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Memorial Day Project

Ready to Pour by Josh Poulson

Concrete Pour by Josh Poulson

Concrete Pour Protected From Rain by Josh Poulson

Today, while working from home, we also did a concrete pour to increase our patio. Unfortunately we are experiencing showers which makes it hard to finish concrete.

Update: Changed the title to “Memorial Day Project” as the old title was misleading.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Pictures” Tuesday, May 31 2005 12:58 PM  |  Permalink  |  5 comments  |  No trackbacks

Feline Friday

Dust Bunny by Josh Poulson

Dust Bunny in the middle of a construction project.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Pictures” Friday, May 27 2005 06:51 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  1 trackback

Team Building on Dog Mountain

Today the team skipped work and charged up Dog Mountain for a little team-building…

Team Building on Dog Mountain by Josh Poulson

Dog Mountain by Josh Poulson

Dog Mountain by Josh Poulson

Dog Mountain by Josh Poulson

Dog Mountain by Josh Poulson

Dog Mountain by Josh Poulson

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Pictures” Thursday, May 26 2005 08:36 PM  |  Permalink  |  6 comments  |  No trackbacks

Big Sky Audio

Before I moved to Oregon in 1995 I helped build a studio in Springfield, Pennsylvania named “Big Sky Audio.”

A few weeks ago ago Drew Raison sent me some pictures of the place that would be good to share.

There's some pretty big main speakers behind those screens on either side of the window. The glass in that window was quite thick, half inch on one side and three quarter on the other. The thick glass laid at angles to each other helped deaden the sound between the control room and the studio.

That little bench/step thing on the side also houses a cable run. There are a lot of balanced lines to run in a big studio.

These two shots on either side of the airlock don't show how thick and heavy the door is. It's hung on piano hinges and has layers of sheet rock and other heavy material to reduce its ability to transmit sound.

The studio is spacious and has several isolated rooms, this shot was from the door of one of the rooms into the main studio. You can see the other side of the glass in the control room here, too.

These shots bring back memories of crawling through the ceiling, pulling cable and laying insulation.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Pictures” Monday, May 23 2005 04:39 PM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  No trackbacks

Review: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

Yes, people already gathered that I was disappointed, but I needed to write down (or rant) a few more thoughts. Take what I write with a grain of salt. I didn't like Willow very much either.

I loved the original Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back; I felt a little burned by the lazy Return of the Jedi; and I thought the prequels were more advertising for Industrial Light and Magic than they were movies. Many people have postulated that George Lucas has lost the fire in his belly for directing. I don't think so. I think George Lucas loves art directing in terms of special effects.

But Episodes I, II and III were not just art, they were movies about people and I think all of us that watched Ep III Saturday night were disappointed because the people were two-dimensional, unsurprising and driven to their conclusions by fate. (Recall that the musical theme of the big fights in the prequels was titled “Duel of the Fates.”) Where's a character as compelling as any in the original trilogy? Obi-Wan, perhaps, Palpatine, sure, but who else?

To me, the difference between fate and free will is the difference between fantasy and science fiction. When Anakin was fated to be a Jedi by blood in Episode I it was no different to me than any of the three billion Disney Princess stories: you're born into greatness, you don't earn it. This clashes with my world view. I was far happier with the Atlas Shrugged undertones of The Incredibles than the great train wreck of Darth Vader's life.

Prophecy, destiny, the will to power and noble blood run through the Jedi in these stories, and it makes them into snotty, arrogant blue bloods. They deserved Darth Vader bringing them into balance by wiping them out. The only things truly interesting in this series were the Emperor's back-story and the magnificent fighting of a real martial artist in the first prequel.

This movie had excellent special effects, but all my criticisms from May 20th still hold. A commenter to that post said that it had a time-proven plot that appealed to kids. What plot is that? Evil sometimes wins because good is stupid? Fall in love and destroy the universe? I think kids would prefer a lecture on Aristotle's four virtues (prudence, justice, courage and temperance) than see this treatment of essentially the same material.

