8: 07 AM Another blog day, since I’ve had a long, long week and have no desire to sit in front of the computer tonight pretending I care about anything other than my tuckus on the sofa, a beer in one hand, the remote in the other, and “The Office” on TV. The only duty I have is editing the songs for tomorrow’s radio show appearance on Ian Punnitt’s show - that’s 9 AM, 107.1 FM. So I’ll just write this as I go along.

I had French Toast for breakfast the other day. “Krusteaz” brand. I’m not kidding. The name comes from the company’s original product, which was an easy way to make some sort of crust. Crust-ease. This became “Krusteaz,” of course. We’ve fired our proofreaders - and passed the savings on to you! It’s not bad, if you don’t overnuke it; give it an extra 15 seconds and the crust attains the characteristic of fine Corinthian leather, and the interior stiffens up like a dowager in a Marx brothers movie. But this can be solved with syrup. Anything can be solved with syrup. It is to breakfast what bushes are to architects. As I ate the delicious insta-toast, I wondered why I didn’t have it more often. French toast was always a favorite childhood treat, the sign of Saturday morning and a loving attentive mother who never ran out of cinnamon sugar. Now I can fend for myself; why settle for a grim bowl of processed grain nodules?

If French Toast and pancakes went to war, which side would waffles take? Waffles are square, like French Toast; they have a crust, like French Toast. Yet pancakes are their brothers in batter.

Let’s just hope it never comes to that.

Okay, let’s hit the internet.

Oh, now, WAIT A MINUTE. From Instapundit:

LILEKS has discovered the dirty secret: blogging is a lot easier than column-writing.

He's also having trouble with video editing. That, you see, is because he's using a user-unfriendly Mac. I set up Vegas Video 4 from Sonic Foundry, got the backup master for my wife's documentary, captured the clips I wanted, and produced a trailer that Ken Layne says has "an X-Files/Twin Peaks feel." All in a weekend. The interface is easy and intuitive, and the program doesn't crash. And it edits in uncompressed mode, which is a Good Thing.

You realize, of course, that this means WOH! Slam my words all you like, but keep your mocking tone of voice away from my choice of platform, because I am a thin-skinned fool who cannot help but snap haplessly at the dangled bait. I wrote what I wrote because I wanted to spare the world the dry specifics, but hey: You want specifics? I’ll give you specifics.

The program I previously used was iMovie 2, which is fast, feature-packed, aimed at the novice, and free. Video Vegas 4 - which actually sounds like a porno-movie distributor’s convention - costs $500. iMovie 2 costs $500 less. That’s a savings of almost $501!

To help the novice, iMovie simplifies most common tasks and provides fewer options - you can change the length of a cross-dissolve, for example, but you can’t control what happens inside the dissolve. Now I’m using Final Cut Express, which allows for much greater control. It’s the difference between, say, a music program that gives you eight preset drum patterns, and a program that allows you to create whatever rhythms you need.

“Got the backup master.” Oh, we dreamed of the day we'd have a backup master, we did. If I’d just been using clips captured in FCE, I’d have had no problem - but I was using clips from three separate tapes captured in iMovie and FCE, and that’s what confused me initially. See, iMovie clips are discrete chunks, which is nice, but FCE allows you to pull individual clips out of a big hunk of video. Clips from iMovie imported into FCE require in and out points before applying the transition - you have to snip a little from the front and back to give the program sufficient footage for the transition. Once I learned what was I was doing wrong - took a few minutes to find the answer on the Apple discussion boards - I applied 20 transitions, hit render, got some coffee, and by the time I got back to the studio the thing was done.

FCE costs about $200, incidentally.

I will note that VegasVideo has a DVD authoring program; the combo price is $700.

Apple’s iDVD: $49.


(endzone dance that frightens dog and fills child with the horrors that await in her teen years when Dad starts moving & grooving)

11:00 It’s a lovely day out, and we’re going to the park later. Gnat thinks we’re going to a party today; I’ve no idea why. She believed this yesterday as well. She also thought we were going to buy a rocket ship. “We’re going to the rocket store?” she asked.

I wish.

“I’ll need a helmet,” she said.

That you would, sweetheart. I made the mistake of saying we were going to the beach, and even though I retracted my comments immediately she seized on the word and began her plans. “We’ll make sandcastles,” she said. “All the kids will say ‘your sandcastles are neato.’” She does this all the time, projecting what all the kids will say. All the kids will notice that her socks and shirt match. All the kids will notice that her barrette has a flower on it just like her shirt. All the kids will say her lunch box is cool. All the kids will applaud her stance on the gold standard. Peer approval - it’s hard-wired.

12:10 She’s down for a nap, so I'm back on the web.

At the Page Six site I found the following snippet of an interview from Tina Brown’s show. I should note that I have no intention of ever watching her show, and I’m really not interested in what she writes - the stuff I’ve read has been shallow and silly. But I do think she saved the New Yorker. I’ll never forgive that awful Eustace-Tilly-as-a-Punk cover (It was Crumb, I think) or the Roseanne guest-edit, but her tenure was necessary - she jammed the paddles on that purpled corpse, shouted CLEAH! and zap, it lived again. I also heard her speak at one of the DC correspondent dinners I attended, and she was witty and amusing. But sit down and watch her interviewing people? Pass. This might prove why. She’s interviewing Barry Diller. From the Page Six site:

USA Interactive Chairman Barry Diller continues to nip at his old boss Rupert Murdoch .

