Saturday, August 30, 2008
Eugene Caldwell was knocked down by the runaway horse just before 6 p.m. in the charter bus parking lot, according to police. He hit his head, suffering critical injuries, and died about 1 a.m. at San Francisco General Hospital.
The officer riding the horse was thrown after a plastic bag blew up and got caught in the animal's bridle. The horse then bolted across the parking lot, knocking down another person. The officer and other person knocked down were treated at the scene for minor injuries, said police Sgt. Neville Gittens.
The best reader's comment on the story on SFGate.com had to be, "I thought they banned plastic bags in San Francisco?"
Oh, we're all so witty and ironic in SF.
I went with Rand and Blake tonight to see "West Side Story." It was a lot of fun. I love how the audience clapped after great songs and dance scenes.
My favorite line from the entire movie had to be from Maria: "When you come, use the back door."
Good advice for any Catholic girl.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
I love my SPAM filter. Because of it, I get to see these great SPAM titles. Here's my favorite email today:
Burn fat quickly, easily and safely with The Psychological Gastric Band
No diets. No special exercises. No quack pills.
Real science equals real results!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Is anyone else being bombarded by Paris Hilton-themed SPAM? My filter today captured emails with the following subject lines:
Cristiano Ronaldo Disses Paris Hilton Um Louro Mudo Feio!
Paris Hilton Returned By Aliens
Paris Hilton screwed by Boy Scouts
Paris Hilton selling her 'used' underwear on eBay!
Paris Hilton charges for Pussy
And, by far my favorite:
Paris Hilton Is Escapee From Witch Mountain
UPDATE: The bounty continues to grow. Today (Saturday), I received even more great PH Spam.
TV presenter sets fire to Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton's Prison Sweat to be Sold on e-Bay
Thursday, August 21, 2008
OMG. I'm hooked. I came home and set a series recording on my DVR. Thank Buddha for Tivo.
One thing, though: is it bad that I laugh at Allison? She cracks me up.
The lightpoles of San Francisco are fair game for lost kittens, missing laptops, services for hire, and political action groups. I see posters and flyers stapled to these dead trees (that's what they are, folks) all the time. Even more interesting, though, are the poles that have been basically stripped of all advertising. The rusting staples form a patina of forgotten causes, furniture, and people.
I happened across this lone phone number today, dangling desperately from its thumbtack. Who is at the other end of that number? What were they selling? I'm so intrigued and have to fight the urge to call.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Despite these cases and Customs' new policy, there are some limits on the government's broad powers at the border and you should know your rights. Customs may detain documents and/or devices for an unspecified "reasonable" amount of time, but permanent seizure requires probable cause of unlawful activity. When probable cause does not exist, Customs must return originals and destroy any copies made of the information, but the new policy is silent on how long Customs in fact may take before returning anything. According to Customs' policy, all actions surrounding the retention of originals or copies will be documented by officers and certified by a supervisor. Any copies shared with other agencies will either be returned to Customs or the agency must certify to Customs that it has destroyed copies of the information. However, there are few limitations when the documents in question pertain to immigration. Customs may retain the originals or copies of such documents, regardless of warrant or suspicion. Federal agencies assisting Customs may retain copies of immigration or non-immigration information only when the agency has an independent legal right to do so. When you are at the border, you will not know and will not be able to learn whether some other agency, the Internal Revenue Service, for example, has an independent legal right to your information.Courts have held open the possibility that a laptop search may be deemed unreasonable when it is carried out in a particularly offensive manner or results in exceptional damage to the traveler's property. Customs officials also do not have unlimited abilities to search an international traveler's laptop without suspicion of wrongdoing after the traveler already has crossed the border, beyond the first point at which the traveler might have been stopped within the country.
