Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Not so smart after all
I got up around 8:30 this morning. Here's what I accomplished:

8:30 - 9:30 Checked email, blogs, news, etc. Had coffee.

9:30 - 10:00 Catch the TV news, feed the cats, clean up the kitchen.

10:00 - 2:00 Installed all the software for the new phone, set up all the features, and worked on email and internet connectivity. I had the phone all set up by 11:00, and then I futzed with all the connectivity settings for THREE hours. I read the fine print, reset all the parameters, tried all the troubleshooting they recommended, and got nowhere.

2:15 Gave up and called technical support.

2:20 Got through to an operator right away (Steve - very nice guy actually), who proceeded to inform me that the reason I could not get any connectivity was because I had not called him yet to activate the #$%^& phone!! By 3:00 he had me all set.

3:00 - 3:30 Finally grabbed a shower.

3:30 - 4:30 Did a few chores

4:30 Decided to tackle the fact that installing Tivo on my wireless network last weekend, had crashed my internet connectivity to my laptop, and even then, I couldn't get the Tivo to connect to the internet either. The network was fine. Every device could see each other, everyone pinged back happily when I tested the IP addresses, all the port settings were configured properly, I had tried EVERYTHING I could think of in the few evening hours I had during the course of the week, and still nothing was working. So...I decided to take it all apart and start from scratch and reinstall everything.

4:30 - 5:00 Attached the laptop directly to the router and reconnected it to the network - success!

5:00 - 5:10 Reset the all router connections for the DVR. The trouble was simple. (It always is) When I installed it the first time, I selected "wireless media adapter", this time, I selected "Digital Video Recorder" instead - voila!

5:15 Ran the install program for the network adapter on the Tivo again - success!

The good news is that my home wireless network is up and running and all the devices are connected and working well.

The bad news is I wasted my entire Saturday doing it......
posted by Broadsheet @ 5:45 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Are you smarter than an eighth grader?
Mingle2 Free Online Dating - Science Quiz

I'm FAR more relieved by this score than proud of it.

Test yourself here

Via: The Daily Dish
posted by Broadsheet @ 3:34 PM   3 Editorial Opinions
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Oy Vay - this is funny!
The Jesus phone meets....well, you figure it out.

Thanks Zenchick!!

and HT to Boing Boing for the image
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:46 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Goldilocks and the Three Contractors
So, I've got all these home improvement projects going on this summer, and it seems that I spend an hour or more a day calling contractors, landscaping people, HVAC people, Flooring people, etc., just following up on, or arranging times for, all of them to come over and give me estimates.

BUT - today I hit upon the perfect solution for getting the lowest bid for projects outside your home where you don't need to be present for the estimate.

I called three companies that were recommended for tree removal to get the giganormous tree out of my courtyard and the stump ground down. I picked (A) a guy who is bonded and insured and does his own stuff, (B) a Tree and Stump Removal Company, and (C) the local franchise of a large National Tree company who has been charging me upwards of $700 a year just to prune the damn thing.

Little guy (A) left an envelope in my storm door with a quote on it on Tuesday. I nearly choked. He wanted more than $2,800 to take it down.

Last night? I got home and there were TWO envelopes in my back door. The first one I opened was from company (C), and was cheaper than (A), but still around $2,000.

The second envelope, containing the third quote, was from company (B), and was JUUUUST Right as Goldilocks would say.

Because, under the furiously scribbled out first attempt, he simply low balled company (C) by $500. He apparently looked at the competition when he found the envelope in my door after he drew up his initial quote.

So now I can get the whole thing done for $1,500 and save over $1,300 from the first quote.

From now on, I'm going to simply draw up a quote from a fictitious company for the amount I'm WILLING to pay - and leave it somewhere for the competition to accidentally "find".

My very own contractor's version of
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:06 PM   3 Editorial Opinions
Signed, sealed and delivered, he's mine...
Nothing like working to a deadline.

July 1 is the start of our fiscal year. As such it is also the start of most new contracts for employment - especially for the physicians on staff.

Knowing this, I started on my contract negotiations for three of my docs back in January. Two of them signed on the dotted line back in April. The last one has been a holdout for weeks now. Weeks and hours of niggling negotiations and compromise agreements later.....I have a signed contract in hand with less than 48 hours to go.

