Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Another win for The Wisdom

Loyal readers of The Wisdom will remember a piece I wrote in late June about the really cool USB Swiss Army Knife.

Well today, Slashdot has a post about a Tech Zone review of the same Swiss USB device. In typical Slashdot fashion, traffic to the linked review has overwhelmed Tech Zone's servers.

So just remember that as one of the several people who read The Wisdom, you got the scoop on this two months before the millions of Slashdot readers. And Cap'n Ken isn't so rude as to crash somebody else's server.

Monday, August 30, 2004

God bless those Reveille kids

OK, I try to cut the J-School kids running the LSU Reveille a break. Most of them were born when I was in high school, after all.

So when I was trying to find Jessica Pivik's column online last week (I do believe now that they are purposefully NOT putting it up) and came across the "Staff" page, I made the decision to not mock what is a most-mockworthy page.

But now it's a fresh week and the mockibility remains. And thus, I mock.

Here's the new staff page for your review.

"Insert Name Here" serves as both a Staff Writer and the ad rep. I'm sure some of those Louisiana names are misspelled, but there's no way to prove that (hell, a lot of people in Louisiana don't know how to spell their own names).

But the best has to be "Jen Bayh, Cheif Copy Editori". I'm guessing either a) nobody ran this page by Jen or b) Jen is Jessica Pivik's roommate.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Jessica returns (sort of)

I got emails from two of my LSU sources today that the world's worst "sex columnist" - Jessica Pivik - is back.

[editor's note: Jessica is an LSU J-School student who fancies herself to be Carrie Bradshaw. I mocked her often during the spring semester.]

But the funny thing is, her column isn't posted on LSUReveille.com. Maybe it's just the ineptness of student newspaper types, or maybe LSU has decided Jessica's pointless recaps of Google searches are best contained in the physical paper, lest people outside of LSU - such as me - get hold of her crap and mock it.

Fear not, Wisdom readers. For my vast network of operatives swung into action. Below, you'll find a scanned version of today's column (click on the image to enlarge it).

Jessica's leading off the fall semester talking about masturbation. In her column, we learn such important facts as "guys aren't the only ones who go out with Mrs. Palmer's five sluttish daughters" and "Two people masturbating together is called mutual masturbation and can be very arousing and safe."



Tuesday, August 24, 2004

I'm sorry, Max

I drove my car to work today. My car - the Maxima - with its five beautiful, manual-driven gears.

See, since the wife and I started our new jobs, we've been carpooling. And her Santa Fe - as our "new" car - is the vehicle of choice for the commute, as well as all of our "together" driving. So the Maxima sits alone in the garage all day, begging to be driven.

I didn't realize how strange it would be to all of a sudden have "my" car sitting there, largely unused. Sure, I take the opportunity to drive it to Ghetto Kroger when I run out for groceries, and when the wife's out of town it gets used, but I doubt I've put 100 miles on it in the past month.

The Maxima is the first car I've ever had that I got brand-spanking new. And I've now had it longer (5 years, 4 months) than any of my previous rides. In fact, I have a pretty spotty past with cars. To review:

• The Crispy Cutlass: My first car - 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme (bought in 1984 for $1000). Burgundy with a burgundy velour interior. Fabulous. It met its end - and earned its posthumous nickname - after I let Big Head Bubba put a stolen Trans-Am carburetor in it. Tragic.

• The Z: Thank God for Pell Grants - Once in college (fall, 1985), I had a new source of income (grants and student loans) and bought a beat-down 1973 Datsun 240Z for $1500. The thing looked horrible (dusty yellow with rust spots), but absolutely flew. Ten minutes after picking it up, I took my boy Lee out on a nice, flat, empty road and got it up to 135. Nice. The Z took a shot in the right front from an unyielding asshat, and his insurance company paid me $1850 and let me keep my car. I got the radiator fixed at Shorty's and bought a parts car for $300. That kept the Z running for about two years. It finally just died.

• The Vette: I've heard that beggars can't be choosers. When the Z died (late 1987), I was forced to accept my stepfather's 1980 Chevy Chevette as a temporary ride. My first "wife" [editor's note: quotes provided as recognition that this "marriage" never actually existed, at least as far at the Catholic Church is concered] dated me despite my driving of the Chevette. I should have taken that as a very bad sign for the relationship.

• The RX-7: Thank you again, Mr. Pell. When the fall 1988 semester began, I found a black 1981 Maxda RX-7 for sale for $2750. I wanted an RX-7 because that was the car I was planning to get (new) when I got my driver's license back when I was a spoiled rich kid. I loved this car, and it took me from LSU to Atlanta. Thanks, Rex.

