The sun will rise like yesterday

Greetings from Overlook Road, at the beginning of a very cold morning in Cleveland, OH. Nothing in particular to blog about this morning, so I’ll do tidbits.

  • From the “holy crap that’s scary” department, North Korea is ready for launch sometime later this week. From earlier information, we know that the rocket is destined to fly over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean, Japan has vowed to shoot it down should the missile take the predicted path, and North Korea would interpret such an action as an act of war.

    Because the warhead is expected to be non-nuclear, such a small country testing a ballistic missile at this point may seem insignificant. However, if Japan is worried enough (and they have good reason to be) to shoot down the missile as it heads over its territory, then North Korea may declare war on Japan and force the United States into the conflict (the US is already kind of in the conflict, with vessels in the Sea of Japan). This would draw China into the war, and would cause the relations between the US and China, which are already shaky, to deteriorate further. Since China is the country loaning us all this money for the bailouts, and many of our imported goods are made in China, a war with the country would have a horrific effect on our already troubled economy.

    If it were me (and it’s not, it’s this guy) I’d work on this situation from a “Fifth freedom” approach. It’s not done much anymore, but a human espionage operation might be the only thing that could diffuse this situation (or at least postpone it until the Six Party talks resume) without creating a war.

  • As I write this morning, we’re one week away from Opening Day, and I read in ESPN The Magazine (dated 6 April 2009) that Buster Olney has picked the Minnesota Twins to win the AL Central with the Tampa Bay Rays winning the East, and eventually World Series.

    It’s pretty tough for me to pick the Rays this year. While the team was great last year, and made a great story, I thought a lot of things went their way: no huge injuries, a lot of close games, and the Yankees sucked. This year, the Yankees (on paper) are far better, and the ball could certainly bounce the other way. I don’t see the Rays finishing dead last, but I don’t see them winning the East, either.

    As for the Twins prediction, I think it’s fair. After all, Buster Olney has picked the Indians to win the Series for three consecutive years with these finishes: sub-.500, lost ALCS, .500 exactly. While I think the Indians have problems, they’re more experienced and should be more consistent offensively this year, and have pitching depth to solve those problems. The Twins are a bit younger and face injury questions of their own with Mauer and Cuddyer (seriously, is that guy ever playing?), not to mention Liriano. In just a week, we’ll start to find out who’s right.

  • So I flew to Columbia on Friday and back on Saturday. I’m guessing that most people who read this blog aren’t entirely concerned with the software and hardware that runs the airports’ computer systems, but I am (or at least it interests me) and I noticed a few things.
    1. Why is every airline using its own, proprietary software? The software was designed in the 80s (or earlier) and has a ridiculous interface. Most of the terminals at the airports were running Windows XP, so why hasn’t Microsoft (or any other Windows developer) designed a fresh product that could work with every airline that could manage flights? It’d be a tough sell initially, but once the airlines bought it, they’d be hooked. The database could use a SQL Server backend to enable the creation custom software (such as software to outsource ticket booking).
    2. The flight status screens (42-inch flatscreens) at Washington-Dulles were run using Wyse terminals, which is pretty awesome because I developed a report for a client that runs off of a Wyse terminal too.
    3. Why do we still use boarding passes? When you check in, you’re given a boarding pass for each flight that is made of flimsy paper that you’re expected to carry through the airport to show to the attendants. Not only that, sometimes you print your boarding pass out online or receive them in some other fashion, meaning the boarding passes that are collected aren’t uniform. Instead of printing boarding passes, why not use a plastic card (like a subway pass) with a magnetic stripe that has all of your data? You only have one card for your entire flight path (even with connections), and the card can be disposed and reused at some point. There’s no a paper pileup, and it’s secure because all that needs to be stored is an ID: the scanner can look up the flight information using that ID and track progress that way.
  • March Madness, after next weekend, will finally be over. I didn’t even fill out a bracket this year, because I didn’t watch a single game during the regular season, but I had expected North Carolina to win it all and they seem to be the favorites now.
  • In other basketball news, the Cavs have won their sixtieth game and are well on their way to clinching the top overall seed for the playoffs. Part of me will be a little upset if the Cavs win it all (honestly, the Indians and Browns deserve it more) but it’d still be nice to see the city get to celebrate something.
  • Was Saturday the official first day of the disc golf season? Taylor, Sam and I all went to Sims Park in Euclid and we played through a party of about 10 and saw at least four other parties on the course. (For the record, I played a little better this time, but I’m nowhere close to midseason form.)