I don't like lawyers as a rule, but the Chief Legal Counsel here has been my rock lately, and I couldn't ask for a smarter, nicer, guy. I may have to send him a gift basket or something.
posted by Broadsheet @ 3:00 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Thursday Humor
Thursday Humor for Geeks that is. If you don't read this web page routinely - you should. Funny stuff!

posted by Broadsheet @ 12:38 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Killing Two Birds with One Stone??
After reading and watching a couple of disturbing articles regarding the increasing amount of plastics we are putting into the environment, I've started trying to cut back by using canvas shopping bags, and not buying bottled water. I bought one of those Soda Makers because I drink a ton of sparkling water. It works pretty well, but the gas canisters are a pain to send back and forth.

Anyway, what if plastic could be recycled back into oil? I mean, it's a pretoleum product anyway - right?

Well, it looks like someone may have figured out how to do just that.

Less waste, more oil. It's a good thing. Now the question remains as to whether doing this sort of thing on any large scale is realistic.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:34 AM   5 Editorial Opinions
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
If all your friends jumped off a roof - would you jump off one too?
So, what's even more anticipated that Paris Hilton's release from jail this week?

Nope - not the new Harry Potter movie / book.

Way bigger.

The iPhone. Due to debut on Friday at 6:00 PM.

The rate plans were announced today.

What the small print doesn't tell you, is that AT&T is the "exclusive carrier of iPhone in the US." This translates to not being able to have any other service for this phone - at least for the first five years. A deal with Verizon fell through after they felt Apple wanted "too much control". It also means that phone will not work in most parts of Europe, or any other foreign country that doesn't have AT&T for that matter.

Apple's monopoly nothwithstanding, carriers in Europe are salivating for a shot at the latest must have gadget. The leader of the pack is rumored to be T-mobile, the third largest carrier in the world. The trouble is, they are only the sixth largest in Europe, so if they truly want to sell a lot of product, they might need to rethink this.

I'll just sit back and wait for the dust to settle for a couple of years. I just renewed my contract and upgraded to the Cingular 8525.

UPDATE: My man, David Pogue of the NYT, reviews the Jesus Phone in a hilarious video piece. Enjoy.
posted by Broadsheet @ 4:11 PM   8 Editorial Opinions
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Bad Business Model
Dear Inner Harbor Best Buy,

It is SOOO worth it to me to drive a measly extra 10 miles to the Timonium location for a store that is three times as large, with twice as much stock and merchandise, and which doesn't ass rape me for $7.00 to park in the garage for 40 minutes ($11 if you stay an hour) because they don't validate parking!

On top of that, the kid at the checkout counter had never heard of Tivo. Guess it's gonna be a while before you make sales rep buddy.

Good luck at that location. I won't be going back.

Yours truly, Broadsheet
posted by Broadsheet @ 2:27 PM   3 Editorial Opinions
Friday, June 22, 2007
Death of a TIVO


This is the sad message that greeted me when I got home from work and flipped on the TV to catch the evening news.

The Tivo had been skipping and getting stuck this week, and I feared the end was near. It was a good little Tivo. It lasted 3 3.5 years. Looks like a trip to Best Buy is now on my schedule for the weekend, because once you've had Tivo, you cannot live without it.

UPDATE: After the full three hours, the Tivo was still choking on a reboot. I called Customer Service and they pronounced the time of death late last night. Now that the summer TV doldrums have arrived, there wasn't much / any content on the box I'll really miss. AND, as an existing customer and all that, I can upgrade to the newest Tivo which will interface with my wireless home network, has the ability to record two shows at once, or watch one thing while recording another, AND give me a $150 rebate on the new box, so a brand new Tivo will cost me a whopping $100. Not bad for something that lasts 3-4 years, and makes the little TV I do watch, much more enjoyable. For someone like me who isn't home a lot, it catches the odd documentaries and old movies I like along with the two or three series I usually watch. Now, instead of catching three or four episodes of a show all season long and trying to catch up, Tivo takes care of it. And not watching commercials anymore? Priceless.
posted by Broadsheet @ 6:44 PM   8 Editorial Opinions
Thursday, June 21, 2007
AFI's Top 100 Movies
I realize that any list touting the Top 100 movies of all time is a highly subjective thing, but I have to say I agree with most of them. I was surprised at how many I have seen given that I don't care for war films in particular, and boxing films don't do much for me either. I wish there were more horror and comedy films on the list - genres always underrepresented. I mean, how can you have a list without the original "Dracula", or "Frankenstein", or the glaring exception of "Young Frankenstein". A lot of these I've caught up with on a rainy Sunday afternoon on cable. I've highlighted the dozen or so I haven't seen. Which ones haven't you seen yet?

