We are amused

We were wholly unaware that “steampunk” existed as a musical genre, but it pleases us anyway. Via Warren Ellis, we find the amusing site of Abney Park, a steampunk band with an elaborate backstory, and an airship named Ophelia.

We’re certain the shows must involve a great deal of amusing stagework, but, alas, they’re in Seattle.

Dear Immigrants: Please leave. We’ll keep your cash.

Check out the story of Pedro Zapeta, who saved $59K, only to have the Feds snatch it and refuse to give it back, presumably on the ground that hey, he’s South American — must be a drug mule!

Jesus. Zapeta made errors — he’s illegal, and was unaware of the $10K cash issue — but the way our government is treating him is absurd and grotesque. He worked hard for his money, and now the only way he has any hope of getting it back depends on the pro bono kindness of strangers. Here’s a great bit:

Robert Gershman, one of Zapeta’s attorneys, said federal prosecutors later offered his client a deal: He could take $10,000 of the original cash seized, plus $9,000 in donations as long as he didn’t talk publicly and left the country immediately.

Zapeta said, “No.” He wanted all his money. He’d earned it, he said.

So True It Hurts

Today’s Worse Than Failure is actually a meditation on the Mythical Business Layer in software; it’s a concept often hauled out in “enterprise” situations. Here’s a great quote, on the subsidary concept of a code-free “rules engine” supposedly set to encapsulate all the business logic:

Yes, I realize that the Enterprise Rules Engine — the ultimate example of a soft-coded business layer — has become my go-to example for bad software. But it’s for good reason. The ERE truly represents the absolute worst kind of software. It was as if its architects were given a perfectly good hammer and gleefully replied, neat! With this hammer, we can build a tool that can pound in nails.

We realize this post appeals to — and is understood by — a tiny fraction of our audience, but we’re pretty sure that tiny subset is nodding in furious agreement already. Don’t miss what they have to say on persistence, either; the Waterloo of any framework is typically the database, and it hasn’t escaped the notice of the author.

Great.

So, Vonage lost another ruling, which means we may end up having to change phone providers sometime.

Here’s what happened: Vonage made a success of VOIP precisely because it’s not an incumbent carrier. It has nothing to do with patents, and in fact if Vonage had a deeper bankroll we feel pretty sure they could prove that. Sprint, for its part, doesn’t even really care about the patents: they just want Vonage out of the marketplace precisely because Vonage did something they couldn’t or didn’t do: have success with VOIP.

As soon as Vonage goes under, if they fail, expect Sprint and the remaining oh-how-we-hate-’em telcos to offer some kind of crippled, locked-down, drastically less useful VOIP product that will cost more than Vonage’s offering. Further expect no one to enter the marketplace for fear of lawsuits from these telcos for quite some time.

As Techdirt put it in the link above:

[The incumbent carriers suing Vonage] were unable (and unwilling) to create the services that people wanted — and now they want to shut down the company that actually did innovate — and they’re likely to succeed. That’s not how the patent system is supposed to work.

Dept. of Seriously Evil Insurance Companies

So, pregnant woman has coverage with Blue Cross in Kansas City. Said woman endures the heartbreak of a miscarriage. Said insurance company denies the claim on the grounds that “elective abortion” isn’t covered.

Woman verifies with hospital that the paperwork was coded correctly, and then discovers that, apparently, this branch of Blue Cross routinely denies coverage for miscarriages on these grounds. Shades of Rainmaker, anyone?

We’re hoping Consumerist stays on top of this, and that the actual media get involved soon.

Sigh.

Our cousin is still an idiot. At least he’s leaving the House.

Full text of letter, in case the Jackson paper loses it:

September 25, 2007

Pickering’s TV act would suppress artistic freedoms

Someone from the Department of Human Services needs to visit 3rd District U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering’s home immediately. His children are in danger. I am not exactly sure of the details, but apparently his household televisions are on at all hours of the day, switching uncontrollably to programs that would otherwise be locked out by a V-Chip.

Rep. Pickering has apparently exhausted his options and introduced the “Protecting Children From Indecent Programming Act.” This bill would make the FCC take action for any broadcast with even a single “obscene” word or image.

While I applaud Pickering’s efforts to act as my legal guardian, I already have a father, and he introduced me to an amazing tool in the battle against the television demons – the remote control. Amazingly enough, when faced with inappropriate programming, I can use this device to either turn off my television or change the signal in such a way that another “channel” is shown on the screen.