At least now we know that people who get wrinkles are drawing on the dark side of the force.

Do the prequels change the original trilogy for me? Perhaps a little, but not in a positive way. Sure, plot holes were sewn up handily as Episode III progressed, but what happened to little things, like R2D2's thrusters? How does Darth Vader know he's Luke's father but doesn't recognize his own droids, one of which he built himself and the other which kept his fighter working all the time? How does he not recognize Leia's hairstyle as a retro look his own wife sported for at least a minute of screen time, and therefore surmise that someone with such an odd sense of style had to be his daughter?

The mysteries of the original series are now horribly disfigured. Now we no longer wonder if Yoda could kick butt if he wanted to. Now we instead wonder what's going on in Chewbacca's mind as he knows a heck of a lot more than he is saying.

I was neither happy nor unhappy with this movie. I'm not going to go see it again in the theater. I probably will buy the DVD when it comes out. I suspect that if Lucas wanted to make some money, he could completely redo the original special effects in digital. Those stories, in their original form, are far more interesting than these last three.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Review” Monday, May 23 2005 03:56 PM  |  Permalink  |  3 comments  |  No trackbacks

School Is Nearly Over For This Quarter

I got confirmation of my final paper for MST 523, and I only have half a book to read, some discussion and a giant paper to write tonight for MST 520. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel before I dive into next quarter.

June 20th isn't that far away, though… and that's when I start up again for the summer.

What is especially happy for me is that I have completed all my requirements to earn a Certificate in Management in Science and Technology with this quarter. The Masters degree isn't complete for three more quarters. I don't quite see the light at the end of that tunnel yet, but I can smell fresh air.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “School” Monday, May 23 2005 03:53 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

$50M on Opening Day

The latest Star Wars grossed $50M on opening day. We all wish we could do so well with wooden acting, poor dialogue, a plot known in advance but amazing special effects.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Friday, May 20 2005 12:24 PM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  No trackbacks

Feline Friday

Katherine's Cat by Josh Poulson

The cat of the Hanna Family, although it managed to escape eventually. Evil red eyes are due to the fact that the picture was taken on Halloween.

It is the same papa-san as the unicorn picture with my own Atticus.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Pictures” Friday, May 20 2005 07:33 AM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  1 trackback

Photo Friday

For Photo Friday.

Ryan with Green Goo by Josh Poulson

This week's Photo Friday theme is “Green.”

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Pictures” Friday, May 20 2005 07:22 AM  |  Permalink  |  4 comments  |  No trackbacks

25th Anniversary of Mt. St. Helens Eruption

May 18th 1980 Eruption of Mt. St. Helens, USGS

25 years ago today a 5.1 magnitude earthquake caused a massive slide of material off the north side of Mt. St. Helens releasing a tumult of pyroclastic flows and ash that devastated 150 square miles of beautiful Washington wilderness.

I live a little over forty miles from Mt. St. Helens now, but when it blew it's top I lived in Fairbanks, Alaska. I missed out on the ash that covered everything out here. I also missed out on the beautiful red sunsets that the midwest enjoyed.

May 18th sticks in my mind as well because May 18, 1995 was also the infamous “Day 10,000” for Pick-based databases. At the time I worked for ADP Dealer Services, which used Pick databases for its turnkey systems for car dealerships. I was part of a cross-functional team that found and corrected any Day 10000 problems in our products (it turns out there weren't many). This was a dry run at Y2K problems later on.

I've been up to visit Mt. St. Helens since I moved here, including the eerie Ape Caves lava tube on the south side of the mountain and the tourist traps on the north side. It's worth taking a look if you're visiting the Portland area.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, May 18 2005 09:25 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Lileks Bleats at Star Trek

Over at Lileks' Bleats James Lileks opines about all thinks Star Trek combined with an analysis of the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. his analysis is enough to make me consider actually watching the series. I gave up on the modern TV series somewhere in the middle of the third season of Star Trek: Voyager and only watched the last couple of seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on DVD.

