Posted on 04-12-2008
Filed Under (Animal Welfare, Environment) by West Andy

Having been a long time fan of Melville via the novellas Bartleby the Scrivener (online here) and Billy Budd (online here), I finally read Moby Dick and now I know why the book is so famous. I am not even going to try and write a review, there are many on the web, but it deservedly fits in the pantheon of great books. Aside from the character development, plot, blending of humor and seriousness, mastery of the use of language, and so forth(!), a side effect of reading the book is an understanding of the whaling industry in America in the late 1800’s from the viewpoint of a sailor.Which brings me to my next point…

There used to be a way of deriding a certain sensibility using the phrase “Save the Whales” to get everyone to laugh at the perceived quixotic nature of the pursuit. (The topic of soundbite derision will have to be another post, one my major peeves) But I came across an article in the New York Times about the current plight of the right whale off the coast of the southern US as it relates to shipping in the area. A sample from the article:

Ships are one of the two leading causes of unnatural death among right whales, and scientists have warned that the unnatural death of even one breeding female has the potential to tip the species toward extinction. From 2002 to 2006, there were 17 confirmed deaths by ship strike, at least six involving adult females.In an effort to stop the fatalities, the National Marine Fisheries Service has tried to impose speed limits on ships within 30 miles of port. But the White House has delayed approval of the rule, which is opposed by some shipping companies. The White House Office of Management and Budget is supposed to review federal agencies’ rule proposals within 90 days, with an optional 30-day extension. In the case of the right whale ship strike rule, it has been more than a year.

Click here to read the full article. The Save the Whales Again! site also has some things that are worth reading should you decide to be informed. Whale hunters are behaving in a truly inhuman and inhumane way towards these incredible creatures. And only for greed…

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Posted on 02-24-2008
Filed Under (Animal Welfare, Politics) by West Andy

I read Michael Pollan’s book, the ‘Omnivores Dilemma‘ last year and well, it pretty much freaked me out. This is a really great book to read as it explains a lot about the origins of the trouble with our food supply and the politics and the people involved in it. It also accurately states the problem, in my opinion. So get it…but here is a link to an article he wrote in December that I think is astonishing. Read this article now, it takes 10-15 minutes, and if you like almonds as much as I do, ponder it…NY Times article by Michael Pollan 

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Posted on 02-11-2008
Filed Under (Music) by West Andy

The curmudgeon in me says once again…’people are stupid’

I watched the Grammys last night. The music of today is in a very sad state when a 67 year old pianist playing a 84 year old composition is so far and away the best thing of the entire show….

That was Herbie Hancock playing George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue (dualing pianos with Lang Lang, who I had never heard of…). The composition and the performance were in stark contrast to:

  • “I want to check you over for ticks”…could have been done by Weird Al
  • All the howling that passes for soul and emotion
  • The simple craftsmanship of hip hop. 

I do confess to liking the Foo Fighters though…and Kid Rock was a little surprising. Amy Winehouse, lots of hype. She’s kind of interesting, but a major talent? Compared to? You decide…

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Posted on 01-29-2008
Filed Under (Software) by West Andy

If you are using it you are a weenie. The CSS implementation for IE is just painful and if you have visited me using it, you know what I mean. My home page is screwed up…but I am too sick of messing around with it just to make it work in IE. No one should use IE.

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Posted on 01-26-2008
Filed Under (Software) by West Andy

MAMP is a single distribution of Apache, MySql, and PHP that totally rocks. I have been using it for testing web sites on my new mac pro (more about that another time). Its cool to see how far some things have come since I last went on a coding binge a couple of years ago. Yes, there are many more moving parts but things are looking up in terms of development speed. I spent the last year in an all MS shop and guess what? It still sucks…as bad as ever. Visual Studio has lots of promise. but isn’t that always the case with MS? Its always ‘going to be great’…in the next rev. Anyway, I am  thrilled to be learning some mac development…lots more later.

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Posted on 01-26-2008
Filed Under (Politics) by West Andy

My one and only post on this…(right)…I am very depressed about the current election trends. Once again, it seems everything is about style over substance. And the criticism by the media is completely to blame in my opinion. There is no reasoned, rational reporting, it is all ‘entertainment’. Anytime I want to get really depressed, I read the “Daily Howler“. This is a site I have been reading for years. Basically, the guy is a media analyzer who points out inaccuracies, scripts, and biases in the media. If you ever wondered why so many people are so stupidly brainwashed, this is the place to discover the answer.

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Posted on 12-30-2007
Filed Under (Music) by West Andy

I will definitely go. Chick Corea’s site has some comments and interviews with the band members. Pretty cool, I never saw them live though we did 10 or 12 dates with Stanley Clarke one year, now that was cool!

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Posted on 12-30-2007
Filed Under (Software) by West Andy

I suppose I am sort of proud of the fact that I have a 3 letter domain name that is a word(!) But since I am such an inveterate DIY kind of guy, I don’t know if my long association with the web and maintaining my own site is actually a ‘good’ thing. Gad does it take a long time to futz with a website(!) I have recently had some time to update it and found it to be a real time-sucker. But still, I am compelled… This time I tried to decide if I should go back to Dreamweaver and all its complexity or use something simple like RapidWeaver (which I have from last years MacHeist but it is needs to be upgraded to V3.6) I tried it and thought I was going to be ok…but no…it kind of sucked at what I wanted to do. Maybe I am just used to DW. I als looked for a template I liked for WordPress thinking I could use that as a site, and it almost works! But in the end I decided to use both DW and WP. 

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