Sun - January 15, 2006

Art Garfunkel Dallas Show 1/6/2006

We caught our 60-something hero at a recent pops concert of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, wherein he regaled us with hits far and wide from his long and storied career.

Posted at 01:37 AM     Read More   |

Thu - June 9, 2005

Think Different

from the Cupertino Times [build yer own satire] (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 07, @08:54AM (#12746154)

JUNE 7, 2005, CUPERTINO, CA -- One day after stunning the Mac faithful with the announcement that his company was transitioning its product line to Intel processors, CEO Steve Jobs told investors in a private videochat this morning that Apple will also incorporate Microsoft Windows as the OS on its new Macs by mid-2006.

"Clearly its time for Apple to partner with the long-time leader in personal computer operating systems, Microsoft," Jobs announced. "We were looking at the long-term roadmap for where we want to go with our customers 3 years out, and Microsoft clearly offers the best vision for advanced personal computing."

"For example, at Apple we promised you [INSERT HERE] in [20XX] and we still don't have it. But with Microsoft, we can get there."

Joining Jobs in the announcement were Microsoft founder Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer, beaming in a small video window where they were crowding together.

"Steve, we're really excited at Microsoft to continue to provide the Apple baby the lifeblood it needs to exist," said Gates while Ballmer drooled, "And we promise to continue to deliver Mac OSX Office for the new MacPod."

At that point Jobs unveiled the new MacPod, a 100GB shirtpocket device with color screen running Mac OSX 10.4, with a one button front-panel mouse, retailing for $1995 this fall.

"The limited screen size does require some smart Microsoft engineering to fit, you know, all of Word's features on there, but we're optimistic," Gates said.

Jobs denied the new CPU and OS strategies would further shrink Apple's market share.

"With iLife and Quicktime, Apple has a rich platform for personal computing extending as far as the eye can see, no I don't think there's a problem."

Also at the teleconference, Jobs unveiled the first public prototype of the new Mac mid-range desktop slated for spring 2006. The 2ghz Pentium 4 WinMac includes Windows XP home edition, integrated LCD monitor, and one-button mouse for $1995. The Enthusiast upgrade includes iLife and Quicktime 7 preinstalled, with Apple Inside decal, for $800 more.
Gates promised both versions will run Mac OS9 Classic in emulation.

Posted at 10:15 PM     Read More   |

Thu - March 31, 2005

Aggressive Bleach Attack (knetz comics 3/30/05)

Posted at 11:52 AM     Read More   |

Thu - March 17, 2005

A Fine Book for the Funnybone and the John

My old shtick buddy Steve Shufton (we amused each other in 7th grade with merciless impersonations of our science teacher, Mr Berkholz; he had a very soft-spoken Bob Newhart thing going on that you could render with a few down-talking lowerings of one’s chin…) has published a collection of humorous essays, All the Answers. One could do a lot worse with $10 than purchase this 500-page juggernaut, an encyclopedia of wit which manages to fully explain hundreds of historical and everyday topics in a consistently wry comic tone that never stoops to obscenities or hand gestures to punch its satirical points. The book even had this reader – a coarsened shtickeratti and comedian manqué who never laughs at anything unless someone is suddenly and accidentally injured– actually LOL.

Posted at 08:14 PM     Read More   |

Mon - March 14, 2005

Albert We Hardly Knew Ye

I was missing a King until this last Christmas, when my nephew gave me an iTunes gift card. Despite being an iPod owner for 5 years, I'd never actually bought a track off Apple's music store, preferring to own the artifact to a digital replica. (And who wants "Protected AAC file"s to worry about?) So what was I going to blow $25 bucks on a track at a time? I decided to sample the work of bluesman Albert King , and boy was that the best 99 cents I ever spent.

Posted at 07:45 PM     Read More   |

Thu - March 10, 2005

Play This Behind Your Head Jimi

On a tip from my country-musician brother Bob, I visited the 21st Annual Texas Pedal Steel Guitar Association Jamboree last weekend in Dallas. The whole story is here . I sent my brother the link to the story, he posted it on a pedal steel forum , and in 24 hours I had a thousand visitors and 10GB of traffic. Apparently pedal steel is big in France .

