Monday, January 31, 2005

Haiku-na Matata

In a recent email to a fellow blogger I discussed a little about what blogging has meant to me. I have had some wonderful exchanges, made some wonderful acquaintances, a few friends, and learned alot.

Today, as a tribute to the blogging community, I've composed some Haiku (or is it Haikus?) inspired by the wonderful people I've become connected to:

* * * * * * * * * *
I am not creepy
Just trying to share my heart
Uncommon, perhaps
* * * * * * * * * *
Prolific blogger
Exposed for the world to see
Each post, I am touched
* * * * * * * * * *
An ocean between
Two hearts, two dreamers, two worlds
One love spans the miles
* * * * * * * * * *
A free spirit flies
Mind, body, soul - down under
She will find herself
* * * * * * * * * *
I long to know you
To hear the words not spoken
Whisper to a scream
* * * * * * * * * *
This one is for Jams
Who validates what we do
A Blogger's treasure
* * * * * * * * * *
Wisdom of an age
A timeless fountain of joy
You have taught them well
* * * * * * * * * *

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Virtual Model Bandwagon

So I finally went over to and decided to give it a whirl. I think I am actually a bit creeped out - this is bizarre.

Timeless Mindlessness

I happen to be a big fan of Howard Stern. The show simply makes me laugh alot and yes, there are times when they do things that are a bit out there, even for me. Fortunately, at a very young age I learned about freedom of choice, and how to use all of the buttons on the radio.

Anyway, the quote I heard while watching the TV broadcast of one of the radio shows was by a young (22 or so) girl playing a "new" game called "strap-on baseball" with the prize being a free set of breast implants. When asked the question "What brings you here today?", her response was: "I'm here to win breast implants. I've wanted them since I was little." Stop and think about that for just a second.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Homeowner Headache: 40 Gallons and Counting

A couple of weeks ago I decide to give the plumber a call because water is coming from the pressure relief valve of my boiler at a fast enough rate to overflow a 5 gallon bucket and give my shop-vac and me a workout neither of us wish for. $215.00 later I am the proud owner of a brand spanking new expansion tank (in green nonetheless, to replace the apparently "thickly" filled red one).

It was nice to have no water in the bucket the next day leading me to believe that all was wonderful in the subterranean world of boilerville. Move ahead a few days and I am heading down the basement to retrieve a couple of 12 packs of Coca-Cola branded products when I decide to peek into the neighboring boiler room to find an overflowing 5 gallon bucket under the sinister pressure relief valve along with a handsome helping of murky boiler pee about the floor. Out comes the shop-vac and the mess is soon clean as I decide to unwisely and unintelligently ASSume the excess water is "left-over" from the previous nightmare and all should be fine now.

In paranoid mode, I decide to check the bucket/boiler several times a day for the next several days and happily find nothing but air and dirty residue in the bucket but no water. Ah, the joyous dry delights of the Daniele dungeon. Days pass and the bucket remains dry and I am delighted. Delighted until today...Saturday, 1/29 at about 5:50pm or so when I took a stroll downstairs to follow up on this mornings viewing of the dry bucket. Holy crap, the evil, nasty, murky boiler pee is covering the industrial looking far half of the floor and I must crank up the shop-vac and return to monitor mode. Sickened by this series of unfortunate events and Lemony Snicket nowhere in sight I begin to worry and become frustrated.

Noticing that the bucket is filling at a rate of 5 gallons per hour, I decide to make a call to the plumber; or rather, the plumber's answering service. "Hello, thank you for calling Kaufman Plumbing, is this an emergency?" I never know the answer to that question, or rather if they're asking is this what I perceive to be an emergency or what they would consider one. I respond in this instance with a resounding NO. "What is your name, phone number, and the problem?" "Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah...Mi***** was here recently to resolve an issue where my water was coming from the pressure relief valve of my boiler and it's happening again." Several hours pass, no return call, and I'm exchanging buckets at a rate that almost got me going at a cardio pace. I decide to once again call the plumber and this time my response to the emergency question is a courteously concerned "YES, it is". I follow up with the requisite info and include the ridiculously rapid rate at which water is coming out of the boiler. Disturbingly, no return call came after more than an hour.

