Farewell, Bill.

I’m doing a big hardware/software upgrade over the weekend. (Isn’t that thrilling? Doesn’t that make you want to read the next sentence?) Long story short: Snow Leopard, plus a commodious new hard drive that will make my laptop a yawning maw of data. I’m taking advantage of some bundling/upgrade deals, blah blah blah, and am converting all my basic programs to Mac-proprietary. Which is to say, I’m switching to Pages and not reinstalling Microsoft Word. At least not immediately.

I’m one of those Mac people with strong feelings about my computer, but not yours. It’s a tool, not a religion; use any operating system you want, and we will sit down together at the table of brotherhood. But Word has always been a problem for me, starting with the early days, when you installed it with multiple floppies and every version got bigger and flabbier. Hard drive space was at a premium back then. My first computer had but 160 megabytes of capacity, and it offended me that Word needed 10 percent of it just so I could write a few letters. It was like buying a typewriter that required its own room.

“What the hell?” I spluttered to J.C. “What are they putting on here?”

“Lunch recipes,” he replied. I’m still not sure why it’s so big, except maybe for all the “help” that I spend my first few sessions trying to turn off. Sentence fragments. I use them. And sometimes I start a sentence with a conjunction. I don’t need Bill Gates’ weenie grammar police tapping me on the shoulder, underlining all my personal flair, asking, “Is that the word you want? Strunk and White have very strong feelings about this.” My dream version of MS Word would have two dozen fonts, plain-vanilla formatting, a decent dictionary and a word-count tool. It would cost $19.99.

In other words, it would be Google Docs, which I’ve made my default word processor.

My Snow Leopard order from Amazon triggered a bunch of e-mail pitches. Would I like to buy MS Office 2008 for Mac? My upgrading lapsed years ago, so I suppose I’d have to buy the from-scratch version, a mere four hundred bucks. “Home and student” edition (fewer lunch recipes, I guess), $110. No, nyet, nein, non. Although I will miss the clip art, which I found useful in making mix-tape covers.

What’s your can’t-live-without software? (Besides your web browser, of course.) Mine would be…iTunes, I guess. Final Draft for my little dress-up games. Still editing video with iMovie, although that will change soon; my next resume upgrade will advertise basic Final Cut competence, and it will be true, dammit. And come the start of school, I’ll be using Freedom a lot.

Oh, and speaking of Amazon, thanks and more thanks to all of you who have been buying your Amazon gear through my store. I know it’s not exactly easy, but it has provided a welcome revenue stream (which is to say, more than Google Ads, although loose-changing on street corners would yield more than that) for me. I appreciate every penny.

From the Good Luck in 2012 file: President urges American schoolchildren to work hard and study, GOP freaks out. Remember when it was lefties and their nuclear-free zones that were this silly? Ah, memories.

Sorry for short shrift today, but I’m off to donate blood and refill my stream with grease at the state fair. Be nice while I’m gone.

Posted at 8:49 am in Same ol' same ol' |
 

110 responses to “Farewell, Bill.”

  1. brian stouder said on September 3, 2009 at 9:27 am

    What’s your can’t-live-without soft­ware?

    In all seriousness?

    Hearts… and sometimes, Chess – but that software is utterly remorseless if I have the difficulty set any higher than 4.

    I read the TPM thing about the president, and I simply don’t ‘get’ it; even taking into account ‘spin’ and all the rest, I cannot catch what it is that the Florida folks are trying to sell – other than ‘fear the black guy’

  2. Connie said on September 3, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Irfan view. Free downloadable and easy to use picture file editor and manager.

    Free Cell. Only for something mindless and fast to do while waiting for slowish loads.

    My first PC had two floppy drives only. Programs that had multiple disks might require to put a different disk in in order to do specific things, like read the help file. My second computer, oh how amazing, had a 40 meg hard drive. My husband just bought a 1.5 teragig (?) external hard drive.

    My tech folk do like the free downloadable open source word like program.

  3. derwood said on September 3, 2009 at 10:13 am

    I always liked WordPerfect better than Word but gave up using it years ago. Every employer I have had the last 10 years uses MS Office.

    daron

  4. Rana said on September 3, 2009 at 10:19 am

    I’m one of those Mac peo­ple with strong feel­ings about my com­puter, but not yours.

    This is very well put – of course, I’m the same about my Mac, so it’s not surprising I agree.

    MS Word’s bloat is something that’s annoyed me for a long time – there a lot of unneeded features (personally, I think you should be given the various bells and whistles as a separate disc of plug-ins – if there’s some reason you need to turn your docs into web pages, you can install that feature, but otherwise you’d be able to run a more streamlined version). There’s also a lot of unneeded code – if you ever open up the crankcase, you discover that it takes about a page of code to say, in effect, “use these fonts and styles but not these other ones” (instead of just “use these fonts”). The few times I did convert a .doc to an html file, I had to spend about 30 minutes purging all the junk code.

    I rather like Scrivener – it’s very much a writer’s program – but I’m pretty much stuck with Word, given issues of compatibility and so on. It’s an industry standard, despite all the flaws, and it’s bad enough being a Windows-agnostic Mac user.

    I don’t know that I have an absolutely must-have program, since all of my regulars could be replaced by something less effective. But here’s the standard suite: MS Word, Photoshop, Firefox, Scrivener, TweetDeck, Mail; also in regular use are Preview, MS Excel and PowerPoint (I know, I know), and Adobe Bridge.

  5. Randy said on September 3, 2009 at 10:32 am

    So, if anyone has a comment… if I’m using Windows Media Player to store my music collection, how much pain is involved to move it to iTunes? I don’t have an iPod, I have an mp3 player.

    People speak positively about iTunes, and as with most Windows software, have very little positive commentary to offer.

  6. Julie Robinson said on September 3, 2009 at 10:50 am

    We have Office on our home computer but all three laptops use Google docs and get along just fine, thank you. In my experience the Word grammar suggestions are usually ridiculously wrong.

    Our son has a Napster subscription and I piggyback on that to download music to my non-ipod MP3 player. I’m able to find a lot of Broadway musicals, which are hard to find in a lot of places. He loves Napster–it’s only $15/month and he can access all 300 versions of a song he wants to analyze (he’s studying voice). You’re only renting the use of the music, but for us it’s a great deal.

    This is such a techie group of people that I hesitate to say I have a two year old copy of Photoshop sitting unopened on my shelf. Learning it will be a cold-weather goal this year. Right now I’m having too much fun digging in the dirt.

    Edit: On this day in 1980 I was in labor for our dear Sarah. She’s the bestest daughter any parent could ask for.

  7. Sue said on September 3, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Re the GOP “freakout”: yes, much ado about nothing, but she’s right about one thing – I would have been at least suspicious about a similar thing from the Bush Admin. Not enough to pull my kid out of school, but I would have assumed an agenda. The wording on this is just president-centric enough that it almost seems like they did it to irritate an already easily-irritated opposition.
    And it’s 2010 we need to worry about, especially if Obama continues to marginalize progressives and can’t find where he misplaced his clarity and vision.

  8. brian stouder said on September 3, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Happy birthday to Sarah – and, her mom should get a cake, too! (but not rum cake and Skittles, for pity’s sake!)

  9. Connie said on September 3, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Hey Brian, Happy birthday to me today. I have my very own birthday motown song you know. The opening line to Papa was a Rolling Stone is “it was the third of September.”

    My issue with Word is what I call formatting fights. It seems to think it knows better than I whether that number 1 I just typed is meant to be a list or an outline. I miss Word Perfect too, which I had to give up when I took this job almost ten years ago. I miss Quattro Pro and Groupwise too, all part of the same package.

