October 13, 2003

Link Queen

I love Michele, in part because every once in a while she sends you something like this. Why do I lug a digital camera all over the world? Well, not for shots like those. Nonetheless, you never know when life is going to happen, and sometimes life is a Lesser Grendel, and you need to take a snap, no?

Posted by Avocare at 07:26 PM | TrackBack

A Final Word On Micah Clark

For everyone who read and commented on my post about Micah Clark and my exchange with his mother Renita, I wanted to write a final post to say “thank you.” The links to and compliments about the post were high praise for me, but frankly, the attention and comments were of much greater value to Renita. Indeed, in reply to my message letting her know that some 700 people (and now well over 1,000) had read The Fine Edge and the post about our exchange, she replied:


Thank you, dear friend, for your most recent post. Yesterday, October 6th — the date of your post — was my birthday. I had hoped for some connection with my son that day and felt disappointed when it seemed there was none. But then…your story. It was both a gift and a blessing.

With deepest gratitude,

My distinct and wonderful pleasure, Renita. And to all of you who read and felt Micah’s story, I extend a heartfelt “thank you” as well … you had cause to make a special woman feel some joy on what was surely a difficult day, and for that you each deserve to rest well and contented tonight.

And may it be so.

Posted by Avocare at 06:35 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Testing; LetterGate

Hello from Detroit. For those who saw the “Test” post that was up yesterday: I was having some difficulty posting over the weekend (which is why there were no new posts for several days), and that post was part of HostingMatters trying to fix the problem, which they did. Once again, they provided wonderful support.

On to the post I've been trying to make since Saturday morning …

Hmmm. I read here a story describing how different newspapers around the country are getting letters from soldiers in the field describing a favorable picture of Iraqi reconstruction.

The only problem is that the letters are largely identical.


Dirty tricks? Or dirty tricks meant to look like dirty tricks? Or just some NCO in the field trying to get recognition for his troops? Read the article and draw your own conclusions (and note that I cross-posted this here).

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August 12, 2003

The Original Blogger

That's the tag line for Bob Graham's new blog, which you may visit here. In reading the comments for one post, I noticed this exchange, which I thought many bloggers would find of interest:

Love this new website! It's great to have this conversational format.

But what the heck is “original blogger”? A blog is short for “web log”. (I prefer weblog to blog, but whatever.) How can he be the original blogger when the web has only existed for 10 years? It's silly and makes you lose credibility.
Posted by: Steve D at August 11, 2003 05:50 AM

“original bloger” is just a harmless humorous remark
Posted by: Dave Hill at August 11, 2003 06:14 AM

I love the “original blogger.” Why? Because Bob Graham has been keeping a daily log for so many years, and I have no doubt it's a major part of his success. I only wish I could be so self-disciplined.

As to the definition of “blogger,” it's a new, made-up word, so it's really quite open to whatever it becomes. All new slang words are defined by their usage, and the concept of a blog is equally as related to a log as it is to the web. To me, it's just a log or diary that happens to be on the web. Since Bob has been keeping a log for longer than many bloggers have been alive, and he's now on the web, he's the original in my book.
Posted by: Laura Kinsale at August 11, 2003 12:28 PM

Laura Kinsale is a regular contributor to Graham's blog; you can read the full post and comments here.

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This Is Terrible News

Ladies and gentelmen, the fox is officially in the henhouse: 'Moderate' Utah Gov. Is Bush's EPA Nominee.

Posted by Avocare at 06:31 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 29, 2003

Dining Review: Fishbones

Located in downtown Detroit adjacent to the Atheneum Hotel and near Greektown. New Orleans / Cajun style. About as good as you can get when looking for the Big Easy this far north. Nothing is as hot as I like, but you can spice it up. Fans of catfish and oysters will be disappointed, but the Creole / jambalaya / etoufee standards are good enough. They also serve several of the Dixie Brewing Company beers, including the great-but-hard-to-find Blackened Voodoo.

Again, nothing spectacular when compared to the real thing. When compared to the rest of the dining in downtown Detroit, however, Fishbones is a must-eat.

Final rating: Three out of four stolen crab forks.

Posted by Avocare at 06:16 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 23, 2003

Talk About The Weather

I'll be watching this site all day: the home page for the FAA Air Traffic Control Command Center. I'm on the little DTW dot. At 5:00 PM I hope to fly to the little PHL dot. As of this writing, the little PHL dot is already orange. This is not good, and given that it's only 12:17 EST, this suggests I may be on the little DTW dot tomorrow as well (or the PIT dot, or the CLE dot). So keep your fingers crossed.

Posted by Avocare at 12:17 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 22, 2003

For Some, V-8 Is Not A Drink

First of all, let me say that the Hussein brothers meeting justice made my day. That said, hello from Detroit, where I share the Dearborn Hyatt with the Grand National Meet of the Early Ford V-8 Club. The typical attendee demographic: white married couple, age 73, calls Smallmidwesterntown, USA home. Still, I took some pics. Click for the full size.




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July 15, 2003

But Can H.A.L. Compose The Stuff?

Yesterday I received this email from friend Tony:

The last remaining part of modern music that took SOME talent to perform is now gone. Now people with absolutely NO talent musically can create music. What of music's future now?


The link, as you’ll see, is to Yamaha’s new VOCALOID Singing Synthesis Software, which Yamaha claims to allow
song writers to generate authentic-sounding singing on their PCs by simply inputting the words and notes of their compositions … the software synthesizes the sound from ‘vocal libraries’ of recordings of actual singers, retaining the vocal qualities of the original singing voices to reproduce real-sounding vocals.
Judge for yourself by listening to this VOCALOID mp3 friend Matt sent along; I think you’ll agree it’s a long way from the Commodore 64 voice synthesizer, and much closer to H.A.L. singing “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer please."