1. "Citizen Kane," 1941.
2. "The Godfather," 1972.
3. "Casablanca," 1942.
4. "Raging Bull," 1980.
5. "Singin' in the Rain," 1952.
6. "Gone With the Wind," 1939.
7. "Lawrence of Arabia," 1962.
8. "Schindler's List," 1993.
9. "Vertigo," 1958.
10. "The Wizard of Oz," 1939.
11. "City Lights," 1931.
12. "The Searchers," 1956.
13. "Star Wars," 1977.
14. "Psycho," 1960.
15. "2001: A Space Odyssey," 1968.
16. "Sunset Blvd.", 1950.
17. "The Graduate," 1967.
18. "The General," 1927.
19. "On the Waterfront," 1954.
20. "It's a Wonderful Life," 1946.
21. "Chinatown," 1974.
22. "Some Like It Hot," 1959.
23. "The Grapes of Wrath," 1940.
24. "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," 1982.
25. "To Kill a Mockingbird," 1962.
26. "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," 1939.
27. "High Noon," 1952.
28. "All About Eve," 1950.
29. "Double Indemnity," 1944.
30. "Apocalypse Now," 1979.
31. "The Maltese Falcon," 1941.
32. "The Godfather Part II," 1974.
33. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," 1975.
34. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937.
35. "Annie Hall," 1977.
36. "The Bridge on the River Kwai," 1957.
37. "The Best Years of Our Lives," 1946.
38. "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," 1948.
39. "Dr. Strangelove," 1964.
40. "The Sound of Music," 1965.
41. "King Kong," 1933.
42. "Bonnie and Clyde," 1967.
43. "Midnight Cowboy," 1969.
44. "The Philadelphia Story," 1940.
45. "Shane," 1953.
46. "It Happened One Night," 1934.
47. "A Streetcar Named Desire," 1951.
48. "Rear Window," 1954.
49. "Intolerance," 1916.
50. "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," 2001.
51. "West Side Story," 1961.
52. "Taxi Driver," 1976.
53. "The Deer Hunter," 1978.
54. "M-A-S-H," 1970.
55. "North by Northwest," 1959.
56. "Jaws," 1975.
57. "Rocky," 1976.
58. "The Gold Rush," 1925.
59. "Nashville," 1975.
60. "Duck Soup," 1933.
61. "Sullivan's Travels," 1941.
62. "American Graffiti," 1973.
63. "Cabaret," 1972.
64. "Network," 1976.
65. "The African Queen," 1951.
66. "Raiders of the Lost Ark," 1981.
67. "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", 1966.
68. "Unforgiven," 1992.
69. "Tootsie," 1982.
70. "A Clockwork Orange," 1971.
71. "Saving Private Ryan," 1998.
72. "The Shawshank Redemption," 1994.
73. "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," 1969.
74. "The Silence of the Lambs," 1991.
75. "In the Heat of the Night," 1967.
76. "Forrest Gump," 1994.
77. "All the President's Men," 1976.
78. "Modern Times," 1936.
79. "The Wild Bunch," 1969.
80. "The Apartment, 1960.
81. "Spartacus," 1960.
82. "Sunrise," 1927.
83. "Titanic," 1997.
84. "Easy Rider," 1969.
85. "A Night at the Opera," 1935.
86. "Platoon," 1986.
87. "12 Angry Men," 1957.
88. "Bringing Up Baby," 1938.
89. "The Sixth Sense," 1999.
90. "Swing Time," 1936.
91. "Sophie's Choice," 1982.
92. "Goodfellas," 1990.
93. "The French Connection," 1971.
94. "Pulp Fiction," 1994.
95. "The Last Picture Show," 1971.
96. "Do the Right Thing," 1989.
97. "Blade Runner," 1982.
98. "Yankee Doodle Dandy," 1942.
99. "Toy Story," 1995.
100. "Ben-Hur," 1959.
posted by Broadsheet @ 6:27 PM   7 Editorial Opinions
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
A Marriage of Convenience
Religion can deny human nature, or create work arounds to support it.

