Friday, April 21, 2006

Russian Cluster

A whole bunch of earthquakes, concentrated in one specific area of Russia on the Pacific Coast.

Right on the Ring Of Fire.

One of those squares, covered by smaller ones, represents a very strong 7.7 quake that hit last night.

Very interesting activity. Often, a residual quake of comparable size can happen on the other side of the plate.

That would be spooky, if it happens on our west coast.

One Box Of Ziti For Frank

Frank Robinson hit a milestone last night when the Nats beat Philly 10-4. A thousand victories. Amazing when you consider he got some of them with the Expos.
- 1000 wins -
Congrats Frank! 50 years after you were the Rookie Of The Year, you've managed a thousand victories as a Manager.

Much love to you from the South Bend contingent...

Thursday, April 20, 2006



It’s been rumored for awhile but now it’s a reality – Steely Dan and Michael McDonald are teaming up for a joint tour this summer. This is a reunion for both acts – back in the ‘70s, Michael McDonald provided backing vocals on several classic Steely Dan albums, including Aja. He’s featured prominently on the chorus of the hit Peg, for example.

The tour does not have a name yet, but here are the preliminary tour dates below:

Jul 08 Chicago IL / First Midwest Bank
Jul 10 Nashville TN / Starwood
Jul 12 Dallas TX / Smirnoff
Jul 14 Houston TX / Cynthia Woods
Jul 15 San Antonio TX / Verizon Wireless
Jul 18 Phoenix AZ / Cricket
Jul 19 Irvine CA / Verizon Wireless
Jul 21 San Jacinto CA /Soboba * Steely Dan Only
Jul 22 Las Vegas NV / Aladdin
Jul 24 San Diego CA / Bayside * Steely Dan Only
Jul 25 Mt. View CA / Shoreline
Jul 27 Portland OR / Clark County
Jul 28 Seattle-Tacoma / White River
Jul 31 Denver CO / Red Rocks
Aug 07 Atlanta GA / Chastain
Aug 09 Hollywood FL / Seminole Hard Rock
Aug 10 Tampa FL / Ford Amph
Aug 12 Charlotte NC / Verizon Wireless
Aug 13 Bristow, VA / Nissan
Aug 15 Virginia Beach VA / Verizon Wireless
Aug 17 Wantagh NY / Jones Beach
Aug 19 Camden NJ /Tweeter Waterfront
Aug 20 Scranton PA / Toyota Pavilion
Aug 23 Holmdel NJ / PNC Bank Arts
Aug 24 Hartford CT / NE Dodge
Aug 26 Atlantic City NJ / Taj Mahal
Aug 27 Boston MA / Tweeter
Aug 29 Cincinatti OH / Riverbend
Aug 30 Pittsburgh PA / Post Gazette
Sep 01 Cleveland OH / Blossom
Sep 02 Detroit MI / DTE

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Cashier Con

SO...the 500th Post to this disaster comes from my weekly Monday Morning Memo email from Roy H. Williams, marketing guru and all-around swell-fellah. The Wizard Of Ads.

It's being reprinted without his permission, so I strongly urge all three of you who read this to check out his website, for he is mighty.

The Cashier Con

I've noticed a disturbing trend. Maybe you have, too: Cashiers have become the new pitchmen.

The old pitchman came to your door and knocked. He sold encyclopedias or vacuum cleaners or miracle soap. Whatever. But you were trapped by your own politeness. You couldn't think of a way to get rid of him without being offensive. So you gave him your time. And often, your money.

The new pitchman traps you at the cash register, saying effectively, "You're not leaving here with that merchandise until you listen to my pitch and answer a few questions." I'm not talking about suggestive selling. This is much more annoying than that.

The first time I was cashier conned was at the Apple Computer Store in the mall. My laptop needed repair so I decided to buy a new one, upload my data into it, repair the old one and give it to Barry. I had to have the new laptop immediately so I went to the Apple Store. I love Apple. If I was ever going to get a tattoo, it would probably be of that multicolored Apple logo. Is that nuts? Okay then, guilty.

