Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Very Sweet Story

Subject: Gift of TIME!

Here's a heartwarming story about the bond formed between a little
girl and some construction workers. This will make you believe that
we CAN make a difference when we give a child the gift of your time.

A young family moved into a house next door to a vacant lot. One day,
a construction crew came in and began building a house on the empty
lot. The family's 5-year-old daughter became interested in all the
activity going on next door and spent much of each day observing the

Eventually, the construction crew, all of them gems-in-the-rough,
more or less adopted her as a project mascot. They chatted with
her, let her sit with them while they took coffee and lunch breaks,
an gave her little jobs to do here and there to make her feel important.

At the end of the first week, the men presented her with a pay
envelope which contained 2.00. The little girl took this home to her
mother, who said all the appropriate words of admiration, and suggested
that they take the money she received to the bank to start a savings account.

When they talked to the bank teller, she was equally impressed and
asked the little girl how she had earned her very own paycheck at
such a young age. The child proudly replied, "I worked last week with
the crew building the house next door to us."

My goodness gracious," said the teller, "and will you be working on
the house again this week, too?" The little girl replied, "I will if those
assholes at Home Depot ever deliver the fuckin' sheet rock."

Aren't little girls precious...

Welcome To The Future

Welcome To The Future
Originally uploaded by H. Michael karshis.

The adventure continues!

That's Right,

Friday, August 27, 2004

Can you just make that out to cash...

Want to know who your friends and neighbors are supporting? Here's a site that has calculations based on records filed with the FEC of contributions by all individuals totalling more than $200 (and some totalling less than $200) to a single Republican or Democratic presidential campaign or national committee between January 1, 2003 and July 31, 2004.

They gave how much to who?

That's Right,

How Cool Is That!

How Cool Is That!
Originally uploaded by H. Michael karshis.
Internet machine shop offers custom tooling.

It's the Internet Revolution meets the Industrial Revolution: a new program that lets people design 3-D objects like car parts and door knobs in metal or plastic then order them online.

Programs for computer-aided design, or CAD, have been around for decades, but eMachineShop.com appears to be the first service that checks whether a design can be made, tells the customer how much it will cost. If the customer wants the item the design goes to a "real world" machine shop for manufacturing.

The key to this enterprise is free design software provided by eMachineShop that aims to be simple enough for hobbyists and other non-engineers.

Prices won't be competitive with Wal-Mart, but Wal-Mart won't make ten copper door knobs, then sandblast them for you. EmachineShop charges $143 for that.

The company was created by Jim Lewis, a programmer and self-professed "tinkerer." One previous credit: "the world's hardest sliding block puzzle."

Even though the Midland Park, New Jersey, company, which has 19 employees, doesn't advertise, it has handled more than 1,000 orders for things like door signs, motorcycle seats, robot frames, car engine covers, guitar plates and camera parts.

The most expensive item it's sold since it began beta testing last year is a $4,011 aluminum, 26-inch diameter part for a high-powered laboratory magnet.

The customers range from large companies that make prototypes to hobbyists including Dennis J. Vegh of Mesa, Arizona, who had the company make metal parts for an airplane he's building after a 1929 design.

"I had to have the pieces made because they do not exist anywhere," Vegh said.

He found the software quick and easy to use. The quality of the finishing has varied a bit between orders, but has been acceptable, he said.

"Being able to sit at you home computer, draw up some parts, submit them and 30 days later they are on your doorstep, all without human contact, is mind-blowing," Vegh says.

Merging design and manufacturing
EMachineShop.com provides software that companies can use to design machine parts on a computer and have them manufactured.

Lewis, the company founder, estimates that with conventional methods, it takes about 40 hours to design a part, get a quote, straighten out manufacturing problems with the machine shop and put the order in.

Taylan Altan, professor at the College of Engineering at Ohio State University, agrees, saying the process can easily drag out to two weeks.

"One of the biggest problems we have today in American design and manufacturing is that designers know very little about manufacturing," he says.

