Saturday, December 24, 2005

Season's Greetings

A lawyer cousin sent this to me. (He received it from one of his lawyer friends.) Since it claims to be freely transferable (see the find print below), I am posting it here:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or the secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious or secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

May you have a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped to make our country the uniquely wonderful place that it is (not to imply that our country is necessarily greater than any other country, including one of your choice, should yours be different from mine, but nonetheless including and recognizing the distinctiveness of our country) and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, political belief, choice of computer platform or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting you are accepting these terms.
This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal.
It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher.
This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and the warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

(Seriously, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sayonara to Music CDs?

I purchased a Deutsche Grammophon CD of Charles Ives' 4th Symphony (and some other of his works) a week or two ago--at about the same time I became aware of Sony's Digital Rights Management (DRM) antics/woes. On the same day that the Ives recording arrived I inserted it into my iBook G4 and imported it into iTunes. Then I placed the CD on the shelf with all my other CDs (all of which have also been imported into iTunes).

(FWIW, I haven't been sucked in by the copying of CD's--I've never burned a CD to avoid purchasing one ... Every track on iTunes is either from a CD/LP I own or else purchased and downloaded from the iTunes web site. [I have purchased only 5 tracks from iTunes, BTW.] Needless to say, I don't feel like a criminal, even though the record companies obviously feel that anyone who purchases a CD must be a criminal.)

Now I read with alarm that many record companies are including DRM software on their CDs. This really makes me nervous. From now on I will think twice before purchasing a music CD ... and be sure never to play them on my (seldom used) Windows computer.

It is a shame that Sony's reputation has been sullied by the rootkit fiasco. I still remember the first time I heard of Sony--when a friend of mine showed me his newly purchased reel-to-reel tape recorder. I have purchased numerous Sony products since then. I'm not really happy with the way Sony's executives are destroying their company, and I hope they see the light soon and bounce back.

Unless/until I am convinced that my computers are safe from rootkits and spyware shipped with music CDs, I don't see myself purchasing any more music CDs.

Too bad [sigh].

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Photos of Our Trip to England, Holland and France, August 2005

I've finally cobbled together a photo album of our trip to England and Europe (with the help of D. Madison's album generator at marginalhacks.com). Its still rough around the edges. Let me know if you see any blatant errors.
Here are the highlights of our trip:
U.S. to U.K. (Tuesday-Wednesday, August 9-10, 2005)
We lost time flying eastward across seven time zones. We left at about 3:00 p.m. (nearly two hours late) on the 9th and arrived in London before 9:00 a.m. (almost an hour late) the next day, stopping in Chicago on the way.
England (Wednesday-Tuesday, August 10-16)
We visited London's Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and the Tower of London on Thursday; Bury St. Edmunds on Friday; cruised the Thames in London on Saturday (afterward visiting the recently burned out Hard Rock Cafe in London); attended church and visited Cambridge (including the Whipple Museum) on Sunday; then finished up with a Monday visit to St. Mary's Church in Bocking (now a small village [?] on the northern fringe of Braintree, Essex).
Holland (Tuesday-Wednesday, August 16-17)
We took the EuroStar (Chunnel) from London to Brussels early Tuesday, and--delayed by two train wrecks in two days between Brussels and Amsterdam--finally arrived in Amsterday late Tuesday. On Wednesday we visited the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Mauritshuis in the Hague, finishing off with dinner at Amsterdam's Hard Rock Cafe.
Paris (Thursday-Friday, August18-19)
We took the first Thalys high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris on Thursday, arriving at Paris's Gare du Nord (train station) by 11:00 a.m. We checked into our hotel and had lunch, and from 2:00 to 8:00 visited the Palace at Versailles. On Friday we visited the Louvre, Sainte-Chappelle, Notre Dam, the Musée d'Orsy, and the Eiffel Tower (having dinner on the first floor--95 meters above ground). After a cruise on the Seine, we returned to our hotel.
Paris to the U.S. (Saturday, August 20)
We gained back the 8 hours we had lost in our earlier travels (7 flying to London, an additional hour going to Amsterdam and Paris). We took the metro and train to Charles de Gaulle Airport and boarded our plane to the States by noon, returning home as night was falling.
All in all, a successful vacation.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

