Sunday link dump

More Ford hybrids coming

I received an e-mail newsletter from Ford yesterday. Included in it was this bit:

Ford Motor Company’s hybrid commitment expands to five models on the road in three years. Four new hybrids join the hot-selling Ford Escape Hybrid, the world’s first hybrid SUV. The expanded hybrid lineup includes:
  • Mercury Mariner Hybrid, which certified Lincoln-Mercury dealers started taking orders for this month
  • Ford Fusion Hybrid, which will be on the road in the 2008 calendar year
  • Mercury Milan Hybrid, which will be on the road in the 2008 calendar year
  • Test fleet of Mazda Tribute Hybrids this year and full-scale production in two years

Microsoft unveils new browser

IE 7 Beta has innovative new features: It combines the refresh and stop buttons at the top of the browser into ONE button. (Wait, Safari does that already.) It also shares a history drop down between the back and forward arrows. If you want to open a new tab, you have the option of clicking on a blank quarter tab.

That’s it.

There’s something there about stopping Phishers, but I doubt MS knows what they’re doing with that, let alone anyone else.

Aren’t we all impressed? Aren’t we all ready to change the way we browse the web today? Every other “innovation” is clearly copied from Firefox.

Still, it looks like a vast improvement from IE6 or 5. That’s setting the bar fairly low, though.

Reality TV update

BIG BROTHER 6: The producers must hate Kaysar by now. They had tonight pegged as the time for a “Big Reveal.” They were going to tell the house guests about the partners they all secretly have. Except, Kaysar already let the cat out of the bag over the weekend, and most of them suspected certain pairs already going back as far as week one. Now, I suppose, they’re down to telling the house guests about the big money at the end if a pair wins. Either that, or open a safe. (The house guests might need help. They’ve proven a frustrating lack of knowledge in both geography, cartography, and mathematics this week towards that goal.)

Kaysar, though, has made for great television and put the house into complete turmoil. I LOVE IT. Great TV.

My only question remains this: What did Eric ever do to James to tick him off so badly? I can’t remember this Big Lie James seems to believe Eric wronged him with. . .

I forgot to mention it last week, but was the near-porn music really necessary to underscore the relationship between Michael and Janelle in bed last week? Wow, I was waiting for the “Boom-Chakkawakka” sound effects with it.

INXS: Yes, I watched it on Tuesday night. Haven’t seen last night’s episode yet, but — well, it ain’t too bad. It’s like rock and roll American Idol, with more tattoos. It was a mixed bag of talent, with their own vernacular. However, there’s a lot to compare to American Idol in there, too. I haven’t heard anyone talk of “making a song your own” just yet, but they’re skirted around it a couple of times. I also like that the performances are taped and not live. It lets the editors hack and slash their way straight to the point of the judges’ comments. It keeps things moving at a brisk pace.

Sure, she didn’t show range, but I enjoyed “Rock the Casbah” from Daphna. Heather’s “If It Makes You Happy” did not. That was wretched. And then I felt old when hostess Brooke Burke mentioned it was a “Sheryl Crow classic.” “Classic?” Is the song old enough yet to be a classic?

Can Brooke sound more rehearsed and pained while reading the cue cards? Ryan Seacrest is a natural. Brooke is not.

Ty’s “Everybody Hurts” was good, but I don’t think it was as strong as the judges thought. I also thought he should keep his shirt buttoned. He’s not fat, but he’s not quite skinny or buff enough to pull that look off. MiG should also keep his shirt buttoned, because I was blinded by his pasty whiteness. He should also get a real name.

Brandon’s “Tempted” was flat and awful. And J.D.’s “We Are The Champions” was mostly wrong. I hope he was forced into singing the song, otherwise he’s just showing poor judgment and should be kicked off now.

The show is entertaining, and it definitely stretches the dormant AI muscles in my brain, so I might just stick with it for a couple more weeks.

I think the thing that surprises me most is how willing the performers are to admit they stunk. They’re not playing politics with the audience at home. They’re honest when they think they missed a song, and they don’t talk back to the judges, instead treating them with a modicum of respect. I suppose that since the winner has to work with the judges after the competition, it’s likely a good idea NOT to tick them off.

WORLD SERIES OF P***R: UGH, could they find a more stereotypically “Jersey” boy to put on the final table this week? UGH UGH UGH The necklace was just a little bit over the top.

