March 26, 2006

UConn falls

UConn was down by 4 with just a few secs to play, and that should have been it. But amazingly they came back to tie the game and force overtime.

I thought that would be enough to give them a second wind, and beat George Mason U. -- BTW, who the heck is George Mason U.?? -- and advance to the Final Four.

But they could never really get the handle in overtime, and were eliminated.

Only one of my Final Four picks remains now, UCLA. Go Bruins!

Posted by jackhodgson at 06:23 PM

March 25, 2006


The Bruins -- one of my picks -- move on to the Final Four.

Posted by jackhodgson at 09:39 PM

Top Ten Reasons Geeks Make Good Fathers Uncles

1. LEGOS. The Geek is really more of a Man-Child than an adult. In their minds, they are still 10. They freakin' still love to play with their legos, and have never grown up. I have one friend, WHO WILL REMAIN NAMELESS, that still has legos in his room. He doesn't have kids. Just legos. Of course, my children love legos and Steve will lovingly spend hours playing legos with them.


Posted by jackhodgson at 09:05 AM

Good news for bloggers

The Federal Election Committee has released their proposed regulations for use of the internet during campaigns. It could have been better, but it could have been MUCH worse.


If the regulations are approved by the FEC at its meeting on Monday, they will represent a substantial change from a far more aggressive version of the regulations seen by CNET last year. An outcry from bloggers and even members of Congress appears to have caused FEC lawyers--who are under court order to regulate the Internet--to rethink the rules and adopt a more laissez-faire approach.

Though not all the implications of the 96-page document were immediately clear, one prominent advocate of Internet free speech said the rules are preferable over what could have happened.

"They've tried to take a light hand, and it looks like they might have succeeded," Brad Smith, a former FEC chairman who teaches law at Capital University Law School...

Posted by jackhodgson at 08:59 AM

Another Apple birthday coming soon

On April 1st Apple will be thirty years old. AP has a nice bio of the company. One of my favorite lines from it:

Microsoft eventually copied the user-friendly graphical interface and licensed its Windows software to manufacturers who copied the IBM PC.
Posted by jackhodgson at 07:38 AM

March 24, 2006

Happy Birthday OS X

I almost missed this. Today was the fifth birthday of OS X. It was first released in March 2001.

Ars Technica article

This makes OS X the second longest lasting "whole number" version of the Mac OS. System 7 lasted 6 years, 2 months before it was replaced by System 8.

Posted by jackhodgson at 10:27 PM

BC Falls

It didn't seem to me that BC played very well in this game, even though they managed to hold the lead for most of the game. But Villanova began chipping away toward the end of the first half, and eventually took the lead late in the 2nd half.

To their credit, BC didn't fold when the tide turned, and they managed to end regulation time with a tie. But they could hold off the #1 seed in overtime, and lost in the final seconds on a funky inbound pass, shot, goaltending foul. Too many fouls, turnovers, and missed rebounds. Maybe next year.

That's two down on my FF picks. Next UConn plays.

UPDATE: UConn won, so now two of my four pics are still in: UCLA and UConn.

Posted by jackhodgson at 10:02 PM

My boys at UCLA pull one out

I missed most of last night's March Madness game between Gonzaga and my final four pick, UCLA. UCLA was down by one point with about 20 seconds to play. The Bruins had apparently been behind for the whole game, once by as much as 17 points.

They were into that final-seconds-struggle-to-stay-alive-hoping-for-a-miracle thing that you see in lots of b-ball games. With like 10 secs left UCLA lost possession to Gonzaga and it seemed like it was all over.

Then UCLA stole the ball and made a basket to go ahead by one, for the first time in the game.

With only a few secs left, Gonzaga tried a long pass down the length of the court for a quick basket to retake the lead. The ball bounced off the backboard, missing the basket. UCLA wins. They are now into the "Elite Eight".

My Dad has never liked basketball. He says that most of a basketball game is irrelevant, and that the only part that matters is the final 60 seconds. He's right.

My other two surviving FF picks, BC and UConn, play tonight.

Posted by jackhodgson at 10:01 AM

Bush's Law

From today's Boston Globe:

When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.
Posted by jackhodgson at 09:46 AM

March 20, 2006

Cold, Damn Cold, and Downtown Boston

I was in downtown Boston this morning on some family business, and though the temp was "up" in the high 20s, it felt REALLY COLD. Wind-chill off of the Charles River made it the coldest I've felt all winter.


