Too Close To Call

Too close to call.

Those are not the four words Senator Clinton wanted to hear regarding the Indiana Primary. And I’m sure none of her supporters were waiting with baited breath for Mayor McDermott of Hammond, Indiana to spin her 2% lead (12:49 am, May 7) into another “comeback kid” victory yarn. Yet, here we are.

And as the last champagne corks hit the confetti-littered floors in North Carolina, I can’t help but look ahead to the twin uphill battles of selling Clinton supporters as well as Independents and open-minded Republicans on an Obama candadicy.

The battle lines are drawn and unfortunately the story is the same as it’s been for too many years. Blacks vs. Whites… men vs. women… youth vs. age.

Fear vs. hope.

CNN’s John King is working the magic map like a deranged Einstein discovering the Theory of Relativity. Honestly, he’s unintentionally drawn a smiley face around Gary, Indiana!

Regardless of the Indiana outcome, Obama still has a long road ahead of him. But with a continued tug-of-war, the Democratic Party may have an even longer one.

The Linux With 9 Lives

First, I participated in my state’s Presidential Primary today, and I had the pleasure of a close associate new to the political process joining me. Woo Hoo! I’m happy to report the elections office was busier than I’ve ever seen a polling place–even on general election day. It’s nice to see Blacks exercising a right many of our ancestors never had.

But this post is really about the sidebar banner change. It’s been a while since I geeked around with Linux, but I cut my teeth on Redhat. I used to run a headless server (DNS, SAMBA (file and print), Apache, and masquing NAT) in my living room. In fact, I wrote my first masquing firewalls using IPTABLES. I built custom kernels and compiled Firefox from source way before it became the popular alternative to Internet Explorer that we know and love today.

When Redhat offered Fedora as their community maintained distro, I hung on for a few whirls around the dance floor. Their accelerated production schedule soon had me switching to the longer life, quieter Suse. However, I’ve been away from Linux all together for a while now. But I’m once again considering the mighty penguin for my general purpose, multimedia friendly living room machine. I’ve also considered a Mac Mini, but persisitent rumors of its demise and the $600 price tag most likely rule that option out. I’ve downloaded an ISO of Fedora 8 to keep me busy relearning where everything in *nix land is until I can grab version 9. Meanwhile, enjoy the countdown banner and join me in celebrating free (as in speech and beer) and open source software.

Hello, I’m A 30-Second Ad

Having a successful career in communications depends largely on the ability to communicate, successfully. It’s a simple idea that sounds obvious when put into words. But think about the last time you tried to explain something to someone who just couldn’t quite grasp the concept. Now consider the advertising industry. Imagine being tasked with convincing millions of people you know only through demographics research that your product is superior to a similar product already in use by more than 90% of the population who use such products. Finally, the target audience has to get the message in 30 seconds. Maybe it’s not movie of the week material, but that’s the dilemma faced by the creatives hired to promote Apple computers.

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Because I Could Not Stop For Death

I never read comics as a kid. I discovered the publisher Vertigo, home to Neil Gaiman’s cultishly popular Sandman series, well after I became an adult. I immediately fell in love with Death. Older sister to Sandman’s central character, Morpheus, Death helps guide the recently departed from the corporeal world into the next realm. However, Gaiman’s Death is the antithesis of the traditional scythe-slinging, black-robed angel. She is an angel though: a pale beauty with jet black hair and real Suicide Girl cred. She’s also witty and smart, and like your best friend’s sister you’d love to take her out if you knew she wouldn’t be your last fling.

Having swept away the crumbs that real death leaves behind, one might wonder why this persona is so appealing to me. Other than her previously noted enticing qualities, I have no idea. But I still feel a bit calmer every time I see my poster of her. I finally got around to making a wallpaper (1280×800) of it. Enjoy it and remember to have the time of your life before you meet her.

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Be A Good American… Or Else

An Internet acquaintance sends me a passel of emails on a fairly regular schedule. They are mostly the kinds of things we all get in our box: “CC’d” and “Forwarded” bits of humor, hope, and political ramblings. A recent letter included a modern retelling of the Ant and Grasshopper parable. The updated story imagines the grasshopper calling a press conference, pressing for tax hike legislation on ants, suing his oppressor, and eventually moving into the ant’s government confiscated house. In its telling, the new fable manages to impeach single-parent welfare recipients, a few current senators, and of course, grasshoppers everywhere. But the last line and so-called moral of the story is the real clincher.

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Something Old, Something New

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Amid declining sales and slowing growth, Starbucks has unleashed a flurry of effort to rejuvenate its brand. Beginning with Howard Schultz’s return as CEO, further efforts have included retraining baristas, a new signature brew, and a curious return to their former logo seen above. Although the design change is temporary, it has been met with strong reactions from brand consultants and some customers. Brand Autopsy showcases a photo history of Starbucks logos, as well as some interesting reader commentary on the artwork’s alleged mythical and religious connections. However, before researching this post I made my own spooky discovery when I turned an empty cup upside down.

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The Truth is a Bitter Pill to Swallow

“They fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration…”

What Senator Obama said about the lack of jobs leading to bitterness has been repeated ad nauseum. I won’t reprint the quote here, but you can read and listen to the speech for yourself. Besides, if we insist on confusing pull quotes for actual insight, I think the one above is much better.

The hay day the media and Obama’s opponents have had with the quote is really just an exercise in making bricks without straw.

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A Good Fortune

Occasionally, life’s random occurrences seem to be guided by a greater hand. Today is such a day. Another blah Tuesday of another blah week was suddenly made a bit brighter by my fortune.

If you feel the same way, pass it on.

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Stop Dreaming; Wake the Hell Up

I have a different way of observing Martin Luther King Day and the anniversary of Dr. King’s death. I don’t attend rallies. I don’t wear anything out of the ordinary. And I don’t listen to his “I have a dream” speech. In fact, for years I have favored a moratorium on playing that epic speech. That’s not meant as an insult to his legacy. It’s simply my response to the nullification of a sermon that is the quintessential indictment of “White makes right” Colonial Imperialist rule. I believe we should pause the tape for two reasons.

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I Want My DTV

Like a ten minute drum solo, it’s coming. Beginning midnight February 17, 2009, Digital Television (DTV) will be more than a cool buzz phrase. It will be the law. At that time and by FCC mandate, full-power TV stations will turn out the lights on their analog transmitters. Cue the transition party-goers! Grab a stiff drink, hug a loved one, and stare at the silent blue screen for a few minutes. Or if you’ve prepared for the switch, grab a stiff drink, hug a loved one, and tune in to… well, perhaps the clearest reruns of Seinfeld you’ve ever seen. That’s right, DTV will breathe new life into the Elaine Christmas card episode. Obviously there will be other choices, but this post is really about the preparation, not the content.

Much misinformation has been spread about the equipment you’ll need to watch television after the change. Some irresponsible and/or uninformed electronics vendors have told consumers they will need a High Definition TV. While that’s not true, unless you’re a cable or satellite subscriber, you will need to buy a digital tuner and appropriate antenna. Public Service Announcements about the transition are finally starting to air, but why not get your information straight from the source. DTV.gov offers FAQs, news, equipment guides, and a DTV countdown clock. Don’t rely on salesmen or well-meaning friends and family for information. Click on the badge below and see what you might be missing.

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