January 31, 2007

But They Were Only Advertising

Update: Sissy Willis has her own take on these matters and what went down. But check out the comment from "be" about all the incidents in the neighborhood where the first suspicious packet was found. After reading that, is it unreasonable to think the police would be on extra high alert in that area to anything out of the ordinary? Even if it only looks like a kids toy?

It seems that Turner Broadcasting wanted to do a little advertising... but kinda forgot to clear it with the proper authorities.

Turner Broadcasting plans to take responsibility for the "hoax devices" that were found at several locations in and around Boston Wednesday that forced police bomb units to scramble throughout the area.

Wow - big of them to take responsibility for something they did. I wonder if they think they'll get off easier if they say "hey, sorry about that".

"The 'packages' in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger. They are part of an outdoor marketing campaign in 10 cities in support of Adult Swim's animated television show 'Aqua Teen Hunger Force,'" Turner Broadcasting, the parent company of Cartoon Network, said in a statement.

Now let's just stop a moment and do something novel... like... THINK.

In an age where terrorism is a word in common use, leading the nightly news and headlines of nearly every newspaper - DAILY. Many people went through the process of putting this together and NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON had enough qualms about whether or not this might be a bad idea to stop it! No. One. It's astounding.

Not to mention...

How are WE the people in and around these cities supposed to "know" these devices are harmless? By osmosis? Does it give off good vibes as we pass by? Does it speak to us and say "I'm harmless"? Does it look innocuous?

Here's what this stunt did to Boston...

"Emergency deployment teams were sent into the center of the city immediately upon these reports. There were significant shutdowns of not only highways, but rail traffic with the MBTA," Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said. "Several of the devices do have common characteristics, but it is too early to say how many are connected."

The first device was found under Interstate 93, and the state police bomb squad was called and detonated the package in Sullivan Square just before 10 a.m. Officials said it contained an electronic circuit board with some components that were "consistent with an improvised explosive device," [emph mine --ed] but they said it had no explosives.

Several hours later, Boston police said the department received four calls, all at about 1 p.m., reporting the devices. Officials responded to at least nine locations, including the Boston University Bridge, the Longfellow Bridge, the McGrath O'Brien Highway in Somerville, Harvard Avenue in Brighton, a location near the intersection of Stuart and Columbus streets, a location near Washington and Water streets and under the McCarthy Overpass in Somerville, according to Davis.

Some advertising campaign... using major overpasses and bridges. Gee, if you were a terrorist, isn't that the type of target you're looking for? They had to have done this without any permission from the City of Boston. If the city had known about it, the police would not have needed to respond to the reports because they would have known it was bogus.

I was listening to the Sports Talk guys earlier, they were talking about Boston's stringent controls on advertising. Being in the radio business, they know all about the legalities of where things can be advertised in Boston and there is no way Turner Broadcasting would have been given permission to run this campaign. It just wouldn't happen. Ever.

This means, some people at Turner did it all on their own. It means they bypassed their legal department. (at least one hopes they bypassed it!) One assumes the thinking was, any adverse reporting will increase viewership of their show, thus offsetting any fines many times over. Swell.

Then there is this minor point...

The company said that they have been in place for two to three weeks in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

As mentioned earlier in the article, that's ten cities, and Boston is the only city they were spotted and considered suspicious. That should scare everyone in the other nine cities.

Also, I'm not buying the two week thing. I'm willing to bet those devices haven't been in Boston very long at all. The tunnel collapse last summer has made the Boston area more sensitive to the structures people drive on and under - there is more scrutiny here than in other cities. Although it is possible the people who are supposed to be checking things have been slacking off (wouldn't be the first time). Yes, they might have been missed for a while, but two weeks isn't very likely.

In any case, there is no excuse. I'm quite sure Turner has many lawyers on staff that could have stopped this at any time. They all know the legalities of advertising via billboards or other methods in cities, it's not a free-for-all and it's very stringent (especially in these large cities).

