Archive for June, 2005

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The Starbucks of Podcasting

June 29, 2005

I recently gave a lecture at the university on podcasting. But I think it will be the last one I give on the subject. People don’t need someone to lecture on technologies that are mainstream. And that’s what podcasting is now that it’s been integrated into Apple’s widespread iTunes program. I’m not the only one who sees this as a huge change.

Apple has done what Steve Jobs claimed,” says August Trometer, developer of iPodderX. “They brought podcasting to the mainstream. I like to compare podcasting to cappuccino — gourmet coffee was around for a long time, but it took Starbucks to put it on the map. Apple, you could say, is the Starbucks of podcasting now.” – Playlist: Apple earns cheers from analysts, podcasters

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Men Are Like

June 29, 2005

A friend of mine sent out a humorous email this morning and included me on the recipients list. We exchanged a few emails about it. I asked her if I could blog it if I didn’t spill her name and she said okay. (Thanks!) I really want to know what you think. This was the initial message:

  1. Men are like …….Laxatives! …… They irritate the “crap” out of you.
  2. Men are like……. Bananas ….. The older they get, the less firm they are.
  3. Men are like ……. Weather …. Nothing can be done to change them.
  4. Men are like ……. Blenders …. You need One, but you’re not quite sure why.
  5. Men are like …… Chocolate Bars … Sweet, smooth, &they usually head right for your hips.
  6. Men are like ……. Commercials ….. You can’t believe a word they say.
  7. Men are like ……. Department Stores …. Their clothes are always 1/2 off.
  8. Men are like … Government Bonds…. They take soooooooo long to mature.
  9. Men are like …… Mascara ….. They usually run at the first sign of emotion.
  10. Men are like … Popcorn…… They satisfy you, but only for a little while.
  11. Men are like …. Snowstorms ….. You never know when they’re coming,
    how many inches you’ll get or how long it will last.

  12. Men are like…. Lava Lamps …. Fun to look at, but not very bright.
  13. Men are like … Parking Spots…….. All the good ones are taken, the rest are handicapped.

This was my response:

On the one hand, this is amusing. On the other hand I’m given to wonder whether, if the genders were reversed, it would be as humorous. I’m all for laughing at oneself, but I am well aware that when similar jokes about women are told–when anyone dares to tell them at all–they are thought to be misogynistic, sexist and totally unfit for polite, educated people.

You’ll have to forgive my perhaps oversensitivity to the issue; I’m in the middle of reading Christina Hoff Sommers’ book “The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men” and it’s making me want to scream 🙂

She expressed some surprise at my response and suggested that maybe I was taking the whole thing too seriously. I replied again:

I’m not “cool open-minded and funny”? Maybe not today, anyway. In the depths of my current gender studies odyssey I’m given to wonder if your response would read differently if the shoe was on the other foot. Had a man in a work environment sent out a similar joke to some female colleagues, and one of them suggested that it wasn’t entirely appropriate, I don’t think he would fared well having responded to her thus:

“I was hoping you were a “cool open-minded funny” woman I could send this too.” And certainly inviting her to go “breathe” would not have won him any sensitivity points. In fact I should not be surprised if it earned him a mandatory sensitivity training course courtesy of his employers HR department.

I realize of course that you have zero intention to offend anyone. And mostly I’m playing devil’s advocate rather than expressing any personal outrage at your messages. It’s just food for thought. Please do not think I am angry at you. I’m just wondering aloud about the way men and women get along these days.

So what do you think? Am I crazy or do I have a point?

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Option C: Into The Belly of the Beast

June 29, 2005

Earlier this morning I was suddenly faced with a moment of crisis. I could either:

A) stumble from the bathroom in my underwear, choking, sputtering and wiping my eyes in front of my son and his two friends, or

B) stay and tough it out.

I wanted to at least do one useful thing on my day off so I took an armful of cleaning paraphernalia into the bathroom to clean the shower. I didn’t want to get bleach and stuff on my clothes so I took them off. Naturally I had to shut the door so as not to needlessly expose myself to our 12-year-old visitors playing Magic in the next room. I really wanted to do the job right so I went right for the stuff with the word “bleach” on the bottle. It was hard to get out, this bleachy stuff. The bottle was almost empty. I used what I could and scrubbed.

Some minutes later, I realized that the tub was pretty much done but that the tile walls of the shower stall were still inadequate. The bleach stuff was all used up so I grabbed another bottle. It said something about mildew. Cool, I thought. Maybe it’ll make the tile grout sparkle.

