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iTunes Headache

October 30, 2005 at 3:35pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

Having a weakness for gadgets, I ran out and purchased a 4 GB iPod mini when they first came out a while ago ($250). The iPod itself I love. It is durable, easy to operate and contains enough space to carry a ton of my favorite songs (about 1000 or so) at one time. It was a good investment especially since three mp3 players I had before – 2 nuvo brand players and 1 RCA – broke after a few months of use.

However, I can’t say my luck with iTunes has been the same. Over the past year, a number of my songs have simply disappeared, as if I had moved them out of my iTunes library. The strange thing is, iTunes recognizes the song titles, but when selected an exclamation point appears next to the song title along with the phrase “The song ‘(name of song)’ could not be used because the original file could not be found. Would you like to locate it?” When clicking on “yes” it simply takes me to the My Music folder and the song is no longer there.

This has happened periodically over the past year to a few handfuls of songs, but last night, I checked my iTunes to find that literally 95% or so of my songs in iTunes had disappeared in such a fashion. This was close to 600 or so tracks I had burned off my CDs and an equal number of songs I had downloaded from music services. I know this sounds ridiculous, but apparently I am not the only one this has happened to. 

Does anyone know how this could have happened? More importantly, is there a fix to this so I can retrieve my songs? Needless to say, this is unbelievably annoying, and although I still have my CDs (but not the songs I downloaded from the internets) I worry about spending the time to import them again only to have them vanish into some blackhole. This really sucks.

On Poverty: Charles Murray vs. Matt Moehr

October 18, 2005 at 3:00pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

An old compadre of mine and former Lincolnite by way of Kimball, NE, recently took on the author of “The Bell Curve” in the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal. Go Matt Go!

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Hey Dudes!

October 16, 2005 at 5:43pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

The current edition of Time.com reports on a recent study about the effects of marijuana on brain cells:

Why Pot May Be Good for your Brain
By Michael Lemonick

Alcohol and most other drugs of abuse are physically bad for brain cells, and you’d naturally expect that marijuana would do the same. Not so, say researchers from the University of Saskatchewan, writing in the latest issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Xia Zhang and colleagues administered HU210, a synthetic chemical that mimics the action of cannabinoids, the active compounds in pot and hashish, to both embryonic and adult rats. The compound not only didn’t harm brain cells: it actually stimulated the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus of both babies and grownup rats, a part of the brain that helps regulate mood. This new growth, they suggest, can explain some of pot’s anti-anxiety and anti-depressant properties.

So what’s the catch? The drug was given in long-term but relatively low doses. Which means that heavy pot users can’t necessarily get away with claiming it’s entirely good for them.

Although the last part is a little dissapointing, in general this is excellent news for stoners. I’m sure Mr. Wilson will be contacting the University of Saskatchewan researchers to sign up for the human trials on Monday. Added benefit - they even provide you with a bag of Doritos.

Kudos to the New York Times

October 16, 2005 at 5:28pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

Today the Times has a pretty good, and relatively extensive article about the Judith Miller case. I imagine it must be pretty embarrassing (although admirable) to first admit that you have a reporter writing less than solid articles about WMD, and then reveal how she had the ability to - according to the Times - “run amok” with little editorial supervision. Juan Cole also offered interesting - though clearly partisan - thoughts on the case in last week’s Salon.com (the ad pass allows you full access for several hours if you don’t have a subscription).

Now THIS is an inspired Friday afternoon diatribe by a bored office worker

October 14, 2005 at 8:58pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

A buddy just sent me this via email. This dude is deep.

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Oh yeah…

October 9, 2005 at 11:54pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

In just a few short weeks, some new - old - strategy gaming heavyweights are coming out with new iterations. Civilization 4 is set to come out on Oct. 24th. Turn-based Civilization 2 was my first “serious” computer game that I got hooked into. Better yet, RTS Age of Empires 3 is coming out a few days before Civ 4. I haven’t completely decided which one I am going to pick up, but I am strongly leaning towards AOE 3. PvP and Multiplayer AOE 2 was addictive as hell, and AOE 3 looks to be MUCH better. It should hold me through the winter until you know what comes out in the Spring of 2006 - the drool-evoking screenshots are insane. Oh yeah…just signed up for the beta too.

“The Hanso Foundation”

October 6, 2005 at 4:52am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

Fans of “Lost” who just watched tonight’s episode: This is wild.