Posted by jackhodgson at 06:43 PM

Another one bites the dust.

redsoxcirc100The Redsox today traded pitcher Bronson Arroyo to Cincinnati for Outfielder Wily Mo Pena. This reduces the remaining members of the world championship team to 10.

Tim Wakefield (1995)
Trot Nixon (1996)
Jason Varitek (1997)
Manny Ramirez (2001)
David Ortiz (2003)
Mike Timlin (2003)
Curt Schilling (2004)
Lenny DiNardo (2004)
Kevin Youkilis (2004)
Keith Foulke (2004)

(in parens, the year they joined the Redsox)

AP story, via Yahoo!

Posted by jackhodgson at 03:43 PM

March 19, 2006

Madness Update

Three of my four made it into the Sweet16: Boston College, Connecticut, and UCLA. Sadly, as Sherm predicted, Cal didn't make it past the first round.

Posted by jackhodgson at 04:51 PM

Dementia Test

My apologies for this.

My friend, the infamous "L", showed me this last night. I failed miserably. Then it came in email from my sister. You may have gotten it already, if not, have fun.

Dementia test

Below are four (4) questions and a bonus question.

You have to answer them instantly. You can't take your
time; answer all of them immediately.


Let's find out just how clever you really are.

Ready? GO!!! (scroll down)

First Question:

You are participating in a race. You overtake the
second person. What position are you in?

Answer: If you answered that you are first, then you
are absolutely wrong!

If you overtake the second person and you take his
place, you are second!

Try not to screw up in the next question.

To answer the second question, don't take as much time
as you took for the first question.

Second Question:

If you overtake the last person, then you are...?

Answer: If you answered that you are second to last,
then you are wrong again. Tell me, how can you overtake
the LAST Person?

You're not very good at this! Are you?

Third Question:

Very tricky math! Note: This must be done in your head

Do NOT use paper and pencil or a calculator. Try it.

Take 1000 and add 40 to it. Now add another 1000. Now
add 30. Add another 1000. Now add 20. Now add another
1000 Now add 10. What is the total?

Scroll down for answer

Did you get 5000?

The correct answer is actually 4100.

Don't believe it? Check with your calculator! Today is
definitely not your day. Maybe you will get the last
question right?

Fourth Question:

Mary's father has five daughters: 1. Nana, 2. Nene, 3.
Nini, 4. Nono.

What is the name of the fifth daughter?

Answer: Nunu?

NO! Of course not.

Her name is Mary. Read the question again

Okay, now the bonus round:

There is a mute person who wants to buy a toothbrush.
By imitating  the action of brushing one's teeth he
successfully expresses himself to the shopkeeper and
the purchase is done.

Now if there is a blind man who wishes to buy a pair of
sunglasses, how should he express himself?

He just has to open his mouth and ask, so simple.
Posted by jackhodgson at 12:59 PM

March 17, 2006

USA Out of WBC

The USA Team was eliminated from the World Baseball Classic yesterday. It was only a matter of time, the team seemed to be lacking something, and was destined to be eliminated eventually. Too bad.

I think this reveals the big flaw in the WBC idea. I would propose that in the future the tournament be limited to players who are not already part of Major League Baseball. It should be a showcase for players from around the world who are not in the Majors.

The MLB players are always gonna be under-represented cause they are not really motivated to participate. There's the risk of getting injured, and they don't really need the exposure. And the fact that so many players stay away, keeps it from ever being the "World's Championship" which would make it appealing to all.

It's really just a World Minor League Tournament. So emphasize this aspect of it.

Posted by jackhodgson at 10:38 AM

March 14, 2006

Ice-Out 2006

The Ice-Out guessing contest is underway here at Pawtuckaway Lake.

Posted by jackhodgson at 03:56 PM

My vote

Today is "election day" here in Nottingham NH. I'm keeping most of my ballot a secret, but I'm proud to declare that I voted to approve the new Teachers' Contract.

I voted for the teachers' contract

Posted by jackhodgson at 03:49 PM

March 13, 2006

It's MADNESS time again!

Long-time etc. readers know that the only time of year when I have any interest in basketball is during the annual NCAA college basketball tournament: March Madness.