Certainly, he has tried the remote control before going so far as to introduce legislation aimed at suppressing artistic freedoms. I am positive he has even tried to manually turn the television off, set the Parental Password so his children would be safe to watch television while he apparently has plopped them in front of it and left them, and even gone so far as remove the televisions from his home.

In the interest of these poor children, something must be done to ensure they are no longer exposed to this obscenity that comes on television at hours past what most parents set as bedtime. Please. Won’t you think of the children?

Emily Evans
Hattiesburg

(No, we’re not kidding. His father is more (in)famous, but they’re both our cousins; our great-great-grandparents are (were) Chip’s great-grandparents. Thanks for the heads-up, Triple-F.)

Vindication for our phone choice

Apple has made it abundantly clear that having unofficial software, or having unlocked the phone you spent $500 on, may well result in subsequent software updates turning your phone into an expensive paperweight, and you’ll be SOL on the warranty.

Let’s be clear: They’re doing this deliberately. It’s not a “it might happen” and it’s not a “whups! we didn’t realize 3rd party devs were using that!” kind of thing; they’re actively going to break your iPhone if you’ve put software on it they don’t like — which, at this point, means anything that it didn’t come with.

Fuck that. The 8525 we’re using may be clumsy and awkward, but at least it’s OURS. Open platforms uber alles.

Charming

Here’s something that surprises us: Thunderbird can’t seem to find the content for any email sent to us by a client who uses Groupwise. We see the mail, and we see (empty) attachments, and can even view the (encoded, illegible) source, but there’s no way to read the mail.

Outlook has no such trouble. Content pops right up.

Way to Fail!

Update: It turns out, “show attachments inline” will “fix” this. But still: Icky for both Tbird and GW.

Whups.

So, for about a month, our ATM receipts have consistently shown that the bank thinks there’s been about a grand more in the Heathen Coffers than we think there should be. We chalked it up to someone sitting on a check somewhere, or several someones, and figured it would even out eventually.

As we reviewed our record of last month’s with Quicken, we found the issue. We like the neighborhood crepe place. They’re good, but they’re not THIS good:

Fatfingered entry

The bank’s version of this transaction is a much more factual $9.12.

Sabanwatch Week 4

Ah well. Tide expectations were probably too high, but at the end of the day we view the squeaker OT loss to Georgia as an acceptable outcome despite the pre-game hype and, yes, our own starry-eyed what-ifs earlier this week. Sure, Saban could’ve gone for two on that final TD, but the statement of a revitalized program has been made.

Sadly, this hurts our Nick Saban Points Per Million Index. Let’s review: We’re four games in, and picked up 46 points week 1, 14 week 2, 3 in week 3, and -3 this week, bringing the total back to an even 60. That gives us a NSPPM of 1.8750.

Our Attorney points out something interesting in re: the Ole Miss – Florida game, which is that Meyer was supposedly down 5 starters. This may put the Rebel’s apparent strength in perspective. He’s also right that the stats on the Texas Tech – OSU game were out of this world for Tech, but even 646 passing yards don’t matter if you don’t get more points than the other guys.

Finally, we were remiss yesterday in not giving credit where credit’s due. Notre Dame may be 0 and 4, and they may be on the 2nd longest losing streak in school history (6!), and they may have allowed 30 points in every one of those losses, but they did manage an offensive TD for the first time this season in their loss to Michigan State, and no one can take that away from them. Not only that, they had positive rushing yards for the first time this year, too!

Next up for the Hapless Irish: Unranked but undefeated Purdue, who have so far put up at least 45 points a game this year. Then comes UCLA, BC, and USC before Navy. It could get ugly.

Just making things clear

We should note that the MIT student arrested for having a “hoax bomb” at Logan Airport this week was NOT in fact trying to get through security. She was at the airport to pick up a friend, not to take a flight, so she wasn’t subject to TSA’s tender ministrations. The cops took it upon themselves to arrest her anyway — again, even after ascertaining that her sweatshirt posed no threat to anyone, and was in fact an engineering project.

Pre-Sabanwatch Football Rundown: Week 4

Still-overrated Louisville (18 AP/19 USAT) bent over for unranked Syracuse this afternoon in a sloppy meltdown of a game. Go Big East! At least this’ll keep the UL partisans from whining about a shot at the title come Christmastime; even if 2-loss squads have a shot by then, surely the Powers That Be will insist that the losses be to quality squads and not to the unranked likes of Kentucky or Syracuse.