The fact that they chose to pursue this method... small electronic devices... with no okay from the cities involved is the act of idiots.

These are the people from whom we are receiving entertainment.

I think I'll read a book.

Posted by: Teresa in Idiocies at 02:25 PM | Comments (12) | Add Comment
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January 30, 2007

A How To Guide

Here.

Let's hope the power of the blogosphere works even a little to help out the Sgt.

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January 29, 2007

They Call It 24

I'm wondering if it should be called "Curse of the Egomaniacs" instead... Yes, Yes, more in the extended section. more...

Posted by: Teresa in Television at 07:04 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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January 28, 2007

When Bloggers Meet

It's time to work on my blog roll again. Yesterday was another wonderful meeting of the New England bloggers. This time hosted by Jill who has the most delightful 1920's era home. (as I've mentioned before, I LOVE old houses, I just don't know if I could ever live in one because of the upkeep involved). There was gorgeous woodwork, lovely wood floors, along with an excellent builtin china cabinet in the dining room. All with that lovely patina that comes from age giving it a mellow look. Quite delightful.

Even more fun was (owing to my husband being far more observant than I am as my eye passed right over it) finding that she and I both own identical Lane "Hope Chests", both of us having it handed down by our mothers. What are the odds?

There was excellent food, much wine and beer (even some gin was spotted) to complement the wide ranging discussions - from politics to the Bible to Broadway musicals. It was a rather larger gathering than usual.

The lovely Sissy and the most excellent though blogless Tuck, Miss Kelly with her delightful husband, Sol (the mastermind behind all these gatherings), Neo-neocon (who always manages to make it despite a quite long drive involved), Harry (who has missed the last few - so it was wonderful to see him again), and Mitch (who left a bit early, but did manage to get there for a while), this rounds out the group of "bloggers I've met before".

New this time a few more delightful bloggers were able to attend, I'll be adding them to my sidebar soon. Jeremy and Cara of Who Knew? and Daniel in Brookline along with his lovely wife.

Once again, if you ever have the chance to attend a blog meet, don't miss it. No matter the topic, there is always an opinion, much discussion, and lots of laughter. It's a wonderful way to spend the evening.

Update: for some reason I keep thinking I've missed a blogger in my list... with my memory being approximately on par with that of a flea lately, it's very likely that I did miss a person - If so, please forgive me and drop me a comment or email to yell at me.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 09:09 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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January 27, 2007

On A Roll

I've been so busy I never got around to throwing out a link to one of the excellent stories Blackfive posted a few days ago. How can you resist a story that starts like this...

100 Tangos 'Pining for the Fjords'

...because they're, well, dead. Flat-lined. Deceased. Fini. Whacked. Crispy. Kicked the bucket. Taking the dirt nap. Expired. Bought the farm. Bereft of life. Meeting their 72 Virginians (say hi to Jefferson for me!). Now residing in a pine condo. Bit the dust. Smoked. Croaked. Pushing up daisies. Adios, @$$holes...

Go read it - you haven't seen it prominently on the MSM. And you won't because it's a story about our guys winning a battle. God forbid we actually give them any credit for something like that, not when we can concentrate on any soldier getting hurt.

That might be because they (the MSM) are all thinking like Jon Carry. They want the Iranians as friends... from the Hot Air story:

Kerry criticized what he called the “unfortunate habit” of Americans to see the world “exclusively through an American lens.”

How could we be so plebeian as to think our country is worth any consideration at all. Matt is angry beyond words... I can't blame him.

He said this while seated next to the former CEO of one of the world’s foremost terrorist states, which as we speak is working on building nuclear weapons, bankrolling Hezbollah’s efforts to foment civil war in Lebanon and Hamas’s exterminationist jihad against Israel, and supplying Shiite militias with IEDs to kill American soldiers in Iraq.

If you aren't reading Blackfive daily, you're missing the real news of the war.

Posted by: Teresa in Military at 07:33 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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The Milblog Conference

At just about the last minute, I had to pull out and missed last year's milblog conference. This year the date is fast approaching and I won't miss it this time (barring a catastrophe). Here are some of the details:

Set for May 5th, Andi has the website up and running. Check this for details as they become available.

