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Generic Confusion

When you leave, my blog just fades to grey
Nu ma nu ma iei, nu ma nu ma nu ma iei

News? Check. Politics? Check. Music? Check. Random thoughts about life? Check. Readership? Ummm.... let me get back to you on that. Updated when I feel like I have something to say, and remember to post it.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Dragostea Din Tei (Ma Ya Hi) Update

Take a look at this SiteMeter graph:

That graph highlights an increase in traffic that started because I started blogging about an unbelievably catchy dance track.

And since so many people are coming to this blog via Web searches for information on Dragostea Din Tei by O-Zone or Haiducci (the song also known as Ma Ya Hi by Dan Balan featuring Lucas Prata), I thought I'd establish a summary post linking to the entries related to the song and video.

Link to the "Numa Numa Dance" by Gary Brolsma. Original lyrics and their English translation.

Information from Billboard on the English version, and first week chart information. A link to a Real Media version of the Today show performance.

Lyrics for the English version of the song

Update: Fourth week chart position.

A flash anime set to the song.

Update: Fifth week chart position.

Update: Sixth week lack of chart position.

Courtesy of Gecko and Sheryl, here's the video for the O-Zone version of the song. Once you watch that one, check out the video version rendered with Lego bricks. And a Flash animation showing Gary Brolsma singing as part of Americal Idol.

.mp3 of the original song.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


St. Petersburg is a beautiful city, and two days is nowhere near enough to explore it.

I thought about what a difference twenty years makes. Had you asked me in 1985 what the Soviet government would have thought about an American cruise ship docking in Leningrad, I would have expected a response like this:

"Filthy American bourgeois oppressors, stealing the fruit of the sweat of the proletariat of the whole world! They eat more than they need, drink more than they need, and waste time and materials. And to take needed shipbuilding resources from the people to build a huge pleasure vessel, with no legitimate military or infrastructure need! That is the height of capitalist arrogance."

Today, the response is different.

"Welcome! We want to share our history and culture with you. We want your tourist dollars." [Note: Not necessarily in that order.]

Yes, tourism is desired, as Russia waives the normal visa requirements for entry into Russia at St. Petersburg if you are part of an organized tour, and staying less than 48 hours.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Is it just me?

Is it just me, or would you feel nervous seeing stacks of bags labeled Ammonium Nitrate not far from where you're spending the night?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Nice touch

In addition to the evening turn-down service and the chocolate on the pillow, the book from the nightstand was rested against the pillow for easy nighttime reading access.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Vacation update

I'm in Copenhagen (extraneous keys on this keyboard: æøåÆØÅ) after spending several days in London. The weather has been beautiful so far. At the hotel, there's a computer with free Internet access. So here I am!

What I like so far:

Red, Yellow, Go!: When the stoplight is red, the yellow and red lights will shine briefly before the light turns green. In America, I need to watch the lights going the other way before knowing when to gun the engine.

Light: When it's still twilight at midnight, that's a wonderful thing.

Subway: The London Underground is wonderful, except for the lack of air conditioning.

Cafes: Streetside seating is abundant, and wonderful (at least this time of year).

What I don't like so far:

White Stripes: No, nothing against Jack and Meg White. It's that all stripes on the road are white. I prefer the yellow stripes being used to indicate the side of the road and the border between opposing lanes of traffic. It makes it much easier to see whether a road is one way or not.

Street signs: How hard is it to put a single sign post with two signs indicating the intersecting streets? Apparently, too hard for other nations.

Lack of air conditioning: I don't care how mild you think your climate is. Air conditioning makes it more comfortable!

Fart Striber

That's the amusing Danish translation for the movie Racing Stripes.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Last post for a while

I'll be pretty much free of Internet access while on vacation. I may be able to pop on to update the puzzle challenge. I'll be back after the 4th of July, hopefully with some back-dated posts!

Good point!

If that's torture, sign me up!


When someone acts in an offending manner, I ask them politely to stop.