    My husband treated me this morning to a happy birthday concert from his computer. It started with a great Jimi Hendrix version, ended with the Happy Birthday Polka, and in the middle a Woody Guthrie style song, Happy F***ing Birthday Ma’am. Was way better than the two janitors singing to me in the parking lot when I drove in this a.m.

  10. Sue said on September 3, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Connie, you mean the two janitors singing to you in the parking lot when you drove in WITH THE DOUGHNUTS this a.m., right?
    Or isn’t that a requirement everywhere?

  11. alex said on September 3, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    I loves my iTunes. It has a feature called iRadio, which is just like having Sirius without the costly subscription.

    MS Word sucks, but it’s what I’m required to use in my job. I absolutely hate the way it automatically “corrects” my writing with typos.

    Both at home and at work I scrupulously avoid downloading “updates” to software, which I’ve come to believe are there for no other reason than to overload hard drives and hasten a computer’s obsolescence.

  12. Julie Robinson said on September 3, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Happy birthday Connie! Have you ever looked up the #1 song from your birthdate? I don’t remember the website, but I think someone here mentioned it first. Sarah’s is Upside Down by Diana Ross. The DH and I were both born in 1956 and it shows what a watershed year it was in pop music. His March birthday was Lisbon Antigua by Nelson Riddle, and my October bd was Love Me Tender by Elvis Presley.

  13. Connie said on September 3, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    The Yellow Rose of Texas by Mitch Miller. That would be 1955.

    I grew up with Mitch Miller records, one of the many reasons I am able to claim that I know all the words to all the old songs.

    And of course you already know that most Emily Dickinson songs can be sung to that tune. Try it: Because I could not stop for death he kindly stopped for me…… Earworm alert!

  14. mark said on September 3, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    I’ll fess up that I’m one of the ones who finds the “Obama speaks to the children” thing a little creepy. And supportive of the extraordinary hubris I think the man exhibits. I thought Sue’s comment was interesting as I considered whether this was being done to feed the crazy element in hopes of further discrediting them. If so, the WH must fear they overplayed their hand, as they are reportedly changing the study assignments to remove the questions that were found most troublesome.

    I know a small bit about government and education and I have an interest in seeing both improved. But if you’d asked me to spend a month brainstorming new ideas to possibly implement, I don’t think having the President do a live broadcast to every grade school in the country, and building a pretty extensive proposed study assignment around the speech, would have made my top 100 suggestions. Candidly, though, it wouldn’t have occurred to me.

    I might feel differently if this was taped, so teachers could evaluate it for pertinence to what is being taught and use it at a time and in a way that the teacher thinks will be appropriate for the particular class. Done that way, I might be in favor of a series of messages from Obama on a variety of topics. I might question whether that is the best use of the President’s time, but that’s a different issue.

    But no, this will be live everywhere all at once, with no advance text but a fully prepared set of study suggestions including writing assignments and discussion topics. It will take precedence over whatever else might have occurred in the classroom because Obama wants it to, not because it needs to. And whatever else was planned for that day in a Fort Wayne third grade class or a Detroit sixth grade class gets cancelled or put on hold, at least if peer pressure and publicity work their magic. It’s tempting to give in to my generally low opinion of public education and say “well, the kids won’t be doing much of consequence anyway.” But that’s unfair to the goods schools and the good teachers in the not so good schools.

    No, I see the same hubris that I saw in the D-Day address, where even short remarks had room for references to three Obama relatives who weren’t at D-day. (“But enough about you, let’s talk about me.”) We can’t intelligently evaluate the possible value of the activity (in advance) because the WH doesn’t want us to. Watch it live or be the odd-man-out. Is the WH afraid some over-achieving toddler will read an advance text and act as a “spoiler” during recess? All we know for certain is the president will be the talk of grade schools (and thus dinner tables) across the country for a day or a week. Seriously, folks, to what end?

    I thought I came to politics pretty early, with the firm (but decidedly wrong) conviction that Dole was just the guy to help Ford close the gap with Carter. But before that, when recess and naps were still a part of my schedule, and excepting the Kennedy assassination, the presidency was a position, not a man. That seems ok to me.

    And I’m quite certain that if GWB had made similar vague plans, perhaps during the height of controversy over the Iraq war, the screaming would have been loud and broadcast fully by the main-stream media.

  15. Connie said on September 3, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Actually I am quite sure that GWB did do a nation wide speak to children thing.

    The President of the United States of the US is going to speak to school children about the importance of education, and the important of THEM – the kids – to the future of the country. When did having our duly elected President speak to children become a bad thing? Closest I ever got to a real Prez was when Reagan, Bush, and Ford all took part in the Holland Tulip Time Parade in 1980, the week before the Michigan primary.

  16. brian stouder said on September 3, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Happy birthday, Connie; Now I owe you a Diet Coke! (‘course, I’ve owed our blood-donating proprietress a Diet Coke for so long that, with interest, it is now up to a few gallons!)

    And sup­port­ive of the extra­or­di­nary hubris I think the man exhibits

    Hubris? This “hubris” talking point from Uncle Rush (et al) mystifies me. I mean, Good God – I suppose any mortal who seriously thinks that she or he would make a good president STARTS OUT with “extra­or­di­nary hubris”; but then, in comparison with other national leaders around the world, no sale, buddy.

    But before that, when recess and naps were still a part of my sched­ule, and except­ing the Kennedy assas­si­na­tion, the pres­i­dency was a posi­tion, not a man. That seems ok to me.

    Really? You mean, like Andy Jackson? Or, for a better example, Abe Lincoln? Some people hated the hell out of that man – and showed no respect at all for “the office” when he was elected.

  17. moe99 said on September 3, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    And don’t forget, “My Pet Goat.”

  18. Jolene said on September 3, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    mark: First, Obama is not the first president to speak to students in this way. Both George H. W. Bush and Reagan apparently gave addresses to students, the former about not using drugs and the latter after the Challenger incident (most likely because the presence of a teacher on that flight led schools to focus on it).

    Second, the speech encourages students to “study hard, set goals, and take responsibility for their own learning”. Does that really sound objectionable?

    Third, the ancillary activities essentially amount to discussions of citizenship and, ideally, would help kids think about what the president had to say, both as he is speaking and afterward.

    Get a grip. Given all the crap kids are exposed to in this culture, we should all be grateful that Obama is willing to take time to talk to them about the importance of something serious. There is nothing more powerful than high expectations to promote high achievement.

  19. nancy said on September 3, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    I love Mitch Miller. One of many reasons to be glad for the privacy of the iPod, but I always sing along, especially to “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”

  20. beb said on September 3, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    The one program I couldn’t do without is WordPerfect Office Suite (Word Perfect and Quattro Pro) My favorite verision is 9, but 11 which I’m forced to use since the WP9 disk seems to have rotted, is OK once I found how to set it to be more like 9. I’ve also used a demo of their latest version X4, which claims extensive PDF editing capabilities but didn’t seem to be that transparently compatible. I also like Paint Shop Pro for image manipulating, Firefox and Thunderbird (though I fear Firefox has become massively bloated and s resource hog), and Total Commander for file management.

    MS-Word is the industry “standard” only because it’s file format is so hard to impliment that no other word processer can do it well. If people were to insist on open file formats then it would be possible to use any word processor you wanted and still be compatible with everyone else. There is an OpenDocs forum pushing for such standards but Microsoft has been fighting (and lying) like crazy to surpress it.

    Have fun at the Fair. We were there on Tuesday. We thought it seemed like there weren’t as many exhibitors there as there had been in the past. The fair kind of looked hollowed out. I’ll be interested in hearing Nancy’s thoughts on this when she gets back.

    The governor was there on Tuesday. We saw her entourage in the distance. At least she showed up for the fair, which is good of her.

