Mark's blog

Sporadic posts about a wide variety of topics.

‘The Digg Reel’

Here at the Mark Czerniec Internet Testing Laboratories, we like The Digg Reel. As a matter of fact, we have secretly been enjoying The Digg Reel since — well, since September 6, which is when we discovered Miro, the thing we use to download and watch The Digg Reel....

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Body parts in the news

Spare parts And broken hearts Keep the world turnin' around -- Bruce Springsteen, "Spare Parts" Yesterday, it was the near-total face transplant in Cleveland. Today, it's "Tumor in Colorado newborn's brain contained foot" and "Human-sized heart found at the Paw Paw...

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Digital antenna: Could free TV make a comeback?

Digital antenna: Could free TV make a comeback?

Consider the case of our neighbor Mary Jean (pictured above in warmer days). In her roughly 90 years as an American, she has seen all sorts of technological and economic waves break, splash, and recede. While not afraid of the latest and greatest, she also values the...

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It’s blowing, it’s freezing

We didn't get a very good sleep. All night long, the wind was plying the trees and testing for loose roofing shingles, flinging garbage cans and neighborhood Christmas decorations, causing much fitful tossing, not to mention frequent turning. Giant Hawaiian waves were...

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‘Black Dynamite’: Next big movie buzz?

Amy's job puts her in regular contact with a number of software developer-type people who regularly wade in certain offbeat, cultish humor channels. She tells me that, among these plugged-in folks, there is a strong, giggly anticipation about a movie called Black...

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Shoes thrown at George W. Bush by Iraqi reporter

Shoes thrown at George W. Bush by Iraqi reporter

High and outside: FishbowlDC posts NBC video and three entries about one Iraqi reporter's goodbye today to President George W. Bush: Reporter Throws Shoe At President Bush VIDEO: Reporter Throws Shoes At Bush Block The Reebok: More From The Scene The official quote...

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Attention, Richard Roeper: The new media flows two ways

I am lying on the sofa just now, reading a 5,500-word entry in Roger Ebert's Journal about Bill Nack and Mark Twain and the beauty of ordinary language, masterfully employed. Roger Ebert publishes one of these wonders every few days in his online Journal — long,...

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George W. Bush library pays $35,000 for Web domain name

George W. Bush library pays $35,000 for Web domain name

The web domain name for the George W. Bush library was in the news today on NPR's Morning Edition: The name is www.GeorgeWBushLibrary.com. A Florida firm was handling Web services for the presidential library. The Dallas Morning News reports that the company's rights...

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Buzz Kilman show tonight at Bill’s Blues in Evanston

I fetched my email this morning, and found the following dispatch from Buzz Kilman: Subject: Former Local Celebrity Event Date: December 12, 2008 3:01:35 AM CST Congratulations! Once again you have been selected to receive this mass, automated email promoting Buzz...

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‘Good Eats’ on YouTube

I have written here before about Good Eats — about the steel-cut oatmeal show, the gumbo show. Good Eats is one of my all-time favorite shows on television. At the same time, I currently loathe the Food Network. Where I once...

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Kevin Matthews has MS (multiple sclerosis)

What a god-awful last few days for radio originals. I just opened a Google alert to read "Kevin Matthews returns to the airwaves after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis" via Kyle Koster's Sun-Times blog. Koster links to the Grand Rapids Press story, where at...

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Bill Murray crashing parties, says New York Post

Here's a peculiar news item that I just read when Steve Isaacs posted it to his FriendFeed: New York Post: Is Bill Murray NYC's New Party Boy? According to this story, He's not a boozy, sweaty party hound who gets caught on camera cheesing it up with pretty young...

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Liquid stainless steel? No joke

Our house was built in 1940, and I have always admired the whole World War II / Mid-Century look. I don't have an exact date for our Kenmore Electric Range, but I would guess early 1960's, maybe even late 1950's. If it is not...

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T.D. Mischke fired from KSTP

T.D. Mischke fired from KSTP

(Update: Great news: Tommy Mischke will be heard again on weekday afternoons beginning March 4 from 2 to 4 p.m. via CityPages.com.) As you most likely know by now, broadcasting legend Steve Dahl was let go on Friday by CBS Radio. Phil Rosenthal has the details over at...

