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Friday, September 30, 2005

Sean Hayes

Sean Hayes It's never easy playing a 'best friend'. You have to get your character out there and get recognized so that you can play off the lead without overshadowing them. Think Ethel in I Love Lucy. Few actors have done it successfully. Sean Hayes is one of those few.

Sean Hayes and Eric McCormack Regarding the colorful character he portrays on “Will & Grace,” Emmy Award-winning actor Sean Hayes explains, “Jack is highly neurotic, extremely outspoken, a little bitter, maybe even borderline obsessive-compulsive. However, underneath all that, he is a caring soul and a good friend to Will (Eric McCormack).”

Season eight is bittersweet for Hayes. These are the final episodes that have made him a household name, and while W&G has made him a star he has concerns that he may be forever seen as just 'the gay buddy'.

Hollywood wears horse blinders when it looks at actors and typecasting could be Hayes worst enemy.

Recently he tried his hand at producing with Bravo's "Situation Comedy", a fly-on-the-wall perspective of the making of a sitcom pilot.

Hayes won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2000 for “Will & Grace” - and has been nominated every year since.

Hayes was raised in the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, Illinois. A talented musician, he supported himself as a classical pianist and performed in a pop band while attending Illinois State University, where he majored in performance and conducting. He also appeared in the university’s productions of “Burn This” and “Love for Love.”

After his college experience, Hayes began working in the Chicago theater community, serving as the music director at the Pheasant Run Theatre for a few years, where he appeared in several of their productions. He composed original music for a production of “Antigone” at the Steppenwolf Theatre and appeared in the original production of “Role Play” at the Organic Theater.

An alumnus of the famed Second City improvisational comedy group, Hayes also had gigs as a standup comic, performing at the Comedy Club in Los Angeles.

While still in Chicago, Hayes won guest-starring roles in television shows including “Missing Persons,” “Silk Stalkings” and “Tough Target.”

After moving to Los Angeles, Hayes had gigs as a stand-up comic, performing at the Comedy Club, and starred in the television movie “A&P,” based on the short story by John Updike. Hayes also starred as Jerry Lewis in the television movie “The Martin & Lewis Story.”
Sean Hayes On the big screen, Hayes was recently seen in the independent feature "Pieces of April" for writer/director Peter Hedges.

He was also featured in "The Cat in the Hat" as the voice of The Fish and in person as Mr. Humberfloob. Prior to these films, he played the title role in the gay art-house hit "Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss," which won critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival, and lent his voice to the character of the diabolical Mr. Tinkles in the box-office hit "Cats and Dogs."

Hayes has also been honored with two Screen Actors Guild Awards, a TV Guide Award, an American Comedy Award and five Golden Globe nominations.

*by Meg Allen 365Gay.com TV

Fact or Crap?

Fact or Crap?®

Danielle Steel owned a dating service before she started writing novels.

CRAP! Steel got her start in the trenches, writing ad copy. In addition to writing more than 50 bestselling novels, Steel has written a book of poems, a biography of her son, Nicholas Traina, and children’s books dealing with life-changing issues such as going to a new school and death.

Danielle Steel

31 Signs the computer has taken over your life

animated computer 1. Your stationery is more cluttered than Warren Beatty's address book. The letterhead lists a fax number, e-mail addresses for two on-line services, and your Internet address, which spreads across the breadth of the letterhead and continues to the back. In essence, you have conceded that the first page of any letter you write *is* letterhead.

2. You have never sat through an entire movie without having at least one device on your body beep or buzz.

3. You need to fill out a form that must be typewritten, but you can't because there isn't one typewriter in your house -- only computers with laser printers.

4. You think of the gadgets in your office as "friends," but you forget to send your father a birthday card.

5. You disdain people who use low baud rates.

6. When you go into a computer store, you eavesdrop on a salesperson talking with customers -- and you butt in to correct him and spend the next twenty minutes answering the customers' questions, while the salesperson stands by silently, nodding his head.

7. You use the phrase "digital compression" in a conversation without thinking how strange your mouth feels when you say it.

8. You constantly find yourself in groups of people to whom you say the phrase "digital compression." Everyone understands what you mean, and you are not surprised or disappointed that you don't have to explain it.

9. You know Bill Gates' e-mail address, but you have to look up your own social security number.

10. You stop saying "phone number" and replace it with "voice number," since we all know the majority of phone lines in any house are plugged into contraptions that talk to other contraptions.

