I love when reporters do what they’re supposed to do — dig into claims made to them, figure out if they’re being sold a story or told the truth, and then let the world know what they’ve found. In fifteen minutes tonight, I stumbled across two good examples of this: Brian Montopoli’s fact checking of Newsweek’s item stating that Wes Clark started the Kerry-and-his-intern rumor, and Fred Kaplan’s exploration of the Bush campaign’s claim that Kerry voted against a slew of weapons systems.

Of course, the sad side of all this is that for every reporter that finds the truth, there are a dozen that swallow the lie wholesale and haven’t the slightest compunction about regurgitating it to their readers.

By far, the best thing about this MetaFilter thread about trepanation is this guy’s response: “Saying that you need a hole in your skull to acheive enlightenment is like saying you need a sucking chest wound to breathe true air unfiltered by the barrier of your tongue and throat.” Had me giggling for a while…

Ben & Mena make the big time! (That’s particularly the case if “making the big time” means “appearing in an AP wire photo run on Yahoo News,” and even more so if you consider that neither of them is wearing lingerie, birthing a kitten, or having a wardrobe accident.) Congrats, guys, and keep on writing fantastic software.

I was sitting in a mall food court today, a convenient pause in Shannon and my trip back from New York City, and was suddenly burdened with a crushing question: why is there no national Chinese food chain?

I mean, we’ve got about a million burger chains (McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, etc.), and tons of sandwich shops (Subway, Blimpie, Schlotzsky’s, Quiznos), Italian food places (Sbarro, Olive Garden), pizza places (Dominos, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Little Caesars, not to mention the restaurant-like Bertucci’s, California Pizza Kitchen), and Mexican food restaurants (Taco Bell, Chi Chi’s). What’s missing in all this is a national Chinese food presence.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m a big fan of local restaurants, and I know that there’s pretty much no cuisine that can’t be completely ruined by a homogeneous national chain. All of that being said, though, I’m just curious: why has Chinese food been so resistant to the big blender of corporate America?

To further comment on Jason’s notice, the server that hosts MetaFilter, Megnut, and A Whole Lotta Nothing (along with the SxSWblog and a few other sites) is currently sitting, turned off and with a broken processor fan, in Brookline. The problem? That I’m in New York City for the weekend, and when I left Brookline on Friday, the replacement fan hadn’t been delivered yet.

Damn precision electronics and their need to stay cool! Damn shipping companies and their inability to meet promised delivery times!

Hopefully, all will be waiting when I get back, and things will return to the chaotic norm soon thereafter.

Ibrahim Ferrer has been denied a visa to come from Cuba to the U.S. to participate in the Grammy Awards, citing a section of immigration law that says that people can be denied entry if it would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.” Are you *#@%ing kidding me!?! Ferrer is a frail, 77 year-old Latin jazz musician; it’s hard to see how he does anything but enrich the United States. And he’s the time since 9/11, he’s been granted a visa at least once, since Shannon and I saw him at the Beacon in New York City in November of 2001. What a shame that the politics of the Bush administration deprive him of being recognized for his artistic contribution to the world.

This is just freakin’ fantastic. The rendering is just perfect; well worth a look.

Dear Bert:

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for contacting me with your request to cross-link our websites. I have spent many recent nights wondering how I can generate traffic for my anemic home page, and at the very moment that I had decided the only thing left to do was to fix the two pages with obvious content issues, your welcome email came along offering to obliterate my traffic deficit with a crafty cross-linking agreement. I am saved!

Interestingly, I find it hard to imagine how we never found each other before! You mention that you represent the site of “a cosmetic company which offers acne treatment, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, removal of stretch marks, and other services,” and it’s clear to me that our two outposts in the electronic cosmos were meant for each other. After all, when people stumble upon my site after searching for ways to schedule MRTG updates in Windows NT, one can’t help but assume that they really want to remove unsightly facial hair! And there’s no doubt that wending around the web for ways to run Frontier as a service is simply the appetizer to a main course of searching for ways to clear up recalcitrant pimples. Our sites are a match made in heaven, a natural relationship rivaled only by that of the oxpecker and the zebra. Small, focused Windows apps are the Bogart to dermatology’s Bacall, and once we consumate this cross-linking agreement, I can only imagine that our traffic will skyrocket.

In closing, I am eager to discover the web address for your site, if only because that seems to be the penultimate step towards bringing my pathetic, seven-link home page the attention it so clearly deserves. I hope to hear from you soon, and if you have any recommendations for high-end webserver computers that are equipped to handle the demands placed on them by our can’t-fail cross-linking agreement, then I’m all ears!

Best regards,

I just got a new LCD monitor, a Dell 1800FP, and while setting it up yesterday I noticed that when ClearType is enabled, the text looks downright horrid. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but decided to do a little hunting today, and found out that this is a pretty well-known problem. Microsoft has made some changes to the ClearType tuner, adding support for monitors with a much less common BGR pixel sequence; switching to that sequence improves things a slight bit on the 1800FP, but the results are nothing like what text looks like on the Samsung 770TFT that I’ve been using for the past three years, nor does it approach the benefit that ClearType has offered on all the laptops I’ve owned. A freeware utility named ClearTweak that lets you bump up the contrast a bit, but again, it’s an incremental improvement rather than a solution.

I guess what I’m saying is that people should do a little reading before buying an 18” LCD from Dell right now. In the meantime, I’ll keep you posted if I (or Dell) comes up with a solution.

Very cool — Feed on Feeds, my aggregator of choice, now has experimental support for Atom. (To give credit where it’s due, the underlying XML parser now has Atom support, which then lends said support to FoF.) And the last vestiges of the wall start coming down…

One of the funniest things I’ve read in the past year: William Saletan’s account of Joe Lieberman’s exit from the 2004 campaign for President. Shannon and I have been making fun of Lieberman’s invention of the word “Joementum” for a week or so now; suffice it to say that Saletan has outdone us both, and in the process, made me laugh so hard that I couldn’t breathe.