Archives: July 2003

Thu Jul 31, 2003

Legal "Code"

Aubrey Turner has a good post on redistricting. A sample:

But it got me to thinking about the law and programming. In some ways, the law (and in Texas, the state constitution) is the set of programming instructions (code) that is used to run the government and society. The problem in this case is that the code allows for the system to be compromised by the operators. What we need is a set of code that specifies how the districts are to be mapped that the users can't game. Specifically, we should gore everyone's oxen and come up with a system that creates districts strictly on the basis of population and does so in a way that can't be gerrymandered.

The programming analogy is intriguing, and makes perfect sense.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 31, 03 | 10:35 pm | Profile

[0] comments (2302 views) |  link

RIP Sam Phillips and Perhaps RIAA

Attaboy posts a nice tribute to Sam Phillips, of Sun Records fame. I was somewhat surprised that I immediately remembered who he was when I saw the name in the post title.

In another post, he covers Pac Bell fighting back against the RIAA's broad subpoenas. I hadn't heard about this before; just the previous case that Verizon lost. Using a jury should make it interesting.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 31, 03 | 10:30 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1371 views) |  link

Cost Over Quality

Instapundit has an item on IT outsourcing today, with links to a couple articles, as well as insights of his own.


Rob also covers this nicely

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 31, 03 | 8:57 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1332 views) |  link


I've been blogrolled by a promising looking, brand new blog called Unpersons. I shall have to reciprocate when I get around to updating links again.

Their tagline says:
"A British group-blog focusing primarily on UK, EU and Anglosphere affairs from a free-market laissez faire perspective."

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 31, 03 | 8:55 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1371 views) |  link

Top Movies

John Hawkins of Right Wing News polled a bunch of us for favorite movies ("greatest movies" if you will), which he has finally recovered from hit site problems enough to publish.

If I remember my list correctly, six of my movies made the list, and two made the honorable mentions. I suffered a similar skewing to what John described for himself; mostly modern, recent films were on my list. Except I loved the original Star Wars.

I freak when asked to do lists like this. At first I can't think what to select. Then I end up with 41 when the list can't be more than 25, and have to narrow it down. Then I wonder will people think they are goofy selections. I actually went and looked through the IMDB top 250 reader rated movies for inspiration, and then at Roger Ebert's list of great movies. I didn't think to go look at the list of every movie Steve Rhodes has ever reviewed, which would be especially comprehensive.

Let's see if I can find my list...

Yep, here, verbatim, is what I e-mailed John:

Very cool idea! I'm afraid that my range is going to be more limited than
some, as there are many classic films I have never seen, and I lean heavily
to the SF and romantic comedy genres. At another time, or if I'd viewed
more classics, this list might be substantially different. Here it is, at
any rate:

Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope

Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Matrix

The Wizard of Oz

The Princess Bride

Beauty and the Beast


Terminator 2: Judgment Day

E.T. the Extraterrestrial


Fight Club

The Goonies

Sleepless In Seattle

When Harry Met Sally

The Iron Giant

Roman Holiday

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

The Ten Commandments

The Sound of Music

Back to the Future

The Sixth Sense

Saving Private Ryan

Odd, I thought I took Sound of Music off and left something else on instead. Well, whatever. Another day, the list may have been quite different.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 31, 03 | 8:29 pm | Profile

[3] comments (1848 views) |  link

Wed Jul 30, 2003

Good Night

Rob at BusinessPundit picked up on my post about Pascale's comments on management, as I knew he would, and expanded on the topic most insightfully. Worth checking out, but then his blog always is.

Just wanted to point that out, but otherwise I don't expect to post or even be online the rest of the night. I need to go home, have supper of some kind, and go to sleep at a reasonable time designed to unwarp my sleep schedule. I can't keep staying up over 24 hours then sleeping for 12+ hours at a stretch. No more picking on you guys for comment paucity until at least tomorrow.

Looks like today may well be tops for the month, simply because I posted so much and showed I was updated so often that people swung by. Then again, a waaay disproportionate amount was search engine hits. Perhaps the same frequency of updates was a factor there.

Good night.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 9:45 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1295 views) |  link


I've made gazillions of posts since 8:30 last night. I've had 144 hits and counting so far today, on track to be second highest of the month.

One comment?

One. From Jen. Regarding a pMachine issue we have both had.

On this post I even specifically posted for the sake of feedback.

In another post I poked fun at Rachel's dog and grackle posts.

This one was intentionally designed as comment bait, at least for Denise.

Did I overwhelm everyone with the massive burst of posts, lame and otherwise? Are my comments broken and I don't know it?

It's downright surreal.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 8:34 pm | Profile

[8] comments (1834 views) |  link

Managing Tips

Pascale Soleil has a great post about her experience being a server in a restaurant; a job she has done for the last time today. The whole thing is good, and should especially be read by those of you who are inconsiderate restaurant customers or lousy tippers.

Be that as it may, she has this particularly lucent observation, which is utterly accurate in my experience:

I learned that most managers suck. It never fails to amaze me how rare good management is. If you are a good manager (in any field), you are performing an incredibly valuable service to society.

I couldn't have put it better myself. Perhaps it's the Peter Principle at work, or the lack of appreciation of what a distinct talent management can be.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 6:15 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1947 views) |  link


Grrrr! One of the secretaries at my big client had brought in a dead hard drive for me to see if I could recover anything for her. I finally got around to plugging it in as a slave on the new machine I am supposed to be migrating to myself.

This is when I learn that machine no longer powers up.

The same machine that had defective memory and gave me grief a while back when trying to install it.

Worse, I unplugged the dead drive, tried again, and on it went! Woohoo! Found the problem, right? No. When I turned it off and tried again, it failed.

It feels like a bad switch, but could be the power supply. This is one where I bought a brand and style of case I'd never bought before, because Inwin cases were out of stock for over a month. It's pretty, but less expensive than Inwin and more cheaply made. The standalone power supplies of the same brand in the case are so shoddy I'd avoid buying them, even though I could get them for less than half the price of my usual ones.

Easier for me if this is the power supply. Replacing the switch looks especially tough, and is something I'd avoid even if it weren't.

Well, that was fun. At the end of the preceding sentence, about 3 hours ago, I was interrupted and am just getting back to this. Having work to do; what a drag, eh? Beats unemployment!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 5:08 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1377 views) |  link

Now I Know Why I Compose Offline

I was writing a post of about three paragraphs, was about a sentence from done, and got an e-mail with a link to someone's web site in it.

I clicked. It grabbed the pMachine window and started to switch to the site in question.

Knowing full well it would already be too late, I quickly clicked back, and gone was my lovely post about how I'm now sleepy again, made coffee to dispell that, and how coffee affects my reflux along, how sometimes other things do, and how my grandmother has similar problems and makes the best creamed cabbage in the world, despite being unable to eat cabbage herself.

Argh. Sometimes IE is so brain dead it's ridiculous. New frickin instance please! And when one IE window hangs, when I tell it "end task" on that instance, I don't like that every instance of IE ends because of how they're threaded or whatever.

I've started composing in pMachine directly sometimes, mainly when I know I won't have any links because those infinitely easier in w.bloggar. Time to revert to composing in w.bloggar no matter what. I have a habit of hitting ctrl-s after every few words or so, which makes it far safer.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 10:00 am | Profile

[1] comments (1399 views) |  link

It's Only Words

The Language Museum is another interesting site, for all the would be cunning linguists out there.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 8:39 am | Profile

[0] comments (1359 views) |  link

Surviving Heinlein

The survivalist types do a great deal of discussing of survival kits or "bugout bags." I thought this was kind of interesting; a page with Heinlein's version of a survival kit.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 8:37 am | Profile

[0] comments (1308 views) |  link

Weight Loss

Last time I embarked on a major loss of weight, I lost 55 lbs in 9 months, starting with 12 during a week of being sick with a flu-like ailment.

I had two "secrets." One was using Sudafed as an appetite suppressant, which required a little finesse because it could have a boomerang effect. The other was eating Hershey's "Big Block" with almonds (or the Nestle equivalent, but I preferred Hershey) each day.

Other than that I kind of watched what I ate, but not that seriously, and I ate less.

One thing I always found was I'd gain weight if I ate much salad. Probably because if I made salad it was large, and not sparing on things like cheese.

Oh! Lest I forget, I also exercised. 20-30 minutes at a time, a few times a week. The previous post reminded me of that. The first time I set out to exercise (the emphasis was on stomach slimming, reminding the abdomen it did have muscles), I got carried away. I was impressed that I could actually do like 20 or 30 situps without it killing me, so I did. More is better, after all. Ha! It just killed me later. Built up gradually after that. And I was younger and more active then! Heck, I was 23 I think. I only needed to lose 20-25 lbs to be at a fine weight then, rather than 70-75 lbs.

I am certain that 25 lbs in a month is the fastest my weight has ever dropped. If this is going to be a side effect of the medicine, as long as it doesn't become runaway uncontrollable, or lapse and make me yo-yo, I don't want to stop taking it if I can function passably. It's more effective than Sudafed could ever possibly be.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 8:13 am | Profile

[3] comments (2293 views) |  link


I've made 20 posts in the past 12 hours, not counting this one. If you having been here since before 8:30 PM eastern time yesterday, kick back and read away. It's not all inane, and some of it seeks feedback.

The effort more than compensated for the disparity betyween the side and main columns, which is what inspired the spate of posts.

Three more and it'll be evenly divisible. Hmmm...

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 8:09 am | Profile

[1] comments (1418 views) |  link

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream A Little Dream Of Me

I gotta get my sleep routine into, well, a routine. I was never good at that in the first place.

Sunday I stayed awake all night, though not for lack of trying to get some sleep. This had a lot to do with sleeping a ridiculous length of time, until mid-afternoon, on Sunday. Then on Monday I still had trouble taking even an hour or two nap at the office. I finally fell asleep a half hour before I needed to leave, which is why I was late when I woke up an hour later.

Then on Monday night I was up until after 3:00, completely chipper. I forget what time I finally stopped reading the addictive writing of Peter Hamilton, but it may have been about 5:00. When I finally got to sleep, I didn't wake up until about 1:00, and in less than two hours was asleep again until evening. So much for that day.

So here I am, Wednesday morning, and guess what? I haven't slept yet, just like Monday morning. Except I feel more chipper and wakeful. In fact, I feel excellent. I feel more energetic than I normally would on first waking, and I've already been up for some 13 hours.

Good enough. I'll get to the office. I'll get some needed things done. If I crash and can't resist, I don't have the urgent need to be somewhere this afternoon, but best might be for me to drag through and then go to sleep in the middle of the evening, like 8:00. If I can contain sleeping to 10 hour or less increments at the right time of day, I'll be happy.

At least this isn't like a couple weeks ago, when the side effects were making me sleep without the energetic phases in between. Since I go back to the doctor in a week, I'd like for this to have sorted itself out enough to be tenable before then. When I'm wakeful, I'm definitely being helped, and I love the metabolism/weight loss side effect.

The other night when I was unable to sleep, at one point I made herbal tea and did some exercises. Bend and touch your toes calves. Situps. Leg lifts. Around 10 each of situps and leg lifts and now I'm so sore around the waist I can't do either of those things until it subsides, over a day later. Boy am I soft. The tea and exercise came closest of anything to making me sleep, for what it's worth.

Oh, I also had cool dreams again while I was sleeping ad nauseum. It was sort of like being in a live role playing/D&D/video game type of scenario, but it seemed it was real in some way. There were lot's of dank cellar rooms, which reminded me of the lower levels of one of the paper factories I did security rounds in. Water leaking in, puddles on the floors, dark nooks and crannies, poorly lit passages, old equipment, boilers and such. At one point water came gushing at me and someone I was with, and it was a split second thing to get the other person through a door and slam it to block the deluge. We had guns, but they looked like squirt guns. Eventually I ended up on a ground floor, in a luxurious residence where I knew the people. When it seemed the fleeing and terror had been unreal, the adversary showed up threatening and taking the woman who was there hostage. Around then I woke up.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 8:05 am | Profile

[0] comments (1344 views) |  link

E-Mail Oddity

I switched the business to hosting with Hosting Matters, leaving XO Communications, over the weekend.

It was all about cost. I can't praise XO Communications enough, and despite going through bankruptcy, there was never the slightest hitch. I would stay with them in a second were they not almost three times as much money for a somewhat lesser feature set. Unfortunately for them, hosting is a commodity, and the fact they have some things I really like, and superlative support, doesn't outweigh the price difference.

Anyway, one thing different about Hosting Matters is the e-mail. I frequently have two machines online at once, each polling for mail every couple minutes. That's if I leave the office machine running, and then go online at home. Actually, for a time recently there were two office machines running, grabbing e-mail. I have the home settings told not to remove mail from server, and the work settings told to remove it after 5 days. That guarantees in almost all circumstances that I get everything everywhere.

If I am home, just logged on, and 50 e-mails are downloading, if it takes long enough that the office machine checks for e-mail before it's done, it stops the download at home because there was a newer logon session. Not a big problem, but curious. I changed home to 3 minutes so there's a better chance of it interweaving with the 2 minute polls for mail from the office.

I don't always leave it on there, but it is convenient to get there and have everything already downloaded. It's especially great if I receive anything huge, like multi-meg files from one of my partners.

Overall, I like Hosting Matters so far. No all day outages yet. Heh. Their control panel is decent, and it's cool they offer three different web mail interfaces to choose from. I don't regularly use those, but it's still cool.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 7:28 am | Profile

[0] comments (1516 views) |  link

Interview With The Cartooners

Superb interview with Cox and Forkum over at Dean's. It's a must read; lots of fun and enlightenment.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 3:09 am | Profile

[0] comments (1304 views) |  link

The Warren

Bigwig has introduced a new blog called The Warren, populated by folks who couldn't or didn't want to blog under known identities for fear of retribution, and featuring folks who don't wish to post regularly to retain readership.

I already found one especially interesting post there, regarding rather grizzly "art."

The post in which Bigwig introduces The Warren is worth reading as a matter of general interest to bloggers, for the commentary about blogging it contains.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 2:09 am | Profile

[0] comments (1332 views) |  link

Option Base Zero

I was just reading one of today's OpinionJournal pieces, which in itself is somewhat interesting. It's about inaccuracy in need determination for Pell grants, because the data for state tax rates they are using is for 1988. Yes, 1988. Hasn't been updated in all that time, yet much has changed, and this skews things. A couple of senators have submitted bills that would keep things inaccurate and not allow it being fixed. Is that absurd or what? Is it any surprise one of the senators in question is Kennedy?