As a result, designers draw parts that are hard to make and require several rounds of modification before they can be put in production, a problem eMachineShop aims to avoid by building the knowledge of a machinist into the design software.

For instance, if you're designing a part made of sheet metal, it won't allow you to include a bend too close to an edge -- the machinist needs enough surface to hold on to when bending.

Lewis is also working on Pad2Pad, an application that makes electronics. Manufacturers of printed circuit boards, like PCBExpress.com, are already online but Lewis aims to take the concept one step further by also attaching components like resistors, capacitors and chips to the boards.

Pad2Pad is taking orders, but is "a couple of years behind eMachineShop" in its development, Lewis says. One problem is stocking the components customers want.

Lewis also wants into branch into what is perhaps the least sexy segment of manufacturing: making cardboard boxes for packaging.

"My dream is essentially to become the Amazon in the manufacturing segment," Lewis says.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Democrat or Jackass?

CHARLESTON, West Virginia (AP) -- A man who heckled President Bush at a political rally was fired from his job at an advertising and design company for offending a client who provided tickets to the event.

The fired graphic designer said Saturday he won't try to get his job back.

"I'm mad less about losing the job -- I'm more mad about the reasons," said Glen Hiller, 35, of Berkeley Springs. "All I did was show up and voice my opinion."

Hiller was ushered out of Hedgesville High School on Tuesday after shouting his disagreement with Bush's comments about the war in Iraq and the search for weapons of mass destruction. The crowd had easily drowned out Hiller with its chant: "Four more years."

"He surrounds himself with people who support him," Hiller said of Bush. "Your opinion ... is viewed as right or wrong."

When he showed up for work at Octavo Designs of Frederick, Maryland, the following morning, he said he was told he'd embarrassed and offended a client who provided tickets to the event -- and that he was fired.

The client was a public relations worker who represents the Berkeley County school district, he said. "It's just bizarre that you disagree with them and it all turns evil," Hiller said.

Messages left with Octavo Designs were not immediately returned Saturday.

The father of two young girls had worked at the design firm for five months, doesn't plan to appeal the firing, and holds no grudge against his boss.

"To some degree I can see her point of view," Hiller said. "Advertising is all about having the perfect tan and driving a cool car. It's all about image."

Hiller said he now plans to pursue work as a registered nurse, a field in which he worked for 10 years before landing the design job.

Last month, Charleston City Council apologized to two protesters arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts to the president's July 4 rally. The pair were taken from the event in restraints after revealing T-shirts with Bush's name crossed out on the front and the words "Love America, Hate Bush" on the back. Trespassing charges were ultimately dismissed.

"...is all about having the perfect tan and driving a cool car. It's all about image."
Dude, it was a political rally not another boring advertisng awards show - we're talking about America, not advertising. We're also talking about common courtesy, respect and appropriateness. As for the t-shirts - Love Democrats, Hate Jackasses!



Friday, August 20, 2004


How about make $15.9 million and counting, gosh!

If those lines mean nothing to you, you've yet to meet Napoleon Dynamite, the unlikely character behind summer's sleeper hit. The $400,000 Sundance hit has been lurking around theaters since June, luring teens and young adults to the story of an Everydork trying to make it through high school in Preston, Idaho.

The film, starring newcomers Jon Heder, Aaron Ruell and Efren Ramirez, has kids seeing it for the fourth and fifth time. They're quoting lines from the movie such as "Don't be jealous that I've been chatting online with babes all day." They're punctuating sentences with Dynamite's trademark "gosh!"

Not bad for a movie playing on fewer than 600 screens and that has yet to crack the top 10.

That won't last long, though. Distributor Fox Searchlight continues to expand screens in the hopes of reaching 1,500 theaters nationwide.

"It still amazes me how it's caught on," Searchlight's Steve Gilula says. "Nobody thought it would be this big."

Dynamite did it with a canny marketing campaign and by tapping into a "geek chic" that kids can identify with.