  21. Connie said on September 3, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/09/florida-gop-press-secretary-i-wouldnt-want-obamas-ideas-taught-to-my-children.php?ref=fpblg

    The Department of Education’s press release says about the address: “The President will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens.”

  22. Jolene said on September 3, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Also, mark, instead of thinking about Obama’s speech to the kids from a grown-up political perspective, take a few seconds to think about how this might sound to a 10-year-old kid.

    If I weren’t typing on my phone, I’d link to a wonderful picture of a young boy looking up at Obama with obvious admiration. I’ve read news stories about black parents using Obama as an example to encourage their children to work hard in school.

    Of all the things there are to worry about in the world, I would put this speech pretty far down the list.

  23. Julie Robinson said on September 3, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    We had Mitch Miller records and piano songbooks, and we watched the show religiously. And does anyone else remember the Limelighters? I can still sing many of those songs. And of course Alan Sherman and Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh. Wonder what songs our kids will remember from their childhoods? We played a lot of Raffi for ours, but I’ve forgotten the others. All together now–“I like to eat, eat, eat, apples and bananas”.

  24. Danny said on September 3, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Not a lot of time today to read and write, so some quick hits,

    – Happy b-day to those whose b-day it is.

    – Not being a touchy-feely, bleedin’-heart, black-turtle-neck-wearin’ writerly type, but an engineer, Excel is what I can’t function without. Plus all of the open-source software is great too (pc’s rule here). But I am NOT in love with M$. And their new versions of Orifice with the “Ribbon” and no classic mode options are a real timewaster/productivity-killer, which is why I will not upgrade.

    – itunes is sucktastic. I find it to be nothing more than a front end for the itunes store where you can by 128kpbs piece-of-crap mp3’s. Plus, itunes is always wanting to screw with my meta data in the background, which changes files and makes it necessary to do backups. I prefer to rip my own in max bitrate 320kpbs and uncompressed format and use Winamp as a player and ipod/mp3 device manager. Winamp rocks and communicates with ipods just fine. Unfortunately, I think it is pc-only, but I’m sure you can run it on linux with wine or some other emulator, so there might even be an emulator for Mac since it is a version of *ix.

  25. Connie said on September 3, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    We tend to sing Down by the Bay when we are remembering Raffi songs. And I particularly remember SHaron Lois and Bram the Elephant Show. We took our preschooler to see them at that big outdoor concert place near Noblesville, formerly known as Deer Creek or some such but currently named after AT&T or Verison. THere we were, a crowd of parents and little kids, and hundreds of big burly security guys in black shirts. Cracked us up.

    I like to eat eat eat Eeples and Beeneenees.

  26. Rana said on September 3, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    My issue with Word is what I call for­mat­ting fights. It seems to think it knows bet­ter than I whether that num­ber 1 I just typed is meant to be a list or an out­line.

    Oh, god, YES. I’ve disabled most of the auto-format options in the preferences, but every now and then it pops out with a new one. For example, when I was formatting a syllabus a week or so ago, I wanted two kinds of bullets – one for reading assignments, one for writing assignments. It kept trying to impose the same format on ALL the items with bullets – with a few exceptions. It was the exceptions that killed me – they indicated that what I wanted to do was possible, while taunting me as everything else shifted when I didn’t want it to.

    And I’m what’s considered a “Master User” according to the skills-testing software at the temp agency, and I’m not at all afraid of tweaking and hacking and jury-rigging to make programs do what I want them to. Irritated me to no end.

    (I think one of the problems that Word programmers seem to assume that everyone just starts at the beginning of a document and works their way steadily to the end, followed by spellcheck. The program’s deeply confused when you change formatting or organization in different spots in any other sequence than a, b, c, etc.)

  27. Catherine said on September 3, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Going on a picnic, leaving right away, if it doesn’t rain we’ll stay all day.

  28. Scout said on September 3, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    I get called into my boss’s office at least twice a day to deal with some frustration with Word. He hates it with a white hot passion and my feelings are not much more positive. We like the ease of Word Perfect but since hardly anyone else uses it, anything you attach created in that format is unopenable to the receiving party. Word would totally bust me for using the word unopenable; I thumbed my nose at that little paperclip as I typed it.

    I cannot live without Photoshop. Excel is a distant second.

  29. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 3, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Out in Hinterlandistan, it’s the lesson plan that’s making people go “ickkkkk” more than the presidential classroom drop-in (which has been done before); compounded by the “joint session/prime time” pitch, which makes it more political than i suspect the student chat was ever intended, or is intended to be. I’m fine with the Prez starting the school year by saying “suck it up, kiddies, and do your schoolwork.”

    But the health care un-debate, which is being counterspun upon us nasty ol’ conservatives as the only thing poor congenial Dems can do since all the rabid right wingers are so apoplectic (see the Marshall U. prof’s fascinating OpEd in today’s NYT), is starting to leave me downright anti- anything — and i’ve been pro-public-option, with qualifications, from the start.

    Conservatism can be summed up in the phrase “never say it can’t get any worse.” The argument that we should utterly change the entire health care system we have now is based on a progressive approach that says “we can’t have a worse system than the one we have now, so let’s make major changes.” It is entirely consistent for conservatives to be . . . hesitant, and saying in a variety of ways “we’re not so sure that it couldn’t be worse for more people if we go for major change.”

    I’m really tired of the ongoing implication that you could only be opposed to health care reform as proposed if you’re a) heartless, b) in the pocket of a lobbyist, or c) a greedy profiteer yourself. Conservatives are against what’s “sort of” on the table on the merits, and are waiting for a better explanation of the proposed alternative because that’s who we are.

    The prime time joint session speech is very welcome to me, because maybe after that we’ll know what we’re arguing for or pushing against. So far, this has been a mediation session without anyone actually saying what we’re disputing in the first place. I know who the parties to the mediation are, but what are we trying to mediate? “Coverage for all” is really easy to be for, but if saying that means “by any means necessary,” i’m out.

  30. Jen said on September 3, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Instead of Word, I tend to use TextEdit for things, especially if I’m going to write a story and copy-paste it into our system at work. Also, it doesn’t take five minutes to load, which is really wonderful. Word is a pain in the butt in that regard. I really like Google Docs, because I can work on stuff at work and home without a flash drive, and I use Google Calendar for the same reason.

    I guess I don’t see the big deal about the Obama speech to the kiddies. I remember teachers talking about the president at school, and then I’d ask my parents about him and whatever topic we were discussing, and they’d tell me, in rational terms, what they thought about whatever issue. Of course, that would require people to be rational, and clearly they are not. I guess when there are ACTUAL ISSUES to discuss, I get a little sick of people freaking out about nonissues like this. It’s even worse than people who freak out and scream about issues that actually matter instead of discussing them like normal people.

  31. Jolene said on September 3, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Jeff: I agree that it will be helpful when we have a single specific proposal to discuss, but, in the meantime, to characterize any of the elements of reform that are part of the present bills as “utterly changing our entire healthcare system”, is a wild misrepresentation.

  32. Catherine said on September 3, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    The lesson plan is considered mandatory these days for anything meant to be seen or used in a classroom, whether it’s core curriculum or supplemental. The idea is to link “it” (whatever it is) to state and national standards, and “integrate it into the curriculum.” We’re not just watching TV folks, we’re learning. A lot of the impetus behind this is… NCLB. So in a funny way we have GWB to thank for the lesson plan.

    In fairness there are good and bad points to this state of affairs, and to NCLB.

  33. Bob said on September 3, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    This is enough to force me out of lurking !

    Randy :

    If you don’t have an iPod, all iTunes will bring you under Windows is a world of pain – and it won’t sync to your mp3 player, either. I only use it because of my iPod – it is the second worst piece of software I am forced to use (the worst being Lotus Notes) – it’s much slower than MSWord, sometimes not responding to mouse clicks. For my other mp3 players I use MediaMonkey, a much better program.