Misty is as much of a fan as I am of the series, but had never really seen it end-to-end like I did by buying all of the DVDs and watching the shows in order. There are some episodes that are not on syndication. There are definitely some that shouldn't be.

There's a lot of funny moments in his bleat so go read the whole thing, but only if you are a Trek fan. Otherwise much of the humor will go over your head.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, May 16 2005 03:58 PM  |  Permalink  |  4 comments  |  No trackbacks

Carnival of the Cats

The Carnival of the Cats is posted at Aptenobytes. This carnival has thumbnails of every cat. That's a lot of work!

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, May 16 2005 03:31 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Barry Poulson, JD

Barry Poulson

Today my father graduates from Ave Maria School of Law.

Congratulations Dad!

(Now on to the bar exam…)

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Sunday, May 15 2005 10:07 AM  |  Permalink  |  3 comments  |  No trackbacks

Mr Know It All?

I drew a link and a reciprocal offer from Mr Know It All today. The site appears to be a link collection like Yahoo.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Saturday, May 14 2005 11:07 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Photo Friday

For Photo Friday

Misty in a lava tube by Josh Poulson, 7/16/2004

This week's Photo Friday theme is “Space.”

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Pictures” Friday, May 13 2005 01:18 PM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Bonus Fowl




Ever wonder what happened to those baby chicks I posted here before? Now they're grown up and out of the house. Of course the other chickens are giants to them, but they are fitting in well.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Pictures” Friday, May 13 2005 12:33 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  1 trackback

Feline Friday

Sleeping Atticus by Josh Poulson

Atticus liked to sleep.

Last night we were visited by a cat that seemed to be curious about the chickens. Bingo chased it up a tree but I didn't get a picture. At the time we thought Bingo had treed a racoon… we had to drag her away to figure it out. The cat was wild and once it made it to the ground ran off with amazing speed. You have to be fast around here to beat the coyotes.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Pictures” Friday, May 13 2005 07:51 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  3 trackbacks

Fowl Friday

Three Peacocks in the Grand Rapids Zoo by Josh Poulson

Last Summer when the family visited the grandparents in Michigan we went to the Zoo. I have a lot of interesting pictures from the trip that I should post, but I was particularly fond of this one.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Pictures” Friday, May 13 2005 07:42 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  1 trackback


Instapundit points us to Blog O'Stuff reminding us that twenty years ago today Mayor Wilson B. Goode decided the best way to deal with barricaded MOVE activists was to drop a satchel charge from a helicopter to the top of their makeshift fort in Philadelphia. The resulting fire destroyed two city blocks (61 homes) as firefighters were kept at bay by the surviving MOVE residents shooting at firemen. Eleven people were killed, including five children. The names John and Ramona Africa were on the news for months after that, although Ramona was the only adult to survive.

No members of the police department, fire department, or Mayor Goode's administration were ever prosecuted. Wilson Goode went on to win reelection two years later.

I lived in nearby Media, Pennsylvania at the time, finishing my junior year at Penncrest High School. I remember the flurry of activity and I also remember being shocked that Mayor Goode won reelection two years later. I guess it was an early lesson in government excess. While it's not okay to be a violent to your neighbors, I'm pretty sure getting bombed because you barricaded yourself in and starting shooting at anything that moved is pushing it.

The theory of using the satchel charge was to breach the fort so police could use tear gas on the militants, but no one involved seemed to understand that the satchel charge was way too big for the purpose. (There is no standard on satchel charges since it's just a bag of explosives lit with a fuse.)