Don't believe it? Check out the Napoleon Dynamite T-shirts. Searchlight printed 100,000 of them and gave them to anyone willing to go to a free screening. Searchlight also took the unusual step of bringing those moviegoers back for second and third helpings with "frequent viewer cards." Every time someone came back (ideally, with a friend), he got more freebies, including pins, decals and Napoleon Dynamite lip balm that reads "My lips hurt real bad."

"We were giving the film away to anyone who wanted to see it," says Nancy Utley, Searchlight's marketing president. "Kids love free things."

They also love the movie's ultra-nerd aesthetics, from the wood paneling to brown polyester suits to Napoleon's moon boots. The film is playing strongest in the Midwest and the Bible Belt, Utley says. "Anywhere the land is flat."

Like Westland, Mich., where Michael Gladden, 15, has seen the movie three times. "Napoleon is a geek, but you still like him. I'd rather see movies about a guy like that than a Hollywood stud any day."

He may get more of his favorite geek: There's talk of a sequel. Utley says executives became certain Dynamite could become a franchise after Heder made an appearance at the Teen Choice Awards last week.

"Paris Hilton wanted his autograph," she says. "When Paris Hilton wants Napoleon Dynamite's autograph, you're on to something."

Thursday, August 19, 2004

iPod Rules Japan

Dig this - Six of Top Eight Music Players In Japan Are iPods

The AP is reporting that the iPod has become so popular in Japan, despite the introduction of the Sony Walkman NW-HD1, that six of the top 8 selling music players in the country are iPod models. The AP cites Gfk Japan, a market research company for its figures. This information comes to us in an article about how the iPod has taken on the same cultural icon status it has achieved in the US. From the AP:

When Sony Corp. President Kunitake Ando showed off the new Walkman meant to counter the assault by Apple's iPod portable music player, he held the prized gadget at the gala event upside down.
That may have been a bad omen.
The iPod is proving a colossal hit on the Japanese electronics and entertainment giant's own turf. The tiny white machine is catching on as a fashion statement and turning into a cultural icon in Japan, much the same way it won a fanatic following in the United States.

There is much more information about the iPod's success in Japan in the full article, check it out:

iPod Rules Japan

Wow - Apple beating Sony in Japan - that's quite an awesome accomplishment. Sony's been the leader of all things electronics in Japan but seems to have totally dropped the ball in regard to the digital music player market. Not to mention the fact that none of the Sony gear is even mp3 compatible! I just don't understand how they can ignore an obvious, evergrowing format like mp3.

Rock on Apple!


Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Beer Necessities

Bear guzzles 36 beers, passes out at campground

SEATTLE, Washington (Reuters) -- A black bear was found passed out at a campground in Washington state recently after guzzling down three dozen cans of a local beer, a campground worker said on Wednesday.

"We noticed a bear sleeping on the common lawn and wondered what was going on until we discovered that there were a lot of beer cans lying around," said Lisa Broxson, a worker at the Baker Lake Resort, 80 miles (129 km) northeast of Seattle.

The hard-drinking bear, estimated to be about two years old, broke into campers' coolers and, using his claws and teeth to open the cans, swilled down the suds.

It turns out the bear was a bit of a beer sophisticate. He tried a mass-market Busch beer, but switched to Rainier Beer, a local ale, and stuck with it for his drinking binge.

Wildlife agents chased the bear away, but it returned the next day, said Broxson.

They set a trap using as bait some doughnuts, honey and two cans of Rainier Beer. It worked, and the bear was captured for relocation.

He's still smarter than the avereage bear.


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Quick Henry, The Flit!

TG Flit
Originally uploaded by H. Michael karshis.
Before Theodore Seuss Geisel found fame as a children's book author, the primary outlet for his creative efforts was magazines. His first steady job after he left Oxford was as a cartoonist for Judge, a New York City publication. In 1927 one of these cartoons opened the way to a more profitable career, as well as greater public exposure, as an advertising illustrator. This fortuitous cartoon depicts a medieval knight in his bed, facing a dragon who had invaded his room, and lamenting, "Darn it all, another dragon. And just after I'd sprayed the whole castle with Flit" (a well-known brand of bug spray).