Last Thursday, Andi had this announcement:

Some of you have already made your flight and hotel reservations. I wanted to let you know that we're very close to securing a venue and we're hoping to offer a block of rooms at the site of this year's conference. You may want to hold off on booking your hotel until I have more information, which will be very soon.

Excellent. I plan on taking the train down because I've never done it before and I think it will be fun. I need to check schedules again and make sure that works - otherwise I'll fly down.

One of the reasons I was unhappy about missing last year's conference was because this lady was making the trip. Since she's in Hawaii, I didn't know if she'd be able to make it for another get together.

Now it with a little help, maybe she can get there.

And if anyone knows of cheap airfare to Washington, D.C., let me know. I'm starting to look into making a trip out for the MilBlogging conference in May but our finances are tight right now so I'm looking for ways to a.) minimize costs and b.) raise funds to avoid having an impact on our budget.

If you can help her out - click on over and drop her a comment.

I've been remiss on all my blogging lately because things have been so busy - I need to start at least pointing to some of the great Milblog posts out there if I can't come up with some posts of my own.

Next focus - getting my act together to go to DC in May.

Posted by: Teresa in Military at 10:04 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Why?

It seems that someone is jamming satellite signals over in Europe.

Paris-based satellite company Eutelsat is investigating "unidentified interference" with its satellite broadcast services that temporarily knocked out several television and radio stations. The company declined to say whether it thought the interference was accidental or deliberate.

They give no indication what kind of programming was jammed, maybe it was a CSPAN like deal and someone got tired of watching politicians blathering.

Theresa Hitchens of the Center for Defense Information think-tank in Washington DC, US, says there have been cases of deliberate satellite jamming in the past, but it is hard to see what motivation there would be in this instance.

"It's really puzzling to me," she told New Scientist. "If it was accidental, why would they be so secretive about saying what the source was and if it's deliberate, you've got to wonder why – it just seems to me to be an odd target, unless someone's ticked off at the French," she says.

Considering the tremendous number of things that could be causing the interference, I can't imagine why she's so puzzled. She did name off a few reasons for the jamming, but I'm willing to speculate on a couple of other reasons.

It might be a test. After all, if you want to jam signals and you build equipment to do just that... you need to test it out. First to see if it works, next to see if you can be traced while doing it. What easier way to test it than on some innocuous television programming.

Or it could be that someone within the organization screwed up big time and knocked them off the satellite. In order to cover this up, they aren't going to say anything. It's possible they might be fined or something for messing up the signal themselves. Or whoever is spending money to advertise with them or support them - might ask for a refund if it was disclosed that they did it themselves.

The second scenario seems far more plausible. As always - follow the money and you can find most all your answers.

I think we should keep an eye on this. Just in case it is someone who hates the French. Can they be taken off the air altogether? Only time will tell.

Hat Tip Instapundit

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 07:23 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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January 26, 2007

If You Spend All Day On The Phone

At what point does it permanently attach itself to your ear?

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January 25, 2007

Car Games

Last week my emergency brake froze in the "on" position. I use this brake all the time because I drive a car with a manual transmission. This means, if you stop and want to get out of the car while it's running, you put it in neutral and use the emergency brake - or it will roll away. (and unlike in Chicago, we have a few hills around here to help the process along).

The weather last week was rainy and nasty at the beginning of the week, then it turned to freezing with some icing and a little snow. My car (which lives in a garage - although it's an unheated garage) ended up having the brake frozen in place. It wasn't immediately self evident because the handle went down and the brake light went off.

I thought at first the transmission was being a bit sluggish because... hey - it was cold! But after driving for about a mile, I realized that - oops the brake was stuck. This put me into a panic thinking I was going to wear away the brake pad totally. I had something similar happen years ago - it wasn't pretty and that one wasn't my fault - it was something the mechanic did when he made a mistake and turned something the wrong way - but I digress.