Tired and frustrated, I begin to flip through the yellow pages to find a plumber that might respond to an emergency call on a Saturday night. Let me mention here that at one point while handling these buckets of scalding boiler pee, I burned two of my fingers on my left hand to which at this time I have no sensation; that is other that pain (I often feel like I use semicolons improperly). I decide at this point to give Kaufman one more shot out of loyalty. This time I get a call back relatively quick (of course it's 10pm now and I'm wiped out). Mi***** tells me to shut the valve that provides water to the boiler, carefully describing where I might find it and what it looks like (score one for the inventor of cordless phone technology). The leaking seems to have stopped (which makes sense since there is no water getting it, there can't be any to get out - I think) and Mi***** claims he'll be by tomorrow around 11 am.

I wish I could see more good things about owning a home that annoying ones, but that's not going to happen right now. Whaaaaaaaaa!!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

I Feel Good...Like I knew that I would!

Could it be that "The Godfather of Soul", Mr. James Brown is the natural father of Goth Baby?

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

What 2004 Hit Song Am I?

1985 by Bowling for Soup

"Where's the mini-skirt made of snakeskin?
And who's the other guy that's singing in Van Halen?
When did reality become T.V.?
What ever happened to sitcoms, game shows?"

You took the bitter with the sweet in 2004 - and kept laughing.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A Couple of Quick Thoughts

(a) Moving snow and the new semester starting at work has me a bit winded.
(b) I really want to write about the stupidity of these jackass right-wing x-tian's who think Spongebob Squarepants is evil and promoting a "gay agenda".

...Added Wed morning, 1/26, 6:45am
Click here for visual proof that SpongeBob is in fact not gay!

(c) The show "House" is terrific, mostly due to the brilliant Hugh Laurie.
(d) The New England Patriots are truly inspiring.
(e) I haven't read a book yet in 2005.
(f) If you don't yet own the CD "Get Born" by Jet, go buy it now - it's simply amazing!
(g) PeopleSoft is easily the worst software product in the world and I hope that Larry Ellison scraps it now that Oracle own PeopleSoft.
(h) The 5,000 people getting laid off from PeopleSoft probably deserve to be cut loose - have I mentioned how sucky that product is?
(i) It's going to snow again tomorrow.
(j) Somewhere in the world, a baby's ass was just slapped welcoming the little critter into this mess we call a world.
(k) I consider myself an optimist.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Beyond the Snow and "Heeere's Johnny!"

Well the snow finally stopped after dumping about 2 1/2 feet (you read that correctly, I said feet) of the fluffy white cold stuff. I was outside my house at the ridiculously early 5:45am with my trust snow thrower - and 2 1/2 hours later, my driveway was accessible once again. Of course, the snow was still falling at a healthy enough pave that I had to spend another hour and change at about 2pm to clear the driveway once more. They've closed the college tomorrow so I get the day off and look forward to the chance to get a bit of R and R.

* * * * * * * * *
Johnny Carson passed away Sunday morning at the age of 79. Carson was considered by many to be something of a TV legend, and if longevity is what makes a legend, then I'll agree. I grew up during the Carson era of late night TV and remember when I was finally old enough to stay up and watch. I remember being mesmerized, not so much by Carson himself, but the whole format of that show. I'm not going to go into too much detail about how I really feel about Carson and how he handled his power and ego as it's all moot now and the guy is dead. May he rest in piece (which is easier said than done for people of celebrity).
What I do wish to comment on is the stupidity of the media. I'm sure any of you can write for hours on this topic but I'll just comment on one stupid comment I heard at the start of the Patriots game. "We here at CBS mourn the loss of a true legend...We will all miss him dearly." The mourning part I have no problem with, but the miss him part - Carson left TV in 1992 and has not made a public appearance since. What the heck are they gonna miss - his absence? I think it is a noble thing for CBS to make mention of Carson's passing (especially since he worked for NBC), but at least put some thought into what you are going to say- It is possible to pay tribute to an icon (which for better or worse Carson was) without being patronizing, foolish, or just stupid.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

New England has it's share of Stupid Folks

I really hate to have to get all pissed off on people. However, it stands to reason that one of the things we come to expect during the winters here in New England is a good old fashioned Nor'Easter - often, and most notably represented by cold, wind, cold wind, more cold, and a foot or two of snow. It is highly unusual for a winter to go by without one, this season being no exception.

So, my dear fellow bloggers, what irks me to no end, is that as one is forecasted and pending (as the one we are amidst which promises the requisite foot or two of the cold powdery stuff from above), why does what seems like the entire population of every town end up buying everything they can possibly fit into a shopping cart or three as if they are stocking up for - well, I don't know. I really should take some digital shots of the aisle after aisle of naked shelving in the supermarkets and the 90 minute to 2 hour wait at the checkout lines.

