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2801  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: SyFy Channel on: March 16, 2009, 11:18:55 PM
Do you suppose somebody got a fat bonus for dreaming up "SyFy"?  nod
2802  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Dick Cheney Is Scaring Me on: March 16, 2009, 09:16:58 PM
This Obama fellow is going to get us all killed!

WASHINGTON - Former vice president Dick Cheney said yesterday that Americans are less safe now that President Obama has overturned George W. Bush's terrorism-fighting policies and that nearly all the Republican administration's goals in Iraq have been achieved.

"There is no prospect" that Iraq will return to producing weapons of mass destruction or supporting terrorists, Cheney asserted, "as long as it's a democratically governed country, as long as they have got the security forces they do now and a relationship with the United States."

Wait. What?

Asked on CNN's "State of the Union" if he thought Obama has made Americans less safe with those actions, Cheney replied, "I do."

"Those programs were absolutely essential to the success we enjoyed of being able to collect the intelligence that let us defeat all further attempts to launch attacks against the United States since 9/11," Cheney said.

Hold me.
2803  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Question about internet advertising on: March 16, 2009, 04:59:14 AM
This is a timely question.

Google's AdSense ads are placed according to website content (keywords). But starting in May they will use the browser's history instead. I know this because I got an email from Google two days ago telling me that I either have to opt out of their new model or rewrite my privacy policy to disclose what they're up to. (I only use AdSense on my blog, and since Google owns Blogger I'm going to assume that their privacy policy has me covered).

So right now the answer is that they're keyword-generated. Starting in May, browser history will be the default, although some sites might opt to stick with the old keyword model if they think that works better, or if they're concerned about their visitors' privacy.
2804  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Someone's gotta burn on: March 16, 2009, 01:57:17 AM
We have two small Roth IRA annuities earning 3% interest from AIG, and they don't mature until January 2011. I don't want to hear any more of this nonsense about nationalization or bankruptcy. There are potentially hundreds of dollars at stake here! If it takes $150 billion of taxpayer money to make sure that we're made whole, then that's just how it has to be.
2805  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Someone's gotta burn on: March 15, 2009, 06:58:10 PM
Yeah, they have to retain that top talent. Meaning the only people who understand precisely how the pooch was screwed in the first place.
2806  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: NBC goes Sci-Fi over the summer with Merlin, Meteor & The Storm on: March 15, 2009, 02:52:57 PM
Somebody bump this thread a few days before these shows air so that I can instruct my DVR. The first two sound craptastic, but I do like Stacy Keach and Christopher Lloyd.
2807  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Robot teacher smiles, scolds in classroom on: March 14, 2009, 02:15:55 PM

Quote from: YellowKing on March 14, 2009, 03:24:59 AM

we're a long way from anything even remotely approaching human intelligence.

There are a couple of bots in the P&R forum that produce a superficially convincing facsimile.  banned
2808  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Let's talk . . . bodywash! on: March 12, 2009, 05:59:12 PM

Quote from: cheeba on March 12, 2009, 03:55:45 AM

Quote from: Ironrod on March 12, 2009, 01:53:28 AM

What makes this stuff superior to soap?
Suds up instantly so you don't have to rub soap on a washcloth and you don't have to use much at all.

Ah. Well, thank god we've done away with that arduous process at long last.

Quote from: Freezer-TPF- on March 12, 2009, 04:06:50 PM

I can't believe you just asked that.  You might as well ask why indoor plumbing is superior to an outhouse.

Soap is for cavemen and leaves scummy stuff in the soapdish.  Bodywash is for the modern man and comes in clean, convenient plastic bottles that can be recycled into more plastic bottles for other clean and convenient products.

Soap? Pfft.  Stop using the boring soap, stop having a boring life.