So, the Catholic church cannot only grant magical annulments of marriages to completely undo years of living together as husband and wife, despite the presence of children produced within that marriage, it can also undo those same annulments.*

How terribly convenient. To develop laws and circumstances to get around real life "inconveniences".

Henry the VIII did it by creating his own religion. So did the Mormons.

Aside from the Catholic church, perhaps the most hypocritically convenient work around canon law of all, I give you the Islamic "one hour marriage". A convenient work around for prostitution.
With the comeback of democracy, the Shi'ite tradition of Sekha, or temporary marriages, has returned, in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2005. This contract of marriage allows a man to get married with the consent of the Muslim religion for a certain amount of time, from one night to a few months. Here, Mullah Razul Jan, 25, as a Mullah, can authorize himself as many temporary weddings as he wants. Since he practices Sekha, he has married more than 100 times. He plans on marrying between two to five times per month depending on his money situation, most of the time for a few nights, which he negotiates for around 35 dollars.
*Just a thought, but if they can create the notion of annulment to deny marriage, you'd think they would have come up with some acceptable alternative for celibacy instead of condoning pedophilia.
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:17 PM   4 Editorial Opinions
Black Wednesday
I feel like the Grim Reaper. I haven't had a decent night's sleep since Saturday.

Actually, I feel like I just took one of my favorite pets to the vet to be put down. The poor thing never saw it coming.

I had to lay two people off today as part of budget cuts for the upcoming fiscal year which starts July 1. Call them in my office, shut the door and tell them to clean out their desks.

"Sucks" doesn't begin to cover it. I have to say that I had one of the most compassionate reps from HR with me that I could have asked for when I delivered the death blow. She was really helpful in a tough situation.

Tonight is probably a good night to hit the driving range.
posted by Broadsheet @ 4:55 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Warning - sappy post ahead.

By now, you're probably all aware of the overweight, Welsh cell phone salesman, with bad teeth, a poor haircut, and cheap suit, that blew away the judges and won "Britain's Got Talent", by making Simon Cowell's jaw drop.

If you haven't yet heard of Paul Potts, and you've been living in a cave, you need to watch this. If you don't tear up or get goose bumps, you're not human.

BUT! The contestant that came in second in the competition will make you CRY. I dare you to watch this video and not hear the most pure and beautiful voice out of someone so young in your life.

posted by Broadsheet @ 9:24 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Peeping Jose
I'm having the roof on my house replaced this week. They started yesterday, and should finish up by Thursday.

So, I'm lying in bed this morning in my usual state of undress, enjoying the ceiling fan breeze and the vivid dreams that tend to inhabit my brain just before I wake up, when all of a sudden, I hear this "clank" against my window, and in my foggy state, it takes me a moment to wake up and realize that a ladder has been placed against my window at 6:00 AM. By the time I realize what's going on, I was just seeing the top of a short Mexican guy's head coming into view, and he was about to get an eyeful or two.

I grabbed the sheet and rolled off the bed onto the floor on the far side of the window, laid on the floor, and waited until I heard him climb onto the roof, grabbed some clothes, and headed to the guest bathroom to shower and get dressed.

I thought I was in the clear, until I came out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel on my way to the guest room to get dressed, and glanced up at the skylight to see a happy looking Mexican guy waving to me.

Once I regained my composure and got dressed, I walked out back and said hi to my new friend.

He apologized if he woke me up, but he said it was going to be 95 degrees today and wanted to get as much done this morning as possible, and come back later in the afternoon after the heat went down a bit.
posted by Broadsheet @ 1:41 PM   5 Editorial Opinions
Monday, June 18, 2007
Well, there's no going back now. I went ahead and bought my airline tix to China today. I've been watching the prices and availability from both Dulles and BWI, and the direct flights out of Dulles are actually about $150 more and a lot more hassle (getting a shuttle to Dulles or paying parking costs for 2.5 weeks). Also, the only non stop carrier out of Dulles right now is Continental, which I never fly otherwise, and I can fly out of BWI on United all the way there and back and rack up the frequent flyer miles.