What grabbed me and made me want to post was the first paragraph:

It's no secret that government spending is wildly inefficient. One reason is budgeting procedures that simply use the previous year's spending as a baseline. This gives the bureaucracy an incentive to spend all it can on anything it can, often in the closing weeks of its fiscal year, to inflate next year's budget.

This reminds me that when I was back in high school, near the end of the seventies, there was a big fuss over the concept of zero-based budgeting. It may have even been that it came up during the 1980 election campaign. On the other hand, it may have been a state thing. I remember one of the teachers making sure we knew what a terrible thing zero-based budgeting would be.

I remember being shocked that budgeting would do anything but start at zero. Obviously you take last year as a historical guideline, including what you were short or over, what was accomplished versus what ought have been accomplished, any abberant expenditures that shouldn't recur, expected operational or goal changes, etc. However, you don't take last year's expenditures as an absolute, set in stone minimum that is then subject to increase perhaps, but never to decrease. That's insane.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 1:53 am | Profile

[0] comments (1342 views) |  link

Silence Is Golden?

I notice that my rash of posts has induced a great deal of traffics, but no comments. None. Heck, the comments even stopped coming on the candy memories post from the other day.

Cat got your tongue? Inane posts normally get comments, even when I haven't titled them as such. Perhaps people who come here during the day will be more vocal...

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 1:32 am | Profile

[0] comments (1285 views) |  link

Looking for Great Reading?

Ith is all excited about Absinthe & Cookies becoming a Large Mammal recently.

But really, is it such a surprise? Superlative posts and lots of them on a purty blog, recently revamped and renamed to have a more intriguing, marketable name. What's not to link? I recommend you head over there and read the whole thing early and often.

I swear, I was not bribed into saying this either; no money, baked good, chocolate, sexual favors or ice cream will be changing hands. I just like it!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 1:23 am | Profile

[1] comments (2029 views) |  link

Another Goofy Quiz

I'm from Gryffindor!

Hogwart's Sorting Hat Quiz

made by The Genki Gang

You're known for being brave, loyal and trustworthy, sometimes to a fault. But if the chips were down, wed count on someone like you to help out or save our lives.
We just hope you don't get yourself killed before we can cash in on that.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 1:14 am | Profile

[0] comments (1228 views) |  link


I have been waiting for a special feature John Hawkins had planned to post over at Right Wing News on Tuesday, and wondering what the heck happened to it.

Turns out transitioning to a new host, updating DNS and porting over the existing blog data has been a trying experience. He explains at the top of the blog, but sounds hopeful that everything will be better in the long run.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 30, 03 | 12:01 am | Profile

[1] comments (1288 views) |  link

Tue Jul 29, 2003

Ping Errors

I notice about 50% of the time when I post, the post publishes, but an error occurs in ping.fns.php. At the office it seems to happen more, enough that I changed the URL in my shortcut to the ping link to reflect instead of the old BlogSplat address, and used that to ping manually after each post that gave the error, which most recently was all of them.

I wonder what's up with that, and why it's intermittent rather than flat out broken, or not.


Here's the exact error, which conveniently just happened...

Fatal error: Call to a member function on a non-object in /home/jaysolo/public_html/solo/jspm/xmlrpc/ping.fns.php on line 50

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 29, 03 | 11:48 pm | Profile

[2] comments (1575 views) |  link

About Me - Take 2

Here is a revised version of a possible "About Me" page (for you Canadians, that's an "Aboot Me" page of course...):

Jay Solo is my nom de plume. I am a single 42 year old guy who was born and raised in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, currently resides in Quincy, and is frequently chided for being too verbose.

A non-religious libertarian, I am personally rather conservative and tend to relate more to the political right than left as things currently stand.

I have a BS in Management Science, Finance & Accounting Concentration; what other schools would simply call an accounting degree. I was torn between that and marketing, in which I retain an interest. This is a complete switch from having been an aggie in high school.

I'm the middle child of five, ranging from 10 years younger to 7 years older than me. My siblings all got married and had kids enough to make up for my lack. I have 16 nieces and nephews, and 2 grandnieces.

For work I manage a small computer consulting/software company in which I have three partners. We specialize somewhat in law firms, and are working on a software product for that niche. I do some of everything, including administering networks, programming, testing, building and fixing computers, installing and supporting software... everything.

Other work I've done includes supporting Microsoft Word for Window 1.0 - 6.0, supporting and supervising support of Microsoft Visual Basic 3.0 - 6.0, supporting a POS system for fast food restaurants, receiving for a manufacturer and mail order retailer of home renovation hardware, security at paper, cutlery and cotton product factories, newspaper delivery, bookkeeping and tax preparation, clerking and assistant managing in convenience stores, itinerant inventory counting, shipping for a book bindery, U.S. census field enumeration, cleaning, and lawn mowing and snow removal.

I've long been interested in writing for a living, or partial living, but have never pursued it aggressively enough. This blog tends to be an outlet for the all too unfocused writing compulsion.

The blog has no particular focus. However, I am particularly interested in business and economics, intellectual property issues, science, space and technical matters, science fiction/fantasy, and movies. Sometimes I may post or link about political things, in which case the leanings previously mentioned will come into play.

Is that better? Worse? Sonia said it sounded too much like a resume and should be more "personal." I am not sure I achieved that, and I am not necessarily certain what would make it sound more personal. What do you think?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 29, 03 | 11:46 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1936 views) |  link


I was composing my "About Me" post in w.bloggar, then hit the wrong keystroke before I was done and it posted. To the old BlogSplat blog.


Last I knew, posting from w.bloggar to BlogSplat was hopelessly broken. I couldn't do it for something like my entire last month there. So naturally it frickin works when I don't want it to.

Stay tuned...

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 29, 03 | 11:34 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1285 views) |  link

No Chads Here

Voting has not closed yet in the latest caption contest over at Right We Are!

Get over there and vote! Be warned it's a tough choice, with so many superb entries. Currently there appears to be a three way tie, which needs to be broken. How often do you get to help select the ideal caption for a gun totin' picture of Rachel Lucas, Bill Whittle, Kim du Toit and others? Scoot!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 29, 03 | 11:03 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1315 views) |  link


I was just checking out the new AfricaBlog, which looks cool. I'll have to add it to the links.

I don't know all I should about Africa, but the place fascinates me and has so much unmet potential. This is why I've long linked AfricaPundit, which seems to be on a major hiatus, and A Taste of Africa, which focuses on the Somaliland breakaway nation that most people still consider part of Somalia.

Africa is the cradle of humanity, and to be treasured for that if no other reason.

What would be really cool is if some nation in Africa adopted the libertarian approach depicted in the book "Manna" by Lee Correy. They made themselves a modern, spacefaring nation and center of high tech.

Anyway, looks like this will be a blog to watch.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 29, 03 | 10:20 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1341 views) |  link

Inane Post 5

Or perhaps not so inane...

I mentioned earlier that I had a specific craving last night, for eggs. Nothing else would do. This happens sometimes, and it reminds me of the book "My Side of the Mountain," which I loved when I was a kid.

At one point the kid in the book craved liver. He chalked it up to a vitamin A deficiency making itself known.

Is that really a factor in cravings? I mean, it's not likely in the case of sweets; most of us are just programmed to desire sweets. But does the body know it needs something and communicate that back to the brain in a way that translates into a craving for a certain food rich in protein, a vitamin, or whatnot?

This always intrigued me.

The weird thing is, I was in the kitchen thinking about food just now, and nothing appealed to me out of the things I had in mind; hot dogs, chicken spread sandwich, tuna sandwich. Yet I found myself thinking that PBJ and a handful of chips would be wonderful. Alas, no chips here. I found myself thinking of the carrots instead. Those are appealing...

I'll probably just pick something, whether it appeals or not, on the idea I shouldn't go 48 hours without eating as I did a few days ago, just by not feeling like it.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 29, 03 | 10:10 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1347 views) |  link

Inane Post 4

Okay, so I started composing an About page, put it forth for comment, then neglected to revisit it yet. Someone thought it sounded too much like a resume and should contain more personal stuff. If I can figure out how to make it more personal, or improve it in any way, I will put the revised version in the next post or two for you to make fun of in the comments.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 29, 03 | 9:52 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1300 views) |  link

Inane Post 3

Dog in midair, attempting unsuccessfully to catch a bird and landing on butt.

Dog turning up nose at idea of ball as bird substitute.

Dog delivering ball, insisting you keep throwing, convinced this is okay instead of bird.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 29, 03 | 9:20 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1892 views) |  link

Inane Post 2

Last night on the way home I stopped and bought $20 of groceries; bread, eggs, milk, relish, hot dogs, cheapo ice cream, tomatos, peeled mini carrots, and cheese. Cheese is for me what peanut butter is for Acidman. Since I have no money, I was very careful in my selections; most of it was stuff I was out of, and it's all calculated to extend my ability to make meals for a couple weeks with minimal additional spending.

The ice cream I got because I've been craving it. Normally I buy ice cream from those Vermont hippies, but I'm feeling strapped. I had an egg and cheese sandwich when I got home, because for some reason I craved eggs almost unbearably. It was especially yummy. Then I served myself up a huge bowl of heavenly hash; my normal serving size. Big mistake! The one sandwich was enough, so by the time I was 2/3 through the ice cream I felt disgusting.

My motto is "there's always room for ice cream," but damn, I thought I would burst.

Despite that, today I appear to have lost an additional pound, putting me down by 26 and counting. Once in a while when I go to the doctor they don't bother to weigh me, but I am going to insist, just so I can see the look on Emily's face.

Speaking of the doctor, I have been having a lot more trouble with dizziness and faintness when I stand up suddenly, which is a side effect of blood pressure medications but has been a minimal issue until a few days ago. My theory is the new drug relaxed me enough to make it come down more. I had been getting readings in the realm of 90/60, while at the doctor's office they get readings like 128/90. So I checked yesterday and it was in the 70's over the high 40's or about 50. Today it was 90/60. The other possibility is it's the fact the heat affects me tremendously, as a side effect of the new drug and one of the BP meds.

Meanwhile, now my father, who turned 70 in June, is having blood pressure problems. I told him he'll just have to stop trying to deal with my ex sister-in-law, who makes visiting the grandkids all but impossible.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 29, 03 | 8:51 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1504 views) |  link

Inane Post 1

I ended up not leaving the office until almost 3:00 to drive to Marblehead. There was an accident on 1A, in which some fool practiced vehicular utility pole segmentation and backed up traffic for miles. Then up toward Lynn, I lost 1A and couldn't find it again, even though I managed that last time I went there and lost 1A even more dramatically. Since I "remembered" how I did it last time, I drove a lot before giving up and calling. I was a mere two hours late.

The network problem ended up requiring the NIC to be set manually to half duplex rather than auto. However, when we found that out, we had added a NIC and diabled the one built into the motherboard. Since it seemed not to be a NIC problem, we switched back... and the setting fix wouldn't work. So perhaps it was the onboard network interface too. Running ipconfig /release or /renew would give DHCP binding errors, and the thing couldn't see the SMC Barricade router.

Going home, finding and keeping 1A was not a problem. However, since I used Ted Williams Tunnel going north, and it comes out south of the city, naturally I used it going south. I did last time too, but I screwed up, I thought, and took an exit for 93 north/South Boston, thinking it was for 93 south. There were signs that got me to 93 south, but that required basically driving in a large rectangular pattern on downtown roads. It wasn't that bad, being the middle of the night.

Since I was sure I was mistaken and there had to be an exit for 93 south, this time I kept going... and ended up on the Mass. Turnpike heading west. I just said the hell with it and drove all the way to 128 (95) and went south from there.

What's up with Ted Williams not having an exit to the south? Hello! It's the southern airport tunnel, so you don't have go through the city any more.


Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 29, 03 | 8:35 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1488 views) |  link

Unbearable Lightness of Posting

I can really tell I've been posting too lightly. Scrolling to the bottom, the right column extends waaaay beyond the main column. Normally they ought to match fairly closely. Perhaps some inane posts to bulk things up are in order?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 29, 03 | 8:30 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1346 views) |  link

Assassination and Hope

Billy over at Two--Four has a post that revisits Jim Bell's assassination politics in light of the new DARPA program on terrorism that's been in the news this past day. I always tend to notice mentions of Jim Bell, because he and his essay first came to my attention because he was a college friend of someone I know.

He also has a post in tribute to Bob Hope, and his take really struck a chord with me.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 29, 03 | 12:47 am | Profile

[0] comments (1361 views) |  link

Mon Jul 28, 2003

While Acidman's Away, Roscoe Will Play

Woohoo! Acidman's guest bloggers are having a grand time while da man is away. Funny stuff you gotta read. Let's just say... "Roscoe" sets the record straight.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 28, 03 | 11:57 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1217 views) |  link

Mmm... Candy

Across the Atlantic has a post about the crazy Germans banning chocolate cigarettes, on the idea they promote smoking.

That reminded me how much I liked candy cigarettes when I was a kid. I think banning them is silly, despite the fact I get deathly sick from tobacco products and tobacco smoke. I never had chocolate ones. Just bubble gum ones, and the sort of chalky candy ones that are basically molded sugar.

Of course, this brings back memories of other childhood candy, and being able to buy genuine penny candy, and even multiple for a penny candy, at the local variety stores.

So what kinds of candies were your favorites? Especially things you don't see much anymore.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 28, 03 | 11:44 am | Profile

[9] comments (2357 views) |  link


I am trying to nap, but not having much luck.

My sleep schedule had been turned upside down, so despite my efforts to get to sleep at, say, 3 AM and force myself up by 7 AM to get some sleep but basically reset myself, I got no sleep at all.

Driving to work at 8 AM felt like I was mildly under the influence, at the same time I felt wide awake and chipper. Very strange.

So now I am trying to nap because I must drive to the north shore to help with a network problem, leaving about 2 PM to get there about 3 PM. Note that I have gotten back up and wandered to the computer (checking for client e-mail, then seduced by blogging). Can I sleep? No. Am I coming frustratingly close, yet failing? Yup. Argh.