Today’s surprise? Ole Miss gave UF a run for their money in Oxford, but the Gators escaped 30 to 24. Are the Rebs better than we thought, or did Florida just underestimate them?

Joe Pa’s overrated Lions (ranked 10 in both polls, at least until today) fell to the unranked, can’t-beat-App State Michigan Wolverines, 14 to 9. Traditionally, Penn State is second only to the Irish in unearned ranking, since both delight in building scheduling a fall filled with creampuffs. Maybe this will be the year we get ‘em both off the lists before Halloween. (Amusingly, people are now suggesting that Michigan might well win the Big 10 despite the 1-AA loss in the opener, which is just wacky.)

Speaking of the Irish, they’ve widened their measure of Fail by losing to Michigan State IN South Bend, 31 to 14. Welcome to the land of 0 and 4, Notre Dame! Who wants to set the over/under on Weis’ tenure?

The big show this afternoon was of course LSU – South Carolina, as noted, and it went down as predicted. The final score — 28 to 16 — makes it look closer than it was; the Cocks got their last TD off a really sloppy facemask by an LSU defender as he sacked the South Carolina quarterback. We’re sure Coach Miles will have him run some extra sprints this week to atone. LSU gets the week off next Saturday (well, it’s Tulane), but they’re looking strong enough to garner a few more votes this week.

How we know college football is more fun that the pros: LSU’s 3rd touchdown, just before the half. They faked a field goal with more style than we’ve ever seen. The footage has to show up on YouTube. Also, LSU has a wee football leprechaun in Trendon Holliday. He’s tiny, but DAMN that fella can run.

We’re off for other activities for the evening, so we’ll miss the Alabama-Georgia matchup; supposedly, Third Party Contract Oil’s gonna text us updates. We hope. Failing that, there’s Tivo.

The AP are Stupid, as are these airport cops

The first line of this story is amazing:

BOSTON – An MIT student wearing what turned out to be a fake bomb was arrested at gunpoint Friday at Logan International Airport and later claimed it was artwork, officials said.

It was only a “fake bomb” if anything that is not in fact a bomb can be legitimately termed a “fake bomb.” What she was wearing was a piece of tech art that did in fact have circuity and a battery, but the girl’s an MIT EE student. They do things like that.

By AP logic, apparently, our CAT is a “fake bomb.” So’s our cell phone, our computer, our iPod, our briefcase, our watch, and our left foot. Dumbasses.

N.B., too, that we’re talking about Boston, the same city that went absolutely bugfuck crazy over some other “fake bombs” that turned out to be promo devices for a movie. Here, just as before, the cops made no attempt to determine if she was a threat; they just arrested her.

More over at BoingBoing, including a photo of the garment in question:

Looks like the “improvised electronic device” consisted of a circuit board and a common battery that caused her sweatshirt, which had painted writing on it, to light up. Authorities referred to the paint as “putty.”

The hoodie reads “Socket To Me / COURSE VI.” A BB commenter familiar with MIT stuff says, “Course VI means she majors in Electrical Engineering / Computer Science.”

This is yet another example of absurd hysteria that very nearly got an innocent student killed. That is, by the way, the angle the police are taking — they don’t see anything wrong with having arrested someone who wasn’t committing any crime. They have, of course, charged her with “possession of a hoax device,” so apparently the Boston folks haven’t learned their lesson yet. In a comment at BB, Teresa Nielsen Hayden said:

Boston has a long dishonorable history of overreacting to unfamiliar objects, then claiming they were “hoax devices,” which are illegal under Massachusetts law. This is nonsense. A hoax bomb is something that a reasonable person could believe was a bomb, and which its owner claims is a real bomb in order to scare or coerce people in its vicinity.

Boston police pulled this same stunt with Joe Previtera, a nonviolent protester, in 2006. He was doing a silent imitation of the famous photo of the hooded guy standing on a box from Abu Ghraib. The police arrested him — as far as anyone can tell, because they disliked his politics — and claimed that the speaker wires hanging from his wrists constituted a “hoax device.”

[...]

(Just a month after the Great Mooninite Scare, the Boston Bomb Squad managed to come up with an encore: they blew up a traffic measuring device that had been put in place by the Boston Transportation Department.)

Judging from their record, charging someone with possession of a hoax device is Boston’s way of announcing that they’ve once again mistaken some harmless bit of electronic gear for a bomb.

As always, security expert Bruce Schneier has more, including a link to a better shot of the obviously benign device — it’s a breadboard, some LEDs, and a 9-volt, for crying out loud.

