Wanted: Radio show, 9-noon eastern.

I just can’t take Glenn Beck anymore.

He just spent 30 minutes on Halloween, and why he hates it. This particular “monologue” section was particularly bad.

Beside the fact that Glenn’s mic technique seems to grow worse every day, and that his mic seems to breakup and distort more and more every day, this particular segment reinforced a lot of my opinions of Glenn.

First, halloween is for kids. If you don’t want trick-or-treaters, turn off your lights and lock your door. If your wife doesn’t want you to eat candy but you want to eat candy, go buy some candy. I guess we see who wears the Bill’s Khakis in your family.

Second, he did his usual “wife” voice. If you haven’t heard it, you’re lucky. It sounds like Grover after having smoked a carton of cigarettes in one sitting. Nobody wants to hear that at 9AM. It’s just terrible, and it is an insult to women.

Third, he explains that he has intentionally purchased his last three houses in far proximity to any neighbors. I guess that explains why he has delved deeper and deeper into rambling-insane-conspiracy-believing-lunatic territory.

Fourth, he explained that he has a nice Yukon Denali that he drives around to create false comfort for his family. Why not stick the family in a bomb shelter, put it on the back of a flatbed, and cruise Connecticut in real safety? You’d get the same gas mileage, and your family would be inordinately safer when the world ends.

Glenn, you lost me. I’m a talk-radio junkie, but I just can’t take you anymore. Even your funny segments like moron trivia and the couple of the year are lame when you don’t do them right.

Maybe I’ll listen again in the future, but for now I’m done. Good luck with your show.

Why the President NEEDS a Republican Majority

It’s quite simple, really.

President Bush NEEDS a Republican majority. He knows it. His party knows it. And they are all scared they’re going to lose their majority.

The reason?

In SIX years, President Bush has only met ONE bill he didn’t like.

Yeah, I’d be scared too if my party’s leader somehow construed his duty to uphold the constitution as a requirement to sign 99.9% of all legislation that comes across his desk.

Come on Democrats– for once I’m rooting for you. At least in the House.

And no, I’m not really rooting for you. I’m rooting for gridlock. You just happen to be the (gulp) best option.

So there.

Earth to Drudge

Earth to Drudge:

1. You shouldn’t put a story up at the top of your site in big red letters only to completely remove the story and all references to it from your site and your archive. If it was featured, even if only for a day, it belongs in the archive. Well, unless the administration asks you to remove it I guess. (the story about the internet radio host who seemingly made some very unwise calls to action)

2. Articles that sat in the far right column on the page for over a day should not be re-promoted to the top headline (right below the advertisement that I block) come Monday. (the articles about President Bush on the campaign trail attempting to save his precious majority)

3. You shouldn’t skip a story just because it reveals massive holes in the administrations #1 issue, “homeland” security. (the one about the idiot who made a boarding pass generator for an airline).

That is all.

Cooking With Sugar

I’ve always enjoyed cooking. I like experimenting, but with a scientific basis to the experimentation. So when I saw Alton Brown do a program about pushing sugar to its physical limits in order to bring out complex flavors, I had to try it.

All the elements add up to a fun and challenging recipe: many rapid-fire steps, high heat, high margin for error, dangerous steps, and a blowtorch. Seriously, I enjoy recipes like this.

The dish is a dessert. It consists of bananas brulee served with a creamy caramel sauce, a spirograph-design shaped sugar decoration, and vanilla ice cream.

It starts with a couple cups of sugar, some water, and some corn syrup. You cook the three ingredients up to 300 degrees without stirring– quite a feat for someone who likes to stir what they’re cooking like me. Once it hits 300, you can gently stir it up to 340.

At that point, you pull it off the burner and let it cool slightly until the sugar falls off a spoon in a thin, thread-like stream. Drip that out onto parchment paper in spirograph shapes, and return the sugar concoction to the heat.

From there, you cook it until it smokes. Seriously. You actually sit and look for smoke.

Once it smokes you pull it off the heat, add a couple cups of heavy cream into the pan at arms length, and start a violent rapid boil. Return it to the heat for a few minutes, and then take it off the burner to cool. What is left in the pan becomes this ultra-creamy, ultra-caramely sauce with a very complex flavor. Mmmmm.

Once the caramel is cooled, you put it in a squirt bottle so you can use it to decorate the plate.