Posted at 08:12 PM     Read More   |

Tue - March 1, 2005

We Don't Write Letters Anymore but the Salesmen Do

No we don't. A regular, handwritten missive in pen or pencil on stationary, with sheets folded and sent in the snail-mail -- it's a dying art. Whenever I actually get one from friend or family (once every 3 years) I'm bowled over. But there is one community in America that is striving to keep the handwritten note alive and kicking, and that would be our greater Sales Force, whatever the price point. In a disquieting development that started 5 years ago at the crest of the dotcom boom, borrowing up from the biz-etiquette of the much larger margin world of houses and cars, suddenly every floorwalker in hardware and small appliances was writing Mr and Mrs a Thank You and Come Again card in their own hand, for everything from just talking to them to actually buying something. You can understand the unctuous requirement for a good licking up when a realtor's prospective 6 grand house handling fee is involved, or the end-of-month steak knives bonus/you're-fired urgency of the young guy at the dealership, but c'mon, a $29 trashcan? Has the average hourly rate of a salesperson fallen so low that it's worth their time to make them write out these personals for every little thing, or is it all just a busywork mandate of some underworked back-office MBA with a slidedeck of best practices nonzense and Nordstrom-envy? Whatever it is, when I receive one of these I feel 3 things: sympathy for the salesperson who had to get it out during their lunch hour or after work; no desire whatsoever to immediately jump in the car and go to the store; and, finally, a slightly guilty feeling that I ought to pick up a pen and write someone I know a real letter. Ka-ching? Don't think so.

Posted at 07:09 PM     Read More   |

Sat - February 26, 2005

My Head is a Black Bun of Nails

Anyone my age (45-60) knows the seminal, groundbreaking work of cartoonist Ernie Bushmiller from his final newspaper strip "Nancy." The intense blacks, simple geometry and moronically no-side-of-the-brain gags stunned this reader into devotion each day on the Milwaukee Journal's Greensheet (the fun section of the paper.) In a place in my brain I now reserve for my morning Dilbert reset, I would cut open a plastic-tied bundle of fresh Journals in a garage somewhere (I was a paperboy), jump to the greensheet, and flip to the comics to see if today's strip could possibly be stupider than yesterday's atrocity. It almost always was.

I'd lost touch with "Nancy" until a couple years ago, when our local psuedo-newspaper (one of those MacPapers put out in multiple flavors - same layout, different masthead - for all the suburbs of Dallas; mucho typos, jumps that don't go anywhere, chunks of type still crooked in this bequarked age of perfection) started running the "revival" of the strip. I must say my hat is off to the writers and artists, who have recreated Bushmillerland in all its intensity, only occasionally letting a few neo flourishes in. They have a particularly fun time with the racy-again Aunt Fritzi:

Internet pornography? We need to start here. It's more than a little disconcerting while eating one's cereal, in the middle of a perfectly infantile pun or gag about soap or snow, to confront the Hooterized Aunt. All in all, though, a fine job, and as dumb as ever.

Posted at 11:05 AM     Read More   |

Wed - February 23, 2005

Baby You Can't Drive My Car

My wife says I'm a bad driver, and she may be right. After all, I've had about 3 small accidents in 20 years to her one in 35 years. And for some reason, although I'm quite aggressive driving by myself, when she's in the car I always hug the right lane or inevitably get behind a slow moving car or truck, eliciting a wry "Jack, Jack, Jack" from the passenger seat. Whereas if I'm the cargo, she's lead-footing it like a madman all over town.

But none of my moves compare to two that happened to me recently: a car, in six lanes of traffic, stops dead in the leftmost non-turn lane in an intersection and puts its left turn light on, causing much hubbub - they lasted 20 seconds before backing down and driving straight ahead. Then today, whistling back to work from lunch at home, I almost ran into a woman in an SUV sitting on the curb on the opposite direction: she starts her car, puts her head down, looks behind her, ignoring me and pulls a rapid u-ee directly in front of my oncoming car, completing blocking the street. I could have killed her.

I blame the SUV .