Dear New Englanders, you live in New England for goodness sakes. It friggin' snows here. It really isn't all that big a deal and you need not supply enough food, especially pickled pigs feet, spam, canned fried onions, all varieties of canned beans, that scary pudding in a plastic cup - not the Jell-o or Swiss Miss Brand, the odd Del Monte or other scary one that requires no refrigeration (what's up with that?)...just go the frig home and chill out. The snow will go and you will not starve without that last package of refried pork rinds or the scariest of all snack foods, canned potato chips (which now actually have trivia questions neatly typed on them).


Thursday, January 20, 2005

"The Jury Pool from Hell"

This is from truth is stranger than fiction files. The article you see pictured above was is yesterday's Boston Herald newspaper as reported by Associated Press. Here's the text from the article:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Defense attorney Leslie Ballin called it the “jury pool from hell.”
The group of prospective jurors was summoned to court to listen to a case of Tennessee trailer park violence. 

Right after jury selection began last week, one man got up and left, announcing, “I’m on morphine and I’m higher than a kite.” 

When the prosecutor asked whether anyone had been convicted of a crime, a prospective juror said he had been arrested and taken to a mental hospital after he almost shot his nephew. He said he was provoked because his nephew would not come out from under the bed.

Another would-be juror said he had had alcohol problems and was arrested for
 soliciting sex from an undercover officer. 

“I should have known something was up,” he said. “She had all her teeth.”

The case involved a woman accused of hitting her brother’s girlfriend in the face with a brink. Ballin’s client was found not guilty.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Yoga for the Ages

Kripalu = "Cripple You"
This is not the best way to encourage people into trying out Yoga.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Booklist 2004 Part 8 - The End

Here are your obligatory links to parts 1 through 7 as posted throughout 2004:

Booklist 2004 Part 1
Booklist 2004 Part 2
Booklist 2004 Part 3
Booklist 2004 Part 4
Booklist 2004 Part 5
Booklist 2004 Part 6
Booklist 2004 Part 7

Here's a word or two on the last 8 books I read in 2004:

49. So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star
by Jacob Slichter

I really enjoyed this book penned by the former drummer of the band Semisonic. It’s simple, straight-forward reading and very well written.

50. American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story
by Cynthia True

This book made it to my “to read” list because Michael mentioned it once on his blog and I have had an interest in learning more about Hicks. It seems to me there were two great tragedies in Bill Hick’s life- First, the fact that he was amongst a select few public personalities to be used as examples of censorship by the political and media stronghold. Seconds, he was clearly his own worst enemy. Drugs, Alcohol, Cigarettes, and yoga…need I say more?

I wasn’t particularly taken with Cynthia True’s writing but it was sufficient enough to shed some perspective on this deeply disturbed yet brilliant mind.

51. Gasping for Airtime
by Jay Mohr

Jay Mohr began doing standup comedy in his late teens or early twenties and got enough exposure to land some film roles, including the high profile film Jerry Maguire. In very recent times, Mohr produced and hosted a reality show on NBC called “Last Comic Standing.”

Though the front story appears to be Mohr’s memoir of his two year stint on Saturday Night Live, the real story for me was the story of his struggle with anxiety disorder and brief battle with addiction. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I always appreciate when someone is willing to come forth and tell their story and their struggle with this disorder.

52. Virgin (later re-released as “Cradle and All”)
by James Patterson

Not one of his best but not his worst either. Virgin is a fairly quick and easy read with a couple of unique plot twists and interesting characterizations.

53. Reading Lolita in Tehran
by Azar Nafisi

I love this book!!! Nafisi was a teacher in Iran during a time when the culture was very controlling of what and how things were taught and repressive toward woman. The story she tells here is inspiring and educational.