Next up, the bananas brulee. You grab a couple of bananas and quarter them. You dip each piece of banana in sugar, remove the peel, and set it up on something flameproof. You use your blowtorch on each piece of banana to caramelize the sugar into a solid glass-like sheet of caramel.

Time to serve. Make a spirograph shape on a plate with your caramel. Put a couple of piece of banana down on the plate, glass-side up. Pop on a scoop of vanilla ice cream. More caramel on the ice cream, and then a sugar caramel decorator piece goes on top.

Here’s what you end up with:

Click to enlarge:
Cooking With Sugar

The Recipe: Banana Splitsville

Give it a shot– it is a lot of fun to make, and to eat!

Mike

Since when is snow in Buffalo an emergency?

Since when is snow in Buffalo an emergency?

I’d like to know. Because as far as I know, it snows there every year.

Yep, I’m right. Buffalo gets about 93.6 inches of snow per year.

So why is it that President Bush has directed FEMA to make $5,000,000 available for cleanup.

Earth to everyone: The lowest temperature in Buffalo, according to Accuweather, is going to be above freezing for the next 9 consecutive days, including daily highs AND nightly lows.

And if you count out the one day where it will meet freezing– Tuesday, October 24– it appears as though Buffalo will be well above freezing for the next 15 days.

So let’s see–

Can FEMA and the Bush administration spend money faster than snow melts?

Someone start keeping score.

Mike

Why CNN will ultimately fail

11:18PM. Sunday, October 15, 2006.

Earthquakes hit Hawaii earlier in the day.

I check out CNN Headline News for updated coverage. Nope, two women talking about whether or not Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney should be friends.

I flip to regular CNN. Shoot to Kill. It’s a story about overzealous cops.

At least I think it was. I flipped channels, looking for… brace yourselves…

NEWS!

Repeat after me:

CNN stands for Cable NEWS Network.

CNN stands for Cable NEWS Network.

CNN stands for Cable NEWS Network.

CNN stands for Cable NEWS Network.

And this is why CNN will ultimately fail. They forgot that they’re supposed to cover the news.

Mike

Spamcop– Go to hell.

So, America’s Debate is now listed in SpamCop because someone is sending spam using our domain as a return address. That means that anyone using their blacklist is blocking our email.

According to SpamCop:

209.51.146.202 listed in bl.spamcop.net (127.0.0.2)

Causes of listing
* System has sent mail to SpamCop spam traps in the past week (spam traps are secret, no reports or evidence are provided by SpamCop)

You know, I wonder what sort of research these folks do before they blacklist a business (America’s Debate is a business). Since their listing shows “No evidence are (is) provided by SpamCop,” I wonder how much evidence they would have if taken into court. They have obviously been sued before, since they have a big “Donate to SpamCop’s Legal Defense fund” button on their homepage.

The simple fact of the matter is that if it was the forged email header spam that triggered our IP address to be listed in the SpamCop database, one of two things has happened:

1. SpamCop has failed to review the email to determine the true source of the email, and instead has relied on the easily-and-often forged email header instead of the sending IP address, or

2. SpamCop has done no investigation of the supposed spam and instead has instantly blacklisted and therefore caused damage to our ability top conduct business, as well as exercised vigilante justice without just cause, or a good faith attempt to contact the “source,” and without any sort of verifiable evidence.

So, in summary:

SpamCop is a terrible service that utilizes vigilante justice combined with a poor grasp of the email system in order to harm legitimate businesses at the fault of poorly-designed international email protocols.

SpamCop go to hell.

Mike

Tony, Tony.

Heard tonight spilling out of the mouth of ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser on Monday Night Football (from memory so it may be slightly off):

“Most 40 year old Americans first heard of Mountain Time as a result of the Denver Broncos and Mile High City.”

Uhhh…. what?

Tony obviously has very little clue when it comes to time, and cannot comprehend simple concepts like “time to shut your mouth” and “time to hang it up.”

My prediction is that Tony doesn’t make it back to the booth next season. We’ll see if I’m right.

Mike

It’s the meeeers.

Anyone else sick of the Texas Instruments DLP commercial? I’m referring to the one with the little girl who is standing next to an elephant in some azur water with digital crap flying around her head.