11. You sign Christmas cards by putting :-) next to your signature.

12. Off the top of your head, you can think of nineteen keystroke symbols that are far more clever than :-)

13. You back up your data every day.

14. Your wife asks you to pick up some minipads for her at the store and you return with a rest for your mouse.

15. You think jokes about being unable to program a VCR are stupid.

16. On vacation, you are reading a computer manual and turning the pages faster than everyone else who is reading John Grisham novels.

17. The thought that CD could refer to investment finance or music rarely enters your mind.

18. You are able to argue persuasively that Ross Perot's phrase "electronic town hall" makes more sense than the term "information superhighway," but you don't because, after all, the man still uses hand-drawn pie charts.

19. You go to computer trade shows and map out your path of the exhibit hall in advance. However, you cannot give someone directions to your house without looking up the street names.

20. You would rather get more dots per inch than miles per gallon.

21. You become upset when a person calls you on the phone to sell you something, but you think it's okay for a computer to call and demand that you start pushing buttons on your telephone to receive more information about the product it is selling.

22. You know without a doubt that disks come in five-and-a-quarter and three-and-a-half inch sizes.

23. Al Gore strikes you as an "intriguing" fellow.

24. You own a set of itty-bitty screwdrivers and you actually know where they are.

25. While contemporaries swap stories about their recent hernia surgeries, you compare mouse-induced index-finger strain with a nine-year-old.

26. You are so knowledgeable about technology that you feel secure enough to say "I don't know" when someone asks you a technology question instead of feeling compelled to make something up.

27. You rotate your screen savers more frequently than your automobile tires.

28. You have a functioning home copier machine, but every toaster you own turns bread into charcoal.

29. You have ended friendships because of irreconcilably different opinions about which is better: the track ball or the track pad.

30. You understand all the jokes in this message. If so, my friend, technology has taken over your life. We suggest, for your own good, that you go lie under a tree and write a haiku. And don't use a laptop.

31. You email this message to your friends over the net. You'd never get around to showing it to them in person or reading it to them on the phone. In fact, you have probably never met most of these people face-to-face.

animated computer

Crack in my windshield

Driving along The 401, 110 kilometres an hour (10 km over the speed limit), minding my own business, when outta nowhere, I get a crack in my windshield.

Crack in my windshiled!

*Thanks, Daryn! :O)

Top court rules B.C. can sue tobacco companies

BC Supreme Court In a decision that could lead to cigarette-makers coughing up billions of dollars to pay for sick smokers' health care, the country's top court has ruled that British Columbia can sue the industry.

"They upheld the constitutionality of the British Columbia legislation," CTV Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife reported from the Supreme Court.

"This is a landmark ruling that could serve as a prototype for other provinces to sue the big tobacco companies."

The unanimous 9-0 judgment -- delayed, at the request of Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, until after the stock markets closed -- gives the go-ahead for B.C. to seek damages for smoking-related health-care costs dating back 50 years.

At issue was a 1998 British Columbia law, the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act. Under the terms of that legislation, the province can not only pursue retroactive damages, but can also recover the costs of future illnesses linked to "tobacco-related wrongs."

The law spells out tough new ground rules that would curtail some traditional defences used in civil suits and puts the burden of proof on the companies on some key legal points. It also makes it easier to prove a cause-and-effect link between smoking and disease.

Before the provincial government could seek file suit against the tobacco companies however, members of the Canadian tobacco industry and the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers' Council claimed the law exceeded provincial jurisdiction.

Mad Camel! But anti-tobacco activists see the B.C. law as a model for the country, and hope that the nod from the country's top court will clear the way for other provinces to follow suit.

In the 1990s, a similar case in Florida led to most American states enacting legislation in the same vein. Those laws pressured U.S. cigarette manufacturers to agree to a $245 billion US settlement. To be spent over a 25-year-period, the money is specifically targeted to the treatment of patients with cancer, emphysema and other smoking-related illnesses.

Canadian companies have said they won't pursue a similar agreement, saying their relatively smaller industry would be bankrupted by a settlement of that size.

The B.C. suit doesn't just name Canadian companies though, it also targets nine foreign firms, including industry heavyweights British American Tobacco and Philip Morris.

Although no one has yet pinned down the cost of analogous claims in Canada, the federal Health Department has estimated the annual cost of treating tobacco-related disease in Canada at $4 billion.

Some estimates pin the potential claims in B.C. alone at more than $10 billion. If other provinces follow suit as expected, the total could climb to hundreds of billions of dollars.

