August 31, 2005

My How Time Flies

I just realized that yesterday marked two years of Hold the Mayo.

Are we having fun yet?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:13 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment


August 30, 2005

Stupid is as Stupid Does

This is going to be a rant to end all rants.

I'm going to call stupid stupid.

I'm going to name names.

I'm going to call names.

I'm going to lose lose my sh*t

I'm going to lose my jo...

Nevermind.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:57 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


August 28, 2005

Good Memories

A little meme I picked up from Ilykka Damen. It wasn't too hard picking like and dislike. I just used a what would I allow on the iPod standard. Picking a favorite was kind of tough.

Here's the rules.

1) Go to musicoutfitters.com and, in the search box provided, enter the year you graduated high school.

2) From the search results, click the link for the top 100 songs of that year.

3) With the resulting list:
a) bold the songs you like,
b) strike through the ones you hate

c) underline your favorite

d) and ignore the ones you don't remember/don't care about.

Top 100 songs of 1981

1. Bette Davis Eyes, Kim Carnes
2. Endless Love, Diana Ross and Lionel Richie
3. Lady, Kenny Rogers

4. (Just Like) Starting Over, John Lennon

5. Jessie's Girl, Rick Springfield

6. Celebration, Kool and The Gang

7. Kiss On My List, Daryl Hall and John Oates

8. I Love A Rainy Night, Eddie Rabbitt
9. 9 To 5, Dolly Parton
10. Keep On Loving You, REO Speedwagon

11. Theme From “Greatest American Hero”, Joey Scarbury

12. Morning Train (Nine To Five), Sheena Easton

13. Being With You, Smokey Robinson

14. Queen Of Hearts, Juice Newton

15. Rapture, Blondie

16. A Woman Needs Love, Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio
17. The Tide Is High, Blondie

18. Just The Two Of Us, Grover Washington Jr. 

19. Slow Hand, Pointer Sisters 

20. I Love You, Climax Blues Band

21. Woman, John Lennon 

22. Sukiyaki, A Taste Of Honey 

23. The Winner Takes It All, Abba 

24. Medley, Stars On 45 

25. Angel Of The Morning, Juice Newton 

26. Love On The Rocks, Neil Diamond 

27. Every Woman In The World, Air Supply 

28. The One That You Love, Air Supply 

29. Guilty, Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb

30. The Best Of Times, Styx 

31. Elvira, Oak Ridge Boys 

32. Take It On The Run, REO Speedwagon

33. No Gettin' Over Me, Ronnie Milsap 

34. Living Outside Myself, Gino Vannelli 

35. Woman In Love, Barbra Streisand
36. Boy From New York City, Manhattan Transfer 

37. Urgent, Foreigner

38. Passion, Rod Stewart 

39. Lady (You Bring Me Up), Commodores 

40. Crying, Don Mclean
41. Hearts, Marty Balin 

42. It's My Turn, Diana Ross 

43. You Make My Dreams, Daryl Hall and John Oates
44. I Don't Need You, Kenny Rogers 

45. How 'Bout Us, Champaign 

46. Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Pat Benatar
47. The Breakup Song, Greg Kihn Band 

48. Time, Alan Parsons Project 

49. Hungry Heart, Bruce Springsteen
50. Sweetheart, Franke and The Knockouts 

51. Someone's Knockin', Terri Gibbs 

52. More Than I Can Say, Leo Sayer 

53. Together, Tierra 

54. Too Much Time On My Hands, Styx
55. What Are We Doin' In Love, Dottie West 

56. Who's Crying Now, Journey 

57. De Do Do Do, De Da Da, Police
58. This Little Girl, Gary U.S. Bonds 

59. Stop Draggin' My Heart Around, Stevie Nicks With Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
60. Giving It Up For Your Love, Delbert McClinton

61. A Little In Love, Cliff Richard 

62. America, Neil Diamond 

63. Ain't Even Done With The Night, John Cougar 

64. Arthur's Theme, Christopher Cross
65. Another One Bites The Dust, Queen
66. Games People Play, Alan Parsons Project 

67. I Can't Stand It, Eric Clapton 

68. While You See A Chance, Steve Winwood
69. Master Blaster, Stevie Wonder 

70. Hello Again, Neil Diamond
71. Don't Stand So Close To Me, Police 

72. Hey Nineteen, Steely Dan

73. I Ain't Gonna Stand For It, Stevie Wonder 

74. All Those Years Ago, George Harrison 

75. Step By Step, Eddie Rabbitt 

76. The Stroke, Billy Squier
77. Feels So Right, Alabama
78. Sweet Baby, Stanley Clarke and George Duke 

79. Same Old Lang Syne, Dan Fogelberg
80. Cool Love, Pablo Cruise
81. Hold On Tight, ELO 

82. It's Now Or Never, John Schneider 

83. Treat Me Right, Pat Benatar
84. Winning, Santana 

85. What Kind Of Fool, Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb
86. Watching The Wheels, John Lennon
87. Tell It Like It Is, Heart 

