Mark's blog

Sporadic posts about a wide variety of topics.

Mac Snow Leopard upgrade just $29 from Amazon.com

Apple's Snow Leopard release date won't be until September, but you can preorder the upgrade for just $29 right now, exclusively from Amazon.com. The new Snow Leopard operating system is said to use just half the footprint of previous versions, with improvements to...

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Apollo 11: NASA video of first moon walk resurfaces

Apollo 11: NASA video of first moon walk resurfaces

hen astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon 40 years ago this Monday (that's Buzz Aldrin pictured above), I was nine years old and absolutely transfixed by the entire mission. I had several plastic Revell models of the various...

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Drive-By Truckers: Austin City Limits CD/DVD combo

Drive-By Truckers: Austin City Limits CD/DVD combo

I love Drive-By Truckers, and I love this song, "The Righteous Path." The clip above is from their just-released CD/DVD combo Live from Austin, TX, recorded live at that legendary Texas PBS showcase, Austin City Limits. The...

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(801) 823-2033: Google Voice blocks annoying calls

A strange phone mystery played out in the span of a few minutes yesterday afternoon as we were preparing for dinner with friends. The phone rang. In fact, both our landline and our cellphone rang simultaneously. This is because we have added both phone numbers to the...

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Pet Lions at Summerfest in Milwaukee

Pet Lions at Summerfest in Milwaukee

Here's just a very brief sample of Pet Lions' set at Summerfest. The video was recorded on our Flip Ultra HD, and clearly I'm not the Martin Scorsese of iMovie yet. Last year, Summerfest was kind enough to present us with an outstanding full day of music on the...

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Amy Czerniec and the dog that broke her heart

Amy Czerniec and the dog that broke her heart

(Above: Amy, circled, at launch event for Y-LinK: Young Leaders in Kenosha.) Amy called me around 12:30 on Monday afternoon. I wasn't surprised that she was crying, but I did not anticipate exactly what triggered it. "That damn dog," she sobbed. "How do they know?"...

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Time Warner Cable online bill payment problem

Time Warner Cable online bill payment problem

Update, September 11, 2009: Three months later, Time Warner Cable's PayXpress problem still does not appear to have been addressed. Update, June 30, 2009 10:28 a.m.: I just got off the phone with Cathy Jacobs from Time Warner...

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Airline miles rescued with 5-day pizza diet

Airline miles rescued with 5-day pizza diet

This is the last of the pizza, I think — unless there are still more zip-top bags of it crammed into the back of the vegetable crisper. I have been eating pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner since Thursday night, as a way of maintaining airline miles. We may be...

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Heat wave, power cuts, and protests in India

While American politicians bicker over whether to pass a clean energy bill, people in India are really feeling the heat these days. Today's Weather Underground forecast for New Delhi called for a high of 111° F. going up to 114° F. for Monday. Here are some recent BBC...

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Michael Jackson, ‘Billie Jean’: How to create an icon

Michael Jackson, ‘Billie Jean’: How to create an icon

It has been one day since the world learned that Michael Jackson is dead. First there was a brief report on MSNBC that Jackson had been rushed to the hospital, then I glanced at Facebook and saw that Tim Cuprisin had posted the big TMZ.com scoop, and eventually the...

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Electric fan: Good day for the Vornado table fan

Electric fan: Good day for the Vornado table fan

I was sitting here browsing the Web when a tweet scrolled by on TweetGrid. It was Jacqui Cheng writing: @Suntimes I'm working inside of my office with no AC and no air circulation! Wait... That's when I remembered that I do own an...

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‘ProBlogger’ book: How to make money blogging

Twenty months ago, I read a USA Today story headlined "'Gray Googlers' strike gold." It described how a number of mature adults had succeeded in creating an income through blogging and participating in Google's AdSense advertising program. One of the success stories...

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Positive thinking can make you depressed

Positive thinking can make you depressed

Curmudgeons rejoice! At long last, science suggests that the forced sunniness imposed by religious evangelists, sales motivators, and self-help books from The Power of Positive Thinking to The Secret can actually make you feel worse. Today's "Science Digest" at...

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Justine Henin singing, acting, cooking on reality show

The YouTube video clip above comes via Straight Sets, the NYTimes.com tennis blog. It's former tennis superstar Justine Henin singing a duet with Belgian balladeer Salvatore Adamo. There was no explanation there, but a little Googling reveals that back in May, Henin —...

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Stephen Colbert reports from Iraq this week

The Colbert Report should be especially good this week, with Stephen Colbert on location in Iraq, a trip whose exact date and destination had been kept secret until Friday, leading many to ask (and search for), "Where and when is Stephen Colbert going to the Persian...

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Going forward, can we please omit ‘going forward’?

Somewhat like the childhood game of Musical Chairs, there's a point in the popularity arc of any cliché when it becomes so tiresome that anyone who continues to use it exposes himself as an insecure poser fabricating fake savvy. The expression "going forward" — a...

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Flip Ultra HD video camera: Our first camcorder

Flip Ultra HD video camera: Our first camcorder

Meet the very first camcorder we have ever owned. It's the Flip Ultra HD, which arrived on the market at the end of April. It also comes in white. I had been lusting after something like this since reading Andy Ihnatko's Flip...

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Frogmore Stew shrimp recipe (Lowcountry boil)

Frogmore Stew shrimp recipe (Lowcountry boil)

In late June and early July of 2003, we vacationed in the South Carolina Lowcountry, staying in Beaufort and visiting Charleston, as well as Savannah, Georgia. One of the meals we ate on the trip and have made many times since is...

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Waterboarding is torture: Mancow lasts 6 seconds

Last night on MSNBC's Countdown, Keith Olbermann showed a video: The waterboarding of Erich "Mancow" Muller in Chicago for Mancow's radio show: "Absolutely torture," he says. "That's drowning," he says. If he were being...

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GQ magazine: Bible verses on Rumsfeld-era Pentagon documents

Today on the magazine's website, GQ has posted a sildeshow of never-before-seen Iraq war documents from Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon bearing Bible verses. It is titled "Onward, Christian Soldiers!" In the days surrounding the U.S. invasion of Iraq, cover sheets — like...

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Gary Vaynerchuck talks Twitter on CNN’s ‘Your $$$$$’

Embedded video from CNN Video I just saw this via FriendFeed, courtesy of Orli Yakuel. It's Gary Vaynerchuck of VaynerMedia, the guy from Wine Library TV, in a video clip from CNN's Your $$$$$. I can only take him in small doses because of his hyperactivity, but he...

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