Still, it was a fun final table, even if the rigid one hour format leaves little room to show anything other than the real highlights and final hands for the players. The biographical sketches are interesting, though, and the final presentation feels different from the World Poker Tour. It’s good that every show has its own approach.

Posted in TV

Pardon our appearance

Something happened overnight. I don’t know if this site has been hacked or there was some sort of network hiccup that deleted a file or what. My front page creation program was missing this morning. I’ve copied over a temp to keep things up and running, and will hopefully have things looking normal again tonight.

Thursday Link Dump

Wednesday Link Dump

New releases, 26 July 2005

From comes the list.

From Various and Sundry comes the break down.

OK, break it down:

3rd Rock From the Sun: Season One

It’s one of the funniest sit-coms of the 90s, even if it did have some off moments. Still, it’s creative and silly fun. John Lithgow was brilliant in it.

Miss Cast Away (2004)

Is this any relation to Miss Congeniality? Nope, it’s a spoof film that nobody cared about. What happened to the glory days of AIRPLANE! and NAKED GUN?

Not Another Teen Movie: Unrated Extended Director’s Cut (2001)

I’ve heard that this one is actually funny.

Remington Steele: Season One (4-disc set)

Brosnan. Pierce Brosnan. It’s the role that gave us Timothy Dalton as Bond.

Steamboy (2004)

I picked this one up already today. Looks beautiful.

The Upside of Anger (2005)

Kevin Costner stars as a washed up drunken baseball player. (No cliches there, no.) Joan Allen is the single mother of multiple girls. Together, they’re detectives! No, not really. If they were, perhaps the movie would have opened wider.

XXX: State of the Union (widescreen) (2005)

Did you miss this one in the theaters? That’s likely a good thing.

Posted in DVD

The Island has problems

The comparisons between “The Island” and “The Clonus Horror” have been made for months. Now, it seems, the creator of the original movie is going to sue.

I know the reviews have been awful for Michael Bay’s latest movie, but I still want to see it. Sometimes, you just want to shut your brain off and enjoy the spectacle, you know? I’m one of the few people in the world who didn’t hate “Armageddon” with a white hot passion. I didn’t think it was the greatest thing since “Cats,” but it was an entertaining flic that had some very clumsy plot contrivances.

“The Island” just looks like a fun popcorn movie.

Now, though, I want to dig up my tape of the MST3K edition of ‘Clonus’ before I see the new big screen release.

I better hurry it up, though, as “The Island” didn’t do very well in its opening weekend. It finished fourth. OUCH. That surprises me. It had plenty of promotion and a slick trailer or two. The thought that “Stealth” might outperform it is a bit worrisome, but I bet that would only happen because the word of mouth on “Stealth” is that it looks so bad that you have to see it.

It’s possible that there will be a big lesson learned from all this: If you’re going to rip off another movie, make sure it’s not one that’s been MiSTed first.

NYC to track Diabetes?

If my political blog had a diabetes category, I’d probably post it there, but since it doesn’t — here you go.

N.Y. Diabetes-Tracking Plan Draws Concern – Yahoo! News

A century after New York became the first American city to track people with infectious diseases as a way to halt epidemics, officials here propose a similar system to monitor people with diabetes, a non-contagious foe. Conceived after a sharp rise in diabetes deaths over the past 20 years, the plan would require medical labs to report to the city the results of a certain type of test that indicates how well individual patients are controlling their diabetes.

I think it’s a stupid idea and another invasion of privacy.

But for what it’s worth — my A1c score is 6.5 as of the beginning of July when it was last tested. Come and get me, NYC.

Tuesday Link Dump

* Mirrors … avoid mirrors, as a basic rule of your life. You get to use them once during your writing career. Save them for more experience.[…] If you haven’t read enough unpublished fiction to have met the infamous mirror scenes in which Our Hero admires his steely blue eyes and manly chin, you can scarcely imagine how bad they can get. * limpid pools and farm ponds: I don’t care what it is, if it reflects your hero and occasions a description of his manly dimple, it’s a mirror.

DVD Podcast for 26 July 2005

This is the thirtieth podcast:
Listen directly to the MP3 file (~7 minutes, ~3.3 MB)

Vote for this podcast at

Where to find release lists: DVDJournal’s release list – monthly release list

Where to find more information on these movies: Internet Movie Database

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