I'm getting too old to be awake 24 hours.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 28, 03 | 11:16 am | Profile

[2] comments (1962 views) |  link

RIP Bob Hope

Well, apparently Bob Hope has died. It's funny, when he had the big birthday recently, I was thinking this would follow soon after. Sadly, I was right.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 28, 03 | 9:37 am | Profile

[1] comments (1248 views) |  link

Sun Jul 27, 2003

Superlative Reading

I'm now through the 2nd part in that Peter Hamilton "trilogy." It's three books, each in two parts: The Reality Dysfunction, The Neutronium Alchemist, and The Naked God. I'm 100-odd pages into The Naked God at this point.

I don't have to have finished it yet to call it one of the best things I have ever read. Detailed, comprehensive, well meshed and thought out, it really pulls you in.

It also handles skillfully some of the more intriguing "what if" questions one might pose when trying to imagine a story of speculative fiction. What if we learned beyond any doubt that there is some form of life after death? What if it's not what we would generally expect? What if the dead found a way to come back?

Then there are the less speculative what ifs that extrapolate our world into the future. Computing, nanotech, genetic engineering, space travel, government, business, settlement of earth-like planets, education, law, all these little details that plunge you into a realistic world of fiction. It's most impressive.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 27, 03 | 8:49 pm | Profile

[3] comments (1496 views) |  link

Sat Jul 26, 2003

Dinner for One

Making food for one always sucks. I tend to make quantities that are good for 2-3 meals, sometimes more, and that's with my normal appetite. The night before last, I made something I would normally eat as one filling meal. I was full by the time I was halfway through it, but slowly finished it anyway.

Here I really need to eat, even though I am apathetic about it, despite it having been 48 hours, and I find myself thinking of making something that would be three large meals normally. (That and thinking I need to shop soon!) I may try making half, or I'll just try to make something small.

I have never had this much suppression of my appetite, even the time I was taking Sudafed regularly, found it acted as a suppressant, and lost 55 lbs over 9 months. I still have 25 lbs to go to get to the high weight I started at that time, and I'd be pleased if that's as far as I went. Losing another 50 from this point would put me at a very respectable weight for my height, build and age.

Anyway, having a minimal appetite makes food for one even more challenging. This isn't helped by the poor selection in the pantry until I buy groceries again.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 26, 03 | 11:01 pm | Profile

[8] comments (2101 views) |  link

Those Goofy Quizzes

I usually try not to post so many quiz items near each other, but this is a cool one I couldn't pass up, found via Oscar Jr, who found it via Betsy.

I am our future President...

You are...Condoleezza Rice!
You are...Condoleezza Rice, National Security
Advisor! Naturally brilliant, you are
successful and put your work first. Even
though you don't have as many tight personal
relationships as others, its a sacrifice you
are willing to make to pursue knowledge and to
faithfully serve in your duties. A keen
intellect and sense of purpose characterize

What Political Diva Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 26, 03 | 10:25 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1298 views) |  link


Julie is doing regular posts of pictures she's drawing during the course of the 24 hour blogathon. I kind of like the one of Teddy. Go check it out! If you're on dialup like me you'll just have to be a little patient while they all load.


Julie has even included a portrait of Frank J. in her quick draw collection. Don't you think it's the spitting image?

Another update:

If you have trouble identifying which is the picture of Frank J.from the link I mentioned, click here to go directly to the graphic in question.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 26, 03 | 9:37 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1395 views) |  link

More On Reynolds/Lucas Ticket

Looks like Jeff is keeping the Reynolds/Lucas movement intensively updated. So much for the weekend off...

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 26, 03 | 8:01 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1312 views) |  link

Blog Fandom

Dean Esmay is generating quite the fan club these days.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 26, 03 | 3:00 am | Profile

[1] comments (1211 views) |  link

Peace Through Mind Control

Obviously this kid who commented under the latest caption contest at Right We Are! kind of missed the point. While everyone else is posting their idea of funny captions, yes, including ones that poke fun at Michael Moore the master of fictition, he posts:

I am a 15 year old boy living in Australia. I came across your site while researching my assignment on the similarities between neo-conservatives and the Nazi party. I was shocked by this website and the hate and ignorance it promotes. You say that you are fighting for the American way and yet you attack Michael Moore excercising his freedom of speech. You support the racist and oppressive government of Isreal and dimiss information that contradicts your point of view as moronic. You say that people can not critiscise the government but being able to critiscise the government is why a democracy is great. I was also shocked by the trigger happy attitude that this website promotes. I have often heard it said that guns don't kill people, people kill people. I agree, but we can hardly get rid of the people. It would only seem sensible that to stop the killing we should get rid of the guns. As I am writing this I am realising the futility of my words. You will, no doubt dismiss me as a moron who does not understand the real world. But I hope that someone will read this and wake from their stupor of hate and ignorance and see that we must love thy neighbour, whether they be Arab, Asian, African or South American and respect and tolerate their ideals.

Definitely a product of his environment, and definitely a quick, one-time visitor who doesn't really know what the folks he's railing at are all about.

The part I find disturbing is that he has a school assignment to research "similarities between neo-conservatives and the Nazi party." An. Assignment. From. School.

In Australia.

The comment was deleted, but the above is really what it said.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 26, 03 | 1:24 am | Profile

[6] comments (1390 views) |  link

Fri Jul 25, 2003

Looking Ahead...

Support the Reynolds/Lucas ticket in 2012!


Why didn't I think of this!? There are cabinet selections taking place over at The Smallest Minority. Good ones, too.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 25, 03 | 7:14 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1415 views) |  link

Caption Contest

In case you haven't seen it yet, Right We Are! has a great caption contest this week. The picture features some of your favorite bloggers in their element. Go have a look.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 25, 03 | 6:40 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1206 views) |  link

Yet Another Goofy Quiz

I am a type 5, the investigator.

free enneagram test

The full text for type 5 says:
The perceptive, cerebral type. Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation. At their Best: visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way.


The graphic doesn't point at the free personality test! Silly them. The correct URL is:

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 25, 03 | 1:08 am | Profile

[2] comments (1344 views) |  link

Thu Jul 24, 2003

Weighty Dreams

Well, I am now down 24 pounds and terribly psyched about that. I'm within a few pounds of the old size pants fitting me. Time to add a little exercise to the mix, especially the stomach flattening variety.

The back is still acting up, but has mellowed. It usually only kicks up for a few days, so it's about due to go away. You'd think losing weight would make it happy.

I had the strangest dreams. At one point I was in the yard of the house where I grew up, near a shed, doing this or that, and my mother was talking about her blog and her busy work schedule.

My mother has no clue what a blog is, and has yet to use the computer I gave her over three years ago. She's also retired, and not as ambitious as she sounded in the dream. More bizarre, the work she was doing required her to drive to New York, and at the time I was thinking about the fact other people were doing this too, and how in the past going so far for work would have been a big deal.

Then there was the part where I was buying a camper, a nice one, to live in. This is only strange in that I'd never be able to afford something like that. Many times I've pondered the idea of living in a camper as an alternative to apartments. I'd have to change my packrat nature though. At one of the first jobs had, I worked with a girl who lived in a camper until she got married.

I walked into the camper at one point, and my nephew was cleaning it for me. At the time, it was parked in front of the home of my childhood dentist, now retired, who was also a friend of my father's.

All very strange. Perhaps something of a wish to move. Or just the fact I'd been thinking last night about driving across the country, visiting friends, relatives and bloggers. Without including bloggers, there's potentially New York (2), Ohio, Minnesota, Montana, Washington, California (4), Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida and Georgia, that I can think of or know about offhand. I'd love to do that. Maybe someday.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 24, 03 | 5:50 pm | Profile

[3] comments (3965 views) |  link

Wed Jul 23, 2003


The good news is I'm now down 20 pounds. Woohoo!

The bad news is my back is still killing me, especially if I sit at the computer. Argh.

On another note, Drumwaster is having the dead refrigerator blues. This reminds me of the time I rented an apartment that had a dead refrigerator that the landlord promised to replace.

That was when I bought the cooler I recently complained had been borrowed by relatives, such that it was unavailable when I needed it. Repeatedly. For three months I lived out of the cooler, buying ice every other day, buying milk only in small quantities, buying a lot of prepared food from the little store a block away, and of course nonperishables. It was a nuisance, and made things more costly for me.

Having seen that the landlord was an irresponsible slumlord who would weasel out of his promise, I found another place and left. The guy was so lax, he didn't even bother to collect rent until the middle of the month. Rather than giving us an address to mail it, he came in person and I left an envelope on the door for him. So that was how he got my notice. I left him one of my notorious put-down letters telling him I was out of there.

I found a place serendipitously that was bigger, nicer, not on the third floor (won't do that again if I can help it), and in a better location. The room I planned to put the computer in had no outlets, so the new landlord wired that room on a separate circuit for benefit of the computer (a 286 at the time). I became jobless and penniless, so had to move from there after 9 months, but what a great place. If you don't count that the landlord's son, who lived on the first floor, was crazy. Serendipity isn't always completely so.

Wow, my back has mellowed whil I've typed. Not completely, but almost bearable.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 23, 03 | 6:32 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1371 views) |  link


I have a recurring upper back pain problem that flares up for no particular reason. The past couple days or so it's been here in force. Not fun. I always have great sympathy for people with back problems. It's centered around the bottom of my right shoulder blade, slightly to the right of my spine, and radiates from there in a way you might expect of pinched nerves.

It was actually checked, X-rayed and everything, a few years back, but nothing is identifiably wrong. I did discover that taking too much acetominophen makes my ears feel stuffy and become painful, when I was prescribed 4 a day 800 mg pills. Just as well two seemed to be enough.

This generally goes away shortly. I just have to be careful how I sit, and not to do anything to encourage it. Sitting just right, or better, laying in a particular position, makes it go away and, eventually, stay away until next time. Time to get on my back again. At least I can still read in that position.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 23, 03 | 1:21 am | Profile

[3] comments (1432 views) |  link

Tue Jul 22, 2003

Climate With A Solar Flair

Weekend Pundit has a superb post on global climate change and the role of solar activity. Well worth a read.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 22, 03 | 9:15 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1240 views) |  link

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to Steven at PoliBlog! It's a bit late in the day, but feel free to head on over and add your greetings.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 22, 03 | 8:56 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1334 views) |  link

Greatest American Events

Kate, who had much to say on the maleness of the 20 Greatest Americans list, is now soliciting your lists of the "50 Most Defining Events In American History." The crux:

Specifically, I am curious what bloggers - and readers, if they care to leave their list in the comment section - believe are the 50 Most Defining Events In American History. Yes, I realize that 50 is a rather large number; however, the events in the first 5 years of American history itself could take up the entirety of a shorter list. Please keep in mind that I have not in any way indicated the need for a "politically correct" list encompassing genders, all races, the majority of religions, etc. I am curious whether we - of varied political perspectives, of differing religions and creeds, of different -isms and -ists and -ologies and -ites - actually share common ground in our assessment of what has shaped our culture, our society and our selves.

Results to be posted Saturday. Should be interesting!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 22, 03 | 8:32 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1436 views) |  link

Greatest American Women

Acidman wants your list of ten greatest American wimmen, in an effort to counter and analyze the excessive maleness of the Right Wing News list of 20 greatest Americans.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 22, 03 | 7:38 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1232 views) |  link

Mon Jul 21, 2003

Sex, Drugs and Constitution's Role

Quite possibly the best post I have ever seen from Jeff Soyer. A nice ranty rant, and a call for long term political action. A snippet:

That is, our great Constitution and Bill of Rights were designed and written to state certain conditions under which we should operate but the intention was that if the document didn't regulate it -- than we were entitled to it. It permitted what wasn't specified. This is hard for many folks to accept because most of your local town rules and zoning laws are restrictive -- the opposite -- in that they specify only what you CAN DO and nothing else is allowed.

Read it all.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 21, 03 | 8:55 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1236 views) |  link

More About About

How does something like this sound for an "About" page:

Jay Solo is my nom de plume. I am a single 42 year old guy who was born and raised in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, currently resides in Quincy, and is frequently chided for being too verbose.

A non-religious libertarian, I am personally rather conservative and tend to relate more to the political right than left as things currently stand.

I have a BS in Management Science, Finance & Accounting Concentration; what other schools would simply call an accounting degree. I was torn between that and marketing, in which I retain an interest.

For work I manage a small computer consulting/software company in which I have three partners. We specialize somewhat in law firms, and are working on a software product for that niche. I do some of everything, including administering networks, programming, testing, building and fixing computers, installing and supporting software... everything.

The blog has no particular focus. However, I am particularly interested in business and economics, intellectual property issues, science, space and technical matters, and movies.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 21, 03 | 6:28 pm | Profile

[9] comments (1406 views) |  link

Thinking About About

In keeping with this post about having an "About" page, I am pondering what exactly to include on such a critter. I expect I shall create one. May as well make it useful and interesting.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 21, 03 | 5:17 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1239 views) |  link

Soliciting Gone Bad

I have to wonder what's to be done about selling methods that are objectionable to most people.

I just got a call at the office asking me to apply for a business credit card over the phone, with a major company that makes entertaining TV commercials. I don't appreciate those kinds of calls. There are days that's all I seem to do at work is field solicitation calls. Yet there are salespeople I want to talk to sometimes, whose offers I take seriously and sometimes buy. Do we eliminate the noxious, repetitious offers and the "legitimate" ones? Who says what is legitimate? Why is a call from a credit card company or phone company so much worse than one from, say, a maker of niche business software?

Is it because I know it's from a call center sweatshop and the person on the phone has limited knowledge and authority? Perhaps.

Then there are faxes. The fax machine uses more paper for junk faxes than I use in the printer. It ran out and we were low on paper, so I didn't bother to add more. We never receive legitimate faxes. It's there in case we need to, in which case I'd probably be expecting such a fax. It's there for sending faxes, which we need to once in a while, and it's there for photocopying. I had been thinking about leaving it off except when needed, or leaving the line unplugged. The waste of paper and toner is ridiculous.

It holds 90 pages in memory, so I wasn't worried about leaving it empty, but apparently my partner came in, saw it empty, opened the last ream of paper, and added some. Boom! 28 Pages wasted for fax spam. Cingular, stock pump & dump, payphone business opportunity, health care, mortgage financing, most of it is stock market pump and dump though. That's hardly legitimate marketing!

In theory, sending a fax could be a way of presenting a marketing pitch, just as the phone can be. Yet it's tarnished by all the crap.

I think the same thing applies to e-mail. In theory, e-mail could be a good tool for unsolicited sales presentations. But the spammers got there first. As much as I hate spam, I think it's a shame e-mail and other media have been ruined for legitimate marketing, because what does that leave? Door to door and mail; the old-fashioned approaches.