88. Smoky Mountain Rain, Ronnie Milsap 

89. I Made It Through The Rain, Barry Manilow
90. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin', Daryl Hall and John Oates 

91. Suddenly, Olivia Newton-John and Cliff Richard

92. For Your Eyes Only, Sheena Easton 

93. The Beach Boys Medley, Beach Boys
94. Whip It, Devo
95. Modern Girl, Sheena Easton

96. Really Wanna Know You, Gary Wright 

97. Seven Year Ache, Rosanne Cash 

98. I'm Coming Out, Diana Ross 

99. Miss Sun, Boz Scaggs 

100. Time Is Time, Andy Gibb

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:54 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment


August 27, 2005

Certified Design Nonsense

This is not another post on Intelligent Design as a religious theory. This is a post about Intelligent Design as a way of earning a living. More specifically it is a point by point refutation of of what Chris at The Prepared Mind calls “Common Myths About Graphic Designer Certification.” I would actually call them inconvenient facts about a very bad idea.

For anyone who isn't a devoted reader of this site, I'll briefly outline that I have been working in graphic design for 14 years. I have worked freelance, for small design shops, a large agency, and currently for a major corporation. If you want a more detailed accounting check out this post.

The idea of certification for graphic designers is certainly nothing new, but the passage of time has done nothing to make it a good idea. So here are Chris's myths, and my reponses.

Myth 1: Certification means joining a union.
Professional Certification programs focus on establishing professional ethics, standards and core competencies. On the other hand, unions engage in collective bargaining with employers for wages, benefits, etc. Certification gives individual designers the tools and training to successfully negotiate their own contracts.
This I suppose is technically true. Certification is not a union and there is no collective bargaining. But there are some similarities that shouldn't be ignored. Certification will result in closed shop environments in which companies will not hire or work with anyone without certification. Ask an industrial designer how easy it would be to get a job without certification and you will understand.
Myth 2: Uncertified designers will be legally barred from designing.
Designers who do not wish to be certified will still be able to practice design. Clients who prefer to work with designers who don’t know their rights and obligations in a contract will still be able to find many designers to exploit. Clients who don’t know the difference between amateur or professional design will still be able to hire someone to design a $30.00 logo. No, certification is not for everyone but it will clearly identify the difference between the two. Certification will delineate core competencies and can assure that a designer has a bedrock of knowledge and experience—an assurance that buyers of graphic design services do not currently have.
Wow! So much snobbery and condescension in one short paragraph. How nice that if I choose not to pay for certification I will still be allowed to work as a designer. Of course I would be relegated to the status of rank amateur and will be ruthlessly exploited by clients who know nothing about design but really want a $30 logo. Luckily for me I already have two things that delineate my core competencies and identify me as a designer with a bedrock of knowledge and experience. I call them a resume and a portfolio.
Myth 3: Certification only works if it legally bars non-certified designers from practicing.
Voluntary certification can accomplish so much for the graphic design profession. By joining together through certification, designers can speak with a unified voice to government and businesses. This unified voice can be leveraged to lobby the government against speculative projects, tax benefits and more. In addition it can serve to educate clients on the business value of design.
Right off the start I'm going to write this off and a error in written expression because I'm sure Chris doesn't want me to join a group that will leverage its unified voice to lobby the government against tax benefits.

As for legally barring non-certified designers from practicing, Chris is right in saying that this is not necessary. Companies will do that without a legal requirement. Corporations would set policies to only hire certified graphic designers and to only work with agencies that only hire certified designers. Effectively freezing uncertified designers out of a very large segment of employment opportunities. Of course this has great benefits for the certified - who may be no more qualified than the uncertified - in that it limits the employee pool. Supply and demand kicks in and wages and fees for certified designers go up. Don't believe it? Check out myth four.

Myth 4: Certification is expensive and doesn’t add to the bottom line.
Study fees or program costs are actually an investment in your career and are soon made up. Studies show that certified practitioners make 15% more on average than do uncertified practitioners. Source: 2003 Business Marketing Association Salary Survey
Certification is a rationalization for charging $3000 for a $30 logo.
Myth 5: Certification won’t help me advance in my profession.
Certification proves that you are at a high level in your field. It signals to clients and colleagues alike that your knowledge, experience and professionalism in design places you in the highest order of the profession. It also can serve as a means for networking and your association can keep you on their list for prospective clients to view.
Certification proves you were willing to pay the fees and take some courses that you should have taken while you were in design school. (Assuming you went to design school.) Yes, the association can keep your name in front of prospective clients. You certainly wouldn't want them to go looking for uncertified schlubs from the lower orders.
Myth 6: Certification won’t help promote my business.
Certification shows your prospects and clients that you take your business seriously and follow ethical business guidelines. A design certification association can use their resources to fund the promotion of businesses with certified designers, and also work towards raising awareness of the value of certification, along with the value of good design.
If you don't take your business seriously, prospects and clients will figure that out fairly quickly. And the best way to show clients that you do business ethically is to do business ethically. Don't try to use certification as a short cut to building a solid professional reputation. Do the work. Develop a network of clients that know your work and know your business practices and will give you a good reference. Strongly recommend to prospects that they call them.

