Saturday, July 09, 2005


If you have not downloaded your FREE version of Google Earth, you have to do it right now. It's the coolest time-waster I have ever come across. And I've wasted a LOT of time in my life.

As you are likely aware, there are satellites spinning night and day around our beautiful blue planet. It's a seemingly insignificant speck in the middle of a boundless cosmos - unless you happen to be stuck here. Then our planet is a massive, intricate patchwork quilt of worlds - all fused together to form a thin skin around a rocky, molten core.

This thin, fragile skin is where you and I play; microscopic dust mites on the face of a vibrant, heavenly body.

Some of these satellites rotating about us in the night sky are visible if you stare long enough. They look like shooting stars that never fade, steadily charging like slowly-drawn chariots from one horizon to the other. Perhaps you've seen one and wondered what it was doing. Sending you a television feed? Monitoring the weather? Spying on your neighbor?

A lot of these satellites take pictures. These pictures help us put together the jigsaw puzzle of our world. And now YOU can explore the completed jigsaw puzzle from a console in your home. It's truly an amazing gift to mankind - the ability to span the globe and zoom in to every nook and corner. Once the space-pod in your mind's eye has broken the stratosphere and sends you hurtling toward your destination, I recommend tilting the view so you can get a better perspective on the terrain.

Then take a simulated flight from New York to London to Moscow. Or climb Mount Everest. I just got through driving north along the Magnificent Mile, over to the beach where I played volleyball last night, then jogged slowly back to my apartment building. There was even a function that mapped all of the buildings in my fine city - including the one in which I live. Tapping the controls carefully, I was able to put myself on the 20th floor facing south. The makeshift architecture generated by the satellite feeds was eerily familiar. I turned looked out the window behind me and, sure as shit, the views were nearly identical.

A free computer program built from satellite images managed to simulate the view from my apartment. Pardon my language, but how fucking cool is that?

It gets better, my friends. The interface also allows you to search for roads, restaurants, hotels, banks, and anything else you might be looking for - all with the click of a button. I checked a tiny box and the names of every restaurant in my neighborhood came up on the screen in their location relative to my global position. I used the rotate button to spin around and new restaurants popped up in my field of vision. So not only is this program free and fun to use - it's useful!

I highly recommend you take a little trip to:

Or click the header on this post - it will take you right there. You will be prompted to save the interface program to your desktop and install it. It is small, and takes roughly 30 seconds to complete. We only know one world - now you can explore all of it.

Stagger across the Sahara. Fly over the Falkland Islands. Look for a place to stay in Antarctica (I couldn't find any, so I'm going to be packing a tent for that destination). Zoom into a Hawaiian volcano. Take a cruise around the Caribbean. Have coffee beside the Eiffel Tower tomorrow morning. Technology has put the world at your fingertips.

I'll meet you in New Guinea around 5pm tomorrow...

Friday, July 08, 2005


Please order your hot dog:

Free polls from


Well, today is the day. If you drive in Chicago, you'd better not be doing it with a phone in your hand. A controversial new law is now in effect that bans the use of hand-held cellular phones while operating a motor vehicle. It's controversial because you can still talk on the phone if you have one of those fancy hands-free earpieces that cost $3.99 at Walgreens. So the law really isn't expected to change phone habits a whole lot. People are still going to talk on their phones in the car - they're just going to have their hands free to smoke, fiddle with the radio, wrestle candy away from screaming children, flip the bird, and all of the other things people do with their hands while driving.

Here's the problem with the law. Studies have demonstrated that the problem with the use of cell phones while driving isn’t the fact that we need a hand to hold them – it’s that the concentration required to have a conversation impairs our ability to focus on the road. Researchers tested the ability of drivers to react to changes in conditions under normal circumstances, while talking on a handheld phone, and while talking with the aid of a hands-free earpiece. They studied their “fields of vision” to determine just how much of the landscape was being processed by drivers in all cases. Drivers engaged in telephone conversations, whether they were using a hand-held unit or wearing an earpiece, demonstrated an impaired field of vision – and there was virtually no difference between the two.

Talking on the cell phone does not impair your ability to drive – TALKING does.

So what are politicians going to do, ban conversation? They can’t…and they know they can’t. What they CAN do (to make it look like they’re doing SOMETHING) is ban holding the phone itself. It’s a misguided solution that’s going to create more problems than it’s going to solve. Do you know how hard it is to get that hands-free set plugged in while you’re driving 70 MPH in traffic on the Eisenhower? I do. It's not easy. I needed to use parts of my body like a Swiss Army knife. And then to get the friggin’ earpiece on right? All while the phone is ringing? I’m going to be driving with my knees just to comply with a law. People are going to see me juggling a ringing telephone, a hands-free head set, a portable charger, a grande hazelnut latte, and a 2-ton automobile. And then they're going to yell out their window at me for being unsafe. So then I'm going to have to free up a hand somehow to show them my "ring" finger. This whole law is going to be a complete catastrophe. I may be serving time.

Here’s something else I wonder – is it illegal to hold a cellphone to your head while driving if you’re not talking to anyone?? That would be, theoretically, safer than driving with both hands on the wheel while talking on a hands-free set. And you know what causes more accidents per year than cellphones?