Mail is relatively innocuous. Incoming mail costs nothing to the recipient; just the time and added bulk in the trash to look at it and/or toss it. Making junk mail stand out and be looked at is an art I admire when it's done well.

I've met some great salespeople who've stopped at the office. Some days it gets like the phone solicitations though; one after another. Which a couple years ago led me to put the following sign on the door temporarily:

Please, No Soliciting
We need no pictures, for our walls
Nor inspiration, for our halls
We need no copiers, scanners, faxes
Or ways of saving on our taxes
No opening for the job you seek
Charities, go begging this week
Our telecom needs are truly met
And all the others we forget
Solicitation is no crime
But such a burden on our time

People in the building enjoyed that.

It's tough, at any rate. I can understand completely the need for direct sales efforts, as opposed to more passive advertising. It's a shame that some methods have been so abused that they can't easily be used legitimately.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 21, 03 | 2:56 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1396 views) |  link

Sun Jul 20, 2003

A Blogger Is Infected

Either that, or a spammer that has a lot of blogger's e-mail addresses. Fellow bloggers, maybe if you spread this around, more bloggers will see it and check themselves?

The latest batch is bounces to my jaysolo at mindspring account, where that address was used as the "return path." The e-mails in question involve the following addresses, provided in an effort for you to identify that it might be you who are infected:

From: VAazrrB at Qegeioilr.ibxcm
To: blowme at aol

From: dickmcfaden at aol
To: daileemouth at netscape dot net

From: MikeSpenis at FecesFlingingMonkey dot com
To: dean at deanesmay dot com

From: lavenderrain2002 at yahoo
To: dickmcfaden at aol

From: soso at hamumu dot com
To: dietz at therant dot info

These were a mix of bad addresses and rejections by virus/attachment screening tools.

Please check yourselves and make sure you are not the one who's infected and unwittingly sending out these waves of e-mails.


Here are some additional sets to help figure out who it might be...

From: mary at rantorama dot com
To: none at none dot com (typical of what some people use in comments)
(This one is definitely Klez because I got the whole thing and AV picked it up.)

From: loghausllamas at msn
To: michele at asmallvictory dot net

From: shamusll at netscape dot net
To: maripat at rightweare dot com

From: mystick at adelphia dot com
To: hehehe at pucker-up dot com

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 20, 03 | 3:42 pm | Profile

[2] comments (1444 views) |  link

Late Night Mad Ramblings

After the movie we went over to Rick's to eat, which for me was a good thing. I'm down 18 pounds. Usually I don't have an appetite and am not affected by going all day without food. However, before the movie, when I was at the office after redeeming cans, I felt a little shaky in the sugar crash sort of way. So I had a handful of leftover chips to tide me over. After 10 PM was high time to have a meal, which was a small Hawiian pizza.

Speaking of the weight loss, I'm at an annoying borderline point where my pants are getting quite loose. However, the next size down, of which I have many, some never worn, are still just a wee bit too tight. I'm running out of wearable pants, so dropping several more pounds and fitting the old ones would be a wonderful thing for the finances. I'm certainly not buying anything new in the larger size, unless and until I know I must.

Anyway, Nic turns into a pillar of salt if she's in the presence of political/philosophical talk for more than a few sentences. Since she's on her way across the country, moving to California, we were completely unrestrained because she wasn't with us to enforce lighter fare.

Sherri did a lot of devil's advocacy, which I am glad to hear, since I was in disagreement a lot. Not that that wouldn't happen anyway. Before the more current stuff, we were on founding fathers. Sherri is on a "Jefferson was vile" kick, inspired by her current reading of John Adams and recent reading of another founding fathers book, by Joseph Ellis as I recall. I actually came away from John Adams with a newly negative view of Hamilton and Franklin, but it changed nothing for me about Jefferson. Perhaps I already knew he was imperfect.

Somehow we ended up on the topic of astrology, of all things, in the course of talking about when different people were born, including Adams and Jefferson. Renee grew up Catholic, became Wiccan, and has reverted back to her origins in recent years. She used to be into astrology, and was amazed about the Scorpio part one time when I told her I was Aries, moon in Scorpio, Gemini ascendent. The descriptions I've ever read have fit, but she wasn't so sure. We talked about the degree to which this might all be nonsense. Of course, the newspaper column horoscopes are simply creative writing. This led to other things; life, death, euthenasia, suicide, religion with respect to the aforementioned.

I never thought I'd hear Reagan being impugned for "consulting an astrologer" nigh on twenty years after the Nancy astrology thing. Then on pointing out it was Nancy, hearing that Nancy "ran Ronnie" so it was the same difference.

Ultimately, the one real thing I want to note in all this rambling, Sherri pointed out that "it all comes down to who owns your body and your life."

Exactly. Isn't that what it always boils down to in the end? All philosophizing and political ideals? How many people never once go back and think on the root of things? How many people say "there otta be a law" without reflecting on what that means deep down? The source surprised me, because she's one whose outlook does not match that self-ownership philosophical basis.

As she also pointed out, we don't have a good definition of when life begins and ends exactly. Not ones everyone agrees on. Which related to a discussion of abortion, and labels like "pro-life," yet people of that label have killed for their beliefs.

Back to who owns your person. I think most people would say that each individual owns their own life. It amazes me how much divergence there can be from there.

Owning your life implies defending your life to keep it.

Owning your life implies that you may choose to end it.

Owning your life implies ownership of the products of your life, as an extension of yourself.

I could go on at length, delving into the branching implications, but I'll spare you. I'm sure many of you already know all this.

My politics, my outlook on things, is bi-modal, you could say. On some level, I start from the above basis, and I can see how things could be on a blank slate. It's a fine dream. It's a fine sanity check to compare reality against.

On another level, I look at things as they are, and know it's necessary to start from that basis. There are millenia of history that got us here. There is no blank slate. So I try to look at what alternatives align most closely to my root ideals and encourage history to move in more, rather than less, of a "this is your life" direction of liberty.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 20, 03 | 4:18 am | Profile

[0] comments (1315 views) |  link

Comments: About Me?

Kate thinks an About page, summing up some details about the blogger whose blog you're reading, is an important thing to have. Her post was inspired by Rob Sama, who came to the same conclusion and created his own.

Kate says, in part:

I'm just looking for the same kind of information that I'd get in an "about the author" section of a book or at the end of a magazine article: just a quick glimpse that gives me, as a reader, some feeling of connection with the writer. I'm looking for a statement - a proclamation, maybe - of "this is who I am, , these are my politics, this is my mindset, this is the type of attitude or perspective you can expect to see throughout my entries on this page."

I'm curious what people think of this? I have the lengthy "111 Things About Me" page, but that's long and not what she's talking about. I drop details about myself along the way, and things naturally become apparent through my writing, but that requires extreme digging.

Is it important to have a brief "About" page or sidebar section that's easy to find? Are you just as happy to wait for tidbits along the way? Is my 111 Things an okay substitute? How about the traditional "100 Things" pages bloggers do, generally briefer than mine, apart from being 11 fewer items? Do you actually slog through those and find them interesting, enlightening, or acceptable as an alternative to a short bio snippet?

After you're done posting your comment below, come back to this point.

Kate is on a roll. North Korean nukes, Idi Amin, mmmm... seafood (make mine cooked, please), fat kids resistant to pregnancy, fragile Windows, and much, much more can be found among her current posts. Check it out!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 20, 03 | 3:00 am | Profile

[4] comments (1345 views) |  link

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Went to see Pirates of the Caribbean with Renee, Sherri and Bob, courtesy of Renee's free passes. Wow! What an awesome, fun movie! I'd happily have paid full price. But just as well, since I'm broke.

Johnny Depp was everything people have been saying. Orlando Bloom was good in the assigned role. I especially related to Depp's romance tips to Bloom, since Bloom's character was about on par with me.

Keira Knightly had a more prominent role than some of the reviews had led me to believe. She was good, and is very cute. Funny thing, both Renee and I noticed that her face and complexion reminded us of Brooke Shields. But Brooke isn't as attractive.

It's really a non-stop adventure with lots of preposterous twists and turns. It moves so fast and is so funny you don't notice the 2:23 length. The music is excellent too. I was aware of that during the film, and that continues during the credits. Some films have music over the end credits designed to drive you out of the theater as quickly as possible. And sit through the credits you must! All the way to the end. The bonus snippet is where you think the credits are over and someone must have been fibbing when they said to stay.

There is enough going on that it's a potential "see it again" movie.

Oh, there's one character Frank can especially relate to, and another character that Geoffrey will appreciate.

Highly recommended. The two people I was with who were minimally enthusiastic about seeing this one loved it.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 20, 03 | 1:56 am | Profile

[3] comments (1227 views) |  link

Sat Jul 19, 2003


This is not good.

I woke up a little before 1:00 PM, shocked that it was so late. Made sure everyone knows when we're meeting for the movie, had a cup of coffee, checked spam e-mail, did a little blog reading, and now I am almost uncontrollably falling asleep where I sit.

Since I have to get out of here and do something that has an upward limit of 4:00, leaving now barely enough time, I cannot, no way, no how, succumb to the overwhelming urge to sleep.

Argh! Off I go...

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 19, 03 | 1:42 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1241 views) |  link

Gaggle No More

Ith has done an impressive job changing the Gaggle to a new name and theme to reflect her mostly lone blogging. Everyone, go check out the new Absinthe & Cookies!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 19, 03 | 1:15 pm | Profile

[2] comments (1283 views) |  link

Movies, Food, Rocks and Writes

I was going to see a movie tonight with Bob and Sherri, but we just had dinner at Outback. Mmmm... cheese fries.

Sherri wanted to see The Italian Job, which everyone recommends, and is popular enough to be playing still at our regular theater. If it were there, the first choice would have been 28 Days Later, but that's gone. I wanted to see Pirates of the Caribbean, which for Sherri was an also ran. Bob was incommunicado while we made plans, so his opinion counted for less than usual.

It turned out we could have gotten to The Italian Job about 5 minutes after showtime, probably missing nothing but trailers, but neither Bob nor I were excited about paying full admission. I was especially low on cash.

As it turned out, Renee offered to spring for everyone using movies passes she'd won at work, if we wanted to join her Saturday for "Pirates." So we skipped that tonight too, but tomorrow night I ought to be able to post my opinion of it. Stay tuned...

In the meantime, Nic makes her way across the country: Worcester area, MA to Erie, PA, to Peru, IL, to somewhere, NE, to Evanston, WY and counting. She's been e-mailing a couple of us from her cell phone, and I look at the map and try to figure how far they'll get the next day. I think they actually did some sight seeing in Wyoming, rather than just rushing on through. She said there were "lots of pretty rocks" there.

I had a pen pal in Wyoming, circa 13-14 years ago. In Casper. She used to try to get everyone to move there; "come to the mountain." I kind of drifted away from writing to her and the others. It seemed silly to correspond with "other people interested in writing SF and fantasy," when I myself never seemed to get around to doing any actual writing beyond coming up with various ideas. I have to respect fiction writers. It's real work, and requires a real investment of creative energy.

That's enough rambling. Time for bed. After all, I'm supposed to be attempting to get myself into a normal, reasonable sleep pattern. And the next Peter Hamilton book awaits! That ought to subvert any efforts to sleep quickly.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 19, 03 | 1:37 am | Profile

[1] comments (1215 views) |  link

Those Goofy Quizzes

Homer lying on couch
"Kids, you've tried your best and failed
miserably. The lesson is, never try." You
used to have a goal, a dream. But somewhere
along the way, you failed at acheiving this.
Now, you don't even try anymore. You've most
likely given up on things you once loved. While
this attitude can prevent failure from
occuring, it doesn't help you acheive your
dreams either. Realize that all dreams aren't
impossible, and that life is what you make of

Which Advice Quote said by Homer Simpson are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Via Drumwaster, via Michele.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 19, 03 | 12:48 am | Profile

[0] comments (1249 views) |  link

Fri Jul 18, 2003

Shallow Recession, Long Recovery

Jane Galt discusses the nature of the recent recession and current recovery in light of recessions and recoveries historically, and why it doesn't feel like much of a recovery. Of course, especially so for tech workers. Interesting stuff, at any rate.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 18, 03 | 5:55 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1318 views) |  link

Spam, Glorious Spam

I have a new computer that I am supposed to be switching to, which now works fine since I replaced the defective RAM. It got kind of a shakedown by sitting here and running for the past 24 days, ignored.

As it turns out, I left Outlook Express running, grabbing mail from the work account, and from the Jay Solo elhide account. In that regard, this percentage will be a little low, because virtually everything that comes in for the sales, webmaster, and domain admin accounts is spam.

Anyhow, 61% of the e-mail received during that time was spam. 1794 Messages in just under a month (there was 5 days worth on the server, in addition to the 24 days) were spam. 1127 Were not.

Usually I don't have the opportunity to get such an exacting count.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 18, 03 | 5:31 pm | Profile

[3] comments (1780 views) |  link


I just checked, inspired by Dean's recent discussion of site stats, inspired by Oscar Jr's analyses, and found that I neglected to add SiteMeter to my direct link pages. So if someone links a specific post of mine, no hits are generated.

No wonder my hits went down when I moved off BlogSplat!

That will be fixed ASAP, that's for sure.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 18, 03 | 3:04 am | Profile

[7] comments (2844 views) |  link

Weight Retreat and Z Invasion

Well, I seem to be down to my lowest weight in several years. As usual, this happened without trying. I'm down 16 pounds in three weeks. Woohoo! I should try on some of the old clothes that almost don't quite fit. Save me some needed shopping.

Exercise? Hell no. All I seem to do is sleep. It's completely out of hand. Yesterday I slept 14 hours. About 10 hours later I was asleep again, for 8 hours, then after being awake an hour, I couldn't stay awake and slept another 3 hours.

Granted, during the 14 hour marathon session I woke a couple times with chills and then fever, but otherwise I've shown no indications of illness per se.

I keep having the craziest dreams, too. They seem completely real. But really, setting up to tape a game show in my grandmother's cellar? I don't think so.

I think if I'm going to take these meds, I will have to find an appropriate balance of caffiene to offset the excess ease with which it allows me to sleep. That seemed to work Sunday, almost too well.