No doubt the association would work to promote the value of certification. No doubt they would be expending great effort in teaching companies the value of only hiring and working with certified designers.

Myth 7: Certification is a way to measure talent or creativity.
Talent and creativity are intangibles that are difficult to measure in a consistent manner. Designers need to accept that creativity and talent can not be certified. Instead, the purpose of certification is to put in place a system that can measure the elements of our profession that are tangible—the business side of design. Education, experience, ethical business practices, technical knowledge—these are clearly measurable. Certification places all of these elements into a neat package that is easy for clients to identify and understand when they go about hiring a graphic designer.
Technically, Chris is correct on this one. Certification could not be a measure of talent. Which is precisely why it is a bad idea. Clients, especially those who don't know much about design will view certification as a measure of talent. This misperception will be helped along with every effort of the association to raise “awareness of the value of certification, along with the value of good design.” (Myth six.) But In the last sentence the true value of certification is outlined once again. Its all about making sure that club members are the ones getting hired.
Myth 8: If all graphic designers become certified it will become cliché and loose any value.
The point of certification is not to separate one qualified designer as better than another equally qualified designer. The purpose is to separate solid, well-educated designers who follow ethical business standards apart from those people who call themselves designers but do not follow proper business ethics and have no design education or relevant experience.
Personally, I don't see that there is much value for certification to lose other than limiting competition by making it next to impossible for non certified designers to get work. So yeah, if every designer got certified, what's the point. There really is not much to this myth, but there is a good deal in Chris's comments on it that angered me.

The insinuation that my choosing not become certified would indicate that I am not a solid, well-educated designer who follows ethical business standards is incredibly insulting. I am one of those people who call themselves a designer. I have no formal design education. I have a great deal of relevant experience and am ruthlessly ethical. If Chris's dream of certification comes to pass, I wouldn't participate. I'd change careers. In fact I would have to since I would be separated from all those solid well-educated certified employable designers.

Myth 9: Certification is just about egos and being elitist and has no other real purpose.
Over and over again designers fall back to this line of reasoning against certification. As already mentioned in myths one through eight, there are many valid reasons for certification that have nothing to do with ego and everything to do with the business of graphic design. Defining your profession and asking fellow designers to follow a set of standards does not equate with being elitist.
One thing is certainly true. Certification is not about ego. A designer with an ego wouldn't need certification to demonstrate his qualifications. He would rely on the quality of his work and his reputation. A designer with an ego wouldn't need certification to limit competition from other designers, he would just believe he would win because he is good at what he does. This is however very much about elitism. Faux elitism. It is about separating those who should be getting work as designers from those who should not on the basis of a certification that says nothing about their ability to do what they are being hired to do.

Design is a business. Like any business if you do it well and deal with people honestly you will succeed. It takes hard work and time. Certification is a short cut.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:39 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


I Always Enjoyed Playing Doctor

Via Owlish Mutterings the which Dr. Who are you quiz.

The Fourth Doctor
You are the Fourth Doctor: A walking Bohemian
conundrum with a brooding personal magnetism
and a first-rate intellect concealed somewhere
beneath your charmingly goofy exterior. You are
perhaps the most terribly clever of all the
Doctors, though your occasional bouts of
childishness get you in trouble. You never go
looking for a fight, but when someone messes
with you... good heavens, are they ever sorry
they did.


Which Incarnation of the Doctor Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:55 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


August 24, 2005

When Will I learn?

I've steadfastly avoided debates about religion. What someone else chooses to believes is their own issue. I have never seen my atheism as a call to disprove someone else's faith. But I just couldn't leave the Intelligent Design thing alone. If I had to guess why, I'd say it's the whole mysticism intruding on reason's turf thing.

Anyway, TF Stern tracked back my post on the topic with a lengthy post of his own on the topic. The bulk of the post is an article titled “The Planets Testify of the Creator” by John P. Pratt Here's a taste.