I can get a friend to drop me off, fly out of BWI, connect in Chicago, and the only thing I add in terms of time, is the 2 hr. flight + 1 hour layover at O'Hare. Otherwise the flight to Beijing is only 13 /14 hours or so whether I leave from Dulles or Chicago (they fly over the North Pole). Last time I went to Australia, it took a total of 31 hours of flight time to get to Brisbane.

By checking pricing and seat availability for the last eight weeks or so, I wanted to make sure I could get a decent seat on the Beijing leg of the trip - and they are really filling up pretty quickly, so I grabbed an aisle seat while they were still available.

I can still change the dates of the flights, but one way or another - I'm going to have to go to China.

Now, I just have to get the visa application filled out, drive to DC, get it approved, and I'm all set! Normally, whatever tour group I traveled with would take care of securing a visa for me, but since I'm going as a private citizen, I either have to hire someone to process it on my behalf, or take a 1/2 day off work and show up at the Chinese Consulate myself. Hiring someone costs about $100, and I think the interview process will be interesting. Besides, between photos, passport, renewals and visa fees, it's already nearly $200 just to get the paperwork to get into the country.
posted by Broadsheet @ 3:47 PM   4 Editorial Opinions
On the Road Again
I drove to Cape Canaveral, FL this weekend. Well, I drove that far anyway. 925 miles as the crow flies. After a really pleasant, traffic free drive on Friday to Athens, OH, and then up to Butler, PA, for the first 625+ miles, I headed back to Baltimore at 4:00 PM yesterday. The last 275 miles should have landed me in Baltimore by 9:00 PM.

Thanks to a bad accident that shut down I-70 in Town Hill, PA (just past Breezewood) for over an hour and a half, I was literally parked on I-70 eastbound with a LOT of other people and rolled into my house at 10:45 PM.

Many, many thanks to the bloggers who recommended "Assassination Vacation", by Sarah Vowell, and "Areas of My Expertise" by John Hodgman for my iPod. They kept me entertained, awake, and made the whole trip go by quickly. Well, except for the accident bit.
posted by Broadsheet @ 7:52 AM   4 Editorial Opinions
Friday, June 15, 2007
The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly On the Plain
Ah...the difficulties of proper pronunciation. It's hard enough sometimes in English, but most of us have also struggled at one time or another with learning a foreign language and trying to mimic, what to us, are unfamiliar dipthongs, gutteral sounds, or subtle inflections.

Such is certainly the case with Mandarin Chinese, which relies heavily on tones and inflections to give completely different meanings to very similar words. My buddy BB over in Beijing sent a terrific long update of her trials and tribulations of teaching business English to Chinese employees, while at the same time undertaking a fairly grueling immersion in learning Mandarin herself.

It can be perilous, and this example was priceless:
....I'm still working fervently on my four tones so that I can say "excuse me" [qingwen – third tone/fourth tone], without it being misunderstood by a total stranger as a request for a kiss [qinwen – first tone/fourth tone].
posted by Broadsheet @ 4:01 AM   3 Editorial Opinions
Thursday, June 14, 2007
City Living
At this point, I'm used to the occasional empty crack vial or used condom greeting me in the alley when I take out the trash, but I sure wasn't prepared for what Snow White left me this morning on my sidewalk...

A ziplock baggie of cocaine and a pair of Bono style wrap around sunglasses. Fearing that whomever lost such a treasure was most very likely going to be back that way to search for it, I called 911, the police showed up within 5 minutes, and they very happily took the stuff off my hands. It was not an insignificant amount. With an eight ball of coke (abuot 3.5 grams) retailing for about $250, this bag was probably worth close to $10,000. Even the officer was incredulous, and said "you just FOUND this lying there?" Evidently, I harbor no suspicious drug characteristics, but I did have to complete a police report and give a brief statement.

Maybe they can return the stuff to its rightful owner with a pair of handcuffs.
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:45 AM   2 Editorial Opinions
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Damsel in Distress
I'm not gone - it's just a little crazy this week.

1. Monday was the Perfect Storm in terms of key clinical staff people being out for legitimate reasons or emergencies, and I was left manning our Clinic single handedly with over 80 patients and three docs. Ever the worker bee, and none too high and mighty to get my hands dirty, I tossed on a pair of scrubs and a lab coat, canceled all my appointments for the day, and threw myself into the mix as flight deck controller.