That’s all from a wet, snowy Cleveland morning. I have four weeks left as an undergraduate so it’ll be nose to the grindstone until April 28th. Have a happy Monday!

I’ve seen a million faces…

Hello from the first floor of Kelvin Smith Library in the “heart of campus” of Case Western Reserve University! It’s sunny, about 40 degrees, and baseball season is less than 36 hours away from getting underway!

  • On that note, I was watching the Indians play their final exhibition game of the spring thanks to a free preview of MLB.tv (don’t get me started…):


    It was raining in Atlanta (actually, thunderstorming, which was kind of cool) so rather than risk injury to players they put the game on rain delay. Now, for those of you who don’t know, MLB.tv basically rebroadcasts the local network’s broadcast over the Internet, so I was watching the PeachtreeTV (I don’t know either, I guess Atlanta is like that) broadcast, and they switched into the rain delay programming…which was a rerun of Cheers. That’s right: for a minute (until MLB.tv realized what was happening) I was watching a rerun of Cheers on MLB.tv. The irony is amazing.

  • In other sports news, the latest “Cinderella Story” Davidson destroyed Wisconsin last night. I watched most of that game (from a random bar in Parma) – it’d be pretty tough to beat a team that was raining down threes like Davidson was. They play UCLA next, so that story is probably over.
  • And now a message to the voters that will be deciding our next president: you’re not voting for the candidate’s pastor, you’re voting for that candidate. Look, what Jeremiah Wright said (and perhaps what he believes) is wrong, but that doesn’t mean a) that Barack Obama believes the same thing by extension, and b) that the guy doesn’t have other good qualities that makes him a guy Obama would have hung around with all those years. Obama’s been defending himself since those videos surfaced – and he’s not even in them!
  • From the Clinton campaign, Chelsea Clinton defended herself the other day against a Monica Lewinsky question. Basically, it was a fair question, but in Chelsea’s defense (she’s not as evil as her parents yet, it’s easier to defend her) it was a fair answer. I don’t know that Hillary has ever answered that question, but it’s certainly not Chelsea’s responsibility.
  • While the Democrats are bickering about seemingly everything, John McCain is, all of the sudden, becoming less annoying. The fact is that he shouldn’t even be close in this race – he supports a war that most Americans do not support and on the number one issue (apparently) to most Americans, the economy, he “doesn’t know that much”. But the longer the Democrats fight this out, the better he does.

    That’s NOT to say that I agree with Howard Dean (YEAHHHHHHHH!), that we should end the “fight” before the convention. Even worse, there is speculation within this piece that if the Democrats don’t resolve this that Al Gore will be at the top of the ticket with Obama or Clinton as the Vice President. First, how does that solve anything? Then they both are still fighting about who gets to be the VP. Secondly…are you kidding? What’s the point of a primary if we can just choose a new candidate at the convention? It’s like Al Gore is the father figure of the Democratic party (I don’t really know why, he hasn’t held public office in eight years) and he’d be saying, “well, you kids can’t settle this yourself so I’m going to settle it for you.”

  • Saw this article on the front of CNN.com the other day. Now, yes, you feel sorry for the woman in the article, but notice a couple things. First, she somehow can afford all of that nice furniture and lamps in the background but not food for her family? And how is it possible that you go from $70000 a year to, “weeks later”, having no money for food? This is the point of having savings accounts and not racking up debt! As we enter these hard times with the economy, make sure you know what you’re reading, what the angle of the reporter is, and think about it a bit before jumping to any conclusions.
  • Finally, the quote of the day:
    MICHAEL: We can no longer be friends and when we talk about things here we must only discuss,ah, work associated things, and uh, we can consider this my retirement from comedy and in the future if I want to say something funny or witty or do an impression I will no longer, EVER, do any of those things.
    JIM: Does that include “That’s what she said?”
    MICHAEL: Mmm-hmm…yes.
    JIM: Wow that is really hard…you really think you can go all day long?…well, you always left me satisfied and smiling, so…
    MICHAEL: That’s what she said!

