Archive for October, 2008


October 31st, 2008

I’ve always liked the Edgar Allan Poe classic The Raven.  One of my favorite grade school teachers, Mrs Harper, used to read it to us, thrilling the dickens out of our little ten-year old selves.  I ran across Garrison Keillor’s rendition of the poem a year or so ago and believe it among the finest I’ve heard.  Here it is…

The Raven – as told by Garrison Keillor

Gunning for guns

October 27th, 2008

With the tragic events surrounding the senseless killings of Oscar winning actress Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother, and now 7-year old nephew ringing through the airwaves, I am called to wonder once again why the hell does anyone need a gun?

True that in a desperate domestic situation, the perpetrator could use any number of weapons to carry out their crimes of passion.  Gun availability made that situation go from bad to worse, ending in a triple murder.  As the father of a 5yr old, it breaks my heart to hear of the violence that ended the life of Hudson’s nephew. Why on God’s green earth do any among us outside of law enforcement need to have guns? I will never understand that Second Amendment argument given the reality of today’s society.  Sure, in the 1700’s or even 1800’s one certainly needed to defend themselves, defend this country at a moments notice and in some cases hunt for their food each day.  But today we have an organized police department, a trained army, and Jewel Foods to serve those needs. 

Now I see this article and my head spins trying to imagine what people can possibly be thinking. This story is the result of a negligent parent, irresponsibly allowing an 8-yr old – eight year old– to fire an automatic weapon. This kind of stupidity is inconceivable to me. The article says the guy is a certified instructor.  Who certified him to allow an 8yr old fire a weapon, any weapon, let alone an Uzi submachine gun? 

Boy, 8, fatally shoots self in head while trying out Uzi submachine gun at Mass. gun club show

By Associated Press
1:55 PM CDT, October 27, 2008

WESTFIELD, Mass. (AP) _ An 8-year-old boy died after accidentally shooting himself in the head while firing an Uzi submachine gun under adult supervision at a gun fair.

The boy lost control of the weapon while firing it Sunday at the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo at the Westfield Sportsman’s Club, police Lt. Lawrence Vallierpratte said.

Police said the boy, Christopher Bizilj (Bah-SEAL) of Ashford, Conn., was with a certified instructor and called the death a “self-inflicted accidental shooting.”

As the boy fired the Uzi, “the front end of the weapon went up with the backfire and he ended up receiving a round in his head,” police Lt. Hipolito Nunez said. The boy died at a hospital.

Celebs and Strippers Hit by the Economy

October 15th, 2008

Norm Clarke writes the gossip column for the Las Vegas Review Journal.  He with his trademark eye patch is the “Kup” of Vegas. I introduced myself to him (and in fact Robyn Leach) at a private screening of the next-to-final eposide of HBO’s The Sopranos series, hosted by Elaine Bracco at the Planet Hollywood resort in LV over my birthday weekend in 2007.  What a specatular experience that was!  I digress.

Norm writes today that the once booming Vegas nightclub & strip club scene is feeling the heat of the Wall Street meltdown:

“Business was down 10 percent before the crash. Now it’s 20 to 25 percent,” said a veteran club operator. Clubs that routinely paid six figures for celebrity hosts during a free-spending three-year run have dramatically cut back, said a club entertainment executive. Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and Jessica Simpson will still get $100,000-plus, the source said.

The stripper industry is taking a hit as well, a source said. “Strippers were making five grand a night. Now you’re hearing horror stories from the top clubs. They’re used to making a minimum of $1,000 a night. They’re not seeing as many high rollers coming in.”


October 15th, 2008

Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, the inspiration for the character played by DeNiro in the movie “Casino” has died at age 79.

Rosenthal was a Stardust casino executive before it was seized by the FBI. He was a legendary bookmaker that was banned from Nevada casinos as a member of the ‘Black Book’.

Rosenthal maintaned a website right up until his death: 

The Stamina of Rock Dummers

October 9th, 2008

An article run by the BBC claims that tests show that playing drums for a rock band requires similar stamina to that of a professional athlete.

Blondie drummer Clem Burke was tested during a 90 minute drum session (the length of an average Blondie set), where his heart rate reached up to 190 beats per minute, or BPM, as we say in the industry. That’s getting into Slayer territory — and this is Blondie. We’ll say that the average Blondie song is a moderate rock tempo — 120 BPM. This means that Slayer (whose songs often reach a skull-mashing 240 BPM) drummer Dave Lombardo’s heart can attain almost 400 BPM.

Dr. Marcus Smith from Chichester University (sounds made up, but surprisingly it isn’t!) claims that drumming in concert burns between 40 and 600 calories an hour. Drummer Clem Burke took part in this eight-year study, and the results are promising for outreach programs for overweight children looking for an option outside of sports.

The study, conducted by the University of Gloucestershire and the University of Chichester measured Burke’s heart rate, oxygen uptake and lactic acid levels. As a result, the Gloucester campus will be seeing the world’s first “drumming laboratory” in the near future, and they plan on continuing tests on other professional drummers.

Web Hosting Review

October 6th, 2008

My work in the IT industry exposes me to many different technology areas. The company I work for is primarily a Network Systems Integrator, serving small/medium sized business in greater Chicagoland. Our system engineers work in the field installing, maintaining and trouble-shooting server-based network systems. We offer limited web services but do not consider web hosting a core competency. That said, I’ve come to learn a lot about the “plumbing” of web techologies over my career.

When I decided to launch this blog and some other hobby sites, I researched carefully the myraid options available for web hosting – including do it for “free” on my company’s servers. After researching many providers, I recalled seeing a big ad for 1 and 1 Internet Services in Business Week, a small/medium business focused magazine. They claimed to be the World’s Largest Web Hosting Company, but I really had not heard of them before. I learned they are actually based in Germany and technically are Europe’s largest web host, but with a growing presence in America.

I signed up with them almost a year ago and have launched a number of sites and blogs – including and this site. Their pricing structure is astonishingly affordable, the tools and options inluded with even thier most basic hosting packages are excellent, and unlike many hosting companies, 1&1 offers telephone based technical support.  Being able to get someone on the phone for technical or account questions is a huge benefit for even technically savvy people like me. No one has all the answers, and being able to access live support has been great.  I’ve called in on 3 or 4 issues related to enhancements and tools they provide and once with an account question.  Each encounter has been quickly responded to and resolved.  I can’t say enough about how good my support experience with 1&1 has been.

Today I see an article in Information Week on 1&1’s new Data Center near Kansas City. It features capacity for 40,000 rackmounted servers, redundant multi-Gigabit fibre links, and a backup power generator that can run for a week with the fuel on hand.  This is a serious facility. 

If you are in the market for your own blog or to host a website, you can’t go wrong with 1 and 1 Internet. (note: If you click through from my 1&1 link, I get a credit toward my bill – that’s all good!)

1&1’s new data center   1&1’s new data center   1&1’s backup power generator