When some Muslims see someone acting in an offending manner, they try to kill her. And her child.

That's what some Ethiopian Muslim women did to an American aid worker who was breast-feeding her baby.

Just sick.

Via Instapundit, who says: "Bono: 'She didn't mean to be insensitive.' But they did."

Finally saw Star Wars Episode III

I know, embarrassing, isn't it?

You know how people were saying the rise of the empire parallels the current presidency? Well, the suspension of disbelief didn't work--I just didn't buy it.


You see, President Bush speaks a lot better...
...than George Lucas writes dialogue.

Mr. Clean?

E. J. Dionne writes the following:

If the Republicans' ethics problems worsen, McCain's Mr. Clean image will look ever more attractive to Republican members of Congress desperate to hold power.

What? Mr. Clean? This senator was one of the Keating Five, the only Republican among a group of senators accused of pressuring the head of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board to ease up on the investigation of Charles H. Keating, Jr., head of the collapsed Lincoln Savings and Loan Association. Granted, he and John Glenn weren't ruled to be part of the influence-peddling scheme, but being a part of a major scandal isn't what I'd call Mr. Clean.

It may not be a topic of casual conversation, fifteen years after it happened, but I guarantee the Keating Five will be on the mainstream media's reports if McCain were to be the Republican candidate for president in 2008.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Need a starter home?

This isn't it.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Nice kitty!

An interesting story on a man who takes care of abandoned great cats.

Like cats? Joe Taft does. Among his 174 pet cats: 85 tigers, 37 lions, 21 pumas, 19 leopards (two of which are living in his bedroom)

That's a lot of hungry cats in need of support.

The center, which opened in 1991, now has seven full-time and two part-time employees. The center relies on revenue from admissions to keep going -- $100,000 of its $266,000 budget in 2004 came from visitors. Donations and animal naming rights also contribute to the effort, but the center lost about $8,500 last year.

Review inflation?

The Chicago Tribune uses the following scale for its restaurant views:

**** Outstanding
*** Excellent
** Very Good
* Good

My first thought was, it's just like grade inflation. Who's going to think a one star review is that of a "good" restaurant?

However, on second thought, I can't think of many restaurants where I've received a truly bad meal. "Nothing special" may be the description of the food at a greasy spoon diner, but the food tastes fine. So maybe the worst restaurant is best described as good.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Blogger Puzzle Challenge

Many people have started blogs recently, and some contribute to multiple blogs. But do you know of anyone with 80 blogs?

There is one person who has 80 blogs, a puzzle maker who is utilizing Blogger's free service to host a puzzle challenge. Each week, he sends the participants a clue. The answer to the clue is the name of the site of the next puzzle, at the site http://(answer).blogspot.com. The tenth puzzle each week, when solved, leads to a page that indicates you've solved the week's challenge.

If you want to play at home, here are the clues so far:

Week 1
My first is a test that a lawyer must pass.
My second, a verb, means "retain" or "amass".
My whole is a person who'll serve you a drink,
And may take some time to hear out what you think.

Week 2
In these clues, a single word is disguised:
All official saints must be canonized.
A finalist fiasco is a troubling gaffe,
And a mob boss has a siciliano staff.

Week 3
It's not a poem this time - it's a multiple choice quiz. Your solution will just be the ten letters that correspond to your answers.