Posted at 10:40 PM     Read More   |

Tue - February 22, 2005

Dogs in My Bed

Don't know if you saw the cute AP piece today on sleeping with your animals, but they left certain things out. Here at kNetz Manor we have hosted a couple of canine copilots over the years. The first regular was Clancy the cockapoo mutt, who earned her berth on the big bed by virtue of a 4-foot vertical jump. Clancy provided hot dog breath, and dawn face washings more reliable than the alarm clock. Her successor, Maggie, a half-blind 16-year old rescue Lhasa Apso, cannot jump and must be "flown up" every night to her throne between Mr and Mrs' pillows. Maggie's breath is hot too, and also bad, and we've endured her restless ways these past 3 years. She panicks easily and walks on our heads at all hours at the slighest sign of bad weather, earning an instant eviction to the mommie-scented cocoon of the master bedroom closet (her side). She gets jimmy-legs and turns around all night. And she's just decided, in the last 6 months, to start each night squarely facing me as I drift off, so my last sight each day is a bossy white face in the glow of streetlight, stern black eyes and mouth, panting her scent into my face. If she wasn't really really cute too, I swear, I'd kick her out.

We've had less success with beagle sleep overs until out latest adoptee, Wiggles. If it's sufficiently cold, Wiggles will dive under the down comforter, curl in a ball against your leg, and bake for 10 hours not moving. Otherwise she'll fidget and last about 20 minutes before jumping down. However I will say this about beagles - if they can't actually be in your bed, the next best thing is to have them in the same room. The snore is heavenly, like a little drunk sailor.

Posted at 10:20 PM     Read More   |

Sun - February 20, 2005

The Park as We Know it is Going

There's a city park across the street from our house. It's one of the reasons that, although we look all the time at new houses in booming Frisco, further north in Dallas, we've stayed in our Plano house for 15 years. It is tremendously comfortable, after yet another job change or other stressful time, to head out with my latest dogs on leash into that wonderland. The major landmarks - a gazebo with a squirrel weather vane, certain homes adjoining the park path with swimming pools, iron fences, and their ever-changing dogs - provide the turn-back points on the walk, depending on my mood, schedule, and weather, and my latest beagles are always keen, if I go even a foot past one of these decision points, to surge on to the next leg.

One key charm of the park has been its tall canopy of "trash" trees - mostly cottonwoods, soaring 100 ft. along the banks of the small creek that runs through the park. These original inhabitants of the park make a brilliant swaying canopy visible from our backyard patio - green in the spring, storm tossed in the summer, a crown of red gold in fall evenings. Alas the beetle has come, and one-by-one these gnarled giant trees are dying and being felled for safety, replaced by the city with more practical Shumard red oaks and other hardier but much shorter varieties. The squirrel's trapeze network of nests is coming down too; they'll have more nuts but they've losing their penthouse views.

Posted at 10:18 PM     Read More   |

Fri - February 18, 2005

No Way to Hang a Mirror

If you have a wall above a fireplace in your home and wish to hang a heavy mirror on it, but the studs are a foot or more off center, may I suggest not doing it this way: hang the mirror on a single 50-lb rated picture hook nailed into the sheet rock right around the start of the Super Bowl. For with only 1:58 in the 4th and the Eagles desperately trying to pull even, out of the corner of your eye, in subliminal speed, you will see your new mirror rip slowly out of the sheetrock, pausing briefly on the mantle to crush the glass objets de art there, before falling straight down to the brick hearth shattering the mirror, then sort of bounce up and slide flat on the floor. No sir, you'd be very glad you'd moved the dog bed away from there earlier that day, and wished you'd used 3 medium toggle bolts instead.

Posted at 10:14 PM     Read More   |

Thu - February 17, 2005

The Usual Day

So I had the usual day at work. But since my wife advises me it's not smart to post one's thoughts about where one's currently working, I'll set the wayback machine to 3 months ago - a contract from hell at BelliCom, a giant telco in west Dallas. The commute was far worse than I could imagine. The first week it took 2 hours one way to get home. But the wearying drive was the least of it. The place had a weird mojo. If you were a contractor, you couldn't get a badge for the building, even if you'd been there for years. So you'd wait 10 minutes at the parking garage to get in, then wait up to an hour every morning (standing in a chairless lobby with your laptop digging into your shoulder) for a lifer to come down and get you. God forbid you'd go to lunch--you might never get back in. Between the commute and the lousy access I spent 4 hours a day just trying to get to my "office", which was not a cube, not a desk, but 20 guys around a conference table with 2 hot routers. It was a nice group of smart Indian and Pakistani dudes and me, and it could be a real extreme programming fish market, what with 3 concurrent conversations in Hindi, Farsi, and English going all the time. What's not to like? They said the building was that way about badges because the police shut it down once for overcrowding and they couldn't show more than X employees in the building. There's one less body to worry about now...

Posted at 10:09 PM     Read More   |