Awwww crap!

Sorry, folks! The new “full-text” RSS feed has been disabled due to a bizarre problem… It seems that enabling the plug-in causes the “summary feed” to generate blank entries. Although the full-text feed works perfectly, not having the summary feed means that anyone that subscribed to this site via the original feed is getting new feed posts with nothing in them. And, as my Dad would say, “that dog won’t hunt”.

I’ve asked for help over at the plug-in author’s site, and hopefully I’ll be able to get this fixed soon!


Wow – that was a lot of work! Sometimes doing things in WordPress is just a couple of mouse clicks; other times it’s a crash course in editing PHP files! If you look at the “Meta” widget in the sidebar, you’ll now see three RSS feeds available: “RSS (Summary)”, “RSS (Full-Text)” and “RSS (Comments)”.

The “RSS (Summary)” feed is the standard WordPress RSS feed; it will give you the full text of most articles, but it will truncate longer entries with a “click here to read the rest of this post” link. “RSS (Full-Text)” will display the full text of all posts, but be advised that this feed is powered by a third-party plug-in, so it may (or may not) work properly. The “RSS (Comments)” feed is an RSS feed of all the comments this site gets; since that isn’t much, you’re not really missing anything.

If you’re getting this news via RSS, the URL for the new “full-text” feed is:

Lastly, note that the Flash-based audio player will only work on the website (it does not attach the mp3 files from “Songs I Love” posts to either RSS feed). This is by design. If you’re interested in one of these posts, you’ll have to use a web browser to listen to the tunes.

Coming Soon: Dual RSS Feeds!

Back when I switched the site from FrontPage to WordPress, a few readers expressed a desire for a “full post” RSS feed. This can’t be done by default in WordPress, since WordPress uses the “More” page break as a cutoff for the RSS feed. In other words, if you see a post with a “Click here to continue” link at the end of it, that’s where the RSS feed will break, and RSS users will see a “please click here to read the rest of the post” in their feed. My only other option would be to not use the “More” break, but a single long post could take up the entire front page, and I think you’ll agree that that’s simply not acceptable.

Yesterday, I learned of the existence of DualFeeds plug-in. This plug-in will allow me to have two RSS feeds – a “summary” version and a “full text” version. Those of you that wish to subscribe to the “full text” version will get the entire text of the posts. Those of you that subscribe to the “summary” version will get the same RSS feed you’ve been getting all along.

I’m hoping to get the new feed up and running in the next day or two. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

SONGS I LOVE: “Faster Than Light”

Girls on FilmDuran Duran was my first favorite band. From 1981 to 1985, I listened to them almost constantly – and I’m sure it drove my family crazy.

Anyway, like most bands that have been around for a while, Duran Duran has had several “eras”, from the “international playboy” days of the Rio album to the “post-apocalyptic” look from the “Wild Boys” era. While I enjoyed them all, the one I liked most was the “New Romantic” look from their earliest days. They wore pirate shirts and leather pants… or cool-looking faux military uniforms. There was lots of makeup involved. Unlike bands that other kids liked (such as AC\DC), Duran Duran was all about style. And that was cool! Even better, the music was dancey and spacey. It was the perfect blend of pop and dance. There was minimal guitar action; instead there were synthesizers that sounded more like effects from a video game than the traditional sounds organs and keyboards had utilized before. There was a sort of futuristic flair to the whole thing that I simply could not resist. Early Duran Duran, in many ways, seemed like something out of Blade Runner.

And no song they ever did encapsulates this better than “Faster Than Light”, the b-side from the “Girls On Film” single. It’s funny – I used to hang out at this record store in my old hometown. This punk rock chick used to come in the store, and we’d talk music. I thought she was so hot – although to be honest, I thought pretty much every girl was hot back then. But this one actually talked to me! And one day she commented that “Faster Than Light” was her favorite Duran Duran song. And you just imagine the rest: as if straight from a movie, I rushed home and played the song over and over, thinking it was the greatest thing ever. Have a listen; maybe you’ll think the same thing too!


Another Music Legend Passes On…

Tony WilsonAnthony (Tony) Wilson passed away from cancer today. He was 57.

Wilson was a reporter for Britain’s Granada Television in the early 1970s. Hearing that the Sex Pistols were going to play Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall, Wilson decided to attend the show. The concert inspired him to start his own record label, Factory Records. Factory would be the driving force that created the “Madchester” scene in the late 1980s; the label would put out records from such iconic British bands as Joy Division, New Order, A Certain Ratio, The Durutti Column, Happy Mondays, James and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Factory also opened The Haçienda, the famous Manchester nightclub that became ground-zero for the Madchester scene, just as Studio 54 was the capital of the disco “movement”.

Sadly, even though Factory artists were extremely successful, and although The Haçienda was one of the most popular clubs in British history, Wilson didn’t make a lot of money from the ventures. New Order’s “Blue Monday” was the most successful 12″ single in history, but the record’s complex packaging led Factory to sell each copy at a loss. The Haçienda was popular initially because of its cheap cover charges and drinks; once Wilson increased The Haçienda’s prices, the drug ecstasy took off… and people stopped drinking alcohol.