1. What color was the robot lion that formed Voltron's left arm?
a) red
b) blue
c) black
d) green
e) yellow

2. What was the name of the light blue ghost in the original American Pac-Man video game?
a) Mucky
b) Bashful
c) Blinky
d) Inky
e) Clyde

3. Who are the only two women to be named honorary Harlem Globetrotters?
a) Jackie Joyner-Kersee & Whoopi Goldberg
b) Tracy Williams & Lynette Woodard
c) Abigail Saperstein & Sherry Manny
d) Tamika Catchings & Tina Thompson
e) Bette Midler & Goldie Hawn

4. In the rules of Fight Club, which rule is mentioned twice?
a) Fights go on as long as they have to
b) No low blows
c) There are no rules
d) You don't talk about Fight Club
e) If this is your first night, you have to fight

5. What work of fiction has a 100-letter "word" in its third paragraph?
a) Ulysses
b) 1984
c) Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas
d) Lord Of The Flies
e) Finnegan's Wake

6. What's the mathematical term for a number that's abundant but not semiperfect?
a) deficient number
b) weird number
c) pseudoperfect number
d) harmonic divisor number
e) Giuga number

7. Which movie features Monty Python cast members as well as Cheech & Chong?
a) The Meaning Of Life
b) After Hours
c) Yellowbeard
d) A Fish Called Wanda
e) Time Bandits

8. In the Twilight Zone episode "A Most Unusual Camera," what's so unusual about the camera?
a) It takes pictures of what people are thinking
b) Looking into the viewfinder lets you see through walls
c) It takes pictures of the future
d) It takes pictures of ghosts
e) If you take a picture of a person with it, it steals their soul

9. In Dante's Inferno, what was the name of the river that the ferryman took Dante across?
a) Malebolge
b) Dis
c) Acheron
d) Cocytus
e) Styx

10. Which of the following is not a real professional wrestling move?
a) Stretch Plum
b) Chimera Suplex
c) Miracle Ecstacy Lock
d) Backslide From Heaven
e) Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex

Week 4
1. Take the year in which the Great Fire of London occurred.
2. Write that number in Roman numerals.
3. Treat the Roman numerals as letters, and shift each of those letters forward x positions in the alphabet, where x is some integer between 1 and 25 inclusive. (Z shifted 1 position forward becomes A.)
4. Unscramble those letters to form a single English word. That word is the solution.

Week 5
(This week's first puzzle isn't conducive to posting, so here's the after-the-fact summary from the puzzle host.)

In this puzzle, I gave players items from a list. They had to determine exactly what the list was, then figure out what was missing from it. For example, if one of the lists was Friday, Wednesday, Tuesday, Sunday, Monday, Saturday, then the answer would be Thursday.

There are two lists. The solution is the missing item from the first list followed by the missing item from the second. Each list had eight items, but players were only given seven - and when I say "players" there, I mean as in ALL the players. Each individual player only got one item from each list.For this puzzle only, players were allowed to exchange information with anyone they wanted, but they could not give anyone else the actual solution.

I can't exactly do that here, so I'm just going to give seven of the eight items for each list.
List 1: white sox, red sox, heat, magic, wild, lightning, avalanche
List 2: virginia, connecticut, baltic, boardwalk, new york, illinois, pennsylvania

Week 6
Each of the fifty U.S. states has a commonly used two-letter abbreviation. Many of the states contain the uninterrupted two-letter abbreviation for *another* state (i.e. a state other than themselves) within their name. For instance, "Wisconsin" contains "CO", the abbreviation for Colorado. Write out the two-letter abbreviations of all states whose names do *not* contain the abbreviation for any other state. Arrange those letters to form three words of equal length, one of which is the name of an animal and another which is the name of an organ. Take those three words and put them in alphabetical order.

