London. Pennywise -- More Like Moneypenny.


My flight and my hotel on this trip cost more than my entire honeymoon. This trip is 10 days in 2 cities, with meals at nice restaurants and work all day. That trip was 1 month, for two people, in Asia, including lots of scuba lessons, and meals were usually served in exotic environs or on tropical beaches.

And if that doesn't give you pause, I don't mean that the honeymoon equalled the flight plus the hotel for this trip. I mean it cost as much as each one. (read: this is twice the cost, without food or incidentals).

Whew. Business sums still give me sticker shock. Still, this is a good value for the client -- you should see the upside.


Pound foolish.

We just lowered the price of the iPhone to $400. The brits get it November 9, without 3G, and it will cost £899. Yes, that is more than 4x.

Under water.

The U.S. Dollar finally fell below the Canadian Dollar. I think I'll just stay in London, failing banks and all.


What do the Acropolis and My Laptop Have in Common?

Both ruins.

I attended a deposition this morning. Very cool. I had a Greek frappe and worked in a Greek law firm office. All good, so far.

The deposition ended and we stole out to the Acropolis for 2 hours before we had to hit London. The place just looms over the whole of Athens. It is most definitely a ruin, but it is nothing short of captivating. As for the rest of Athens? It is a study in the good and bad of modern Europe.

Then my laptop blew up. More correctly, it fizzled. The power cord is partially severed (no biggy) and the LCD's backlight won't come on at all. There is a faint image on the screen, but its like looking at an x-ray against a dark wall. This happened in the business lounge at the airport while I was coordinating a document production due tomorrow with an assistant in the U.S. I ended up using a public machine, installing Adobe reader illicitly, and providing advice on the fly over gChat until 5 minutes before they closed the flight. Whew. Of course, now I can't work on the flight home. Maybe I'll take it is as a vacation. Question now is: do I buy a new laptop. I love the IBM/Lenovo c60. Any recommendations?

All Greek to Me

For those who don't know, I am on business in Athens. A few things have occurred to me.
  • Americans traveling to England or France often joke that they are going "where the history comes from." It occurs to me that I can say the same to Londoners at my next stop. It oozes out of the marble around here.
  • "Neh" means "Yes" in Greek. Thank god it's not confusing. Other words: "Ozhi" is "No" and "Eferashtoo" is thank you. The more interesting thing is that a country chock full of tourists has little in the way of multilingualism. You'll hear French, Italian, German, Russian flavors, and English, but all very broken. What they lack in language they make up for in friendly.
  • Greeks love fish. You go into a fish restaurant, go to the kitchen, pick the fish off the ice drawers ("I want THAT red snapper."), and then go back to your table and order starters. Ergo, I love Greeks.
  • As a whole, Greeks are not beautiful. To a one, they are sprightly and fun to be around.
  • Yes, the Parthenon is that impressive. It towers above the city and is currently being reconstructed.
  • Finally, the Hotel Grand Bretagne. Breakfast on the roof with a panoramic view of Athens, 24 euros. Marble everything room for a night, 240 euros. Getting to swim in a lightly salted spa pool between the jets and the waterfall: priceless.


Hrm, I think this is the right post.

For my dear RSC, who endures the beginning of this song regularly, and who will likely endure the rest in due time.


That'll get me to come to services.

JNF is auctioning off a trip to the Playboy Mansion. Gee. I shouldn't. Well...if it is for a good cause.

Living Vicariously Through the Shenanigans of Others

This is now the third in a series of prank-related posts. We're kicking it up a notch and including a prank war. This is great. See the whole series here.

[Note: I take a lot of these things with a touch of salt. I need to see the first 5 to determine if I think this is faked. Some of the camera work is a little too good or too conveniently placed for the victims not to notice (i.e. when she slaps him), but you be the judge. Besides, if it is fake, it is a great sketch. Think, funny Blair Witch Project.]

Paper Cuts Never Felt So Good.

Artist Peter Callasen does more without media than many do with it. This is nothing, see the rest.


RSC Has a Lah-Sense!

Yup, I taught her everything I know.

Turf Surf

Is it going too far to dub this Saturday's Michigan/ND matchup the "pointless bowl"? If this year doesn't signal to the NCAA that polls should come out after week 1, almost nothing will.

SF/AZ/OAK/TB - together, these might create one decent football team. Why can't the first three clubs haul themselves out of the gutter? As for TB, how often does an NFL team sink from mediocrity to crap?

Cleveland, start Quinn. It will slow down his learning curve, but putting him at game 6 will mean he has to win every game for you to have a decent year. F-r-y-e - s-u-ck.

Oh, and as a Pats fan and Tour de France fan, I am starting to get the two confused. This had to have come from Bill's office - I just wish it didn't.


Animaris Rhinocrous

This incredible machine is a lightweight, wind-powered kinetic sculpture by Theo Jansen.



I never thought I'd write this, but, for the second installment in what I kinda hope won't become a series, "When You Absolutely, Positively Have to Kill Something As Much As Possible," I present Tank Limo.

I recommend the motto: Bride-zilla? Get Firepower.