Much of the Madchester scene was documented in the popular 2002 film, 24 Hour Party People, of which Wilson is a main character. Much of the film is filled with anecdotes and rumor, so don’t take everything in the movie as gospel.

An interesting tidbit about the Sex Pistols show Wilson attended: only around 40 people showed up for the show… however, the crowd was perhaps the most influential audience in history. People known to have been there include Wilson, Howard Devoto, Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle (all of The Buzzcocks), Morrissey, Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook (of Joy Division and New Order), Martin Hannett (famous record producer), Mark E. Smith (of The Fall), Paul Morley (a music journalist with New Musical Express) and Mick Hucknall (of Simply Red). The audience was so amazing that a book – I Swear I Was There: The Gig That Changed The World – was written about it.

News for 08/09/2007

It’s been a while sooooooooo… let’s do the news!

– Richard Branson’s Virgin America had their inaugural flight last week. The airline, which focuses on quality service and amenities more than cheap fares, will initially have service to and from New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Washington DC. This guy has posted a walkthrough of some of the neat technology the airline uses (example: there are 3000 mp3s stored on board each plane; you can use the in-flight entertainment system to make playlists, and the system is tied in to their frequent flyer database, so you can have the same playlist on the way back as you did on the way out). Be sure to check out his Flicker album from the tour.

– In a related note about airlines, Italian airline Alitalia is apparently up for sale. The CEO of Irish-based Ryanair told reporters on Wednesday that he wouldn’t take the airline, even if were free.

– Have you heard of Jeffrey Chodorow? People outside the NYC area might know of this restaurateur from NBC’s The Restaurant, where Chodorow constantly butted heads with celebrity chef (and prima donna employee) Rocco DiSpirito. Anyway, China Grill, Chodorow’s flagship Manhattan restaurant, was recently closed by order of the NYC health department. Nice!

– Speaking of food, a recent study suggests that blue corn tortilla might have important health benefits. Specifically, they are high in antioxidants, have more protein that white or yellow corn tortillas, and are lower in starch than their cousins.

– Here’s a neat trick to avoid the fee CoinStar charges you to change coins into dollars: most CoinStar machines charge you around 8.9% to convert change into “real” money; however, most machines also allow you to convert your “balance” to an Amazon gift certificate without the fee. So what you do is select an Amazon gift certificate as your payout, but then you reach around to the back of the machine and unplug the phone cable. The CoinStar machine will then attempt to connect to an Amazon server (but won’t be able to ‘cos you disconnected the cable). It will then give you an error message and give you the full amount in cash (well, it’ll give you a receipt that you can take to the service desk to exchange for cash). I don’t know how legal this is, or how long it’ll be before CoinStar updates the firmware on their system to prevent this, so handle with care. This “hack” apparently scared the folks at Engadget enough to remove the instructions from the original post.

– Elton John is still an idiot. Now he wants to shut down the Internet.

– Speaking of rock stars, Keith Richards is writing a book about his life. I can’t wait to get my hands on it! Can you imagine the stories he’d have to tell?? The mind reels!

– If you think Wal Mart’s bad here, you should see how they operate in Mexico! The company is accused of using 4300 unpaid teenagers as baggers in their stores. The kids apparently work for tips only, and Wal Mart actually has the hubris to call them “volunteers” instead of “unpaid workers”!

– And lastly, some fun stuff: this guy shows you how to pimp your credit card with any design you want (NSFW WARNING: one of the cards he pimps has a nude picture of a young Marilyn Monroe on it). It’s always fun to see what Chinese knock-off brands are on the market these days! And let your dog get even with the Michael Vick Dog Chew Toy! (Sadly it looks like the NFL Trademark Police have gotten to the owners of the site; the toy used to have Vick in a near-perfect copy of a Falcons uniform… now it’s just a generic black jersey with a “7” on it).

More Love Garden… and KITTIES!

So, after I posted the picture of Julius on Monday, Lisa wanted to know why I didn’t post pictures of the rest of the Love Garden. Well, honestly it’s because I hadn’t taken any pictures of the rest of the Love Garden! So yesterday afternoon I went outside and snapped quite a few pictures of all our growing goodness:

Love Garden Picture

And once I had finished taking pictures of the garden, I just couldn’t resist taking a few pictures of the kitties:


See the rest of the pictures in the Photo Gallery – the pictures are in the “New Arrivals” category!

From the Love Garden…

The missus and I are growing all kinds of stuff this year: watermelons, cucumbers, cantaloupes, bell peppers, oregano, thyme… and a vast array of spicy peppers, like jalapeño, cayenne, Marconi and banana peppers. We’re even growing some habanero peppers! I’ve nicknamed the habanero plant “Julius” (after Carolina Panthers superstar Julius Peppers). And Julius appears to be getting ready to provide me with his first taste of spicy goodness:

Habanero Pepper

I can’t wait to try it! 🙂