Week 7
1. Write all 26 uppercase letters of the alphabet in alphabetical order.
2. Switch the position of each vowel (including Y; Y is always considered as a vowel here) with the letter immediately following it.
3. Delete all letters that are not within two positions of a vowel.
4. Exchange the 7th through 12th letters with the 13th through 18th.
5. Take the letters that are in positions equal to 3 * an odd prime number, and add copies of each of them to the end.
6. Delete all letters for which the absolute value of the difference between their position in the alphabet and their position in this string of letters is equal to three.
7. Take all letters in a square-numbered position and move them two positions to the left, if possible.
8. Reverse the position of the fifth through eighth letters.
9. If there are any consecutive strings of three letters in alphabetical order that also appear consecutively in the alphabet, delete the middle letter.
10. Switch all letters in a square-numbered position, other than the ninth letter, with the letter immediately to right.
11. If any letter has a vowel immediately to its left and a consonant immediately to its right, shift it back one letter in the alphabet.
12. Delete all instances of the Xth letter of the alphabet, where X = the position in this string of letters occupied by R.
13. Put the first four letters into alphabetical order.
14. Take the fourth vowel from the left and move it to the end.
15. If a letter has same letter on either side of it, shift it back one letter in the alphabet.
16. Take the two highest-scoring Scrabble letters in the string of letters and switch their positions.
17. If a letter has a copy of itself immediately next to it, shift it forward one letter in the alphabet.
18. Find a four-letter word in this string of letters; delete the last two letters of that word and all others like them.
19. If you can shift the Xth letter in this string of letters back X positions in the alphabet and end up with the Xth letter of the alphabet, do so.
20. Count the number of Ds, Es, Fs and Gs, and add that many Ks to the end.
21. If multiple letters in a row contain lines forming an enclosed area (like P or Q), delete the last one in the row.
22. Switch the positions of two adjacent letters so that a four-letter word is formed.
23. Reverse the position of the letters forming that four-letter word.
24. Move the letter that's X letters from the right to X letters from left, where X = the number of letters forming an enclosed area.
25. Delete all letters that appear more than once and are not adjacent to another letter that appears more than once.
26. Move the last letter X spots to the left, where X = the number of Ws in this string of letters.
27. There should be two letters that are next to each other in the alphabet but not next to an adjacent alphabetical letter here; delete them both.
28. Shift first consonant from the left forward X letters in the alphabet, where X = the number of Ks in this string of letters.
29. Move the second last vowel to the immediate right of the last vowel.
30. Shift all letters forward X positions in the alphabet, where X is the number of vowels in this string of letters.

Week 8
Protactinium and radium can both be fatal.
For data on nobelium, there's not much on the table.
Iodine's in seawater, actinium it glows,
And last, not least, is sulfur, which will make one hold their nose.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Eye candy on reality TV

Hey, did you see the new reality TV show where a rich older man is auditioning beautiful women to cook, clean, and be eye candy escorting him to high class functions?


Maybe because the genders are reversed in the actual TV series. In "Kept," airing on VH-1, Mick Jagger's ex-wife Jerry Hall is looking for a young stud to serve as her escort.

Wanted: Single, twenty something boy toy to change light bulbs and escort divorced model-actress down red carpets. Must be somewhat intelligent, well-groomed and able to hang with rock royalty. Bond-era Sean Connery look-alikes preferred.

That's exactly what Jerry Hall, the leggy model-actress ex-wife of Mick Jagger, is looking for in her new VH1 reality show, "Kept." And she won't settle for less, darling.

If it were a man auditioning a bunch of women, I would expect protests from feminists, complaining about how this degrades women. However, there are no complaints heard over this exploitation of men.

Busy, busy, busy

Josh Medlin, the loser who threw (I mean "allegedly threw") a pie at William Kristol in a show of support for free speech, is among the people arrested in conjunction with the recent vandalism of the Statehouse. Some people who don't like the idea of a new highway being built, directly linking Indianapolis and Evansville, figured that spraypainting anti-I-69 slogans on the home of state government was the best way to win converts to their cause.


Carnival of the Vanities

This week's Carnival of the Vanities is up at The Conservative Edge.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Nothing suspicious, move along....

An outside observer watching for suspicious financial activity may wonder why one ATM card was used at two ATM machines in a short time span.

Nothing suspicious, really. I stop to deposit a check and then drive off... forgetting that I also wanted to get some cash from the machine!

Blogger = puzzle heaven!

A very cool competition is going on at the Actuarial Outpost forum, and it makes use of Blogger. A dedicated individual has made 80 blogs at www.blogspot.com, each with a puzzle. Solve the puzzle, and you get directed to the next puzzle.