I almost feel like there's an internal battle going on between the meds kicking in and my system trying to stay the same. It's sort of interesting, except for the part about being very much in the middle of it.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 18, 03 | 2:49 am | Profile

[2] comments (5133 views) |  link

Thu Jul 17, 2003

Those Goofy Quizzes

Threat rating: extremely low. You may think you can
subvert the government, but if you should try
you will be smited mightily because God likes
us best.

What threat to the Bush administration are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Via Drumwaster.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 17, 03 | 9:58 pm | Profile

[0] comments (2174 views) |  link


Steve has a great story of his trip, physically to Kentucky and temporally back through time, his family, and his childhood. It's very long, so you'll want to allocate some serious time to reading it, but it's worth it.

This brought back memories:

The teaberry was a tiny plant that grew close to the ground, and it sometimes had a tiny red berry between its leaves. If you pulled off a leaf and chewed it, it tasted exactly like Clark's teaberry gum. Im not sure if they make that any more.

We had these all over the place in the woods where I grew up. Except, we called them checkerberries for some reason. My father used them to make fudge when he was a kid.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 17, 03 | 6:40 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1321 views) |  link

TWA 800 - Early Terror Attack?

I have always been suspicious about TWA 800. This article discusses the possibility that it may have been an early terror attack. It's intriguing to think that by attempting to hide or ignore the true nature of TWA 800, we may have upped the ante for future terrorist activity. This was via Rob Sama.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 17, 03 | 1:31 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1197 views) |  link

Death to Recession!

It doesn't surprise me to see the recession declared officially over, despite the lack of correlation between that and unemployment. However, it does surprise me that the official end of the recession was November 2001. A year and a half, yet it still feels as if the economy is dragging?

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 17, 03 | 1:24 pm | Profile

[1] comments (1200 views) |  link

Wed Jul 16, 2003

Presidential Economics

Jane Galt writes about the fallacy that any given President has much impact on the economy.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 16, 03 | 8:24 pm | Profile

[0] comments (1175 views) |  link

Virus Again

Someone in the blogosphere still haz Klez or something similar. This time I only got indirect evidence.

An e-mail that went "from" trevalyan at hotmail "to" dbk31799 at aol used jaysolo at mindspring for the "errors to" or "reply to" address. Thus I was notified that the mail wouldn't be delivered by the AOL postmaster, because the virus was discovered on the way in.

Someone on whose computer all three of those addresses can be found is infected.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 16, 03 | 7:14 pm | Profile

[2] comments (1473 views) |  link

It's a Big Day in the Blogosphere

Happy birthday to Ith! Be sure to pop on over and say hi today.

But wait, there's more... Happy birthday to Dean as well!

You see, they have more in common than being cool people with great blogs.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 16, 03 | 1:43 am | Profile

[1] comments (1224 views) |  link

Free PR is Good

Scott Chaffin is rightfully excited at his campground having received a mention in a travel article. Way to go!

He also takes us step by step through his variant of beer can chicken. It sounds yummy!

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 16, 03 | 12:03 am | Profile

[0] comments (1214 views) |  link

Tue Jul 15, 2003

Camels in the City

Ith has a most excellent post on the Arab world and culture shock. A snippet:

As long as they keep buying, we'll keep making. It's as simple as that. You can't stop time in its tracks, no matter how hard you try. Take responsibility for preserving your culture and stop blaming us for your failure to do so.

Go read the whole thing.

Oh, and the post after that one is a hoot as well.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 15, 03 | 10:55 pm | Profile

[2] comments (1354 views) |  link


I was thinking about this topic earlier, while driving home. Thought it might spark some interest.

Twice I have been to cookouts where the friend holding the cookout didn't have any relish. How do you serve hot dogs and have no relish? Heck, how do you get along with no relish in the house as a standard item? Sometime I even have a jar of alternate relish, such as pepper relish, in addition to Cain's sweet pickle relish.

For me on hot dogs it's mustard and relish. Just mustard? Eh. Ketchup? Okay, but I prefer to save that for drowning my burgers.

I grew up on French's yellow mustard. I like that. I was somewhere near my teens before I ever heard of Gulden's brown mustard. Brown is okay, but to me it's not the same. However, I'd rather have brown mustard and relish on my dogs than either kind of mustard alone. Apparently brown mustard was on the market long before I knew about it, because a friend who's only 4 years my junior never had anything but brown in her house when she was a kid.

I'm not a mustard snob. I bought some Jack Daniels brown mustard with horseradish one time, in the name of trying something different. That was quite yummy.

For me it's mustard on ham & cheese, unless you're having lettuce and/or tomato, in which case it's mayo instead. But turkey or chicken it's always mayo, never mustard.

I went through a Miracle Whip phase in my youth, but I grew out of that and generally prefer traditional mayo. I buy Cains, a habit I picked up from my brother. Lately I find I don't like the taste the way I used to, so perhaps it's time to try other brands. Whatever the brand, I actually paid attention to the prices last time I bought some, and thought mayo was outrageously expensive. Especially since it frequently goes over the hill before I use it all.

My older brother is one of those people who loves mayo on a burger and hardly cares about ketchup. When my younger brother was staying with me, I found out he's the same. Mutants. Not sure where they came from.

When I first started eating steak & cheese subs, I was unaware of the tradition of mayo. My automatic reaction was "beef, cheese... just like a burger... burgers take ketchup, therefore steak & cheese takes ketchup." About 6 years ago I encountered mayo on steak & cheese for the first time when a guy I worked with ordered it that way. I thought he was nuts.

If I make a fully loaded burger, I will sometimes add a dab of mayo, and it's good; just don't ask me to give up my ketchup. You want redundancy? Sometimes I'll eat a burger with tomato slices and ketchup!

Ketchup has to be Heinz. I don't care who married into the family, Heinz tastes way better to me than Hunts or anything else I've had. I'll horde extra packets from Wendy's and Burger King, which have the good sense to use Heinz, and then use them on McDonald's food.

When I was growing up, my mother would try to buy whatever was cheapest. Sometimes that resulted in us refusing to eat the worst such items. I've learned it's not always worth trying to save a little money. Ketchup is one of those things for me. I buy the brand I like. End of story.

I am not sparing with the ketchup, either. Especially if that's all I'm putting on the burger. When I buy a fast food burger, depending on the size, I always add a packet or two worth of ketchup to bring it up to acceptable levels.

When I was a kid and they came out with hot dog relish and hamburger relish; relish mixed with mustard and ketchup respectively, I thought it was cool. I wouldn't bother to buy something like that for myself now. As it turned out, later, after I'd subbed pickles for relish, they brought out some hot dog relish.

Nic was horrified, because she uses ketchup and relish on her dogs, so it didn't help her at all. She kept marveling at it the way you would at any abomination against nature. Which is funny, considering she uses ketchup on hot dogs...

I expect this should generate comments about preferred condiments, and condiment/food combinations. Never hurts to get new ideas.

Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 15, 03 | 2:38 am | Profile

[10] comments (1567 views) |  link

Mon Jul 14, 2003

Dynamic Economics

TCS has an excellent article by Arnold Kling on that economic horror, outsourcing. This part is especially well put:

In fact, a good way to attain clarity in discussing the issue of outsourcing is to substitute the phrase "economic activity" for outsourcing:

  • There sure has been an increase in economic activity with India lately.

  • Aren't you afraid that you could lose your job to economic activity?

  • The Congressman has introduced a bill that he promises will stop economic activity.

  • Heh.

    Of course, in my head I know this article, and the attitude it espouses, is absolutely, undeniably true. It's economic dynamism at work. At the same time, I understand the pain, the feelings of betrayal, caused by displacement. Flexibility and adaptation can be much easier said than done.

    At one point Kling states:
    Unfortunately, business schools rarely teach their students to be entrepreneurial and opportunistic.

    You know what? I could as easily say "unfortunately, parents and schools rarely teach children to be entrepreneurial and opportunistic." Once in a while you'll read a Sunday supplement piece on how we can all expect to change careers X number of times in our lives, and that it's no longer a matter of remaining with the same job or company until you retire. Despite that, the "new" dynamic isn't something that's been taken to heart. It still takes most people by surprise when they encounter the reality.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 14, 03 | 11:18 pm | Profile

    [0] comments (1238 views) |  link

    It's No Hugo Pinero...

    I took the Death Test and learned I will die on July 23, 2033 at the age of 72 years old, most likely of heart disease.

    It doesn't ask about life expectancy in your family, which I would think would be a factor. In my case, 72 would be fairly young, even being male. Not that it would be surprising, but my grandfathers lived to 84 and a few month shy of 90, and were at greater apparent risk than I am.

    It's an entertaining test, if morbid. Found via Pascale Soleil.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 14, 03 | 10:43 pm | Profile

    [2] comments (1289 views) |  link

    Lightning Up

    Tony at Technically Speaking has an enlightening post on lightning, including a newly discovered variety.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 14, 03 | 10:08 pm | Profile

    [0] comments (1087 views) |  link

    Those Silly Quizzes

    The Libertarians!
    Libertarian, You support liberty and civil rights
    above everything!

    Want to know what political party you really are?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Got this over at Dizzy Girl's Place.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 14, 03 | 8:52 pm | Profile

    [0] comments (1170 views) |  link

    Reading Rachel

    First, Rachel is all excited about moving into a new house. Can't blame her there. Woohoo!

    Then she discusses why youngsters can't write. There is at least some truth to her theory, but on the other hand, my nephews learned to read well in an extra big hurry because they had to in order to use the computer (DOS prompts and typing commands, at the time). While there is a lot of instant messaging slang around, the advent of e-mail as a heavily used form of communication has actually encouraged writing skill to a degree. It's the letter writing of the modern era.

    Whatever the answer to the poverty of writing skill among kids, Rachel's post brought back memories. We were familiar faces at the library, and the librarian was one of our favorite people. At least, this was applicable to me and my sister. My older brother never got into reading the same way we did. I would take out as many as ten books at a time.

    Same thing with Time-Life books, on the ocean, weather, and so forth. Plus any time I could get my hands on an encyclopedia volume, I'd read that. A couple times I ended up with the first volume or two in one of those supermarket sets.

    I moved back to the town where I grew up, after having been away for about 4 years, and was irritated when I went to use my library card, number 424, and found they'd completely changed things. All old numbers had been revoked and new cards issued. I had to get a new one, which was somewhere in the 1900's instead of the low number. Sheesh.

    I agree with Rachel. I'd insist on reading. One idea that can work is having a bedtime, but the kids can stay awake later if they're reading.

    In our case we had the example of my father. He read science fiction books constantly. That helps too. If the kids never see you reading, why should they take an interest in it?

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 14, 03 | 5:17 pm | Profile

    [1] comments (1310 views) |  link

    High Tech Sharecropping?

    Kathy Kinsley points out an interesting article that likens software development in proprietary environments to sharecropping.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 14, 03 | 12:43 pm | Profile

    [0] comments (1213 views) |  link

    Irish Palestinians

    Rob Sama writes on the Boston Irish tradition of funding the Irish Palestinians. Although I always sympathized with the Irish having been treated poorly by the Brits, there comes a time to recognize that history happened, things are as they are, and terrorism won't change it. For all you know, slow change might have a shot where impetuous violence fails, and if not, nothing lost.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 14, 03 | 12:39 pm | Profile

    [0] comments (1174 views) |  link

    Klez Update

    Followup to my Klez post last night.

    Kate reports that she is infected, despite antivirus protection, due to her daughter opening something.

    The thing is, she implies that e-mails spewed out that claimed to be from her. I have never seen Klez e-mails that were directly identifiable to the sender, since they fake the "from" using someone from your addressbook. I'm suspicious that it merely appears she's infected. In the case of Norton, if autoprotect is running, I can't see a kid being able to get around Norton's efforts to prevent the infected file from being opened.

    Anyway, if it's Kate, that would explain it.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 14, 03 | 12:03 pm | Profile

    [1] comments (1586 views) |  link

    Help From Unexpected Quarters

    This is cool. Chuck at You Big Mouth, You posts about the Mongols coming to Iraq for "peacekeeping and restoration duties."

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 14, 03 | 3:34 am | Profile

    [0] comments (1193 views) |  link

    Supreme Speculation

    Yet Another Weird SF Fan strikes again!

    This time it's the possibility that the Supreme Court might ever completely ignore some element in the constitution, most notably a new Amendment that runs counter to prior interpretation.

    The Amendment specifically used as an example was the proposed one defining marriage in specific, heterosexual terms. This has no business being in the constitution, and I can't imagine it would pass. I say this despite having not formed a firm opinion on gay marriage. I have always thought marriage as the traditional, heterosexual institution was a bit... odd. That obviously colors my thoughts and makes for a substantial commentary I've yet to write.

    Anyway, the idea of the Supremes doing this alarms me. No doubt there's precedent that amounts to almost the same thing, in the form of warped interpretations. Would it be that much different? In terms of public reaction, or reaction from the other branches of government, no doubt. Depends who agrees with the court on their effective nullification of the ultimate source of law.

    I had seen effectively just the headlines recently that indicated the Nevada Supremes had ignored the state constitution, without bothering to follow the details. I thought it was a terrible thing on the face of it. Now I know more, as mentioned in the post under discussion, I still agree the court was wrong. I can understand the desire to break a deadlock and clear up a messy situation, but it goes directly against the expressed desires of the voters in that state. The legislature would have to find a way to make progress or face the wrath of the voters. The voters could also act to change the 2/3 requirement if they realized that had made and unexpected mess of things. It's not the place of the court to toss it out.

    This kind of behavior by SCOTUS makes for a fascinating hypothetical scenario.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 14, 03 | 3:29 am | Profile

    [1] comments (1209 views) |  link

    Another Refugee

    Note to self: Zogby Blog has moved and the link needs to be updated.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 14, 03 | 2:58 am | Profile

    [0] comments (1216 views) |  link


    Someone out there whose addressbook contains both my jaysolo at elhide dot com address, and the address of mike at coldfury dot com, meaning likely a fellow blogger, is infected with the Klez.H virus.

    In addition, for what it's worth, someone who has both my "real" e-mail address and jeffro188 at hotmail dot com in their addressbook is infected too. Or it could be the same person, since a few bloggers have my other address. However, it is just as likely it's two different infected victims in two different of my worlds.

