Archive for May, 2005

Freedom is not Free

Monday, May 30th, 2005

American Serviceman Killed
American Revolution 4,435
War of 1812 2,260
Indian Wars 10,001
Mexican War 13,283
Civil War 562,130
Spanish-American War 2,446
Philippine-American War3,216
World War I 116,516
World War II 405,399
Korean War 54,298
Vietnam War 58,219
Gulf War 383

Arnie Morton, 1922 – 2005

Monday, May 30th, 2005

Arnie Morton, a pillar of Chicago society & founder of the legendary Morton’s Steakhouse, has passed away. Funny that while not in my top 3 list for Chicago, Morton’s is one of the best out here in LA. (Not that the food is all that different location to location, just LA lacks Gibsons, George Diamond’s, or the Chophouse.)

As a fellow meat-eater, thank you Arnie. I hoist my sirloin-laden fork to you, sir.

House Shopping: Update II

Sunday, May 29th, 2005

Not much luck this past weekend as not many new listings went on the market, possibly because a lot of people will be out of town for the long weekend. Quite a few nice places you get in Sylmar. Looked like it would be a great place to raise a family, but for me not enough “city” around it.

Orson Scott Card

Friday, May 27th, 2005

Orson Scott Card is my hero.

House Shopping

Sunday, May 22nd, 2005

Did a fair bit of house shopping on Saturday with my agent. Got a good sense of Altadena, Pasadena, and Highland Park. Not sure if I want to live in Highland Park, but did see two very nice places, including one owned by the artist who does Day of the Dead. Their place was pretty nice — brightly colored walls and obviously lots of art hanging all over the place. My favorite of the day was a nice home with a huge backyard in northeast pasadena.

More looking next week.

Update: Forgot to mention: The favorite place also had a rabbit!

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

Thursday, May 19th, 2005

Now that was a squeal! Or a prequel. OrÖ whatever.

Anyway, lots of battles in space. Light saber duels. Stuff blowing up. Utterly painful dialogue at times, but hey, what Star Wars move doesn’t have that? Not better than Empire, but in a debate over which Star Wars movie was the best, it’s a contender.

It was cool of Uncle Yahoo to get us all tickets. Leaving the Paseo Colorado theatre, we also President Palmer. I was going to ask for a discount on my car insurance, but then I remembered I use State Farm. I also considered yelling “Down, Mr. President! Down!” and tackling him, but figured he probably gets that all the time.

PSP Coolness

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

NES Emulator for PSP

Must. Get. PSP. Now.

Just Wondering…

Monday, May 16th, 2005

Now that Newsweek is saying the desecration of the Qur’an never happened, are we going to get apologies from the asshats who desecrated our flag in response?

How Quicken Has Lost My Trust

Sunday, May 15th, 2005

This is obnoxious: Quicken Deluxe has a built in feature to help you plan for buying a home. Normally, this would be great! I’m looking to buy a home. How helpful!

Here’s the catch, however, in the middle of filling out your information, Quicken gives you advice — bad adviceall in the name of trying to sign you up for their Quicken Loan program.

That’s right — the software you paid for — you paid $60 — is injecting opaque ads into the software, and even willing to give you bad advice just to make an additional buck.


I’ve been a pretty faithful user of Quicken. Not only having resisted the undercut pricing of MS Money, I also started using TurboTax since I liked Quicken so much.

I was even willing to tolerate the obvious adware in Quicken, such as the little rotating text in the lower right offering to help me check my credit report. Not to mention the offers to “Use Quicken BillPay!”, “Sign up for Quicken Mastercard!”, “Protect my Data!”, “Order Checks!” and all the other crap.

Today, however, crossed the line & there’s a good chance next time I upgrade it won’t be to something in the Quicken family.

Today, while downloading transactions from my usual accounts, I noticed an option in the menu “Home Purchase Planner.” Hey, I’m looking to buy a house, that could be useful. Quicken has all my info, maybe they’ll give me something helpful.

I run through the numbers, and at one point it offers to get current interest rates online. Okay, sounds good — love that online integration. It asks me for some numbers that make sense (size of loan, state, etc.) and comes back with something surprising… a loan with a somewhat low interest rate, but even more surprising, a loan promising payments a full $1,000 less per month than everything else I had been seeing.

Only because I’ve been looking around, talking to my credit union & the banker my brother used, did I know something was seriously out of wack. What was it? Well, the loan they where offering, so cleverly called the “Smart Choice” was an Interest Only loan!

Imagine if I (or someone else) had used this as the core of my planning. We’d be making one of the largest purchases of our life, misled by deceptive advertising embedded in Quicken.

Until now, I’ve stayed away from MS Money, simply because, well MS is evil. But how much more evil can you get than this?

Screw Quicken. I’m going to switch to Money.

What is a Conservative?

Saturday, May 14th, 2005

Well written piece by Jonah Goldberg, What is a Conservative?, in the online edition of the National Review.

My favorite quote:

This is one reason why I did not like it when President Bush said his favorite political philosopher was Jesus Christ. I donít mind at all a president who has a personal relationship with Jesus. Itís just that I donít think Jesus is going to have useful advice about how to fix Social Security.