It looks like favorites (mine, not the general public's) Cal and UCLA will be playing each other this year in the Final Four. Cool!

Local Teams Connecticut and Boston College will apparently be the other FF pairing.

As you can see, I know a lot about college b-ball.

Posted by jackhodgson at 11:32 AM

March 11, 2006

Global Warming, NOT!

Was it really 37 degrees in Oakland California this morning! It was 50 here!

Posted by jackhodgson at 10:12 AM

March 10, 2006


The USA team, in the World Baseball Classic, avoided elimination yesterday when Mexico whipped Canada by a score of 9-1.

It's best not to think too hard about the fact that, the USA team was beaten by Canada, and then Canada was badly beaten by Mexico.

Today USA plays South Africa.

Posted by jackhodgson at 11:58 AM

March 09, 2006

Canadian Surprise

In the World Baseball Classic yesterday The USA team was beaten by the Canadians. A little embarrassing.

A couple of things to note...

A big part of what helped the Canadians get and hold the lead was the excellent play by Redsox player Adam Stern. He hit an inside the park homer, and made two outstanding catches to prevent runs.

On the US side, the gap was narrowed by a grand slam homerun by Redsox captain catcher Jason Varitek.

The bad news is that the loss puts the highly favored US team in the position of possibly being eliminated today without even playing their next game. If Mexico wins, with a couple of particular final scores, the US team will be mathematically eliminated.

Posted by jackhodgson at 03:55 PM

March 07, 2006

Get Smarter


Doing 'brain exercises' such as watching Countdown, playing Sudoku or taking a shower with your eyes closed can make us all up to 40 per cent cleverer within seven days, according to research by a BBC programme this week.

read the whole Guardian Unlimited article

Posted by jackhodgson at 07:56 PM

Live Action Simpsons Promo

Etcetera pal Sherman points us to this really cool live action re-enactment of the Simpsons title sequence.

Posted by jackhodgson at 04:13 PM

March 06, 2006

Updated Redsox Spring Broadcast Schedule

redsoxcirc100Here's an update which includes radio and cable.

Thu Mar 2 7:05p WEEI
Fri Mar 3 7:05p WEEI
Sun Mar 5 1:05p WEEI

Fri Mar 10 1:05p WEEI
Sat Mar 11 1:05p WEEI
Sun Mar 12 1:05p WEEI NESN

Fri Mar 17 1:05p WEEI
Sat Mar 18 1:05p WEEI
Sun Mar 19 1:05p WEEI NESN

Wed Mar 22 7:05p WEEI NESN
Thu Mar 23 1 pm ESPN2
Sat Mar 25 1:05p WEEI NESN
Sun Mar 26 1:05p WEEI NESN

Tue Mar 28 6:05p WEEI
Wed Mar 29 1 pm ESPN
Thu Mar 30 1 pm ESPN
Sat Apr 1 1:05p WEEI NESN
Sun Apr 2 1:05p WEEI NESN

Posted by jackhodgson at 06:55 PM

Spaghetti Bridge

Spaghetti BridgeOver the weekend H was working on a school project to build a bridge out of spaghetti. It looked like fun so I made one too. Her's was better.

UPDATE: The picture is of my bridge.

Posted by jackhodgson at 06:11 PM

Oscar Buzz II

I just caught Jon Stewart on Oprah (don't ask, it was a serendipitous thing).

I thought he would be contrite, like, "oh my god it was a disaster." But no.

Oprah opened by saying he had done a great job, and he genuinely seemed to think it was OK. He accepted her praise, and didn't try to temper it at all.

Admittedly I didn't see it, but the reports I've seen are all mixed to negative. Maybe they were wrong.

One thing that WAS clear, that he was obviously exhausted.

Posted by jackhodgson at 04:27 PM

Oscar buzz

The day-after buzz for the Oscars seems to be focussing on two subjects: The Best Pic upset, and Jon Stewart's performance as host.

I don't see as many movies as in the old days. I haven't seen any of the Best Pic noms.

I know that the "gay cowboy" movie, Brokeback Mountain was supposed to win, and many people are saying that Crash was a good choice too. But here's what I want to know. One report this morning described Brokeback as being about sheep herders. Sheep herders are not "cowboys"! But then I guess that "gay shepherds" doesn't create the kind of buzz they were looking for.