Nice, cool sleeping weather

October 6, 2005 at 1:57am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

One great thing about fall - excellent sleeping weather. A sleeping environment that is too warm makes for a poor night’s sleep for me. These past few days have been miserable. Sunday night - slept from 10pm to 3:30am. Monday night - slept from 10pm to 3:30am (again). Last night - slept from 3am to 5:30am (!), then drove all the way out to Kearney and back today on business. I need a solid 8 hours tonight and the cooler weather should definitely help.

By way of background, chronic insomnia has been a life long thing for me which started in college and got pretty bad in my early 20s. Although its gotten worse, I think my coping with it has gotten better. I can go one night easily on 4 hours of sleep or less, and two nights is not preferred but I can still manage quite well. Three nights in a row is when things start getting a little blurry. Four consecutive nights with 4 hours or less of sleep a night is just plain unpleasant. Maybe I’ll pass out as soon as “Lost” is over.

In the meantime….

October 5, 2005 at 3:22am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

While the network news and blogosphere are exploding over Miers, the administration won a major case today in its faith-based initiative: Lown v Salvation Army. Anyone read this sucker yet? The religious discrimination exemption is certainly sound. Sure when it comes to religious activity you can’t force the Catholic Church to hire a Jew or Muslim as a priest. But what about charitable social services aligned with religious groups that receive government money? Lown seems to indicate that religious preferences in hiring is allowed when it comes to non-religious charitable services (for say a counselor). This seems to be somewhat questionable but the federal courts have been moving in this direction for quite some time now and Lown seems to be the final confirmation.

My concern is the extent to which faith based charities self-police (or don’t self police) when it comes to infusing charitable activities with religious proselytizing. The vast majority do really quite well - but I have heard the horror stories from credible sources too. It seems like Lown is also carving out a test in which certain govt funded activities are not permissible. I believe this line of cases - as they develop - will have major implications for public policy as they are resolved. Just as much if not more so than the sexier, more high profile first amendment cases like ten commandments, “Under God” and so on.

Miers?

October 4, 2005 at 3:20am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

I don’t know anything about this person. And apparently, no one else does either (yet).  If I were to bet money, I would say that makes her a no-pass. At least Roberts had a record that could be scrutinized and - in many bipartisan quarters - admired for intellectual consistency. Miers is apparently a Bush family insider and that alone is a negative in the minds of many. Its one thing to be nominated by Bush and have a relatively moderate record, like Roberts. Its another to be nominated by Bush, and have no public record. I’m guessing the dems will tear into her during the senate hearings and she will be borked. An early prediction…

Mixed Experience at Sher-e-Punjab

October 1, 2005 at 2:41am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

I had the pleasure to lunch at Sher-e-Punjab today, located in the mini-strip mall at 17th and Q. I have been there previously and always been impressed. If you have not been there, and you are an Indian food fan in Lincoln, run…do not walk, to Sher-e-Punjab. Let me note that, having lived in Southeast Asia for close to 5 years and traveled to Malaysia over 20 times, I know my Indian curries. Outside of Birmingham, England and the subcontinent itself, Malaysia is regarded as the best place in the world to get north and south Indian cuisine, as well as its regional variations. So don’t argue with me about curries. Sher-e-Punjab offers a menu clearly from the Moghul inspired strain, with a fair selection of meat-based curries and variety of breads.

Unfortunately, this is still the USA, and in the USA Indian food is served “entrée” style for lunch at Sher-e-Punjab rather then the way it should be: with a collection of 3-5 sweet, spicy and creamy curries, black and yellow dhal, as well as yogurt and a variety of chutneys to be shared amongst the group with a pile of naan, rotis or rice. Nonetheless, I ordered the Chicken Tikka Naan while my companions ordered Chicken Vindaloo and Gosht Korma.

The problem was, my Chicken Tikka Naan didn’t really make sense because the Chicken – which I though would be a curry – was what appeared to me to be just hunks of dry Chicken Tandoori. Not that I don’t like Chicken Tandoori, but if you get some naan with the meal, you need some curry sauce to dip it with. When I first saw my plate, it was one of those WTF moments. Although I was a bit miffed, I didn’t mention it to my dining companions. I just ended up asking one companion to pour some of her Chicken Vindaloo curry on my plate and also stole a dip from Mr. Wilson’s Gosht Korma. Both tasted excellent to me.

Hmmmm. Well, definitely consider

this post a recommendation of Sher-e-Punjab, but also a warning: if you are going to order the Chicken Tikka Naan (listed at the top of its entrée menu), also be prepared to order a side dish of dhal or curry sauce for your naan. Otherwise, it may be better to just go with a vindaloo or korma entree plate. Sheeesh!

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