May 31, 2005

An American Hero

I always believed that the infamous Watergate source known as "Deep Throat" was actually a composite of many of Woodward and Bernstein's other informants. I thought they invented the garage-meeting, cigarette-smoking man in order to simplify the drama of "All the President's Men."

But the Washington Post has announced that there was a real guy.

AP via

The Washington Post said Tuesday that a former FBI official, W. Mark Felt, was the confidential source known as "Deep Throat" who provided the newspaper information that led to President Nixon's impeachment investigation and eventual resignation.

The paper made its announcement on its Web site after Felt, 91 and living in California, talked to a lawyer who wrote a magazine article for Vanity Fair.

Posted by jackhodgson at 06:29 PM

May 30, 2005

Making the switch

GEWF regular, Sherman, points us to this. SF Chronicle:

After a lifetime voting for and working for Democratic candidates and independents, I'm finally going to make the switch and become a Republican.

The reasons are many, not the least of which is age. I turned 55 recently and, having lived more than half my life, I can't afford to worry anymore about the other guy. It's time for me.

Posted by jackhodgson at 09:07 PM

May 28, 2005

17 to 1

AP via Yahoo!:

So much for that slump. Edgar Renteria, Manny Ramirez and the Boston Red Sox broke out with 27 hits in their biggest blowout against the rival New York Yankees.
Posted by jackhodgson at 08:03 PM

Tragedy avoided, for now.

At dinner last night someone commented that Netflix had been bought by Wal-Mart. I hadn't heard that, and I said it would be a sad thing if true. Fortunately it turns out not to be correct. But there's still a danger here.

The good news is that what actually happened is that Wal-Mart has given up on its fledgeling online DVD venture, and Netflix has taken over its customer lists. This is a rare example of the 800 pound gorilla failing at something, and is an encouraging sign that they may not be able to take over the whole world.

In fact, although it's not an actual acquisition, the structure of the "partnership" is closer to Netflix buying WM's dvd business than the opposite.

So I'm relieved, but my fear now is whether the relatively little Netflix can fly this close to the sun without getting burned. Or a more cynical metaphor, this close to the black hole without getting sucked in.

Here're a couple of news report.

Reuters via

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Netflix Inc., the online DVD rental company, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Thursday they have struck a deal to co-promote DVD sales and rentals, with Wal-Mart shutting down its online rental service to concentrate on DVD sales.

Detroit News Technology:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. called it a wrap Thursday for its fledgling online movie-rental business, turning the operation over to industry leader Netflix Inc.

The move represents a rare setback for the nation's largest retailer, which had 1 percent of the online DVD market and never made significant inroads into the business.

Posted by jackhodgson at 10:41 AM


Boston sports talk radio has a new subject to roar about. And they will.

Redsox third-base coach Dale Sveum ("swaim") made two consecutive blunders last night, to short circuit what was turning out to be a remarkable inning against the Yankees.

AP Sports via Yahoo!:

Third-base coach Dale Sveum never hesitated, waving Mark Bellhorn toward the plate. But Tony Womack, shifted from second base to left field early this month, made a strong, one-hop throw to catcher Jorge Posada, who let Bellhorn slide right into his glove for the tag.

``When you've got a second baseman going out to left field, he hasn't made a lot of throws,'' Sveum said. ``You've got the lead, you've got one of the greatest pitchers in the world who makes his living getting out of jams -- sometimes you try to push the envelope.''

It didn't work, twice.

Redsox play the Yankees again this afternoon, on national TV.

Posted by jackhodgson at 08:41 AM

A New Hope.

57 year-old finally goes to the senior prom. Yahoo News:

He's got a few years on his classmates, but Rod Forrester, 57, might be the most excited student at the Weymouth High School prom Friday.

...decades after dropping out of school, Forrester earned his diploma and will even celebrate his senior prom with his classmates.

Forrester is taking his wife, Jane, whom he has known since childhood. Both should have attended the Weymouth High School prom in 1966, but instead, they dropped out of school before graduation.

Posted by jackhodgson at 08:35 AM

May 27, 2005

Now if we can just convince my sister.

Mac Central:

This is my first column written on a Mac - ever. Maybe I should have done it a long time ago, but I never said I was smart, just obstinate. I was a PC bigot.

