Herman I. May

Herman I. May


31 July 2005

Icarus' Rebirth

After five and one half years of use, I have retired my aged Graphite iBook SE and replaced it with an iBook G4. Following the announced rev'es to the line announced earlier this week, the time was too opportune to pass.

I chose the twelve inch model for several reasons. First, the cost. At one grand, it is two hundred dollars less than the fourteen inch model — not to mention eight hundred dollars cheaper than the machine which it is replacing. ;-) Next, Apple has chosen to continue what I believe to be a disingenuous practice of limiting the maximum screen resolution of the fourteen inch model to the same dimensions as that of the twelve inch model. So, even though one gets an additional two inches of diagonal display space, the resolution is still 1024x768. If the larger display brought with it a greater functional resolution, then the extra cost may have been justified. However, I suffer from no diminution of my visual acuity, therefore the extra magnification is not needed. Finally, I do not really need a SuperDrive. Sure, it would be nice, but Brunhilde already has a DVD burner and we also have an external, dual-layer burner.

On the other side of the coin, the fourteen inch model sports a faster processor, faster bus, and larger hard drive. In real world terms the first two specifications are of little real benefit and I can drop a larger drive in the machine for around one hundred dollars and come out with a nicely sized support drive.

The differences aside, the changes to this hardware revision are quite remarkable. Both models come with built-in Airport Extreme, Bluetooth, scrolling trackpad and Sudden Motion Sensor technology.

Having migrated my system last night, I made one notable discovery. Apparently these systems will not boot with an operating system prior to 10.4. It cam with that version of the OS and is, therefore, not too surprising. However, Icarus, the obsolete, was running 10.3.9. After mirroring the contents of the old drive to the new, I was discouraged to see that it would not boot. Not that it was a serious limitation, it simply meant I would have to wait a bit longer to play with it as I upgraded to 10.4.

I have already encountered a certain degree of claustrophobia. The existing 40Gb drive is just a tad bit too small. So, I will get a sixty or eighty gig model later in the week and give myself a little extra growing room. :-)

The fate of the old hardware is still up in the air. Rebecca has expressed an interest in making use of it. However, Elizabeth is of the opinion that she will be less than satisfied with the performance. Having used Ariel and Brunhilde, she may find the lowly 400MHz processor and 4Mb VRAM too limiting.

I will comment further on my experiences after I have had a week or two to play with it. So far, though, it is quite noticeably snappier than the old hardware.

29 July 2005

A Singularity or "Return to Flight"

Following excruciating delays and vacillating second guesses, Discovery (OV-103) blasted from the launch pad at Cape Canaveral on Tuesday, instant, to mark the return of Space Shuttle flights. However, within hours, concerns were raised over the apparent loss of a section of insulating foam from the PAL ramp. As a result, the program has been, once again, placed on indefinite hiatus pending further repairs. Thus, unless a successful solution can be implemented within the next month or so, Atlantis will not be going aloft in September and the ISS construction timeline will return to a state of uncertainty.

Ridiculous is the descriptor which first comes to my mind. The Shuttle launch vehicles have been shedding debris since the very first flight. After thirty months, over a billion dollars of research and repairs and the significant reduction of shed debris, mission managers and engineers are second guessing themselves and threatening the integrity of the program. There is risk associated with space flight...there is significant risk associated with space flight. The cost to benefit ratio must be considered at every level. Nevertheless, there has to be a point at which continuity of the program and completion of our commitments to constructing the ISS must take precedent over the remote risk of catastrophic failure. Well over 100 Shuttle flights have been executed with nary a care given to the potential for tile damage from shed debris. That may have been folly and playing a dangerous game of Russian Roulette — as fatefully illustrated by the disintegration of Columbia over my head 0n 01 February 2003. However, extraordinary effort and a great deal of money has been spent to redesign the application of insulation to the mail fuel tank (apparently, the primary source for debris). Engineers have already acknowledged that the one hundred percent mitigation of debris shedding is an impossibility. There must come a point at which logic and reason must prevail over fretting and timidity.