England, France, the Netherlands, Round Two

Our Trip to England and Beyond, 2005.
Vermeer:
  • National Gallery, London (Trafalgar Square. Daily 10a-6p; Wed. until 9p; free admission)
    • Lady Standing at a Virginal
    • Lady Seated at a Virginal
  • The Louvre, Paris (Room 38; closed Mondays. €13 for combined ticket--€11 6p-9:45; various prices for combined transport and collections; buy ahead of time on the Web.)
    • The Astronomer
    • The Lacemaker
  • Mauritshuis, the Hague (Open daily 10a-5p; €7.5)
    • Diana and Her Companions
    • Girl with a Perl Earring
    • View of Delfi
  • Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (Room 10 on the first floor (above the ground floor); open daily 9a-6p; €9)
    • Street in Delfi
    • The Milkmaid
    • Woman in Blue Reading a Letter
    • The Love Letter
Shakespeare:
  • Shakespeare's Globe, London
    • The Tempest, 7:30p-9:30, Wed, 10 Aug and 2p-4, Thu, 11 Aug
  • Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford on Avon
    • As You Like It, 7:30p, 10-19 Aug except 18 (Th) Aug; also 1:30p, 11 (Th) and 13 (Sa)
    • Twelfth Night, 7:30p, 19-20 Aug (Fr-Sa); also 1:30p, 20 Aug (Sa)
Places to see in passing (if time permits):
  • Bocking
  • Cambridge
  • Oxford
  • Birmingham (old library with information on the earliest Whipples)
  • Liverpool (the Beatles)
  • Stonehendge
  • Whimple (near Exeter)

Vermeer and Shakespeare: England, France, the Netherlands

Our Trip to England and Beyond, 2005.
Vermeer:
  • National Gallery, London (Trafalgar Square. Daily 10a-6p; Wed. until 9p; free admission)
    • Lady Standing at a Virginal
    • Lady Seated at a Virginal
  • Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, UK (Hampstead Lane, London, England NW3. Take Northern Line Tube to Golders Green, then bus no. 210 to Kenwood. Phone: 0171.973.3427. Daily 10a-4p)
    • The Guitar Player
  • National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh (Normal hours: Daily 10a-5p; Thursday until 7p? Sunday 12-5. Admission: free)
    • Christ in the House of Mary and Martha
  • The Louvre, Paris (Room 38; closed Mondays. €13 for combined ticket--€11 6p-9:45; various prices for combined transport and collections; buy ahead of time on the Web.)
    • The Astronomer
    • The Lacemaker
  • Mauritshuis, the Hague (Open daily 10a-5p; €7.5)
    • Diana and Her Companions
    • Girl with a Perl Earring
    • View of Delfi
  • Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (Room 10 on the first floor (above the ground floor); open daily 9a-6p; €9)
    • Street in Delfi
    • The Milkmaid
    • Woman in Blue Reading a Letter
    • The Love Letter
Shakespeare:
  • Shakespeare's Globe, London
    • The Tempest, 7:30p-9:30, Wed, 10 Aug and 2p-4, Thu, 11 Aug
  • Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford on Avon
    • As You Like It, 7:30p, 10-19 Aug except 18 (Th) Aug; also 1:30p, 11 (Th) and 13 (Sa)
    • Twelfth Night, 7:30p, 19-20 Aug (Fr-Sa); also 1:30p, 20 Aug (Sa)
Places to see in passing (if time permits):
  • Bocking
  • Cambridge
  • Oxford
  • Birmingham (old library with information on the earliest Whipples)
  • Liverpool (the Beatles)
  • Stonehendge
  • Whimple (near Exeter)
  • Versailles