25 April 2007

Old Supermarkets

The other day I got a flyer from Weis Market in the mail saying they were celebrating their ninety-fifth anniversary. That means they're a really old supermarket, comparatively. According to this Wikipeida article, supermarkets started in 1915 with Piggly Wiggly. That makes Weis (if they started in 1912) older than Piggly Wiggly. The grocery stores in my town on Long Island have gone through several iterations. First, there was a Food Town in the downtown portion of the town. It then moved to the outskirts of town and has changed its name from Food Town to Finast to Edwards to its current name, Stop and Shop (which is part of the same gigantic corporation that owns Giant. Waldbaums and King Kullen continue to exist on Long Island, although I wonder how they are doing when they have to compete against big chains like Stop and Shop. Waldbaums in Hicksville seems to do a decent business, though. I wonder about the King Kullens though.

18 April 2007

A Different (from usual) Single of the Week on iTunes

There is a different single on iTunes, it's called Philosophia by The Guggenheim Grotto. They remind me a little bit of Simon and Garfunkel in terms of the style of their music. It definitely sounds like something that could be older music. I don't guarantee you'll like it (it's not going to be one of my top songs), but it also isn't going to be removed from my playlist (which is what happens to a lot of other songs that I download free on iTunes) If you have iTunes, download it here. The price is right.

17 April 2007

Astroturf in New York City Parks

On Gothamist, there was a blog entry explaining how New York City wants to put astro-turf in its parks for use as athletic fields. I don't think this is a good idea. I think that plastic grass (at least the type that I am picturing) is not really that comfortable to use, at least compared to regular grass. I think it would be easier to skin one's knee if one fell on artificial turf. This is also New York City we're talking about. What happens if someone spills something on the artificial turf. With dirt, it would soak right in (or the grass would grow out). But that won't happen with artificial turf. The gum, or whatever it is, will stay stuck in it. I wouldn't want to play on a field that looked like the bottom of a subway track.
Or, someone could spray-paint "D wuz here" on the turf. If one did that on grass, they would be pretty stupid, because it would grow right out. But on turf? It would be permanent.
I realize that grass has its own problems. If it rains, I realize that one football game can ruin the grass, but I still think that natural grass may be better.

12 April 2007

Thomas has a Blog Too

Thomas (or Tom) co-authors a blog too -- he blogs about sports for Gothamist. The link is:
There is a link to the feed too:
He says that he does about half the posts. It looks like they are mostly about New York teams, so those of you reading the blog from out-of-town might not find it so interesting.
Oh, and I took the picture for his bio on the blog.

Animal Welfare Act in the UK

Last Friday, the Animal Welfare Act came into effect in the United Kingdom. Quoting from the Department For Environment Food and Rural Affairs' web page...
The five essential requirements that the owner of a pet will need to provide are:

  • a suitable environment (where it lives)
  • a suitable diet (what it eats and drinks).
  • to be able to behave normally.
  • to be housed with or apart from other animals, (whatever is best for that particular animal).
  • to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
There must have been an anti-animal cruelty statute before in the UK, I'm sure, but this is interesting because it imposes duties on a person. Would it require someone to take their cat to a veterinarian if it got sick? (I'm not saying that a person shouldn't do this, of course, but it imposes a duty like a parent would have for a child.)
Speaking of children, you will now have to be sixteen to buy a pet in the UK (or receive it as a prize).
The full text of the Act is here. I love how it starts with language that probably has not been changed since, oh, say, 1600 or earlier:
"BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:— "
My question, though, is who are these Lords Spiritual? Are they Lords from Parliaments past?
(Yes, I suppose it could be King's most Excellent Majesty as the case might be, but otherwise I imagine it has not changed much otherwise)

10 April 2007

Smoking Ban in State College

I think that the smoking ban described here is a good idea. There has been a ban on smoking in bars in New York City for four years now, and I think it's really good. If every bar is forced to ban it, then I don't think that customers are going to go elsewhere, since they will have no choice. Second-hand smoke has been proven hazardous to one's health, and it would help the staff at restaurants if the ban was implemented. I know there are arguments for the other side, but smoking is already banned in a lot of other places, so maybe this is just the next logical step.
Besides everything else, it is refreshing to go out to a bar and come back without having my clothes smell like cigarette smoke. I don't mind my clothes smelling so much as I mind my jacket smelling, since that I have to wear again.
I realise I'm a non-smoker, so do other people have comments?

Recipes from Target

I got a Target ad in the mail that also had a recipe for a Shrimp Noodle Bowl. After reading the recipe and discovering that the most extensive cooking it involved was simmering and boiling, I decided to try it. I halved the recipe, since I like to use my medium saucepan for other things, and it came out pretty well. I tried the same recipe again tonight and modified it with a bit of onion. That worked well and made the soup a little bit less bland. Half the package of spaghetti is a lot of pasta, though, so you might want to use less if you would like your noodle bowl more soup-like. (I did)
With part of the rest of the onion I made some pickled cucumber. Maybe one day when I am feeling more ambitious, I'll try Caley's recipe.

03 April 2007

Unrestricted iTunes Songs

I think it's great that Apple and EMI have agreed to allow people to download unrestricted music. I hope other record companies follow suit. One of the reasons I chose iTunes to download music (even before I had an iPod) was because, at the time, it was the only store (I think) to allow you to burn a song to a regular audio CD without any restrictions.
I've blogged before about how I feel about record companies. I still feel similarly. I think they are really greedy, but I suppose 30 cents may be a fair premium. Steve Jobs has claimed in the past, though, that the 99 cent price point was essential for consumers to buy music. Hopefully they won't raise prices for copy-protected songs.
There's an article that says that the idea of prices was EMI's, not Apple's.
What I would really like to see next is the record companies allowing people from other countries to download music. I like Canadian, British and Australian music, and it can sometimes be really difficult to download this music, because although Apple has licensed the music for the the other country's market, people outside of that market cannot download it. I can order a CD from Canada, Britain or Australia, but this sometimes takes a long time and also is pretty expensive (especially in Britain, where CDs cost 10 pounds which doesn't seem too bad until you realise how much 10 pounds is in dollars ($19.72, according to Google))

02 April 2007

Microsoft and the Animated Cursor Vulnerability (A PSA)

There is a vulnerability where, if you get an email message (and use Outlook or one of its progeny), or visit a malicious website, you can catch a virus. It's sufficiently serious that Microsoft is planning to go outside their normal security update cycle to release it tomorrow, 3 April. (In order to be stable for businesses, they usually try to release security updates on the second Tuesday of every month). In the past, they have usually pushed the update by 10:00 a.m. prevailing time in the Pacific time zone. I'd imagine that by tomorrow evening, it should be posted and you should be able to download it from their website or using Windows Update.
This is one reason I use Firefox. That and it's an awesome browser.
I'll have a more exciting post tomorrow, probably. It's about EMI and Apple's deal, but I'd like to work on it a bit more.

01 April 2007

What law school has done to me

I was reading Boston 1775 and saw a neat post on "dentrifice" which from the description sounds like toothpaste. In the description, he said the following:
"This Essence and Dentifrice is prepared by himself, and warranted perfectly free from the least corrosive Particle or Injurious Property whatever."
And I realised it was an express warranty. Sigh.