STS-114 (the current mission) and STS-121 (the next flight of Atlantis) have already been designated as RTF test flights. Allow both of them to be completed before suspending the whole program. I heard a statement recently that the foam which was shed from the fuel tank on Tuesday was from an area deemed safe. There had never been a loss of foam from that region and non-destructive inspection did not reveal a potential problem. That is a double-edged statement. On the one hand, why was it not considered during the redesign? Given thirty months of inspection and redesign and over a billion dollars invested, one would think NASA would have combed the fuel tank with a fine-toothed comb. On the other hand, it was an area which had proven to be safe in past flights. It shed debris this time around. Investigate the use of some sort of sealant or overspray to allow for the timely launch of STS-121 and use the span of time between now and STS-115 to redesign the insulation in order to mitigate future issues. I would say that it is not rocket science, but I guess it is! ;-)

NASA certainly cannot afford another catastrophic setback. The US space program cannot afford another prolonged RTF delay, either.

25 July 2005

Journalistic Hubris

The 92nd Tour de France has ended. Also apparently at an end in the racing career of the seven-time champion, Lance Armstrong. Accompanying that realization is a bevy of speculative statements on the impact of Armstrong's legacy and his future by talking heads in the media.

According to some analysts, membership in USA Cycling has reportedly increased significantly between 1999 and 2005. Some marketers and promoters insist this is due to the media buzz surrounding Armstrong's popularity as a Tour participant. There is no question that Armstrong's return to a racing career following a successful fight against testicular cancer has been inspiring to many. However, to suggest that it is primarily responsible for a rise in popularity of road racing in general is somewhat specious. In fact, a correspondent for NPR's Morning Edition did a segment this morning wherein he went in search of "evidence of Lance Armstrong's legacy" only to discover that it is, perhaps, not as widespread as might be believed. Apparently, most derive more inspiration from Eddie Merckx. The reported then dismisses this sentiment as disingenuous and "high brow" and went on to offer his own take on Armstrong's potential influence. The segment ended with an excerpt from an Armstrong interview in which he suggested that, while he may be retiring from road racing, he would need to get his "competitive fix somehow." The correspondent then muses that "Lance Armstrong, mountain bike champion...might make those Eddie Merckx fans think twice." This sort of subjective, sensationalist journalism is something one might come to expect from the mainstream press, but NPR supposedly holds itself to a higher standard.

As someone who has been riding a bicycle for several decades prior to the success of Lance Armstrong and will be doing so for many after, I can state that, while I enjoy watching cycling competitions, there is no particular "star" who influences my choice or enjoyment one way or another. Certainly, I admire the hurdles he has overcome and there is no questioning his accomplishment as a seven-time consecutive TdF winner, but he is also a lecher who left his wife for a rock musician. He is not exactly the sort of role model I am inclined to emulate. Of course, that sort of character flaw is not something the media is likely to bring up in support of their agenda.

My only forays into bicycle competition came several years before Lance's rise to prominence. In 1996, I participated in the Hotter-N-Hell and Beauty and the Beast rides. In all honesty, they were a little anticlimactic for me. I set a goal for both and met or exceeded that goal. There was little point in continuing to "train" for such rides. I ride approximately 330 km per week commuting to and from work. There is really little interest on my part to spend the better part of my weekend riding as well. Perhaps I am the exception to the rule, but neither Lance Armstrong, not the Tour de France are likely to have anything other than an effect of passing entertainment for me.

23 July 2005

myView: "La Belle et La Bête"

I first learned of this version of the timeless French fairy tale upon which it is based several years ago. It was when I purchased a copy of an operatic rescoring by Philip Glass. Based upon promotional clips and stills in the liner notes, I thought it to be a silent film (I did not know or pay attention to the year of production). Recently, Elizabeth was searching through the "Top 100" foreign films list when she mentioned a listing for Beauty and the Beast (1946). Upon hearing of this, I immediately checked NetFlix. Finding it, I added the title to the top of our queue.

This film is highly recommended for any fan of fairy tale adaptations. Be warned, though. It is much darker than the Disney interpretation. My previously mistaken assumption as to vintage is reinforced throughout the film as much of the acting is quite melodramatic, with exaggerated body movements. Far from detracting from the pleasurability, it serves to accentuate the scenes in which it is employed. The director's imagination with respect to the enchantment of the Beast's castle is inspired.

Finding this film locally may be an issue. However, if you are a NetFlix subscriber, it is readily available.

21 July 2005

myView: "Dear Frankie"

Exactly when we saw a trailer for this film escapes me, but both Elizabeth and I (as well as Rebecca) knew immediately that we would want to see it. We were not disappointed after watching it first hand.