Read It All


Monday, August 16, 2004

Does It Mean Anything?

My old phone number used to spell LeoPig2. Happy accident and meant absolutely nothing. Or did it...

What does your spell?

Hook me up!


Sunday, August 15, 2004


takumi led
Originally uploaded by H. Michael karshis.
"Wooden penetrate expression digital clock."
That's how "LED clock made of MDF" translates from Japanese. Loosely shaped like LED clocks from the seventies, that's where the resemblance ends, because they look like simple blocks of wood. Plug it in, see the LED numerals, set the time. The block of wood becomes a clock. Now, what if we hook-up this Takumi with a Tivoli and an iPod? Then, we'd have an awsome little speaker with an LED displaying the song info... Hmmmm... HMK

DESIGNER: Kouji Iwasaki
4Senses Interior

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Hour you know m'entendre? Spendthrift!

Ever wonder what you would get if you took an English phrase and translated it to French - back to English, then to German, back to English, then to Italian, then again, back to English, then to Portuguese, back to English, then to Spanish and then finally, back to English? Well, Lost in Translation has got an answer for you - and most likely a funny one at that! I entered: Dirty Deeds - Done Dirt Cheap" and after going through all of the above in a matter of seconds I got: Dirty contracts - the dirt gave the form economically!

Now try: Can you hear me now? Good!

Correct That's.


Friday, August 13, 2004

Save The Liver!

"I think you should go shopping!" she said with a smile in that trademark voice of hers. She then told me to enjoy the day and was off. That was the advice legendary chef Julia Child gave me when I asked what I could make with my leftovers of bacon-bits, a pickle, cream cheese, half & half and a couple of beers - the contents of my fridge at the time. I lived across the street from my favorite chef in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1991. I had the pleasure of hearing her "Hellooo." on occasion each morning on my way to the train. According to a statement from her publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, Julia Child has sadly passed away. She was 91.

Thanks for being sweet to me Julia! (that's what she insisted I call her.)

Say Hi to my Mom & Dad for me,


Hacker takes bite out of Apple's iTunes

By Lars Pasveer
Special to CNET & That's Right
The Norwegian hacker famous for cracking DVD encryption says he has cracked Apple AirPort Express.

Jon Lech Johansen has revealed the public key that Apple AirPort Express, a wireless networking protocol, uses to encrypt music sent between iTunes and a wireless base station.

AirPort Express was released in June 2004 as a small wireless bridge from a personal computer to a stereo. Details of the AirPort Express codes were also published on Johansen's weblog, which is called So Sue Me.

In a double whammy for Apple, Johansen also wrote a program called JustePort, allowing software other than Apple iTunes to stream music to AirPort Express. As a result of Johansen's work, it's now only a matter of time before other popular software is capable of streaming music to the AirPort Express. Until now, a copy of iTunes 4.6 was required.

Johansen shot to fame over his controversial program that bypassed DeCSS encryption schemes on DVDs.

In 2003, he narrowly escaped criminal charges, brought by Hollywood, after a Norwegian court found him justified in developing the program to view legally bought DVDs on his Linux machine.

Lars Pasveer writes for ZDNet Netherlands

Thursday, August 12, 2004

You Are Not Alone: Soul Food

Ok. It's bedtime. You need something to read. You really don't feel like diving into one of the 3 books you're reading. The pile of magazines in the basket - done that. And you definitely don't want to read anything about technology, politics or Iraq. (That seems to be getting a lot more challenging than ever.) You need something not too long, thought provoking and substantive. A little something to ponder that just might assist in getting you a step or two closer to "what it all means". Or at least confirm the fact that you are not alone.

Enter Jugglezine.