Thanks, VMWare!

For a while now, folks in the Mac world have been agog about Parallels Workstation, a tool that allows Intel-based Macs to run Windows in a virtual machine, thereby allowing Macs access to whatever Windows-only software they need to run, but in a protected environment where Windows malware can’t hurt the rest of the machine. It’s a good tool.

Eventually, VMWare released a competitor, and given their background in virtualization, Fusion quickly became a better (more stable, more efficient) tool than Parallels. We bought a copy with our new MacBook Pro.

Well, said MacBook Pro developed an early fault, so it had to be swapped. No problem; moving machines in the Mac world is dead easy. There’s no need to reinstall software packages from disks or disk images, since the proper way to handle apps on a Mac is to create an “application bundle” that looks and acts like an executable, but is in fact a special class of directory containing the app and all its support libraries, executables, etc. What doesn’t go in the bundle is any sort of configuration information; that gets stuck in either your home directory’s ~/Library folder (for user settings), or in the computer’s own /Library folder (for global settings). It’s a nice, neat system, and one that makes managing a given machine MUCH simpler than the morass of crap you deal with on a Windows box.

Well, comes now VMWare, who are apparently eager to fuck it all up. When we tried to fire up VMWare today for the first time on this new computer, it behaved as expected and requested we paste in our license again. Several apps have asked for this in the last few days because license codes and authentication are stuck in the computer’s /Library folder, which we didn’t bother carrying over — it just wasn’t worth the hassle, since we have all the codes handy anyway, and the standard Apple behavior is that anything missing in Library should be reconstituted from the application bundle. (Remember, we have our personal settings in our own ~/Library, so we didn’t walk away from those.)

Except plugging in the code didn’t work. VMWare just sat there, doing nothing — no error or anything. We called the support line and got a singularly clueless drone who knew zero about Macs despite working support for a Mac product; his first suggestion was that we uninstall and reinstall (how Windows! And ironic, considering what came later!). It was us, actually, who discovered the problem: in our Mac’s console log, we found VMWare errors complaining of a path not found.

2007-09-21 14:30:19.062 vmware[4078] launch path not accessible

Yup. VMWare apparently sticks things it can’t afford to lose in /Library, and standards be damned. The support drone also told us that — get this! — Fusion also sticks some executables in /Library, such as its uninstall routine and a few other goodies. “That’s just how we designed our software,” he says.

The mind boggles.

There are guides for this sort of thing, you know. It’s not just an oral tradition. There’s a right way and a wrong way, and VMWare, for whatever reason, chose poorly. We’re now waiting for the 160 megabyte download to finish so we can re-install the one package brain-dead enough to require it. Thanks, VMWare! Not even Microsoft screws up on the Mac this well!

Football Preview

It’s a big weekend this time around: Unbeaten 3rd-ranked LSU faces Steve Spurrier’s new-and-improved Gamecocks in Baton Rouge, and Nick Saban faces the uncertain strength of Georgia in Tuscaloosa.

Spurrier may yet turn South Carolina into a real football power, but that this isn’t the year — even without factoring in the home field advantage, the squad Les Miles is building at LSU could very well end up in the championship game in January. We don’t figure the Gamecocks are ready for that quite yet. (Florida, the other potential title contender in the SEC, should roll to an easy victory this week against Ole Miss, so look for the top 3 spots to stay more or less the same next week, barring any bizzaro upsets.)

As for the Tide, this game is sort of make or break for Saban. They’re doing well, and had a big win against Arkansas last week — it can’t be said enough that they managed a come-from-behind victory for the first time in 22 games last Saturday — so they should be confident. If he escapes here, he’s got a great chance at not dropping a game until much later in the year: we figure that the next three after Georgia (FSU, Houston, and Ole Miss) should be wins, and he’s got a better than even chance against Tennessee. LSU’s a problem (11/3), but after that lie only Mississippi State, UL-Monore, and an already-shown-to-be-troubled Auburn. It could be a very good year for the Tide, since it’s hard to see more than two losses IF they take Georgia. In the spirit of keeping a positive attitude, then, we’ll pick Alabama to take Georgia, no spread.

This week also has a meaningless game: Penn State-Michigan. JoePa hasn’t beaten Michigan in 11 years, and we don’t look for them to start this week. Oh, and Notre Dame will lose, too, dropping to 0-4 against Michigan State.