International business travelers should be aware of the possibility that business confidential information and even documents subject to attorney-client privilege could be subject to border searches. Customs' policy requires that officers "take all reasonable measures" to protect business confidential information from unauthorized disclosure, and states that laws such as the Trade Secrets and Privacy Acts may govern or restrict the handling of information. However, the policy does not provide specific guidelines on how officers should treat such information. Attorney-client privileged material also may be searched, but the officer must suspect that the documents' contents contain evidence of a crime and the officer must receive approval to search the privileged information from the Associate/Assistant Chief Counsel or the appropriate U.S. Attorney's office. International business travelers should be prepared for searches and should take necessary precautionary measures. As a practical matter, the risk that Customs agents may conduct an extensive "routine" search of laptops or documents may be very low—there is not enough time to search every traveler, and agents typically are focused on higher-risk security threats. Nevertheless, travelers concerned that business-confidential or privileged information could be examined by border officials may want to take precautionary steps to protect such information, including the following:
- Establish secure, web-based document repositories that you or your business colleagues can use to access documents remotely.
- Send electronic copies of documents prior to meetings, rather than carry them across the border in electronic or digital storage devices.
- When information must be carried across the border, rather than storing it on the "desktop" of your computer, store it separately in portable storage devices such as memory sticks or flash drives that are labeled, where appropriate, "business confidential" or "attorney-client privileged." Customs is authorized to view these documents, but identifying sensitive information may help to alert border officials to any special handling procedures that might be required, reducing the risk of inadvertent exposure of confidential information. Whereas Customs may "routinely" search business confidential information, the examination of "attorney-client" information requires reasonable suspicion and the advice of an Assistant Chief Counsel, thus giving it an extra layer of protection against arbitrary border inspection.
- Consider turning off e-mail caching when traveling to other countries. Some programs such as Microsoft Outlook store or "cache" copies of e-mail messages on the laptop so that the e-mail messages are available for review while not connected to a computer network. Note that with caching turned off, you will not be able to read your e-mail without first connecting to the computer network.
- Clear or delete web browser cache and delete "cookies" and passwords that may be stored on your laptop.
Alternatives to carrying information on a laptop are not always a good or sufficient solution to the problems indicated above. Don't assume that sending documents across the border by U.S. mail or private carrier can alleviate confidentiality concerns. Customs officers may not read the contents of sealed letter class mail sent across the border without a warrant, but they are permitted to open it. Customs may both search and read, without a warrant, documents sent abroad through private carriers such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL. Customs officials in other countries may or may not have similar standards for border inspections.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Is it strange that people where I work are taking the time to bake cookies, muffins, brownies, etc. so that they can sell them and then give the money to a non-profit that helps feed people? I feel like we need to trim the middle-man fat here and just give the money straight to the non-profit, right?
Sunday, August 17, 2008
During the Olympics last night, just before the Men's 4 x 100 Medley, Chevrolet ran a commercial for the 2009 Traverse. The commercial, I must say, is a complete rip-off of Chronicle Books' "Porn for Women" series. Check out the books for yourself and compare it to the commercial (which I'll post as soon as I can find it).
Basically, the ad shows a very hot looking guy (sans shirt) ironing a dress while making reservations for his 6-month anniversary with his wife or girlfriend. Then it flashes to the SUV and the voiceover tells how the vehicle is full of features that will be greatly appreciated. Cut back to the guy again who is doing more housework: cleaning the toilet and still shirtless.
Great work, ad execs. Steal your best ideas from independent publishers. Madison Avenue is moribund.
Porn for Women at Chronicle Books
And here's a bad recording of the commercial. When I find a better one, I'll post it.
Here, finally, is a full version of the commercial.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Here are some of her thoughts:
You have mercilessly beaten out your friends, your girlfriends, your boyfriends, your brothers, your sisters and every one you have loved...
Try everything once: Pilates, squash, open mic night, tantric sex. What do you have to lose? When you risk everything, you have anything to gain...
Laws are nothing but restrictions: break every one you possibly can...
Pain is weakness leaving the body. That ache in your muscles? The ripped papers? The taste of blood on your lips? The broken condom? The fatigue in your bones? Those are the victories. Life is a beautiful game and you sure as hell are winning...
Boys and Girls, there are no rules to this game. Someone crosses you? It’s BURN BITCH BURN...
This is the death of dynasty. The authorities may make the rules, they may think they have control, but we cannot forget we are Princeton. We are her blood and her bile. And we are the generation they have never seen before.