One of our Fellows, Alex, ran up to me at 7:30 in the morning with a stack of charts and a worried look on his face. "Where's Audra?" (our regular clinic coordinator).

"Sorry buddy, you're stuck with me for the day - Audra's not here." He didn't say anything. He didn't have to. His entire face just melted into the universal expression for "OMG - we are so F--ked." (later, he tried to brush it off by saying it was an expression of respect for me stepping into the role, and he was impressed that I would do it.... but we all know he thought I was going to take the clinic down in flames).

Actually, I had fun (minus the blisters from running around), I got a lot of points from my staff for pitching in, and learned a lot about the day to day realities. I round on a daily or weekly basis, but I may try to carve out a half a day a month in the clinic and my operating rooms to keep a deeper connection on a regular basis.

BTW, I only lost one patient on Monday. For four hours. So sue me. I found him, everything is fine.

2. In other damsel in distress news... my next door neighbor's cat ran up my tree this evening and despite all efforts, was too chicken to climb down the 30 degree angle of a limb, and was starting to panic. My neighbor was getting frantic because his bride of less than a month was due home any second, dotes on her pets, and doesn't permit them to go unleashed, which is exactly what new hubby did.

Dead. Man. Walking.

That was, until I called the other handy neighbor, the supremely tall Dutch guy one house over who happens to have a 10 foot ladder which he graciously shares for just such an occasion.

Fast forward - kitten rescued - new wife none the worse for not telling. Whew!!

Tomorrow, a couple of friends and I are attending the 11th Annual Traditional Beverage Tasting at Hopkins.

Traditional Beverages

Friday, I am driving 6 hours to meet the Art History prof sister and attend Quilt National in Athens, OH, before driving another 4+ hours north to the Peoples Republic of Western PA.

Can anyone recommend a good 10 hour audiobook from iTunes?
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:14 PM   5 Editorial Opinions
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Get your Hon on

Well, like a lot of people on a beautiful early summer day, zenchick and I headed over to Honfest in Hampden, where the smell of pit beef and Aquanet were heavy in the air, to kill a couple of hours people watching. Although I've lived in Baltimore going on 12 years now, I had never been to Honfest. Boy, was I missing something! It is just a terrific celebration of everything Baltimore. From Hons and crabcakes, to Natty Boh, it doesn't get more Baltimore than Hon Fest.

Colorful Hons

Colorful Hons Hanging Out

Hons and Elvis

Elvis and his Hon Harem

Hons Hanging Out

Fun Hons

Cafe Hon

Cafe Hon - where it all began.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:53 AM   1 Editorial Opinions
Friday, June 08, 2007
We'll always have Paris
There's not a whole lot I can add to this one - enjoy:

posted by Broadsheet @ 6:42 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
What the World Eats
And speaking of Chef on a Shoestring, Time magazine has a fabulous photo essay on what a typical family spends on food for a week, called appropriately enough, What the World Eats.

The photos are beautiful, and come from a book project called The Hungry Planet.

The lowest amount, and the saddest photo, come from an African family in a refugee camp. They manage to survive on just $1.23 per person, and from the amount of food in front of them - just barely.

The most expensive family is not from the US. It's a family from a place called Bargteheide, a little town in Germany. They spend $500 a week.

Interestingly, most of the European or first world countries averaged around $200 a week, while less developed countries were between $35 and $60 a week, with not a whole lot of variation.

The happiest family seems to be this happy group from Ecuador:

posted by Broadsheet @ 3:55 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Chef on a Shoestring
Snay - pay attention:

This evening's menu:
  • Chicken breast stuffed with bleu cheese, bacon and mushrooms, topped with melted Parmesan
  • Mushroom risotto with Parmesan cheese and black truffle oil
  • Grilled asparagus salad with peppers, onions and garlic
Sound extravagant? Think again...

Chicken breast stuffed with bleu cheese, bacon and mushrooms, each = $4.00
Mushroom risotto / per serving = $.95
Grilled asparagus, peppers and onions / serving = $1.45
Black truffle oil and fresh Parmesan cheese gratings = < $.10 / serving

Gourmet meal for less than $7, and I have leftovers for at least two more nights at the same price per meal. Lunch was a small salad / Diet Coke, and I had a muffin and juice for breakfast (all bought at work). Less than $12/day, and many days are less than $10 when I cook at home.