I ended up driving a total of 4 miles before I was able to get back home and switch to the dreaded mini-van for the rest of my daily errands. That's because we live in the land of "no place to turn around". By this time I could smell the brake pad (which is quite hideous).

I called the place we have the car serviced. They couldn't take it until yesterday. Nearly an entire week driving the van (yuck!). In the meantime, beloved husband - who is pretty handy with cars - was able to thaw out the brake cable and release the brake. This means I could drive it to get the service done, didn't have to have it towed.

So I get the call - you know, the one where you have to start writing large numbers on checks... my small excursion did very little damage - whew! But, we had asked them to check the rest of the brakes while they were at it. Turns out the front brakes were were shot - along with the rotors. Then they found a coolant leak while looking at the front brakes. Ah well, such is the lot of being a car owner.

They repaired everything, I dashed out to pay them large amounts of cash, grabbed the key and continued on with all the stuff I had to do until my husband got home and we could go pick up the car.

This turned out to be pretty late... about 9:30pm. I get in, start up and hit the road back to the house. It's about an 8-10 mile drive plenty of time for the car to warm up. Unfortunately, although the engine warmed up... the heater did not. I had the thing cranked to the max and the air only got luke warm - my hands were freezing.

This morning I called and told them what had happened. Turns out they hadn't been very careful and there was air in the system somewhere keeping me from getting heat in the car. They asked me to bring it back, which I did... only to find that the emergency brake had stuck in the "on" position again.

I get there, tell them about the brake issue too, they gave me a loaner for the day (a very nice SUV - that's so honkin' big it scared me to drive it). A couple hours later I get the call... yeah your brake cables need replacing, they apparently have hit the limit of what they will do in their lifetime. More dollars go floating by my eyes. (beloved husband says that emergency brakes are tricky things - sometimes they work very well and last forever - other times they fall apart early and often... it's one of those things)

Now, the car is back. I think the emergency brake works, I guess I'll find out tomorrow morning, I have new front brakes - which is a great thing and most of all - I have HEAT! Considering we actually got cold here (finally)... my hands are very happy.

Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 01:56 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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January 24, 2007

What Week Am I On?

I started on my 5th set of Invisilines today. The dentist gives them to me in sets of 3 so I have to go in every 6 weeks to pick up the next set. Set #4 and this set have been much tighter than the first 3 sets were. The first day of wearing these two sets, I had to work a bit to get them on my teeth correctly.

I've also noticed that there are differences in finish between sets. Some sets are smoothly finished and others have some rough edges on them. This set has edges and I have a feeling I'll end up with some sore spots after wearing these a few days. Annoying, but doable.

In other news I got new contacts at the end of last week. They upped the bifocal part so it's at the highest it can be before I have to switch and go to glasses full time. I like these - they're very comfortable and I can see small print again. The last prescription wasn't quite strong enough - I could do my computer work just fine (I use an 18 inch monitor and up the fonts), but menus in restaurants, newspaper print, small print on anything was difficult. Now I can see most everything - YAY!

I'm also getting new lenses in my glasses. I only wear the glasses at night after about 10pm when I take out the contacts. The place I go to get my eyes done, doesn't do 1 or 2 hour service - it's over a week to get the replacements. I thought it would be okay since I don't wear them much. But have such a routine, I can't seem to get the hang of not having glasses available.

I'm leaving the contacts in until I go to bed - but I forgot to take them out one night! Didn't even realize it until the next morning. That's because, unlike the other contacts I've been wearing - these don't seem to dry out so my eyes don't get gritty in the evening. When I don't stick to my routine, I forget they're there! Very odd. I've worn contacts for years and this is the first time that has ever happened.

I won't complain. It's nice to have contacts this comfortable. I just don't want to end up hurting my eyes by leaving them in too long. It's always something.

My blog sis Sissy is looking into Lasik - so she's having fun with glasses too.

Now I have to get back to work.

Posted by: Teresa in It's The Teeth at 05:16 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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