    The only people I know of who speak highly of iTunes run it on a Mac.

  34. Lex said on September 3, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    After a hard-drive crash on my home PC last year destroyed my copy of MS Office and it wouldn’t reinstall from the disc, I switched to OpenOffice, a free, open-source suite that can read and edit MS Office files (among other formats). You can download it here on a variety of platforms, including Mac OSX Intel and PPC.

    If you want to get fancy, you can download a disc image (*.iso file) here, burn it to DVD and then selectively install modules and/or some of the other free extras included on the disc. The file, though, is 2.1G (including some other free programs), so downloading will take a while.

    I second the endorsements of IrfanView and Winamp. I have iTunes to keep my wife and daughter’s iPods fed, but if there’s a way to get it to play songs in truly random order, I haven’t found it. (Winamp doesn’t play in truly random order, either, but the anomalies are much fewer and farther between.)

    Before the aforementioned hard-disk failure, I liked Click 2 DVD very much for capturing analog video, of which I have a bunch, digitizing it and burning it onto DVDs. If there’s freeware out there that does that, I haven’t found it, and I can’t afford to replace Click 2 DVD.

  35. Sue said on September 3, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Ok, so when I see a bright colorful sign in front of my neighbor’s long-time-for-sale house stating ‘96.5% Financing!’, do I think:
    1. Yay! Credit is easing, we’re back on the road!;
    2. Isn’t 3.5% down one of the reasons we got into this mess to begin with?; or
    3. Wow, interest rates have gone through the roof!

  36. Dorothy said on September 3, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Connie our birthdays are three days apart – mine was Monday this week!! Happy birthday!!! (And Jeff (tmmo) had one last week)

  37. Jolene said on September 3, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Speaking of iTunes and iPods, perhaps someone here can help me w/ a problem in using the iPod to listen to audiobooks.

    I loaded the files for a book that I’d downloaded from audible.com onto the iPod, but, after playing a long segment on a car trip, I wasn’t able to figure a way to get back to the place where I left off listening. I had to start at the beginning and try to locate that by fast-forwarding. Obviously, clumsy and irritating.

    Is there a way around this problem?

  38. Colleen said on September 3, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    For me, those who are against having their kids listen to the Obama pep talk have just gone over the falls. It’s too tin-foil hat for me.

    And lately, all I’m getting from conservatives is a vibe of mean. Apologies if I have offended anyone here, but that’s how I’ve been feeling of late. The lies, the smug satisfaction, the conspiracy theories. We’ll never get anything accomplished as a country if we can’t all stop being petulant.

  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 3, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Or, all you’re getting is the message that conservatives are mean and angry. I’ve been going to school board and village/city council and planning commission meetings for far, far too long, let alone constituency meetings, and i’m here to say — angry, weird, paranoid venting is the norm. Has been, will be, long before i could spell Benn Gleck and well after Lush Rimbaugh is gone from the scene.

    We’re charming and happy and occasionally contrary, we conservatives are. Phyllis Schlafly isn’t a conservative, she’s a reactionary — they’re always a mite techy.

    Make sure to check out the Burning Man video on UStream tonight just after sundown. Very fun.

  40. paddyo' said on September 3, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Thanks for the thumbs-up on Open Office, Lex — I was just about to ask a question about it when I saw your comment. I hadn’t heard of it until recently but had little idea of how it stacks up to MS Office …

  41. Sue said on September 3, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    The only real conservatives I talk to anymore are my very Republican in-laws. I never bring up politics around them but they do not return the favor. They haven’t been mean at all about the health care debate and in fact are not talking about it at all. Maybe that’s because one of their children has had job hours cut so much that one more cut means a loss of employer-provided health insurance, another finally found a job with some benefits after months in scary no-job limbo, and their granddaughter loses health insurance next December when she finishes college. For the first time in their lives, they are living the troubles they always assumed you had because you didn’t work hard enough or made bad decisions.

  42. Eric Zorn said on September 3, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2009/09/final-word-to-word.html

    « Whoops, they did it again | Main
    Thursday, September 03, 2009
    Final word to Word?

    Nancy Nall is saying goodbye to Microsoft Word, the redoubtable word processing program that I’ve used for 13 years (after a too-long relationship with the clunky WordStar):

    I’m still not sure why it’s so big, except maybe for all the “help” that I spend my first few ses­sions try­ing to turn off. Sen­tence frag­ments. I use them. And some­times I start a sen­tence with a con­junc­tion. I don’t need Bill Gates’ wee­nie gram­mar police tap­ping me on the shoul­der, under­lin­ing all my per­sonal flair, ask­ing, “Is that the word you want? Strunk and White have very strong feel­ings about this.” My dream ver­sion of MS Word would have two dozen fonts, plain-vanilla for­mat­ting, a decent dic­tio­nary and a word-count tool. It would cost $19.99. In other words, it would be Google Docs, which I’ve made my default word processor.

    Google Docs is, in fact, free and fairly robust. And all your documents are stored off-site and available at any computer with an internet connection. The only reasons I don’t join NN in totally abandoning Word are:
    1. GD lacks the expandable/collapsible outline format/template that I use for taking notes and organizing my research. Big drawback.

    2. You have to stop and ask GD to count the words in your document. Word does this as you type.

    3. I’m still a little itchy about uploading all my documents to “the cloud,” where GD files live. Should anyone ever hack into my Google account — Gmail, etc. — they’d have access no only to all my documents, but also many of the previous versions of my documents.

    Reasons one and two are features not everyone needs, and few people need as often as I do. Reason three is one that taps into the fears of many.

  43. Little Bird said on September 3, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Hi! Posting again for Deborah here. She asked about Sacramento eateries and got a reply (that she somehow missed). In answer to said reply, she said she was looking for a simple but nice place. If the area is known for a specific type of food/restaurant, that would be good too. Nothing too expensive, nothing to “greasy-spoon”.
    I don’t remember the persons name who replied to her, but thank you, and I hope this helps clarify (at least a little) what she’s looking for. She leaves sometime tomorrow.

  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    I gotta go look — i thought GD counted as you went, too, you just had to two-key to pull up the number, instead of the bottom of the doc tally that Word has.

    Yep, shift/command/c — but i’m guessing you mean “doesn’t show running total in a bar” which is a small lack, but one i can live with. As for privacy, i don’t believe in it anyhow, other than the access codes to my assets.

  45. MarkH said on September 3, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Bob! Thank you! At last, I have heard from someone who not only has heard of Lotus Notes, but like me, deplores this antiquated alledged web, er, convenience. Just recently had it inflicted on me, long story about it I’ll share sometime later. And thanks, Lex. I, too have heard some good things about OpenOffice.

    Mitch Miller — Populated the tv in our house as well, and like others here, learned a lot of great old songs as the family watched.

    My 2nd and 3rd degree of seperation, brush-with-greatness story about Miller: when I settled full-time here in Jackson, I went back to work in the newspaper business, this time as an ad salesman for one of the two competing weeklies. Our art director was a very smart and talented woman who first came from her native South Africa in the early ’60s to make a name for herself in the US. She wound up in Manhattan as the front desk person and administrative assistant for Mitch Miller. Miller had all number and types of people coming in and out of his office, some famous, most not-so-famous. After a while, Rusty lost a bit of control over things as people started brushing right past her desk and went into Miller’s office without warning. He finally called her in and told her, “look, you’re the front guard and you’ve got to stop letting people by who have no appointment, or no business with me! From now on, no one gets in without an appointment, and if they argue just get tough with them. They’ll have to wait.” The very next morning, Miller didn’t have any set appointments, and this little old bald man with thick glasses comes in and, sure enough, walks right by towards Miller’s office. Rusty gets tough. “Just a damned minute”, she snaps, “you can’t go right past this desk with out an appointment! Mr. Miller is a very busy man and can’t be disturbed! Just who do you think you are?!”