Hope everyone has a happy Saturday and a nice weekend!

Early bedtime

Going to bed early tonight, probably because I’m on four hours of sleep and unlike my parents (cough) and my sister (cough, cough) I never got a nap today. But perhaps a quick post of the weekend’s events would do us all well.

  • March Madness is down to the Sweet 16… and I still don’t care. I don’t know what it is this year, but I have had no urge to watch any of the games, in fact, I’ve become readdicted to Seinfeld instead.
  • Curtis Granderson, the center fielder for the Detroit Tigers, won’t be starting on Opening Day. It’s too bad, and I hope he returns soon – he’s a great baseball player and a real class act, not to mention a huge part of the rivalry between the Indians and the Tigers.
  • Watched Beauty and the Beast with my parents, sister and little cousins on Saturday evening, and let me say this: if there’s one thing Steve Jobs has done right, it’s Pixar. The movie was good, but I think I’d pick pretty much any Pixar movie over any standard Disney movie. Mulan was pretty good, and Aladdin was also good…and come to think of it, I really liked Tarzan too. But compared to my obsession with Ratatouille and The Incredibles, no contest.
  • A couple events of note in the political world. First, every candidate’s passport has been illegally investigated. Personally, I wasn’t aware a passport was such a private document. The fact it was viewed without authorization is apalling (and seriously, how do we protect these things if they’re so secret), but I’ve never really put much stock in my passport holding crucial information. Maybe that’s because I’ve only left the country once.

    Second, Bill Richardson endorsed Barack Obama. Now here’s a guy who needs a lesson on timing. If he really wanted to make a difference in the campaign, he should have endorsed Obama when there were actually voters trying to make up their minds. The next primary of note is Pennsylvania, and my guess is that 90% of the people in Pennsylvania don’t know or don’t care who Bill Richardson is. I remember watching him in the debates, and of all the democratic candidates, he looked the least confortable on that stage and struck me as the least likely to become President (well, besides Kucinich).

  • Opening Day is 8 days away! To get ready for the big day, the Indians have redesigned Indians.com which looks pretty nice. The weather forecast for Opening Day looks…well, it looks like Opening Day in Cleveland:

    Well, it could be worse:
  • On to the quote of the day:
    Cops. I don’t even care about cops. I wanna’ see more garbage men. It’s much more important. All I wanna see are garbage trucks, garbage cans and garbage men. You’re never gonna’ stop crime, we should at least be clean.

    George Costanza, Seinfeld

Should be an interesting week. And by the way, for those of you reading this at Case, if you’re sick, don’t come near me. In fact, quit reading this blog, I don’t want to catch anything.

Global warming can kiss my…

Isn’t it too late in the year for it to be this cold? According to the spyware-laden, ever-annoying Weather.com, the average for this time of year is about 45 degrees. Today’s high? 35 degrees. At least it’s sunny. Better save the snow for 10 days from today, Opening Day against the Chicago White Sox! On to the links then:

  • Our favorite Cupertino corporation, Apple Inc., is in talks with the major record labels to create a one-time premium alternative to iTunes, allowing a user to download all they want for a one-time fee. Can you say cha-ching? The thinking behind this logic is that the average user buys 20 songs on iTunes, meaning that charging a $40 premium on top of the purchase of a new iPod is a win for Apple.

    There are two things wrong with this statement, the first is that I’ve purchased over $300 worth of music from iTunes in the last 18 months. If I get access to a plan that allows me unlimited access, I think I’d pay up to $150 on the spot and I’d still beat the system.