The tale is somewhat formulaic, but contains just enough novelty and imagination to make it refreshing. The title takes its name from the fact that the main protagonist knows his father only from the correspondence in which the two engage given the latter is a merchant seaman. In reality, the mother, Lizzie, is estranged from her husband due to domestic violence issues and serves the roll of both parents. It is she who actually responds to Frankie's missives in the guise of the paternal figure. The ruse threatens to unravel, though, when Frankie learns that the vessel upon which his father serves is due for a short call at port where they live. Lizzie hatches a plan to pay a surrogate for pretending to be a father for the day. The film revolves around this plot and the interactions between "father" and son as well as "husband" and wife.

It has its flaws in both logic and premise, but Dear Frankie is an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.

18 July 2005

3.6 Volt Cure

There is a certain satisfaction when one is able to properly troubleshoot and repair a technical issue. I made a short trip to Radio shack this morning to procure a replacement battery for the apparently faulty logic board reservoir in Imhotep. After returning to the lab, I installed it, reinstalled the hard drive, reset the PMU and reassembled the system. Guess what? I pressed the power-on button and a glorious chime rang out!

The first thing I did after moving all of the work I did on Thursday afternoon and Friday from Anansi over to Imhotep was to pen a complaint to the director of Client Services. Within an hour, I received a reply expressing shock at the turn of events (imagine that) and a promise that he would personally "check into this issue...and find out what went wrong." Assurance was also given that the invoice for the incompetent diagnostic work would be voided. Well, that is something. We shall see what comes of all of this.

17 July 2005

The Plot Thickens

Competency is a problem with IT professionals. I have commented previously on my disdain for the IR personnel at the institution where I work. This latest issue with Imhotep has only served to reinforce that opinion.

In an effort to save time on the drive swap, I pulled the supposedly faulty device from Imhotep and took it home so I could primarily try to salvage the last couple of days worth of data which had escaped backup. A secondary motive was to test the veracity of the purported drive failure. Imagine my surprise when, after mounting it in an external enclosure, it mounted without incident when connected to Brunhilde. Furthermore, when designating it as the boot volume, I was able to boot the system from the drive as well. This is quite disappointing as it means I have just wasted three days in futility during which I could have gone up to Radio Shack and gotten a battery. (I am still convinced this is at the root of the issue. Tomorrow, I will test my theory.)

All sorts of cynical thoughts are running through my mind, now. Was the CS tech really that incompetent or was he trying to give me the shaft? That department is cost recovery in nature. Therefore, I have to wonder if he did not verify the battery issue, exchange it, then dream up this drive situation to capture some additional revenue. My mind drifts toward these paranoid scenarios at times. Little else can explain the blatant ineptitude of the moron who suggested the drive was at issue.

15 July 2005

Touchy Sensor

Another delay has beset Return to flight plans for the Space Shuttle program. Tuesday's planned launch of Discovery was thwarted with just over two hours remaining in the countdown due to an anomalous fuel sensor. Most disappointing is the fact that this issue has been known since a similar event occurred during pre-flight testing back in April. Attempts to discover a cause at that time were fruitless and the gltich was not reproducible.

No doubt, the Columbia disintegration was a tragedy. However, enough is enough with respect to the second guessing and delays. For two years, the program had to endure the fretful oversight of Sean O'Keefe. He was appointed shortly before the disaster and his tenure marked the longest period of no shuttle flights since the program began in 1981. The Challenger explosion not withstanding, the trepidation exhibited by this flight suspension has been ridiculous. There is no way to guarantee one hundred percent safety and attempts to attain anywhere approaching this level of certainty doom the program to limbo forever.

Things began to look brighter after Michael Griffin, a scientist, was appointed earlier this year. However, this latest setback flirts with folly. The sensor in question is one of a four set redundancy. The odds of two sensors failing probably approaches infinity. That all three of the known good sensors failing and requiring the integrity of the fourth, faulty unit is next to zero. Yet the mission manager scrubbed the flight with even these odds at play.

Reports are that the tank will be emptied and the leads to all sensors tracked in the hopes of finding and repairing the problem. This will delay the launch by at least a week, but, if engineers are unable to pinpoint a cause or reach a point of satisfaction by 04 August, the earliest launch date will be in late September.

Enough is enough, people. Pull your collective heads out of your ass, grow a spine and return the shuttle program to active status. The hazard level will never be zero. Enough energy and resources have been pumped into satisfying those aspects of the CAIB which are logical and tenable. The manned space program is languishing and the resumption of construction on th space station is an imperative.

14 July 2005

System Crash

I returned to work yesterday, after missing Tuesday due to illness, to find Imhotep had died. Died is a premature term, but turned out to be precient.