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Winter storm coming late Monday through Tuesday

So far, this December is shaping up to be a lot like the last one. The National Weather Service in Milwaukee has just issued a Winter Storm Watch for Monday evening and all through Tuesday: Snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches...

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SNL skits: Fred Armisen, ‘Obama Plays It Cool’

SNL skits: Fred Armisen, ‘Obama Plays It Cool’

Fred Armisen was jeered pretty roundly when he started playing Barack Obama on SNL, but I always thought he had keyed in on several quirky traits, and that the parody just keeps getting better and better. Last night's "Obama Plays It Cool" piece was his best yet....

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Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP is getting panned

I know Gwyneth Paltrow as an actress, and as a rock and roll wife and mother to a couple of kids with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. I also had read that she was part of a Mario Batali foodie/travel series on PBS called Spain ... On the Road Again which I probably...

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Snow! Bring back Indian summer

Our local forecast: This afternoon: Flurries and areas of blowing snow before 3pm, then areas of blowing snow after 3pm. Tonight: Wind chill values between -5 and 5. Sunday night: New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible. Monday night: New snow accumulation of...

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Happiness greater with friends nearby

Happiness greater with friends nearby

The "Your happiness could be contagious" story was all over the news yesterday, but it makes much more of an impression when it's accompanied by file footage of happy people, as in last night's NBC Nightly News story, embedded above. [includeme...

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Total Oprah

Speaking of Oprah, Sarah Terez Rosenblum has a Chicago Sun-Times story today about Robyn Okrant, a writer-performer who has been living her life according to Oprah for darn near a year now: "... I have to breathe a certain way, I have to savor every meal, I have to be...

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Oprah Winfrey snow globe

Oprah Winfrey snow globe

Apart from losing my job this morning, my biggest disappointment was that Steve Dahl never got around to reading Christopher Borrelli's outstanding Tribune story about the amazing and wondrous Oprah Winfrey Show snow globe, available at the Oprah Winfrey store. (The...

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Telecommuting termination: Exit interview by telephone

Telecommuting termination: Exit interview by telephone

I'm sitting in my kitchen waiting for Rod Zimmerman and Todd Cavanah of CBS Radio to phone and officially terminate my seven years of telecommuting employment with their company. Otherwise, it's at least sunny outside and I would like to shower and maybe go for a...

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‘Steve Dahl Show’ to end, along with my job

‘Steve Dahl Show’ to end, along with my job

Around 10 o'clock this morning, I got a phone call from Steve Dahl. Since Steve just never calls me, I immediately understood that this was the very bad news he had been foreshadowing for a couple of weeks. He confirmed it. CBS...

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Election Day 2008: Live blog

Election Day 2008: Live blog

9:17 a.m. — I've got some leftover sauce reheating in the microwave. I'll mix it with the egg noodles boiling on the stove and call it breakfast. MSNBC is on my TV, and I can see my local polling place from my living room window. It's 61 sunny and clear degrees...

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Early voting in Racine

Early voting in Racine

I voted. Amy voted too. We voted early. We have been receiving the notices from the Obama campaign and seeing how they urge people to vote early. They even have a Web site, VoteForChange.com, to help Americans find out how to vote early. Still, I wasn't completely...

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Automated phone call from police at 1:10 am: Missing child

Because I get up for work at 4:15 on weekdays, I was in a deep, dreaming sleep this morning at 1:10 a.m. That's when the phone rang. In order to cut through any music playing during the day, and because I may have played my guitar a little too loudly in my youth, our...

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ABC World News: Racine, Wisconsin’s minute in spotlight

ABC World News: Racine, Wisconsin’s minute in spotlight

ABC's ABC World News with Charles Gibson devoted this past week to a "Great American Battleground Bus Tour" gimmick which purported to give Gibson and his viewers insight into real, live heartland voters in cities like Dayton, Bowling Green, Indianapolis, Davenport —...

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