I truly am surprised the Brits beat us to this.


Admitted & Arraigned Already

Two Northeastern University Students, roommates, were thrown out during their first weekend at school when one leaned out the window and shouted, "If anyone needs weed, my roommate has some."

Good idea: Loud voices = good advertising.
Bad Idea: Policeman within earshot = probable cause.

[ Thanks CTW ]

Fixin' to Perambulate

I'm out of my walking boot today!
I'm out of my walking boot today!
For those of you who give a hoot,
I just shed that stinkin' boot
And traded in the boot for Ankle Staaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy!

[ Thanks to Avenue Q and RSC ]

p.s. be afraid. be very afraid.


Mr. Craig, Don't Worry, The Gays Don't Want You.

Sen. Craig on Tuesday declared, "I am not gay. I never have been gay." Mr. Craig, I am not gay either. I never have been. But I think I speak for the gay community when I say, "Don't worry about it, we don't want you."

Mr. Craig, you are a 'family values' voter, which is to say a 'bible values' voter. The Bible does not recognize anyone as 'gay'. It simply prohibits a man from knowing another man as he does a woman. Of that, Mr. Craig, you are most certainly guilty. Your affiliation or self-identity is beside the point. You are as gay as you need to be before god and to that you should own up.

As for the gay community, they don't want you. These are men and women who are routinely persecuted and who, like many persecuted minorities, contribute a disproportionate amount to this country's art, culture, science, and sport. What, Mr. Craig, could you bring to this gathering? So, when you declare loudly that you have never been gay, Mr. Craig, I think many of us can only respond, "Thank God."

Multitouch - what i have been waiting for.

Apple today released the iPod Touch, and what a nice touch it is. It's what you'd expect, an i*****. (iPhone less the 'phone). More importantly, it is the second generation of multitouch item, officially beginning the era of such devices.

That you can use 2 fingers on the screen is really no big deal. The fact that using your fingers in this way is so intuitive matters. A major annoyance of mine in my bad old developer/designer days was the distance between me and the image. The mouse is on the desk near my lap, the monitor is propped up on a stand near my head. This is like try to brush your hair with a bent rake. You can get used to it, but it is a skill nonetheless.

Enter multitouch. Now a computer system where I can design logos by touching the tool I want to use with my left hand and then painting with my right is around the corner. I can twist shapes and bezier curves by placing my fingers on the screen and twisting my arms. etc. etc.

In document editing, this means I can tap editing tools with my left hand and use my right hand to highlight, annotate, and edit. Finally, it means that on-screen keyboards can replace true keyboards on tablets, making for an iPod Touch type interface on UMPCs (ultra mobile pcs). So paint me a fanboy, Steve.

I know, I just geeked out. Deal.


We Need to Pull Out of Iraq So We Can Focus On China

The conventional wisdom is that China is a non-expansionist power. They are, however, a militarized power. It is huge military with significant political power. What is more, they likely see the U.S. as an expansionist power, and not without reason.

Two more data points:
1. The Chinese have tested anti-satellite missiles. The U.S. relies on these satellites, relatively few in number, to be our eyes and ears both in peace-time reconnaissance and, more importantly, for wartime movement and coordination. We literally could not engage in a battle over mainland china if these were knocked out, regardless of how advanced our equipment. I am not saying we'd have to...but remember, they can also knock out our aging satellites over their allies, such as N. Korea and areas of a newly-bellicose Russia or the perennially-so middle east.

2. They have hacked the Pentagon. They are reaching out to disrupt our information networks -- this is extraterritorial warfare just like a mortar lobbed over the border. I am not calling this a declaration of war by any means, but it is an act of cold-war aggression and we should recognize it and respond as such.

Let's pull out of Iraq. It is very small potatoes compared to our next threat.

1L Year.

Saira Rao captured what many first year law students are feeling - that mix of breath mints and bile accompanying their first foray into the socratic roulette:

You’re officially a 1L — how exciting! Law school isn’t nearly as scary or stressful as many would have you believe. There’s nothing to worry about– especially not exams — you’ll do great. It’s not like grades are dispositive anyway. Wait, you don’t know what dispositive means? That’s okay — it’s nothing copious case outlining can’t fix. Oh, you aren’t familiar with outlining? Just ask someone in your study group. Nobody has asked you to be in a study group? Interesting . . . no,no that’s nothing to panic about either. Success in law school is really a totality of the circumstances sort of thing. There’s always class participation. You stuttered — and cried? — when your Property professor called on you? That’s okay — Property is scary. So are law professors. Crying is nugatory. And not dispositive of anything. The only thing that really matters is a healthy drinking habit. Well that and Bluebooking. No, no the Bluebook is slightly different from notebooks with blue covers — oh you bought ten of them. You know what — just concentrate on the sauce. The legal profession boasts more alcoholics than any other profession. If you’re going to be a full-blown drunk by the time you’re a first year associate, you really need to start training now. That’s really it. Oh, and go to class. It’s not like any of this is mutually exclusive. Or dispositive.

See it in the WSJ law Blog.