Experienced housekeepers and professors of chemistry alike are cringing at this juncture in my story. Because they know you should never mix two cleaners like that. There’s always a chance they could produce a toxic result, such as when one contains ammonia and the other contains, I don’t know, bleach. Unfortunately, I am not a professor of chemistry nor is my housekeeping anything to brag about. Even so, I was quite aware that bleach and ammonia produce poisonous chlorine gas. I had seen a friend of mine dose himself pretty good back in the late 80s while mopping a kitchen floor. So I should know better. I do know better. I even said to myself “gee, I hope there’s no ammonia in this other bottle.” But did I check? What do you think.

I sprayed the second bottle of cleaning solution liberally over the shower walls and started scrubbing. And I coughed a little. And then a little more. And as my eyes started to water and my lungs began to constrict, still I wondered: was there ammonia in that bottle? Not that I could have read the ingredients by then anyway: my eyes were streaming with tears and I was nearly overcome with what I presume to be chlorine gas.

This is the moment of crisis I referred to earlier. Do I stumble from the bathroom in an embarrassing state of undress to escape the poison or do I stay and try to stick it out? I chose option “C” which was to jump into the belly of the beast. I disrobed the rest of the way, climbed into the shower and turned it on.

Yes I know that this was stupid. In my own feeble defense, however, I wish it to be know that I did I crack the door open a few inches and made sure the ventilation window was open wide. I managed to wash the cleaning solutions down the drain before their toxic gas asphyxiated me in the shower. I won. The shower is clean and I survived. Go me.

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Four Out Of Five Yogis Recommend Shanti Dhoop

June 28, 2005

Check out my favorite incense. I bought it, as best as I can recall, at one of the outdoor festivals in town. I distinctly recall the situation: a vendor who was crammed elbow to elbow with two dozen other vendors in one of several long white tents on the fairgrounds. He saw me fondling them. “Buy two get one free,” he said. So I did. I got “Early Morning Incense no 1,” Day Time Incense no 2,” and “Good Evening Incense no 3.”

The brightly colored fabric sacks that they come in each read something like this:

Shanti Dhoop. Hand Made by Lama Dorjee P.O. Box 6542, Kathmandu Nepal. Shanti Dhoop is prepared after the ancient Vedic Recipe. The Ingredients are natural herbs, plants, leaves and tree bark. Since time immemorial, Yogis, Rishis and Munis has used this incense recipe before the day break to a pleasant and peaceful day. We recommend you this Incense to burn in the morning time and wish you a very successful peaceful and pleasant day. Each stick burns 45-60 minutes.

These sticks have no wooden center. That is to say, they are entirely made of burnable incense. And they smell very exotic, very Indian. They’re hard to find, even online, but I finally managed to locate them here. If you’re at all into incense try these. You’ll like them.

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Don’t Hate Me Because I’m A Slacker

June 28, 2005

As of the end of business hours today I am officially on vacation! That’s right. I have the rest of the week off and all next week, too. That’s twelve days without working, ladies and gents. And I have some stuff planned.

Arthur, the young fellow from France, joins our clan tomorrow night. Then dad and Helen arrive on Friday to spend a week with us. I will then travel to the far corners of Southeastern Wisconsin to personally introduce our out-of-town visitors to the many wonders that with such splendid frequency dot this breathtaking land of the gods. I will take lots of pictures as I do this. You have been warned.

Tomorrow morning I intend to mark the beginning of my newfound freedom by going out for some coffee. What’s so special about that? I won’t be having it in a to-go cup! After that i think I better clean this joint up a little.

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Chipotle Delivery Service

June 27, 2005

A while back I saw a salsa recipe on Karen’s blog. I wanted to try it, but I came up short at the grocery store when I discovered that they did not carry chipotle peppers. I looked and looked. I asked at the customer service desk. The manager became involved. Finally they confirmed what I had been telling them all along: they didn’t carry the stuff. Maybe I could try the new organic place down the street, they suggested. Maybe I would do that. In the meantime I came home and made the salsa, substituting some jarred jalapeno peppers for chipotles. It was great! Angela and I both liked it quite a bit.

chipotle peppersBut Karen herself was unsatisfied. She announced her intention to send me a can of chipotles–in adobo, no less. She informed me that the chipotle pepper was actually a smoked jalapeno pepper, something I’m sure everyone in the universe knew but me. I offered to send her a can of something in return…a can of Whoopass, perhaps? She politely declined and told me that my peppers were on their way.

And guess what was in my mailbox this evening? I plan to use these to make a new batch of salsa for our July 4th party.

Thanks, Karen!

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MIT Weblog Survey

June 27, 2005

Take the MIT Weblog Survey