But now, I’ve had it. I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.

Posted by jackhodgson at 11:49 PM

May 26, 2005

Noah, I want you to build me an Ark.... Right!


There are different opinions about whether Noah's Ark could have survived until the present day, exactly where it landed, and if there are actual remains of this biblical vessel still intact today. This web site provides a "big tent" for ark researchers to share their information and research.

Yahoo!Games Noah's Ark:

Note: Noah's Ark is not compatible with Unix or Macintosh computers.

Noah's Ark, America's Largest Water Park. Wisconsin Dells.

Noah's Ark Animal Foundation:

For over 19 years, Noah's Ark Animal Foundation has offered loving care to homeless and abandoned animals.... Noah's Ark Animal Foundation is a no-kill organization for homeless animals. We provide the shelter, love and care these animals need to become healthy and happy again.

Texas Flood

Posted by jackhodgson at 09:28 PM

May 25, 2005

The most important meal

breakfastReady, Set, Breakfast:

Any breakfast is better than no breakfast, but try not to have doughnuts or pastries all the time. They're high in calories, sugar, and fat. They also don't contain the nutrients a kid really needs. And if you have a doughnut for breakfast, you won't feel full for long.

Posted by jackhodgson at 09:00 AM

May 19, 2005

A James Bond Character

Today is the birthday of the infamous L. Getting Old.

Posted by jackhodgson at 09:51 AM

May 17, 2005


"The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and
his own are the same."

Stendal (Marie Henri Beyle), novelist (1783-1842)

Posted by jackhodgson at 11:04 AM

May 16, 2005

End of the second inning

Saturday night's Redsox win against the Mariners marked the end of the second 18-game inning of the 2005 baseball season.

The Redsox did somewhat better in the second than the first. 12 wins vs 10. After the first we were in second place in the AL East, one game behind Baltimore, and three ahead of the Yankees.

At the end of the second the standings are:

After 36 games each.

BALTIMORE    23  13
BOSTON       22  14
TORONTO      19  17
NY YANKEES   17  19
TAMPA BAY    13  23

Still one behind the Baltimore, and now five ahead of New York.

Posted by jackhodgson at 07:33 PM

Survivor Palau -- Season Finale

s10logoUp until the final two was chosen, this was pretty entertaining. But from then on it was pretty much no contest.

Spoilers after the jump, and in comments.

I have to admit that, as Tom pointed out in TC, Jenn made her best play in the game very late. Her confronting Tom, to challenge Ian on his "disloyalty", was a masterstroke. And it almost worked, but of course Katie's loyalty to Ian remained. What's up with that?

I haven't watched the reunion special yet, and I'll be interested to hear if the Ian/Katie "friendship" blossomed, cause it sure was significant during the 39 days of the game.

And how about Ian?! This must go down as one of the goofiest meltdowns in Survivor lore. He goes from being one of the strongest players in the game, to basically quitting the game. Boy was he a bad liar. I don't mean that he couldn't keep a straight face, I mean he would stutter and couldn't make his stories consistent. It's a wonder that he was as strong as he was, for as long as he was.

And what's up with the quitting? I'm trying to think back here, but at least two, and maybe three people quit the game this time. Ian, Janu, and didn't Ibrehem basically quit? There should some huge penalty for quitting.

I've said before that you don't "win" Survivor, you "survive". And that the sole survivor usually isn't the best player, but someone who drifted and managed to make fewer enemies. But this season was an exception. Tom was a good player, and a deserving "winner".

Many people think Stephenie was also a great player, and maybe they're right, but I don't think we saw Steph competing with good players enough to know how she might have really done. She was the best of the worst, as the sole survivor of the Ulong tribe. But by the time she got to play with the big kids, she was so targeted that she didn't have a chance. It would have been interesting to see her on an even footing with the rest of Koror. I nominate her to be on the next All-Stars season.

All-in-all this was a good Survivor for me. One thing that made it particularly fun was that for the first time I watched most of the season with a group of people. Heckling the screen, and instantly discussing tactics, was a lot of fun, and made the show better for me.

Next: Mayan temples in Guatemala, in September.