    He stops. “Well, I’m very sorry, ma’am, my name is Irving Berlin…”. He got right in, of course, and you could hear the laughter from the both of them on the entire floor. She swears it’s true.

  46. sarah kenny said on September 3, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Odd.

    Nobody knows exactly what is in the speech, because there is no advanced copy. But that article, Nancy, and most of the people here are certain it’s mundane, “Work hard, study hard” rhetoric.

    Really? That would be fine. But how do you know?

    What little we do know — the classroom activities — are pretty creepy.

    If Hugo Chavez was giving a mystery speech to all American kids, I’d be concerned. President Obama is every bit as big a Marxist as Chavez, so yes, I’m a little concerned with the Dear Leader act.

    And really? “My president is doing something odd that would freak me out if George Bush had done it, but maybe he’s just doing it to get conservatives to piss on themselves and look stupid!”

    Really?

    Really?

    You guys aren’t really that ethically bankrupt are you? That was a joke, right?

  47. Sue said on September 3, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    We take it in shifts, Sarah. Glad you figured out right away that today is ethical bankruptcy day and attendance is high. Tomorrow is moral bankruptcy day, so everyone will be here. Spiritual bankruptcy day will mean the loss of our more religious commenters like Danny and MMJeff but they pray for us on those days.
    Thanks for popping in!

  48. moe99 said on September 3, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    In 8 years of Bush, I don’t think I saw an advance copy of his speeches, ever. I don’t recall anyone taking that as creepy, left or right.

    And may I remind those present that there is an excellent summary with a link to the full health care reform bill, and if you read them both, you will discover to your surprise that it is NOT a full rewrite of health care in this country. But I understand why some would not want facts to get in the way. I mean Pat Buchanan yesterday was suggesting that Hitler was just way misunderstood and that if the Brits had just let him take Danzig and Poland, everything would be all right now. One of the biggies on the right side of the aisle there. And he’s not going to lose his job over it.

  49. ROgirl said on September 3, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Comrades, the class struggle is nigh. Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. Rise up against your oppressors and accept the inevitability of global communism. Workers of the world unite!

    Or maybe he’ll tell kids to stay in school and study hard.

  50. Sue said on September 3, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Moe, I am so culturally bankrupt that the first thing I thought of when you mentioned Pat Buchanan was the “German Tourist” episode of Fawlty Towers:
    ‘Basil, head bandage making him look crazier than ever, on hearing the arrivals speaking German, says “Oh German! I thought there was something wrong with you.”
    Basil then proceeds to mention the war at every opportunity, upsetting the German guests more and more as he rapidly descends into a fit of xenophobic ranting about everything and everyone that most Germans would rather forget.
    When the fed up German asks Basil to stop going on about the war, Basil kindly reminds him that they started it. “We did not start it,” protests the German. “Yes you did, you invaded Poland”, yells Basil.’
    John Cleese is great. Way better than Neville Chamberlain.

  51. Jeff Borden said on September 3, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Ms. Kenny,

    Please share with the class how Barack Obama is more of a socialist than Hugo Chavez.

    Christ, last week you’re defending the human stain that was Jesse Helms. This week you equate a moderate like Obama with Chavez. Who’s your tutor? Glenn Beck?

    Examples, please, or is that beyond your abilities? Mark, Danny and many others to the right of me discuss issues with concrete examples. So far, you’re all talking points cribbed from FreedomWatch. Your comments might pass muster at Free Republic. Around here, we prefer the occasional fact.

  52. Jean S said on September 3, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    oh, tomorrow is moral bankruptcy day? cool, see you then.

    In the meantime, I harvested about 30 lbs. of potatoes and perhaps 15 lbs. of tomatoes today. I’m feeling a bit swamped.

  53. LA Mary said on September 3, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    OMG. A speech we are not completely familiar with in advance? It’s the end of civilization as we know it.
    You know what? I think all these people who object to every single thing Obama does, says, wears or eats should just get over him being Black.

  54. Danny said on September 3, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Jeff, you want facts? Facts you say! Okay, here we go ala Dwight Schrute:

    1. Fact One! President Obama shook Chavez’ hand.
    2. Fact Two! And he smiled at him.
    3. Fact Three! And he spoke with him in a room that they occupied at the same time (!!!).
    4. Fact Four! His name, “Barrack Obama,” has the letters “M” “A” and “R” in it. Very close to MAR(X)!!!

    That enough facts for you, people!

  55. Jeff Borden said on September 3, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Count me in for moral bankruptcy day! I just wasted more than three hours watching the abysmal Chicago Cubs lose to the below .500 Chicago White Sox. A rookie pitcher named Carlos Torre threw a five-hitter for the Sox while the Cubs committed two errors including a dropped easy pop fly by the $160-million left-fielder Alfonso Soriano. If drinking beer and watching lousy baseball in the sunshine instead of sitting at my computer working isn’t morally bankrupt, what is?

    Usually, Wrigley Field is called “the friendly confines,” but the boos raining down on Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome and Milton Bradley today did not sound all that nice. Why, you’d have thought you were at a health care forum, lol.

  56. ellen said on September 3, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Sue, comment 47 made me laugh so hard. Thanks!

  57. beb said on September 3, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    And according to the evening news the Michigan State Fair is dead as of the end of this season. No more corn dogs for us. Could someone tell me how this saves money for anybody?

  58. Jeff Borden said on September 3, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    Danny,

    OMIGOD! The scales have fallen from my eyes! He is a socialist!! Seriously, man, I guess calling him a socialist is better than a fascist or a Nazi or an uncircumcized Kenya bastard or whatever Ms. Kenny’s red-faced brethren were calling him last week. Sheesh, at least go for some consistency, eh?

    BTW, on the moral bankruptcy front, while my pal and I were drinking beers and eating burgers at Murphy’s Bleachers before the game, three members of the Chicago Bliss came in to mingle with the crowd. (Two blondes, one brunette.) The Bliss is the Windy City’s lingerie football team. I would love to tell you that these young ladies were tastefully attired and ready to discuss the Tampa 4-2 defense or the impact Alonzo Stagg had on the game, but alas and alack, neither was the case.

  59. Danny said on September 3, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Jeff, that conjures scenes of the congressman’s office in “Charlie Wilson’s War.”

  60. Jeff Borden said on September 3, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Great movie. One of the very few times I’ve enjoyed a performance by Julia Roberts.

  61. LA mary said on September 3, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    My kid’s jaw is wired shut and he sounds like Christopher Guest doing the ancient art of ventriloquism in Best in Show.

  62. Danny said on September 3, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    I liked “Sleeping with the Enemy” too.

    Hilarious, Mary.

  63. beb said on September 3, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Wow, insane and pedantic, people over at Mother Jones are debating whether biweekly means twice a week or ever other week, also whether inflammable means easy to burn or hard to burn.

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2009/09/mother-jones-bimonthly-publication#comments

    At least they’re not arguing its v it’s.

  64. alex said on September 3, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Dwight Schrute? Is that Dwight as in Dwight the Troubled Teen, Danny? And here I thought he was just some local crackpot, not your far right alter ego on NN.C.

    Sarah Kenny, please do come back for moral bankruptcy day. I want you to shock the shit out of me with something even more audacious than comparing Obama to Chavez, so I can return the favor by comparing Larry Craig to Michelle Bachmann (as in he probably gets more dick in Minnesota than she does).

    Speaking of advance copies, let’s see the GOP’s plan for health care. Oh, I forgot. Who needs to read it? We’re living it.