We are the anti-Christs to save the world from the mercy of God, the self-pity that festers within the masses. Religion is the opiate of the masses, so drug them until they are nothing but slaves at your will. You have deserved this. You are Hitler the fourth, Alexander the Great the Second, Napoleon the Fifth, here to destroy the world we know.
Personally, I think she's spot on. She has my vote for Obama's VP.
Obama/Xu 2008: Burn Bitch Burn!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I'm sitting here watching the Olympics and enjoying the "human" interest story by Mary Carillo about pandas in China. Little did I expect her to reveal China's great secret to panda babymaking: Panda Porn!
They have videos of boy pandas meeting girl pandas, and they make the pandas watch it. It's like Cinemax for pandas.
I wonder if it will be available via On Demand soon.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
And here is a clip of his performance in San Francisco that I missed while I was on my Northwest Tour. Alas. Come back soon, Jay.
All the waiting, all the questions, the entire process was, at least for the 14 members of the jury, a waste of time.
After we exited, the attorneys for all parties came out and explained the mistrial was declared for some sort of conflict/procedural reason, not an evidentiary one. Then, the Assistant District Attorney asked us what seemed to work, what needed to be better explained, etc. The Public Defender asked similar questions. I had to say that I thought the testimony of the one victim we heard lacked the narrative cohesion and grasp of the details that I would prefer. It made me doubt his ability to remember things clearly and, thus, his ability to identify his attackers.
At least I can now tell you what the trial was about. On May 9th at approx. 11:20 pm at the corner of 16th and Market in San Francisco, Anton Fuchs (age 73) and his wife (age 25--ahem) were driving home. They stopped behind a few cars at the light. Then, they claimed to hear a screeching sound then pounding on the back of their car. Looking behind them, they saw a body or bodies and limbs flailing in their rear window. They thought there might have been a pedestrian accident.
One or both of them got out of their car to investigate, saw nothing, and Mr. Fuchs went back to the car behind him. He asked the driver what was going on. He claims that the people in the car began cursing at him, referring to "you fucking faggots" and "fucking queers." Mr. Fuchs said he began to realize this may be some sort of prank so he went back to his car to get his cellphone. He then heard his wife cursing at the car's occupants and then yelling for help. He went to help her as she was being pulled by someone from the passenger side of the car. When he got over there, he was also grabbed and pulled against the door of the car, with the left side of his face hitting the door frame. He was eventually pulled inside and punched a few times.
At some point, while both Mr. and Mrs. Fuchs were still being held, at least one person yelled at the driver to take off. The driver took off, dragging the Fuchs for an undetermined distance (this was a point of contention during cross-examination but was somewhere around 10-35 feet at 15-20 MPH). A passing MUNI inspector noticed what was happening and cut the car off with his truck.
The Fuchs were released and three of the four passengers got out of the car. The driver was trapped and Mr. Fuchs somehow managed to grab the keys. The police arrived almost immediately, did a search and found two suspects. One was identified by Mr. Fuchs, the other was not positively identified.
And on and on it went. Mr. Fuchs wrote a statement that night/morning. Then he spoke to a police inspector a few times over the next several days. Each time, the story changed a little (if not a lot) with details changing and being added. He also said his positivity of identification ranged from 60% to 100%. Add to that, he seemed irritated to be cross-examined by the defense.
Personally, I didn't find him to be a completely reliable witness. I'm sure something happened. I just don't think we heard all the details correctly from Mr. Fuchs. And, since he was the only witness we got to hear, I'm stuck. I have no idea how the trial would have gone and if the DA would have been able to prove her case beyond a reasonable doubt.
As it stands, I have my doubts. Thus ends my jury duty saga.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Well, it's nearly official. I was seated on the jury in spot #3. Unless I make some awful racist comment or fake Tourette's, I'm probably doomed to serve on this trial.
I hope there's an exciting "reveal" as the trial draws to a close--some Raymond Burr-esque dramatic flourish with the D.A. pointing a finger and shouting, "It was Professor Plum in the library with the candlestick!!"
I can't wait.