Monday, December 22, 2003

Real Media alleges monopoly abuse

Yes, I know I sound like a broken record but this is an important issue that those concerned with protecting freedom and openness on the Internet need to be aware of.

From a statement by RealNetworks: "We're accusing Microsoft of engaging in a broad range of predatory practices to protect their operating system monopoly and to try to create a new monopoly in the digital media space," said David Stewart, deputy general counsel for RealNetworks, in an interview. Full story....

Combined with this information from the newly re-designed MSNBC website:

"To use MSNBC Video, your computer must have Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or later on a Windows operating system," the site now says. "The Netscape internet browser is not sufficiently compatible with Windows Media Player 9 to play MSNBC Video content and no plug-in software is available. MSNBC video is unable to support the Macintosh or other operation systems." ref: MacMinute

It is apparent that Micro$oft is trying to control how you will receive your news, how you will view video and listen to music. Once they have control of the software, it is easy to see how they can control the commerce (where and how you purchase music and video) and even the content.

The Federal Courts let Microshorts off the hook with an Anti-Trust settlement that has no teeth, and M$ is taking full advantage of that. Support Alternative OS's and Software... it is important to our future as more of our information, news and entertainment is derived from computer driven sources!

Friday, December 19, 2003

Farewell to a legend of the Internet

At the end of the year JenniCam will be shutting down. Those who haven't been long-time enthusiasts of the Internet probably cannot appreciate the impact of JenniCam on the history of the Internet. She is indeed a Legend. The first famous webcam was the 'FishCam', than there were others. The Webcam trend, as one might expect, became exploited for sexual purposes. But JenniCam was different. Jennifer Ringley created a visual live artform. This was LIFE ONLINE. Yeah... OK, once in a while you caught her nekkid... but 99 out of 100 times you would see her watching TV, chatting on the computer, eating take-out chinese, sitting around with friends... or mostly, nothing at all. Yet you were compelled to check in on Jenni, read her journal (the original Blog), find out what was going on in her life; her interests, lovers, jobs, apartments. I actually learned a lot from Jenni, much of which influenced this website. Some of the things I can thank Jenni for are:
-got a webcam going on my personal web site
-Blogger and this weblog
-a Photo Gallery
-an appreciation of Peter Gabriels music
-I have my own little life-online... though no one is really interested in an old man computer geek with no life.

Jenni-cam got an incredible amount of notoriety. There were articles in several major publications, webby awards, Internet conventions, interviews on radio and TV. It was an incredible ride. Jenni, you are a Legend.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

A defining moment for Iraq

Fantastic, momentous news; The capture of Saddam. Truly a defining moment for our mission. Now, perhaps we will see celebration and appreciation by the Iraqi people for the US actions. I am anxious to see how this will change our mission. Will the US now wind down our presence and turn over security and government back to the Iraqi people? This should be the beginning of the END GAME for our mission in Iraq. (if it is not, it will be an indication of our real intentions are in the region). Congratulations to our troops and to the people of Iraq!

Of great interest will be to follow the blogs coming from Iraq

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Benjamin Franklin: Blogger

If Benjamin Franklin was alive today, he most certainly would be a Blogger. Just finished reading the autobiography of Franklin by Walter Isaacson. He was an amazing figure, and had all the makings of a true blogger. He was an opinionated individual with a penchant for publishing. His politics were firmly against the elite establishment. As a printer he believed strongly in a free press. He often wrote under anonymous names, was fond of publishing satire and hoaxes. His roots were that of a populist and a common man who was most proud of being an Artisan and a Printer (I can relate). His philosophy, writing style and politics were often snubbed by many as being common and lacking intellectualism. His biographer at one point even described Franklin as being 'Geeky' in his obsessive attention to detail in many of his writings, which could range from designing a ship's hull, to descriptions of how to reduce the odor of farts (really!). Check out this editorial, Apology For Printers. The writing style of a true Blogger... for sure.

While on the topic, I have to give credit to BF's other contributions to civilization. This was one great man.
Scientist and inventor- He was a practical scientist, not a great mathematician or theorist. Yet his scientific work with electricity was renowned and resulted in practical inventions that tamed the destructive force of lightning (lightning rods). He also invented bifocal lenses, and the Franklin Stove.
Philanthropist and Public Servant- Franklin started or contributed to many great civic institutions. He founded the University of Pennsylvania, hospitals, fire departments, libraries and post-offices. He served two terms as 'President' of Pennsylvania after being nominated by both political factions and nearly unanimously elected into that office. Franklin edited Jefferson's wording on the Declaration of Independence to read 'We hold these truths to be self-evident...', rather than the original text that had religious overtones. As a member of the Constitutional Congress, Franklin's compromise of two houses (senate with equal representation and House of Reps with varied representation based on population) broke a stalemate between large and small states that threatened to break up the convention.
Diplomat - Ben Franklin was among this countries greatest diplomats, negotiating the peace with England and treaties with France and Spain. He tried desperately to avoid war with England, by fighting for American self rule and independence from the British parliament while remaining loyal to the King. It was only after being publicly vilified by the British government as a traitor that he favored the revolution. He forged an alliance with France, without which we may have not won the Revolutionary War. As a diplomat he had the star-power of Henry Kissinger, and the admiration of leaders throughout the world. One of his famous quotes is 'there is no good war and no bad peace'.