• The hand-me-down: Once we got to Atlanta, the first "wife" wanted a new car (early 1993), so we got her an Accord and I got her car - a hunk of white crap known as the 1987 Nissan 200SX. She'd gotten it new from her rich, raging alcoholic of a father. Apparently he was drinking a lot at the time, because he bought her this instead of the Honda Prelude (great late-80s car).

• Max, Mark I: As expected, the 200SX went down hill fast. By 1995 it was toast (no a/c, interior falling apart, etc.) and I'd had enough. I was still a journalist at the time, and therefore couldn't afford another new car, so I bought a charcoal-grey 1991 Nissan Maxima for $7000. Ahhhhh. Sure, the thing had 91,000 miles on it when I bought it, but what a car. Leather seats, 5-speed (of course), the same engine as a Z. I put another 100,000 miles on it over four years, and by the time I brought it in to trade, it had - as the salesman put it - "the death growl." But a great car.

• Max, Mark II: And that brings us to my beloved and now-ignored black 1999 Nissan Maxima SE Limited. I got it new in early 1999. I spent many hours driving around Nissan dealer lots looking for this specific car - black, no leather (because of the Big Brown Dog), 5-speed SE. You would not believe how hard it was to find a 5-speed Maxima in Atlanta. I finally called Troncalli in Decatur and they said they had one. I hustled over there, got the keys from a salesman named James Brown who'd won the dealer sales award for literally 18 months straight and gave it a quick test drive. I came back in, told James I liked the car and what I wanted to pay. He said "fine" and I drove out with it an hour later. I think he sold six cars during that hour.

And now the Max sits in the garage all day. It's got 119,800 miles on it and has never given me a moment's trouble. Its starter dying last year was the first mechanical problem I've had with it.

Is it wrong that I feel guilty when I leave it parked in the garage?

[editor's note: I met the great and wonderful Kara just about a week after buying the current Maxima. Great car, great girl. Coincidence?]

Friday, August 20, 2004

Pirates of the Village

OK, so the wife and I went out with friends at The Flatiron last night. While we were waiting on them, I was checking out the "Stuff to know" section of The Flatiron's new menu. The last line reads:

• No pirates allowed. Seriously.

I didn't think too much about it until a couple of hours later when my friend says "hey, pirates" and points to the front door (he hadn't seen the menu). Sure enough, there was a group of three or four guys dressed in pirate getups.

No, they didn't try to come inside.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Hello, TWMBICers

Checking The Wisdom logs today, I noticed a flurry of activity coming from TWMBIC servers over the past day or so. I have a couple of regular readers over there still, but this recent activity suggests a bunch of people seeking some kind of wisdom from The Wisdom.

I guess it probably has to do with the guy who quit over there this week. Yes, my sources tipped me to it. And, yes, his departure is very much in the mold of Cap'n Ken leaving - he's an amazingly talented Internet professional whose talents were squandered because he dared to try to improve the place. But, truthfully, I'm over the whole TWMBIC thing.

Yeah, I like to see the talented and ambitious people leave there. It's not a hard thing to predict, though. The economy is getting better, and people who want to do good and interesting work will leave. The people who want job security and good maternity/paternity benefits will stay.

So the gossip and goings-on of TWMBIC don't really turn my gears. I am waiting for this big, big deal I got wind of about a month ago to go down, though. That could be fun.

But, loyal readers at TWMBIC, don't expect to find much breaking news on the company here. Sorry.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

More love for The Cap'n

Just days after discovering the sweet, secret message for readers of The Wisdom by Jesus-loving hair stylist Sherry Miller, there's more love coming in for The Cap'n.

I fished an email out of my spam box this morning from a supporter of Theida Salazar. Loyal readers of The Wisdom will remember that Theida is/was a candidate for the state legislature who found my wallet at a Braves game last year and dropped it off at lost and found, gaining my appreciation forever more.

But after finding Theida's website and reading through it, I had to withdraw my endorsement on general principle.

Well, Salazar supporter tamaragenice@bellsouth.net took offense to The Cap'n saying not such nice things about Theida and his "grasp" of the English language:

I don't know who you are, but I typed in Theida Salazar's name in a search engine, and a webpage dated for March 27, 2004 with your "withdrawal of endorsement" for Theida Salzar came up. After reading your comments, I felt compelled to respond even though this is August and the elections are over and Salazar was not victorious...

