Dec. 13, 2006

Van Hagar Out, Van Roth In?

For those unfamiliar with the band’s history, Van Halen’s history of lead singers roughly follows this sequence: David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar, David Lee Roth, Gary Cherone, and Sammy Hagar. Now, some fans mock the Hagar years, referring to the band of that time period as Van Hagar. I, on the other hand, didn’t mind Hagar that much. I mean, sure, I probably preferred Roth, but I don’t mind him in the least on those days when I’m listening to For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge or other Hagar-voiced albums.

There’re rumors now, however, that Roth could return to the band:

Rumors continue to swirl that original singer David Lee Roth, who was replaced by Hagar in the mid-1980s, will return to the fold, despite years of enmity. Roth, who has recently worked as a radio DJ and a paramedic, told Billboard.com in May that he saw it “absolutely as an inevitability.”

“I’m telling Dave, ‘Dude, get your ass up here and sing, bitch! Come on!’” Eddie told Guitar World. “As it stands right now, the ball is in Dave's court. Whether he wants to rise to the ocassion is entirely up to him, but we’re ready to go.” […]

I dig the band and just about any avenue which leads to more axe shredding is a-ok with me. Just along as it doesn’t involve Gary Cherone — that man can only be described as Van Halen’s George Lazenby.

Dec. 8, 2006

Tab Key Not Working in Firefox?

A few days ago, my tab key stopped working in Firefox. I use tab all the time to move through form fields, so that perplexed me a bit. I had a hunch, though, that one of my extensions might have been causing the mischief. Sure enough, after checking the Firefox forums at MozillaZine, I discovered that Paste and Go was the culprit.

After I disabled that guy, things went back to normal — I guess that one of the extension’s recent updates broke something. So, if your tab key has been acting up too, that could be worth a try. (For those who may be curious, Paste and Go adds an item to the URL bar’s context menu which allows you to paste from a URL from the clipboard and load it in one step.)

Dec. 4, 2006

$100 Rebate on Mac Office

I’ve discovered that Microsoft is offering a $100 rebate on Office for Mac until January 16th, 2007. This is for Office 2004, the current version, but it also makes me wonder if Microsoft might be planning to release a new version soon. (I know that Office 2007 for PCs is on its way, but I’m not sure if Microsoft has similar plans for Macs.)

To be sure, the $100 savings isn’t the same across the product line — for instance, Office upgrades get a $50 rebate while academic versions get a $15 rebate. In any case, NewEgg has Office 2004 for Mac for $249; with an after-rebate price of $149, that’s not too bad. Then again, NewEgg also has the OEM version of Office 2004 for Mac for $184, so that may be an option if you miss out on the rebate but you're still looking to buy Office.

Nov. 29, 2006

US Getting Accessible Money, Maybe

ABC News is reporting that a US District judge has ordered the Treasury Department to look into means to allow people who are blind to differentiate between various bills:

U.S. District Judge James Robertson ordered the Treasury Department to come up with ways for the blind to tell bills apart. He said he wouldn’t tell officials how to fix the problem, but he ordered them to begin working on it.

The American Council of the Blind has proposed several options, including printing bills of differing sizes, adding embossed dots or foil to the paper or using raised ink.

“Of the more than 180 countries that issue paper currency, only the United States prints bills that are identical in size and color in all their denominations,” Robertson wrote. “More than 100 of the other issuers vary their bills in size according to denomination, and every other issuer includes at least some features that help the visually impaired.” […]

The “maybe” part is that the government has 10 days to decide whether to appeal. And, considering the magnitude of the case, I’m not ruling out that possibility. Still, I think this would be a good change and I hope it goes forward.

Nov. 28, 2006

Turn Cheese Into AA Frequent Flier Miles

Kottke is reporting on a promotion by Swiss Knight cheese where they're offering 500 American Airlines frequent flier miles with the purchase of each cheese wheel.

Now the big thing is cheese. This weekend I was handed an opened wheel of processed cheeses by a friend. He said that his brother-in-law had caught wind of a frequent flyer promotion whereby you get 500 miles for each purchase of this cheese wheel and had purchased 75,000 miles for ~$300, which also means he’s got more opened cheese wheels than he knows what to do with. […]

I may just have to stop by the supermarket on the way home from work this evening ;). (And, it certainly doesn’t hurt that DFW Airport is one of American Airlines’ hubs.) [Via: BoingBoing]

Update 2006-11-29: I checked the Albertson's just off Arapaho & Hillcrest on my way home from work last night, but I couldn’t find any Swiss Knight products :-/. I wouldn’t necessarily say that Albertson’s as a chain doesn’t carry them, but I didn’t see any at that store.

Nov. 16, 2006

Let’s Vote for Gail — She’s For Light Rail

Last night’s Colbert Report featured an analysis of Gail Parker, an independent who ran for Senate in Virginia. As Colbert pointed out, she garnered over 26,000 votes, far more than the ~ 9,000 separating votes Jim Webb (D) and George Allen (R). Naturaly, the go-to point-to-be-made was that if more people voted for Webb or Allen instead of Parker, the race might not have been so close.

Anyhow, Parker’s primary campaign platform was that she wanted to extend light rail service thoughout Virginia. As she put it, Virginians “need more trains: reliable, clean, efficient, quiet, safe Rail service.”. That’s all well and good, but the best part of her, erm, platform is her barbershop quartet-esque campaign jingle:

Let’s vote for Gail —
she’s for light rail.
Vote Gail Parker US Senate!
She’s independent,
the US Senate
needs Gail “for Rail” this time!

Let’s vote for Gail —
she’s for light rail.
Vote Gail Parker US Senate!
She’s independent…

[Post-jingle epilogue:]

“I’m Gail Parker, candidate for
the United States Senate and I paid
for, and approved, this ad.”