Talking to reporters following the high court ruling, federal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh said Ottawa has no plans to follow British Columbia's example.

"That's not an issue that I have given any thought to," Dosanjh insisted, explaining his department's continuing focus on cessation, control and prevention.

When asked whether putting tobacco companies out of business would effectively all three of his goals, the health minister said that's not an option he has.

"I don't think that one views these kinds of issues as cash cows," he said. "It is never the intention of any government to bankrupt any companies."

Watching reaction on Bay Street, RobTV's Linda Sims says B.C. will have to fight a pitched legal battle if it wants any cash from the companies.

Joe Chemo "The tobacco companies have never given an inch on any type of culpability or repsonsibility without huge litigation," Sims told CTV from the Toronto Stock Exchange.

"It could be a decade of lawsuits before anything is decided."

Canadian Cancer Society lawyer Rob Cunningham says it is "very important to hold the industry accountable for decades of wrongful behaviour."

"We know that each year in Canada ... there's $4 billion in direct health care costs because of tobacco," he told CTV's Canada AM early Thursday.

"The claims of the B.C. government ... include misleading advertising, denying the health effects, concealing their research and targeting children," Cunningham added.

*CTV.ca News Staff

By Myself: The Songs Of Judy Garland - Linda Eder

Linda Eder Is there any more iconic singer in the gay community than Judy Garland?

Whether young or old…butch or femme…gays share an enduring affinity for Garland (at least if they’re honest with themselves and they aren’t tone deaf). But the great question is why?

Why did this diminutive diva with the big voice and the turbulent life touch so many in the gay community and, even more importantly, why does she continue to do so from the grave?

I think the answer lies in the passion of her voice, the pure gutwrenching heart with which she sang a song and her irrepressible, incomparable showmanship.

It is cliché to say, but talent such as Garland’s comes along once in a lifetime and it is almost impossible for anyone but anyone to recreate the magic of such talent live or otherwise, which is why Linda Eder’s new disc By Myself: The Songs of Judy Garland is such a spectacular accomplishment.

Order The CD
Order the CD

Linda Eder does a remarkable job of channeling Judy Garland on the 11-track Angel Records disc By Myself, a wonderful musical tribute to one of the greatest singers of all time. And though Eder does not mimic Garland, at times while listening to By Myself, I still had to remind myself that I wasn’t listening to Garland at all. Eder is truly blessed with one of the finest instruments in music today and her tribute to the one and only Judy Garland is a testament to her gift.

On By Myself, Eder breezes through the Garland songbook brilliant taking on songs like the title track as well as other Garland classics like “Me and My Shadow”, “It Never Was You” and “You Made Me Love You” and performing them with the same finesse and nuance that was Judy Garland’s trademark.

And while there is not a single low point on this entire set, a real high point came for me about halfway through the disc when Eder performs a Garland Medley of “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart/ The Trolley Song” from the Garland films “Listen Darling” and “Meet Me In St. Louis’ respectively.

This medley is absolutely amazing! I’ve never been a big show tune kind of guy, but these two songs along with Garland’s “Rock-a-bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody”, which Eder also performs to perfection on this disc, always make my spirit soar and lifts my heels off the ground.

Eder closes By Myself with a stunningly understated and beautiful rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, the song most associated with Judy Garland. Exquisite is the only way to describe Eder’s version of the song.

In a world filled with tribute albums, Linda Eder has recorded one that is superlative in every way. On By Myself Eder not only pays homage to a legend she does justice to her memory and her musical legacy. I’m sure even Judy herself would have been very proud of this collection.

*Review by Duane Wells, 365Gay.com Music

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Fact or Crap?

Fact or Crap?®

The eruption of Mount Saint Helens in 1980 produced no casualties.

CRAP! Fifty-seven people were killed or never found as a result of the eruption. It is also estimated that the disaster killed 7,000 big game animals and 40,000 salmon. When the eruption occurred, the top 1,300 feet of the volcano fell away.

The eruption of Mount Saint Helens

The 10 Most Powerful Words With Beautiful Pictures!

The 10 Most Powerful Words With Beautiful Pictures!

Click above

A Powerpoint Presentation

*Thanks, Auntie 'M'


A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:

01. "Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before!"

02. "Find Amelia Earhart yet?"

03. "Can you hear me NOW?"

04. "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

05. "You know, in Arkansas, we're now legally married."

06. "Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?"

07. "You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out..."

08. "Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!"


09. "If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit!"

10. "Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity."

11. "You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?"