The Survivors:

(name, age [picked by])

## Koror (brown):

Tom, 41 [Katie]

Order out:

1. Jonathon, 23
2. Wanda, 55
3. Jolanda, 39 (blue = Ulong)
4. Ashlee, 22 [James]
5. Jeff, 21 [Stephanie]
6. Kim, 25 [Jeff]
7. Angie, 24 [Ibraham]
8. Willard, 57 [Caryn] (brown = Koror)
9. James, 33 [Kim]
10. Ibrehem, 27 [Ashlee]
11. Bobbyjon, 27 [Jolanda]
12. Coby, 32 [Jenn]
13. Janu, 39 [Tom]
14. Stephenie, 25 [Bobbyjon] (was Ulong)
15. Gregg, 28 [Janu]
16. Caryn, 46 [Coby]
17. Jenn, 32 [Gregg]
18. Ian, 23
19. Katie, 29 [Ian]

Posted by jackhodgson at 09:27 AM

May 13, 2005

Lucky thing

Hey, it's Friday the 13th!

Posted by jackhodgson at 08:52 AM

Survivor Palau Ep #13

s10logoHere's a a couple of thoughts about last night's ep.

Spoilers after the jump, and in comments.

This ep will go down in Survivor lore.

The sequence where Ian naively took Tom on the Reward, and left Katie behind. Her feelings are hurt, "not because of the dinner, but because of the promise". Ian's frustration with, what he thought was, her illogical reaction. Then his final prostration in front of Katie, begging for her forgiveness. And she bought it!

A classic moment.

And then, Caryn's personal meltdown at TC. The ordeal of spending 30 days living in this environment must have more of a mind-altering effect than we realize, cause we repeatedly see people do things that simply defy all past Survivor experience. How could Caryn have gotten this far without realizing that this behavior would get her voted out?

BTW, Coby's over-the-top reactions to the, admittedly bizarre, TC events is getting a little old.

So now we have our Final Four.

Jenn, who, unless she miraculously wins Immunity, will be the next to go.

Ian, who, if I'm remembering right, won the first immunity. I agree with Heather, if he goes to the final two he'd be picked winner against any of the other three.

Katie, who has been flying a little under the radar, and seems to have the loyalty of Ian, but is despised by Tom. She would win against Tom, but lose to Ian.

Tom, who has been the heavy-handed manipulator, though it seems to be working so far.

So here are my predictions for the possible final two matchups:

Ian - Tom -- Ian wins
Ian - Katie -- Ian wins
Ian - Jenn -- Ian wins
Tom - Katie -- Tom wins
Tom- Jenn -- Jenn wins
Jen - Katie -- Katie wins

The Survivors:

(name, age [picked by])

## Koror (brown):

Ian, 23
Katie, 29 [Ian]
Tom, 41 [Katie]
Jenn, 32 [Gregg]

Order out:

1. Jonathon, 23
2. Wanda, 55
3. Jolanda, 39 (blue = Ulong)
4. Ashlee, 22 [James]
5. Jeff, 21 [Stephanie]
6. Kim, 25 [Jeff]
7. Angie, 24 [Ibraham]
8. Willard, 57 [Caryn] (brown = Koror)
9. James, 33 [Kim]
10. Ibrehem, 27 [Ashlee]
11. Bobbyjon, 27 [Jolanda]
12. Coby, 32 [Jenn]
13. Janu, 39 [Tom]
14. Stephenie, 25 [Bobbyjon] (was Ulong)
15. Gregg, 28 [Janu]
16. Caryn, 46 [Coby]

Posted by jackhodgson at 06:06 AM

May 12, 2005

D.C. Alert System Fails

Homeland Security and Bush Administration official are spinning yesterday's panic as a "success" of the alert system. But let's set this straight.

They initiated a huge evacuation as a result of something that was not a threat. They overreacted big-time.

You can say that it "could" have been a serious threat, but it WASN'T. It was an unarmed, very small plane, that was lost. There was no actual danger, and the system failed to determine that before panicking the entire national infrastructure.

It failed.

AP via Yahoo!News: "D.C. Scare Puts Alert System to the Test"

Posted by jackhodgson at 10:06 AM

Slow down

Some NH lakes may get speed limits.

Union Leader:

A proposed bill that seeks a 45 mph daytime and a 25 mph nighttime limit for Lake Winnipesaukee could be amended to include Winnisquam, Sunapee, Ossipee and Newfound.