For those of you too lazy to click on the web link for the book, here’s the editorial information on the website. I include it here because I don’t have the energy nor the eloquence and I truly feel this is an important book – so I had to be sure that you had some background on the book.
”An inspired blend of memoir and literary criticism, Reading Lolita in Tehran is a moving testament to the power of art and its ability to change and improve people's lives. In 1995, after resigning from her job as a professor at a university in Tehran due to repressive policies, Azar Nafisi invited seven of her best female students to attend a weekly study of great Western literature in her home. Since the books they read were officially banned by the government, the women were forced to meet in secret, often sharing photocopied pages of the illegal novels. For two years they met to talk, share, and "shed their mandatory veils and robes and burst into color." Though most of the women were shy and intimidated at first, they soon became emboldened by the forum and used the meetings as a springboard for debating the social, cultural, and political realities of living under strict Islamic rule. They discussed their harassment at the hands of "morality guards," the daily indignities of living under the Ayatollah Khomeini's regime, the effects of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, love, marriage, and life in general, giving readers a rare inside look at revolutionary Iran. The books were always the primary focus, however, and they became "essential to our lives: they were not a luxury but a necessity," she writes.
Threaded into the memoir are trenchant discussions of the work of Vladimir Nabokov, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jane Austen, and other authors who provided the women with examples of those who successfully asserted their autonomy despite great odds. The great works encouraged them to strike out against authoritarianism and repression in their own ways, both large and small: "There, in that living room, we rediscovered that we were also living, breathing human beings; and no matter how repressive the state became, no matter how intimidated and frightened we were, like Lolita we tried to escape and to create our own little pockets of freedom," she writes. In short, the art helped them to survive. --Shawn Carkonen--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Description:
We all have dreams—things we fantasize about doing and generally never get around to. This is the story of Azar Nafisi’s dream and of the nightmare that made it come true.

For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were all former students whom she had taught at university. Some came from conservative and religious families, others were progressive and secular; several had spent time in jail. They were shy and uncomfortable at first, unaccustomed to being asked to speak their minds, but soon they began to open up and to speak more freely, not only about the novels they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments. Their stories intertwined with those they were reading—Pride and Prejudice, Washington Square, Daisy Miller and Lolita—their Lolita, as they imagined her in Tehran.

Nafisi’s account flashes back to the early days of the revolution, when she first started teaching at the University of Tehran amid the swirl of protests and demonstrations. In those frenetic days, the students took control of the university, expelled faculty members and purged the curriculum. When a radical Islamist in Nafisi’s class questioned her decision to teach The Great Gatsby, which he saw as an immoral work that preached falsehoods of “the Great Satan,” she decided to let him put Gatsby on trial and stood as the sole witness for the defense.

Azar Nafisi’s luminous tale offers a fascinating portrait of the Iran-Iraq war viewed from Tehran and gives us a rare glimpse, from the inside, of women’s lives in revolutionary Iran. It is a work of great passion and poetic beauty, written with a startlingly original voice.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.”

54. A Confederacy of Dunces
by John Kennedy Toole

“A word on the history of the novel is worth mentioning here. The author, John Kennedy Toole, committed suicide in 1969, and his mother found the hand-written manuscript in her son's papers. She brought them to a publisher, who dreaded having to read even a portion of the work and to notify Toole's mother that it stunk. Instead, he was blown away by Toole's draft, and the rest is history. The novel earned him a posthumous Pulitzer Prize, and it is universally hailed by critics.” (J. Mullin -Plantation, FL USA)

From Library Journal
”Narrator Barrett Whitener renders Toole's cast of caricatures with verve enough to satisfy admirers. Toole wrote this novel in Puerto Rico during a hitch in the U.S. Army. In 1966 it was rejected by Simon & Schuster. In 1969 Toole committed suicide. Toole's mother then tried to get it published. After seven years of rejection she showed it to novelist Walker Percy, under whose encouragement it was published by Louisiana State University Press. Many critics praised it as a comic masterpiece that memorably evokes the city of New Orleans and whose robust protagonist is a modern-day Falstaff, Don Quixote, or Gargantua. Toole's prose is energetic, and his talent, had it matured, may have produced a masterpiece. However, listeners who do not feel charmed or amused by a fat, flatulent, gluttonous, loud, lying, hypocritical, self-deceiving, self-centered blowhard who masturbates to memories of a dog and pretends to profundity when he is only full of beans are not likely to survive the first cassette. For fans.?Peter Josyph, New York
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.”

This book is gut busting funny as the main character, Ignatius Reilly is just a complete mental case and he’s apparently the only one who doesn’t know it. I really love the book; I hope you give it a whirl. I recently read that a film version featuring Will Ferrell as Ignatius J. Reilly and Lily Tomlin and his nutty mom (great casting).

