Random Blasts and a Politics Rant

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Google has a new Reader (aka Aggregator) working in their labs. I have to admit, I don't like the interface. It works, but I've gotten used to Bloglines. The key difference, even with over 300 subs now, at Bloglines I can see at a glance where I've got new material to read. I still have to drill from topic to site to post, but it's quicker, and I'm a big picture guy.

Google's current effort highlights the problem with a lot of web-based apps: when you are dealing with a lot of data, cycling through lists 10 and 20 items at a time is inefficient, and beyond what the user is going to put up with. At work, the online contributor base associated with our lockbox has thousands of names, now. Still, if you want to edit the record of someone whose name starts with "L," for example, you have to start with the A's and page through until you get to it. Right around "Ar" or "As" you realize - this isn't worth half of my day.

Google's problem is similar in that there is no quick way to see that I've got 20 posts waiting at Hugh Hewitt's site, and 15 at Duct-Tape Marketing, etc. You can go to a category and get all of the new posts at sites in that category ... 20 at a time. It's OK, and this is still in development, so I have no doubt that Google will eventually roll out an app that is nails.

I'm just waiting for them to integrate a calendar/task application in with G-mail and its contact list. That could lure me away from Outlook altogether.
-- B --

Houston bounced back, and Oswalt showed what the 'Stros can do on the mound. The 5-runs that St Louis hung on them in game 1 isn't a catastrophe, but it is more than you'd expect of Andy Pettitte and probably more pressure than you'd like to put on the Houston bats. If the Rocket brings his A-game Saturday, they've got Pettitte and Oswalt coming right behind him. Oswalt was lights out, so the Cards would probably have to count on touching up Pettitte again.
-- B --

Notre Dame - USC this weekend. Premium game. Our own U of L - West Virginia should be good too. That's the Cards "prove it" game. Was S Florida a fluke, or is U of L just the latest mid-major (dressed in Big East/upper Mid Major clothing) to beat up on lesser opponents and then whine about getting no respect.

But Irish-Trojans is a game for the ages once again. Which got me to thinking ... usually people complain about the same old teams being good all the time. Yet College Football just isn't the same when teams like Notre Dame and Penn State are pathetic. It's good to see these storied traditions back in the saddle. Now I can return to hating them passionately!

For one week however, I'm an Irish fan. As the season goes on, I just don't see what USC is out to prove. They've got a team loaded with guys who could be and should be playing in the NFL right now. Leinart's graduated for crying out loud! Nice job beating up on all those other teams whose graduates, you know, move on, and get replaced by redshirt freshmen and sophomores. If there is any justice in this world, this will come back to haunt USC when they field a team that is woefully inexperienced because the overdue crew took up all the playing time.

-- B --

I'm off politics right now. It all started with the Roberts business. You know, Congress will do what Congress does; amble along, an inefficient, bloated, out-of-touch gaggle of windbags. And I'm pretty much content to let them do that. We're better off when they aren't trying to fix things, or when they're trying to fix things like Baseball that almost their match, imbecile-wise.

Then they start talking to the Senators about how they'll vote. Senators like Kerry and Kennedy, McConnell and Frist ... big mysteries all. Even there, they're going to vote the party line, so do it and shut up already. No, they have to carry on like this decision has really been weighing on them, like they've been doing some soul-searching and at the end of the day their consciences will let them vote only one way, these pillars of integrity. Conveniently, after all the weighty matters that they culled through and all the sleepless nights, they were led to vote with their party.

Then of course, we have the evening noise ... they bring these guys on and play the sound bites, and harangue until my ears bleed about what a sham these guys are, and how empty and illogical their rhetoric is, and how ridiculous it is that they try to pass off partisan politics as objective reasoning. True. Almost as ridiculous as trying to pass of the same tired dialogue as fresh and insightful news and commentary every night.

I'm just ... done with it. It goes nowhere. It is empty. It is pointless. But people go for it. I get folks who know that I'm a Conservative, coming up to me with their crap-eating grin, and give me a little nudge with their elbow: "gonna give you a hard time about DeLay ..." Oh no! Not that! Like I haven't heard the talking points a million times already. And, I guess I could fire back with my side's talking points and we could just have a good old time contributing to the emptiness. Why? Fine, you got me, boy. Tom DeLay. You sure put me in my place. I'm mortally wounded. Only time will tell if I even have the strength to get out of bed tomorrow knowing that one of the politicians on my side of the aisle might have done something untoward.

Then the Miers thing started and everyone is circling their wagons in earnest. Just so you don't think I don't care, my take is: He's the President, he can nominate who he wants. You're the Senate. If you don't think she's up to the job, don't vote for her. But just because she doesn't agree with you on everything isn't a good enough reason to vote her down. That's not the point of your vote. It's gotten so that the faces and issues don't matter anymore. We just have an ever-cycling bunch of Republican vs. Democrat votes. Politicians are the ones who think they've become well-versed at twisting the real criteria for their vote - party afiiliation - into the intended criteria for their vote - good of the country, representing your district, etc. Well, I'm not playing anymore.

So, it's been about two weeks since I've scanned the political blogs, or listened to 970, or watched the talking heads, and ... it has been wonderful.


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