Your comments, ESPECIALLY, about someone who returned your wallet were ABSOLUTELY cruel and uneccesary. Your fault-finding was tedious and quite honestly, your failure to commend your "wallet-returner" on his good intentions towards getting involved in his community, made you come off as somewhat of a bigot. In my opinion, you need to do some real soul-searching, for someone who could make the kind of statements you did, especially after being the benefactor of another's kindness is spiritually misguideded.

Perhaps he should not have even returned your stupid wallet, and YOU, not Theida, are the idiot.

God bless you, whoever you are...

OK, Sherry Miller has already established that The Cap'n has a hard, evil heart, so I shant argue with the idea that I need to do some deep searching of my empty soul. Nor can I really fight the notion that I might be "spiritually misguideded (sic)".

But I come off as "somewhat of a bigot" because I didn't give Theida props for trying to help his community? Come the hell on. We all know what a cracker The Cap'n is, but I'm a bigot if I mock someone's lack of grasp on the English language? I never even mentioned that Theida is of a particular race (I did originally assume he was Hispanic - and a woman), much less attribute his idiocy to his race.

The good news, though, is that no matter how bad I piss people off, they usually wrap up with "God bless you". So I've got that going for me.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Gimme an "L" ... Gimme another "L" ... Gimme an "I" ... What's That Spell? "Tigers!"

OK, the preseason AP and Coaches polls are out, which used to mean something to me when I'd expect LSU to show up somewhere between 15 and 25. But I knew we'd be Top 5, which means we're in the national title hunt until we lose a game, so the drama of moving up the ranks is pretty much lost.

But in surfing through Yahoo's excellent new college football content, I noticed something odd. If you pay attention to the URLs of Yahoo's team pages - but why would you, unless you're an Internet geek like me - here's how they show the AP Top 10:

1. UUB
2. OOC
3. GGB
4. LLI
5. FFC
6. MMI
7. TTH
8. MMK
9. OOB
10. WWH


For whatever reason, Yahoo has chucked the idea of /usc or /lsu as being the URL for team pages and has instead adopted this cryptic system. As best as I can tell, the first letter is supposed to be the first letter of your school name, although they seem to have broken the pattern for USC (if "University of Georgia" is "G", "University of Alabama" is "A" and "University of California" is "C", how is "University of Southern California" "U"?).

The second letter seems to serve no purpose other than to repeat the first (I found no instance of a school where the second letter is different), and the third letter is the unique identifier for each school falling under the first two letters.

Under "L", for example, we have:

LLA - Lafayette Leopards
LLC - Lehigh Mountain Hawks
LLE - Liberty Flames
LLG - Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
LLH - Louisville Cardinals
LLI - LSU Tigers
LLK - Langston Lions
LLL - Livingstone Fighting Blue Bears
LLM - Lane Dragons
LLN - Lock Haven Bald Eagles
LLP - Lambuth Eagles
LLQ - La Verne Leopards
LLR - La Salle Explorers
LLS - Lindenwood Lions

I don't see the connection that makes Lehigh "C", LSU "I" and Lambuth "P", and also leaves out "B", "D" and many other popular letters.

As you might have guessed, this is driving me a bit nuts. Back in the glorious days of dial-up connections, I remember Yahoo switching to an abbreviated link structure (/r/bu instead of /business) to save about 2K of page weight (I miss my 28.8K modem). Brilliant!, we all thought.

But I'm not sure what gives with this odd NCAA link structure. Any ideas?

Friday, August 13, 2004

My own personal Jesus Freak

Damn, this makes me happy.

I was checking out some referer info for The Wisdom and noticed somebody had come over checking out which sites were linking to www.sherrymillerssalon.com.

Loyal readers of The Wisdom may remember a piece nearly a year ago entitled "Will Jesus do it for 5%?" in which I poked a lot of fun at "Christian" businesses I found through Google.

[editor's note: I'd forgotten how much I loved the "The Lord giveth Lincoln Towncars - and they're priced to move" line I put in that post.]

Among them was Sherry Miller's Golden Chair, a cuttery in New Jersey that professes "We believe in enhancing the natural beauty that God gave to each individual". I included a pic of what Sherry has done to one New Jersey family (it wasn't pretty).

Well, apparently it was Sherry who came over from the linkto: search, because she has replaced the image of the butchered family with this:

Sherry, of course, isn't the first Jesus Freak to take The Cap'n on as a cause (although she is the first to lump The Wife in the evil-heart category), but I admire the depth of her initiative.

So please, faithful readers of The Wisdom, pray for me, so that Jesus may change my hard, evil heart.