55. Hours of Power
by Robert H. Schuller

Schuller is the pastor of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries, which he founded more than half a century ago. His weekly televised church services have been a staple of television for more than 30 years. I first heard his inspiring semons more than 20 years ago and continue to listen to him speak when I can find him on the TV. I don’t always agree with his words, opinions, philosophies, or religious interpretations, but he is a marvelous speaker who uses this book to draw from the more than 30 books he has published extracting 366 daily inspirations from his catalog of writings.

56. My Life
by Bill Clinton

I am a big fan of Bill Clinton and I believe he had the most prolific presidency in the 20th century. I know that though I am just an average ordinary middle class American, the economy under Clinton allowed “pee-ons” like me to actually find a comfort level and realize the fruit of our labors.

This book is a marathon that I actually listened to via the unabridged audio version (42 CD’s – the Hardcover edition boasts 1008 pages) during my recovery from my December illness. Though I didn’t enjoy this book as much as Hillary’s memoir, it is an thorough account of an important period in modern American history.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

A Psalm of Hope

Today's church service was quite moving. In particular, this first verse from Psalm 40, which got me thinking about my new friend Puck in the Netherlands, the victims of the mudslides in California, the Tsunami in South East Asia, and all others in search of hope for a better tomorrow.

"I waited patiently upon the Lord;
he stooped to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the mire and clay;
he set my feet upon a high cliff and made my footing sure."

Saturday, January 15, 2005

When all of Your Dreams Come True (or Not)

Here's a "comment" that I found on yesterdays post about WalMart...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Anonymous said...
Hi there,

Completely offtopic (sorry for that): I was Googling on 'vertigo emetophobic' and found your blog.
Is there any way I could send you an email? I searched your site for an address, but couldn't find one.

You can contact me at



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So, out of curiosity, I went to Google and did a search for vertigo emetophibic and I came up first...

Way odd - Catch ya all later!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Welcome to Planet Wal-Mart

I think many of you will enjoy this in a bizzare sort of way. Truth really is stranger than fiction...

Welcome to Planet Wal-Mart
By Peter Chianca/ At Large
Friday, January 14, 2005

I don't know about you, but I sort of miss the days when Wal-Mart was harmless. You know, back when they were just a mammoth conglomerate putting small retailers out of business and forcing manufacturing jobs overseas, thus helping to cripple the U.S. economy. They were almost lovable then.

Now, though, they're downright scary. It's not just that every time you go into one you get this niggling feeling that you might just never come out, like a Roach Motel. It's more that Wal-Marts have become little planets unto themselves, where the citizens all laugh at our silly Earth customs, content in the knowledge that someday we'll all be subjugated and wearing little blue smocks just like them.

Just look at some of the stories to have come out of Wal-Marts in the last week alone:

In Kansas, two employees became the latest of several couples to get married in Wal-Mart stores, this most recent pair getting wed at Register 3 - the same checkout lane where they met and where the engagement had taken place. We can only hope they at least moved over to Housewares for the honeymoon.

In Miami, a woman was just convicted of poisoning her Wal-Mart supervisor by putting rat poison in his soda. According to the Associated Press, the woman said she was just trying to force him to go home sick, but it's hard to believe that in the entire Wal-Mart all she could find was rat poison to do that ... Don't they carry Velveeta?

In Hagerstown, Md., a naked man wandered up to the store, but that's not the weird part - he was probably just looking for the stonewashed Dickies. The situation went really over the top when Wal-Mart threatened a freelance photographer who snapped pictures of the man with lifetime banishment from store. I'm not sure exactly how they enforce that, but I'm picturing a series of furtive walkie-talkie exchanges by men in blazers, followed by a full body smackdown in Garden & Patio.

Even animals who gets on the company's bad side aren't safe, if a story out of an Evansville, Ill. Wal-Mart is any indication. Apparently the manager there ordered two assistants who had been keeping a cat in a trailer behind the store to "get rid" of it, leading them to - what else? - shoot it repeatedly with a pellet gun they took from the sporting goods department. Again ... Velveeta?

My point is, I want to shop in a store, not a twisted little serfdom where everybody's going around getting married and poisoning each other, like "Romeo and Juliet" with giant bags of cheap Fritos. And if you don't think it's gotten that bad, check out the job listings for the Bentonville, Ariz. store, which is looking for a "Homeland Security Manager." Makes you yearn for a simpler time, when terrorists had less interest in the place where you bought your underwear.