This is not the first time I have come into work to find my machine off. It happens quite often when, following an unscheduled or unannounced power outage, the battery in the UPS becomes depleted and the systems shutdown. However, this did not seem to be the case. Pressing the power-on button was uneventful. I could hear the hard drive begin to spin up...then it spun down and...nothing. The power LED never came on and the boot chime never tolled. This was repeated several times with the same result. So, I set about trying to diagnose the issue.

An initial teardown revealed nothing of note. No burned circuits; no obvious signs of damage. The diagnostic algorithm from Apple offers four things to test for power continuity: a) the power cord; b) the logic board; the power/analog board fuse; c) if all of those pass, then the logic board battery. I had no meter at work. Today, I brought one in and tested the first three; they all passed...thankfully. The battery, however, was a different issue. Apple specifies an acceptable range of output between 3.3 and 3.7 volts. It read .26 volts! Voila!

The next step was to get a corroborating diagnosis from a Client Services field tech. This served two purposes. The first was to get a second opinion in order to rule out an oversight on my part and the second to try to expedite procurement of a replacement (read: hopefully, they have a battery downstairs). Unfortunately, they were tied up all yesterday and the earliest anyone could come by was this morning. So, I had to settle for mediocrity the rest of the day and make use of a Wintel box. :-(

Client Services could do nothing in the field. The tech had to take the machine downstairs to the repair center. Within an hour, I received a call; it was not good news. Apparently, the testing algorithm available to service technicians differs from that accessible to the general public. (This is rather strange since the resource I used was supposedly the service center manual! ...but I am getting ahead of myself. ;-) The tech informed me it was not the logic board battery, but the hard drive. I questioned this as I think I was correct to do.

Many a hard drive has failed during my fifteen-plus years of computer hardware experience. Never has a system failed to boot, though. It may not get very far in the process, but it boots to some point, nonetheless. He assured me it was the drive and attempted to quell my doubt by indicating he had been able to boot the system from another drive and was in the process of installing OS 9.2.2 as a test. An offer was made for me to come down and witness this firsthand. I passed.

The tech provided me with a couple of outlandish quotes: $120 for a 60Gb drive and $145 for an 80Gb model. I scoffed and indicated I could obtain drives with double that capacity in the retail sector, asked him to simply return the machine and I would take care of the repair.

I have wasted enough time with this situation, but I have to assume he knows what he is doing. Having wasted most of yesterday and half of today troubleshooting, it will be the weekend before I can get a new drive. Thus it will be another day of Wintel use.

12 July 2005

Creating the Greyhound

I had the rare opportunity to engage a Creationist in a discussion on genetic manipulation the other day. Rare, because I almost never encounter one in my daily existence. Nevertheless, the result was entirely predictable. They refused to address my logical arguments; instead relying upon faith alone to justify their position.

The context of the original encounter was a discussion on the Greyhound-L message list. A thread was started on the origins of the Greyhound as a breed. One member from the UK argued that our beloved hounds were "invented" by Lord Orford. Some debate ensued as to whether this was the case or whether the Greyhound was simply refined into the breed we know to day by the Brits. A couple of days later, the following made its way to the list:

"...the greyhound breed was not invented in the UK. The breed was created by God and has been around since biblical times."

Attitudes like this simply holler for rebuttal. Bringing religious belief into a discussion based upon fact is just itching to be confronted. I contacted the poster off-list and argued the following:

"...the Greyhound was developed by man, though selective breeding; just as all domesticated canines have been. The contention is whether or not the British "invented" them or the Egyptians. (BTW, the latter predate "biblical times" by several centuries; so how do you reconcile that fact?) Except in instances where attempts have been made to domesticate the wolf, no companion dogs resemble their ancestral progenitors from the wild.
"Please keep this religious drivel off of the list. It has no technical application to the discussion of the hounds and their origins."

At that point, logic just seemed to fly out of the window.

"...God's creation pre-dates everything, I was simply referring to the greyhound being mentioned in the Bible and therefore, has been documented since at least then. I don't know when God created greyhounds, I don't need to know, I just had to interject that man did not invent a dog."

The accuracy of the statement that man did not "invent" the greyhound is the only rational aspect of this reply. Genetic manipulation does not equate to invention. However, it would appear we only agree on the technical nature of that statement; not the specifics.