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Friday, May 13 2005 07:23 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Border Patrol Covering Up Effectiveness of Minutemen

Quite the story in the Washington Times tonight:

U.S. Border Patrol agents have been ordered not to arrest illegal aliens along the section of the Arizona border where protesters patrolled last month because an increase in apprehensions there would prove the effectiveness of Minuteman volunteers, The Washington Times has learned.
More than a dozen agents, all of whom asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, said orders relayed by Border Patrol supervisors at the Naco, Ariz., station made it clear that arrests were “not to go up” along the 23-mile section of border that the volunteers monitored to protest illegal immigration.

If true, this is amazing. The law enforcement officers of the Federal Government have been asked not to do their job better because it would validate the efforts of motivated volunteers! The official denial:

Border Patrol Chief David V. Aguilar at the agency's Washington headquarters called the accusations “outright wrong,” saying that supervisors at the Naco station had not blocked agents from making arrests and that the station's 350 agents were being “supported in carrying out” their duties.

Also, an official explanation of previous statistics:

During the Minuteman vigil, Border Patrol supervisors in Arizona discounted their efforts, saying a drop in apprehensions during their protest was because of the Mexican government's deployment of military and police south of the targeted area and a new federal program known as the Arizona Border Control Initiative that brought manpower increases to the state.

I'm not sure what to think of the Minuteman group myself. I'm one that believes in open borders, but I have to agree that we have immigration law here because people take advantage of our luxurious social programs. If we have to support the programs, then I suppose it follows that we have to limit the number of people that can just come here and become citizens. This was my opinion before 9/11.

After 9/11 I feel that it's easy to spot criminal activity is a sea of legal activity than it is to spot terrorists amongst a bunch of lawbreakers.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, May 12 2005 10:06 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

The Boy King

Face of King Tut recreated by Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities

Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities has worked with CT scans to recreate what King Tutankhamun's face would have looked like when he was alive:

Three teams of forensic artists and scientists—from France, the United States and Egypt—each built a model of the boy pharaoh's face based on some 1,700 high-resolution photos from CT scans of his mummy to reveal what he looked like the day he died nearly 3,300 years ago.

This is the first time this technique has been used to reconstruct the likeness of a mummy:

The CT scans—the first done on an Egyptian mummy—have suggested King Tut was a healthy, yet slightly built 19-year-old, standing 5 feet, 6 inches tall at the time of his death.

At least I was taller than the king of the world 3,300 years ago. It also looks like there's a new theory as to why the boy king died:

Some experts on the scanning team said it appeared Tut broke his left thigh severely—puncturing his skin—just days before his death, and the break could have caused an infection.

This is hardly the first, or the last, time someone was endangered by a skin break. I acquired cellulitis a few years ago and didn't realize I had a problem until I was in danger of going septic. Three thousand years ago they didn't have antibiotics, and it took over a month of antibiotics to bring me back from the brink.

I'm looking forward to more reconstructed pharohs in the future.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, May 11 2005 08:36 AM  |  Permalink  |  9 comments  |  No trackbacks

John Hawkins's 25 Pieces of Advice for Bloggers

John Hawkins has posted “25 Pieces of Advice for Bloggers” over at Right Wing News. My favorite is #10:

If you're going to talk about something that everybody else in the blogosphere seems to be talking about, at least try to say something original about it. If you sound just like everybody else, why should anyone come back?

So what's my advice? Learn how to use “cite” and “title” tags, which give relevant information to search engines. Since these are so poorly used on the net a little bit of work can go a long way.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Blogging” Tuesday, May 10 2005 08:59 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Has the Enterprise Software Market Matured?

BusinessWeek includes pieces from S&P sometimes, today they had a item about mergers in the software industry. What I found more interesting, though, was their forward-looking predictions. According to Standard & Poor's, there are too many players trying to sell into the enterprise software market:

In our opinion, there was, and still is, too much capacity in the industry, particularly in enterprise software. This overcapacity has created a great deal of pressure, in our view, for enterprise software providers to discount their products, particularly at the end of any given quarter.