Truly, civilization is marching on without me. I will meet you halfway. I will stop using soap.
2809  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Are companies laying people off unnecessarily? on: March 12, 2009, 03:52:44 PM
The carnage is worst among older, experienced workers who earn the highest salaries. My wife's former employer was explicit about trimming their five best-paid employees. The company was still profitable, but revenues were shrinking and its investors were disappointed in their ROI. It was very definitely an opportunist or pre-emptive move.

Ordinarily in a recession the quality of products and services improves as companies shed their most marginal employees -- last hired, first fired. The opposite is happening this time.

I am also noticing a lot of opportunistic price increases. The price of a draft beer has gone up from $4.00-$4.50 to $5.25-$5.50 almost everywhere locally. Many restaurants are serving 14-ounce "pints". Restaurants are raising prices, curtailing specials, and removing menu items. This, too, is the opposite of what ordinarily happens during a recession. I haven't figured that one out yet. Maybe it's a last-ditch effort to stay afloat -- there are certainly a lot of restaurants closing.
2810  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Let's talk . . . bodywash! on: March 12, 2009, 01:53:28 AM
What makes this stuff superior to soap?
2811  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Mega Snowstorm for the Northeast - Here it comes! on: March 10, 2009, 05:53:00 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on March 10, 2009, 03:53:52 PM

mmm..... portable chinese food....

The ducks or the dog?
2812  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: A visit to London (advice appriciated) on: March 09, 2009, 10:29:55 PM
Go on a pub crawl, or at least visit a pub each evening. Pubs are central to English social life. If you want to interact with the locals at all, that's where to do it. You can also order some delightfully vile food in pubs.

We rushed through the British Museum in one day. I wish we'd had a week for that museum alone.

Oh, and learn to use the Tube. It's easy, safe, and economical. Mind the gap!
2813  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Mega Snowstorm for the Northeast - Here it comes! on: March 09, 2009, 10:25:49 PM
If the flora and fauna of New England could thrive in the climate of Arizona, I'd be a happy man. Much as I love summer and sunshine and heat, I also love woods and lakes and thunderstorms. I couldn't take living in a desert. I need trees and lush greenery. Winter is the price I pay for enjoying the other nine months of the year.

I wish I could live in the Berkshires from May through October, and the Caribbean from November through April.

2814  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: A brief history of Europe? on: March 09, 2009, 10:08:15 PM
First there were Stone Age tribes. Then the Roman Empire came along and civilized Europe, assimilating some of the barbarians and wiping out others. Then the Roman Empire fell, the barbarians launched the Dark Ages, and history mostly stopped. Then the Enlightenment got things moving again. History accelerates from there to the Age of Discovery, colonialism, and the Industrial Revolution. Much of the 19th century was spent trying to prevent Germany from coming together and dominating the continent. Much of the 20th century was spent dealing with the consequences of failing to do that. After WW2 Europe was finally eclipsed by the USA and largely ceased to matter. Since then they've been torn between union and nationalism. It looked like their socialist economies would forever doom them to second-rate status until last year's collapse in the US, whereupon history becomes current events and we enter the P&R forum.
2815  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Stupid Time Change on: March 09, 2009, 02:58:17 PM
I love DST, but don't see why we have to keep reverting to Daylight Wasting Time. They keep shortening that...let's do away with it entirely.
2816  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Mega Snowstorm for the Northeast - Here it comes! on: March 09, 2009, 02:56:11 PM
I would miss Fall. It's especially nice in New England, not as cold and rainy as where I grew up. I could support a greatly abbreviated Spring, though. As much as I enjoy seeing signs of life gradually return, I don't like the backsliding like we're seeing today. My ideal calendar would be 2 months of winter, 1 month of spring, 7 months of summer, and 2 months of fall.
2817  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Obama's proposed 2010 budget juices carriers for more cash on: March 08, 2009, 03:24:16 PM

Quote from: Razgon on March 08, 2009, 12:23:26 AM

how's your normal tax rates in the states?

As Brendan's post implies, it is difficult for many of us to talk about "normal" tax rates because we don't pay the nominal rate without deductions. It's especially true if you have non-wage income.