The implications of Glenn Reynolds now being able to have Instapundit sing the blog aside, here’s my response to Tony’s question:

Can't speak to the future of music, but the future of musicians is rock-solid (pardon the pun).

It's the same as words: nearly any asshole can write, but only a few are writers. The talent isn't in the ability to deliver the content, it's in the ability to deliver the art.

Friend Matt also had some interesting thoughts, which I’ve posted in the extended entry.

Matt's response:

For all of you who didn't get a chance to hear the Vocaloid, I've attached an MP3. I'll let you make your own opinions, but here's my prediction:

Some well-connected composer or producer will write a song using Vocaloid. They'll create a fictitious 'diva' to credit the performance to. They'll create some beautiful scantily clad babe in Photoshop and make 'her' a website.

Then, the song will get sold for use in a popular movie soundtrack, and it will become a hit. The 'diva' will quickly become the center of attention on every media outlet. But her agent claims that she won't do interviews. This only spurs MTV, VH1 and others to push harder for the elusive, exclusive interview. They dream about getting the drop on everyone else by being the first to interview the most reclusive pop icon since Greta Garbo.

Meanwhile, people who can hear the difference between a computer and a real human (which is proving a more difficult task) will dismiss the song as junk. They'll claim the performer is a computer, and the song is lame (because it will be.) But alas, the critics will all be ignored and the song will continue to sell millions.

Only after the song hits radio saturation will the truth be disclosed that she was a computer the whole time. Some will be astounded. Others will demand their money back claiming that they've been 'Milli Vanillied' again. They'll demand their money back because they'll feel duped. (Someone should tell them that if they don't want to be duped, they should stop being stupid.) But, sadly, most people won't give a shit one way or the other.

The fervor makes the cover of a few magazines like Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, The National Inquirer, People, and perhaps even USA Today or Time (but only if it's a slow news week.) Headlines will read something like, "The Musical Jar-Jar Binks" and, "They've Done it to Us Again!" and, "Elvis was a Vocaloid." Now even those who never heard the song or saw the movie will know the story.

Speaking of the story, the movie producers will start working on treatments for a movie about an imaginary pop diva who was actually a computer. But the producers of the movie "Simone" (aka, S1m0ne) will sue, claiming it's too similar to their movie. They'll settle out of court for millions, the lawyers will charge a healthy fee, and the movie will get shelved. But their clients will make a little money back by working with VH1 on a 'Behind the Music; The Diva That Wasn't'.

So there you go. Just like most things in pop culture, it's much ado about nothing. Why? Because people won't realize that the song sucked in the first place.


Posted by Avocare at 10:24 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 14, 2003

Drafting Wesley Clark

Is Wesley Clark G.W.'s worst-case scenario? Read this Atlantic Monthly piece by Jack Beatty and draw your own conclusion.

Posted by Avocare at 11:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The New New Thing

Greetings from Detroit, MI. I don't often post about sports, but I just finished watching LeBron James' post-game interview on ESPN ... and the kid sounded spectacularly unlike a professional basketball player.

He was very well spoken. He talked about Larry Byrd and Bob Cousey. When asked if he had his "A, B or C game" tonight he said "C, because we didn't win." He talked about the importance of being humble. He said "every time I'm on the court I enjoy it ... I enjoy giving the crowd what they want to see." Oh, and he had something like 25 points in 23 minutes against veteran NBA talent.

The kid is sick good, and he's going to have all of America watching the NBA again. If you're not up to speed, get a little LeBron here.

Posted by Avocare at 11:01 PM | TrackBack

June 18, 2003

So What's The Big Surprise?

The blogosphere is indignant toward Bill O'Reilly today ... Michele has a wonderful summary of why, which you may read here, and Laurence has a double dip O'Reilly/Dowd smack here.

Rightfully so. That said, I'm a bit surprised by strength of the reaction.

I mean, I'm all for conservative voices bringing balance to the media, but B.O. acting like a jerk is SOP for anyone familiar with The Factor. Let's not forget his interview with Jeremy Glick, signer of the Not In Our Name “Statement of Conscience” whose father was killed in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Remember this snippet?

O'REILLY: Man, I hope your mom isn't watching this.

GLICK: Well, I hope she is.

O'REILLY: I hope your mother is not watching this because you -- that's it. I'm not going to say anymore.


O'REILLY: In respect for your father...

GLICK: On September 14, do you want to know what I'm doing?

O'REILLY: Shut up. Shut up.

I’m no fan of Not In Our Name, but come on. The transcript is out there in several places, nearly all of which are left-leaning websites, like this one, and I offer the link with a disclaimer of any personal agreement in political philosophy. That said, B.O. makes hay playing the bellicose, aggressive jerk - and his comments today are perfectly in character.

These people obviously think so.

Posted by Avocare at 02:22 AM

Things Could Get Crazy

Hello from the Hyatt in Dearborn, MI. I dig Hyatts - generally clean, good service, and the atriums are almost always striking. And this week I share my hotel with the Automotive Elastomers Conference and the National Baptist Conference Congress On Christian Education. Elastomer sales reps and bible folk: I think things in the lobby bar could easily get out of hand.

When they do, I'll be sure to take pictures.

And here's a trip report: When in Salt Lake I was able to eat in two of my favorite restaurants, both of which are classic dives: the famous Cotton Bottom (garlic burger with cheese is the only thing to order), and Cafe Sylvester (get the chili verde burrito, smothered; multiple locations in the SL valley). Don't visit SLC without eating at both.

For first timers to the Cotton Bottom: Yes, you are supposed to enter through the kitchen, and no, you shouldn't look at the kitchen too closely.

Posted by Avocare at 01:12 AM | Comments (1)