As a result, customers are turning to suites:

Additional reasons for further consolidation, in our view, are that the software industry is growing in the low- to mid-single digits, as opposed to the double-digit growth of the 1990s, and customers are starting to limit the number of outside vendors they deal with. In this environment, we believe the larger suite providers are better positioned to gain market share.

That's an interesting observation. When such things happen it's because the market has become saturated and buyers are treating such products as commodities. While it may be the case that ERP tools are commodities, the recent experiences I've had in my New Product Development course lead me to believe there are still things to be done in the PDM space.

My recent experiences with PeopleSoft tools make me wonder how those guys are still in business. IBM and Intel use their tools for job searching, and they stink! If that's the general public face of PeopleSoft they are not long for the world.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Business” Monday, May 9 2005 10:08 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Carnival of the Cats #59 is up

Carnival of the Cats #59 is up at Conservative Cat. My Dust Bunny picture from Friday is linked. Apparently they think I'm a punster, although I haven't been as funny lately.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, May 9 2005 08:51 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Google Web Accelerator Problems

Google's Web Accelerator, now a closed beta, apparemtly caused problems for a bunch of people recently. The folks over at Geek News Central are upset:

Well you all stepped in a big pile of Horse dung and the flies are following you into the house. Your introduction of WebAccelerator is costing me time, money and valuable statistical data. Where do I sent the bill.

The folks at 37signals are also annoyed:

The accelerator scours a page and prefetches the content behind each link. This gives the illusion of pages loading faster (since they’ve already been pre-loaded behind the scenes). Here’s the problem: Google is essentially clicking every link on the page—including links like “delete this” or “cancel that.” And to make matters worse, Google ignores the Javascript confirmations. So, if you have a “Are you sure you want to delete this?” Javascript confirmation behind that “delete” link, Google ignores it and performs the action anyway.

While there is some debate over the technical merits of whether actions that change the state of things should be done with GET versus POST commands in the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) side of the house, that's besides the point. Other webcrawlers, including Google's own search engine, don't have this problem because they don't surf with the permissions of a trusted user. When someone surfs with Web Accelerator every GET link on their VISA card's web page is surfed while they check their balance and make a web payment.

Most forms are done with POST but what are the chances that someone just used a GET for something simple? Do you want to take that chance?

Google now has a lot of work to do to regain trust from a lot of influencers in the web application side of the world.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Blogging” Sunday, May 8 2005 08:11 AM  |  Permalink  |  3 comments  |  No trackbacks

Media Failures

Richard Miniter has a cute piece on what he calls “Media Failures” on his blog. He highlight three kinds of bias: story, location and source.

We're all familiar with story bias. For example, shark bites and firearms accidents are reported well out of proportion with the number of incidents compared to, say, child drownings and deaths caused by incorrect prescriptions. Miniter applies this idea to Iraq:

The press rightly covers the so-called insurgency's bomb attacks. (No one calls them what they are: anti-democratic terrorists.) But they do not prominently cover the American military's many counter-attacks.

He attributes some of the story bias on location bias: the reporters are simply not where they can see the American successes anymore.

It is no accident that the general tone of the coverage changed when the major newspapers and networks stopped participating in the “embed” program. (The embed program is not dead; a U. S. Army Ranger officer told me in Baghdad that the military is actually begging journalists to participate.)

Location bias happens elsewhere, too. How many times have you seen a story about something you know about but the reporter was too lazy to come down to the scene and figure things out? Location bias can cause factual and continuity errors in journalistic reporting, far worse than seeing a movie shot in a location you know well. Portland-area moviegoers laugh at Short Circuit where the intrepid Number Five watches the sun rise over the Pacific Ocean in Astoria, but how often do we laugh at the press when they can't get basic geography right?

Location goes beyond geography, of course, but the point is that journalists report about things where they are, and not where they aren't.

The last bias Miniter covers is towards sources:

Many networks use “fixers,” Arabic speakers who bring local officials and community leaders to be interviewed (either “on background” or on the record). For better or worse, these fixers essentially decide who is interviewed.