  65. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 3, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    I think biweekly magazines should be allowed to run a special weddings issue every year.

    Can someone let me know when spiritual bankruptcy day is?

    Wow, you go do one thing and come back to find 49 comments to read . . . i’d say that advance copies are neither here nor there (and i’m on the record as pro-presidential chats with schoolkids), but a White House originating lesson plan thru the Dept. of Ed is just plain stoopid. I mean, Bush-era White House stoopid. Let’s all sing Kumbayah together on this one.

  66. Julie Robinson said on September 3, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Well, thanks to GWB and his cronies, our country is already financially bankrupt. It really toasts me to see all the R’s complaining about Obama and the deficit. Who drove up that deficit?

  67. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 3, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Well, depends on how you slice the bologna.

    I’d post the Center for American Progress (Podesta site) link, but three links throws us into moderation:

    http://blog.heritage.org/2009/03/24/bush-deficit-vs-obama-deficit-in-pictures/

    http://www.econbrowser.com/archives/2009/08/the_lasting_leg.html

  68. Jolene said on September 3, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    A couple of weeks ago, Business Week published an article called “The Insurers Have Already Won”, documenting industry involvement in the development of the plans under consideration. Their analysis indicates that the Marxists at United Healthcare, Aetna, and Wellpoint will do quite well under any plausible reform.

  69. moe99 said on September 3, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    The health care bill summary with a link to the bill itself:

    http://moesmisadventures.blogspot.com/2009/08/health-care-bill-damn-fine-summary.html

    More on Pat Buchanan, official Hitler apologist:
    http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2009/09/buchanans-apologia-for-hitler.php
    http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=26312

    I tend to think that those who go ape over Obama speaking to schoolchildren, also tend to agree with Mr. Buchanan on how Hitler was pushed into war by those nasty Brits. There’s a bunch of posts on his website that are in Polish and I don’t think the Poles are very happy with his thesis.

    Oh, and there was an article on the WSJ earlier this week that stated that the stimulus plan seems to be having an effect on ending the recession. I guess instead we shoulda just done what Hoover did back in the early 30’s, which was nothing. We would be in such better shape now. NOT.

  70. alex said on September 3, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    Jtmmo—

    Heritage Foundation? Cite to that and you might as well be telling us you got this from outer space through your dental fillings.

    By the way, you never did tell us what you found about a year ago this time when you were busy decrypting a Bill Ayers book to support the proposition that he ghost-wrote Obama’s books.

  71. Dexter on the road said on September 3, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Kee-reist…I am without a doubt the most ignorant contributor here! I have never even touched a Mac. It is all PC with me. I have only had a home computer for nine years, and for me it’s still fun, although I kinda miss emailing. All my buddies and I are on Facebook and Twitter. I love Facebook, so easy to link stories, photos, videos….

  72. 4dbirds said on September 3, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Oh goody, I’ve been looking forward to moral bankruptcy day.

  73. baldheadeddork said on September 3, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Programs I can’t live with:

    iTunes – As someone noted earlier it’s just an abortion of code on Windows unless you’re using an iPod.

    Real Player – A parasite of a program. Won’t take no for an answer, specifically when you say you don’t want it to be your default player for everything.

    Adobe Acrobat – You think Word is bloated? MS has nothing on the braintrust that creates Acrobat. It’s massively bloated and – somehow – one of the most consistently vulnerable programs you can put on your computer.

    Norton Antivirus – Bloated, slow, expensive, crappy customer service, and it can make your computer run like your hard drive is spinning in molasses. It’s one redeeming value is that it’s better than McAfee.

    MS Outlook – Thunderbird beats it like a rug for home users and is free. There are still some advantages for Outlook in company networks, but MS deserves to be smacked for not updating the organizing tools. I know people who would give up a kidney to get Gmail’s conversation structure on their Outlook accounts.

    Programs I can’t live without:

    Ziepod – a great free (and stable) podcast catcher.

    Foxit PDF Reader – It’s small, it’s secure, it’s amazingly faster than Acrobat…and it allows editing .pdf’s if you’re willing to accept a small Foxit ad at the bottom of your document. If you can’t take that, Foxit Phantom cost hundreds less than Acrobat Creator.

    AVG Anti-virus – Free, fast, not a resource hog, very good anti-virus protection and it’s easy to use and understand.

    Zone Alarm – Like Foxit, a program so good in every way that it makes you feel a little dirty to accept their free version.

    CCleaner – Formerly known as Crap Cleaner, this is a fast and thorough little program to clean up all the garbage on your system. Removes all but the worst spyware in a fraction of the time it takes to scan your computer with Ad Aware.

    Ad Aware – It’s slow, and the user interface is horribly unintuitive when you get to the part about what to do with the 43,850 pieces of spyware on your computer. But it’s still the best I’ve used at finding spyware.

    Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird – Just so much better than everything else. I downloaded IE8 for grins and tried to set it up like my Firefox install. That ended about two minutes later when a window popped up advising me that IE8 can’t accept more than six or seven tabs for the homepage. (/facepalm)

    About Google Docs – I agree with Eric Zorn. Works great, but it is missing some features for longer pieces and researching, and there are concerns about security.

  74. Connie said on September 3, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Oh you MAC lovers, I just today told my graphics person that she was going to have to do some serious convincing to justify replacing her current MAC with a new one, at 3 times the price of a PC and 10 times the hassle from being the only non PC in a network with several hundred PCs on it.

    Sarah Kenny, this whole calling our duly elected American President a Marxist is just another example of political craziness. Having studied poli sci some in college, I know what Marxism and Socialism and Communism are.

    Please give your specific examples and explain how they are Marxism, etc., cause I just don’t see it.

    But then I will flat out tell you that I am a bleeding heart liberal atheist, and perhaps a socialist at heart, though more in the GB Shaw sense, than whatever it is you mean by your accusation re our President.

    Nor can I see anything President Obama has done that compares to the lies that got us in a war in Iraq, and the damage the Bush Administration did to our civil liberties and the Bill of Rights with the Patriot Act and similar actions.

  75. Deborah said on September 3, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    I can not live without Adobe Creative Suites (Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop). I’m a graphic designer and that’s what I use all day everyday. And I’m a true blue Mac person. That’s what I use at work, I’m one of the only people in the office allowed to us Macs. It’s a PC world at work for everyone else. At home we have 3 Macs.

  76. Connie said on September 3, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    I will add my vote to CCleaner (formerly known as Crap Cleaner.) I could tell from watching the file names fly by during hard drive virus scans that I had over 200,000 INVISIBLE to my file managers, temporary internet files. I tried everything, and it was CCLeaner that could see them and get rid of them. I had switched to Firefox as well, so they no longer build up.

  77. Connie said on September 3, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Header on CNN.com: Viral Web site mocks Wal-Mart customers

  78. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 3, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Alex – let’s not go there. I still think Barack Obama didn’t write “Dreams From My Father,” but i think he was born in Hawai’i (and got a foreign student scholarship as Barry Sotero at Occidental College, which is the only “secret” the campaign was trying to hide), and is more of a democrat than a socialist in his democratic socialism. And i’m a Tenth Amendment conservative who would happily trade most of the Second Amendment for a little more emphasis on the Tenth, let alone the First.

    And i think you oughta be able to marry, or apply for ordination in my denomination — unless you think God is the Flying Spaghetti Monster, in which case you could almost be guaranteed a job in our national offices, where you’d be able to send me daily e-mails about how i should support the administration’s health care reform plans. (That last is a swipe not at Alex, but my denominational folk who can send me seventeen e-mails that use the words God or Jesus not once — as i said, i’m a bit of an unrepentant libertarian-ish conservative.)