There is a very great flaw in this assumption on the part of many that the Holy Bible makes mention of the Greyhound, specifically. This belief originates with the passage from Proverbs 30:31. Unfortunately, translation of this line is very much in contention. While some versions define the creature referenced as a Greyhound (primarily the KJV) others interpret it as a "strutting rooster" — quite a disparity in form and function. As with many things in this history book based upon oral history, things are not always as they seem or appear and most everything is debatable based upon translation source.

In addition to my arguments regarding the futility of defending a biblical reference to the Greyhound, I injected the hypocrisy of Creationists bashing eveolution as a theory, while forgetting that their stance is based solely upon a belief. Furthermore, a belief which was passed down for multiple generations via oral tradition before being recorded on paper.

When presented with these facts, the argument of the individual in question collapsed. They completely ignored my logic against the legitimacy of a biblical reference to the hound. Instead, the discussion changed into a debate about Evolution being a theory. This person even ignored my point about Creationism being an unsubstantiated belief, while Evolution is a testable theory.

Makes one long for the days of Eugenics... ;-) LOL! Then again, according to the argument above, this attempt at genetic design of the human race was divinely inspired.

11 July 2005

Dennis' Touch

Being out in the elements daily during my commute enables me to experience meteorological phenomena which are many times ignored or taken for granted by others. Today was no exception and did, in fact, provide new insights into the power of nature.

By now, everyone has heard of the relatively mild results of the landfall of Hurricane Dennis. Even though the remnants of this storm are heading northeast, up the Ohio River Valley, it is still affecting the weather down here in Texas. We are expected to experience waves of afternoon instability resulting in the possibility for localized storms every day this week. The predictions are off to an roaring start.

As I left work to head home, I noted with interest that there was a slight, but noticeable, breezze out of the north. A little out of the ordinary for this time of year, but understandable in light of the above. My choice or route home this evening took me eastward down Mockingbird. As I passed through the intersection at Abrams, the sky began to darken in an arc extending from my left (north) all the way 'round the direction of travel to the right. Shortly thereafter, lightning began to strike quite close to me all along the proximal margins of the approaching system.

By the time I had reached the exit ramp to head north on Lawther, it had begun to sprinkle. Nothing significant, but I was slightly unprepared, nonetheless, having not outfitted my bags with rain covers. So, I decided to take refuge under the bridge in order to allow the system to pass overhead prior to proceeding.

At first the rain fell steadily at about 1712, but otherwise uneventfully. However, within about ten minutes the wind picked up to something like 50 to 60 kph. As a result, the rain began slanting under the bridge span at about a fifty-five to sixty degrees angle and reaching me at the center point. I moved to the median and took shelter behind the middle support column. As the band of foul weather passed, one could readily observe as the direction the rain was being driven began to shift noticeably to my right (I was facing north), eventually coming in behind me. This required that I move to the other side of the support column to avoid getting drenched.

By 1732, it was all over but a some drizzling remnants. I dug out a single cover for the bulk of my panniers and resumed my trek home.

10 July 2005

Gardening Status Quo

My weekly garden logs are being suspended for the time being. As I mentioned last week, the maintenance has reached a point of self-sustainment. Little new is happening and modest bounty continues to trickle in with little change one way or the other. Several projects are soon to consume quite a bit of my free time and I am not sure I will have the time to comment in depth. Certainly, if things go badly or there is a significant change in the status, I will make mention as needed. Until then or the return of more moderate temperatures in mid-August, interested visitors will simply have to content themselves with a vivid imagination. :-)

09 July 2005

Community Tolerance

Virtual communities come in many shapes and sizes. By and large, I am an active proponent of just about any incarnation. Whether a complete, interactive community (like the local interactive node of #kempiWeb), an active mailing list or anything in between, they have the ability to foster social interaction between members and provide a useful resource for participants. Even so, they also suffer from the ambiguity and anonymity inherent in cyberspacial existence. Two incidents in particular illustrate the need for would be denizens of these communities to brush up on their etiquette and embrace a little humility when corrected by more experienced members.

The first group is what, for lack of a better term, could be identified as a micro-community. It is primarily a mailing list, but the hosting company provides space for posting files, images and other accoutrements to enhance communal participation. Most all of the members know one another quite well and have ffor some time. Nevertheless, the concept of membership in a virtual community seems quite novel to many. We recently coordinated a physical gathering of members. During the course of the planning, several requests were made of a particular organizer. This individual seemed to either not be receiving the requests or was ignoring them. Finally, in what can only be construed as a fit of frustration, this person erupted in a tirade about how the information requested was proprietary (it was not) and not going to be shared (it eventually was).