Jugglezine is a sweet little site consisting of articles and essays for those of us that still believe that there is a better way of achieving some kind of balance in this crazy, fast paced, on-demand, spam filled, wi-fi, user id world we live in. In short, as the tagline says: Jugglezine is an unassuming e-zine about balancing work and life. Each article is also accompanied by these super fresh illustrations by Gianpaolo Pagni.

It's also goes great with that first morning cup of coffee. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Feed Me!

Bon Appétit, HMK

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Color Pallettes Made Easier

Originally uploaded by H. Michael karshis.
This rocks. Check out ColorMatch 5K. Whether you're a graphic designer, web designer or simply trying to decide on a color combo for your Tiki Room - this site will help ease the stress.

Click Here


It's Time For Peace!

Peace Bomb Clock

Peace Clock

I came up with this idea on the drive in to the studio the other day. Now it's printed on clocks, t-shirts, mugs and lunchboxes. And it's all for sale in the name of Peace!

Peace is The Bomb!

That's Right!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

So - what are you going to do with all those little sandwiches?

Bargaining: All things come to those who ask
Exclusive To That's Right from Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel

It actually happened: the newlywed daughter of a friend of mine phoned home to report a tiff with her husband; could she come home right away (for a day or two)? But the cost of an immediate ticket from her West Coast city would have been a prohibitive $800.

So my friend phoned one of the hungrier, less popular airlines, asked to speak with a supervisor, and explained the problem. “We’ll call it a ‘family crisis fare’,” responded the airline official, who then authorized a waiver of the airline’s normal advance purchase rule. And my friend’s tearful daughter flew home to mommy and daddy for only $400, round-trip.

“Ask and it shall be given,” says the Bible, and nowhere does that admonition work more effectively than in travel. Many thousands of Americans (but still a minority of them) receive substantial travel discounts each year by simply requesting them—from an airline, ship line, or hotel. We realists call the practice “bargaining.” Others, more dignified, refer to it as smart consumerism.

To a larger number of Americans, bargaining itself—let alone bargaining over travel arrangements—is unthinkable, humiliating, something done only in Persian bazaars.

No other nationality of traveler regards it as such. You have only to stand in the lobby of a large Venetian hotel during off-season, and you will observe one European after another engaged in bargaining. “We are looking for a room that costs no more than €50 ($50),” says a very proper Englishman to the front desk clerk. In fact, that tourist knows that there is no such thing as a €50 room in that hotel; he is bargaining. He is saying, in effect, “We will stay in your hotel if you reduce your rate to €50; otherwise, we will walk down the block to another hotel.”

In other words, you can bargain with dignity; you do not have to act like the proverbial “screaming fishmonger,” or as in a tobacco auction. Often, the smartest of travelers will simply call a hotel and bargain over rates by asking if the hotel has a “teacher’s rate,” a “student rate”, a “minister’s rate,” a “civil service” rate, a “military rate,” a “corporate rate,” a “travel agent’s rate”, an “airline employee’s rate,” whatever.

In actual fact, it does not matter what category you name, and the hotel itself couldn’t care less; you could ask for a “housewive’s rate,” a “dentists’ rate,” and still get a discount if the hotel were heavily empty that night. What you are doing is bargaining. You are telling the hotel, politely, that you know it is a slow night, that they have plenty of vacancies, and here’s their chance to fill an otherwise-empty room by cutting the price to you; otherwise, you will walk down the block.

Note, carefully, that these tactics work only during off-season periods, or during slow cycles of the week. Most business hotels tend to empty out on weekends, when bargaining can be extremely effective; the same hotels tend to be fully booked from Monday through Thursday nights, when bargaining often doesn’t work. And the tactic works only if you are speaking with someone authorized to discount (someone working directly for the hotel), and not with a telephone reservationist staffing a nationwide “800” number.