It’s so damn catchy that, if I were living in Virginia, I’d almost have to vote for her just for the jingle. Oh, and not that it counts for anything, but she’s also apparently acronym compliant: FEW / ROA / NARFE / ISC2 / AARP / NAACP — did she think anyone would know what half of those mean? (And before you start mashing your thumbs into the comment box, yes, I’m aware of both the AARP and the NAACP ;).)

Nov. 9, 2006

The New Democratic Agenda

With the Democrats’ newly regained control of the House and (likely) the Senate, some have been speculating as to their new agenda. And, it looks like rightwasright.us has the scoop on the Democrats’ new goals. Here’re a couple excerpts:

  • Tofurkey to be named official Thanksgiving dish
  • Freeways to be removed, replaced with light rail systems
  • Comatose people to be ground up and fed to poor
  • Ban Christmas: replace with Celebrate our Monkey Ancestors Day
  • […]

Indeed, it is a parody, but I’m guessing that both sides of the aisle could get a chuckle out of this one. (Via: BoingBoing)

Oct. 24, 2006

Apple Upgrades MacBook Pros to Intel’s Core 2 Duo

Without much fanfare — I was figuring this would be announced at a conference or such — Apple has upgraded its MacBook Pro line to Core 2 Duo chips.

The MacBook Pros’ Intel Core 2 Duo processor offers 4MB of shared L2 cache, which is up to 39 percent faster than the previous 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro and more than seven times faster than the 1.67 GHz PowerBook G4 running industry standard benchmarks, Apple said. Additionally, it has enhanced Mac OS X to take advantage of the technology advances from Intel's Core 2 Duo processors, resulting in increased performance in professional applications like Aperture 1.5, Final Cut Pro 5 and Logic Pro 7.

An ideal fit for business and creative professionals, MacBook Pro delivers advanced performance including 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory expandable up to 3GB, ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics with up to 256MB of dedicated GDDR3 graphics memory, and a double-layer SuperDrive for burning professional-quality DVDs. […]

In the same way that the 486 was the successor to the 386, so is the Core 2 the successor to the Core [1]. Apple purports that the Core 2 is up to “39 percent faster”, but that’s probably wishful thinking. Sure, the Core 2 is faster, but benchmarks indicate that the difference is closer to 15-20% percent, depending on which set of applications are tested.

Still, “faster” is a good thing ;). Speed aside, though, this new generation gets some hardware updates as well. They now come standard with a FireWire 800 port (in addition to a FireWire 400 port) and a 120 GB hard drive. On top of that, they can also accept up to 3 GB of RAM. Sooo tempting!

Oct. 23, 2006

US Bans Vegemite (Is Marmite Safe?)

File this one under I-didn’t-ever-think-that-would-happen, but the US has banned imports of Vegemite, a savory spread which is made from yeast:

An Australian has revealed that US border security police questioned him recently on suspicion of carrying Vegemite into the country.

The yeasty spread is banned because it contains folate, which in the US can be added only to bread and other grain products such as cereal.

Daniel Fogarty told the Geelong Advertiser that he was amazed when he and his partner Sarah Egan, who live in Canada, were asked if they had any Vegemite at a border crossing between the two countries. […]

As it turns out, I haven’t actually tried Vegemite — but I do rather enjoy Marmite. As I understand it, they’re similar in taste in some ways; however, proponents of each product typically declare that the other is a mere impostor and therefore vastly inferior ;).

That aside, I’m not sure if or whether Marmite is affected by this ban. It’s not that easy to find on store shelves to begin with — it’s typically relegated to a grocery store’s import or specialty sub-aisle, if anything — so it could be tough merely figuring out if a given store is no longer stocking Marmite or if it never stocked any in the first place :-/.

Oct. 3, 2006

“The Matador” Is Not Showing At The Angelika

Movie listings for The Angelika — October 1st 2006

Connie and I figured we’d catch a movie on Sunday — easy enough, right? Well, I clicked through to movies.yahoo.com to scope out the listings for our area. I looked over each of the theaters but paid extra attention to the hanful of indie theaters in our area. And, once I scrolled down to The Angelika I noticed that The Matador was showing.

The Matador?”, I thought to myself. “The Pierce Brosnan flick where he plays a dysfunctional hitman?” I clicked through to the link for “Matador, The” and, yeah, it looked like my memory was about right. Just to be sure, Connie and I watched the trailer and it still looked pretty good.

We headed off to the theater, bought tickets, almost bought some bottled water — except that it was $3.65/bottle — and then headed into the theater. After a few previews, the lights dimmed and the movie began. Among the first scenes features a character watching tv (as evident by the scan lines filling the frame) of a woman being sawed in half. Um, wha? To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, the thought that entered my head at that moment was “I don’t think this movie is what we think it is.”

After a quick session of telephone game-like conferring with my film-watching companions, we agreed to discretely mosey out. Obviously, there was a collision somewhere with the “Matador” namespace. At that point, we decided to stroll through the theater and find something else. We settled on Al Franken: God Spoke (trailer) which turned out better than I thought. (All the same, if you’re thinking about seeing it, it’ll probably be just as good on your CRT at home.)

Upon getting home, I thought that some detective work was in order. I mean, what happened there? I double-checked the listings at movies.yahoo.com which, sure enough, showed The Matador. And, clicking through to the info link for the movie matched up with the IMDB page for the movie we thought we were seeing. Then, I checked on The Angelika's Now Showing page and saw that they’re not showing The Matador. They’re showing some schlock entitled Matador - Viva Pedro. For sheesh. The moral of the story? If you want to see the presumably-funny Pierce Brosnan flick, I’d recommend trying a video store — it was apparently released on DVD on July 4th.