Here's a calculator that shows the brackets:

Most of our income falls in the 15% bracket. We earn some non-wage income in the 25% bracket. Once you calculate self-employment taxes and take deductions, our effective income tax rate ends up being around 12-13%. It takes a ridiculous amount of paperwork, time, and accounting to get there. Payroll taxes (Medicare and Social Security) take another 8%. The state takes its 5%. Our tax burden, excluding real estate and sales taxes, is therefore somewhere around 25%.

I suppose there must be a lot of people who earn only wage income and take only standard deductions; they must be paying the effective rates returned by the calculator that I linked. 

2818  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Asparagus: It's just not worth it. on: March 07, 2009, 03:22:19 AM

Quote from: Mithridates on March 07, 2009, 01:14:11 AM

Smelling something that awful really lets you know you're alive

Embrace StinkyTinkle Salad. We do.
2819  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: March 06, 2009, 09:22:14 PM

Quote from: Moliere on March 06, 2009, 07:56:00 PM

Is there really a choice? I would keep Juliette over dysfunctional/annoying Kate any day.

Yup. No contest.
2820  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Asparagus: It's just not worth it. on: March 06, 2009, 09:17:04 PM

Quote from: GGIronSkull on March 06, 2009, 07:16:52 PM

And I Think a posting of the StinkyTinkle Salad is a must.

OK. This is a good cold salad for summer. I serve it with burgers and grilled sweet corn.

StinkyTinkle Salad

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 c. chopped fresh mint
1/4 c. olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 t salt
3/4 t pepper
1 pound bowtie (farfalla) pasta
1 pound asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 pound crumbled feta (1-1/2 cups)

Combine the tomatoes, scallions, 2 T of the mint, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Set aside for at least 10 minutes.

Cook pasta for 2 minutes less than package directions

Without draining the pasta, add the asparagus and continue cooking for 2 minutes or until tender, but not mushy. Drain into a colander and run under cold water long enough to stop the cooking.

Add pasta and asparagus to the bowl. Add feta. Add remaining mint. Allow flavors to blend for at least 15 minutes.
2821  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Asparagus: It's just not worth it. on: March 06, 2009, 04:34:33 PM
I make a pasta-and-asparagus dish that we call Stinkytinkle Salad. It is worth the consequences.
2822  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: There is no life on Mars on: March 05, 2009, 12:45:12 AM

Quote from: Daehawk on March 04, 2009, 09:48:01 PM

I think that useless Nielson box is behind all the American TV troubles. Ive never known one person who had one. It sure isn't my type people it seems.

My wife and I were a Nielsen family for a month in the early 80s. We didn't have a newfangled "box", just a paper journal to record our viewing. We owned a 12" black-and-white portable then, and our viewing consisted entirely of the local news, and Star Trek (TOS, obviously) and Gunsmoke reruns.
2823  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: There is no life on Mars on: March 04, 2009, 09:00:15 PM

Quote from: Eel Snave on March 04, 2009, 08:44:05 PM

See, I never get why they don't do that.  Just make a contract for a series to last x amount of seasons and then end the show, just like Lost has. 

Because unless they are following a well-known formula, they don't know what their viewership will be. On network TV, viewership = ad revenue. The more unusual the show, the harder it is to predict and deliver an audience share. That's why 95% of network shows are clones or spinoffs of old shows or are built from modular genre conventions.

You can only break that pattern if ad revenue is not the driving force behind programming, as on pay channels. The real wonder is that a show like Lost ever survives more than a season.
2824  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Study Zeroes In on Calories, Not Diet, for Weight Loss on: March 04, 2009, 08:48:18 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on March 04, 2009, 04:24:16 PM

Orgull I don't know if you have personal weight loss goals tied to your interest in the article you posted, but if you do I highly recommend you check out The Daily Plate, or something similar. 