  79. Deborah said on September 3, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Michael G, my daughter mentioned that you responded to my question about where to eat in Sacramento. It turns out because of horrible connections we don’t arrive till late at night tomorrow, so am curious about good places for breakfast/brunch on Sat. after that we go out to the country where others go spelunking somewhere (but not me, oh no, I’d rather die). We are also going to hike around the giant redwoods. I’m bringing my computer and working a lot of the time. I am the only one left in my department and have to do the work of 2 or 3 people because of it, everyone else got laid off. I thought I’d be the first to go because I was the highest paid (most experience), but they did it from the bottom up.

  80. Catherine said on September 3, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Jeff, I’ve read, written and produced many, many teacher’s guides. I took a quick look at the one for Obama’s speech, and it really seems completely standard. There’s nothing out of the ordinary there, let alone creepy. Plenty of for-profit/not-for-profit/governmental organizations create them around various programs. Here’s a quick link for a guide to the movie “National Treasure” (which, I hasten to add, I had nothing to do with):
    http://www.classbrain.com/artmovies/uploads/nt_teacher_guide.pdf

    Now, there’s a good use of class time: spend two hours watching a poorly acted movie that is rife with historical inaccuracies, then spend another day or two untangling the inaccuracies and try to tell the real story. That would be educationally bankrupt day.

  81. moe99 said on September 3, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Has everyone read the Levi Johnston tell all on Sarah Palin in Vanity Fair?

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2009/10/levi-johnston-outtakes200910

  82. nancy said on September 3, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Catherine, if your thinking goes like this…

    The president is evil.

    and

    The president has commandeered class time to tell my children things I do not agree with.

    then

    A study guide that asks, “What has the president asked me to do?” sounds a lot more ominous than if you consider what he’s actually saying. Maybe “study hard and do well in school” is a secret coded message.

  83. Catherine said on September 3, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Yes, you’re right that I don’t get the underlying assumption(s)!

    I think what I’m trying to get at, without breaking my own rice bowl, is that plenty of organizations with way more questionable intentions are trying to commandeer your kids’ class time. If someone is going to get up in arms about this study guide, they need to look into the ones that promote consumerism in all its various guises, too.

    Perhaps if you have the right decoder ring, the lyrics and music of the Internationale are imbedded in the guide? But it wasn’t obvious to me.

  84. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 3, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    You thought we weren’t on to you.

    But thanks to http://wordsmith.org/anagram the phrase “study hard and do well in school” soon reveals the hidden message(s).

    See below . . . there are 38,450+ more where those came from.

    A Cad Huddled Hill Wontons Rosy
    A Cad Huddled Hill Snooty Sworn
    A Cad Huddled Owlishly No Snort
    A Cad Huddled Owlishly On Snort
    A Cad Huddled Owlishly Nor Snot
    A Cad Huddled Owlishly Nor Tons
    A Cad Huddled Owlishly Torn Nos
    A Cad Huddled Owlishly Torn Son
    A Cad Huddled Shrill Wontons Yo
    A Cad Huddled Shrill Wonton Soy
    A Cad Huddled Shrill Snooty Won
    A Cad Huddled Shrill Snooty Now
    A Cad Huddled Shrill Snooty Own

  85. nancy said on September 3, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Shrill wonton soy? He IS working for the Chinese!

  86. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 3, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    Of course, the first eight anagrams for my NN.C screen name are:

    A Middlemen Efferent John
    A Redefined Fennel Hmm Jot
    A Defender Jennet Film Ohm
    A Needled Mermen Tiff John
    A Emended Relent Miff John
    A Emended Effort Helm Jinn
    A Demented Riffle Men John
    A Demented Offer Helm Jinn

    I should know what this means, but my Haldol prescription ran out.

  87. coozledad said on September 3, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    It doesn’t even matter what’s in the study guide. The Republicans have to parse it for content that supports their forgone conclusions. If the content isn’t there, they’ll make shit up. When you call them on it, they’ll say the fact you called them on it means you’re applying a different standard to Obama than the one you applied to Bush, because you made him lose his war that he was winning before you called attention to the fact that it was obvious from the dawn of his adult life that he was in essence, a potted plant.
    And liberals are just like Hitler because they shop at Whole foods, except when they don’t, which makes them more like Hitler, who really only wanted Danzig, and would have been a faithful ally, like Franco, who would know exactly how to handle the socialists.
    Do you see how this works now?
    The Republicans appear to have sucessfully transformed schizophrenia from a genetically transmitted disorder into an orthodoxy.

  88. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 3, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    You can have my schizophrenia when you pry it from my cold, dead psyche.

  89. Jolene said on September 3, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Jeff: Doesn’t it seem the tiniest bit improbable that Obama could obtain a scholarship as “Barry Soetero”, but attend and, presumably, register as “Barack Obama”? Cuz Google will get you lots of links to people who knew during those years as Barack or Barry Obama.

  90. coozledad said on September 3, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Jolene: Those are KGB operatives posing as people who knew Obama. They also worked as typesetters in Hawaii back in the early sixties. They also ghost wrote Dreams From My Father with assistance from Bill Ayres. While they were engaged in this, they gave John Doe of X a bad case of the crabs that was ultimately intended for Mitch McConnell, but through a fluke, wound up giving them to fellow traveler Chris Dodd.
    C’est la guerre.

  91. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 3, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Jolene — i’m saying i think the mystery is actually much ado about nothing, but a nothing that isn’t going to get cleared up anytime soon. As i’ve been saying for too long, to no good end, there’s complete distribution of every college record and document out there for Bush and McCain and Palin and now the fellow in Virginia who went to Regent. But for Democrats, college records can get sealed up and protected zealously with almost no quizzical inquiry from general media, leaving the field clear for the moonbat right (yeah, we’ve got ’em).

    I would have applied for just about any scholarship my advisor told me to go for in 1977, so i’m not imputing anything other than an explanation for what’s being so assiduously held out of sight. He could legally have put in for a scholarship as an Indonesian (not a Kenyan) and not impacted his American citizenship status, and just later realized it didn’t look good for a candidate for public office. And the candidate who isn’t glossing or avoiding some part of their past history as they run hasn’t yet been born, in this country or any other.

  92. moe99 said on September 3, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    From http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com:

    How long did it take the right to go from: “if you criticize the President you are a traitor” to “School children should not trust the President.”
    –Josh Marshall

  93. brian stouder said on September 3, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Jolene, shhhhhhhh. Jeff’s ‘on a roll’*

    The first annual Moral Bankruptcy Day here at nn.c DOES sound fun; I’m looking forward to the NSFW links and flatly inappropriate commentary and so on.

    Maybe we can all pretend to be drunken wankers who work for Wackenhut! And – what a great name for the company employing a bunch of liquored-up, horny, semi-nude, nipple-lickin’, muggin’-for-the-cameras, Bush-era mercenaries, deep in the valleys (so to speak) of Afghanistan, yes?!!

    Talk about your “Moral Bankruptcy”!!!

    In all seriousness – I think I actually AM “morally bankrupt” on anything to do with the previous administration.

    I find that – after all these years of one gully-washer scandal after the next from President George W Bush’s spectacularly inept/corrupt/blinkered/blighted/bull-headed/benighted administration; with colossal failures and huge mistakes (think foreign policy, think Katrina, think Homeland Security), atrocious crimes committed in our nation’s name, damnable dereliction of the duties that the administration (or ANY administration) was charged with upholding (the “military planning and direction from the White House” [NOT!!] during the damned war effort he was supposed to be leading) – all culminating in the stupendous economic crash right at the climax of the 2008 election season –

    after all THAT – I’m simply broke.

    My faith in the morality of anything to do with the previous administration is not just a “troubled asset” but indeed a fiction; a write-off; a flat loss.

    Moral bankruptcy – I’m there!