This individual obviously has no experience with virtual community participation. By not acknowledging the requests in any manner, they gave the impression that the solicitation was not being received. In a physical environ, body language and immediacy would have provided visual cues regarding preoccupation with other tasks, a disconnect in communication between interlocutors or a disinclination to comply with the inquiry.

The other group of which I am a member, a mailing list, has been experiencing a rash of off-topic and belligerent posts of late. Not necessarily related to one another, the former have come mostly from well intentioned, but misquided, souls, while the latter have spanned members of various levels of experience and have largely been unprovoked. In one particular instance, a thread was initiated requesting help on a particular topic. Another member responded with a well intentioned, but inappropriate response. It was not that the content of the response was not applicable. Rather the solution offrered was not humane.

Within a couple of days, one of the resident experts responded by indicating as much and suggested that, in their experience, the majority of the people who requested such a solution were those from a particular demographic. Almost immediately, a person qualifying as a member of the latter group offered an indignant response stating that such was simply not the case and that they never did such things.

It was obvious that this particular responder was jumping to irrational conclusions as a result of misreading the intent and scope of the post. Another member of the group attempted to enlighten this belligerent individual to the error of their ways via private correspondence. For their troubles they received a triple whammy.

First, a vitriolic retort was sent. That was, apparently, pretty much ignored. However, within it was a threat to contact the list admins. It is unclear exactly what this was meant to accomplish. Intimidation, maybe. Whether they carried through or not is unknown...and largely irrelevant as the message was not sent through the list and, thus, the admins had no jurisdiction over the exchange. The blind-side came in the form of the third action. The disreputable antagonizer proceeded to post a vaguely anonymized copy of the private exchange to the general list in an effort to solicit sympathy for being, in their estimation, harassed. The effort backfired as many were in agreement with the private respondent. However, agreement with the interpretation notwithstanding, the hostile nature of the action was immoral and unethical.

Both of these events lead one to pine for a means of remedial education for participants in cyber-communities. Just as in personal, social situations, there are rules of etiquette. Peer pressure can help, but it has been my observation that many of these situations result from ignorance more than a contrarian demeanor. Most disappointing is the unwillingness to accept this fact. Most of those who violate these tenets do so with an ascetic attitude. They take offense to the concept of being a newbie and feel they know everything they need to know about virtual interaction. Sadly, this is quite far from the truth.

05 July 2005

I be a spectacle

Freaks abound in the world; perhaps more so on the 'net. I discovered a link to this site quite by accident. It appeared in a .sig to a post on a mailing list to which I subscribe. The specifics are unimportant. However, the concept conveyed by the idea of "pierced glasses" borders on the ridiculous. As an artistic statement, I suppose there is some merit with respect to novelty and imagination. In terms of practical application, it is untenable. Having the bridge of one's nose pierced must be a painful experience. That portion of the face upon which eye glasses rest is primarily bone and any bone drilling is a painful endeavor. I can certainly think of better ways for pitiful wankers seeking to to make spectacles (pun very much intended) of themselves to forge a path of unique idiocy.

As irony would have it (and apparently continuing on a theme), this goofball seems to live somewhere within the boundaries of Garland.

03 July 2005

Horn of Plenty

The garden continues to thrive and produce a welcome bounty for our table. Primary producers at the moment are the salad greens, legumes, okra and peppers. Of course, the tomatoes continue to exceed our ability to consume and are regularly frozen, canned or given away to family and friends. The corn appears to have reached the end of its productivity. No new ears are being produced and the plants are beginning to turn brown.

For the most part, it is maintenance at this point. It is unlikely that much new will be planted until after the oppressive heat of July has waned.

02 July 2005

myView: "Batman Begins"

Fans of Batman finally have a silver screen interpretation of the Dark Knight which is worthy of their attention. The latest big screen adaptation, Batman Begins, is presented as a "prequel" of the legendary Caped Crusader.

Christopher Nolan gives the viewer his visionary interpretation of the story behind the story. One learns why Bruce Wayne becomes Batman; how and why he chose his mammalian muse; and where he actually did get "those wonderful toys"!

This incarnation has, by far, the best plot, writing and best acting of any of the preceding five offerings; save, perhaps, the first: Batman (1989). For those who have been disappointed at the steady decline in quality of this franchise during the past fifteen years, this film will restore your faith in Hollywood's ability to bring a competent rendering to the cinema. It compares quite well with Spiderman and X-Men.


continue to the June 2005 archive

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last BBEdited: 2005.08.04