Can't cook you say? Sounds too hard? Think again:

Stuffed chicken breast ready to bake = Whole Foods
Mushroom Risotto = Box mix from Superfresh
Prepared grilled asparagus salad = Whole Foods
Fesh Parmesan and truffle oil = pantry staples from Superfresh

Proof that you can eat well and healthy and not live on Pizza, Ramen, and Kraft Mac N Cheese.
posted by Broadsheet @ 7:45 PM   6 Editorial Opinions
Toyota Hybrid Sales Top 1 million
I'm sure my Prius loving brother will be very smug about this, but the fact of the matter is, that while the sale of hybrids has skyrocketed due to concerns about global warming and rising gas prices, the Prius is a really NICE car with great features.

How else do you explain that sales went from 18,000 just eight years ago, to 312,500 last year? Especially when the car only went on the US market in 2000?

Meanwhile, Honda announced that it was discontinuing sales of its Accord hybrid. The Honda Accord has been one of the best selling sedans for decades. The fact that their hybrid version wasn't taking, tells me that maybe the Prius is just a better car.
posted by Broadsheet @ 1:25 PM   6 Editorial Opinions
The Perils of Powerpoint
If you live with this ubiquitously evil office product like I do, you'll find this highly amusing. If not, then I'm a bigger geek than we thought.

posted by Broadsheet @ 8:59 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Mid Week Break!!
Woot!!! It's 4:00 PM and I am already HOME. Monday and Tuesday were brutal and I worked 14 hours both days, so when my 3:00 meeting was over at 3:45 - I skedaddled because it is bee yoo tee ful outside today.

But wait - it gets better!! My ex blogger buds, zenchick and jennetic are meeting me at Holy Frijoles for some brewskis and Tex Mex, and then we are taking our bad selves to the movies to see "Knocked Up". It's labeled as a comedy, but the subject matter makes it more of a horror flick in my opinion.

Either way, I could sure use a few laughs with good friends on a weeknight.

UPDATE 10:15 PM: Well, I can't give you a review of the movie, because we never made it that far. When we walked out of Holy Frijoles, it was such a beautiful evening, it seemed a shame to sit inside a theater, and we decided to go back to jennetic's house for coffee and hang out in her back yard (on her housemate's new patio!).

After a session of spinster talk about our respective cats, we upped the anti and shifted the conversation to menfolk by trying to help zenchick analyze her dating situation (calling Dr. Phil), in between cracking up over Assclownopolis' latest vagina monologue. We advised her to keep playing "catch and release", and that eventually, an up and coming lad will meet her high standards and be worthy of her.

Also, on the way home, we drove by the Rotunda, where the two movies playing are: "Knocked Up" and "Waitress", so the sign reads: "Knocked Up Waitress". Seriously.

Here's the proof:

Knocked Up Waitress
posted by Broadsheet @ 4:14 PM   2 Editorial Opinions
Monday, June 04, 2007
Strange Bedfellows
I suppose they each have the unsolved loss of a child in common, but really, is that enough to base a relationship on? Ewwww.

JonBenet's Dad and Natalie Holloway's Mom are an item.

What's next? Courtney Love and Larry Birkhead?
posted by Broadsheet @ 3:25 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Flickr: The Butler, PA Pool
You can do so many amazing things with Flickr these days. Lately, I've been typing in search terms like "Silk Road", "Kashgar", "Turpan", and "Urumqui", to see the photos that other travelers have taken on their journey to the places I hope to visit this fall. They're breathtaking, and I can't wait to go.

At least I thought so until, on a whim, I decided to type in the name of my own home town, and found this photo pool: Flickr: The Butler, PA Pool. View it as a slideshow (upper right hand corner).

I'm pretty much convinced there are few more beautiful places on earth. Even the decay is pretty. That, and there are a handful of damn fine photographers in my hometown. The wildlife pics will blow you away.

Type in your hometown, neighborhood, or favorite place, and see what you might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:32 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
C is for Sunday
Commitment: Rolling out of bed at 5:00 AM, and throwing on a baseball hat and shorts to volunteer at Race for Our Kids. It was fun after I downed a couple of cups of coffee, but eating BBQ at the after race party at 9:00 AM in the morning was a bit weird.

