Pat's blog

Message to Colgate

Colgate is airing a new ad campaign for its SpeedStick Pro product. "What's your pit type?" The ads proceed to describe physical characteristics of armpits, which, unless you're a teenager, you probably don't want to hear about. I submitted the following comment at their website:

SpeedStick Pro. "What's your pit type" ??? Are you marketing to 18 year-olds? I'm a guy and that's about the age I used to talk about my body in those terms. This is not an appealing ad campaign for adults, it's really a turn-off. Please can it.

Duke Ellington Orchestra takes the A Train

This article at the New York Times caught my eye today. Yesterday was the anniversary of Duke Ellington's birthday, and the Duke Ellington Orchestra, led by the musician's grandson, played "Take The A Train" while riding vintage NYC subway A Train cars to Queens. Pretty neat!

Curry College and POP servers for student email

Is this still accurate? Post comments below.

A few months ago, I set up a BlackBerry for a Curry College student so he could use it to get his email. This worked fine up until a few weeks ago, when BlackBerry informed the student that his account information needed to be revalidated. Revalidation failed, so I took a look at it.

E-Filed your taxes?

I didn't E-File my taxes this year. I've never done it. I'm really not interested in unrelated third parties handling my tax data. I simply don't care how much they swear up and down that they'll hold it in confidence forever, that they won't look at it, that they won't use it to market stuff I don't want to me, and that their promises will hold true when their companies are bought. I simply don't buy it.

Contractor charging me for a quote? No way...

I'm soliciting quotes to have a chimney repair done. Of the four places I called, two came over promptly. One hasn't called back yet (though to be fair it's only been a few hours). And one called back promptly, but...he wants to charge me $85 to produce a quote.

Cornell's Dragon Day

Another tradition falls victim to environmental regulations.

Every year, Cornell's freshman architect students build a giant dragon and parade it around main campus. The festivities culminate in the burning of the dragon on the Arts Quad.

Because dragons generally contain varying amounts of paints, glues, and other materials that emit toxins when burned, the event would have run afoul of new environmental regulations in New York banning the intentional burning of substances that are neither wood nor agricultural products. This year's dragon was spared, and a symbolic dragon's nest was burned instead.

The students are rightfully disappointed that regulations quashed part of a cherished campus tradition. It's unfortunate that the regulations don't recognize a difference between habitual or repeat offenses, and very occasional events such as Dragon Day.

I hold out little hope for a regulatory change or loophole, but knowing the ingenuity of Cornell students, I am certain that it is only a matter of time before we see dragons that can be burned in compliance with the regulations.

My Sister Published an Article!

My sister, who works at the Library of Congress, published an article about her lessons learned helping build the Library's online "American Memory" collection. Congrats Liz!

Corporate Bailouts, But What About the People?

With the markets and major players collapsing all around us, it's no surprise that surveys have shown declining consumer confidence. Of course, this means that we consumers would rather tighten our belts to make sure we've got extra resources for lean times, rather than continue to spend at or beyond our means, perhaps even recklessly.

My Secret Life as a Werewolf

Happy Halloween!

This was one of my better Halloweens in recent memory. Rather than be a mere candy dispenser and onlooker, I donned a costume and an alter-ego and participated this year.

Meet Werewolf Pat. He answered the doorbell and spoke with a growl and a gruff voice, taking care to look out the window first to make sure there was nobody under 3 feet tall who might be easily frightened.

Was My Cell Phone Hacked?

Today I witnessed a troubling event on my cell phone. I saw the front display light up out of the corner of my eye, so I picked it up to see what was going on. The phone told me it had just received 49 Megabytes of data. I don't subscribe to any services that transfer data, and I wasn't even using the phone at the time, and this creeped me out a bit.

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