Squam — the only lake that currently has speed limits — would maintain its daytime limit of 40 mph and nighttime limit of 20, under a proposed amendment to House Bill 162.

Posted by jackhodgson at 12:38 AM

May 11, 2005

What a mess!

A Cessna 150 flew within 3 miles of the White House today. Its caused a huge security action.

The chances that this little plane could have caused any serious damage is extremely low. Yet this will probably cause huge problems for the already beleaguered, and abused, General Aviation community.

Well, as long as our government can present the appearance of protecting people, I know I'll feel safer.

Posted by jackhodgson at 01:41 PM

Mitchum Huntzberger

"...And bring a pencil. You never know when you're gonna need a pencil."

-- Mitchum Huntzberger, character on Gilmore Girls.

Posted by jackhodgson at 12:26 PM

May 10, 2005

Big Drawdown at Pawtuckaway

*At this weekend's Mother's Day gathering we were digging through boxes of old family photos. We came across these pics of Pawtuckaway Lake from a Fall back in the 70s or 80s, when they did an extreme drawdown, in order to do maintenance on the dam.

Scott has flickr'd some of the pics.

Posted by jackhodgson at 11:35 AM

May 09, 2005

Well, duh!

AP via Yahoo!News:

Gay men's brains respond differently from those of heterosexual males when exposed to a sexual stimulus, researchers have found.
Posted by jackhodgson at 08:26 PM

May 08, 2005

Survivor Palau Finale

s10logoAccording to a couple webpages, next Sunday is the finale of Survivor Palau. Mark your calendars.

Posted by jackhodgson at 10:13 AM

Time Traveller Convention Pics

SteveG attended and flickr'd some pics.


Posted by jackhodgson at 10:07 AM

Spookie's Birthday


Posted by jackhodgson at 09:57 AM

May 05, 2005

Great Blue Heron

I just saw my first Blue Heron of the season.

They've probably been around for awhile. I haven't been watching all that hard. But this is the first one I've seen.

It was flying low across the outer basin of Neals Cove, from the Park to the Lakeview Drive shore.

Posted by jackhodgson at 09:58 AM

Five Five Five

Cinco Cinco Cinco

May 5, 2005


Once upon a time, my teacher pointed out to us that it was 6/6/66. He told us how notable that was, and that it didn't happen very often. But today is better. This one is the same in binary too.


Posted by jackhodgson at 08:44 AM

May 04, 2005

One, Two, Three, Red Light!

Al's Morning Meeting reports on this USAToday article about how traffic lights could be modified to save gas and time.

Ideal management of traffic lights would cut delays by 15-20 percent, reduce travel time by up to 25 percent, cut emissions by up to 22 percent, and reduce gas consumption by up to 10 percent, according to the transportation engineers, who conducted their survey with the Federal Highway Administration and other groups. The survey estimates that improving the nation's traffic signal operations would cost about $965 million a year.
Posted by jackhodgson at 09:35 AM

My take on the Meetup group fees

I am the "Organizer" of the Boston Bloggers Meetup group. recently instituted a $20 per month charge to all Organizers as a fee for the group.

The deadline to pay the fee is May 15. I just posted my views on the fee.

Thank you to the members who posted their views on the new Meetup group charges.

Here are my thoughts:

I am very disturbed by these new fees. For two reasons.

First, the fee is excessive.

$20 a month is A LOT of money. $240 a year! Meetup has discounted this amount to encourage people to sign up, but it seems that even Meetup realized that the fee was too high, because after their first announcement they extended the duration of the lower amount. But in the final analysis, the fee is $20 a month, and in my view that is too much.

Meetup has never provided services that are worth this much. They are adding new services, and that's good, but it's still not worth $20 a month.

Second, the way the fee is structured and presented is sadly disrespectful.

I am a relatively new Organizer, so this doesn't really apply to me, but...

Meetup has become successful largely because of the work of thousands of group Organizers who have volunteered their time and efforts to make their meetups happen. Then Meetup suddenly says, "Organizers you now have to pay us $20 a month, and if you don't pay we're going to kick you out."

That's just such a sad, disappointing way to treat people who helped you.

And the puzzling part is that this seems certain to hurt Meetup. I predict that the number of leaderless groups will soar after the deadline. I don't understand their thinking on all of this.