Aggieball Update

Coach Fran dropped another one last night when his Aggies — ranked 20th in the AP! — got bitchslapped by unranked Miami 34 to 17; all 17 of the Ag points occurred in the 4th quarter, which strongly suggests Fran couldn’t move the ball at all against the first string Hurricanes.

Eat it, Fran.

Creeps.

The Telcos would like very much to be legally immunized against any lawsuit related to their ongoing violations of pretty much every privacy law on the books at the behest of the Feds.

Gee, can YOU think of ways this can be misused?

Raytheon has helpfully created a pain gun, and carry around a tabletop version (presumably for the gom jabbar) at trade shows.

Its makers claim this infernal machine is the modern face of warfare. It has a nice, friendly sounding name, Silent Guardian.

I am told not to call it a ray-gun, though that is precisely what it is (the term “pain gun” is maybe better, but I suppose they would like that even less).

And, to be fair, the machine is not designed to vaporise, shred, atomise, dismember or otherwise cause permanent harm.

But it is a horrible device nonetheless, and you are forced to wonder what the world has come to when human ingenuity is pressed into service to make a thing like this.

Silent Guardian is making waves in defence circles. Built by the U.S. firm Raytheon, it is part of its “Directed Energy Solutions” programme.

What it amounts to is a way of making people run away, very fast, without killing or even permanently harming them.

That is what the company says, anyway. The reality may turn out to be more horrific.

I tested a table-top demonstration model, but here’s how it works in the field.

A square transmitter as big as a plasma TV screen is mounted on the back of a Jeep.

When turned on, it emits an invisible, focused beam of radiation – similar to the microwaves in a domestic cooker – that are tuned to a precise frequency to stimulate human nerve endings.

It can throw a wave of agony nearly half a mile.

[...]

One thing is certain: not just the Silent Guardian, but weapons such as the Taser, the electric stun-gun, are being rolled out by Britain’s police forces as the new way of controlling people by using pain.

And, as the Raytheon chaps all insist, you always have the option to get out of the way (just as you have the option to comply with the police officer’s demands and not get Tasered).

But there is a problem: mission creep. This is the Americanism which describes what happens when, over time, powers or techniques are used to ends not stated or even imagined when they were devised.

With the Taser, the rules in place in Britain say it must be used only as an alternative to the gun. But what happens in ten or 20 years if a new government chooses to amend these rules?

It is so easy to see the Taser being used routinely to control dissent and pacify – as, indeed, already happens in the U.S.

And the Silent Guardian? Raytheon’s Mac Jeffery says it is being looked at only by the “North American military and its allies” and is not being sold to countries with questionable human rights records.

Note the bold last bit. We reckon the use of torture and black sites by our own government means that at least some “questions” have been raised about the U.S.’s own human rights record, but presumably this doesn’t trouble the Raytheon boys in the least. How long before some Cheney disciple decides it’s even safer than waterboarding, and figures he’ll use it to interrogate supposedly “high value” detainees?

(Via MeFi.)

NBC is very, very dumb

From the NYT story on their new video download service, i.e. what they’re doing because Apple wouldn’t follow their stupid ideas:

NBC makes many of its popular shows available online in streaming media, which means that fans can watch episodes on their computers. Under the new NBC service, called NBC Direct, consumers will be able to download, for no fee, NBC programs like “Heroes,” “The Office” and “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” on the night that they are broadcast and keep them for seven days. They would also be able to subscribe to shows, guaranteeing delivery each week.

But the files, which would be downloaded overnight to home computers, would contain commercials that viewers would not be able to skip through. And the file would not be transferable to a disk or to another computer.

The files would degrade after the seven-day period and be unwatchable. “Kind of like ‘Mission: Impossible,’ only I don’t think there would be any explosion and smoke,” Mr. Gaspin said.

The programs will initially be downloadable only to PCs with the Windows operating system, but NBC said it planned to make the service available to Mac computers and iPods later.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. “Hey, let’s pull our material from the most popular online store EVAR and go our own way with a single-platform option that expires! Consumers will LOVE it!” Really? We don’t think so.

There’s more from Jeffrey McManus over at his site; here’s a great point:

Here’s the bit the writer really screwed up, though: the terms under which NBC wants to “sell” you videos are not just worse than iTunes, but worse than every single video delivery system that has ever existed.