12. "God, Now I know why I am not gay."

And the best one of them all...

13. "Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there."

*Thanks, Bright Eyes!

Funny and Not-so-funny

I went into the 7-11 gas station the other day and asked for five dollars worth of gas.

The clerk farted and gave me a receipt.

The real high price for gas...
The real high price for gas...

*Thanks, Bright Eyes!

Repressed-Memory Therapist Recovers Rockford Files Episode

OTTUMWA, IA—After months of hypnotherapy, local repressed-memory therapist Brian Marnard has helped Joan Spees, a 37-year-old farm-equipment sales consultant, recover an entire Rockford Files episode from the darkest reaches of her subconscious mind.

The Rockford Filesm "Joan, who had suffered from seemingly inexplicable anxiety attacks her entire adult life, was the perfect candidate for repressed-memory therapy," Marnard said Monday. "Under my care, she began recovering vivid memory flashes from what seemed to be a single, distinct episode from her past. The images included an old-fashioned answering machine turning on in an empty room, a gold Firebird experiencing a sudden, violent change in direction, and a dark-haired man walking on the beach. In spite of the memory's persistent nature, Joan could not see how the fragments were related."


*The Onion

'Mythical' giant squid finally captured on camera

Giant Squid (China Daily) A giant squid, the elusive leviathan that inspired Jules Verne, has been observed alive for the first time, scientists reported on Tuesday.

The creature, which is as long as a public bus from tentacle tip to tail, has been filmed by Japanese researchers using a baited underwater camera, shedding new light on the lifestyle of one of nature's most enigmatic living wonders.

The first observed specimen measured about 8 metres in total, with 5 metre tentacles. Even so, it was something of a titch by the standards of the species as a whole, with the largest yet washed ashore, in New Zealand at 20 metres more than twice as big.

The giant squid, Architeuthis dux, has been known since the 16th century from dead specimens washed up on beaches or snared by fishermen's nets, and from the occasional fleeting sighting when it has neared the surface. But it had never before been seen in its natural deep-water environment.

Giant Squid Its size, fearsome tentacles and beak have captured the imaginations of sailors and writers, for whom it has become an emblem of the terrors of the deep. In Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Captain Nemo's submarine Nautilus was attacked by a "squid of colossal dimensions" that almost destroyed the vessel.

Occasional attacks on shipping have been reported, most recently in 2003 when a yacht skippered by Olivier de Kersauson was gripped during a round-the-world race.

Giant squid have also been found in the stomachs of sperm whales, which feed on the creatures. Giant squid beaks have been found inside sperm whales, which have in turn been found sporting huge tentacle-inflicted wounds. Almost nothing, however, is known about where and how Architeuthis feeds, or about how it behaves in its natural habitat.

Giant Squid Comparison
Giant Squid Comparison

That has now changed, after Tsunemi Kubodera of the National Science Museum and Kyoichi Mori of the Ogasawara Whale Watching Association used sperm whale migration patterns to guide them to the best place to watch for giant squid.

Tagging of the whales showed that they dive to depths of about 1,000 metres where giant squid are thought to lurk.

The team devised a rig at this spot comprising a camera, light and data logger attached to two baited hooks, each carrying a bag of mashed shrimps. Pictures were taken every 30 seconds over a five-hour period.

Art by Steve Walker

One Family's Values

"One Family's Values"
Click on the picture to goto a facebook page dedicated to him and his art. Tons of homoerotic&#185 litho's available.
Not Porn!

BIOGRAPHY: Drawing is one of Steve Walker's earliest childhood memories. He recollects drawing pictures from about the age of three or four years old. Drawing came naturally to the Toronto artist, and his love of the art form continued into his adulthood. As a self taught artist, Walker only began painting after a trip to Europe when he was 25 years old. During the trip, he spent much of his time in Europe touring the great galleries and museums. In his words it was the first time he was exposed to great painting, and the first time he recognized the potential power of the art form. "I was moved by something that I was capable of doing," he said. His first paintings were done in a somewhat secretive way, as he had no intention of exhibiting or selling, and had no aspirations of becoming a professional artist.

Producing art about his life and the lives of those around him is as natural to Walker as his first childhood drawings. As a gay man, Walker is acutely aware that he is living during a period of history that is both the best of times and the worst of times. There is more freedom and acceptance for gay men and women, while at the same time AIDS has devastated the gay population.