    At any rate, if you have both me and Mike in your addressbooks - which in Outlook Express can happen automatically by default if you ever replied to an e-mail from one of us - check yourself; you may be infected. Lookup Klez at (Norton Antivirus) or any major antivirus vendor's site. Norton, and probably the others, have cleanup utilities.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 14, 03 | 2:28 am | Profile

    [0] comments (1828 views) |  link

    Odds and Ends Before I Stop for the Night

    The cookout was fun today. Not everyone attended, but I didn't expect them to. What's sad is it was planned for this weekend for benefit of two people who couldn't go to the earlier going away party. One of them didn't show, and emitted raw confusion on Tuesday when things were finalized, in the form of:
    "What, what cookout? When...which Sunday?"

    I explained, and pointed out this had been known on a tentative basis for weeks, but never heard back. Oh well.

    I ate too much, like that's a surprise at a cookout. We played bocce (not sure if that's the right spelling), which I'd never played before. Amazingly, I wasn't completely hopeless at it.

    After this, we won't see Nic until Christmas. Probably. Bob starts a job Tuesday, the day Nic leaves, so I announced that she was the fount of negative employment energy, and now people would have better luck getting jobs here. I'm so evil.

    I was reminded again that my good cooler was borrowed by relatives, and is not available for my use still. I have bought enough disposable styrofoam coolers the times I have discovered this at the last minute to have paid for a replacement for the wandering cooler. I think it's keeping my tent, which is also not on my porch where it belong, company at my sister's house. But it may be with my mother or brother...

    Let this be a reminder to myself to pursue getting both items back now.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 14, 03 | 12:37 am | Profile

    [0] comments (1220 views) |  link

    Sun Jul 13, 2003

    Maroons on Wheels

    Do people pay any attention at all beyond their dashboard and the bumper in front of them?

    Driving back from the cookout tonight, I was on a small street, with one car ahead of me waiting for a break in traffic so she could go. Then I would have my turn, and so forth. The main road was very busy with traffic both ways, plus there was some emergency happening, so periodically a fire truck or ambulance would go screaming by.

    Almost as soon as I and the car in front of me arrived at the intersection, another car pulled up behind me and almost immediately started beeping for me to hurry up and go. Now, granted they didn't have even the view I did of the road, but they still could see that enough cars were going by, steadily and close together enough to prevent anyone going anywhere. They could hear the sirens and see the emergency vehicles. So what the hell is up with the impatient beeping?

    All I could figure was because of my size, they couldn't tell a small car was ahead of me, and thought I was hanging a car length back from the intersection. Idiot.

    Then on 95 north, I was in the right lane well ahead of the 495 exit. Unfortunately, a car in front of me decided that going 50 on a major highway is reasonable. Seeing an opening, I jumped into the middle lane and quickly sped up to pass them. The second I got into the middle lane, the jerk who was coming up behind me in the middle lane flashed his lights several times rapidly in irritation. I continued the maneuver, rapidly passing the slowpoke and getting back to speed in the right lane. The asshole who thought it would be clever to flash his lights because I was in his way and might slow him down never came close to catching up with me.

    To anyone watching everything taking place on the road ahead, what I was doing and the reason for it should have been obvious. The maroon was never in any danger of my holding him up, nor was there excessively little space. So what the hell did he think I was doing?

    Karate Kid and its sequels may have been relatively silly movies, but when Mr. Miyagi told Daniel you drive with your brain, truer words were never spoken.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 13, 03 | 11:58 pm | Profile

    [2] comments (1311 views) |  link

    Looking Inside Outside

    Outside the Beltway has multiple good stuff today. Then again, he has good stuff consistently; thus the high placement in my blogroll and frequency of visits. This is one of the blogs that, when I first noticed it, I assumed was far older than mine, rather than a near-contemporary. Kate was another. I was shocked when I learned she started slightly after I did. On the other hand, when I first came across Frank, around the time of puppy blending and the picture poll (winner: monkeyface), I assumed he was a relative newbie. That was why I promoted him heavily, apart from how funny the Glenn thing was. I was surprised when I learned about his blogiversary. But I digress.

    Anyway, James points to a NY Times op-ed by Jimmy Carter (reg required), regarding Liberia. As we all know, Carter was an outlandishly awful president, who was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as an undeserved political move by the Nobel committee.

    Despite that, his commentary was an interesting read, and I have to agree that if at all possible, the American presence in Liberia ought to be modest compared to that of the West African neighbors.

    There's also an Afghanistan update. I believe we really must do things right, and worry that it is too much on the backburner. Perhaps a more imperialist approach would be better there, but that's not us.

    James points to Kevin's post on "the AOLof the AOL of blogging." A good read.

    Then there's "blogs vs. big journalism."

    Check it out!

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 13, 03 | 11:21 pm | Profile

    [2] comments (1397 views) |  link

    Big Bro' Will Cost Ya

    Andrea posts about this Telegraph article on a sickening big brother plan being pushed in Britain. Everyone over 16 may be required to have a biometric ID card, tied to a central database, and worse, be required to pay for the mandatory ID that helps the Stasi Gestapo KGB British authorities track everybody.

    It's not actually set in stone yet, and there's some resistance to the plan, which will take several years to impose. If the Brits are lucky smart, it will never happen.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 13, 03 | 10:52 pm | Profile

    [0] comments (1194 views) |  link

    Mr. Asteroid, Please Don't Hurt Me!

    Ith points out this Yahoo article on a group of concerned citizens writing to Congress, the Bush administration, and the UN asking that more serious measures be taken with regard to the potential threat of Near Earth Objects. Good!

    The risk at a given time may be tiny, but the consequences are too extreme not to anticipate. We know it has happened. We know it will happen. It could be in the lifetime of our 10th-great grandchildren. It could be next week. The sooner we start, the sooner we close the window of potential extinction that's been hanging over humanity for our entire existence to date. For all we know, it almost happened once; thus the amazing homogeneity of human DNA compared to other species.

    Let's stop inviting it to happen again, now that we have a chance to protect ourselves. This is a "duh" decision if I ever saw one.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 13, 03 | 10:42 pm | Profile

    [1] comments (1253 views) |  link

    Rambling Ramble

    Well, today will be last time I probably see my friend Nic until I someday visit California where she's moving, or she fits me in when visiting here. The latter should be as often as annually, but that's a huge change from weekly. In some ways it won't change; AIM, e-mail, perhaps the phone more often than in the past. I tend not to "do" the phone.

    I certainly hope things work out well there. I suspect it will be a better living arrangement than she's had recently here, with more chance of finding reasonable work, if partly because the change will be a motivator.

    I have a tradition of getting antsy periodically, at which point I have to do something dramatic as a change of scenery. This can mean taking a spontaneous trip, moving, quitting a job, or sometimes a more minor act like completely rearranging the furniture. Going to college was actually an instance of this sort of dramatic change to make myself feel happier.

    I've lived the same place for nearly 4 years; a record for having a place of my own, and one of my longer stays anywhere. I've never rearranged the furniture to speak of (I did that more when I was younger).

    I've worked the same place for 4 1/2 years, just shy of a record length of time anywhere.

    My last "go somewhere" vacation of any kind was 5 years ago. This doesn't count long weekends to visit my father in Vermont, some of which I spend working on his computers. That trip in 1998 was 11 days, camping in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. I stayed a night each way at hotels in Calais, Maine. I camped 4 nights at Green Provincial Park. That's where the family reunion was, and near where my grandfather was born. I spent a night at a hotel in New Glascow, NS and went to the Museum of Industry there, which is cool. Recommend it for kids. Then I drove around Cape Breton on the Cabot Trail and ended up sleeping in the car. Then I went to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, also cool, and camped a night at Salt Springs Provincial Park. Very inexpensive, but no facilities. I got clean in the river behind my site. Finally I camped two nights at Blomidon, another Provincial park, near where my other grandfather was born. I didn't know it at the time, but I bought my food in the store that my grandfather's cousin had owned, until he sold it and retired. Blomidon was magnificent. I loved the hiking trails. I didn't appreciate the shower water being unusably cold only. I have a gazillion pictures, including the sunset one I posted when I was on BlogSplat.

    Anyway, on that trip, I never actually de-stressed from work, and got in an "oh right, this is a vacation" state of relaxation until the night I slept in the car, more than halfway through.

    Sadly, I haven't used the tent or other equipment I bought for that trip again. Worse, the tent is in the hands of a borrowing relative. I have to remember to get it back, in case I actually want to use it sometime. I did use the air mattress again, to sleep on here. Then had to replace it because it lost structural integrity.

    So what I was saying is I can understand what might motivate someone to pick up and move across the country. It's the kind of thing I might do, were I younger and not tied to things. There are times that something in my life has to give, sort of a safety valve, and I guess I ought to worry because that hasn't happened for quite a while.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 13, 03 | 3:22 am | Profile

    [3] comments (1508 views) |  link

    Sat Jul 12, 2003

    Crimen Falsi Job Protection

    Omnibus Bill at Crimen Falsi has suspended blogging, with a lengthy final post explaining the sad reason why. It's an interesting read.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 12, 03 | 7:35 pm | Profile

    [1] comments (1212 views) |  link

    One Flu Over The Cukoo's Nest

    I saw this mentioned elsewhere recently and meant to blog about it. FuturePundit has a post about the gene sequencing of the 1918 Spanish flu and the implications for potential bioterrorism. It's certainly a concern, but technology won't and can't stop in its tracks because it can be used for evil as well as good. I agree with Randall's concluding paragraph on what ought to happen.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 12, 03 | 6:56 pm | Profile

    [2] comments (1362 views) |  link

    Ants and Sand - What a Drag

    The mental image provoked by the second paragraph of this classic Acidman post made me howl with laughter. It conjured up the kind of thing you'd see in a cartoon.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 12, 03 | 5:45 pm | Profile

    [1] comments (1277 views) |  link

    Recruiting Smart Readers...

    Inspired by Andrea's bandwidth problems, Ith is asking for advice in the form of "Dummies" types of resources on understanding usage reports, controlling bots, etc.

    I usually can figure these things out as needed (and if not I have tons of amazing people to ask), but I don't know it intimately enough to try to explain it to a beginner, nor do I know what resource to point to. Anyone?

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 12, 03 | 5:39 pm | Profile

    [1] comments (1197 views) |  link

    Not Game for Tag

    Aubrey Turner writes at great and informative length on RFID tags in merchandise, and their potential for misuse.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 12, 03 | 5:23 am | Profile

    [0] comments (1208 views) |  link

    Dude, Where's My Post

    This Jay Reding post on alternate book titles is amusing, with comments that add to it. Especially the jab at Robert Jordan.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 12, 03 | 4:45 am | Profile

    [0] comments (1319 views) |  link

    Real People in SF

    TurkeyBlog has an interesting general discussion on science fiction and the place of people and power within stories.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 12, 03 | 3:36 am | Profile

    [0] comments (1196 views) |  link


    I tend to agree with the Thought Mesh take on this kind of environmentalism. It's pure and simply anti-human, or anti-life. If it's "pro" anything, that thing would be power; control of people.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 12, 03 | 3:32 am | Profile

    [1] comments (1230 views) |  link


    I have to remember that The Yankee Herald is no more, and I should change the link to VRWC, Inc. instead.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 12, 03 | 2:53 am | Profile

    [0] comments (1233 views) |  link

    Animal, Vegetable or Mineral

    Humans are plants. Read about it at Yet Another Weird SF Fan.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 12, 03 | 2:48 am | Profile

    [1] comments (1200 views) |  link

    Jedi Wisdom

    Deb Yoder write in praise of Friday night blogging. She also has formulated a rule on apartments that I suspect is universally applicable. It certainly matches my experience.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 12, 03 | 2:39 am | Profile

    [1] comments (1271 views) |  link

    Pirates of the Caribbean

    My brother also highly recommends this movie, but was not as eloquently detailed in reviewing it.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 12, 03 | 2:35 am | Profile

    [1] comments (1196 views) |  link

    People Are Funny

    When I was picking up a few computer parts the other day, I was reminded of the stuff people will try to get away with.

    There was a guy at the counter attempting to return as DOA a hard drive that had been purchased in 2002, and did not match the serial number on the recent invoice he was attempting to associate it with.

    The nice young woman who usually fetches my stuff was trying to explain to him that she knew he was trying to put something over on her, without being particularly assertive or unpleasant about it. She offered to help get a warranty replacement, which would take a few days, and was still gently - way too gently - fending off his insistance when I left.

    I've seen that kind of thing enough times to know what he was pulling. People will try to get away with amazing things.

    Which reminds me when I was in college and worked for a convenience store chain. Shoplifting was a total shock to me. I was like a babe in the woods; no idea that it was so common. It wasn't something I'd even think of doing myself. What I learned working in the convenience stores was that probably half or more of the customers had some threshhold at which, depending on perceived ease with which they could get away with it, they would shoplift. All too many did even if it wasn't easy, and we were watchful for it. Many treated it like a game.

    Some people...

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 12, 03 | 2:27 am | Profile

    [2] comments (1306 views) |  link



    Peter F. Hamilton, The Reality Dysfunction, Part 1: Emergence and Part 2: Expansion are books I cannot recommend enough for those who enjoy science fiction at all. There are more in the series, but the title changes every couple of books

    These two were loaned insistently to me by one of my friends. Now I am addicted and must have the next one now.

    The universe the author has woven is fascinating, complex, detailed, and recognizably an extension of our own. Inescapably so.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 12, 03 | 1:40 am | Profile

    [5] comments (2005 views) |  link

    Thu Jul 10, 2003

    Random T3 Thoughts

    I went to a matinee of Terminator 3 today. Liked it. Liked it a lot! I eagerly await T4. There has to be a T4; they set it up for one.

    I missed Linda Hamilton, who was great in T2. She did lunatic wild woman especially well. The amusingly obnoxious shrink was back in a small but memorable role though.

    Nic and Sherri were especially entertained by Arnold's foraging for clothes the new Terminator's malleability when encountering the cop with the nice gun.

    I enjoyed the chase sequences enough that it didn't matter they took so much of the film. In fact, that was almost the point; there was little to do but run. Run, run, run and don't stop until you get to the T4 prologue, as it were.

    My friends were somewhat disappointed with the ending, yet we all thought it made sense. They could have taken the film a different direction entirely. This way T4 insists on being made and won't be like the others. The other way, T4 would tend to be repetitious. The ending fits the title/theme, too. How surprised can we be?