The first two truths were discussed in detail, where it was pointed out that the precise “set time” for the moon of 29.53059 days and of the sun of 365.2425 days form the basis of the (corrected) Hebrew Calendar, and both of those numbers need to be just that precise for the calendar to work perfectly for the 7,000 years of the earth's temporal existence. This article proceeds to discuss Abraham's Third Truth, proposing just what the “set times” of the other planets in the solar system are, and demonstrates that they form a series of very precise intervals like perfectly interlocking gears in a great celestial timepiece, just as the Lord revealed to Abraham. The astonishing result is that the periods of the planets and even of their conjunctions are almost exactly whole number multiples of two sacred time intervals. That is strong evidence that the entire solar system was designed by a Creator. Planetary Set Times Let us begin by relating the set times of all of the major planets to the set time of the earth (the day) as described in Abraham's Third Truth and also to the year, which Abraham's First Truth tells us is tied to the revolutions of Kolob. Thus, if we measure the set times of other planets in terms of the earth's day and year, then they will also be tied to the reckoning of the Lord's time on Kolob. This is a very important point which has not occurred to modern astronomers. Anciently, unenlightened men thought that the earth was the center of the universe. Now scientists have discovered that we are far from the center of our galaxy, so it would never occur to modern astronomers to consider the possibility that our solar system was designed with the earth's mean solar day as a fundamental unit of time. But Abraham was shown that even though the center of the order of stars to which we belong is very distant from us (Abr. 3:3), yet the earth's day and year were set up according to celestial measures and hence might well serve as fundamental units for the solar system.
The focus of the article is some cosmic relationship between the length of day and a year on earth and the timing of the movements of the other planets. This, of course, is how it was designed.

For me the first question is was the length of a day set according to the design of a supreme being or did man measure the interval between sunrises and call it a day? Larger than that, are any of our measures of the passage of time cosmically significant or merely handy devices created by man?

As for the mathematical relationships between the periods of the various planets based on the mystical numbers Pratt uses I would ask if this could not be explained by fact that all of the planets are subject to the same physical laws of nature? Given that their movements are governed by the same laws, would it be too far fetched to assume that they exhibited similar behaviors?

From my understanding of the Intelligent Design theory the answer to my questions would be yes, because that is the way it was designed.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:07 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment


I'm Not Dead, I Just Look Sick

Apparently the mu.nu server melted down today. As usual the heroic efforts of Pixy Misa has us up and running again - sort of. I'm not sure what happened to the reset of Hold the Mayo. I'm sure after a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast Pixy will find my sidebar and banner and al the rest of the template somewhere.

UPDATE: It may be that I am the only person who wasn't seeing my sight properly. Pixy commented rather quickly to this post that he could see all the missing bits just fine. So I loaded the site again and now it works just fine for me too. I suspect that Pixy possesses such power that the mere act of his clicking onto my site forced the server to fix whatever was wrong.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:43 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


August 23, 2005

Traffic Jam

I got home from an adventure today and checked in with the site-meter at about 6:00.

30 hits.

I reached up from the floor with the last bit of strength and consciousness and checked in with the homeworld.

It seems the mu.nu server suffered a DOS attack and was down for several hours.

Praise, thanks and pie to the tireless Pixy Misa who got us up and running again.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:37 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


August 22, 2005

An Intelligent Designer Speaks

I read a post this morning dealing with the topic of Intelligent Design, and I found it very hard not to comment. So hard in fact that I'm making a whole post out of it. I usually don't take part in debates of this nature. I don't generally consider it my place to to criticize someone else's beliefs. I may be highly critical of the practical application os some religions, particularly if they involve blowing up innocent bystanders, but if you want to believe in whatever version of god you choose, so be it. But this I could not let pass without comment.

“Unlike creationists, design proponents accept many of the conclusions of modern science. They agree with cosmologists that the age of the universe is 13.6 billion years, not fewer than 10,000 years, as a literal reading of the Bible would suggest. They accept that mutation and natural selection, the central mechanisms of evolution, have acted on the natural world in small ways, for example, leading to the decay of eyes in certain salamanders that live underground.”
So basically, Intelligent Design holds that everything science says about the origins of the universe and the evolution of species is right because that's how god designed it. This seems to be a fairly creative interpretation of the Bible's creation myth. I guess the Bible, like the Constitution, is a “Living Document.” It doesn't mean what it says, it means whatever we need to mean at the moment.

If you view this debate as a contest between reason and faith, it would seem that those on the side of faith have conceded a major defeat and are doing their best to spin it into something that doesn't render them totally irrelevant. To put into a cliche, “if you can't beat them, join them.”

Of course the goal behind all of this, is to get some form of creationism into school curricula - even if means saying that god invented Dawrinism.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:44 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


August 20, 2005

John Kerry Gets One Right

Over at Wizbang I founds these quotes from John Kerry where he actually said something that made sense.

...we don't need some great lurch to the right or lurch to the left...
I think he's right.