And as for Jon Stewart. I was afraid from the start that he was a bad choice. Stewart is a master of what he does with the Daily Show. But the Oscars are just too "big" for his kind of humor, and persona. I thought he might well fail for the same reason that Letterman failed.

The reviews for Stewart are not as bad as they were for Letterman. But they're not great. Many commentators are savaging him. Even his supporters are describing it as uneven.

It will be interesting to hear his comments when he returns to his regular show. Tonight? Tomorrow for sure.

Posted by jackhodgson at 10:36 AM

Brown truly a scapegoat

I've recently been getting the feeling that former FEMA head Michael Brown, who was fired soon after the Katrina disaster, may not have been the baddest of the bad guys in this whole thing. More and more continues to come out that the true failure was at the very highest levels.

This from Talking Points Memo a couple days ago:

Following up on yesterday's post about Michael "Brownie" Brown, former head of FEMA, I've been getting emails from folks on the inside at FEMA, people who worked with him and observed him firsthand when he was leading the agency.

The verdict seems pretty clear: None of them thought he was qualified for the position. But each also had the clear impression that he took his job seriously, learned a lot while he was there and -- perhaps most importantly -- was a big improvement over Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's fixer whom he succeeded as head of the agency.

Posted by jackhodgson at 08:26 AM

March 04, 2006

Redsox Spring TV Games

redsoxcirc100NESN TV Schedule for Spring Training:

Sun Mar 12 1pm
Sun Mar 19 1pm
Wed Mar 22 7pm
Sat Mar 25 1pm
Sun Mar 26 1pm
Sat Apr 1 1pm
Sun Apr 2 1pm

Posted by jackhodgson at 02:29 PM

March 03, 2006

Survivor: Exile Island -- Episode #5

Bobby saves Bruce, twice.

Possible spoilers ahead...

Sally's feeling pretty good about not getting voted off. Hubris?

Miyake Bruce's Zen Rock Garden.

Aras feels like the grownup in his tribe. And it all annoys him. He want to go to Exile Island for some peace.

Fish Toss Reward.

Bruce can't hack off the head. I wonder how he does breaking bricks?

BTW, dropping the fish in the sand once is a help, I think. The sand makes it less slippery, and easier to catch.

Bobby takes over for Bruce, and is really good at chopping off fish heads. Saves the day for the tribe.

Casaya wins by a nose... by a fish head?

Terry sent to Exile Isl, again.

Casaya camp flooded when they return. They can't start a fire (why not?) so they decide to eat the fish raw. The episode preview showed people getting sick. I wondered if it was because they ate the raw fish.

But no. The ones who got sick are the La Minas who ate the consolation prize beans. Nick and Austin. Too much gas?

Back at Casaya, Bruce and Bobby bond overnite in the crapper with a bottle of wine. They make a pact, "I will never vote you out."

But the next morning the rest of the tribe are annoyed that they drank the last bottle of wine. Courtney gets all over Bobby about this.

Four Coffins Immunity challenge.

Dan bangs his head on the bottom of a boat... Weird puzzle... La Mina finally wins one.

Back at camp Shane realizes that Bobby is a danger, that he will flip when they merge. But Aras talks him out of it.

Shane goes to Bobby, tells him he's in danger, and makes him promise to vote for Bruce. Shane makes Bobby swear on Shane's kid, which is really weird. Shane seems to take this oath very seriously, but why should it mean all that much to Bobby? Bobby is reluctant to swear, but eventually does. They agree.

But back at camp, the women have come to their sense and realize Shane was right, that Bobby should go. But Shane is trapped. He's now promised Bobby he won't vote for him.

Shane is very high maintenance. But I sympathize with him here. He seems to want to be honorable here and he's trapped. It was way stupid to go to Bobby.

Tribal Council.

It's Bruce's first TC!... More lecturing from Aras. How has he lasted this long?... Bobby and Bruce take a beating during the TC discussion.

Shane while voting: "This is a throw away vote. Trying to make my vote go away." Did he vote for Aras?... Yes.

The vote was 3-2-1-1. This was the most fragmented vote in a long, long time.

(Tribe trivia: There is only one of the original Casayas left on the Casaya Tribe.)