Sunday, November 30, 2003


Neat little trip to New England Bonsai Gardens in MA yesterday. Lots of greenhouses with Bonsai of many varieties. They had a Saikai demonstration (bonsai landscapes) and free sushi. Thought I would give it a shot. Bought 2 plants, pots, soil, etc. Here are my first Bonsai creations. Figured I'd put up a pic right away... cause these puppies are likely to be dead in a couple of weeks ;-)

Friday, November 28, 2003

TG, Day after

Great Thanksgiving Day. Yeah, Family, Food... etc. But the thrill for the day was running the 5 mi. Manchester Road Race along with 11,000 other runners, and thousands of spectators. It was a BLAST! The whole scene made it an incredible experience. Top runners from all over the world are there, but the crowds, the cheers, the bands really spurred you on. I felt I could have run another 5 miles, I was so pumped. I didn't even feel the aches and pains that I usually get with a long run like this. What a way to start Thanksgiving Day. WooHoo! Next year I better improve my time by 4-5 minutes.

As for TG dinner. It was great to have the family together. Sorry Barb and family wasn't there.. Then, there was another no show - (wtf?). Anyway, the food came out great, I've got to give the obligatory mention that we have SOOOOO much to be thankful for; Parents can still make the drive, and are relatively healthy, we have a good life, roof over head, food on table... most of all we have happy healthy kids. It was a joy to have the Laster and Gagne children (Teens) all together, and have some Q time with the three generations all together.

But man... we have so many leftovers. Damn, Turkey Dinners every night for the forseeable future.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Big Race

Entered the 5 mile Manchester Road Race. Its a big race. It is run on Thanksgiving day morning and should be lots of fun. Last couple of years, over 11,000 runners registered. It is one of the oldest races going... this is the is the 67th running. Some of the top runners in the world compete. I will not be one of those. My time during training pretty much sucks, but I just started running this year, and I am 50 years old.

Been training, and lately running has been giving me pain in hips, knees and heals. So why do I do it?? Don't know. I like to keep in shape, and I guess that Runner's High kicks in. Actually just the feeling of accomplishment from running a certain distance, or time, or just getting out there and doin' it feels great.

I think I have beaten the pain problem (at least temporarily). Got some great running shoes (Asics 2080 gels), gel heal inserts, arch supports, Glucosimine/Condroiten/MSM supplements, lots of Ibuprofen daily... maybe I should just enter the wheelchair competion!

Well, wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Bill *Copy Cat* Gates... does it again.

Is Micro$oft capable of ANY innovation of its own making? Microsloth has announced its intention to launch a music download service during 2004. Once again, Microsuck will steal Apple's revolutionary idea, and benefit from the negotiating that Steve Jobs has done with the Record Industry. Through Windoze Operating System, Microshit has the lone advantage of leveraging their monopoly to place their virtual music store on the desktops of 95% of computer users. This has the potential to squeeze out any competition whatsoever.

Will the major record labels show any loyalty to Steve Jobs for breaking the ice and creating an environment for legitimized legal music downloading? Can any other service compete with the marketing advantage, capital ($$), and industry muscle that Microshorts can apply to this venture? Will Microstink's entry into this market allow for a fair playing field for the competition? I THINK NOT?

This is exactly why the courts were WRONG to overturn the appropriate penalties issued by Judge Jackson (under pressure from the Bush Administration, IMHO). But that is what happens when Bill Gates and Company is the third largest contributor to Bush's presidential campaign. This is a classic case of Anti-Trust. MicroSlop, though convicted of Anti-Trust, was given a mere slap on the wrist, with virtually no penalty, and nothing to prevent their monopolistic actions to continue.

Computer users need to be educated as to the importance of this issue, and the need to support alternative operating systems and application software.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

November 11 is a most significant day for me and my family, as it is the birthday of our dearly departed sister Laura. It is also within a few days of the anniversary of her death. Diana and I traveled to Sharon MA yesterday to visit her grave site. This time, it was not the gut wrenching emotional upheaval of previous visits. It was a time of reflection and rememberence of when she was alive, and how we miss her. It was a beautiful sunny, brisk day a lot like last year when we gathered to honor her memorial exactly 1 year before.

Veterans Day
Nov 11 is also veterans day. On this day, my thoughts are with the servicemen that are risking their lives for the mission in Iraq. A sensless war to be sure. As I see it, nothing is being accomplished there. The purported justification for this war has turned out to be completely false (no WMD, no Al Qida links, no threat of nuclear weapons, etc), the region is now more ripe for terrorist activity than before the occupation, American casualties have surpassed those during the invasion, there is no sign of self-government or free elections for the Iraqi people, anti-American sentiment is as bad as it has ever been in the region. Yet we will commit 87 billion more dollars and untold loss of life to this war.

Some would say that such statements are unpatriotic, and that I am not supporting our soldiers. On the contrary, I think about the soldiers daily (perhaps because I have a close nephew stationed near Fajulla, Iraq). Getting the soldiers out of Iraq and back home is the surrest way to show concern for our soldiers health, safety and well being. I think that those phony flag waving so-called patriots are not nearly as concerned about soldiers as those with the courage to speak out about this travesty.