Not that Wal-Mart has nothing to offer - there is that cheap film processing. And the cheap DVDs. And the cheap socks, gloves and pajamas. And the cheap ... Well, let's face it, it's all fairly cheap. But so is crack the first couple of times you get it. (And at least with crack you don't have to wait for 20 minutes before realizing what you're on isn't a line for a register, it's a pileup behind a cart that got caught between a stack of TVs and the giant singing Santa Claus.)

The way I see it, we might have to pay a little more, but in the end I think we'd all be better off if we stuck with stores without their own ozone layers, and that aren't hotbeds for romance, murder, drama, intrigue and possible infiltration by terrorist organizations. Call me old-fashioned, but I'll take a nice, little mom-and-pop operation any day.

So if you need me, I'll be in Target.

Peter Chianca is a managing editor for Community Newspaper Company. To receive his column by e-mail every week, write to, with the subject line "SUBSCRIBE."

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Another Day, Another (Stolen) Survey Thingee

3 Names You Go By
- Chris
- Computer Geek
- Perfesser

3 Things You Like About Yourself
- I’m a good cook
- I can bake too
- This spot reserved for future use (is there a therapist in the house?)

3 Things You Hate About Yourself
- Sometimes I don’t know when to shut up
- My wardrobe – most of it anyway
- My teeth

3 Things That Scare You
- President Bush (including anyone who serves and or served in his administration)
- Homelessness
- Catastrophic Illness

3 Everyday Essentials
- Chocolate
- Blogging
- Music

3 Things You're Wearing Right Now
- An orange, yes orange Halloween themed MassBay Community College T-Shirt
- Navy Blue Ribbed Fruit of the Loom Underwear (Briefs)
- Blue Jeans baby..the old fashioned cheapo 20 dollar Lee Jeans kind

3 Fave Bands/Artists
- U2
- Bruce Springsteen
- Metallica

3 Fave Songs/Presently
- Vertigo [U2]
- Are You Gonna Be My Girl [JET]
- Holy Water [Big & Rich]

2 Truths/1 Lie [in Random order]
- I have a mad crush on Shania Twain
- I have a wife and daughter
- I’ve written a novel

3 Careers You Would Consider
- Game Show Host
- Standup Comedian
- Actor

3 People Who Would Enjoy This Quiz
- Cuzzup! (My cousin Annalisa)
- The folks who’ve already completed and posted it (except the one I stole it from)
- This is a longshot – but I’m guessing my pal Liz at work (Liz, call me and let me know if I am right on this one)

Monday, January 10, 2005

Can Somebody Get These Morons Laid... they stop with this friggin viruses already!!!!

Mobile Trojan launches Skulls attack
Last modified: January 6, 2005, 1:35 PM PST
By Ingrid Marson
Special to CNET

A new variant of the Skulls Trojan horse that affects Symbian-based cell phones has been discovered.

F-Secure has reported that Skulls.D kills off all system applications, as did previous variants. But rather than turning individual application icons into skulls, as the first version of the malicious software did, Skulls.D tells people their cell phones have been infected by displaying a full-screen flashing skull, the security software maker said on Monday.

The first Skulls variant was discovered at the end of November. A later version was packaged with the cell phone virus Cabir.

The new Skulls variant pretends to be Macromedia Flash player and affects Symbian Series 60 devices. People whose handsets have been infected cannot run programs, take pictures or send text messages, although they can still make phone calls, F-Secure said.

The Trojan horse also prevents people from installing new applications, so the majority of people with infected handsets will need to reset their phone. This will leave the phone in its default factory condition and delete data such as address books.

F-Secure said it has only had reports of Skulls.D from two people, whose phones were infected after they downloaded an application from a Web forum. Phone owners can reduce the risk of infection by exercising caution, said Mikko Hypponen, the director of antivirus research at F-Secure, which has posted an advisory.

"Be careful about what you download and where you download it from," Hypponen said. "You are most at risk if you are downloading illegal copies of applications, especially from peer-to-peer networks."

Hypponen warned there are likely to be more Skulls in the future. "We are waiting for the next variant," he said.