And bookmark the permalink for this entry. I'm sure Sherry will come back and change her secret message.


Only one way to describe what it's like in Atlanta today (71 degrees, partly cloudy) ...

Football Weather!

Bring it on

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Cap'n Ken's wish list

If anybody out there is looking to do some early Christmas shopping for The Cap'n, here's a gift suggestion.

Actually, pretty much anything from the Johnny Cash auction would make a nice gift.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Friday night in W. Hollywood

The Dave Alvin, etc. show at The Troubadour last night was most rockin'.

And I reached a new milestone in "The List" - actually meeting one of the celeb babes on my wife-approved I-can-do-her list. To be fair, I did add Australian alt-country singer Anne McCue to "The List" specifically because she was opening for Dave last night, but still ...

No, I did not get lucky. But I think Anne may stay on "The List". She's amazing.

A) She's really cute (kind of has an Elizabeth Shue vibe)
B) She writes great alt-country, blues and rock songs
C) She's Australian
D) Maybe most significantly, the girl plays guitar like Hendrix. In fact, she covers a Jimi song on her new album, which takes a lot of balls for any guitarist to do. She carries the whole guitar load herself onstage, and favors a black Les Paul.

I was mesmerized by her, and I couldn't stop wondering what kind of world we live in that she's not famous. She out-crows Sheryl Crow. She's a hot Bonnie Raitt.

Maybe one of the older folks in the crowd was a record exec who chased her down and signed her to a major-label deal after the show.

And speaking of older folks, Dave had moral support in the crowd from half the dudes from The Blasters as well as John Doe (true music fans will remember that Dave replaced Billy Zoom in X back in the 80s).

Dave busted out a few Blasters tunes, opening with Goodbye Baby, So Long and closing with Marie, Marie. The tunes lose a bit without his brother Phil singing, but damn fine nonetheless. Similarly, he did 4th of July (an X song he wrote), and it wasn't quite the same without John Doe singing.

But, all in all, a really great show. Dave's the man, and has been kicking the LA scene for about 30 years now.

And since he's old now, he went on at 10:15 and finished around midnight, which was good for all the old dudes in the crowd (and those of us still living on Eastern time).

I'm heading back to The ATL today, and I've about had my fill of Cali. for now.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Rose Bore

Being in Pasadena, I had to drive out this morning and see the Rose Bowl. Like everything associated with Pac-10 football, it didn't impress me.

It's set down low in this valley, surrounded by a very nice park, but the stadium itself looked like an overblown municipal stadium, which I guess is what it is.

So that's that.

In other So. Cal developments, the Burbank airport rocks. I stepped off the plane and the rental car counter was literally 15 feet from the gate. I got my keys and walked about 200 yards to my car. I could actually see my plane from the car. Too bad they don't have direct flights to Atlanta.

I'm driving a Chevy Malibu, which has me missing the Olds Alero I had in SF.

And the Pasadena Hilton sucks. Just an FYI.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

I, Terrorist

I just cleared security at SFO on my way to LA, after getting my first-ever full-on TSA search.

Honestly, I didn't even realize I was getting the full monty until the guys started opening my carry-on. There were no lines at security, so I'd breezed right in to the process.

The TSA guys were courteous, professional and fast, so I didn't have a meltdown like last year at LAX. But, as loyal readers of The Wisdom will remember, I vowed to not be a sheep, to not just accept being treated like a terrorist without questioning the system.

So when the TSA guys released me, I went over to what looked like a supervisor's station to complete my duty as a non-sheep.

I asked why I might have been selected for the shakedown. Was it random or what?

The TSA boss told me - very politely - that the airlines mark certain passengers for searches. It's not random, he said, it's usually people who have one-way tickets, who have made last-minute seat changes, etc.

Hmm. I have a one-way ticket. And I changed my seat assignment a couple of hours ago.

Fair enough. Those circumstances make me a somewhat greater security risk, I suppose. I can accept that. I'd like to think that being from Saudi Arabia or having an Arabic name would also get you flagged, but somehow I doubt that.

But the main point here is that I lived up to my duty. I encountered a situation I didn't understand, and I questioned it. In this case, I got clarity. In other cases - such as complaining that not taking your shoes off is grounds for a search even though your shoes didn't set off the detector and you're not actually required to take your shoes off - raising your voice to note the absurdity of it all is the only way to push toward change.

Man, am I a good American.

California is weird

OK, that's not exactly breaking news. But the level of weirdness here still amuses me.