Cooperate: After a shower and a change of dry clothes, I fed the neighbor's cats while they are out of town over the weekend, and then I ran over to my other neighbor's house to help her recover pictures from her digital camera and transfer them to her computer so she could send them to Ambassador Bob and his wife (her daughter) in Algeria and Pakistan, respectively. She had just made a huge batch of fresh chocolate chip cookies for the Bolton Hill Garden Tour. So I had cookies for lunch. So far, so good.

Crazy: Walking around the neighborhood in the POURING rain for two and a half hours in a rain jacket and baseball hat with my friends Mark and Jeni to see the gardens on the neighborhood tour. Rain or shine! They were worth getting soaked for. Lots of good ideas and hidden oases to see. Ran into lots of neighbors too.

Chilled: To the bone. I was completely drenched through when we got home around 4:30 PM. I might as well have climbed out of a swimming pool. I toweled off, changed into a sweatshirt and sweatpants, crawled under the covers, and tried to catch up on an hour or so of sleep that I missed this morning, but I couldn't get warm, and it was storming and thundering outside. I slept for a little bit, but woke up needing hot soup.

Creative: I had grilled a pork tenderloin in Asian spices earlier in the week for a Vietnamese cold pork and noodle salad, but I didn't want cold salad leftovers. Thanks to the following ingredients in my pantry and fridge, I made a yummy hot and sour egg drop soup with pork in about 15 minutes: chicken stock, dried black fungus, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, red chiles, scallions, sesame oil, limes, rice noodles, cilantro, the leftover Asian pork, and eggs. I also had a bag or two of shrimp toasts in the pantry to munch on. And now I have soup for lunch for the next couple of days!

I'm finally warm. I'm watching CBS Sunday Morning which I Tivoed while I was at the race this morning. I'm so used to watching this with coffee, juice, and newspaper, it's kinda like having cereal for dinner. Seems really out of place.
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:50 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Happy Feet!
Sometimes a new pair of shoes can take you right back to being 8 when your Mom took you to get new tennis shoes.

I love my new Keens!
posted by Broadsheet @ 7:29 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Friday, June 01, 2007
Golf - week 4
Man, I LOVE leaving work an hour early on Friday to play golf. Best Happy Hour ever. I think I need to make this a permanent fixture in my summer schedule even after my lessons are over. Given that I worked 47 hours in 4 days this week - I felt very justified.

Week 4 = Pitching shots. Turns out this is by far my best golf shot. I can get it almost exactly where I want it to go if I take my time and slow down. Direction is good - distance is spotty, and I need to work on consistency.

For a real beginner, I can drive a ball consistently, in the direction I want it to go, for 100 - 125 yards about 80% of the time. I can whack it almost 200 yards, but where it lands is anyone's guess. Obviously, I have a long way to go, but I've also come a long way, and I think I can go out on the course and not make a complete and total fool of myself. At least I'm not whiffing the ball anymore.

I have to buy clubs if I want to keep playing. Renting left handed clubs in my size is just not an option. Even at class this evening, I had to borrow a 3 wood and irons from my lesbian buddy Stephanie (we reached an understanding - I don't "owe" her anything for borrowing her clubs), because the one left handed ladies loaner set that UMD had - was loaned to someone out on the course.

Golf Lessons = $250
Golf Shoes /Glove= $75
Starter Set of Women's Left Handed Clubs + 3/4" (tall) fitted by PGA pro ~ $300+
Golf Bag = $160
New hobby? = Priceless.
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:15 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
How Low Can He Go?

If this were a limbo contest - he'd win! Courtesy of
posted by Broadsheet @ 2:28 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
"The Greatest Migration in Human History"
In 1978, a mere 18 percent of Chinese lived in cities and towns. By 2010, the authorities estimate that 50 percent will, as part of what demographers and other experts say is the greatest migration in human history.
China's population is 1,321,851,888 (July 2007 est.). That means that in 1978, with a population of about 963 million, some 811 million were living in a rural setting. That calculates to some half a billion people that have migrated to the cities in China over the last 30 odd years.

Chongqing, a city of 12 million....and growing by the size of Orlando, FL every year. It will be larger than Beijing in no time.
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:15 AM   0 Editorial Opinions

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