Friday, November 07, 2003

To be a college student

Dave just called from Madison Wisconson. He is attending the Free Press: National Conference on Media Reform. Now that is what being a University Student should be all about. Dave has the wonderful opportunity to attend this conference and learn the importance of Free Speech from an incredible array of speakers. He will hear Bill Moyers, Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader, Al Franken and many others. I have to give him credit for seizing the opportunity to take advantage of such a great learning experience.

I hope David learns how important our free press is and how in these times there are forces in power trying to control the news. That has been evidenced recently by the pressure to take the Ronald Regan documentary off the air, the embedded war coverage which let the administration control the news, and by Bush's banning of media coverage of the return of soldiers coffins.

There is a lot for Dave to learn at this conference, and I hope he comes back informed, and can then inform me as well as his peers.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Pat Metheny Concert

Had the extreme pleasure of attending a Pat Metheny Trio concert last night. Concert started out with a solo acoustic guitar set. Man, I have never heard such a full, orchestral sound coming from one solitary instrument. He played about 4 solo numbers and then was joined by Christian McBride on bass and Antonio Sanchez on drums. The trio played a real eclectic set with acoustic, electric, synth... lots of free improvisational stuff. Great evening of music. Pat played 2.5 hours or more without a break.

After the concert, did some on-line research about Pat's guitars. That led me to the Manzer Guitars page. This is where Metheny's guitars are made. Check out the Pikasso 42 string custom guitar that Pat played on one number. Woa!

Saturday, October 25, 2003

The Young, the Old and the Frugal - New Word Series Champs

Hey Yankees... You can't always just buy a World Series Championship. The Marlins win with less than 1/3 the payroll of the NY Yankees. What an incredible pitching performance by 23 year old Josh Beckett. The youngest to pitch a shutout in the October Classic since 1971, and the oldest manager in baseball (Jack McKeon, 71). Thrilling!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Is iTunes a good thing for musicians?

Woa, bet you never thought you could see a link to an Anti-iTunes web site from me... but here it is. All Apple is doing with iTunes Music Store is putting a new high-tech face on the old corrupt business model. A model that screws the musicians, while giving the the lion's share of the revenues to the big 5 record companies. As this site points out, there are several other feasable models. One that could reduce the price of music, while rewarding the artists in a more equitable manner. This site really gives you something to think about.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Baseball and Apple pie

There is a curse
All rational thinking would lead you to believe that there is no curse... no baseball god directing events on the field of dreams. But this post season has indeed confirmed... the curse is real. There can be no other explanation. The Cubs and the Red Sox have taken what appeared to be excellent chances to reverse the course of history, and unexplainably blew it. The Cubs with a 3-1 lead heading back to home turf for the final games, then losing 3 in a row. The Sox, with Baseballs best pitcher in the 7th game and a 4-0 lead, only to blow it when manager Grady Little makes the bonehead decision to leave Martinez in after 125 pitches and the game unravelling. A Florida v. Yankees World Series?? Not much interest as far as I am concerned. If there is a god, a miracle will befall us, and the Fish will prevail.

Apple and Music
Apple computer's announcements regarding iTunes and iPod. Uber coolness. Apple again changes the world as we know it. The music industry will change based on the model that Apple has created with iTunes Music Store (ITMS) and the iPod. Hell Froze Over (as Steve Jobs put it). In creating iTunes (and the Music Store) for Windoze, Apple has written the best software for Windoze ever. ITMS in the last quarter had 70 percent Market Share of all legal music downloads... and that was with Mac clients only (barely 5 percent of computer users). Now Apple has set the stage for changing the way music is sold, distributed and shared forever. To really appreciate what Apple is doing, you must view this event in streaming QT. These Steve Jobs presentations are always a ball to watch. Let's face it... Steve Jobs IS Apple Computer. When he goes, it all goes down the tubes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

On the Radio

The Dave gave me an hour spot on WHUS radio to do a Jazz show. Way cool. Fun, but a bit scary. Playlist was Yellow Jackets, Jeff Lorber, Jaco Pastorius Big Band, Mike Stern, Scofield, MM&W, Danillo Perez. Gotta do it again soon. Line me up for another spot, Dave! My DJ name... Pops!

Sunday, September 28, 2003

The New World of Music - iPod

For any music lover, the iPod is a life altering device. Yes, I laughed at Dave's friend Eric for making a similar statement, but now that I am a proud owner of one of these babies, I understand completely. Sorry, RIAA, the day of the CD is over... they better stop fighting digital distribution, and learn to adapt. To be able to have a huge music collection (I currently have near 1300 songs, and growing, in my iPod) at my fingertips at all times to easily plug into earphones, your bedside stereo, your entertainment center and car stereo is incredibly convenient. I find myself listening to music of all genres at all times. I have gained an even greater appreciation for diverse artists from the hip Billy Holiday to swingin' Art Blakely to haunting Joni Mitchell to the techno Crystal Method.

As for the iPod itself. It is one of those devices that is a piece of Art in and of itself. Just the correct weight and balance in the palm of your hand... the cool silvery metallic back, and the snow white smooth face and the incredibly sensitive touch controls... it is perfectly designed in its aesthetics as well as its function. Teamed with Apples iTunes, it is so simple and natural to load this baby up with your entire music collection. You can rate your collection, make playlists, legally buy music... just incredibly impressive what Apple has done with music.