I stood at the cash register, credit card in my hand, as the cashier asked, "Would you like a copy of Microsoft Office for an extra fifty bucks?"

"Fifty bucks? Sure." So he stuck the software in the bag with my new computer, ran my credit card and had me sign the dealie. Then he slipped my receipt into the bag with a curious looking folder. On impulse, I pulled the folder out. It was a long and complicated application for a $150 rebate. The little rat bastard had charged me $200 for the software and silently slipped me a rebate application."

Am I supposed to fill this out?"

Eye roll. "Yes, sir.""

Did you say to me, and I quote, "Would you like a copy of Microsoft Office for an extra fifty bucks?"

Self-righteous now. "Yes, sir." The little RB was acting like I was out of line for being annoyed by this."

Sorry, but I don't fill out rebate forms. Here's your software. Give me back my money." I'll never visit another Apple Store. Future purchases will be strictly online where I can read all the fine print before I say yes. I'm glad I didn't get the tattoo.

A couple of weeks later my Dodge pickup needed a safety inspection. The outdated little sticker in its windshield screamed to the police that I was driving an illegal vehicle. I pulled in at Jiffy Lube.

"Do you do safety inspections?"

"Yes, sir. We sure do."

I had them change the oil, replace the air filter and install new windshield wipers. As they handed me my keys, I said, "You forgot the new safety sticker."

"Oh, we don't do official safety inspections, sir. We do Jiffy Lube inspections."

This time the con was so outrageous that I got tickled. "Oh, so you looked everything over and it seems oky-doky to you?"

"Yes, sir."

"Great. Now I can sleep at night." I beamed a big smile and left.

Small people complain. I just never go back. Is there a chance the little jiffy weasel honestly misunderstood my safety inspection inquiry? Zero. His response was trained. Every day, thousands of Texans have to get their vehicles safety inspected. Jiffy Lube doesn't want the hassle but they obviously want the traffic. They're hoping we'll chalk it up as honest miscommunication. And most of us probably will. Once. The jiffy weasel knew that if he told me the truth, that they don't do safety inspections, I would have taken my truck somewhere else. Jiffy Lube used to be another of my favorite companies. Now I feel violated by them, a little bit raped. Sorry for the language, but that's how I feel.

Somehow, I'm betting I'm not the only one.

The most recent cashier con happened at Best Buy. "Your purchase today qualifies you for 8 free issues of Sports Illustrated or Entertainment Weekly. Which do you prefer?" I firmly declined both.

Do you think maybe I was just being paranoid? The thought definitely flickered across my mind.

Fearful that I might be seeing con men where none existed, I went online and found that
the cashier con at Best Buy was perhaps the oiliest of them all.

I'm not sure if that makes me feel better or worse.In the short run, these cashier cons are likely to elevate profits. But can you think of a faster way to grind away brand image and erode brand loyalty? I traded with these companies because I believed in them. And now I don't anymore. I let them keep my money. But I did not let them keep my heart.

I share these stories with you only to alert you to the dangers of shallow, short-sighted marketing. Quicky-tricky profits often come at a terrible long-term price.

Roy H. Williams

Saturday, April 15, 2006

499th Post

I have almost two months of unread news in my GMail from the BBC. have I really been that damn busy?

I will check it over carefully, find one particular news item that I feel like pontificating or deficating upon...and make it my 500th Post. Possibly during Easter tomorrow, possibly a week from now. Who knows anymore...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Am I Evil?

Spiffy little thing sent to me on MySpace by Jules.

Turns out I'm mostly evil.

Gee. Didn't see THAT coming...

You Are 64% Evil
You are very evil. And you're too evil to care.

Those who love you probably also fear you. A lot.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Undefeated Tigers? Not anymore.

Chicago White Sox Postgame Alert

April 10, 2006
Chi. White Sox 5, Detroit 3 at Comerica Park
Chi. White Sox Record: (3-4)

Winning pitcher - Freddy Garcia (1-1)
Losing pitcher - Jeremy Bonderman (1-1)
SV - Bobby Jenks (2)

CWS 0 0 2 0 0 2 0 1 0 5 7 1
DET 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 3 7 0

CWS HR - J. Crede (1) P. Konerko (1) J. Thome (4)
DET HR - C. Monroe (2)

Next Chi. White Sox Game: Apr 12, 2006 01:05 PM ET vs. Detroit Tigers

A few random names...