The Press folks I run into keep a stable of experts on a variety of subjects they go to again and again. Anti-gun activists are particularly good at getting their own people installed as experts on firearms legislation so they can spin events in their favor. When I go to the Press with my credentials (NRA Training Counselor, a person that trains and recommends firearms instructors for certification) they ignore me as a “pro-gun activist.” Yet, I have more real knowledge of firearms, firearms instruction, and firearms effects than your typical Brady Center zealot.

In Iraq, people who should be heard are also ignored:

As a result of this source bias, the American media has overlooked key emerging figures such as Mithal Jamal Hussein Al-Alusi, a liberal Iraqi politician, or the outgoing Iraqi Minister of Human Rights, who holds press conferences that the English-language press doesn't bother to attend.

Ann Althouse has commented on a piece Adam Cohen writes for the New York Times about journalistic ethics. Cohen advocates a code of conduct for bloggers. (You may recall that I wrote about a Weblog Code of Ethics before.)

Althouse isn't receptive.

The journalistic code didn't keep Jordan and Rather in line. It was the bloggers, invoking their own standards—not a code but an evolving culture—that called them to account. Any bloggers with any kind of high profile will be similarly called to account if they violate the blogosphere's cultural norms. And Jordan and Rather can take up blogging any minute they want. Our practice is open to anyone who wants to join.

That's the whole power that bloggers have brought to the Information Age. Because the information is readily researched and posted and searchable and linkable a whole new form of fact-checking has emerged to combat media failures.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Sunday, May 8 2005 07:47 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  1 trackback

Was Yalta a Mistake?

President George W. Bush is in Latvia today and made some interesting remarks:

Bush said the agreement in 1945 at Yalta among President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill “followed in the unjust tradition of Munich and the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.” The decisions at Yalta led to the division of eastern Europe and creation of the Soviet bloc.
“Once again, when powerful governments negotiated, the freedom of small nations was somehow expendable,” the president said, opening a four-nation trip to mark the 60th anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat. “Yet this attempt to sacrifice freedom for the sake of stability left a continent divided and unstable.”
“We will not repeat the mistakes of other generations—appeasing or excusing tyranny, and sacrificing freedom in the vain pursuit of stability.”

Wow, there's a debatable topic. Would it have been better to fight Stalinist Russia at the end of World War II to preserve the freedom of the Soviet client states? If not then, when? That's a tough question. Remember one of the many reasons we used nuclear bombs in Japan was to warn the Soviet Union not to expand. The Soviets had more men and equipment in the field than anyone else. I'm sure it was somewhat frightening to have our exhausted but triumphant troops in Germany facing an oncoming Soviet juggernaut. Many of our efforts were still divided in a two-front war. A negotiation that led to apportionment of “spoils” to the Soviet was probably the easiest way out.

Bush goes on:

“The great democracies soon found that a new mission had come to us: not merely to defeat a single dictator but to defeat the idea of dictatorship on this continent. Through the decades of that struggle, some endured the role of tyrants, and all lived in the frightening shadow of war.
“Yet because we lifted our sights and held firm to our principles, freedom prevailed.”

And some more comments that will have the anti-preemptove-war zealots wringing their hands:

“The idea of countries helping others become free—I would hope that would be viewed as not revolutionary, but rational foreign policy and decent foreign policy and humane foreign policy,” Bush said. “I think countries ought to feel comfortable with having democracies on their borders.
“I will continue to speak as clearly as I can to President Putin that it's in his country's interests that there be democracies on his borders,” Bush said.

Democracies may be likely to vote themselves bread and circuses but at least they're far less likely to resort to terrorism to fulfill their goals. This led to my split with the anti-war libertarians a few years ago. I believed that state-sponsored terrorism deserved preemptive war. They did not.

Hat tip to Clayton Cramer for a link to this story.

