An office dialog

Meg: "Whoa. The Homeland Security Department's chosen Microsoft as its 'preferred supplier' for desktop and server software!"

Mark: "That doesn't sound too good."

Meg: (reading from article) "Microsoft will provide the standard e-mail software for the entire department."

Mark: "So one I LOVE YOU virus and that's the end of Homeland Security."

DNS problems

Something's gone screwy with my DNS and it looks like I'm not getting email at my usual address. If you need to email me, please use mhourihan -at- instead. This site may also disappear, and depending on what the problem is I may move my DNS, meaning everything will be down/broken/not working for a couple days. If possible, I'll keep you updated. Ugh. Sometimes I hate the internet.

Update: in the meantime, you can always access megnut at

Second update: UltraDNS deleted my account (thereby removing my records from their nameservers) through a series of billing and invoicing "errors" that are hard to believe (apparently their payment system and invoicing system are not intergrated?!). Suffice to say, I've left them. What that means in plain English is this: will become unreachable for a period of time (24 - 48 hours) and then it will come back. If you're trying to send me email, it will probably queue on your mail server but I won't get it for a few days. By the end of this week, all should be well again. Damn you UltraDNS! Damn you!

Can you help me out with Seabiscuit?

Consider this an experiment in weblogs-as-PR machine, or weblogs-as-journalism...

If you've been reading this site for any amount of time, you probably know that I'm all gaga about Seabiscuit (the horse, because of the book), and am highly anticipating the film's opening on July 25th. What I'd like more than anything is to go to a preview screening before it opens. In return, I promise to write a review of the film here on my site on opening day. So if you, or any one you know, could get me access to a press screening, or some other showing, I'd super appreciate it. You can email me

As proof of my passion/crazyness/obsession, here are older megnut posts about Seabiscuit: Seabiscuit: An American Legend, a book review; The Biscuit, an obsession; I see the film's preview and whine about its far-off release; and finally Seabiscuit is coming!, wherein I anticipate the American Experience episode about the Biscuit.

Also, ESPN Classic is showing a program called, Seabiscuit -- The Making of the Movie with airings scheduled through the end of August. I saw it last night and it was pretty interesting, and further piqued my interest in the film. The camera work looks amazing, they have these really long booms that get the cameras right in between the horses during the race scenes. And I hadn't realized but jockey Gary Stevens plays jockey George Woolf in the film. My only concern still is that the film will be all about the men, and not enough about the horse.

And finally, last thing on this topic (at least for today), I promise: if you haven't read the article in The New Yorker, A Sudden Illness - How My Life Changed, by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand, you absolutely should. It is beautifully-written and inspiring, and I find I am more in awe of her accomplishment with Seabiscuit: An American Legend than ever.

What the hell is going on?

So here's what I don't understand...say you're the President of the United States. And you give a very important speech, such as the State of the Union. And it happens that something you say turns out to be untrue. Wouldn't you be upset? Wouldn't you want to reassure the American people that what happened was an egregious error? Wouldn't you publicly say something along the lines of, "A speech to the American public carries the heaviest burden of proof. Though CIA Director George Tenet has apologized for the factual error in my speech, I would like an investigation into how such a mistake could have happened. Processes will be reviewed, the American people must never be deceived, and as your president I assure you this will never happen again." Etc. Unless of course, you meant to put that lie in there in the first place...

Similarly, there's an astounding quote from President Bush in an article from yesterday's Washington Post, President Defends Allegation On Iraq. In addition to claiming that the intelligence he receives is "darn good," Bush also claims Hussein wouldn't let inspectors in!

Defending the broader decision to go to war with Iraq, the president said the decision was made after he gave Saddam Hussein "a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in."

The president's assertion that the war began because Iraq did not admit inspectors appeared to contradict the events leading up to war this spring: Hussein had, in fact, admitted the inspectors and Bush had opposed extending their work because he did not believe them effective.

I feel like I'm living in a crazy world where people are just re-writing history as they go. Read the entire Post article for a good look at the Administration's changing story about the whole affair. [via Tom Tomorrow]

War flow review

It's been several months since I made the American War with Iraq Justification Process flow and it's time for a revisit. Looks like we've made it all the way to the end case, "The war is to liberate the Iraqi people." Now all I need to do is insert another box after it saying, "Hawks gloat, It was always about liberating Iraqis, America pretty sure it's great but soldiers are still dying and their tours of duty are being extended and at home their veterans benefits are being slashed." Whooh, that's a long one!

Winged Migration

Last night I went to see Winged Migration, an amazing film that follows various migratory birds on their journeys. Like Director Jacques Perrin's previous documentary, Microcosmos, I felt completely transported into the film's world. But I was really saddened by a scene towards the end, when a mean bird killed a baby penguin.

The penguins didn't seem organized to fight at all! I mean, there were only two mean birds and many penguins, and I think they could have totally taken those nasty birds in a fight (remember how Tsar vs. serfs turned out in Russia a while back?). All they need to do is organize. They've got sharp beaks and I bet they could do some serious pecking. Instead, they just squawked and squawked, and the mean birds were not deterred by this at all. I know we don't want to disturb nature's delicate balance, but I think we should help the penguins mobilize. Who's with me?

So it's going to be that kind of day

First I went the wrong way out my front door, and walked several paces before I realized, "Hey! Where am I going? This isn't how I go to work." Then when I got to the station, I dug my keys out of my purse, rather than my MetroCard. I was a little perplexed as I stood there, wondering how to unlock the turnstile.