But in any event, I am opposed to the fee, and I won't be paying it.

If anyone would like to become the Organizer of this group, please speak up. I'll hand it over. Otherwise, I'll remain as Organizer a little longer, then, as a feeble protest of this whole misguided thing, I intend to withdraw before they kick me out.

-- Jack Hodgson, Boston Bloggers Meetup Organizer

Posted by jackhodgson at 09:23 AM

May 03, 2005

Flat Joseph

My friend Jo Ann asked me to help a young friend of hers by hosting his "Flat Joseph" here in NH for awhile. Flat Joseph is part of a kids' school project called "Flat Stanley".

Here are my pics of Flat Joseph from his visit.

Kickin' Back Paddlin' Seein' the sights With the Concrete Frog

(BTW, there are (as of right now) 197 "flatstanley" pics on Flickr.)

The "report" I sent along with Flat Joseph:

Hi, my name is Jack.

Flat Joseph arrived to visit me here in New Hampshire
after his stay in Connecticut. When he first arrived
here in the late winter he was wearing some cold
weather clothes that his Connecticut hosts made for

A warm coat, mittens, hat and boots. It was smart of
Joseph to bundle up because it can be pretty cold here
in New England, especially compared to how nice the
weather usually is in his home state of California.

We had some great times during Joseph's visit. I live
on a lake here in NH, and there are many great hiking
trails nearby, so we spent a lot of time exploring the
late winter. Waiting for the snow to melt, watching
the animals return, and the trees and plant blossom.
When it got warm enough we even got a chance to go
kayaking on the lake. Joseph seemed to like that, but
he had to be especially careful about getting wet,
cause he's only made of paper, and that would be a
real mess.

Joseph also met the Concrete Frog while he was here.

The Frog has watched over the edge of our lake for
almost 30 years. He first came to the lake after a
great adventure in lands to the south, where he was
rescued from a frightening garden, and spent many
years hiding in a dark tower. But he finally reached
our lake shore where he has led a simple life here on
the lake as the seasons came and went.

While he was here Joseph and I saw a picture of his
cousin, Flat Stanley, who was visiting with some guy
named Clint Eastwood. Joseph said it was too bad that
Stanley couldn't be visiting with someone really cool,
and having all this fun in the NH woods, like he was.

Joseph is leaving now to continue his travels in the
land of Florida.

Hi, this is Jack again...

Joseph must have really enjoyed his stay here in New
Hampshire because he seems to have been waylaid on his
journey to Florida, and has returned to NH.

The weather here now is much nicer than when he was
here earlier. The spring is turning into summer. It's
almost swimming weather.

But Joseph can't stay. He must leave again and attempt
to reach Florida on his way back to his home in

Good luck Joseph.

Posted by jackhodgson at 03:45 PM

Time Traveller Convention

This saturday at MIT. I can't attend this weekend, but I plan to hop back next weekend and attend then.

From their FAQ:

I'm from the future, and I'd like to attend!

We're not sure how you're emailing us from the future, but we'd love to have you! Come as you are! No dress code whatsoever. We do request that you bring some sort of proof that you do indeed come from the future, and haven't just dressed like you do. We welcome any sort of proof, but things like a cure for AIDS or cancer, a solution for global poverty, or a cold fusion reactor would be particularly convincing as well as greatly appreciated.

Posted by jackhodgson at 01:19 PM

National Teacher Day

National Education Association:

May 3 is National Teacher Day, a day for honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives. While it does take a lot of people to make a school succeed, this day focuses on the teachers who work to make public schools great places for students to succeed in life.
Posted by jackhodgson at 01:14 PM

May 01, 2005

It's OK now!

AP via Yahoo!News:

N.J. Beach Town Repeals 30-Year Speedo Ban

CAPE MAY, N.J. - Come on in, Speedo wearers, the water's fine: Your skimpy little swimsuits are legal now. For more than 30 years, this quaint little Victorian-themed resort at the southern tip of New Jersey said no to "skintight, formfitting or bikini type" bathing attire on males over the age of 12.


Not that everyone's cheering. It's often the older guys — the ones with beer guts, or wrinkly skin, or unsightly tufts of hair — who wear the tiny swimsuits.

Posted by jackhodgson at 02:47 PM