But Walker's paintings are not about gay people or homosexuality. He describes his art as being about love, hate, pain, joy, touch, communication, beauty, loneliness, attraction, hope, despair, life and death. His art includes universal themes regardless of race, gender, socio-economic class, culture or sexual orientation. However, his work is unique because he conveys these themes through the subjects in his paintings, young gay men. "Remove the gender of the painting's subjects and what we have is human relationships in general, and one's relationship to the world itself," he said. "As a homosexual I have been moved, educated, and inspired by works that deal with a heterosexual context. Why would I assume that a heterosexual would be incapable of appreciating work that speaks to common themes in life, as seen through my eyes as a gay man. If the heterosexual population is unable to do this, then the loss is theirs, not mine."

If Walker were an abstract painter or a landscape artist, he says his sexual orientation wouldn't matter. But since his paintings are about gay life, his sexual orientation becomes more important than his cultural background, age, or nationality.

The focus of his paintings often depict sadness and loneliness to reflect the reality that much of anyone's life is sad and lonely. Walker often portrays people in relationships as separate entities because that is the way he views them. He also uses a small and consistent palette of colours because he is comfortable with them and the colours provide the desired results. "Colour is very powerful and a little can go a long way if used effectively," he said. "Some colours are very exciting to me, while others are quite offensive. Painting flesh is very exciting because of the huge variations possible within a very small colour range."

Walker's artworks are very large, always measuring 36" by 48". He creates large paintings because he believes that a large image is more appealing than a smaller one. "Whether it's a television screen, cinema screen, or an image in a magazine, the size of the image connotes a degree of importance," he said. Walker said belonging to an oppressed minority group has been a driving force in creating his art. "Any minority wants and needs to find artistic voices that reflect their own personal situations, and, in doing so, validate and record their lives and cultures for themselves, and for the larger world," he said. 
"Someone to be loved"
The art above is The Wizard's Favourite. I have a framed print.

Walker said he experiences many small rewards during the creative process. "After hours of painting, I stand back and look at something that wasn't there before -- a hand, face, or piece of fabric will exist where there was once a blank canvas," he said.

As an artist, Walker said it's exciting to be working at a point in history where there is an audience ready to appreciate and consume his creations. "It is very rare to find success as an artist in your lifetime," he said. "My work will be around long after me, but seeing it affect people at the time that I am creating it is very rewarding."

In recent years Steve Walker's work has been exhibited in galleries in Toronto, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia and Key West.

The gay community of North America has responded very positively to Walker's art. "I am very aware of the appreciation from a group of people who recognize the time, energy and talent devoted to a body of work that speaks specifically to them but at the same time exists in the larger world that we all live in," he said.

&#185 ho·mo·e·rot·ic ( hō ' mō-ĭ-rŏt ' ĭk ) adj. Of or concerning homosexual love and
desire. Tending to arouse such desire.

Brainscan - So True About Those Idle Hands

Brainscan - So True About Those Idle Hands

Edward Furlong "Brainscan" makes a case for the long, hearty camping trip as it tells what happens to 16-year-old Michael (Edward Furlong), a boy who clearly spends too much time indoors. The decor of Michael's room involves a toy noose hanging from the ceiling, horror and heavy-metal artifacts, abundant audio, video and computer equipment and a special chair in which Michael can sit when he feels like having his senses blasted by any of the above.

The film is about what happens when Michael tries out "the ultimate experience in interactive terror," and tests the limits of technohorror as a spectator sport. Goaded by an equally horror-crazed friend (Jamie Marsh), he decides to try the video game of the title. And he expects nothing life-altering when the Brainscan CD-ROM arrives in the mail. But the game lures Michael into committing what may or may not be real acts of murderous violence. It also makes him the plaything of the Trickster (T. Ryder Smith), a smirking, foppish villain whose manner suggests an aging rock star on a very bad day.

The Trickster The Trickster springs out of Michael's television set to ask what are meant to be burning questions ("Real, unreal, what's the difference, so long as you don't get caught?"). But "Brainscan" is less interested in probing the moral implications of Michael's descent into high-tech hell than in exploiting them in its own high-tech way. John Flynn's film is more disturbing as a compendium of angry, isolating teen-age tastes than as the cautionary tale of a boy who plays with fire.

Here is what the audience sees during Michael's first Brainscan adventure: the camera finding its way into a stranger's house and pausing in the kitchen, where Michael's hand selects a butcher knife. A trip into the bedroom, where the stranger is sleeping. A slaughter scene, culminating in the mutilation of the stranger. And later, when Michael is no longer playing the game, his dismay at discovering unexplained body parts in his refrigerator. Frank Langella has the insinuating role of a police detective who just knows that Michael has been up to no good.