Naked cyclists. What? No! Why would I make THAT up??

Hey - will you keep your eyes on the road're driving like an ass!

For more on the research, go here:


Here's a familiar report. This week a suicide bomber in Iraq killed 17 people waiting outside a police recruiting center.

How many times has this happened since the coup d'coalition? Countless, it seems. 12 people killed while waiting outside a recruitment center. 14 die from a car blast while waiting outside a police recruitment office. 6 people gunned down while waiting in line outside a police recruitment center.

What I want to know is why there's always a line outside of these places? Can't they get these people inside the building? Can't they tell them to come back when there's no line? Shit - would YOU stand in that line if it were more than 2 or 3 people deep? If I see a line at STARBUCKS I keep walking. A little impatience in some parts of the world could mean the difference between life and death.

I don't mean to come off as insensitive, especially when I admire the courage of these people - to stand in line for hours surrounded by clear and present danger. Targets. But let's be smart about this. Lines outside of recruitment centers are easy marks. I think they need to start issuing numbers at the door, or making appointments to keep the line down so these people aren't standing around in the sun waiting for some lunatic strapped with explosives to go bowling for Allah.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


I called in sick to work last week because I felt like taking a day off.

I called bright and early because I wanted to leave a message. That's always been easier for me than having to lie to a live person.

Unfortunately, my boss was already in and answered the phone. I needed to think fast.

I nervously identified myself and announced that I would be unable to come in because I wasn't feeling well. He expressed concern and asked me what the problem was.

I stammered nervously, then offered "A scorching case of Anal Glaucoma," hoping he would pry no more. But this only stoked his curiosity. He said he was unfamiliar with Anal Glaucoma and asked me to elaborate on my condition.

I coughed once and said, "I'm sorry...I just can't see my ass coming in to work today."


Just one day after it was awarded the 2012 Olympic games, London was rocked. Dozens were killed and hundreds wounded as four bombs detonated along the city's mass transit system. The terrorist strike was the worst attack on London since the Second World War, and a reminder that there remains poison in the bloodstream of western civilization.

The bomb blasts were claimed by – let me make sure I get this right – the Secret Organization Group of Al-Qa'ida of Jihad Organization in Europe. These folks are clearly trying to have their cake and eat it too. You can’t very well be a SECRET organization while claiming responsibility for large-scale homicides. Can you? It’s one or the other, bastards – not both. Are you in the closet or out?

I find it profoundly unsettling that such a small group of free radicals can execute such large acts of catastrophic violence, with great precision and apparent ease. And it's hard for me to imagine preventing these destructive events when central to the success of terrorism is the element of surprise. Indeed, terrorist acts are successful because we never see them coming. Our governments reflexively preach vigilance in their wake - the U.S. Office of Homeland Security wasted no time in putting the nation's mass transit system on orange alert. Vigilance is certainly a reasonable request, but I wonder if a heightened state of awareness doesn’t minimize the risk of attack so much as it does the potential damage from one. If an individual or group is dead set on creating widespread havoc, they need only the resources and half a brain to make it happen. Two familiar qualifications: willing and able.

Terror prevention efforts have primarily (if not solely) focused on reducing the ABILITY of radicals to do great harm. Meanwhile, it appears little progress has been made in the way of eradicating the DESIRE. The global war on terror has been a success insofar as it has made it more difficult for terrorists to operate. But while they are less ABLE now, I wonder if perhaps they are not more WILLING. And where there is a will...


After weeks of deep consideration and intense debate, I have concluded that the single best smell in the entire world is the heavenly scent of pan-fried bacon. Do not argue with me on this – you cannot win. There is no other smell in the world that can reliably trigger an immediate sense of calm and comfort like the smell of bacon. As you are likely aware, the smell of bacon also makes the perfect alarm clock – it's an olfactory sensation that delicately welcomes us back to consciousness, inspiring us to charge full speed into life’s rich pageantry. It is a smell that relaxes us by taking us back to simpler times. Stretching out on the couch under a stack of newspapers on a lazy Sunday morning. Inhaling the breeze off a skillet as it melts meat over a cracking campfire. Gossiping with a good friend over coffee at a cozy corner diner on a stormy spring night. The smell of bacon takes you there. It’s simply the best.

Because I love the smell so much, I have been intensely lobbying for an aerosol air freshener that will emit the scent of bacon. I’ve even offered up a few names:

Mountain Hog

Slice of Dawn

Fa Sizzle Ma Skizzle

Shake ‘n’ Bacon

Rise & Swine

Misty Morning Crackle

Piggyback Fried

Greasy Spork

BLT Breeze

Crispy Pork Morning

(This is what happens when I work into the lunch hour)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


You only have to hit the space bar once after a period.


There are countless resources on this now - here are a couple that you can use to reference. Please let people know - as lead writer at several advertising agencies, it's been my job to go into text documents and remove all the extra spaces before a copy deck is handed off to the design team.

Stan may need a lot of work on his short game, but he knows to only tap the space bar once after a period. Way to go, Stan!