W's Island

Plot Synopses for Episodes of a Gilligan's Island Remake Starring Members of the Bush Administration.

Gilligan invades a neighboring island of cannibals. He mistakenly believes that Mary Ann and Ginger would be a sufficient force to secure the island, and Skipper erroneously claims they would be welcome as liberators.

A hurricane hits the island. Gilligan does nothing to help, but tells Mrs. Howell, "Lovey, you're doing a heck of a job."

Skipper goes hunting for fowl on the island and accidentally shoots Mr. Howell in the face, then waits a day before telling Gilligan.

The professor's experiments conclusively show that climate change is causing the island to sink into the sea. Gilligan erases his papers and tries to stop him from talking, thinking that will make the problem go away.

Who Killed the Electric Car?


Who Killed the Electric Car? is a documentary about the electric car that GM made for a while in 1996. When the leases ended for the cars, all the GM EV1s were reclaimed and destroyed. Why was such a well-liked car discontinued? Several of the customers wanted to buy the car when their lease was up. Why weren't they allowed to? And why did GM collect these cars and shred them to bits, even though some of them had never been used?

I heard about this on the PBS Now podcast (download the episode). I'm looking forward to seeing this movie. It should be opening wide later this summer.

Was the 2004 Election Stolen?

Was the 2004 Election Stolen? - Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. wrote an article for Rolling Stone that sums up an extensive investigation into allegations of fraud and disenfranchisement in Ohio in the 2004 Presidential election. The article is very long and well-referenced (208 citations) and well worth the time it will take you to read it.

Kennedy alleges that the GOP used a variety of tactics to prevent people from voting for Kerry, to disqualify ballots from Democratic voters, to shift votes from Kerry to other candidates and to avoid recounting the votes. At the center of the controversy is Kenneth Blackwell, the Ohio Secretary of State. He served as the Chief Elections Officer, overseeing the elections process for the state, and as the co-chair of the Committee to Re-elect George Bush in Ohio, a clear conflict of interest. Blackwell is now the Republican nominee for governor of Ohio. If he wins this fall, we can expect more of the same from Ohio in 2008.

What Went Wrong In Ohio: The Conyers Report On The 2004 Presidential ElectionOne of the many sources that the article draws from is the report from the Congressional investigation led by John Conyers, Jr. of Michigan. You can get the report here (see the PDF link at the bottom) or you can buy it in book form: What Went Wrong In Ohio: The Conyers Report On The 2004 Presidential Election. The report concludes that there were significant problems. "We have found numerous, serious election irregularities in the Ohio presidential election, which resulted in a significant disenfranchisement of voters. Cumulatively, these irregularities, which affected hundreds of thousand of votes and voters in Ohio, raise grave doubts regarding whether it can be said the Ohio electors selected on December 13, 2004, were chosen in a manner that conforms to Ohio law, let alone federal requirements and constitutional standards." To refresh your memory, the Ohio election was decided by 118,601 votes. The win in Ohio gave President Bush the electoral votes he needed to win the election. If even a few of the allegations of the article and the report are true, then Bush was not the rightful winner of the 2004 election.

I tip my hat to EdB at Wonderwinds.com for pointing the article out. I highly recommend that you take the time to read this article all the way through. I knew that there were some rumblings about problems in Ohio, but when I see all the evidence laid out like this, it's pretty shocking. If you read the article and the government report and still want more information on the issue, Wikipedia has a very long article about it.

Corruption in Jefferson City

Corruption in Gov. Matt Blunt's Office - One of Missouri Governor Matt Blunt's top aides is stepping down in the midst of the FBI looking into the governor's office for possible corruption.

(via Fired Up Missouri)

Cordless Jump Rope

Cordless Jump RopeCordless Jump Rope - If you like everything about jumping rope except for the rope, then this invention is for you. Hold the two handles and pretend that they're connected by a rope. Swing the imaginary rope around your body and jump over it. Or just imagine that you're jumping over the imaginary rope. Or, better yet, just sit on your couch and imagine that you ordered this device.

patentsilly.com is going into my bloglines subscriptions.

(via Dave Barry's Blog)

Google Spell for b2evolution

We've been using it here on brendoman.com for a while, but now the Google Spell plugin for b2evolution is publicly available at AstonishMe.co.uk. We're pretty excited to release it into the community for free. The spell checker than comes with b2evolution does not work at all, so this will be a good alternative. It does require b2evolution 1.6 or later.

This really was a collaborative project for the team at Astonish Me. I started the ball rolling by exploring different ways a spell check plugin could be made. There are several server side methods, like aspell and pspell, but they aren't as easy to install. I settled on Google's spell check API because it's free, fast, multilingual and easy to connect to. Then I found GoogieSpell, some GPL javascript code that handles the connection to Google and the user interface of the spell checker. Once I found that I was able to drop it into a b2evolution plugin and have it working in no time.

Then, I passed it off to stk and YaBBa at AstonishMe and they kicked the tires and found a few problems. They fixed them up and stk started working on the fluffy write-up. That man could sell ice to an Eskimo. Then we discovered that there was a limit to how much text the spell checker could handle. Any text after that limit was just ignored. So, YaBBa set about rewriting part of the plugin to correct that problem (which also exists in GoogieSpell). I think this turned into a big project for him, but he was successful. After that we ironed out a few more bugs and released the plugin.

It's a free plugin, but we're hoping that our work on it will get some positive attention for AstonishMe, which may help us make some money down the road. Follow the first link in the post for a more detailed description of the plugin. Or, just leave a comment here to see the spell checker in action.

Happy birthday, Blog Cabin

I made my first blog post three years ago today. It was on LiveJournal then, but I've imported the old posts.

Neologism poll

Ok, the poll's up. Vote for your favorite Simpsons Neologism.

Simpsons neologism: Sunday

Simpsons neologism of the day for Sunday, May 28, 2006:
National insults. Apparently the normal stream of offensive material isn't efficient enough for the Simpsons writers, so occassionally they through in an insult for an entire nation of people.

Puck-slapping maple suckers - About Canadians.
Shatner-stealing Mexico-touchers - About Americans. The response to the above insult.
Cheese-eating surrender monkeys - Groundskeeper Willie's name for the French.
Sandal-wearing goldfish-tenders - Mr. Burns' name for the Japanese.

Simpsons Neologism: Saturday

Simpsons neologism of the day for Saturday, May 27, 2006:
Word Hole

Sideshow Bob: Oh, I renew my objection to this pointless endeavor! Informally now and by affidavit later. Time permitting.
Wiggum: Shut your word hole! We've got to get this place clean for the air show.

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