The Democrats nominated a great lurch in the last election and look what it got them.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:34 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


Drive By Posting

When one of the topics you like to write about is current events and there are several major stories happening at once it's kind of hard to rationalize a complete lack of posting about them. I apologize to the few of you who ever see the front page of this site. If you came here seeking my take on the stories of the day, you have found this site wanting. Those of you who only see the post on this site you find when googling for the one picture of an actress I've ever posted (and it's not even a nude photo) well you'll likely never see this post so I really don't care.

So here's my drive by commentary on the stories of the day.

RE: Cindy Sheehan.

I am sorry for your loss. I find your politics less than appealing, irrational and quite possibly dangerouos. Some of your statements are downright offensive. Nonetheless, I wish you the best.

RE: The media covering Cindy Sheehan.

You people are pond scum. You cheerfully trumpet Sheehan's every word in the belief that it advances your political cause. If the White House made any effort at using the death of a soldier to further a political objective you would be sounding a nonstop call for resignations and impeachments.

RE: Able Danger

Do you think the fact that Bill Clinton was making statements about how serious a threat he believed bin Laden to be and that but for lack of proof beyond an unreasonable doubt that bin Laden was behind the bombing of the USS Cole he would have taken action against him had any thing to do with knowing that whatever tiny shred of credibility the 9/11 Commission had was about to evaporate? Do you think that once the world understands that the intelligence failures that may have made 9/11 possible are the result of his policies while president that his position in the pantheon of former presidents as being slightly better that Jimmy Carter will be in jeopardy?

When the Able Danger dust settles, do you think there is any possibility of real intelligence reform? Reform that with turn the established institutionalism of the current intelligence system inside out and make it work again?

RE: Air America

A rich manipulative liberal ripped off taxpayers for his own benefit, and he's not even in congress! And as we saw in the case of Dan Rather and the forged memos and Eason “the military is gunning us down” Jordan, the liberal media have circled the wagons and lowered the Cone of Silence.™ We should expect anything more?

As for the scandal itself, it just goes to prove the left's firm belief that anything is O.K. in the name of the cause.

RE: Kelo v New London

I have read several accounts that the town of New London is going try to collect back rent from property owners for the time they held up the theft of their property in the courts. Leaving aside the questions of morality and legality, how colossally stupid does the town government have to be to try something like this on the heals of a SCOTUS ruling that started a wave of public outrage over abuse of eminent domain.

And speaking of that wave of outrage, the Open Source Amendment Project Petition is still active but signatures are barely trickling in. I've lost count of how many press releases I have sent to bloggers and news outlets to no avail. I'll be writing a new one soon and starting another round. It turns out that starting grass roots movement from a 70 hits a day blog is quite a challenge.

RE: Judge Roberts The Democrats and their overlords in the loony left seem to be getting desperate. This makes me think I may like him as a Supreme Court Justice. I do not doubt that he will be confirmed. I think even Ted Kennedy understands this. I just hope he turns out to be the judicial conservative that Teddy and the left fear.

RE: Border Security

What is it going to take to wake up the government to the fact that we need to not only stop, but reverse the flow of illegal aliens? I fear that it is going to take a tragedy on the scale of 9/11 because there is too much at stake for politicians. What is at stake? Well, the Democrats want to loosen voter registration and basic ID standards to the point where illegals can vote because they believe they will vote Democrat. The Republican's don't want to crack down because they are desperately trying to court the Hispanic vote. Both sides don't want to do anything that will deprive contributers of a ready supply of cheap labor.

Did I miss anything? I hope I have made up for being silent for so long.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:28 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment


August 16, 2005

A Byrd Brained Idea

One of the ways a lot of bad ideas get turned into bad laws in this country is the congressional practice of attaching little things onto bigger legislation. One such rider attached to the 2005 appropriations is the brain child of the Senate's most senile member, Robert Byrd. The bill requires any school that receives federal funding to to offer a “Constitution Day” to commemorate the September 17 anniversary of the signing of the Constitution.

The federalist argument aside, this sounds like a noble, even commendable idea. Create a day in which students al lover the country celebrate and study the Constitution. However, no one who values the meaning of the Constitution, i.e. originalists, should be too cheered by the news.

Pretend you're back in school for a moment. Raise your hand if you think that most public school students will be taught the original meaning of the Constitution. If your hand is up, please report to the principal's office where your obliviousness will be recorded in your permanent record. Now raise your hand if you think that students will receive a yearly concentrated indoctrination on the Constitution as a “living document.” Those with your hands up my go to the head of the class and answer one more question. Raise your hand if you believe that is the objective this bill is designed to achieve.

And don't forget the whole federalist argument we set aside above. Raise your hand if you think the federal government should be dictating local school curriculum.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:12 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


August 14, 2005

Confessions of a Weather Geek

The last couple of hours have been quite active. The second thundershower of the afternoon seems to be winding down. Not much lightening and thunder just heavy rain.