Diller, who helped launch Murdoch's Fox network, opposes his fellow mogul's effort to get the FCC to relax the limit on the number of media properties conglomerates can own.

Is the pro-Bush cheering from Murdoch-owned media designed to achieve that goal?

"Absolutely," Diller told us. "It's always been part of the agenda."

Interviewing Diller last night on her new CNBC talk show, "Topic A," Tina Brown asked if the success of Fox News means America is going "full right."

"God, I hope not," said Diller. "It is quite easy to be extreme on the right. Whereas extreme on the left is felt to be wussified."

Uh huh. Stalin, that ol’ Pussycat. Michael Moore, that big wuss. Paul Begala, Mr. Marshmallow.

He added that, when he was running Fox, "our bent" was "The Simpsons." "You can't have a more genuinely pure, liberal program .... than 'The Simpsons.'"

Really! Now, longtime readers of this space know that I regard the Simpsons as one of the finest products of our culture, but a “genuinely pure, liberal program?”

Let’s look at its premises: Men are stupid lazy child-choking drunks; married women are docile house-slaves; boys need Ritalin; nuclear power is inherantly unsafe and run by ancient malevolent plutocrats; schools are full of tired, burned-out cynical teachers who couldn’t care less about their charges, and whose cafeteria serves up a steady diet of cow hearts and testicles; the police are incompetent buffoons; the mayor is a corrupt bimbo-chasing fool with a note-perfect JFK accent; rural folk are shoeless criminals who interbreed and have huge families; kiddie-show hosts hate children, and the three immigrants in town consist of a janitor, a convenience store owner, and a quack doctor. The only Hispanic guy in town runs around in a bee costume shouting Ay ay ay! and the sole gay character is a helpless gerontophile. The preacher is a disinterested bore; the most devout man in town is an id-diddily-idiot.

This is how liberals view America, Mr. Diller? Seems like one endless slur to me.

I’m kidding, somewhat. But. This is one of the things in the world that makes my bile-ducts flame up: our side, we’re better people. We're the enlightened ones. You get this sanctimony on both sides, of course. I think that people who have different opinions on, say, the tax system, public schools, the regulatory apparatus, et cetera, want a better America as much as I do. Some of them are motivated by nasty preconceptions that taint and distort their view of the world, just as some who oppose racial preferences aren’t really interested in a truly color-blind society, but are tired of having to pretend they like people who don’t look like them. But I don’t start with the assumption that people who disagree with me are wannabe Lenins who want a command economy and a gulag for creationists.

Dogmatic overgeneralizations are useless!

Except for that one.

As for the Dark Reign of the Dreaded Murdoq, here’s an example of that “pro-Bush cheering.” It was one of those top-of-the-hour newsbreaks on Fox. The anchor read a quote from Alan Greenspan saying that he expected the economy to rebound soon. On to the next tidbit. A few hours later I was watching a CBS prime-time newsmagazine, and they ran a little “Economic Update.” The anchor said: “Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said today that he expects the economy to rebound soon, but American Airlines announced today it would be laying off several hundred.” End of Update.

This is how bias works. The latter example suggests that the economy is a gigantic THING that can only move in one direction. Greenspan says one thing, the AA layoffs another, ergo someone’s not telling the truth.

Note to CBS - it’s possible that American Airlines will shed more jobs as the economy improves. Or not. Or maybe they will add jobs as the economy shrinks; could happen. The second point does not refute the first.

Was Fox cheerleading by simply reporting the quote without offering a rebuttal? If so, then the next time they report the Pope’s Easter Greeting they’d best quote an atheist who insists that there is no empirical data supporting the resurrection. Is CBS attempting to throw cold water on Greenspan’s prediction? Maybe. Probably not. More likely it’s the built-in Contrarian Mode: No story is balanced unless the leading assertion is contradicted by someone else. That’s not bias. But the bias can often be found in which story runs first, and hence gets contradicted by the next quote.

6:00 PM Disaster. I’d intended to have Indian Chicken tonight, but it was such a nice warm day I thought I’d grill the chicken, drop them on some angel-hair pasta with olive oil and garnish with heaps of Bruschetta topping. Off to the grocery store. No Bruschetta. But they did have a pasta side dish that seemed to fit - it was cold, full of tomatoes & other vegetables, and contained “Italian Seasonings.” I had a sample, said “fine” and requested a pint. Bought some marinade, some mozzarella, and some bread. But by the time I got to the register I realized that the pasta dish had left an ugly aftertaste, and I really didn’t like it. At all. I was no longer looking forward to supper.

At the register I apologized, explained my late reaction, and said I really didn’t want this stuff. No problem! said the clerk, and she set it aside.

Then I bought mozzarella, bread, and marinade.

Then I went home and made Indian Chicken.

It was delicious.

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