Note, too, that in the U.S., where hotels tend to be widely scattered, not clustered (as in our example on Venice, above), bargaining is best conducted from a nearby phone booth, or by a phone call from the airport on arrival, or by a long distance call from your home before you leave on the trip. The hotel then knows that you are easily able to make a call to another hotel, if they don’t accede to your request. Usually in the States, bargaining doesn’t work if you are already in the hotel lobby; then the desk clerk knows it’s unlikely that you will walk out and travel the long distance to another hotel, if they refuse the discount.

Does bargaining work for travel products other than hotel rooms? You bet it does. Tales circulate in the travel industry of numerous well-dressed persons who, in the port of Miami, walk from ship to ship on a Saturday afternoon, asking ships’ pursers whether they still have any unsold cabins they’d like to fill at 50% off. They have their luggage, their traveler’s checks and their proofs of citizenship—and are ready, willing and prepared to board the ship right there and then, without knowing or caring where it is going; they simply want a week’s cruise, cheaply. I’ve heard of the same happening at the Manhattan pier from which the giant QE2 embarks for a trans-Atlantic crossing.

Certainly, too, charter flights are a proper object for bargaining. In my years as a charter tour operator in the 70s, I sent young staff members to see off our flights at the airport; they were not simply authorized, but directed, to sell off, on the spot, up to minutes before departure, any remaining, unsold seats, for any price that did not injure our dignity. If a bargainer, making a sudden appearance, offered $59 for the one-way crossing to London leaving in twenty minutes, we’d stamp off in righteous indignation; if they offered $99, that was another matter.

Some more prudent travelers would phone our office on the day before a charter’s departure to determine whether there were still empty seats to be had for a song. While we could not also provide them with hotel space at that late date, we’d welcome the calls as a means of squeezing out a few last dollars of profit from the flight. To my knowledge, a great many hard-bargainers continue to make such calls to tour operators or consolidators who have committed themselves to blocks of air tickets, and would rather cut the price on unsold seats than suffer empty seats.

The travel industry consists of perishable products (seats, rooms, cabins, cars) that must be sold for a particular departure or on a particular date, or else their value is lost forever. It is clearly better to receive some income for such a product, rather than no income. And that is why most travel suppliers will react positively to your requests for a discount, if they sense you are “shopping” for value, and will turn to an alternative supplier if they fail to grant the requested discount.

“Ask and it shall be given.” More often than you’d suspect.

That's Right.


Friday, August 06, 2004

Axis of Evil

Axis of Evil
Originally uploaded by H. Michael karshis.
Amazing how much one can communicate with a great concept and a simple drawing.
I mean, look at Castro's expression! Other than the above, I'd like to submit this without comment.

Thank you,

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Thank God for Our Justice System!

'Tigger' Acquitted of Fondling Teen

A Walt Disney World worker in Orlando, Fla. has been acquitted of charges he fondled a teenage girl as he portrayed the character "Tigger."

Michael Chartrand says he wants to return to work now that he's been found innocent, but not as another Walt Disney character. The "Tigger" character comes from Disney's "Winnie the Pooh" movie.

During Wednesday's trial, Chartrand's defense attorney Jeffrey Kaufman - who also moonlights as Tigger and Goofy at the theme park - donned a Tigger costume to show juroros how cumbersome it is and how hard it is to see in it.

Outside of court, Chartrand, 36, who is from England and lost his fiancee and had been suspended without pay after his arrest, said he'd like his job back, but that the experience "has ruined my dream to be a character."

Jurors found Chartrand not guilty of lewd and lascivious molestation, a felony; he had faced up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

He had been accused of fondling a 13-year-old girl while posing for a picture with her and her mother.

Earlier this week he had rejected a plea offer that would have given him probation.

Kaufman has contended that the girl's mother was merely after money and planned to sue Disney.

The mother also claimed Tigger touched her breast during a visit to the park last February, though no charges were filed then.  

That's Right. Another pure example of another money hungry idiot trying to make a buck while exploiting a minority. I mean, isn't the wonderful thing about being a Tigger was the fact that he was the only one, which, like, makes him the minority, right?