...culled from my Spam Filter at GMail today:

Arrogance H. Wildfowl (inviting me to explore Hoodia 920+)

Debora Jolly (with some kind of pre-approved loan)

Hirsute K. Misspending (with medication offers)

Beboppa Lula (wants my penis to be bigger with amazing drugs from China) (she-he-he's my baby doll my baby doll my baby doll) (da-da da-da da-da da...)

Seen on my local news just now:


Do you agree with the Bill in Congress of the Immigration Reform Bill?

I'm just a bill...of a bill. Yes I'm only a bill...of a bill. And I'm sittin' here on Capitol Hill...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Or maybe just the afternoon...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

found the NM station

KZRR, Farmington/Aztec, NM

Sweet Sixteen

There's been a lot of talk about The Biz this morning in my producer's network. That, coupled with a conversation I just had with a duck about "finish your degree" script ideas, made me curious about something. So I just listed all the radio station call letters where I have pulled down an airshift (I hate that word) as a regular employee.

Not counting WAFB, because I was only 12 and it was only for a summer, I came up with:


This also doesn't count the work I've done on WSJM back in the day, including programming its automation for years, or on our WUBU here at Planet, or the rock station in New Mexico I voice tracked without ever once stepping in the door of the building. I don't even know its call letters.

16 sets of real call letters, 9 broadcasting companies. 17 and a half years.

Seriously. I only look old: I have only been in this business for 18 years come Halloween. That seems like an awful lot of radio stations for a 35 year-old.

I really, really like it here. Maybe this place is where the madness ends...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


The inclusion of Lacey Chabert is almost enough to forgive the inclusion of Jennifred Garner...

Monday, April 03, 2006

Opening Day for my boys

Sox did well late last night, including 3 3-run innings.

Chicago White Sox Postgame Alert
April 2, 2006

Cleveland 4, Chi. White Sox 10 at U.S. Cellular Field
Chi. White Sox Record: (1-0)

Winning pitcher - Brandon McCarthy (1-0)
Losing pitcher - Fernando Cabrera (0-1)

CLE 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 1 0 4 7 3
CWS 0 0 3 3 3 1 0 0 X 10 8 0

CLE HR - E. Perez (1)

CWS HR - J. Thome (1)

Next Chi. White Sox Game: Apr 04, 2006 01:05 PM CT vs. Cleveland Indians

Meanwhile, I just finished watching my Nats on ESPN. They struggled today and my man Livan gave up a homer. Damn. And he got frickin' fat over the winter. I'm a fat guy and I can say this. Watched a couple innings with my Program Director...a diehard Mets fan.

Washington Nationals Postgame Alert
April 3, 2006

Washington 2, N.Y. Mets 3 at Shea Stadium
Washington Record: (0-1)

Winning pitcher - Tom Glavine (1-0)
Losing pitcher - Livan Hernandez (0-1)
SV - Billy Wagner (1)

WSH 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 2 12 1
NYM 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 X 3 10 0

NYM HR - D. Wright (1)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Observations By Warren Ellis

* I'm watching a football match between Real Betis and Sevilla. In the stands, a Betis fan has torched a Sevilla shirt and is videoing the burning colours with a Nokia phone. The TV cameras are videoing him videoing it. Just thought I'd mention that, don't know why.

My children

My son's report card was all A's & B's. He took a 67% (D) in Science and made it a 94% (A) in one quarter. Huge turnaround across the board for him, got rid of every Needs Improvement comment he had in the first semester.

Then there's my daughter, also an A-B student (including a fantastic score in a very tough math group)

Her bowling average: about 75

This morning's bowling scores in her league: 132, 138, 106

Behold my progeny, my twin-geniuses, the apples of my eye. Set the laurels of exaltation at their stinky feet, and writhe before them, prostrate, shielding your eyes from their brilliance.

Then look at me, and wonder if I'm really their father...