Monday, September 22, 2003

The Big Five-O

Turned 50 yrs old this weekend. Bummer. Thought it wouldn't affect me... just another birthday. Reality is, it is a big one. Half Century. Yikes. Kinda felt down about the whole thing, but Claire did me right. She threw a real nice party for me. Dinner and cake with our good friends. Went to out dinner, opened gifts, cake, the works. Really eased the pain! Next day met folks in W Hartford, checked out the Cows and had a lovely dinner at Max's to top off the weekend.

Last 10 years, were for bringing up family... that's what it's all about. I can feel good about how that turned out. Kids are almost grown up, have good values, and will be responsible adults, I'm sure. Next 10 years will be for helping them transition to adulthood, and for C and I to prepare for retirement, and to create a good life for the balance of our years. I've had a fairly good career, and we have been able to acquire the things that are important to us, so I can't complain. I don't see myself as old. I am probably in the best shape of my life, and I feel healthy, but damn, I feel the stigma of being 50+ years. I know it can hurt me in my career. Not too many older folks being hired as IT Professionals. Just gotta hang in there for 10 years or so. Also, I just can't get out of my mind that sister L's 50th was her last. There is a lesson to be learned from that sobering thought... but enough of getting heavy on the matter.

Family got together and bought me an AWSOME iPod. Is that great or what! This little device is a marvel of engineering and design. My entire MP3 collection, thousands of tunes from every genre will be on this beauty to be with me wherever I go. A music lovers delight, to be sure. Thanks Di, M & D, C, B... you guys are the best!

Thursday, September 18, 2003


Letter from Jason in Iraq. Heart wrenching to say the least. He is in Al-Ramadi. Looked it up in the Net, and it is just west of Bagdhad near Fajulla where recent anti-american uprisings have taken place. Also reports of sniper action in that vacinity. Jay says that they set up a soccer field for the kids there. Had to clear the field of land mines first.

Damn! Less than 2 months after getting my new G4 Powerbook, Apple upgrades the models, adding lots of drool-worthy features (bluetooth, airport extreme, cool backlit keyboard, etc.). Tried to swing a deal to exchange, but dealer wanted too much. That's OK, happy with my TiBook as is.

Rach... crash... ouch... grrrrr

Dave called. He was invited to a dinner (as a student leader!) to honor Prime Minister of Ireland. He wants to buy a suit for the event. Imagine that. A 19 year old kid wants to buy a suit???

Thursday, September 11, 2003

What has become of this world?

On this tragic anniversary of September 11, its interesting to go back to my blogger entries of that day and the days that followed. It is horrifying to think of the atrocities of WTC attacks, and the events that have grown out of that tragedy over the last two years. I mourn not only for the thousands of deaths from that senseless act, but for the hundreds of US soldiers that have died because of Bush's recklessness in committing our country to War. I also mourn for the thousands of Iraqi civilians that perished from our bombs and weapons. I mourn for the deaths of innocent Israeli and Palestinians citizens that have been victims of increased hostilities since 9/11.

It makes you wonder... what good can become of pouring $87 billion more dollars, more soldiers, more weapons into this war? A war that was waged on a premise that was essentially lie. What has become of this world?

New Blogger stuff!

Lots'o new features for Blogger users for free! Starting to use them here. Like Title Fields (see the title at the top of the post?), and some other more teckie stuff thats not real apparent ( pings, file uploads, post dating...etc). Love free geeky stuff!

Too bad commenting isn't included, but I finally found a free service (one that works after trying several that either didn't work, or were unreliable). So I now have a slick new Comments feature linked to the bottom of each post.

Okay, here is something you can comment on, if you wish. Been thinkin' abt making a Family blog. A single blog that all Fam members can post to and express... whatever! I think it would be pretty cool, but not sure if it would really be used.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Just back from a nice family labor day BBQ in Rochester NY. Celebrated upcoming Mom-in-Laws, 80th (and my 50th). Conspicuously missing from the event was nephew Jay, off in Iraq. He's been away from family nearly 1 year, and overseas since Easter. Two young kids and one on the way. A cryin' shame. Forced to miss some of the best years of being with his young family. Though not much was said about it... he was in everyones thoughts. Missed you Jay. Come home soon, man!

Monday, August 25, 2003

A SECRET blueprint for US global domination reveals that President Bush and his cabinet were planning a premeditated attack on Iraq to secure 'regime change' even before he took power in January 2001.

The plan, which among other things, calls for the US to 'fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars', was penned by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), who's members include Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush and others. This article gives us details on the devilish plans.

If you doubt the existance of the PNAC, or its agenda, check out the PNAC web site.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Back to work... grrrrr. Now I appreciate the 2 weeks off. Recap... Mystic Aquarium, Rach's SB tourny, Rockport overnight, CT Sun BBall game, Mohegan Sun (won some $$). Home stuff accomplished; fixed Cable TV connectors, replaced broken house fan, had 4 trees cut down (good job PD), stacked wood. Not bad.