Very cool, thanks for that link. Based on my routine diet (I eat the same lunch every day), I ought to be losing 1 pound per week easily if I (1) exercise normally, (2) stay within my beer budget, and (3) don't eat restaurant food.
2825  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: There is no life on Mars on: March 04, 2009, 05:54:04 PM

Quote from: hepcat on March 04, 2009, 04:31:59 PM

With the cast they had, I would imagine it was a pretty expensive show.  I was going to hate this since I really enjoyed the BBC version, but everyone I know says that it's quite good.  I'll have to netflix the dvd set when it comes out.

Cast, sets, extras, costumes...recreating 1973 can't have been cheap, especially the exterior shots. They really did nail it accurately.
2826  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: It's Tax Time! on: March 04, 2009, 04:30:08 PM

Quote from: gellar on March 04, 2009, 05:12:31 AM

Quote from: gellar on January 29, 2009, 03:02:40 AM

Quote from: The Grue on January 29, 2009, 02:48:51 AM

I really need to adjust my withholdings, but am always too lazy to do it.  I always get back 6K from the government each year.

I say the same thing... except  I tend to OWE the government that much each year.


Holy fuckin shit... I actually got a small refund this year.



Nice. Our return is in my wife's court now, where it will undoubtedly languish until at least April 10...whereupon we'll file for the automatic 6-month extension. Happens every damned year. Yesterday my lazy BIL said for the third time that he's mailing me his mother's paperwork "today."
2827  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: There is no life on Mars on: March 04, 2009, 04:24:44 PM
Does the BBC's Life On Mars not exist on DVD, or does Netflix just not have it? I'd like to check out the original after the US version ends.
2828  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: There is no life on Mars on: March 04, 2009, 03:35:55 AM
Crap. I watched only four shows: Lost, Life on Mars, Sarah Chronicles, and Pushing Daisies.

Two down, one scheduled to end, and I've heard that Sarah Chronicles is on the ropes, too.

Before Lost started, I went at least 10 years without watching any tv shows at all. I will probably just stick with DVDs after it ends. Definitely a good time to cancel the cable tv. 
2829  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Which old PC Game Developer would you bring back? on: March 03, 2009, 04:13:03 PM
Microprose published most of my favorite games back in the day.

I greatly enjoyed all of the SSI gold box games.

EA had some classics, too, before they went Borg. Starflight, Archon, Seven Cities of Gold....

Together, I think those three companies siphoned all the leisure time from my 30s.
2830  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Mega Snowstorm for the Northeast - Here it comes! on: March 03, 2009, 02:46:31 AM
I like having four distinct seasons. I even like one or two good blizzards a year. Winter just hangs on for too long. I put up with it because I love the northwoods in the summertime. We have beautiful autumns here. But by the time February settles in I'm thoroughly sick of being cold, I'm sick of shoveling, I'm sick of being indoors all the time, I'm sick of artificial heat. I want to put in my garden and wash the salt off my car.

I ought to live on the latitude of Kentucky-Tennessee-North Carolina. Either that, or global warming needs to pick up the pace enough to bring that climate up here.
2831  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Awww damn accident on: March 02, 2009, 11:03:44 PM

Quote from: SensuousLettuce on March 02, 2009, 09:32:29 PM

I thought fleeing the scene of a crime was a no- nonsense real deal crime.

Maybe they wave it if you come back in a timely way?

Naw, they forgive you if you were too drunk to think clearly.
2832  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Obama's proposed 2010 budget juices carriers for more cash on: March 02, 2009, 05:18:08 PM
Willie Sutton robbed banks "because that's where the money is."
2833  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Mega Snowstorm for the Northeast - Here it comes! on: March 02, 2009, 05:15:09 PM
After two solid hours of shoveling I got both walks and most of the driveway done, including the dreaded plowed-in part by the street. This is about a foot of very heavy snow with a frozen compacted layer on the bottom. As I was leaning on my shovel waiting to recover some strength, a pickup truck drove up. An Irish guy opened his window and introduced himself as the owner of all the plows and front end loaders that are out working our neighborhood today. His crews were caught up and, for a mere $20, could take care of those last 10 feet of driveway for me.