Here’s what I dislike about it:

1. It is “mirror,” not “meer.” If you are going to have a kid do your voiceover work (stupid idea because kids voices are grating and hard to listen to, do not offer any inference of authority, and are simply not convincing), at least make sure you coach the child to properly say the words you have written. Mirror is a two-syllable word, not a mere one syllable as this commercial would lead you to believe.

2. You do not need to airbrush the skin of children, at least not as heavily as is done on the commercial. Put simply, if the kid you picked to do your commercial needs airbrushing to make their skin look like that of a child, then you need to pick a new kid.

3. If you are going to try to sell me on how your new technology can make an ultra-realistic image, then maybe, just maybe, you could consider setting a realistic scene. I don’t believe your technology can show me a realistic image if your commercial is mostly computer generated. Computer-generated images do not look realistic, no matter how much money you throw at them.

Texas Instruments, please go away.

Mike

Email and Spam

You know, I really hate that the email system is so damn insecure. It is just too easy to falsify headers and make life miserable for other website owners.

There is currently someone out there spamming using an @americasdebate email as their return address. Obviously, it’s not me.

I’m receiving bounced email at the rate of about one per minute. I expect that rate to increase, followed by complaint email from recipients of the spam that actually made it through, followed by an email from my host asking me what is going on.

Just for the record, I am not a spammer. America’s Debate has never so far as sent a mass-mailing or newsletter to our registered members. We certainly are not spammers. Never have been, never will be.

We have only ever sent email at the request of the recipient, or in the course of regular operation (e.g. initiating contact with an online merchant with a product inquiry). We are not spammers. Never have been, never will be.

So, if anyone out there has any ideas to make email more secure, I would love to hear it. I have my own ideas and have had those ideas called ‘crazy’ and ‘wishful thinking’ and ‘utopian’ and ‘idealistic’ among many other adjectives. So, let’s hear your ideas before I give you mine.

Mike

Google, we have a problem.

Step 1. Go to Google.
Step 2. Type the word “search” as your search term.
Step 3. Perform your search.

You’ll note that Google itself is listed third, behind MSN and Search.com. This shows one of the problems that Google has been having for several years now, oh, since right around when they went public:

Google’s search is going downhill.

Let’s get a real-world equivalent here.

You go to McDonalds. You say, “I’d like a burger please.” After looking for the generic “burger” picture for what seems like an eternity, the genius behind the counter gives you a distant gaze and mumbles a nearly inaudible, “What type?” You say, “What kind do you have?” The distant gaze quickly transforms as the employee’s eyes slam to the back of their head in an almost audible fashion and then slowly roll back into a distant gaze. The employee says, “Well, you can get a Whopper, you can get a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger, or you can get a Big Mac.” You say, “Whopper, please.” The employee wittily responds, “We ain’t got those, only Big Macs” Well then, genius, why did you list your competitors products ahead of you?

That is the same as Google search. If they can’t even get a search for “search” right and recommend their own product, then what are the chances of receiving accurate results for every other search you perform ?

Pretty slim if you ask me.

I can name only one other business that recommends its competitors above its own services: The US Postal Service. They put FedEx boxes right outside their door down here. Is Google becoming the USPS of online search?

Mike

Craigslist… pathetic…

Have a look (adult eyes only).

http://savannah.craigslist.org/rnr/

How sad for Savannah, and people in general.

The anonymity provided by the Internet is too often abused.

And how ironic that a website originating in the ultra-liberal California allows blatant racism, yet a non-partisan website based in Georgia upholds basic standards.

As I said: Craigslist… pathetic…

Mike

SketchUp

Has anyone out there tried Google SketchUp? Here’s the link for you to check out: http://www.sketchup.com

I’ve been looking for a computer-based way to design small projects, and it seems to fit the bill: Free, functional, and with a manageable learning curve.

After I learned the basics, I started designing a project. It is a an equipment rack for the gear for America’s Debate Radio. It will hold have an adjustable mixer tray on top, a 10-space slant rack in the middle, and a 4-space vertical rack on the bottom. I’ll put it on wheels so I can roll it out of the way when not in use.

Here’s the pic of what I came up with so far:

Sketchup
Click to Enlarge

I should be able to make it using one piece of plywood, and I figure I can build the whole thing for under $75. Of course, my design is wrong (1.5″ too tall, forgot about the wheels), but it is a good start.

Mike