Came back to HELL at work. 'puter problems all over the place. Biggest prob, companies FTP server (also used for networked apps and my Postal Sorting DB app) was acting real funky. The more I tried to work with it, the worse it was getting. After several days of troubleshooting, I am convinced that we were victims of Denial of Service (DOS) attack. What'd I do to plug the security holes? Checked Winblows update site to find I needed Win2000 Service pack and 33 SECURITY PATCHES!!! Yikes! Spent 2 1/2 days tearing my hair out (what little is left) dealing with the problem. Meanwhile, company FTP is down, and work keeps piling up. Thankfully the patches worked, and everything seems to be copasetic. Now I can get back to catching up for the 2 weeks off.

Guess what? Not one Mac computer problem at work while I was gone! Hmmmm.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Woa! Got my Powerbook back from AppleCare Service in less than 48 hours. Incredible. Sent it in just Tuesday afternoon (overnight shipping prepaid), and Thursday, its back, all the way from Texas. Apple Rocks!

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Fun weekend, the annual summer NCGSL softball tourny. Rach played 5 games over 2 days. Vernon girls won the tournament (as well as regular season champs). I LOVE this game, and love watchin' Rachy play. Lots of great pics.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Halfway through my couple-a weeks off. Not doin' much.

One thing I've done with my "way-to-much-time" is create this Web page to celebrate my MS-Free computing on my new Powerbook. Check it out. Even if you don't care about the content, you have to see the movie clip, I've included (Dance Monkeyboy). Its a hoot, if you haven't seen it before.

I also bought this book, to learn Unix during my vacation. And another book for Hackin' the Mac.

Yes... I am geeking out to the max. Beginning to scare myself!

Now... the disaster of the week. The hinges on my brand new powerbook lid busted. Damn... brand new, thankfully it will be fixed under warranty, but it still means that I have to send it back to Apple for a week or so. Well, its not like we don't have any 'puters around here to keep me geekin out on while its being fixed.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Got my new Powerbook. Woohoo! My goal is to make it a Microsuck free computer. Trying OpenOffice, an Open Source Office suite to replace MS Office and Apple's Safari in place of IE for my web browser. So far... so good. Sweeeet!

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Obscuring the truth - Making the CIA and George Tennet the fall guys for Bush's Iraq folly is nothing more than this administration's (and the Republicans) efforts to obscure the truth and escape its own responsibilities. It is obvious that from the beginning, Bush pressured the CIA to come up with intelligence to support its intentions to invade Iraq. There were several reports before the invasion that Bush cherry-picked his information, slanted intelligence, and ignored other information in order to support going to war. Just recall Collin Powell's address to the United Nations. Powell showed dozens of satalite images of WMD research facilities, storage depots, missle sites, even possible nuclear accelerators. Each and every one of these has been uncovered as something other than what Powell claimed. This was not evidence of WMD... it was all a fabrication of the truth. The world didn't buy it then, and defeated the US resolutions authorizing military actions. However, with Bush's relentlessness in his desire to have his war, for his own political and economic agenda, the US public was Bushwacked into going along with his devilish scheme. Now the truth is coming out, and Bush and the Republicans will try to hang the CIA, rather than do the right thing; face up the their responsibilities and admit the truth.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Back to work after nice holiday weekend. A classic 4th of July holiday. Fireworks in downtown Rockville. Community Concert band performed in the streets of Rockville, Aaron Copeland suite, 1812 overture, followed by fireworks. Went to New Britain Rockcats minor-league baseball, followed by fireworks. Then, went to Hartford Riverefest... followed by fireworks. Finished off the long weekend on Sunday with a trip down to the shore for a New England Lobster dinner at Abbott's. Ah!!! Thats the way to spend the Fourth of July.

My running career might be over. Every time I've run recently, I've gotten bad pains in my hip. Each time I've given it a rest before running again, but each time its taken longer to recover. Now I've got another bruise on my heal thats bothering me. Can't stand not getting my running time in, so I've started with some bike riding. Not quite as intense a workout, but its something.

Friday, July 04, 2003

Earlier this week, attended forum sponsored by the Green Party in town. It was about the proposal in front of the Zoning board for Walmart and Home Depot coming to town. Several speakers talked about the impact of such a move on the community in terms of the community, economy and environment. It was a real eye opener. I especially learned much from a UCONN professor from NEMO. I had no idea of the impact of these Big Box Developments on the wetlands, and its affect on our water supply. Her presentation was scientific, well researched, and relevant with slides showing the impact of similar development in other Connecticut towns and cities using satalite imagery.

I think this is a great local issue to get involved in. This town is definetly at a crossroads, and the community needs to be heard. We don't want to see our town become victims of commercial sprawl. It is obvious that any tax benefits will be negated by increased expenses in town services and lowering of property values if the Zoning board gives in to these large corporate interests.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Another week gone by... seemed like an eternity. I think another The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is in order:

The Good - Nephew Martin G. graduates Rockville High. Always great to see these kids pass another important milestone. Eventful ceremonies, as the sky opened up to monsoon like rains midway through the handing out of the diplomas. Congrats to you, Mawty... great, great job!

The Bad - Dad's heart attack on Tuesday, followed by hospital stay and surgery. Mom ends up in a care unit, dazed, confused and upset.