    Anyway, I would not have been unhappy had I paid full price admission. This also happens to be the first of the three I've seen on the big screen, which may have affected my perception of it.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 10, 03 | 12:06 am | Profile

    [2] comments (1394 views) |  link

    Wed Jul 09, 2003

    Test for MS

    This article is excellent news. In part:

    Traditionally, before doctors can make a definitive diagnosis, patients must develop nerve-related problems in two different areas of the body, and those appearances must be separated by at least six months.

    But in a new study using people who had already suffered one round of MS-like symptoms, the researchers found that 95 percent of the volunteers whose blood showed traces of antibodies to two telltale proteins had a relapse, usually within 8 months.

    My sister's MS was diagnosed, with much testing and gnashing of teeth, at the age of 45. She had exhibited clear symptoms for 1-2 years. Looking at the list of sympotoms, less obviously she showed signs in excess of ten years ahead of diagnosis. A simple test strikes me as a wonderful thing, when someone like her could have postponed the more severe symptoms even with what treatment exists.

    I love seeing news like this.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 09, 03 | 9:48 pm | Profile

    [2] comments (1284 views) |  link

    Odds and Ends

    Happy blogiversary to Frank!

    Not linked by Glenn? Right We Are! has implemented my suggestion for an organized "not linked by Glenn" group of cool bloggers.

    This is blogging for Iran day. I won't be doing that to speak of, because this may be my only post all day, but see for starters Dean, Courtney, who is using it as a learning experience, and On The Third Hand, among many others.

    That's it. I am very late! Probably won't post again until tonight after 9 PM.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 09, 03 | 10:53 am | Profile

    [2] comments (1326 views) |  link

    Tue Jul 08, 2003

    Dad on Dean

    As regular readers know, my father has lived in Vermont, near the Quebec border, for well over ten years. He recently had this to say about Dean:

    "Evidently there are a lot of stupid people being lulled in by his appearance and charm. They ought to check with people in vermont. Working people not the ones on welfare."

    And then this:



    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 08, 03 | 10:35 pm | Profile

    [1] comments (1193 views) |  link

    Sama Good Stuff For You

    Rob Sama of the SamaBlog has great stuff today.

    There's a discussion of turnover in the ranks of the "top 400" and what that says about progressive taxation.

    Then there's a discussion of what Sarbanes Oxley has done to the economy, an angle on current malaise that I'd not considered, which links to this article on the topic in Capitalism Magazine.

    On the lighter side, there's the Hulk's willy.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 08, 03 | 4:57 pm | Profile

    [1] comments (1309 views) |  link

    Carnival of the Liberties

    Winds of Change is not only hosting the latest Carnival of the Vanities tomorrow (entries due by midnight tonight), but also a July 9 Carnival of the Liberties featuring your posts on freedom in Iran. Go here for submission details.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 08, 03 | 3:51 pm | Profile

    [0] comments (1363 views) |  link

    How Do I Look?

    It has come to my attention that at least one Netscape user finds my blog "all loopy" since Sunday, after I tweaked things to be resolution-independent.

    Has anyone else noticed this? It seems to be fine in IE. I wonder if Netscape doesn't accept the use of % widths in DIV setting in the CSS file. Anyone know?

    If I have to, I'll leave it as is, since that does cover most people, but I'd rather have it readable and resolution-independent in recent versions of browsers besides IE.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 08, 03 | 3:16 pm | Profile

    [5] comments (1345 views) |  link

    Jeneration Celebration

    Happy birthday to Jen. She just happens to have some other posts today that are well worth a look, so head on over. By going there I was reminded that tomorrow is the 9th...

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 08, 03 | 2:03 pm | Profile

    [0] comments (1371 views) |  link


    I have been blogrolled by The Parson's Pantry. This is especially flattering considering the length and content of his blogroll. This post is an effort to remind myself to reciprocate.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 08, 03 | 1:48 pm | Profile

    [1] comments (1372 views) |  link

    Drop That Map!

    This post is dedicated to Mapchic.

    Imagine being in the shoes of this geography student? Sorry, can't publish that thesis; national security. Ouch. I'm surprised all this stuff isn't redundant or secure enough to make the concerns moot.

    Despite being unpublishable, I bet the guy has no trouble getting hired, perhaps by one of the companies he's scared.


    Bill Hobbs also posted about this article, with extensive commentary and links. Thanks to Glenn for pointing this out.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 08, 03 | 1:29 pm | Profile

    [0] comments (1279 views) |  link

    Mon Jul 07, 2003

    NT Begone

    Joe at Attaboy writes at length about the passing of Windows NT, and the strangeness of a suggestion that Microsoft ought to release the legacy NT code as open source.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 07, 03 | 11:26 pm | Profile

    [0] comments (1145 views) |  link


    M. Simon, in a guest post over at Winds of Change, thinks about profit. Good thinking.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 07, 03 | 11:18 pm | Profile

    [0] comments (1159 views) |  link

    A Special Kind of Move

    A Special Kind of Stupid has moved. Not a BlogSplat refugee, merely a programming note and excuse for linkage, and reminder to myself to change my link eventually.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 07, 03 | 12:16 pm | Profile

    [1] comments (1221 views) |  link

    Sun Jul 06, 2003

    Being Frank With Maripat

    Maripat has an enlightening interview with Frank J. of IMAO. There's no real dirt, but it tells us more about the real Frank. All you fans and stalkers will want to rush on over and read it.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 06, 03 | 11:21 pm | Profile

    [1] comments (1374 views) |  link

    Discretionary Music

    Movie industry blues, as a side mention in this MSNBC article reporting the weekend's top grossing movies:

    Despite the rush of high-profile new movies, Hollywood's box-office slump continued, with revenues down for the fourth straight weekend. The top 12 movies grossed $127 million, down 9 percent from the same period last year, which was the highest-grossing Fourth of July weekend ever.

    Movie revenues are running about 5 percent behind last year's, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

    "I really don't know why. That's the million-dollar question, or hundred-million-dollar question," Dergarabedian said.

    Hmmm... gee... could it because the economy is down and movies are a luxury expenditure people will pass on if they are, or perceive themselves to be, strapped?

    Naw, can't be that! Must be all those lowlife customers downloading pirated new movies online. Yeah, that's the ticket... sue their asses!

    Now let's imagine the above quote as issued by the music industry regarding, say, the latest quarter's music CD sales:

    Despite the rush of high-profile new releases by top artists, the recording industry's slump continued, with revenues down for the third straight quarter. The top 12 releases grossed $37 million, down 9 percent from the same period last year, which was the highest-grossing quarter ever.

    Music revenues are running about 5 percent behind last year's, said Howe Deryadounlod, president of music tracker Markup Relations.

    "I know why. That's no million-dollar question," Deryadounlod said. "Fans are rampantly downloading music instead of buying it, eliminating substantial CD sales. At an average retail of $16 per new CD release, music has never been a better buy. We can't understand why fans would turn into rabid thieves rather than engaging in honest commerce."

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 06, 03 | 10:16 pm | Profile

    [1] comments (1242 views) |  link

    New Linkage

    This is a reminder for me to add Matt Margolis to my links when I edit them next. He's another fine Massachusetts blogger you should check out.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 06, 03 | 4:13 pm | Profile

    [0] comments (1222 views) |  link


    It looks like they're back to normal, but a while ago I happened to catch the defacing of Viking Pundit, then quickly checked my old blog and found it too had been defaced. Too bad I ddin't get screenshots. I guess the challenge was serious, and apparently BlogSplat blogs were easy targets.

    Anyone else notice this on other sites?

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 06, 03 | 2:57 pm | Profile

    [1] comments (1336 views) |  link

    Living Dangerously

    I am going to be bad. I started writing more or less what I had in mind when I was failing to sleep earlier, but only a first draft of the very beginning. It will get harder from here, and I have to remember what I was thinking when I return to it. I also expect to be busy, so I am not sure when that will be. Regardless, I am posting the partial draft I just threw together. It may be edited in the final, finished version. In some ways this stands alone in making a quick couple of points.

    Anyway, here it is, more to follow when I get to it:

    "The value of a thing is what that thing will bring."

    I love that saying. It's at the heart of economics and capitalism. You've probably heard it before, but have you thought much about it?

    The old saw is saying right up front that value, economic value, is a matter of human judgement. You have an apple. I have an orange. I am willing to accept an apple for my orange. You are willing to accept my orange for your apple. The value, in this microcosm, is that an apple is valued at an orange, and vice-versa.

    Sometime in the past, money arose as a fungible unit of trade to make such transactions easier to undertake, easier to compare, easier to carry to a complex level, and more fluid. Money isn't value, only a representation of value. A sufficiently inflationary fiat currency can quickly demonstrate the lack of value inherent in cash. This is why I started with the apple/orange barter example, as a reminder.

    No matter how complex our economy becomes, this is all money is, and it's all commercial transactions are; value for value, using a recognized, representative unit of trade.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 06, 03 | 8:04 am | Profile

    [0] comments (1362 views) |  link

    Sleep Shouldn't Be Feast or Famine

    Where is the sleep when I need it. I mean, it's nice to be more energetic and normal again, but it's 7:20 in the morning and I am not asleep yet. I'm still not sure if the whole somniatic episode was side effects of Lexapro - in which case on some level I can expect it to remain - or if it was heat exhaustion/minor heat stroke blown all out of proportion, aided by my roasting hot digs. It was 90 in the coolest spot when I arrived home just before 5:00 AM. Despite being 73 out at that point.

    I ate, that being the main reason I didn't simply crash at the office where I'd gone to hang out after dinner. That gave the bedroom a chance to cool down. Then I read until I was very sleepy. Then I proceeded to be wide awake, mentally composing a blog post about economics, inspired by a college paper I wrote 15 years ago on the theory of value.

    Finally I gave up and here I am, until I seem sleepy again. Sheesh.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 06, 03 | 7:26 am | Profile

    [0] comments (1430 views) |  link

    Volokh on Nike

    Eugene Volokh has an item in OpinionJournal today that explains the Nike free speech issue, and the Supreme Court's behavior on it, with complete clarity. I hadn't followed the issue at all, and now I feel reasonably informed.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 06, 03 | 2:55 am | Profile

    [1] comments (1246 views) |  link


    Okay, now the columns should look acceptable regardless of your resolution. Woohoo!

    I'd like to reduce the distance between them, but I can save that petty tweaking for another time. It turns out that everywhere the CSS file defaults to a number with px after it, specifying pixels for named DIV widths, a % can be used instead, just as with a table. Then, in my case I have a table in each of the content and menu divs, and for those no width need be specified; they will then go to 100% of the DIV width, whatever that is.

    Before you know it I'll have a clue what I'm doing.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 06, 03 | 2:39 am | Profile

    [1] comments (1430 views) |  link


    Now it looks like total crap in 1024x768. Arrrrgh! More fixing coming up...

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 06, 03 | 2:17 am | Profile

    [0] comments (1225 views) |  link

    What A Pain

    I put myself in 800x600 resolution and pounded on the blog until it cooperated in looking more or less as it should. Previously the right menu bar ended up at the bottom, below the main content bar, unless you were in 1024x768 (or presumably higher).

    I will not coddle those who can't or won't get out of 640x480 resolution, as they have bigger problems than how my site looks. However, 800x600 is still a reasonable lowest denominator; a fact I overlooked when setting up the new blog a couple weeks ago.

    If it seems flaky, please let me know. I also darkened the border colors, as I was sure I had done before. Somehow I ended up with the original color, brighter than I'd preferred, for the light border color. This time I darkened both and made it stick. Probably thought I changed it before, but didn't save or something.

    I added a link to the eleventy-one things about me page.

    Probably there are some changes to the links I should have made while I was at it. Oh well. I shouldn't remind myself in posts, then ignore them after they scroll off the main page. One thing I preferred about BlogSplat was the way I could tell it leave a number of days of posts. Unless something escaped me, which is entirely possible, with pMachine I can tell it a fixed number of posts, or let it leave the entire current month of posts on the main page. A month would be nuts. I upped the number to 30, but that may still be too few. Silly as it may be, I was trying to keep the bottom of the posts table roughly aligned with the bottom of the menu/blogroll table. That fails if I make too many brief posts.

    Thanks to Phillip's excellent advice, I overcame my inability to grasp the only marginally non-obvious, and have changed my setting to show a number of days rather than a number of posts. For now it's at five days, which seems like plenty.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 06, 03 | 1:53 am | Profile

    [3] comments (1873 views) |  link

    Presidential Selector

    I had taken the Presidential Selector some time ago, when I was on BlogSplat. That was before some of the current candidates were included, and at the time they listed Harry Browne rather than generic Libertarian Candidate.

    Since I've been seeing this pop up all over the place lately, I figured I'd do it again and post my results. I unchecked the boxes to exclude undeclared or withdrawn candidates, maximizing the list for comparison. The top two are no surprise. Hillary is, again, surprisingly high up the list, and if I am not mistaken, with a higher percentage match than last time. Yikes! Anyway, here's what it said:

    Your Results:

    1. Libertarian Candidate (100%)
    2. Bush, George W. - US President (77%)
    3. Buchanan, Patrick J. Reform/Republican (70%)
    4. Bayh, Senator Evan, IN - Democrat (64%)
    5. Clinton, Senator Hillary Rodham, NY - Democrat (62%)
    6. Kerry, Senator John, MA - Democrat (60%)
    7. Lieberman Senator Joe CT - Democrat (59%)
    8. Gephardt, Cong. Dick, MO - Democrat (53%)
    9. Phillips, Howard - Constitution (53%)
    10. Sharpton, Reverend Al - Democrat (51%)
    11. Jackson, Cong. Jesse Jr., IL - Democrat (50%)
    12. Daschle, Senate Minority Leader Tom, SD - Democrat (50%)
    13. Biden, Senator Joe, DE - Democrat (47%)
    14. Feingold, Senator Russ, WI - Democrat (46%)
    15. Dean, Gov. Howard, VT - Democrat (46%)
    16. Edwards, Senator John, NC - Democrat (45%)
    17. Kucinich, Cong. Dennis, OH - Democrat (43%)
    18. Dodd, Senator Chris, CT - Democrat (42%)
    19. Leahy, Patrick Senator, Vermont - Democrat (41%)
    20. Feinstein, Senator Dianne, CA - Democrat (38%)
    21. Green Party Candidate (37%)
    22. Graham, Senator Bob, FL - Democrat (37%)
    23. McCain, Senator John, AZ- Republican (36%)
    24. Kaptur, Cong. Marcy, OH - Democrat (34%)
    25. Bradley, Former Senator Bill NJ - Democrat (24%)
    26. Moseley-Braun, Former Senator Carol IL - Democrat (22%)
    27. Hagelin, John - Natural Law (15%)
    28. Gore, Former Vice-President Al - Democrat (14%)
    29. Socialist Candidate (14%)
    30. Clark, Retired Army General Wesley K "Wes" Arkansas - Democrat (8%)
    31. Vilsack, Governor. Tom IA - Democrat (7%)
    32. Hart, Former Senator Gary, CO - Democrat (-6%)
    33. LaRouche, Lyndon H. Jr. - Democrat (-10%)

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 06, 03 | 12:46 am | Profile

    [2] comments (1973 views) |  link

    Dinner Discussion

    I was lazy and sleepy today, so I didn't follow up on the idea, discussed with Nic yesterday, of getting together with people to see a matinee of T3 today. To my surprise, others worked the same angle, but started too late in the day and Nic didn't feel like driving. So Bob, Sherri and I ended up going to Bickford's for dinner. The blueberry pancakes were fantastic. I still say Nic is weird for thinking blueberries are icky. But I digress.