The Great Big Book of Tomorrow

Cartoonist Tom Tomorrow's new book has been printed and should be available from bookstores soon. I've always enjoyed the cartoons (archive here) and I suspect this book will be a very good read. Pre-order The Great Big Book of Tomorrow now from Amazon.

Designing the High Line

Starting today, the winners and finalists from Designing the High Line are on exhibition in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Station, NY until July 26, 2003. Designing the High Line was, "an open, international ideas competition seeking visionary design proposals for High Line's reuse as 1.5-mile-long elevated public promenade." I imagine some of the entries will be similar to the Viaduc des Arts in Paris. I'm looking forward to checking out the exhibit.

Get your ROBOT groove on!

Looking for something fun to do in NYC this weekend? Eyebeam (a not-for-profit media arts organization) is hosting a four-day festival beginning Saturday July 12 called ROBOT.

The four-day event will examine current applications of robotic technologies on creative practices, activism, consumerism and physical intimacy. Eyebeam will conclude the event July 15 with a party from 6-10pm featuring music by DJ-I ROBOT, the first random-access, fully analog robotic DJ. All events are open to the public free of charge with a suggested donation.

There will be activist robots, marketing robots, personal robots, sensual robots (ooh!), artistic robots and even party robots! Hopefully everything wil stay under control and there'll be no outbreak of humans vs. robot fighting, machines rising, etc. because these robots sound so talented, I fear they just might win. I hope they don't hear me say this and get all cocky now!

California in the Economist

There's an interesting article about California's current political and fiscal crisis in this week's The Economist, California in Crisis: Is the Golden State governable?

Both the recall and the budget can be partly explained away as special problems. The budget crisis is a delayed reaction to the dotcom bust (and the collapse in tax revenues)...and the recall is essentially a political ruse by the Republicans to take advantage of that...[y]et both the recall and the budget are also symptoms of a more profound malaise in the state...

The real flaw in California is not a mechanical one to do with how smoothly the machinery of government is working (though it plainly isn't doing very well). The real problem is that politicians have become divorced from the changing nature of their state.

Guh, I'm glad I moved. Not that New York doesn't have its own problems, and lots of them.

Dear Abby tackles blogging issues

Dear Abby addresses weblogs in today's column. And you can guess the issue -- because it's one we've all faced -- writing about your friends on your blog.

I am a 14-year-old girl about to start my freshman year in high school. Most of my friends (including myself) have Web logs -- or "blogs."... I have several friends who have stopped speaking to each other after reading not-so-nice things about themselves in the blogs.

Too funny!

A very NYC 4th of July

2003 NYC fireworksYesterday was a perfect 4th of July here in New York City: hot, hazy, and full of stuff to do. Because of the hot dog eating contest, and the fact that I'd never been there, we headed to Coney Island with some friends. It sure was fun. After some rest, we headed back out to see the amazing Macy's fireworks along the East River. Wow oh wow, but they were incredible. Best I've ever seen, by far. I want to see more fireworks right now! I've posted some pictures of the crowd-filled day: Coney Island and fireworks.

Happy 4th of July

Go Red Sox, kick Yankee butt! What to do today in New York City. Don't eat potato salad if it's been left too long in the sun. Keep all you digits when playing with fireworks. And remember:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

So enjoy Life today (sunny summer, yay!), be thankful for your Liberty (no work, woo hoo!), and most of all, pursuit your Happiness (picnic? ball game? fire works?). I'm off to Coney Island for beachside fun and Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest.

The New Yorker on cost disease

From The Talk of the Town's Financial Page in this week's The New Yorker comes What Ails Us by James Surowiecki, a really interesting look at deflation, productivity, and Baumol's cost disease.

There are really two American economies: one that's getting more productive and one that's not. In the first -- the economy of Dell, Toyota, and Wal-Mart -- consumers have grown accustomed to paying less for more. In the second -- the economy of Harvard, the Yankees, and Bob's Body Shop -- they pay more for the same.

Yup, I really think I'd be a happy economist. Related: View: Why College Costs So Much from the New York Times, April 8, 2001.

New at the Whitney

The Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC opens an exhibit today called The American Effect that I really want to check out.

The American Effect explores a wide range of global perceptions of the United States. With forty-seven artists and filmmakers and three collaboratives selected from thirty countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South and North America, the show surveys works made since 1990 in a wide variety of media, including drawing, photography, film, installation, painting, sculpture, video, and Internet art.

It runs until October 12, 2003 in the Emily Fisher Landau Galleries, Floor 4.

Free opera tonight in Central Park

When I last posted about free opera in the Park, I urged you to go because it was the last performance this summer by the Met. But little did I realize (as you probably did, you opera aficionado you,) that the New York Grand Opera would be performing only a few weeks later. Tonight they are presenting a fully-staged production of Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème in the East Meadow at 7:30 PM. No tickets required. It's free. Enter at Fifth Ave @ 97th Street.

Site problems

Something went kaput with the web server yesterday while those who were able to reboot it were unavailable, hence no megnut. But I'm thinking about moving the site to a more substantial server whose uptime should be more reliable. Hopefully at some point in the next month or two I'll find the time.

Bread salad season

It's that time of year again, yes, it's Bread Salad Season! I made my first batch last night with my very own basil from my fire escape garden and it was yummy! It will be even better in the coming weeks with fresh tomatoes from my plant and the local farmer's market. Still, nothing beats it after a long day at the office. I may attempt to subsist entirely on bread salad this summer.

A very nice interview

There's a very nice interview with my friend (and hopefully yours) John Hodgman over at Lots of funny stuff and insight, as you'd expect from the Hodg-man. I'm looking forward to the revival of his Little Gray Books Lectures this fall so I can attend. Even if it is in Brooklyn. ;)

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