A Message from The Boss

Chords for Change

A nation's artists and musicians have a particular place in its social and political life. Over the years I've tried to think long and hard about what it means to be American: about the distinctive identity and position we have in the world, and how that position is best carried. I've tried to write songs that speak to our pride and criticize our failures.

These questions are at the heart of this election: who we are, what we stand for, why we fight. Personally, for the last 25 years I have always stayed one step away from partisan politics. Instead, I have been partisan about a set of ideals: economic justice, civil rights, a humane foreign policy, freedom and a decent life for all of our citizens. This year, however, for many of us the stakes have risen too high to sit this election out.

Through my work, I've always tried to ask hard questions. Why is it that the wealthiest nation in the world finds it so hard to keep its promise and faith with its weakest citizens? Why do we continue to find it so difficult to see beyond the veil of race? How do we conduct ourselves during difficult times without killing the things we hold dear? Why does the fulfillment of our promise as a people always seem to be just within grasp yet forever out of reach?

I don't think John Kerry and John Edwards have all the answers. I do believe they are sincerely interested in asking the right questions and working their way toward honest solutions. They understand that we need an administration that places a priority on fairness, curiosity, openness, humility, concern for all America's citizens, courage and faith.

People have different notions of these values, and they live them out in different ways. I've tried to sing about some of them in my songs. But I have my own ideas about what they mean, too. That is why I plan to join with many fellow artists, including the Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., the Dixie Chicks, Jurassic 5, James Taylor and Jackson Browne, in touring the country this October. We will be performing under the umbrella of a new group called Vote for Change. Our goal is to change the direction of the government and change the current administration come November.

Like many others, in the aftermath of 9/11, I felt the country's unity. I don't remember anything quite like it. I supported the decision to enter Afghanistan and I hoped that the seriousness of the times would bring forth strength, humility and wisdom in our leaders. Instead, we dived headlong into an unnecessary war in Iraq, offering up the lives of our young men and women under circumstances that are now discredited. We ran record deficits, while simultaneously cutting and squeezing services like after school programs. We granted tax cuts to the richest 1 percent (corporate bigwigs, well-to-do guitar players), increasing the division of wealth that threatens to destroy our social contract with one another and render mute the promise of "one nation indivisible."

It is through the truthful exercising of the best of human qualities - respect for others, honesty about ourselves, faith in our ideals - that we come to life in God's eyes. It is how our soul, as a nation and as individuals, is revealed. Our American government has strayed too far from American values. It is time to move forward. The country we carry in our hearts is waiting.

End of The Boss message.

My fellow Americans. We should never forget 9-11. I was undecided. I still am. It’s not that I’m promoting anything or party. It’s just that I believe the importance of recognizing another (the other) point of view, is the only way to truly understand and the only way to make a sound decision about anything. I do that with everything. I always ask "Compared to What?" When some one says "Taco Cabana has the best enchiladas." Oh really. Compared to what? If all you've got to compare them to is Enchilada Wednesdays from high school, then yeah, Taco Cabana rocks. But, have you been to Blanco Cafe, Los Barrios, Casbeers or Piedras Negras? Bottomlne, I try not to be too opinionated about anything unless I've got a pretty good understand of the facts. I also understand this simple fact of life: The hardest thing to teach anybody is something they think they already know. If you don't know - don't argue. And frankly, if you don't vote - don't bitch. That's Right - but not too far Right. I’m supporting the Springsteen Bono Ticket...


Tuesday, August 03, 2004

We Make Our Own Good Luck

It's true. the harder I work, the luckier I get. With these five basic principles, and a litlle luck, you're on your way too. Responsibility. Learning from Mistakes. Perseverance. Confidence. And Cooperation.
Read on my friend...

Click Here!

That's Right,

Monday, August 02, 2004

Best of Both Worlds

There's only one thing I dig more than cheesy movies. That's Right - cheesy movie logos! Steve Hill's got a great selection of title stills from tons of wicked bad movies at his sweet little site. Go there now!