    The second problem with that is that Apple assumes that removing a per-song fee will not change users’ downloading habits. Let me ask you something: if you go to a restaurant like Don Pablo’s or Max and Erma’s, do you usually get dessert? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. I don’t, because normally I’m full and paying $5 for a small piece of cake turns a $10 meal into a $15 meal pretty quickly. An extra piece of cake when I’m already pretty full isn’t worth a 50% bump in the check (at least). However, if I go to a place like Hometown Buffet, not only will I get dessert, I’ll usually get three. Why? I’ve already paid for that dessert whether I eat it or not; why not enjoy it?

    The same goes for music. If I have the unlimited plan, any questioning I have about “eh…will I really listen to ‘KISS: Live In Detroit’ enough to purchase the entire 5-disc set?’ If I’m paying $40 for it, probably not. But if I’ve already paid once…wait for it…keep waiting…

    You pull the trigger of my…. LOVE GUN!

  • Barack Obama gave a speech on race and the influence it’s had on this campaign. I’ve read and watched it; probably top five of all speeches I’ve heard in my lifetime. Without coming out and saying it, Obama essentially said it was ridiculous that race was even an issue in this race, and he’s completely right.

    But he’s missing another aspect of diversity: the role religion still has in politics is pretty sad. “But Jimmy,” you say, “how could you say that after supporting Mike Huckabee?” I think religion is pretty unimportant when it comes to choosing a President. Ultimately, you’re not voting for your God, because if God were running for President I’m pretty sure he’d win every time. You’re voting for the person and how he will run the country. If that doesn’t make any sense, I’ll put it another way: I would have still supported Mike Huckabee if he wasn’t Christian but was still the same person. Of course, your religion generally tends to define who you are, so it’d be very hard for Huckabee to be the same candidate without his religion.

    A more relevant example is the allegation that some have made that Barack Obama is a Muslim. My response to that is: so what? What’s he going to do, call up his buddy Osama and say, “hey, I’m on the inside, they’re trusting me with everything! We’re so in!”? Of course not. The view that all Muslims are terrorists is ridiculous in this day and age.

    When you’re electing a president, you shouldn’t elect someone who follows the same religion as you because they follow the same religion as you. You should elect someone who will defend to the death your right to follow whatever religion (or lack thereof) you want to follow.

  • I realize as I type that that I’ve never typed my interpretation of “one nation, under God” in a place that everyone can access; at some point, I’ll have to do that.
  • Onto the wide world of sports. The NCAA March Madness tournament has begun, and right now I still have no idea who’s won any games. I find that I really don’t care this year, for whatever reason. My pick is for North Carolina to win it all, but I haven’t filled out a bracket. “March Madness” seems like its getting dangerously close to “April Fever”, doesn’t it? Every year it seems to start later and later. Why is this? Why can’t basketball just go quietly into their offseason like the rest of the sports? NBA playoffs last like a month and a half, and March Madness keeps getting later and longer. Basketball is, to me, nothing more than a filler between the end of football season and the beginning of the baseball season.
  • I have been watching more of the Cavs games lately, and I came to a realization. You know that guy LeBron James? He’s pretty good.
  • Both Jeremy Sowers and Aaron Laffey especially pitched well last night. Dear Mark Shaprio: Take advantage of the lack of starting pitching around the rest of the league and please, please, please trade Cliff Lee to someone who is desperate.
  • Onto the quote of the day:
    Just remember, when you control the mail, you control… information.
    Newman, Seinfeld

    If George is the best sitcom character of all time, Newman has got to be in the top three. How anyone kept a straight face when he was in the room during shooting is beyond me.

Finally, I’m looking for a new travel coffee mug. I’d prefer one that is mostly metal (I’m not a big fan of plastic) and one that’s constructed well enough to not let any coffee drip out inadvertently. I’m willing to pay considerable cash for it. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Just kidding, one more thing. I’m noticing that I’m getting viewers from all over the country now, but I’d like to know more about who’s reading this blog. So if you’re reading this blog and you like (or hate) what you read, leave a comment somewhere with your first name and location.

Until next time.