    But life DOES go on, and we DID have that 2008 election, and President Obama inherited the disgraced President Bush’s Troubled Asset Relief Program – and indeed President Obama himself serves as a TARP for my own “morale” bankruptcy…and he’s doing quite well, thank you.

    Others, who didn’t choose to invest in our president now busy themselves by cursing their fate and mumbling darkly about the black usurper who stands in such stark relief against their own previous folly.

    Good Christ!! Imagine what the teabaggers (et al) would say if they could hang (so to speak) the Wackenhut wankers on President Obama!! “Start the Impeachment Proceedings” would be their opening bid; presumeably the batshit crazies would skip right to the American Brutus/King Henry (“will no one rid me of this troublesome priest”) schtick.

    One thing I learned 25 years ago: elections don’t end arguments. I remember being a huge, huge admirer of President Reagan (and arguing with the ever-patient Proprietress in her column, which she always – and quite graciously – let me do, in her free-for-all Saturday edition, but we digress!), and putting up with all sorts of crazy attacks on his administration, and how out of step he was with the times, and how dire things would become, etc etc etc.

    And then, in 1984, he won re-election. Let’s rephrase that: in 1984, he won a MASSIVE landslide re-election; I think he won every state in the union except maybe Minnesota….

    and truly, honestly – I really believed that THAT ended the argument, right? The People Had Spoken. But no – hell no!! People marched in the streets against him (maybe it was about the Pershing Missiles – or some other issue – who knows); the argument wasn’t over at all! I confess – I was stupid enough then to have been surprised by that.

    Pat Buchanan had a line that I loved back then; whenever anyone attacked the president or his policies, his pat answer (so to speak) was “Your argument is with the American people”.

    That’s what President Obama’s people (including us) have to use more often.

    *as John Belushi as Bluto was ‘on a roll’ and not to be interrupted, as he recounted how the Germans attacked Pearl Harbor, etc!

  94. Jolene said on September 3, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    I’ll give you the last sentence of your post, Jeff, i.e., that there is, apparently, something about his college years that Obama does not want to reveal, but shouldn’t it be something plausible? Say, treatment for depression at the student counseling center or too many classes in leftist political theory?

    The availability of Bob McDonnell’s thesis, by the way, is not at all mysterious. Graduate theses, as I’m sure you know, are normally (or, at least, frequently) available in the library of the institution where the degree was completed. McDonnell mentioned the thesis in an interview w/ two WaPo reporters, and they simply looked it up.

    I’m not aware of papers by either Palin or McCain having made theirrelevantit way into the public domain. McCain has written and spoken about his low class standing.

    Note that I don’t really care about this stuff, but, if you’re going to make these assertions . . .

  95. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 3, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    I put it to you, Greg – isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but I for one am not going to stand here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

  96. MichaelG said on September 3, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Deborah, Little Bird, A lovely indoor or outdoor Spanish style tapas joint is Tapa the World at 2115 J St. Classic, superb Italian at Biba’s where she does work the floor, 2801 Capitol. The Waterboy, California restaurant at 2000 Capitol. Excellent Chinese, expensive linen napkin place, eat with the politicians Frank Fat’s 805 L St. Killer pizza in a minimalist setting, concrete floor, bare walls, expensive, Masulo’s 2711 Riverside Blvd. There are dozens more. I would recommend getting to 16th and J St and walking east to about 28th. You will pass many fine eating joints and bars in the course of a nice stroll. Have a drink here and there, pick a place and eat. Mid town is a terrific walking and eating area. Great scene. The weather is progged to be in the mid eighties this week end. Best of luck and have a great time. You’re gonna love it. Reviews next week.

  97. crazycatlady said on September 3, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    Corn Dogs!!!!!!

  98. Catherine said on September 3, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    I nominate icy cold Diet Coke (or whatever it is that Brian is imbibing) as the official drink of Moral Bankruptcy Day.

    Probably there is some money in product placements.

  99. MichaelG said on September 4, 2009 at 12:11 am

    I finally waded my way down to your post 79, Deborah. Wow. Breakfast. That’s the most personal meal of them all and the easiest. I tend to eat breakfast in joints. There’s an excellent one at 24th and J called the Cornerstone. Old, kind of, well, kind of shabby chic. They have outdoor tables and a fine breakfast. The Pancake Circus at 21St and Broadway is another ancient place that I like. Jeez, there’s a place at about 21st and L that I ate at last week and I’m blanking on the name. I’m a basic bacon and eggs kind of breakfast guy and can be happy just about anywhere. All I want is good bacon, well prepared eggs, nicely browned hash browns, actually toasted toast, coffee and that’s it. Pass on the kippers, pass on creativity. Catch me for lunch or dinner and I’m game for anything. But for breakfast, I’m in a comfortable fifty year rut. If you can make it, I really recommend the evening J Street stroll. Shit, walk down J in the AM. Somebody will give you a good brekkers.

  100. Jolene said on September 4, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Amen, Catherine! Brian gets the Witty Tirade of the Day Award.

    Still thinking of a good title for the award that cooz deserves for that post referring to the KGB.

  101. MichaelG said on September 4, 2009 at 12:20 am

    Jeez, I’m in a morally bankrupt incarnation, myself. After reading a hundred comments I am so full of stuff I’d like to say about that fucking piece of shit MS Word and the wackabilly Repubs and that narcissistic JTMMO and his bullshit “I’m so brilliant, hard working, helping the little people” holier than thou act complete with ostentatious, self indulgent lower case “I” that I’m speechless.

  102. moe99 said on September 4, 2009 at 12:43 am

    http://www.timeforkids.com/TFK/kids/news/story/0,28277,179328,00.html

    Can anyone say Double Standard? I’m sure you can. C’mon Sarah, mark, join in the chorus!!!

  103. Connie said on September 4, 2009 at 7:29 am

    I love you Brian.

  104. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 4, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Actually, Word, for all its faults, normally capitalizes an “i” for you, which one gets used to. Call the affectation laziness and you’d be closer to the mark.

  105. alex said on September 4, 2009 at 8:09 am

    Wow, there’s already a local angle on the Obama speech. And no shortage of freaks to lend some color to the story:

    http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20090904/LOCAL04/309049966/1002/LOCAL

  106. mark said on September 4, 2009 at 8:34 am

    moe-

    I thought the Bush “cash for kids we just might kill” program was stupid and pandering at the time he announced it. Asking young kids to focus in any way on war and the death, deprivation, hardship, etc it inflicts seems pointless and kind of cruel.

    Pretty neat that your sister is a veterinarian. I thought briefly about being a vet but, at the time, vet school was about twice as hard to get into as med school, which was about 10 times harder to get into than law school, which was sufficiently challenging for me.

  107. LA Mary said on September 4, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    MichaelG, GMTA.

  108. Lex said on September 4, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    The Zone Alarm program endorsed by baldheadeddork is a firewall program, which he forgot to mention. I’ve got a physical firewall now so I don’t use it anymore, but for a single home connection, it’s the bomb. Ditto AVG and Ad-Aware.

    Moral Bankruptcy Day, you say? Well, I’m all in. I consumed an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie ice cream this afternoon JUST BECAUSE I COULD.

  109. LA mary said on September 4, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    I ate a pint of lemon sorbet. I needed strength to force the invalid child to do his week’s worth of school work. He’s still fuming and stomping.

  110. Jessica said on September 8, 2009 at 9:33 am

    I’ve made a living for years manipulating the wondrous features of Word as a technical writer, so I feel a certain desperate affection for it. It works better on Windows than on Macs as the Mac versions tend to be behind.

    In an office setting all those annoying extra things become useful, and I can scratch my leftover programming itch by making macros.

    But when I write fiction, which is unlikely to require styles and tables and automatic TOCs and cross-references, I use something else – often Scrivener.