The Self-Promoting Life

More brilliant work from your trusted Number One source for brilliance (me, in case you didn’t know): I have another X Prize story on Wired News this morning. This one focuses on how much alarm is justified when someone wants to blast off in an untried spaceship:

“… The debate surrounding Toronto’s Brian Feeney and his planned space launch raises important questions: How much freedom will the new generation of space explorers have as they search for cheap ways to fly people into the heavens? In trying to break away from costly, slow, government-run methods of developing manned flight systems, how much risk will we tolerate?”

Mr. Attorney General?

“Well, I’m sorry you’re such a straitened, strangulated little hernia of a man.”

That sentence just popped into my head. Now I have to find someone to apply it to. John Ashcroft, maybe.

Infospigot: The Mailbag

Having an infinitely diverse readership — including the author’s blood relatives, plus the dozen or so people in the world to whom he’s offered no mortal offense, and maybe one or two others — this site receives an extraordinary range of suggestions about web sites and other apparitions that may deserve attention and approbation. (If you can follow all that, let me know what it means.)

From Infospigot’s bulging in-box, the following are offered for your wonderment:

Exhibit the First: Some dorm-room humor at the expense of the graphic artists at the Department of Homeland Security. (Thanks, Endo.)

Exhibit the Second: Dan Perkins, aka Tom Tomorrow, boils down the Bush vs. Kerry issue in six panels. (Thanks, Garth.)

Exhibit the Third: An example of why, Bush or no Bush, we’re a great country and always will be: Beer bottles made from aluminum. It’s almost enough to make Osama crack a cold one and toast the Great Satan. (Thanks, Lydell.)


While I was riding my 100 miles yesterday, I was thinking about Mary Brekke, my mom, who died a year ago on August 29. I think all of us — my dad, my brothers John and Chris and my sister Ann — have been thinking about her a lot; of course, I believe we’re thinking about her all the time, just more so as the anniversary of her passing neared. I can’t really think of much to say beyond, “I miss you.” Dad had a great thing to say, though” “Listen. Dan, Mom’s with all of us.”

Yes, she is.

Back on the Road

Yesterday, my friend Pete and I got on our bikes and rode the 100-mile route in the annual Tour of Napa Valley. No wine, no pate or cheese or anything like that. Just the bikes, bananas, sports food, and plenty of water. A year ago I was just coming off the ride of a lifetime, the 2003 Paris-Brest-Paris randonee, and kind of took my cycling fitness for granted. I’ve been thinking I’ll do another PBP-length ride (1,200 kilometers, roughly 750 miles, in an 90-hour time limit) next year — the Davis Bike Club’s Gold Rush. But though I finished with no big problems yesterday beyond a sore butt and some minor problems eating, I realized that the year that’s gone by and the 15 or so pounds I’ve gained since PBP has dramatically eroded my strength and that maybe it’s wise not to think too far into the future about huge demanding efforts like a 1,200k ride; even having done one, it’s a huge thing to contemplate.

Infospigot: The Self-Promotion

Another story on Wired News today (here), this time about the da Vinci’s Project running into trouble getting insurance and having its launch permit slowed down as a result. The upshot is that even though da Vinci has announced an Oct. 2 launch date for the X Prize, it’s possible that not all the paperwork will be done on time to do it.

In Search of Al

When you have a little blog like this, one thing the software includes is data on people coming to the site. Not real detailed data, but enough to be fun. On Typepad I can see referrals, the link someone hit to get here. If someone arrives via a Web search, you can hit the link back to the search page and see the term they were searching on. For instance, just now somebody came to the page by way of a search on the words “al trautwig sucks.” Must be a fan club. Anyway, the latest Trautwiggery, by way of my friend Pete, is this priceless bit, produced during coverage of the Olympic women’s triathlon last night:

“Now they’re getting out of the water and will have to get their sea legs out of their heads.”

This guy’s angling for his own version of the Phil Rizzuto-as-poetry book.

This Egg Is Your Egg …

… And it’s all over your face.

Wired News has a good followup story on the “This Land” copyright caper. A while back, a couple of brothers posted an animated parody of Bush and Kerry using Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.” Great. Except that a publishing company came out of the woodwork to declare it owned the copyright and to demand that the bros take their song down. But it turns out that the putative copyright owners, in addition to not getting what Woody Guthrie was about, may not own the song after all. Whatever the details of ownership, the faux owners have decided not to press the case any further.

Crazy Horse

The New York Times has a nice story — or actually, an online photo/sketch essay — on the Crazy Horse monument in South Dakota. My dad and I visited in 1989, on our way west to see the Little Big Horn battlefield, and while the excavation was impressive, it was still a work of imagination. Now the chief’s features have started to emerge from the mountain. Don’t know if we’ll ever get to see if finished; the project’s proceeding at medieval cathedral pace, which means its sort of a generation-to-generation act of faith.