The first of ten puzzles for the first week:

My first is a test that a lawyer must pass.
My second, a verb, means "retain" or "amass".
My whole is a person who'll serve you a drink,
And may take some time to hear out what you think.

If you want to play along, find the answer to the riddle, and go to http://(answer).blogspot.com for the next puzzle!

Monday, June 06, 2005

High tech for an old tradition

Gaijin Biker is currently being Instalanched (and several other blog-lanched) for his request that the U.S. be held accountable for everything its military does, the good and the bad. But I find this post more interesting! He notes a company has made a digital version of a hanko, a stamp traditionally used in Japan to sign documents. Very cool!

Flawed analysis at the New York Times

Honest Partisan highlights a New York Times article on income inequality, with a predictable demand to tax the rich more. But the analysis in the article is horribly flawed.

Most importantly, you're looking at two groups of people. You can say that the average income of the top 0.1% increased from $1.2 million to $3 million from 1980 to 2002, but you're not saying that the group of people who were in the top 0.1% are now earning 250% more. People enter and leave economic groups all the time, the hallmark of a prosperous and free economy. But I will look at the data as presented.

From the article we see that in 1980, the top 0.1% had an average income of $1.2 million, which was 3.7% of the total. That means the other 99.9% had a total income of $31.2 million, about $31,200 on average. Now, in 2002, the top 1% had average income of $3 million, which was 7.4% of the total. If only they saw an increase in average income, they would be 8.8% of the total, so it is clear the real income of the other 99.9% also increased. It works out to a 20% increase, to $37.5 million in total, or $37,500 on average.

Without the source data, it's hard to estimate the average income for the 90% and the 90-99.9% groups.

Update: Mickey Kaus chimes in, making a few of the same points, but also pointing out that the rich get richer because the economy rewards them for their skills and hard work.

In the bag

Ever hear the joke that every grocery bag seen in the movies or on TV has a loaf of French bread sticking out of its top?

I'm now convinced that every grocery bag in anime has a daikon radish sticking out of its top.

Friday, June 03, 2005

And the terrorists are...

Gaijin Biker is kind enough to summarize the nationalities of terrorists in major Hollywood blockbusters over a span of 15 years. Guess how many Arab and Muslim terrorists he found?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

One More Time

Hit Me Baby 1 More Time

Of course, I had to tune in to watch this new series, where has-been bands (from my youth and college days) perform one of their hit songs [their one hit song?] and a current hit. On the first show:

Ce Ce Penniston
A Flock of Seagulls
Arrested Development

It's certainly refreshing that this series isn't about getting the bands a new record contract or other reality-TV-esque prize. They are performing for a donation to their favorite charity.

Trash Day Delay

Thursday is trash day, and what do I see upon coming home but...
lines of uncollected trash.

Thanks to Memorial Day, trash pickup was postponed one day, although apparently no one knew it!

I fail to see the logic in delaying trash pickup due to a Monday holiday, since this service occurs over 5 days each week. One of the following things must be true:
1. Some trash pickup happens on Saturday, thus shifting work from Monday to Saturday, keeping the same number of days off for the workers, who probably receive overtime pay.
2. Workers put in overtime on the four days of the week, probably receiving overtime pay again.
3. Weekly trash pickup can actually be done in 4 days every week, meaning resources are allocated inefficiently every other week.

Anyone know for sure?

Carnival of the Vanities

The 141st edition of the Carnival of the Vanities can be found at Blog Business World.

Cafeteria food

Though trendy, chain-owned restaurants do well in Indianapolis, for many Hoosiers the height of dining out starts in the old familiar way: by pushing a tray along metal rails. Past the sugar cream pie and pecan pie, they go. Past the salads, the Jell-O (often paired with lettuce), into entrée-land of fried chicken and baked fish, meatloaf. Onward they go toward the green beans, the beets, the macaroni and cheese, the cornbread.