Michel and The Trickster With its trance-inducing special effects to simulate Brainscan, and with some messy but energetic morphing when Michael finally does battle with the Trickster, "Brainscan" does approach the mind-glazing effects of an overlong video game. Mr. Furlong, who became a founding father of this film's video-fun house mentality when he co-starred in "Terminator 2," is wrenchingly real as the kind of lonely boy who uses his video camera to spy on the girl next door.

And Mr. Smith brings nasty gusto to the Trickster, a colorful villain despite the fact that his is a distinctly limited appeal. The Trickster is the sort of apparition who breaks his own fingers to test someone else's ideas of illusion and reality. A little of that goes a long way. Still, when last seen, the Trickster is ready to make more mischief. He may just be in a position to kick off "Brainscan 2."

Edward Furlong as Michael "Brainscan" is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). It includes partial nudity, profanity and graphic, gory violence. Brainscan Directed by John Flynn; screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker, story by Brian Owens; director of photography, Francois Protat; edited by Jay Cassidy; music by George S. Clinton; production designer, Paola Ridolfi; produced by Michel Roy; released by Triumph Releasing. Running time: 96 minutes.

This film is rated R.

Michael - Edward Furlong
Detective Hayden - Frank Langella
T. Ryder Smith - The Trickster
Amy Hargreaves - Kimberly
Kyle - Jamie Marsh
Martin - Victor Ertmanis

*Reviewed by Janet Maslin, NY Times

Wizard's Comment: I really enjoyed the movie. It has so many twists and turns in the plot.. it had ME dreaming that I buried something, or someone in my youth.. scary thought. Or.. Was it REALLY a dream....

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Is Screen Glitch the IPod Nano's Fatal Flaw?

Your iPod is not iMmortal. Someday, it will wind up a bruised, battered piece of electronic junk that collects dust in a closet until it finally gets tossed, hopefully in some environmentally sound manner.

But nobody wants to see his or her iPod Nano die young -- or hear about somebody else suffering that fate. For the past week or so, users of Apple's music players have been buzzing about a homemade site, formerly titled "iPod Nano = Flawed Product" , set up by Detroit-based financial consultant Matthew Peterson. He accused Apple of shipping a product that's doomed to meet an early grave.

Rob Pegoraro's Nano after meeting a kitchen floor
Rob Pegoraro's Nano after meeting a kitchen floor.

The site offered an autopsy photo of the Nano that showed most of its screen obscured by black lines and blotches, damage that Peterson said it sustained on the fourth day of gentle use. After noting that the staff at his nearest Apple Store declined to replace the broken unit, much less admit any fault, Peterson predicted a dark future for this techno-bauble: "There will be more broken screens and more broken hearts," he wrote on the site.

Does the iPod Nano have some sort of fatal flaw?

I unwittingly conducted my own test for a review that was published less than two weeks ago: While shaking and spinning the device to verify that it wouldn't skip, it slipped out of my grip, flying loose with enough velocity to slam into the kitchen floor as if it had fallen maybe 15 or 20 feet.

The Nano kept playing and its case seemed intact, but the bottom half of its screen resembled a UPC bar code. Despite that ugly damage, however, the Nano has functioned perfectly since, and the only further distresses it's shown in a couple of weeks of use are hairline scratches on its surface, indistinguishable from what mars the screen of a full-size iPod that's done time inside bags and pockets.

Other reviewers have done more comprehensive research. The Ars Technica Web site conducted a suite of stress tests that established that dropping the iPod Nano 9 feet onto a concrete sidewalk would leave the Nano's screen "seriously bugged out," but even driving a car over the Nano -- twice! -- could not stop it from playing. To kill it, they had to fling the Nano straight up, perhaps 40 feet in the air, and let it pancake onto concrete pavement.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said Tuesday afternoon that cracked or otherwise destroyed screens were "a real but minor issue involving a vendor quality problem in . . . less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the total iPod Nano units we've shipped." Neumayr said it was "not a design issue," and that anybody who experienced the problem should contact Apple for a free replacement.

As for surface scratching, Neumayr said the Nano is made from the same plastic as the full-size iPod and that a variety of cases were available to prevent that sort of cosmetic damage.

Other companies have shipped products with comparable problems before, but their issues don't draw nearly as much attention. Apple, however, regularly gets held to a higher standard -- perhaps because it keeps advertising itself as the think-different company, the one that fusses over the details to ensure that it won't crank out the same junk as everybody else.