Original Tribes Scoreboard
Casaya, Older Women -- 1
La Mina, Older Men -- 4
Bayonetta, Younger Women -- 3
Viveros, Younger Men -- 3


Casaya "Older Women"
Bruce, Karate & Art Teacher, 58 (was La Mina)
Cirie, Nurse, 35 (was Casaya)
Courtney, Performance Artist, 31 (was Bayoneta)
Shane, Entertainment Marketing, 25 (was La Mina)
Danielle, Medical Sales, 24 (was Bayoneta)
Aras, Yoga Instr., 24 (was Viveros)

La Mina "Older Men"
Dan, Astronaut, 52 (was La Mina)
Terry, Airline/Fighter Pilot, 46 (was La Mina)
Sally, Social Worker, 27 (was Bayoneta)
Nick, Financial Sales, 25 (was Viveros)
Austin, Author, 24 (was Viveros)

Won Reward
1. La Mina, Viveros, & Casaya
2. La Mina
3. La Mina
4. Casaya
5. Casaya

Won Immunity
1. La Mina, Viveros, & Bayoneta
2. La Mina
3. Casaya
4. Casaya
5. La Mina

Banished to Exile Island
1. Misty
2. Bruce
3. Bruce
4. Terry*
5. Terry

* Found idol

Voted Off
1. Tina, "Lumber Jill", 45, Casaya Tribe
2. Melinda, Singer, 32, Casaya Tribe (was Casaya)
3. Misty, Engineer, 24, La Mina Tribe (was Bayoneta)
4. Ruth Marie, Retail Leasing, 48, La Mina (was Casaya)
5. Bobby, Attorney, 32, Casaya (was Viveros)

Posted by jackhodgson at 11:42 AM

Sarah Vowell quote

The thing about the current President is how he keeps opening up new possibilities for us.

You know, like, I talk about going to his inauguration, and standing there and crying when he took the oath, 'cause I was so afraid that he would wreck the economy and muck up the drinking water.

The failure of my pessimistic imagination, at that moment, boggles my mind now.

Sarah Vowell, author of Assasination Vacation, on a recent Daily Show

Posted by jackhodgson at 10:45 AM

March 02, 2006

I'm in no danger from this one... but...

So this guy decides that the responsible thing to do is to pay off a big hunk of his credit card debt. Bad idea.

They were told, as they moved up the managerial ladder at the call center, that the amount they had sent in was much larger than their normal monthly payment. And if the increase hits a certain percentage higher than that normal payment, Homeland Security has to be notified. And the money doesn't move until the threat alert is lifted.

Scripps Howard News Service story.

Posted by jackhodgson at 05:01 PM

A good beginning

redsoxcirc100It's only the first game of spring training, and it really doesn't mean anything, but there's satisfaction in the fact that the NY Yankees lost their first spring game today. 6-3 against Philadelphia.

Posted by jackhodgson at 04:26 PM

AOL email postage system flawed

AOL, and some other large services, are planning to start giving bulk emailer the ability to pay for access to users' email inboxes. Pay a fee, starting at 1/4 cent, and your email will bypass the AOL spam filters and appear in the inbox with a blue banner.

[There's been plenty of stories about this. Here's a random one, from Newsday, that I came across this morning.]

The theory is that this will help users to distinguish legitimate bulk mail. And make it easier to identify real spam.

I don't have an AOL account so this doesn't apply to me (yet!), but it seems that this isn't all that useful to the mail recipient, because you still have to scan all the non-flagged emails to find the ones that are from friends. Do they expect users to automatically trash all non-flagged emails? That's crazy.

The real "test" of the system will come when spammers figure out -- and make no mistake, they will figure it out -- how to spoof the "i'm a good email" banner, and masquerade as "good" email.

We need to make some fundamental changes to the way email works, but this isn't part of the right way to do it.

Posted by jackhodgson at 06:34 AM

March 01, 2006

Protest David

This is one of the greatest pieces of art ever.

Posted by jackhodgson at 06:11 PM

"Ether", consulting-by-phone service

This is intriguing. It will either be a huge success, or a dismal failure. No inbetween.

Here's how TechCrunch describes it:

Tonight at midnight the doors open (to beta testers) at Ether, the new super-stealth startup that is wholly-owned by the pay-per-call folks at Ingenio.

The concept of Ether is straightforward, but it has a massive back end infrastructure (thankfully Ingenio already had it built). They call it an “ebay for services”, allowing people to charge for advice over the phone (and by email - more on that below).

Posted by jackhodgson at 08:27 AM