    A large chunk of our conversation was about music pricing and the RIAA's antics. Sherri opined that 99 a song is excessive. She and Bob both thought 25 would be more appropriate. I spoke in favor of a pricing plan that would discount the volume users and charge more to the sometime downloaders of a single hit song here and there. The thing is, this minimizes the role of the middleman, the RIAA members. Whatever happens, the minimization of what artists get paid should change.

    Bob is audiophile enough to note that the quality isn't there in MP3, and he'd far rather have a CD. We all agreed with that, and with the sentiment that CD sales would increase dramatically if the price dropped below $10.

    Interesting snapshot of opinion on the music dinosaurs.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 06, 03 | 12:09 am | Profile

    [0] comments (1269 views) |  link

    Sat Jul 05, 2003


    What is the correct pronounciation of the name "Ione"?

    There's a character in the book I am reading, named Ione Saldana. Discussing the book with Sherri, who loaned it to me, I pronounced it one way, and she said she thought it was pronounced another way. Anyone?

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 05, 03 | 11:56 pm | Profile

    [3] comments (1286 views) |  link

    "American Survival Kit"

    This is a cool July 4th story, which you can see here at the always excellent Viking Pundit.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 05, 03 | 11:16 pm | Profile

    [0] comments (1222 views) |  link

    Favorite Founding Father?

    The Velocidude asks, in all seriousness, to be answered in his comments, who is your favorite founding father. It's not one of those silly quizzes that tells you, but rather a request to share your opinion. Morris and Franklin are getting good press over there so far. What do you think? Go on over! My answer, if anyone cares:

    After reading the John Adams bio, it's a cinch that's who my answer will be. He had his fingers in everything, and did more than most people ever realize to get us independent and then make it work afterward.

    Thanks to Acidman for pointing this out! Looks like some folks chose to answer the question in Acidman's comments too.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 05, 03 | 10:58 pm | Profile

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    People Query the Darndest Things

    Rough terran forklifts? I bet they meant "terrain."

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 05, 03 | 5:30 pm | Profile

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    Dungeon Tour

    I poked around a little in the dungeon areas of the Ecosystem, as I've been known to do from time to time.

    The Evolving Word is a little busy, but purports to be on, among other things, "news on words -- origins, differences, anomalies, etc." I figure there can never be too many cunning linguists.

    Psychopolitik starts with an intriguing name, then goes on to have some interesting posts, and finally indicates that on taking the 2004 presidential selector, he matched Libertarian 100% and Bush 70%. His most recent post links to this article on a project for watching the watchers.

    The Internet Party is taglined "Individual Freedom and Politics." It does not use a traditional blog format, but rather lists links to recent commentary entries on the main page; almost like having a "More" link to an entire post. Looks like interesting stuff, nonetheless.

    Jamie McDonald seems to have a lot to say about gay marriage.

    The Dreamlands has Blogger blues, despite being hosted on Earthlink. Interesting stuff, anyway, if somewhat hard to read in the color/font size combo.

    I guess that's enough for this Dungeon Tour.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 05, 03 | 5:13 pm | Profile

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    Speaking of memories from my youth that date me, I can remember when there were no McDonald's in the area. None. When I was young, we went to a place in Hanover named Surrey's, or we went to Howdy Doody's in Brockton, both of which were burger joints on the McDonald's model. We also went to A&W, which I remember for the root beer rather than the food. Those were all over the place.

    The first McDonald's I remember ever being aware of or going to in the area was on Montello Street in Brockton. The second one I remember was in Raynham. Then they started to sprout up all over the place, and the other ones went out of business.

    It used to be a big deal to ride around on a Sunday and go to one of the burger places, or sometimes something better. I remember riding in the back seat while my father drove us down to Bourne. He'd have a baseball game on the radio, droning away, making me sleepy. That fixed in my mind the impression of baseball as boring. We'd go to the herring run, and get food at one of the fast food seafood joints along that stretch of road along the canal.

    Sometimes it's the little things that'll leave your kids with happy memories.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 05, 03 | 3:16 pm | Profile

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    Human. Skin. Trade.

    Paul has the story here on trade in human skins. Despite what he says, I'm not sure we're all living in the same year...

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 05, 03 | 2:51 pm | Profile

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    I guess I have to increase my caffeine consumption. The new drug I'm taking apparently puts me right on the edge of sleep all the time. I got up just over an hour ago, after nine hours of sleep, and I am sitting here yawning and feeling like I should sleep some more. Yesterday was remarkable because I actually stayed awake more than twelve hours straight.

    This isn't going to work. On the other hand, no more insomnia. And when I wake up, I don't suffer from the traditional morning zombie feeling. It's more like an on/off switch: asleep or barely not asleep.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 05, 03 | 2:14 pm | Profile

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    A Buck Or Less

    Last week I drove by one of those dollar stores, where everything is priced at one dollar, and briefly pondered how they manage to make any money doing that. Funny that BusinessPundit should have a post about just that kind of business this week; in this case a 99 cent store.

    Driving by that dollar store also brought back memories of the old "five and dime" concept, making me wonder if stores by that name ever actually charged only 5 or 10 cent prices for everything. When I was a kid, we spent chunks of a couple summers in Buzzards Bay. One of the joys then was visiting a local five and dime store, which had all kinds of neat stuff. Including penny candy. One way I can date myself is by remembering penny candy that was a penny, or multiples for a penny.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 05, 03 | 1:55 pm | Profile

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    July 4 Cheers and Jeers

    I missed this superb Independence Day post by Danny O'Brien, but it's always worth a read, even if the day that inspired it has ended for this year.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 05, 03 | 12:42 am | Profile

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    Caption Contest

    Speaking of Right We Are!, they have a highly amusing picture up for the latest caption contest. I think it's a riot, but I am at a loss for a good caption. They need more entries! Go on over, have a look and enter a caption.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 05, 03 | 12:31 am | Profile

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    Unsolicited Boosterism

    I notice my friends over at this fine site need a mere 23 additional links to become playful primates. Let's stop monkeying around and show them some linky appreciation!


    Never mind! As of July 5th, TLB Ecosystem has been cleaned up and dead/duplicate blogs purged, tossing RWA waaaaaaay up into Primate territory, even slightly ahead of Acidman. Only 117 links to go for them to be Mortal Humans!

    So they don't really need any help. I, on the other hand...

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 05, 03 | 12:25 am | Profile

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    Fri Jul 04, 2003

    There Must Be a Better Way

    My friend Nic, who is moving to San Diego, moved out of her apartment culminating last Sunday, and is staying with her grandmother in central Massachusetts until she leaves on the 15th. That's when her father can get time off work to co-pilot her car across the country.

    So there she is, no computer, no broadband, bored terribly. One of her friends sent her an old Dell laptop, so she could get online via modem in the interim. It worked for about two hours before dying. It may be the hard drive failing. To try to get it working, she reinstalled Windows 98 using the Dell CD. Which provides no CD key. And there is no sticker on the laptop with the CD key on it. That is so annoying.

    Then she setup the desktop machine, on the coffee table, while her grandmother was out and could not object. Turns out the modem, which she'd never used, doesn't work. I hate troubleshooting modems.

    She was thinking if she got bored she'd come visit me at the office once or twice before leaving for real. Now it looks like there will be good reason for that. What a pain, but at least she didn't find out about the modem after getting to San Diego.

    I went through modem hell with my father's new computer last fall. Ended up buying two replacements, with two different chipsets on the idea one of them had to work, and making a second trip to Vermont to get the whole thing working. In the meantime, he kept using the old computer.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 04, 03 | 11:57 pm | Profile

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    It's kind of cool watching the Boston fireworks on TV and at the same time being able to hear some of the booms through my living room window. I tend to forget that it's that close.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 04, 03 | 11:25 pm | Profile

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    Trinity is Up!

    Bill Whittle has posted Trinity, his latest essay, today. I just discovered as much, and thought it would be worth posting the news even before I sit and read it myself.

    And it is as wonderful as usual. Feels like he could have been funneling my thoughts into words. The irony is, by the time I was part of the way through the first element of the trinity, I was entertaining thoughts of coming back here and posting about capitalism and space flight. Little did I know that's where Bill ultimately would lead.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 04, 03 | 3:22 pm | Profile

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    Spam... Ugh

    It seems that over the past few days, the volume of spam I have been receiving has increased to even more dramatic levels. And most of them say at the top that I have opted in, which is especially funny when it's an e-mail address that has never been used for anything but domain registration. Or an address that doesn't exist and that I only get mail from because anything @ that domain is set to forward to me.

    I have very nearly deleted e-mails from readers, in among all the spam. For all I know, I have deleted valid e-mails. If you e-mail me, be sure to use a distinctive subject to make it easy for me to catch it.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 04, 03 | 2:41 pm | Profile

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    Dean writes about real empire. Excellent stuff. Then again, this is Dean.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 04, 03 | 2:35 pm | Profile

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    Brave Men

    Mapchic posts today about what sort of men signed the Declaration of Independence.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 04, 03 | 2:25 pm | Profile

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    Gaggle No More?

    Ith is thinking of a rename for "A Gaggle of Gals (and one Guy)," since the name no longer fits. She has some nifty ideas you can opine about before she goes ahead and chooses one.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 04, 03 | 2:20 pm | Profile

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    I'm Alive

    My brother sent me an "are you alive?" e-mail, because I didn't write anything in my blog yesterday. Guess I'll rectify that today. Now I just have to think of what to write...

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 04, 03 | 2:06 pm | Profile

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    Wed Jul 02, 2003

    Out of Words

    I am feeling completely uninspired.

    Perhaps it's related to the fact that I have done almost nothing but sleep for two days. I seem to be unable to stay awake more than about 5 hours at a stretch. Plus I have no appetite. Me. No appetite. Hell of a way to lose weight.

    In the past week I've watched Terminator and Terminator 2 in preparation for T3 coming out this weekend. I hope T3 isn't awful, no matter how fun it is seeing things blow up.

    I'm reading the first book in The Reality Dysfunction by Peter Hamilton, which one of my friends thrust at me and insisted I borrow. It's compelling so far, 200 pages in, almost to where I feel like making a point to read, rather than reading myself to sleep each night.

    I had some kind of crazy dream that involved blogs in a surreal way. Like, as things physically present, rather than mere web sites. Sadly, I don't remember any details, except that this blog was one of the ones involved.

    I think I will make myself eat something, and I'll watch some TV or a video before I fall asleep again.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 02, 03 | 8:48 pm | Profile

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    Why Elhide? Why Elephants?

    Bored on the Bus reminded me that I had planned to post an explanation of where, and incidentally the elephant graphics, came from. All I've really said before is I used the domain because I already owned it.

    I have an uncle. He has a significant other, whom I also think of as an uncle and part of the family. The father of my uncle's partner owned a company named Elhide, which my uncle's partner worked for and ultimately took over.

    A few years ago I noticed they did not have a web site and the domain was available, so for the guys who need nothing, I got the domain and hosting, with the intention to create a web site. I created an e-mail account for each of them.

    We proceeded never to get together to work out what ought to be on a site. The company was struggling, and I thought this would be useful, bringing them into the modern era. I did get as far as obtaining a copy of their ancient print logo, which was similar to what you see on my blog, but fuzzy, with the words "ELHIDE" and "Trademark" on it. Might have had a year too; the company having been around since the twenties. Since there was no way it would work on the web, I had my graphics friend create a modern version. He did his usual excellent work. For the blog, I wiped out the ELHIDE.

    I assume back in the deep recesses of time that the elephant was chosen for the trademark as a play on "elephant hide," or perhaps that's where the company name was derived.

    A couple years ago the company went out of business. They probably could have muddled along longer, and were originally planning to relocate. It's not just they were struggling, but also the matter of my uncle's partner's brother wanting to cash out his share of the land the business was on. The land was worth some $3 million, in the middle of an urban area. My uncle's partner's father, who was part of the reason they still made such an effort to keep in business, had died, which precipitated the brother making waves.

    The story ties in with my apartment story at this point. To free up cash to ensure everyone got paid off, my uncle and his partner sold the apartment buildings they owned. That's where I live.

    Anyway, Elhide is long since out of business, and here I am with the domain that I still own, parked at ZoneEdit. I'd long since decided I'd someday use it as a personal site, before I was aware of blogging. So here we are.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 02, 03 | 1:47 am | Profile

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    Tue Jul 01, 2003

    Life Extension - Coming Soon

    FuturePundit has a detailed report on the finding of a sort of master gene in C. Elegans that turns on various other genes, resulting in a doubling of lifespan. Fascinating stuff, which at some time down the road will affect us, or even become a political issue.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 01, 03 | 9:01 pm | Profile

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    Rights? Oh Those Pesky Things

    Jeff Soyer examines the current condition of our Bill of Rights and other Constitutional Amendments. I think he did a great job at it.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 01, 03 | 8:14 pm | Profile

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    If Acidman were a Beatle, which Beatle would he be?

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 01, 03 | 7:24 pm | Profile

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    Home Rocketry

    Amateur suborbital flight... coming soon? This article discusses the possibility of homebuilt craft with optimism. Via Rand Simberg.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 01, 03 | 2:45 pm | Profile

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    I seem to have gotten a cold. It's summer, perfect weather, and my body is acting like it's winter or something. Sheesh.

    Posted by: Jay Solo on Jul 01, 03 | 10:18 am | Profile

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