The Ugly - Dad gets placed in a hospital that cannot perform the necessary procedures we all know he will need. They put him on the operating table anyway, only to make the decision to transfer him elsewhere. He gets transfered to Bridgeport Hosp, but we are told by the nurse that he was transfered to St Raphael in New Haven. Of course we are calling St Raphy's for hours, and Pops never arives. In our minds he is lost for hours, until a lot of detective work uncovers his true location. Dad's arteries get invaded once again which has since caused much pain and aggravation. What a mess!

Lots of traveling from work to Bridgeport to Southbury over the next couple of days with lots of stress, worry and lost sleep. Hopefully Sis and I gave some aid and comfort to M&D during this difficult time.

In the end, Mom and Pop are reunited. Their incredible Love for each other sustained them and gave them the strength needed to make it through.

Saturday eve... picked up C after work. Just walked on into a concert midway through. Watched the last set of incredible bassist Stanley Clarke. Played an amazing acoustic upright bass. What a sound, and what a soft touch. His big ole fingers just danced over those strings. Encore was a rockin rendition of his famous School Days on electric bass. Sunday after only 3 hours sleep, drive Rae and And to airport for their journey to Fla.

Man, I am completly beat. Its been a helluva week.

Monday, June 16, 2003

Full weekend. Saturday family get-together at our house. All families represented, M&D, Last, Gag, Press, Bergs...good to see the cousins together. Sure did miss Laura though.

Sunday ran my 3rd 5K race. I did really well... at least for me, improving my time by another couple of minutes. Hips are hurtin' today though. Rach ran with me. She just did it for me... I'm sure she didn't really want to run. She finished, did good, better than me in my first attempt.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Found these paragraphs buried deep within another unrelated story on CNN's web site today. Interesting how this never found its way into a network newscast or on the front page of the newspapers.

Civilian deaths
At least 3,240 civilians were killed in the U.S.-led war in Iraq, including 1,896 in Baghdad, according to a study of hospital records and death certificates conducted by The Associated Press.

The report was based on records from 60 of Iraq's 124 hospitals from March 20, when the war began, to April 20. The 64 hospitals that were not visited were in dangerous or inaccessible areas, the AP said.

The news agency said the actual number of civilian deaths was probably "significantly higher" because it did not include figures from hospitals that did not distinguish between civilian and military deaths and because some hospitals' records were incomplete or damaged in the fighting.

U.S. and British officials told the AP that coalition forces tried to minimize civilian casualties and that they did not count civilian deaths.

Friday, June 06, 2003

Happy days... Claire landed a teaching job. She has been working towards this for at least 5 years, and has finally achieved it. A real career, regular hours, good benny's. Profesionally, something that she can get some real satisfaction in.

Dave came through again with a couple of tix for Aretha Franklin tomorrow night. $100 a seat VIP tickets! Since C is working, and D can't make it, its just Rach and me... dinner and a concert. Should be a fun night out.

Monday, June 02, 2003

All Matrixed out - a couple of weeks ago, saw Matrix Reloaded. I was blown away by the action and special effects, but was totally lost over the story line. I figured I had to watch Matirx 1 again. Rented it... watched it twice. The original Matrix is an incredible work of Sci-Fi. Great, great story, tremendous depth of philisophical issues (e.g. what is reality, matters of choice, computer AI simulations, etc.). Then saw Matrix Reloaded a second time. This time, I could make some sense of the story, but they really took things to a rediculous level that goes beyond the realm of reason, even for science fiction. So, besides my original screening of Matrix Reloaded, I sat through Matix twice, then Reloaded for the second time. That is enough of Matrix for a lifetime (oh yeah, Matrix 3 is due out later this year).

Here is my take on what happened. **** Warning - Spoiler below**** Have to write this down, or I'll forget it. The Architect states it all near the end. In order to make the Matrix a true simulation based on the human experience, he had to give humans the ability to make choices. Since Humans inevitably make the wrong decisions which ultimately results in their own destruction, the program, over time will fail. In fact, it has failed 5 previous times, and this is the 6th version of the Matrix. The System chose Neo to be the One. He was given a choice to go through the door on the left to go back to Zion and pick 11 men and 11 women to rebuild Zion after the machines destroy it, or he can take the door to the right and save Trinity, but the Matrix will be destroyed... of course he makes the Human decision and saves Trinity for the sake of love, and now we must wait for Matrix 3 to see the conclusion. (BTW, in the middle of the film, Neo asks the Chancelor why there are no young people on the Council. The Council members are the 23 people chosen to rebuild Zion, thus they are all part of the System, and the Council must know the fate of Zion and the purpose of the One.) And, yes, there are more holes in this story line than in a block of swiss cheese.

Saturday, May 31, 2003

Been three weeks or so since last entry and a lot's been happenin'.
  • Ran my second 5K race. Improved time by 2 full minutes... time still sucks, but I'm into training to improve it. Next race is Fathers day.
  • Dave got us VIP seats to the opening game of Connecticut Sun WNBA game at Mohegan Sun. Lotsa fun, Chaka Khan sang at halftime. Dave is working for the team prepping music and doing video editing. way cool, Dave.
  • Followed that by great weekend at Rockport MA. Been going there for about 13 years. Sadly, Gunter and Renata are selling Rocky Shores Inn, so this may be the last time to stay there. Weather wasn't the best, but had a great time. Long walks by the shoreline, good eats, took a great morning run. Read a great book.
  • Read *Into Thin Air* by Jon Krakaur. Great read, real page turner. It's about climbing Mt. Everest and the incredible disaster of 1996 that claimed 8 lives. Just happens to be 50 anniversary of Hillary/Norgay expedition that was the first successful climb, so lots of current stuff about Everest in the news.
  • Work's been goin pretty good too... good year to date, negotiated new contract on equipment that will save company over $100K/yr. Forcasts, though, are for some rough times during the summer.

