Wednesday, 06 April, 2005
Really Random Notes
I've been ranting a lot here lately, mostly because I've been busy and frustrated, and ranting seems to come easily. It's easy to criticize, I guess. I think I'll take a break from the rants and try to find something good to write about. In the meantime, a few things that have accumulated while I was ranting:
- A helpful reader who ran across my What's in My Pool? post from June of 2001 while he was searching for swimming pool pictures sent me a note saying that the thing I found is most likely a nutria rat. I wonder how many of those 25 pound rodents are nearby.
- According to an AP report, a recent research study shows that low doses of the main active ingredient in marijuana (THC) slowed down hardening of the arteries in mice. Dr. Peter Libby, chief of cardiovascular medicine at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, was quick to point out that the study is unlikely to lead to "a joint a day keeps the doctor away." He also mentioned that exercise, a reasonable diet, and watching your weight have already been proven to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes from clogged arteries. Add "quit smoking" to that list. [Note 04/08: Michael Covington informed me that, whatever THC might do to the arteries, it's bad for the brain: cannabis (marijuana) can precipitate severe mental illness. See Michael's Daily Notebook entry for April 7 and the linked article for more details.]
- My broadband internet connection is working again. Nobody at RoadRunner or Time Warner knows what was causing my problem or what fixed it, but at this point I don't particularly care. I just hope that it really is fixed.
- The Minuteman Project is a controversial group of civilian volunteers who are monitoring the U.S./Mexico border in Arizona and reporting suspected illegal alien activity to the Border Patrol. I'll reserve comment on the group and on the subject of immigration, but I got a kick out of A Minuteman Report From the Field over at La Shawn Barber's Corner.
- A coworker writes a different quote on the whiteboard outside his office every morning. The quote on Monday was from Pope John Paul II: The truth is not always the same as the majority opinion. My only quibble is that the Pope was overly optimistic. Based on my experiences, I'd say "is not very often..."
- Speaking of Pope John Paul II, I don't understand people standing in line to view his remains. Don't get me wrong, I do understand reverence and respect, for the leader of the Church and for a profoundly good and moral man. But standing in line to view his body just seems morbid. I've been to one open casket funeral in my life, and hope never to attend another. My father was a strong and vibrant man, not the cold shrunken shell I saw in that coffin.
- Companies are overreacting to the recently-passed Sarbanes-Oxley law, restructuring their accounting procedures and scrutinizing their outside contractor relationships. Some companies are making it very difficult for a contractor to remain a contractor, insisting instead on a part-time employee relationship. If all of my clients do that, I'll be submitting dozens of W-2 forms with my tax return and there's no way I'll be able to keep track of it all.
- I've gotten used to the occasional call for the Austin Public Library on my mobile phone, as their number is just one digit off from mine. But recently I've been getting repeated calls for Lawanda, Jesse, and a few others. These calls almost invariably have no caller ID, and I've had to tell the callers several different times to stop calling because that person isn't here. I wonder if Lawanda, Jessee, and the others are giving bill collectors the library's number and the bill collectors are mis-dialing it.
- A lot of software is designed to be used in The One True Way. If you try to configure it any other way, you will fail after much frustration. A case in point is MSIB--Microsoft's Solution for Internet Business. The two primary components, Microsoft Content Management Server and Microsoft Commerce Server, are quite flexible. But when combined with the MSIB code, the system becomes incredibly inflexible.