Update 5/8/2005: Belmont Club has even more comments on Bush's Yalta comments, along with a lot of insight, including:

Yalta marked the moment from when Winston Churchill first openly called the Soviet Union a menace to the Free World. With Nazi Germany clearly dying, Stalin had replaced Hitler as the principal menace to Britain.

Also, this sour comment about the effect of Bush's remarks:

But George Bush's apology is really addressed toward his perception of American historical intent. He seems to be saying “yes my predecessor intended to carve up the world with Josef Stalin. He had no right to deliver people into bondage and we will never do it again.” It is a moral apology, no less futile than regrets over slavery or the dispossession of the Indian tribes.

Bush's comments might serve to stir up the radical left, though. Isn't that worth it?

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Saturday, May 7 2005 09:27 AM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  No trackbacks

Carnival of Cordite #11

My piece on Gerald Nunziato appears in Carnival of Cordite #11 at Pajama Pundits. Go check out the other articles!

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Friday, May 6 2005 04:36 PM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Feline Friday

Dust Bunny by Josh Poulson

People have wondered why I don't have pictures up of the current cat, Dust Bunny. Well, first of all the cat is always off hunting somewhere and only hangs out in the not-so-photo-friendly night-time hours and second of all gray cats are pretty darn hard to see against our local surroundings. It's a little hard to catch Dust Bunny with a camera in the field.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Pictures” Friday, May 6 2005 05:50 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  2 trackbacks

Speaking at the OGI Commencement

June 1st I get to speak to the OGI Commencement, but it's not for anything too exciting. I'm presenting the “Teacher of the Year” award on the behalf of the OGI Student Council. Usually that falls to the Student Council President, but we decided not to have one this year.

Update 5/6/2005: Turns out it's the OHSU commencement, not just the OGI school, in which I'll be presenting the award. Now we're up to a few thousand people watching. Whee!

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “School” Thursday, May 5 2005 10:08 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

GM, Ford Junk; I Like My Dodge

Standard and Poors are dropping their ratings for GM and Ford debt to “junk” status, making it much harder (therefore more expensive, as the expected return will be much higher) for them to issue bonds. This new rating moves them out of “investment” grade and into the realm of speculation if you sell them capital.

I wonder how much this has to do with the climbing cost of gasoline. The fact that Ford is in the mix indicates, to me, a failure of their Escape hybrid launch. GM has had cost troubles for years, so that's less of a surprise.

I drive a Dodge, and I've been looking at the new Charger and the Chrysler 300C for a while now.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Business” Thursday, May 5 2005 09:56 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Star Wars and Kids

I saw Star Wars when I was a kid. It was a mounumental event in my young psyche. I remember seeing nearly a dozen times in a year. I remember watching it in Spanish once in Puerto Rico. It was an exciting kids' movie.

When the new epsiodes came out, I remember being somewhat disappointed because they didn't evoke the same exitement in me. They were spectacular, sure, but they weren't visceral anymore. I remember being similarly disappointmed with Return of the Jedi. I remember, also, being appreciate of the “all grown up” mentality of Empire Strikes Back.

I was crushed when my 7-year-old girl said Star Wars was boring and too violent. Even the boy didn't want to go on to see Empire and the rest.

Now we hear that later this month the last installment, Revenge of the Sith will be the first film in the Star Wars franchise to be rated PG-13:

Episode III—Revenge of the Sith is the first Star Wars tale to receive a PG-13 rating. The movie was screened for reporters Tuesday night at Lucas' Skywalker Ranch, and the PG-13 rating—“for sci-fi violence and some intense images”—is well-deserved.

Is the franchise in search of a customer base? Jedi, Menace and Clones were a little facile, puerile, juvenile, whatever. Now Lucas runs to the other side of the path with a movie unsuitable for his target audience?

“We're getting a lot of flak from parents, a lot of people saying how can you do this? My children love these movies. Why can you not let them go see it?” Lucas told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “But I have to tell a story. I'm not making these, oddly enough, to be giant, successful blockbusters. I'm making them because I'm telling a story, and I have to tell the story I intended.”

