Monthly Archives: August 2006

Sometimes the headline just isn’t adequate

Sometimes, the contraints of headline writing, brevity being the most important, don’t allow for an adequate description of the story below. Take this one, for instance:
Pregnant woman crashes car, gives birth alone
Wow! That’s amazing, you say. That must be an amazing story, you think. But to really convey how amazing this story is, the headline should have been
Pregnant woman crashes car, gives birth alone in a partially submerged car, despite broken leg.
Now THAT’s a story!

Failure of imagination?

British authorities said Thursday they thwarted a terrorist plot to simultaneously blow up 10 aircraft heading to the U.S. using explosives smuggled in hand luggage, averting what police described as “mass murder on an unimaginable scale.”

“Unimaginable”? Sadly, no. If 9/11 taught us anything, it’s that nothing is “unimaginable.”

Is Clarett the greatest flameout ever?

This article about Maurice Clarett’s unbelievable new arrest provides (unwittingly, I think) an incredibly valuable insight into how Clarett became Clarett.
Let’s set the scene.
Clarett is arrested after an L.A.-style police pursuit (trailing helicopter and all!) on the highways and byways of benign Columbus. The police had to use a spike strip to get him to stop his car. When he finally did, he refused to leave his vehicle, he had to be forcibly removed and subdued with mace (the stun-gun didn’t work because of the protective vest Clarett was wearing).
That’s right – Clarett was wearing a bulletproof vest. He had a loaded 9mm under his legs on the driver’s seat. A loaded “AK-47 type assault rifle” was at his side on the passenger seat. Two other guns were found in a backpack on the passerger side floor.
That’s the backdrop. Here’s the insight:
Clarett was planning on playing football in an indoor football league for a team called the Mahoning Valley Hitmen. Oh my God, the irony is so rich I feel like I need angioplasty. But that’s not even the insightful part. Upon learning the news, here’s what his erstwhile coach said:

The arrest will not affect Clarett’s status with the team, Terry said.
“We gave him a chance and now we’ll wait to see what happens,” he said. “I’ve seen far worse situations than this.”

Wha-Wha-WHAT? He’s seen far worse situations? Like what, if I may be so bold? Clarett was wearing a bulletproof vest, sitting on a 9mm and had an assault rifle within reach. It’s not too ambitious a conjecture to suggest that quite possibly, the Columbus Police prevented a massacre of some sort.
That blase statement about Clarett’s arrest from his coach provides a telling insight into the mentality of the people that he grew up with, learned from, returned to. It is sad and pathetic. With that kind of thinking influencing his development, it is not suprising that, according to MSNBC’s Mike Celizic, he is one of sports’s greatest flameouts.
One last thing: You think the name of his erstwhile team is ironic? Check out its logo.

Who knew?

Here are a couple of things I’ve learned recently.
1. Kids won’t eat anything, just because the food is endorsed by a famous celebrity.
2. Not even Hello Kitty.
3. Not even Hello Kitty Pop Tarts.
5. Meow-Berry is not an appealing flavor for kids.
4. At least one of my children won’t eat anything with jimmies on it.
5. Not even Hello Kitty jimmies.
Who knew?

Cuba braces for U.S. attack

Well, obviously, Castro is dead. There’s no other way to explain this bizarre turn of events, is there? By using the ricidulous claim that the United States is about to attack, Cuba can use the impending invasion as cover to mobilize the military throughout the country — so that they can put down any resistance or any too joyous celebration when the truth about their dear leader comes out.

Mac guys are a hoot aren’t they?

Love James Lileks. Read him every day. Agree with him on most stuff, as it turns out (except for his love of techno, of course). Anywho. He’s a Mac guy. And like every Mac guy (sorry – Mac person), he’s a bit, um, well, pious about Mac v. PC. Nobody’s perfect (See, e.g., techo, supra). Anyway, his little rant today was a classic.
Here it is in a nutshell.

I installed the Gigawhatsis KT-18W5B3 software on the PC side of Gnat’s Macbook. This enabled me to ship my custom ringtones and wallpapers to the new phones.

Did you plug the phone into the PC yet? Just wondering. ‘Cuz if I were a PC, I’d be asking at this point, “why am I geting software for a Gigawhatsis KT-18W5B3 if I don’t have a Gigawhatsis KT-18W5B3 installed? Oh well, people are stupid. Let me call up the wizard and install it anyway.”

Set up was amusing, as ever: Windows is preparing to install a wizard that will prepare the installation of the installation wizard; please wait.

You think Mac’s don’t do this only without announcing it? Perhaps the wizard should have just put on some jeans and a black t-shirt and lurked in the shadows sipping a grande latte.

The installation process included a screen with a warning: Warning! You may see this warning. Your computer may say that your computer is incompatible. Please disregard this message. You had to click a box that said, in effect, “I subscribe to this jury-rigged heap of code with the usual weary indifference,” after which you were permitted to continue.

Windows is ubiquitous. Thus, gajillions of companies make bajillions of software applications for it. Not all of it is good or even always functional. Not Windows’ fault. Apples are only used by [derogatory unfair generalization (a group to which Lileks doesn't belong in any case) omitted]. Thus, vastly fewer companies write code for it, and thus, the software that gets produced for it tends to be a little tighter.

At this point someone who was less charitable might ask why Lileks wasn’t installing the software on the Mac side of his Mac. Anyway….

When the Wizard was done I was presented with the Panasonic program for transferring files to the new phone. Spiffy! I plugged in the phone.
Windows has detected something new; would you like to install the hardware for it? Well, I just did, didn’t I? Dismiss.

GGGGAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! NNNNNNNNNNNNOoooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!
This is precisely the point where every PC user lost interest in this particular rant. Who here doesn’t know how this ends at this point? Show of hands? Because every PC user knows: Do not defy Windows. if it asks you to install something, you install it. Already installed it? Install it again! Period.
Sounds inefficient, I know. But its saves you from calling tech support for a phone.
I’m just sayin’.
P.S. I’d bet my mortgage that the directions instruct the user the connect the phone to the computer BEFORE installing the software. Again, I’m just sayin’.