Archive for March, 2007

Attention: Coldwell Banker, It Is Not April 1

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

Oh, sweet Jesus:

Real estate deals may be slowing in the real world, but in the three-dimensional online one of Second Life the market remains hot. Now Coldwell Banker, one of the nation’s largest real estate brokerage firms, is entering Second Life, aiming to help bring order to the chaotic world of virtual real estate.

Coldwell Banker will open a virtual sales office and start selling virtual land at 9 a.m. on Friday.

This reminds me of a night, many years ago, at Michael’s Pub in Montgomery, Alabama. Former WWRanter Tom and I were sitting at the bar, drinking our many beers, and basking in the glory of Ursula (the most beautiful bartender in history, at least back then) when we somehow struck up a conversation with some random fellow.

During the course of our talking, we got onto the subject of making money via the internet – all the rage back in 1999 or so, as you may recall – and this guy’s idea was, I kid you not, to reserve a lot of names on sites like Geocities to get the webspace, because – hey – someday the webspace has to run out and then you can sell it for millions.

It’s a veritable and virtual land grab! Somebody cast Tom and Nicole to star in “Tron: The New Frontier!”

Domain names? Sure. Limited supply. Fresh ideas? Oh yeah. A rarity, no matter the day and age. Disk space on some server in a computer center? Limited only by the budget of the company in question, and a few hundred bucks will hold more porn than you can shake a stick (or a thousand willies) at.

So I hear.

Anyway, selling pretend land to people with pretend lives. Fascinating stuff.

Coldwell, which employs over 120,000 real-world sales agents in the United States and operates in a total of 45 countries, isn’t in Second Life to make money, says Charlie Young, the company’s senior vice president for marketing. “In the end this is about buying and selling homes in the real world,” he says.

Yes, but can some dork in his mom’s basement really sell the house out from under her?

(found via The Stupidity Tracker)

Model Parent, Me

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

Both of the stores where I stop in to purchase our beer, wine, or other assorted and delightful liquors and liqueurs offer candy to the children at the checkout line. I used to think it was great: it made Fiona happy and quiet for the drive home. However, now, I’m not so sure.

She’s put together that the store is where we go for beer, and that they give her candy when we go. Rather than say “I want candy,” though, she looks at me and asks “Go get beer, Dada?”

This would be fine if it were in the privacy of our own home. After all, I know that getting beer = getting candy.

It’s not so fine in the middle of Super Target. Or in the checkout line at Super Target. Or on the way out of Super Target, trailing behind me shouting for all to hear “Go get beer, Dada? Go get beer? Beer Dada!”

In a way, I like to think “that’s my girl!” In another, I don’t even want to know what the people around us thought of my parenting skills.

The Wife Who Cried Rape

Friday, March 30th, 2007

The only problem is that her husband believed her.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Darrell Roberson came home from a card game late one night to find his wife rolling around with another man in a pickup truck in the driveway.

Caught in the act with her lover, Tracy Denise Roberson — thinking quickly, if not clearly — cried rape, authorities say. Her husband pulled a gun and killed the other man with a shot to the head.

On Thursday, a grand jury handed up a manslaughter indictment — against the wife, not the husband.


Richard Dawkins on the Radio

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

Since I know you good people can’t get enough of the warm and fuzzy atheism of Richard Dawkins, here is an interview that NPR conducted with him yesterday.

American Idol Live Recap, March 26, 2007

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

A little late to the game but thanks to the magic of my DVR, you’ll never know the difference. Amen.

So, the celebrity guest for tonight is Gwen Stefani. Alrighty. Not much to say, as she’s quite popular, and yet I can’t really say I’d pay for anything she’s ever recorded (my wife, on the other hand, would and has, so it’s a good thing she’s loveable in so many other ways).

On with the show…

Lakisha: Sorry, Ewan was bugging me for a cup of milk during the performance. Sounded ok to me though, and the judges liked it. Paula didn’t cry, so that’s a nice change.

Chris Sligh: Gwen looks better on this show than I think she has ever looked. Also, refreshing, she’s honest with the Idol-wannabes, unlike every other superstar who has tried to find something nice to say.

“Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.” Hmmmm. Not his best.

Did Randy just say the problem was Chris’ “package?” Oh my.

It’s looking like Chris’ fat guy underdog charm is wearing thin for the judges. Too bad, I had high hopes. Heh, I said “fat guy…charm” and “wearing thin.” I slay me with my unintentional humor. Or not.

Gina Glocksen: She’s looking kind of like Chrissie Hynde tonight. Well, if Chrissie was considerably younger, hotter, and waiting tables in a gentleman’s club. Hubba.

Once again, I was distracted by Ewan, but from what I heard it sounded like one of her better performances.

“Chalk and cheese?” Must be a Britishism. Must ask the wife.

Commercial Break: Crikey, did you see Sanjaya’s hair? The dude is just daring us to kick him off, knowing that “Vote for the Worst” has got his back.

Sanjaya Malakar: I suppose if you can’t pass yourself off as an American Idol, there’s no harm in trying to sneak by as a giant Indian rooster.

Although, you know, the chorus is probably the best singing this guy has done all season.

And what a long season it has been so far.

In other news, Ewan just now learned to say “bye bye.”


Haley Scarnato: One of her better performances, I think, complete with legs. Delightful legs.