Case in point - I was driving around SF the other day and got behind a minivan with a personalized license plate (they invented them here, I think). The plate read FAMOF(heart symbol)1. I figured the owner had just stuck a heart symbol (as in "I (heart symbol) NY") on the tag to be cute.

But last night in the hotel garage,
I was parked near a car with the tag I(heart symbol)LORI. So I went up and checked it out. Sure enough, the (heart symbol) was actually part of the tag number.

So in California, I guess there's somebody driving around with I(heart symbol)LA, I(heart symbol)MYDOG, I(heart symbol)TOFU, etc.

I don't know if you can get a "hate" symbol (heart symbol with circle/slash) or not. I'll keep looking.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Too weird

OK, I was in our San Jose office for some meet-and-greets today and I stopped in the break room to get a Diet Coke ...

(Loyal readers of The Wisdom know where this is going.)

I dropped in a quarter, pushed the DC button and out popped - yep - two cans.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

SBC Park

I had a meeting in SF this morning in this industrial area near the Giants' new ballpark, so I decided to swing over and check it out.

I got mad.

SBC Park is part of this huge revitalization of an industrial/port area on the bay. Anchored by the park, the area has been transformed into a district of new, loft-style buildings (condos, offices, stores, etc.). It's really rockin'.

What made me mad was the contrast of SBC Park with Turner Field. Sure, they're both cool throwback parks, but dropping Turner Field in the parking lot of the old stadium rather than letting it anchor the redevelopment of Downtown Atlanta (which the city is now counting on the new aquarium to do) was a stupid waste of an opportunity.

Except for Braves' games, there's no reason for people to be within two miles of Turner Field, and the neighborhood doesn't want people there, anyway.

On a side note, I'm in Palo Alto (Starbucks) at the moment. Damn but this town has a lot of trees.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Row roulette

I knew before I left today that I was on a full flight. I didn't realize that the flight ultimately ends up in Hawaii, which explains why it's so full.

But as I was sitting at the gate, I started to ponder my seat-mate fate for this five-hour trip.

Maybe I'd be next to one of the super-cute teenage girls fiddling around with their iPods. Nah, my luck doesn't work that way.

The tattooed guy who has to be either a rocker or a skater? Doubtful.

I started to get really worried when boarding began. I was in Group 6 in Delta's odd little boarding scheme, and as Group 5 was boarding, there was this weird black dude hanging around the line hoping to get on ASAP. He kept telling people "I'm in Group 6. What group you in?"

I was sure he'd be the mystery occupant of seat 38B.

But no. My area filled up with Group 6ers, but 38B remained empty. We seemed to be getting close to pushback when the captain said we were waiting on a few connecting passengers.

The minute I saw The Gargantuan Mr. Greer coming down the aisle, I knew my fate was sealed. He was with a younger, thin woman, but I knew the deal.

The man actually had to get a seat belt extension in order to buckle up. Isn't he supposed to have to buy two seats? No, wait, that's Southwest.

He's mostly managed to keep himself out of my space. Our plane is a 2-3-2 setup, so he can hang himself out in the aisle a bit.

Did I mention this is a five-hour flight?

Heading west

I'm embarking today on a whirlwind trip out west for TNIJ. Three cities, five tasks in four working days.

Also in the mix is a dot-com party that's become quite a thing out there (more on that later this week) and a slight amount of free time in L.A. before I head back Saturday.

I can now post from anywhere with my new Blackberry (the 12.5-cent Coke update was Blackberried, in fact), So I'll throw up some stuff during the week when the mood strikes me.

And, as is normal when I head out toward Hollywood, I owe the wife an update of my list of celebrity women I can make sweet, sweet love to without repercussion. The wife's policy toward "my list" is quite generous, by the way. She's allowing me to update it today and then re-shuffle when I get back.

So here goes:

• Katie Holmes
• Lauren Graham
• Ali Landry (now-single, from Louisiana and still living in Hollywood)
• Sarah Bernard (no, she won't be in L.A., but she's a permanent fixture now)
• Anne McCue

Katie, Lauren and Ali have been on the list for some time. Sarah's taken the place of Britney (I am not interested in seconds from the You Got Served guy) and Anne is a situational addition.

Who, you may ask, is Anne McCue? She's a fairly-obscure (but, importantly, officially a "celebrity") 30-something Australian alt-country chick:

She's cute. And, more importantly, she's opening for Dave Alvin & The Guilty Men in West Hollywood Friday night. Did I mention I'm planning to see that show?

Hey, you gotta know how to play the odds.