There surely is no less hip a thing in the nation than the cafeteria. They are the Buicks of restaurants and have indeed seen considerable fallout. But the survivors -- there are a half dozen old-line cafeterias left in metropolitan Indianapolis -- soldier on, catering to a clientele that, though small, is fiercely loyal.

The article highlights how cafeterias are popular primarily with older crowds, which spells doom for them. I've seen this in several states.

In contrast to the "food" served at school and college cafeterias, I have no problem with the food offerings at a typical cafeteria restaurant. However, I don't eat there, because of the cost. A full meal will be about twice a fast food meal, and probably even more than the price for an all-you-can-eat buffet. Given a choice between a la carte and all you can eat, I'll always go for the latter.

Tiny condos

The Crescent, the gleaming white three-story apartment complex that's a landmark in the booming Village of WestClay, has been sold to New York investors who are converting the units to condominiums.

That switch means the 186 rental apartment units are for sale, which opens a lower-priced avenue for buyers to get into the upscale 19th century-styled WestClay.

The ownership and concept changes for the former apartment buildings come as the Village of WestClay is on the verge of booming with hundreds of new high-value homes and two commercial districts.

A friend from California described moving into such a unit. Tiny former-apartment condos make more sense there, given California's ridiculous housing prices. They also make sense in New York City. I honestly don't know what kind of demand this company is expecting here, where single family homes can still be found in the county for below $150,000. There's a pretty narrow intersection of people who don't need much space but don't want to stay in an apartment.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Snack Mix

Now, why is it that you can combine any number of any type of ingredients from the following list-
  • Nuts
  • Bite-sized dried fruit
  • Fried/baked grain chips/crackers
  • Chocolate candy
-call it "snack mix" or "trail mix"-

-and it will taste good?

Ban these team names!

For most of my life, Marquette University's sports teams were known as the Warriors. Then, because of perceived offense to American Indians, the name was changed more than ten years ago to Golden Eagles. Recently, for no reason I can understand, they decided to become the Gold, emulating Stanford's long-ago decision to name themselves after their school colors.

The name was so badly received, that they're redoing the selection, with the winning name to be announced July 1st. "Warriors" is sadly not an option.

I've commented before on the silliness of this, when only nicknames associated with one group of people are deemed off limits. So, to balance the debate, I think it's only fair that the team names on this list be off limits, to avoid offending the white people of varied Caucasian and European descent:

It should go without saying that these names offend the many Americans of Greek heritage, denigrating these proud warrior cultures.

Fighting Irish
Offensive to people whose heritage is traced to Ireland or parts of Great Britain, particularly the reinforcing of the negative stereotype of a brawling Irish drunkard.

These names refer to mounted soldiers and holy warriors of the Middle Ages, who were strictly of European heritage. Modern day whites should not be associated with these often barbaric men, reinforcing negative stereotypes about violence and savagery.

Look, people. It's not enough to remove the name Warriors only when it refers to American Indian warriors. It's just as demeaning to people of European heritage. Look at the stereotypical Roman helmet in the logo. Offensive, I say!

Trail Blazers
Although there are trail blazers and pioneers of all races, the ones celebrated in American culture were typically white. The memory of those who blazed the Oregon Trail should not be denigrated by being reduced to team mascots.

Here's another name that marginalizes people of Roman heritage. One of the greatest cultures in history should not be utilized in such a manner.

Senators could also refer to the senior legislators in Washington D.C., a historically white bastion. However, I think we can all agree that it's all right to make fun of them.

Making things easy for the terrorists

I must say I thought the same thing as Bill Roggio when I read this article in my local paper. They reveal not only the modus operandi of the CIA for extracting key prisoners, they name the company and type of plane and (in the New York Times article) show a plane.

These are the same newspapers that will put in an article an assumed name and hometown for a young woman who fought bulimia, to protect her identity. It's apparently more important to protect someone from shame than it is to protect scores of lives.