For years, Apple couldn't make much of a dent in the computing market with that pitch. But with the iPod, it's broken through, even though it came to the music-player market years after its competitors and with products that initially cost more and offered fewer features than other players.

There's a habit in the tech business of thinking that a product like that must ride on nothing more than good marketing. Someday, the thinking goes, the device's flaws will surface, showing it to be the cheap fraud it was all along. And then won't all those bandwagon-hopping customers be sorry?

Apple's detractors may be hoping that Peterson's photo of his iPod's mutilated screen provided that moment -- just as some earlier seized on the fact that you must pay Apple to get an iPod's battery replaced (which two iPod users called the "iPod's Dirty Little Secret" on a Web site of the same title). But reality is often less melodramatic: IPods sells better because they are easier to use and look cooler than their competitors, and the "dirty secret" turns out to be a fixable problem or a basic misunderstanding, and customers have been making rational choices all along.

Even Peterson backed down a bit last night after learning of Apple's reaction, headlining the page "Apple does the right thing" and writing, "I am very delighted to see Apple take this issue seriously."

*Wizard's Note: That is why I use the RCA Lyra - dropped several times, but keeps on ticking....

Fact or Crap?

Fact or Crap?®

The leading cause of house fires is burning candles.

CRAP! It is kitchen fires. Three out of ten house fires start in the kitchen, and kitchen fires also cause the most injuries. Fires caused by burning candles are the second leading cause of house fires; most of these start in the bedroom.

Kitchen Fire

Why Women Think Men Are Childish

Why Women Think Men Are Childish

Why Women Think Men Are Childish

Why Women Think Men Are Childish

Why Women Think Men Are Childish

*Thanks, Daryn! :O)

10 Husbands

A lawyer married a woman who had previously divorced ten husbands. On their wedding night, she told her new husband, "Please be gentle; I'm still a virgin.

What?" said the puzzled groom. "How can that be if you've been married ten times?

"Well, husband #1 was a Sales Representative;
he kept telling me how great it was going to be.

Husband #2 was in Software Services;
he was never really sure how it was supposed to function, but he said he'd look into it and get back to me.

Husband #3 was from Field Services;
he said everything checked out diagnostically but he just couldn't get the system up.

Husband #4 was in Telemarketing;
even though he knew he had the order, didn't know when he would be able to deliver.

Husband #5 was an Engineer;
he understood the basic process but wanted three years to research, implement, and design a new state-of-the-art method.

Husband #6 was from Finance and Administration;
he thought he knew how, but he wasn't sure whether it was his job or not.

Husband #7 was in Marketing;
although he had a product, he was never sure how to position it.

Husband #8 was a psychiatrist;
all he ever did was talk about it.

Husband #9 was a gynecologist;
all he did was look at it.

Husband #10 was a stamp collector;
all he ever did was ... God, I miss him!

"But now that I've married you, I'm really excited!"

"Good," said the husband, "but, why?"

"Duh; you're a LAWYER. This time I KNOW I'm gonna get screwed!"



*Thanks, Daryn!



Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar
from its hiding place in the closet. She poured
all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully.
Three times, even. The total had to be exactly
perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing
the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she
slipped out the back door and made her way
blocks to Rexall's Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above
the door. She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her
some attention but he was too busy at this moment.

Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise.


She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound
she could muster.

No good.

Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the
glass counter. That did it!

"And what do you want?" the pharmacist asked in an
annoyed tone of voice. "I'm talking to my brother from
Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages," he said without
waiting for a reply to his question.

"Well, I want to talk to you about my brother," Tess
answered back in the same annoyed tone. "He's really,
really sick... and I want to buy a miracle."

"I beg your pardon?" said the pharmacist.

"His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing
inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can
save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?"

"We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but
I can't help you," the pharmacist said, softening
a little.

"Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough,
I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs."

The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man. He
stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of
a miracle does your brother need?"

"I don't know," Tess replied with her eyes welling up.
"I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs
an operation. But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want
to use my money".

"How much do you have?" asked the man from Chicago.
"One dollar and eleven cents," Tess answered
barely audibly. "And it's all the Money I have, but I can
get some more if I need to.

"Well, what a coincidence," smiled the man. "A dollar and
eleven cents-the exact price of a miracle for little brothers."

He took her money in one hand and with the other hand
he grasped her mitten and said "Take me to where
you live. I want to see your brother and meet your

Let's see if I have the kind of miracle you need."

