but you all (at least, the ones who know me) can imagine what I think on the topic.

So is this something I need to work on? Should my resolution for 2010 be to embrace the internet community? Take on Twitter and Facebook wholeheartedly? Make new friends? Post comments and talkbacks on every article I read? Fill my RSS feed with blogs of strangers and friends alike?

Or have the last 5 hours of silent office save the constant mechanical drone of the HVAC system made me go a little askew?

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posted by Josh at 12:51 PM |
Have you been paying attention to this whole Time-Warner Cable / Fox Network fight where Fox had threatened to pull its signal over a disagreement regarding fees?

Yeah, I hadn't been paying attention either. Ooh, two mega-corporations are brawling it out - again. Yawn.

But then I saw something funny online today (still at work - it's very quiet). Apparently earlier in the week Time-Warner Cable made a newspaper ad that looked like a ransom note:

See, that's pretty clever!

They also made a website (no doubt I'd find a twitter feed and facebook group too, were I to look) -


Of course I checked it out.

Funny thing, they have a slightly different Ransom note on that page:

They've changed "Pay our price" to "Pay Fox's price".

It kind of kills the narrative of the note (unless you think Fox is using the 3rd person in the revision) but it clarifies that Fox is the bad guy who wants all of your money, and Time-Warner is the hero in this case.

The hero who charges $55 a month for basic cable.

Because when two mega-corporations brawl the real loser is the consumer, the ones who are footing the bill of this pissing competition with their $55.

And that's why we don't have cable TV.

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posted by Josh at 11:50 AM | 0 comments
Interesting blog by Nancy Koehn at Harvard Business Review yesterday: "American Consumption and the New Normal".

Ms. Koehn sees that American consumers are looking to brands that they trust, that are worthy of our loyalty. That we're "abandoning the 'next new thing' mentality that powered so much spending for the past 20 years, in favor of more enduring priorities".

More interestingly, she says that as a society we are moving beyond just "keeping up with the Joneses," by using the internet as a social networking resource similar to pre-Industrial Revolution villages.

It's a short read and fascinating, so check it out.

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posted by Josh at 10:27 AM | 0 comments
Good morning everyone, and Happy New Year!

Well, so far it's been happy, I'm at work (long story, but I'm getting paid double-time so hey, works for me), but there's a beautiful layer of snow on the ground, with the promise of more on the way today and tonight. Tomorrow? Blizzard '010.

Nope, doesn't sound right.

"Blizzard 2010"?

Naw, too Sci-Fi - even for me, and that's saying something.

How about "The Blizzard of Ten" (to be said in a wicked good Maine accent)?

Better than nothing!

Tonight we're going (weather permitting) to the a Red Claws basketball game for the first time. It was one of our Christmas presents to my dad, because Lord knows we all don't need more stuff lying around!

Anyway, I'll let you know how the game is, and how the Expo looks (I heard the lighting is much less yellow, which'll be nice).

So go out and enjoy 2010. "The Blizzard of Ten" hits tomorrow, ayuh.

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posted by Josh at 8:14 AM | 0 comments