Tim Taylor’s Dream Neighborhood

Tool aficionados might be particularly interested in living in a John Deere-branded housing development. From the article: “[T]he John Deere link should amount to a stamp of approval for people who care about having a beautifully landscaped yard from the day they move in.” Is that all? It seems to me more like an appeal to those who want to operate the power equipment that may (or may not) produce the beautifully landscaped yard. Developers could create a neighboring DeWalt subdivision, and then the two homeowners’ associations could fight to prevent the construction of low-rent Black & Decker tract homes further down the road.

This co-branding effort makes more sense to me than the recent Catholic-Ferrari incident, but maybe I’m just not Italian enough to understand. (Also, Ferrari’s Formula 1 team gave Pope John Paul II a replica of their car back in January.) I know it’s not really branding, but it still seems like effort is being made to associate the two.

What co-branded housing would I buy? Maybe a Chimay loft in Pioneer Square? An REI house in Wallingford? (Perhaps without the Eddie Bauer SUV.) An iPod condo in Belltown? A KEXP apartment near South Lake Union? (Why isn’t Paul doing this already? Studio-sized globules could be added to the existing Experience Music Project—who’d notice?)

Your Invoice for the War

I got a fund-raising mailing from American Friends Service Committee today that includes an invoice for the U.S. war in Iraq. These are their numbers.

U.S.-led war in
  153,578,000,000 1,358.58
Reconstruction Allocation   18,000,000,000 159.23
SUBTOTAL: PAID: $171,578,000,000 $1,517.81
3-year military
  150,000,000,000 1,326.92
Iraq Reconstruction   55,000,000,000 486.54
PROJECTED SUBTOTAL: AMOUNT DUE: $205,000,000,000 $1,813.46
  TOTAL: $376,578,000,000 $3,331.27

Driving By Women Leads to Evil

A story from Associated Press, “Saudis Outraged Over Women-Drive Proposal“, besides having a grammatically annoying title has this lovely quote:

“Driving by women leads to evil,” Munir al-Shahrani wrote in a letter to the editor of the Al-Watan daily. “Can you imagine what it will be like if her car broke down? She would have to seek help from men.”

Perhaps that reads better in the original Arabic, but still, I think there must be a solution. How about a road-side-assistance company owned and operated by women. (I know, I know, that means women having some schooling and operating businesses.)

In Case You Missed This Story…

Guess what’s in the top five most e-mailed stories on Yahoo right now—no, really. “Shiavo Dies 13 Days After Tube Removed”. I can hardly wait for this story to die. Who would think it necessary to send the story to someone in e-mail when nearly every media medium can’t stop talking about it?

I missed most of the new episode the South Park last night, but quite appreciated the last request of Kenny, finally discovered at the end.

This is my first post with the new system. Here goes without a preview…

Dell Latitude C600 with OWC

I’m returning a convertible tablet/notebook computer tonight to the retailer from whom I got it about ten days ago. My most significant reason is the anemic battery performance (followed by a slow disk drive), but I also feel very little excitement of ownership for the money I put out. It’s not artful, really; it’s not sexy; and it doesn’t ignite my cynical technolust.

However, accepting that a portable computer is still a useful tool and that having one can be enjoyable at times—that is to say, considering the category of the thing, here is a very desirable example: a computer in attractive wood and leather. Sure, having a glowing apple on an upright surface in front of you in the coffee shop has more cachet than a similar surface with a Dell badge, but even the PowerBook pales in comparison to finely polished wood from a Sicillian wine case.

Legal Precedence Trumps Fact

The New Jersey legislature obviously has more lawyers and administrators than technical editors, since it seems likely to recognize the tomato as the official state vegetable: State Tomato Debate May Prove Fruitful. Read the senate bill S1588, currently referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

I tried to discover the bill that declared the apple the official fruit of the state of Washington, but it seems that happened too long ago to be on line. However, I did find the chapter in the Revised Code of Washington that specifies the official state nouns: flower, fruit, bird, fossil (not Slade Gorton), song, dance, tartan… there’s no vegetable, but there is a grass.

Budget Bling

On the way in to the office today, I saw either (1) an example of over-reaching or (2) marvelous commentary— perhaps both.

By now, you’ve probably seen wheel spinners (as the term is currently used, though that’s also been the name of things like this and that), and they’ve probably been huge, shiny chrome wheels with a spinning add-on component on a huge SUV. At least, that’s the way I’ve always seen them.

This morning, on a Nissan Quest minivan, I saw spinning wheel covers. No extra large diameter, since they were covering stock wheels, and not particularly shiny. I didn’t see any other custom or aftermarket parts on the vehicle. Imagine the last wheel covers on this page with a significant layer of brake dust on the Quest.

Get Your Car and Your Drunk Self Home

I just saw this on "Insomnic with Dave Attell": ScooterMan, a service you can call that sends a sober, fully insured driver to your location to drive you home in your car. The driver arrives on a small scooter that is quickly disassembled, bagged, and stored in the trunk. Someone interviewed on the show said that the cost was about 150% the cost of taking a taxi. What a great idea! Sorry, only available in the Greater London area.