The thunder first started at about 2:30. Long low rumbles from a distance great enough that you couldn't even detect the flash of the lightening. When I head them, I did what I always do. I went to the website of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to check the radar. The image from 2:23 showed the approaching storm and but it was hard to tell if we would get it or not. Unfortunately, the image never updated. For 2.5 hours all I could get out of the Upton, NY radar was the 2:23 image.

The radar site is now up to date and seems to updating every few minutes. When you play the animated loop you you can clearly se there is a big chunk of time missing. It looks as though there is a band of storms working its way along the CT shore of Long Island Sound.

We now seem to be between storms. I can hear the faint rumble of distant thunder but for the moment the rain has stopped. But along the track the storms have followed the radar is displaying colors from 40 dBZ (yellow) to 60 dBZ (red).

At one point, while a freshman in college, I gave serious consideration to abandoning my journalism major to study meteorology. I had no desire to be a TV weatherman but I wanted to study storms. I wanted to be the guy Bill Pullman would play in some weather disaster movie. But I stayed with the journalism major and parlayed that into a successful career in design and now I just watch the storms pass by. Either on the NOAA radar or leaning against the window frame so I can feel the thunder when it shakes the house.

UPDATE: 6:37 Rain has begun again. Lightening and thunder about 5 miles out. According to the radar image this is the front edge of another large storm cell that is just crossing the NY/CT border. If you need me, I'll be at the window.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:52 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


It's Not the Size of The Tool...

This post at Business Pundit put me in mind of an experience early in my career as a designer. Actually, it was this specific paragraph.

I'm reminded of a story an engineer friend told me years ago. When the first hardware description programming language came out, it made circuit design much much easier. How did his boss embrace the new tools? By drawing out circuits the old way and having one of the young guys code them into the new tools. Why not learn the new tools? Fear. Apathy. Or maybe because we see our value in knowing how to do things, when really our value should be tied up in learning how to do new things and apply new knowledge.
My first boss was something of an old school type - although he is my age. He berated me constantly to show him sketches of my ideas before I sat down and did anything on the computer. He wanted to see the plot without the special effects.

The problem for me was, and is, that I cannot draw well at all. I can barely manage a decent stick figure. So my solution was to shut myself in my office, work out my ideas on the computer, then trace them. I'd present these “drawings” to him. He would make his comments and I go back to my desk to start “working them up.” It worked out well. He was happy that I took the time to work out ideas by hand, and impressed as hell with how fast I could go from “sketch” to finished layout.

Then, of course, I got caught.

He walked into my office while I working away on one of my “sketches.” There were two completed “sketches” with their originals on the desk. For a brief moment I thought I was going to be out of a job. Either that or he was going to destroy the computer and he gestured at it wildly why exclaiming that the answer to the design problem is not in that damn box.

At which point I picked up the box of Sharpies on my desk and threw it to him and calmly replied, “it's not in this box either.” I followed that by pointing out that the pen and the computer were both tools. I challenged him that even when he was sketching out an idea he was probably thinking on some level about how it could be done on the computer. He couldn't deny it.

I never had to present “sketches” again.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:24 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


August 06, 2005

The New York Times Disgusts Me

Damien Cave writing in the New York Times asks the question “Where are the war heroes?” Then in the lead paragraphs provides the answer.

ONE soldier fought off scores of elite Iraqi troops in a fierce defense of his outnumbered Army unit, saving dozens of American lives before he himself was killed. Another soldier helped lead a team that killed 27 insurgents who had ambushed her convoy. And then there was the marine who, after being shot, managed to tuck an enemy grenade under his stomach to save the men in his unit, dying in the process.
Their names are Sgt. First Class Paul R. Smith, Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester and Sgt. Rafael Peralta. If you have never heard of them, even in a week when more than 20 marines were killed in Iraq by insurgents, that might be because the military, the White House and the culture at large have not publicized their actions with the zeal that was lavished on the heroes of World War I and World War II.
The rest of the piece goes on to lament that the military has not done enough to put its heroes into the spotlight. Conveniently ignoring how critical the press and the rest of left would be if they did so.

Here is the sort of thing Cave seems to wish were happening.