At the moment, things are pretty good. Biorythms must be all at their peaks. Course, that can all come crashing down at a moments notice!

Monday, May 12, 2003

Ran first road race. The Mother's Day Dash is a 5K (3.1 mi.) race. Great fun. I'll be doing more of these for sure. My time sucked, but it was my first race. Now I have something to train for. Can't wait for next one.

Work- Brutally stressful last week due to an invasion of a computer virus that took over our servers, gateway, and many workstations. Huge effort to irradicate the problem, including completely rebuilding the NT server that is our Internet Gateway. This time, have installed anti-virus and firewall. I lost many hours of sleep over this one. PC's are so vulnerable to this stuff. Another reason to Love Your Macs.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Ah... Fantasy Baseball (FBB). America's Favorite Pastime... for geeks. FBB is why the Internet was invented. Stats, Stats, Stats. Real-time stats available for endless player analysis. Manage your line-ups, negotiate trades, Constant banter and trash talk on-line. Anticipation of how your team performs. The Thrll of Victory (someday I'll experience), the Agony of Defeat (much more familiar).
Poor Rach... cracked her thumb during a softball game. Required going under the knife. Emotionally trying day for us all. Man, its tough to see your baby suffer.

Talkin' about my baby. She turned 16. That means DRIVING. Though the above injury will keep her off the road for a while, the girl did quite good for a newbie at the wheel. Getting the license is the first step towards a kids independence. Found that out with Dave. Once he got his car... he was lost to us. So it goes, such is life. You raise 'em, and they leave you for a life of their own. Car, college...

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Nice Easter weekend in Rochester NY with C's family. Went clubbin' late Fri. night. Saw hot fusion band. Roch is a happenin place. Saturday, big family party. Place was crawlin with little ones. Whole new generation has cropped up. Funny how we used to horse around with our nephews, then our nephews... with our kids, now our kids play with our nephews kids. It just keeps goin' round and round. Of course, I got some pics.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

UCONN Lady Huskies - National Champions... what a wild ride, again. Woohooo! And, there are no seniors, they will all be back next year!

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Last night, saw Bela Fleck and the Flecktones live... just incredible. Comp tickets from Dave. Enjoying the concert with him made it one great night. Thanks, Dave.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Tonite, I watched American Masters-Joni Mitchell. Joni evokes so many feelings and memories. Listening to each and every album with my sisters Laura and Diana, her anthem to Woodstock, in later years, her collaborations with my heroes of Jazz (Jaco, Wayne Shorter, Herbie, Mingus, Metheny). What an inspiring musician, poet and artist. This TV production gave me incite into her life and art. A great documentary on this incredible woman. Public TV... amazing how they can consistently turn out such high quality productions.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

I believe the saying is "The first casualty of war is the truth". This war is no exception. Weren't we led to believe that the Shock and Awe campaign would demoralize the Iraqi army and leaders into giving up this war quickly? Weren't we told that Iraqi military would be laying down their weapons and surrendering in droves? Weren't we told that Iraqi civilians would welcome our forces with open arms? It appears to me that our government seriously miscalculated almost everything about the Iraqi response. Shock and Awe has had little effect. Iraqi military is putting up signifcant resistance. I think the jury is still out on whether our presence is welcomed by the citizens of Iraq, but the initial appearance is that we are viewed as an occupying force. All of this makes me very skeptical of anything our government tells us. Propaganda is a powerful weapon, and it is used extensively by both sides.

I keep seeing images in this war that remind me of Vietnam. I realize that this war is nothing like Vietnam... and god forbid it should ever become that. However, these pentagon briefing, with military officials desperatly trying to set realistic expectations, and bragging about the effectiveness of bombing or ground conflicts, the reporting of casualties, are scary reminders of those awful days. This really hit home as I watched a plane delivering the remains of deceased soldiers back to Britain with full military regalia.

Please, God, make this war end soon. the longer this goes on, the greater risk that this will escalate beyond our control. There are so many opportunities for bad things to happen; terrorism, Syria, Kurds and Turks, Israeli engagement, launch of chemical weapons, just to name a few.

The reality is we are in this war up to our armpits. There is no turning back. I support our troops, I want us to prevail, I want Saddam to leave Iraq... I just want this over quickly.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Seems like one of those significant milestones... traded in the ole' Family Minivan for a hip new (well, used) Jeep Grand Cherokee. The days of Soccer Mom/Dad, are begining to fade away.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Saw George McGovern on Larry King last night. What a great man (and a WWII decorated figher pilot); a reminder of how the Democratic Party once was, and should be. He was very articulate against the war, and what he said rang so true. There are so many motives that have resulted in this war beyond those that we are being told; oil, money, revenge, our inability to capture Osama, politics, economics, etc. The reality is that Iraq has not been a threat to anyone in the last 10 years, the inspectors have not uncovered any chemo-bio weapons, and thus far, our troops have not either.