Maybe we liked the story to be more fantasy and less Passion, Mr. Lucas. The original movie was swords and sorcery writ large with stunning special effects and sci-fi action. It was how some of us wanted the pulp science fiction we read to be visualized on the big screen. The story is no longer as compelling as the original vision was.

I'm reminded of the downfall of the Matrix. They should have left well-enough alone… and Greedo really didn't need to shoot first.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, May 4 2005 01:54 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Quarter Point and a Correction After Release

The Federal Reserve raised the rates a quarter point today, the eighth time in a row they've raised rates. The Federal Funds Target Rate is now 3%. That was expected.

What wasn't expected was a late-day change to the released report adding this sentence to the second paragraph:

Longer-term inflation expectations remain well contained.

This statement was included in the four previous statements, and its omission from today's report was an error. The street had already started buzzing because it was missing…

Who says little words don't count?

Observers have watched the Fed reports closely to spot indicators of deflated consumer confidence or inflated consumer prices. Every sentence has a clear meaning to the analysts on Wall Street.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Business” Tuesday, May 3 2005 02:19 PM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

Filtering “holdem”

I give up. 50 spams a day with “holdem” in them, so I'm going to block any comment or trackback with that in it, no questions asked.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Blogging” Tuesday, May 3 2005 07:22 AM  |  Permalink  |  2 comments  |  No trackbacks

Rossi Wins Important Pre-Trial Motion

From Chelan county we have a crucial ruling:

Republicans won a crucial victory in their legal battle to overturn the Washington state governor's election on Monday, when a judge decided they'll be able to use “proportional analysis” to subtract votes from Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire.
But Chelan County Superior Court Judge John Bridges balanced that GOP win with a ruling that will allow Democrats to present their own evidence of election errors they say helped Republican candidate Dino Rossi.

So, why is this important? Because the GOP believes they can subtract a lot more Gregoire votes than Rossi votes:

Republicans claim they've identified more than 1,000 illegal votes—mostly felons, but also unverified provisional ballots and a few dead voters. Using the proportional analysis method, they want the court to subtract illegal votes from both candidates' totals according to precinct voting patterns. For example, if 10 illegal votes came from a precinct that voted 60 percent for Gregoire and 40 percent for Rossi, the Republicans would deduct six votes from Gregoire and four from Rossi. Most of the illegal votes Republicans have identified come from King County, which went 58 percent for Gregoire.

It will be interesting to see what Stefan Sharkansky over at Sound Politics thinks of this. For now it looks like the massive problems at King County will finally bite them. They've had errors well out of proportion with their size.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Monday, May 2 2005 03:36 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Asterisk previews Backpack

D. Keith Robinson of Asterisk got a golden ticket and previewed Backpack.

What benefits does Backpack bring?

It seems in many ways to be a personal version of Basecamp. It’s got some of the same features, a similar UI and the philosophy behind it is basically the same. It’s a personal information manager and organizer. It’s got a to-dos, notes, calendaring, reminders and thing like that.

Apparently it has a feature for sharing calendars, to-dos and reminders with individual pages, as well as the capability of sending reminders over SMS to your phone.

How did he like it?

I’m sure after I’ve used it a bit, I’ll have more to share, but for now, looks really good and mighty useful.

Backpack launches tomorrow. We'll see what it brings.

I also wonder if some of these features will get enabled in Basecamp. I use Basecamp for a lot of things that apparently Backpack is good for. The evolving integration of the two would be interesting to see.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Monday, May 2 2005 11:43 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks


The latest carnivals are up:

Today we hear about a new carnival, the Carnival of Tomorrow. Finally a place for Futurists to congregate! I'll have to think of applying anything forward-looking to them in, ha ha, the future.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Blogging” Monday, May 2 2005 11:12 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks


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