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in
neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn't long until
Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were
happily talking about the chain of events that had led
them to this place. "That surgery," her Mom
whispered. "was a real miracle. I wonder how much
it would have cost?"

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost...
one dollar and eleven cents

...... plus the faith of little child.

Ask The Wizard (Cable vs. DSL / HD TV / Medication Tracking Software / Tip of the week)

The Wunnerfull Wizard of 'OZ' Dear Wizard of 'OZ',

I'm finally ready to switch to high-speed Internet service. Both cable Internet and DSL are available where I live. I've heard arguments from both sides about which is better. What do you think?


Speed Me Up, Scotty

Dear Scotty,

Cable and DSL both provide a connection that's always on, so there's no need to dial up each time you want to go online. But there are differences between them.

Cable generally is faster than DSL. Shaw, for example, claims download speeds of up to 4 Mbps for its standard high-speed service, while SaskTel says its basic DSL service runs at between 384 Kbps and 1.5 Mbps. For everyday Web browsing, you'd never need the higher cable speed and probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference. If you download a lot of music or video, however, cable can do it faster.

The other big factor, as you point out, is price. SaskTel's DSL can be had for about $30-35 per month, while Shaw cable Internet will cost you more than $40. Complicating the picture are installation costs for the services and the price of a modem, but overall, I'd give the value edge right now to DSL.

Hope this helps.


The Wizard

The Wunnerfull Wizard of 'OZ' Dear Wizard of 'OZ',

I'm in the market for an LCD television that I can use for high-definition programs. If I get one that has an integrated HD tuner, will I be able to receive HD programming through my cable without having to use a set-top box?

Signed, bored with TV

Dear Bored,

Not likely, friend. Tuners in most HDTVs only allow you to receive high-def programming over the air (and only if you also get a special antenna and if you can receive HD signals in your area). To get HD through your cable, you'll need the HD set-top box from the cable company.

Even in the few cases where the set is designed to plug directly into a cable, it won't work if the tuner in the set is incompatible with the cable company's HDTV protocol. And because the protocols are constantly evolving, the built-in tuner could soon be obsolete in any case.

Better to forget the integrated tuner and get an "HD ready" set. Just make sure it can display HDTV pictures, not just accept the signal. Then hook it up to an HD set-top box, and you're in business.

Hope this helps.


The Wizard

The Wunnerfull Wizard of 'OZ' Dear Wizard of 'OZ',

Does anyone make good software for keeping track of personal medical records? When my children were little, I was always having trouble remembering when they were vaccinated and which medicines they had taken. Now that I will be a grandmother, I want my kids to be able to do a better job with their babies. Also, I'd like to maintain a list of diseases and illnesses I've had and the medicines I take.

Signed, Confused with Meds

Dear Confused,

Programs with features you're looking for include RecordSmart ($39, online at www.myhealth123.net), Health-Minder ($35, at www.health-minder.com) and HealthFrame ($39.95, at www.recordsforliving.com). However, you may not need special software.

Basically, you want to create a database into which you can plug medical records and history. If you already have database software such as Microsoft Access or Microsoft Works (a suite that includes a database program), you're in business.

Even a spreadsheet program such as Excel (or Works, which also has a spreadsheet program), can be used to keep track of medical records. One big advantage of building your own database is that you can customize it -- something that's difficult or impossible with off-the-shelf offerings.

Hope this helps.


The Wizard


Opera, a good alternative Web browser, is now completely free. The Norwegian makers of the software have decided that the only way to compete against Microsoft's Internet Explorer and, more importantly, the upstart Firefox browser from Mozilla.org is to eliminate the ad banners in the free version of Opera.

I still like Firefox better, but at zero cost, Opera's worth a try. You can download it at www.opera.com.


Quote Living on Earth may be expensive...But is does include a free yearly trip around the sun."


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Fact or Crap?

Fact or Crap?®

McDonald’s eliminated close to 1 million pounds of waste per year by making its drinking straws lighter.

Fact! Twenty percent lighter, to be exact. McDonald’s, along with other fast-food chains, is now being pressured by environmental agencies to eliminate straws altogether and to use lids with tabs instead. Littered drinking straws have been blamed for deaths and injuries among marine creatures and other wildlife, which often ingest them.

Wizard's Note: They still haven't done anything with the 'McGrease'!!

TROY - See The Light

Gay sex is never gay if your Republican...


To Be Continued.......