Weak ending though…it just faded out into…whatever.

You know, when Paula says “pretty girl,” you know you’re in trouble.

When I say “hubba,” you know… well… what I might be doing later tonight (at least it won’t create yet another baby).

Phil Stacey: Good performance of “Every Breath You Take.” I tend to lean toward the stalker interpretation of the lyrics, not because I like to stalk or anything – well, at least not stalk you – so it wasn’t quite creepy enough for me.

Paula says the verses aren’t very lively. Uh, yeah, Paula, see, that’s how the song was written. If he had done runs and put puppies on his head, it wouldn’t have worked.

Melinda Doolittle: Sorry, was dealing with a diaper from the boy that makes the Exxon Valdez look like a little roadside litter. Sounded powerful though (the singing, not the diaper filler).

Blake Lewis: Wow, it’s Blake Lewis doing 311 doing The Cure.

Say, am I the only one to notice that he and Kevin Covais have the same eyes? And the same outstretched hand gesture? …insert Twilight Zone theme…

Paula loved what Blake did with the song. Uh, 311 did it first, you yahoo. And it was dull then too.

Jordin Sparks: One initial note – frumpy plaid country outfits make big girls look bigger.

I can’t be fair judging this song because – well – I hate it. I’ve liked a lot of Jordin’s performances, girl can sing. I just wish she didn’t sing that.

Curious George: Chris has a good voice, as long as he’s not asked to step outside of his comfort zone. For the most part, though, *yawn*.

So, when the hell does Sanjaya go home??

Evolution Requires Chunky, I’m Pretty Sure

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

No offense to any of my creationist readers, but – good lord – y’all have some really, really, REALLY dumb people in your camp.

I think my IQ just dropped about 47 points.

Maybe if I crack open a jar of peanut butter I will find some new brain cells…

Note to the makers of the video: If a woman in a pantsuit was the same thing as credibility and knowledge, Nancy Grace would be revered as an intellectual giant.

(found via PZ)

24: March 26, 2007

Monday, March 26th, 2007

The following takes place after jumping the shark.

Well, crap.

Did anyone watch “24” tonight? Did anyone else roll their eyes at the “poor, poor, abandoned Rainman” storyline?

I hope he at least gets to drive the CTU van in the driveway before it’s all over.

Maybe We Should Move!

Monday, March 26th, 2007

The San Francisco Gate did a man-on-the-street bit around the question:

Would a candidate’s atheism be a deal-breaker at the polls for you?

The results were overwhelmingly positive – perhaps my clan of 4-and-one-to-be should pick up stakes and move West?

In addition to the general acceptance, even encouragement of atheism, there was one negative:

Julie Haas, San Francisco

Yes, because if you don’t believe in anything, you will believe anything, and that’s a scary way to govern.

Let’s overlook dear Julie’s illogical bastardization of “If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for everything” and move right along. Plus, I’m pretty sure Osama bin Laden believes in his own god and I don’t see myself asking him to even run my neighborhood HOA (it’s bad enough paying monthly dues, but having to beat my wife for walking down the sidewalk alone is just too much, even for an immoral and evil atheist like myself).

And, finally, given that it is San Francisco, there’s one comment that borders on looney:

Dianne Boate, San Francisco

Well, God is crying, and I can’t stand it. All that work for nothing — trees and flowers, oceans, lakes and rivers, to say nothing of the stars; not even a proper “thank you.” The atheists can scurry for proof, but this kind of press coverage tells me they don’t know even what they are looking for.

OK, so maybe we’ll just stay put right where we are.

Big Easy Breakup?

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Interesting article in this month’s Forbes about how New Orleans can make a comeback: leave it to the people.

Nineteen months after the chaos of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is on its fourth official rebuilding plan, and homeowners in the Big Easy have written off the process. The current planning program is viewed as neither good nor bad. It’s simply irrelevant…

Nevertheless, you can see pockets of resilience. Hard-hit Broadmoor’s active neighborhood association has formed partnerships with corporations and non-profits. Two-thirds of this sector’s homes have been rebuilt. As early as October 2005, while Mayor Ray Nagin fiddled, the 5,000-plus parishioners of Mary Queen of Vietnam Church in New Orleans East were well organized and rebuilding.

These pockets of productivity are notable in that people succeeded with little if any involvement from the central government. To my colleague Peter Gordon of the University of Southern California and me, this sends an important message: Rather than try to fix a doomed political process, neighborhoods should be allowed to secede from the city.

It’s a daring proposal, if you consider the free market to be daring… but, even so, it’s got to be better than anything Ray “Floatin’ Buses in the Chocolate City” Nagin might try. I’m sure that, in some parallel universe, blaming white men in Washington for all your woes actually makes homes and infrastructure manifest out of the ether, but – sadly – such is not the reality we call home.

Big Drill Car (and more)

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

Apropos of nothing, and completely devoid of any allusion to one-half the means by which babies are made, here is a video from one of my favorite bands of long ago (late 80s / early 90s).

While perusing some old mix tapes, my generation’s version of peer-to-peer networking, I came across some of their tunes. And, lo, the future has caught up with the past and they’re on YouTube, at least for now.

Hmmm, and another band I liked, Flesh for Lulu:

How about some Circus of Power?

Maybe some House of Love?


Bottom line: Wow, I am getting really old.