Caricature anyone?
I think I'm still a bit exhausted from the weekend and like the Boomtown Rats, "I Don't Like Monday's." So, for lack of words, wit, wisdom, or otherwise, I'll treat you to a viewing of this caricature done at the school where I work (the joy of student activities) a few months ago. That exaggerated chin gives me a bit of Jay Leno flair; don't ya think? I'm going to nap now.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

La Tierra Hermosa

By some unbelievable miracle and pure determination, this poem was originally written in Spanish. What makes it so amazing to me is that I really don’t speak Spanish and rarely, if ever use the language. I studied it for three years in high school and occasionally watch Spanish television; as a result I’ve learned to understand it to some degree. The idea of writing a poem entirely in another language came to me on almost a whim and what you read above is the result of what nearly caused my brain to implode. I hope the end result is as satisfying to you as it was to me. (Christopher Daniele, 1999)

La Tierra Hermosa

La palpita de mi corazòn
La hermosura de una rosa
Hay nada como estupendo
Es la tierra en todo Hermosa

El majestad de lo cielo
La fuerza del ocèano
Tal belleza abrumado
Mì corazòn es en mi mano

* * * * * * * * * *
And of course, the literal English translation:

The beat of my heart
The beauty of a rose
There’s nothing quite as wonderful
As the earth, in all of its beauty

The majesty of the sky
The power of the ocean
Such overwhelming beauty
My heart is in my hand
* * * * * * * * * *
Though I wrote this in 1999, this is the first time anyone other than myself has seen it.

Bus Ride(s), an IPOD, and a Few Hours to Kill

These CD's are amongst the latest into the collection and thanks to the technological marvel we call IPOD, I listened to all of them in their entirety during my round trip bus excursion to NYC. Of course their was additional time to listen to many of the MP3's I've collected over the years.

Thanks to Jennifer for getting me turned onto Social Distortion, you may notice three of their CD's amongst the group. Folks, they rock...nothing more need be said. The Cure is as optimistic as usual, Diana Krall has a silky jazz sound with a new Elvis Costello influenced (slight) edge, JET is really good barebones rock and roll, Shakira provided some Latin rhythms - quite nicely, I surprisingly enjoyed Maroon 5 and their version of the pop music sound.

I have dinner in the oven - catch y'all later.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

I'm in a New York State of Mind

I'm taking a road trip tomorrow back to my hometown of Brooklyn, New York to attend the funeral of my friend Jerry's father "Big" Louie Scarnato. Though I've know Jerry for about 20 years, I never had the pleasure of meeting his dad but hope to get some insight and stories from those who knew him well.

Though my health has improved dramatically, I am not yet ready to drive the 200+ miles each way so I am taking a Greyhound bus; for the first time. I am guessing this will be an interesting journey and I hope to get good use out of my new IPOD.

This has been an unusual week in that I have already attended one funeral (yesterday) for the passing of a colleague's father. So, here's to celebrating life and how important it is to live and love every moment of it.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Tsunami Donations Accepted Here

Donate to the South Asia (Tsunami) Relief Rund

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I'm a Teacher Damnit!

A couple of years ago the college decided to put together some new media kits. As such, they went berserk shooting all sorts of pictures to make the facility look all dapper. So one day, I get a call from one of the VP's asking if I can sub for someone in the teleconference room. Being the ham I am I said sure and ended up in much of the college's literature and even the web site. I'm normally all shirt and tie at work except when classes are not in session (as it was during the photo shoot). I reserve that time for extended dress down and grunt work. the stuff on the board is nonsense amde up on-the-fly for "effect" and all of the "students" are plants (fellow employees).

Oh Sandy Baby!

Delightful, talented, and adorable actress Sandra Bullock has donated one million dollars to the Tsunami relief efforts. I've had a crush on Bullock for a long time, but when I see an act of generosity such as this, from someone who can easily cop a "Hollywood attitude" but instead shows her down to earth nature and human side - this dude can just fall in love with her all over again. By the way, dear Sandy also donated a million dollars to the 9/11 fund at that time.

I must at this point acknowledge the wonderful outpouring of generosity from those of us not capable of such a sizeable donation - but still give the loose change, couple of bucks, or even more than they can afford to do something for someone and something greater than themselves. Bravo to all of you!!!

Sunday, January 02, 2005


NOTE: The host site for this audio post shut down without warning so I have no archive of the audio post presented on this day.this is an audio post - click to play

Saturday, January 01, 2005

On the first day of this New Year...

On the first day of this New Year
I hope to leave behind that which
cripples the mind
weakens the soul
shakes the foundation on which
my life is built

On the first day of this New Year
I will live for today and
pray for tomorrow
I will do my best to learn from the
mistakes I made last year
and do my best to give more of myself
than I take from others

On the first day of this New Year
I will try my best to spend the year ahead
Bringing joy and laughter to others

On the first day of this New Year
I give you my love
and wish for you
all that you wish for yourself