The best way to support our troops is to get them home and put an end to the death and destruction that is going on en mass. Shock and Awe has begun, the destruction is horrific, and one can only hope that this conflict will conclude quickly before this escalates into a situation that is totally unpredictable and out of control.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Listening to GW Bush's address and ultimatum for war was a bone-chilling experience last night. War is upon us, and that is a serious and sobering thought. I have definetly been staunchly anti-war... but I gotta admit, Bush made an effective argument for the actions to come. Also, following the speech I watched PBS Frontline. They did an in-depth report on Saddam Hussein, and the history of this conflict. This guy really IS a dangerous son-of-a-bitch. He holds Stalin as his hero and mentor, and models his leadership after him. I trust PBS news for delivering the facts, and this Frontline production has tempered my view to the point of accepting the events that are likely to come. Don't get me wrong... my greatest hope is that significant worldwide pressure will come to bear on Saddam in the next 40 hours, and that he will leave the country, and the war will be over before the first bomb is to fall.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Lovin' my Sony Clie, Personal Entertainment Organizer. Way cool. Palm OS PDA, combined with MP3 player, Memory Stick, HiRes full color screen. Also got Missing-Sync which integrates the Clie with Apple's iLife apps. Specifically it lets you load up tunes from iTunes, and photo's from iPhoto, as well as mounting the Memory Stick as a hard drive on the desktop. Sorry 'bout the geekspeak, but its a great combination of products well integrated for the maximum coolness factor.

Its March... that's one full year that I've maintained my 45 lb. weightloss.

Monday, February 17, 2003

The Pianist - These Holocaust movies just rip at my heart and soul. They are painful to watch, yet I am compelled to watch them. The darkest most demonic works of fiction could not equal the horrors of living through the Nazi occupation of Warsaw as a Jew. Roman Polanski does an incredible job of bringing this true story (based on the autobiography of Wladyslaw Szpilman) to life. You feel the terror, humiliation and despair of Szpilman, as he narrowly escapes the deathly fate of his family and fellow jews of Warsaw. An incredible set design recreates the scene of the Warsaw ghetto during the Nazi occupation.

This is a movie that should be seen be everyone, especially as we find ourselves on the eve of sensless war. It is a reminder of the brutality of War and its effect on the lives of innocent families that must endure such horror. War must be avoided at all costs.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Just ordered myself a Sony Clie. My Palm is on the blink, and I always liked these PDA's. Price just dropped, free shipping and 0% financing from Best Buy, so I bought on-line. Hope it comes soon!

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

.Mac - Apple's controversial service, once a free perk for all Mac users... now costs significant bucks. Like most users, I didn't like shelling out the scratch, but I have to say, .Mac has evolved into a very useful set of tools, well worth the price, IMHO. I use Homepage to publish my photo galleries with just a few clicks in iPhoto, and iCal calendaring, and iDisk gives me internet based file storage and sharing. Webmail is a great email app and a email address. iSync keeps all my contacts and calendaring in-sync between my various Macs and palm PDA as well as making it all available over the Web. There are even more services I have yet to tap into. All beautifully integrated into Mac OS X.... Winblows users just can't appreciate the coolness of all this!

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Life is harsh. The economy is in the dumper. There is no security for me and my family. Its freezing cold, the skies are gray, the snow is crusty and filthy. People are nasty, relationships are difficult, friends are hard to find. I can't remember the last time I had a really good time, or laughed out loud. Recently, I've been ripped-off, deceived and disrespected. We are about to engage in a senseless war. I think I need a vacation... bad.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Its nearly the end of January, and I have only posted twice this month. Just nuttin' much to say, I guess. Work is picking up... that's a good thing. Kid's are back to school. Dave made dean's list his first semester... way to go, kid.

Saw some good movies worth mentioning. 1- Focus (rental), good lesson in prejudice and bigotry. Special meaning for us Jewish folk. 2- Adaptation (playing at a theater near you), Excellent, wild and crazy ride for the brain. That was one of those movies I really didn't want to see... went along for the wife's sake... but, Woa! this was really different (in a good way). I like that... when you have no expectaions of seeing something special, and then you are really WOWed.

Tryin' to keep the weight thing under control. Started to gain some weight after the holidays so I've buckled down, took some WW points off the range, back to the gym, and I think I'm back on track.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

MacWorld Expo SF. Always cause for celebration for those of us Mac heads. Great announcements of incredible products. I am posting this blog from the new Safari web browser... lean, mean, gorgeous looking, and fast as hell. And those new Powerbooks, big and small, full featured with stuff you won't see on a Winblows laptop for years... like a fibre-optic backlit keyboard that illuminates by an autosensor that measures the ambient light.... whew! Gotta see it to believe it. Much, much more... Damn, I love Apple Computer!!

Sunday, January 05, 2003

Women's Basketball. Connecticut is crazy over its UCONN Women's Huskey BBall team. And it doesn't get any better than the Uconn/Tennesee rivalry. Yesterdays game was one of the greatest I have seen... in any sport at any time. Diana Taurasi's 3/4 court shot at the half time buzzer... come back from an 8 pt deficit with 3 minutes to go to tie it up... winning by one point in OT. These girls showed an incredible amount of heart to tough it out for the big win. woohooo!