Richard I. Bong, for example, an Army Air Corps pilot who came to be known as the Ace of Aces, was sent home in December 1944 after shooting down his 40th Japanese plane. He was dispatched immediately on a nationwide tour to help sell war bonds.
Audie Murphy, perhaps the best-known World War II hero, took part in similar tours. He went on to act in 44 Hollywood films, including his own autobiography, “To Hell and Back.” Dozens of other combat heroes played roles in the war's promotion.
News flash for Mr. Cave. This is not 1943 and we are not fighting World War II. It's a different war in a different world. Cave and his editors at the Times don't seem to grasp this simple fact. Their caption under one photo reads:
Audie Murphy in “To Hell and Back,” the 1955 movie in which he plays himself, the war hero. The Iraq war is not producing such stars.
What Cave carefully never addresses is the role of the media in the lack of publically recognized heroes. Remember Sgt First Class Paul R Smith? He was mentioned in the opening of Cave's piece. the headline on the Times article about Smith reads
Medal of Honor to Be Awarded to Soldier Killed in Iraq, a First
The full article is in the archive but according to the information provided with the abstract, the article appeared on March 30, 2005 and was printed in the “Late Edition - Final , Section A , Page 13 , Column 1.” The Times prints a story about the first Medal of Honor given in the War on Terror on page 13 and one of their writers has the gall to ask why there are no public heroes.

There are no public heroes because the media do not want there to be heroes. Heroes rally support for the military and and the war. Neither of which the Times wants supported.


More Here at ShrinkWrapped

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:28 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment


NYT Spin Job on Jobs

Here's the lead in a New York Times article on July jobs growth.

American employers added more than 200,000 jobs last month, the government reported on Friday, providing fresh evidence that workers are beginning to benefit from an economy that is growing at a steady, robust pace.
Their acknowledgment that the economy is growing at all, let alone that growth is steady and robust is probably due to this not being an election year. But at least they acknowledge it.

But did you spot the spin?

Here'e another statistic from the came story. (emphasis added)

The 207,000 jobs added in July indicated the fastest hiring pace since April. Coming on top of revisions to previous estimates of employment gains in May and June that added another 42,000 jobs, average job growth this year was bumped up to 191,000 a month, sufficient to absorb the expansion of the labor force and reduce the slack in the job market.
The simple math is that at an average of 191,000 jobs per month over the first seven months means about 1,337,000 new jobs. Yet according to the lead, workers are finally beginning to benefit.

Pathetic.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:54 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


August 04, 2005

The Kyoto Clock

Want to really understand why it was a good thing George Bush put an end to U.S. involvement with Kyoto? Take a look at the Kyoto Count-up at Junk Science

It tracks the cost of Kyoto vs temperature savings.

The dollar counter is moving pretty fast but as I type this its at about $69.8 billion. The temperature counter is moving much slower: 0.000723590 °C.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:50 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


Open Source Amendment Project - Status

UPDATE: 24 signatures in the last 24 hours all but one from California, most from the LA area. I don't know how they all got there on the same day like that, but thanks to whomever sent them. Let's hope this is a sign of increased momentum.

The pace of signatures on the petition continues to be maddeningly slow. This being the first time I have tried something like this, I have no reference to judge if I am being impatient or not. I continue to send out the most recent press release as often as I can, and at least one other person has sent it out as well.

I thought I would share with you my strategy so that you might join in if you wish. If you know of a better way to promote this - short of paid advertising - I'm more than interested in suggestions. The promotion of this is just as open source as the writing.

The first day, I went out in search of news contacts and emailed about 150 or so as well as about 50 bloggers. Since then, any time I come across a blog on property rights or Kelo I email them the release. If they cite a news story I go to their site and search for their contact link - usually at the bottom of the page. Sometimes it is just a form and I paste the release into it. Some news websites will have email addresses to editors and I hit every news editor listed. It there is a byline on the story, I email the reporter too. (Once you have the paper's standard for email addresses it's easy to email any name you find.)

If you're interested in joining in on this don't worry about sending the release to people who have already gotten it. (Although I try not to repeat too often to other blogggers.)

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:02 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


August 03, 2005

Good Cheese Comes From Happy Cows

And happy cows cut the cheese in California

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 10:11 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


August 02, 2005

Dems Exercised Over Bush Exercise

Just how low can the Democratic Party sink when it comes to making anything a partisan political issue? If there is a bottom for them, I hope we reach it soon.

Via Michelle Malkin and LyfLines we get the story of the Democrat's politicized reaction to the President's physical.

Here's the entire press release written by DNC staffer Josh Earnest.