Thanks for sharing Steve!


Bill&Drac still
Originally uploaded by H. Michael karshis.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Perseids 99

A brilliant Perseid Meteor Fireball pierces the night sky just below the North Star over the dark desert skies of Joshua Tree National Park, California. Photo by Wally Pacholka of Long Beach using standard 35mm Minolta camera on tripod with 50mm lens at f/2.4 and Fuji 800 film for 10 minutes.
Perseids 99
Originally uploaded by H. Michael karshis.

Heads Up! The Perseid Meteor Shower is Coming!

The 2004 Perseid Meteor Shower

The annual Perseid meteor shower is coming, and forecasters say it could be unusually good.
Meteoroids in space since the Civil War will spice up this summer's Perseid meteor shower.

The shower begins, gently, in mid-July when Earth enters the outskirts of a cloud of debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle. Dust-sized meteoroids hitting the atmosphere will streak across the night sky, at first only a sprinkling, just a few each night, but the rate will build.

By August 12th when the shower peaks, sky watchers can expect to see dozens, possibly even hundreds, of meteors per hour.

This is a good year for Perseids, for two reasons, explains Bill Cooke of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. First, the Moon is new in mid-August; moonlight won't spoil the show. Second, in addition to the usual shower on August 12th, there might be an extra surge of meteors on August 11th caused by a filament of dust newly drifting across Earth's orbit.

The filament, like all the rest of the dust in the Perseid cloud, comes from Comet Swift-Tuttle. The difference is, the filament is relatively young. It boiled off the comet during the Civil War, in 1862. Other dust in the cloud is older (perhaps thousands of years old), more dispersed, and responsible for the month-long shower that peaks on August 12th. The filament will eventually disperse, too, but for now it retains some of its original ribbon-shape.

If predictions are correct, Earth will plow through the filament on Wednesday, August 11th at 2100 UT (5 p.m. EDT). This will produce a surge of mostly-faint meteors over Europe and Asia. Observers might see "as many as 200 meteors per hour," says Cooke, who recommends getting away from city lights to watch the flurry.

(Note: Perseids favor northern latitudes. Because of the way Comet Swift-Tuttle's orbit is tilted, its dust falls on Earth's northern hemisphere. Meteors stream out of the constellation Perseus, which is barely visible south of the equator.)

Later that night, observers in North America can see the "traditional Perseid peak" caused by the older dust from Swift-Tuttle. "Expect 40 to 60 meteors per hour, some of them bright," says Cooke.

The best time to look for these "traditional Perseids" is during the hours before dawn on Thursday, August 12th. Set your alarm for 2 o'clock in the morning; go outside; lie down on a sleeping bag with your toes pointed northeast. You'll soon see meteors racing along the Milky Way.

Can't wake up at 2 a.m.?

Try looking around 9 or 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 11th when Perseus is hanging low in the eastern sky. You won't see many meteors then, but the ones you do see could be memorable. Shooting stars that emerge from the horizon and streak horizontally through the atmosphere are called "Earthgrazers." Slow and colorful Earthgrazers are a good target for city dwellers, because they are so bright.

Dust from Comet Swift-Tuttle hits Earth. What about the comet itself?

Americans Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle, working independently, discovered the comet in 1862, and they watched the Aug. 11th filament billow into space. Three years later Giovanni Schiaparelli (of Martian "canali" fame) realized it was the source of the Perseid meteors. He understood that the comet could come close to Earth, but in those days no one worried about such things.

The idea that comets and asteroids might threaten our planet was not widely accepted until the 1980s. Then astronomers began to worry. Comet Swift-Tuttle is big, about the same size as the asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs 65 million years ago, and as recently as 1992 it seemed that Swift-Tuttle might strike Earth in the year 2126. New data and calculations show otherwise, though. There's no danger of a collision for at least a millennium and probably much longer.

So relax. Enjoy the show. Perseids are harmless … and beautiful. This is an unusually good year to see for yourself.