So about 50 feet of driveway are finally clear and we can get one of the cars out. I need to shovel the remaining 20 feet to free the other car this afternoon, after I've had lunch and a little time to rest up. I hope this is the last storm of this year. I'm too old for this.
2834  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: California Plan: Make Money by Legalizing Marijuana on: March 02, 2009, 02:57:02 PM

Quote from: Arclight on March 02, 2009, 11:20:23 AM

If they don't sell top grade pot when they legalize it, you will still have a black market for the good stuff.

Its doable, but they better not scrimp on the quality.

Why do you think the government would be the supplier? This is a huge private enterprise opportunity. The tobacco companies will dominate the mass market with a a few big standardized brands (the equivalent of Bud Light/Miller Lite), leaving boutique growers to serve niche markets. They will compete not just on strength, but on flavor and character, too. There's a lot of variation between strains.
2835  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Mega Snowstorm for the Northeast - Here it comes! on: March 02, 2009, 02:45:50 PM
We got more than I thought we would, and I am just minutes away from going out to shovel it. Again. It's not the snowiest winter we've ever had, but it's worse than normal and I'm older than I was the last time. If prosperity ever returns, I am buying a snowblower.  

Well. We're less than a week away from Daylight Savings Time, so spring must be here, right?
2836  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: California Plan: Make Money by Legalizing Marijuana on: March 02, 2009, 03:29:26 AM
We're the ones going 10 mph under the limit with our windshield wipers and emergency flashers on. We wouldn't be driving at all if we didn't need Doritos.
2837  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Mega Snowstorm for the Northeast - Here it comes! on: March 02, 2009, 03:19:44 AM
Of course Boston is already paralyzed. Two hours before the first flake falls everything has been canceled and the streets are deserted. As we always do when snow threatens, the Bride and I went out to dinner. Sure enough, the restaurant was empty. Our fellow citizens are afraid to venture out.

Our forecast is for 6-12" of snow mixed with sleet and freezing rain...just a typical slopstorm. I suppose I should plan on shoveling again tomorrow morning.
2838  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: In need of a cough suppressant. One that works. on: March 02, 2009, 03:10:06 AM
OTC cough suppressants have been proven ineffective across the board. It's a wonder they're still sold. Menthol cough drops can provide momentary relief. But the only thing that really works is good old codeine. Last I heard, you could still buy it in Canada.

Assuming you don't have access to Canada, try this: Make a cup of tea. Put a dollop of cream, a squirt of lemon juice, a teaspoon of honey, and a shot of whiskey in it. Then drink the tea and go to bed. You'll quit coughing long enough to get to sleep.

(edit) Or, based on kathode's post, make hot chocolate instead of tea. Probably want to leave out the lemon though.  Tongue
2839  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: I want Richard Garriott's life. on: March 01, 2009, 04:11:53 PM

Quote from: baelthazar on March 01, 2009, 11:40:42 AM

But I wonder if he is retired now. He dropped out with nCSoft and retreated to his <above ground> lair with the only news being that he was going into space, not that he was planning his next "big project" in gaming.

I read somewhere that his little jaunt to the ISS cost pretty much his entire fortune, so unless he's at that rarefied level where money is completely divorced from work, he must be planning something -- very probably incorporating his spaceflight experience.
2840  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: California Plan: Make Money by Legalizing Marijuana on: February 26, 2009, 10:04:01 PM

Quote from: Scuzz on February 26, 2009, 09:51:05 PM

the Fed's and even local governments still make busts or refuse to allow state implementation because of the Fed's ability to cut funds from oneprogram or another.

Obama is expected to call off the dogs, as he promised to do multiple times while campaigning.

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