Paul Murray's weblog, with news you may have missed and my $0.02 worth on a number of topics.

"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it."
- Art Buchwald

I bet you don't have a friend who's an acupuncturist

E-mail me: pmurray [at]

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Everything you never knew about Roger Ebert.
Chicago magazine has an interesting profile of film critic Roger Ebert. Settle in, it'll take awhile, but it contains many interesting tidbits I've never heard before. (via Romenesko)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Thirsty consumer products.
Consider the hidden costs to your energy bill and the environment of all those entertainment devices:
The holidays are approaching, and consumer electronics are likely to be a bestseller among gift-givers again this year.

But as people plug in their shiny new digital cameras, big-screen TVs, laptops and portable music players, what some may not realize is the growing chunk of their electric bill these devices are greedily consuming.

Overall, consumer electronics account for 15 percent to 20 percent of household electricity use today, up from 5 percent in 1980, according to figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Resources Defense Council, an environmental nonprofit organization. That makes high-tech toys the fastest-growing source of home electricity use, the NRDC said.

"We're bringing more and more of these products into our homes and using more and more energy to power them," EPA spokeswoman Denise Durrett said.

Satire forecasts the future.
It's been frequently noted that the satirical newspaper/website The Onion has ended up accurately predicting a number of events. But the accuracy of their article about George W. Bush's first inauguration ("Bush: Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over") is positively chilling, as you can see in this annotated version with links to actual news stories. (It's a Google cache; ignore the highlights and look for the colored hyperlinks.) (via Ask Metafilter)

Friday, November 18, 2005
The Sony BMG copy-protected CD debacle.
Had my life not been so hectic recently, I would have been one of the many people screaming bloody murder about Sony BMG's copy-protected CDs that put customer computers (PCs and Macs), and therefore, their data, at risk. The arrogance and stupidity they've displayed during this episode is positively breathtaking.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, let me point you to a two three-part recap (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) at BoingBoing. Sorry, but it would take me too long to do it myself, and it likely wouldn't be as good.

Here are the Sony BMG CDs that include the XCP software. (It does not include the ones that use SunComm software.) If you have played one of these CDs on your computer, don't download and install Sony's patch until you read how it can make things even worse.

PC language.
While it's not even December yet, the group Global Language Monitor has issued a list of the year's most politically correct words and phrases. Although I pretty much have to trust them about the French one, I can't disagree with any of their choices, which are amusing and/or pathetic, depending upon your viewpoint:

  1. Misguided criminals (instead of "terrorist")
  2. Intrinsic aptitude
  3. Thought shower (instead of "brainstorm")
  4. La racaille ("scum"), used by a French government offical to describe rioters in a primarily foreign slum
  5. Out of the mainstream
  6. Deferred success (instead of "failure")
  7. Womyn
  8. C.E. (Common Era, instead of A.D.)
  9. "God Rest Ye Merry Persons" (yes, an Anglican church actually preferred this)
  10. Banning the word "Mate" in the Australian parliament

Sunday, November 06, 2005
From the "Everything You Know May Be Wrong" Dept.
It seems that Johann Sebastian Bach's most famous composition, the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (you know it, the organ piece that appeared in scary movies), may not have been written by him -- not originally, anyway. All of which is news to me. (via Metafilter)

About my abscence.
Fewer posts than usual due to an ongoing family medical situation. I haven't abandoned this or anything.