To: National Desk, Education and Political reporter
Contact: Josh Earnest of the Democratic National Committee Staff, 202-863-8148
WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following is a fact sheet released today by the Democratic National Committee:
The White House this weekend announced that President Bush received good news during his annual physical. Doctors pronounced the President to be in “superior” physical condition, which media reports attributed to his rigorous, six day a week exercise routine. While President Bush has made physical fitness a personal priority, his cuts to education funding have forced schools to roll back physical education classes and his Administration's efforts to undermine Title IX sports programs have threatened thousands of women's college sports programs.
“President Bush's has dropped the ball when it comes to fully funding physical education in public schools and women's athletic programs at the college level,” said Democratic National Committee spokesman Josh Earnest. “His personal habits indicate that physical fitness is not just fun and games for him. Don't our kids deserve the same opportunities to be physically fit? President Bush should stop running from his responsibility and make sure that all American children have access to physical fitness programs.”
BUSH IN SUPERIOR HEALTH, BUT AMERICA'S YOUTH NOT
Doctors gave President Bush a clean bill of health in his annual checkup this weekend and White House spokesperson Dana Perino proclaimed him to be “in superior health.” However, America's youth are not so lucky. While obesity has been declared an epidemic in this country, Bush's education policy is putting children at risk with cuts in physical education and school athletic programs.
BUSH CUTTING PHYSICAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS
Bush's 2006 Budget Cut Physical Education By 25 Percent. Bush's 2006 budget request cut physical education funding for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade by $18.4 million. The 2006 cut is the “first year of a 2-year phase out of the program in order to redirect resources to higher-priority activities” according to the Department of Education. (U.S. Department of Education)
School Systems Nationwide Forced To Implement Pay-To-Play Athletic Programs. USA Today surveyed state high school sports associations and found 34 states in which associations say at least some school districts are charging students to play sports. Pay-to-play fees have cropped up or ballooned at schools in Alaska, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, Kansas and other states. The fees grew from $75 to $250 in one Massachusetts school district two years ago. (Indianapolis Star, 5/2/05; USA Today, 7/30/04)
BUSH ROLLING BACK ATHLETIC OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN
Bush Weakened Title IX Rules. The Bush Administration's Education Department quietly issued a new clarification of the regulations interpreting Title IX. The new rules allow colleges to demonstrate that they are satisfying the demand for women's sports with an online survey showing that female students have no unmet sports interests. Even if the non-response rate is high in the survey, non-response is to be interpreted as a lack of interest according to the Education Department. (New York Times, 3/23/05)
NCAA President Says Rules Could “Reverse the Progress Made Over the Last Three Decades.” “NCAA President Myles Brand joined in condemning the guidelines, saying they could 'reverse the progress made over the last three decades.' He added his disappointment that officials issued the clarification 'without benefit of public discussion and input.'” (Los Angeles Times, 3/23/05)
Bush Recommended Undermining Title IX Rules In 2002 As Well. In June 2002, Bush's Education Secretary Roderick Paige created the Commission on Opportunity in Athletics to review Title IX, the federal law that has expanded athletic opportunities for women and girls for 30 years by barring sexual discrimination. This January the commission came back with recommendations that would ease the regulations of Title IX. A statement by the National Women's Law Center opposed the Bush Commission's proposals, “Some have characterized the Commission's long list of proposed changes as minor and moderate. Nothing could be further from the truth. Make no mistake about it. If accepted by the Bush Administration, the Commission's proposals would dramatically reduce the sports participation opportunities and scholarships to which women and girls are entitled under the law.” (Washington Post, 6/27/02; New York Times, 1/31/03; NWLC Statement, 2/5/03, http://www.nwlc.org)
CHILDHOOD OBESITY SKYROCKETING
The Rate Of Childhood Obesity Has Skyrocketed In Recent Years. The rate of childhood obesity has skyrocketed in recent years, and more than 9 million children over age 6 are now considered overweight. The rapid rise has alarmed public health experts, because overweight children are far more likely to develop health problems. Currently, the U.S. government estimates that 30 percent of the nation's kids are overweight or on their way to being too heavy. Nearly twice as many children and three times as many teens are overweight now compared to two decades ago. (Washington Post, 10/1/04; USA Today, 6/4/04; Greensboro News & Record, 3/21/04)
http://www.usnewswire.com/
-0-
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/
Now, my first instinct was that this was some kind of hoax. It was just to absurd to be real. And the author's name seemed to scream hoax. So I Googled Josh Earnest and it turns out it's a real name of a real person who works for the DNC. In fact he is giving several talks on media topics at the 2005 Convention of Young Democrats of America. The Kansas Democrat Party lists Earnest as a “DNC spokesman” in an article about the Plame Name Game. So my instincts were wrong. They are really going there.

There is so much in this to shred, and so little time available to do it in. So rather than rip apart specifics I'll deal with what I see as the big issue. Leadership. It's an idea the DNC doesn't seem to understand.

George Bush is not responsible for childhood obesity. A child's level of physical activity are beyond the President's authority. They are beyond the authority of the federal government. They are the responsibility of and fall solely under the the authority of parents.

What can the President do? He can lead by setting an example. Clearly Bush has done that.

If the President of the United States can maintain a regimen of exercising six days a week, then there is no excuse for the non-existent amount of exercise I do. I admire his dedication and commitment and I am inspired to do more for myself.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:23 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


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