Slick move, boys. Here’s something you should pay attention to: as we’ve said before, the more you make your programming hard to get to, or hard to use like a paying customer wants, the more likely you are simply encouraging folks to seek out the darknets and illegal copies. “Piracy” rates in the UK and Australia for first-run US programming are huge not because they’re all scofflaws, but because that’s the only way they can get crap like “Heroes.” Make it hard to get in the US, and you’ll have the same issue here.

Life in the Future

This morning, we had a software design meeting via the Internet, between Heathen HQ in Houston, the CEO in Dallas, the Ops guy down in Sugarland, and the dev folks in India.

Usually, the CEO leads, sharing a preso via GoToMeeting. That alone is pretty nice; we’ve seen many meetings get totally ruined with maybe-it-works virtual meeting software, but GoToMeeting just works. It’s nice.

When it really got wacky was when we handed control over to India, so S. could show us what he’d been working on. Now, for background, we should note that we put a new consumer-grade PC on the Heathen network last week for India to access here in Houston, since it’s not practical to move multi-gigabyte files halfway ’round the world on the fly. Another Citrix product, GoToMyPC, allows them to use this machine more or less like it was there in India. It’s neat. Windows being Windows, we can even watch what they’re doing in real time, since they’re really just remote controlling the machine.

So it turns out the screen S. wanted to share with us was in fact his GoToMyPC screen, which shows on our monitor exactly what’s on the monitor on top of the Vista box at the other end of my desk. The screen has travelled from here to India via GoToMyPC, and then back to here as part of the GoToMeeting.

And it gets even wackier when we realize that the screen is also a Virtual PC screen, not the host OS.

Sometimes, there actually IS evidence we live in the future.

Eat it, Redbirds: SabanWatch Week 3

My, my, my, what a week. Here at Heathen HQ, we view September 15 as just about a perfect football Saturday, and much comeuppance was distributed. But we get ahead of ourselves.

Up first, per the form, let’s do the math. NickyLou started strong against the Razorbacks in his first real game today, opening up 21-zip in the first quarter. It wasn’t to be a rout, however, and Saban’s squad required a nailbiter of a final drive (and an amazing pass completion from John Parker Wilson to Matt Caddell in the end zone) to finish the 16th-ranked Arkansas squad 41 to 38. Alabama improves to 3-0; Arkansas drops to 1-1. It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out in the rankings, won’t it?

Last week’s winning point total was 60 (46 from week 1, and 14 from week 2). This time around, we add only 3, but it was enough. The week 3 Nick Saban Points Per Million is now 1.96875.

Now, on to the rest of the fun.

This week’s first surprise: MSU over Auburn, 19-14. The absurdity of this upset — which, by the way, drops the Tigers to 1-2 — is likely to save Syl Croom’s job, assuming he picks up another win or two before Christmas, and includes the rich boys from Oxford in the list. (That seems likely; see below.)

The Commodores — no, not Lionel; the ones from Vandy — gave us our second surprise this week by managing to beat the Rebs, 31-7. Who knew SAT scores could win football games? Despite being the Heathen homeland title school, we’ve always loathed Ole Miss, so we’re pretty happy about this one. Smart kids FTW!

The HUGE surprise of the week was the major upset of No. 11 UCLA by unranked Utah, 44 to 6. We don’t pay that much attention to western football, but we gotta ask: how did a nearly top-ten team get trounced like that? Are the Utes that good, or was UCLA just overrated?

The pointless matchup we mentioned before turned out worse for the Irish than we might’ve predicted. Sure, it’s the battle of the 0-2 starts, but at the end of the day Michigan competes in a real conference and plays drastically fewer creampuffs than the Irish. Lloyd Carr’s got 5 conference titles plus a national. Charlie Weis, on the other hand, is in his first top job, and has yet to win a big game, which is understandable since you generally need offensive TDs to do that, and the Irish have none so far this year. Need we mention again that Notre Dame hasn’t bagged a bowl game since 1994? If you think it might get worse for Weis, you may be right; Notre Dame faces unbeaten Michigan State next week.

(We’ll note, too, that by late in the 3rd quarter, up 38 to zip, Carr was keeping the ball on the ground playing 2nd and 3rd string. There are coaches who wouldn’t have done that.)

Dept. of Predictable and Lovely Outcomes No. 1: Florida over Tennessee by a whopping 59 to 20, which means Phil Fulmer’s having a bad year already. It couldn’t happen to a nicer asshole. It’s also telling, since it means Urban Meyer’s Gators are incredibly strong even after losing so many to the NFL after last year’s championship season. We doubt very much USC could take them (or LSU) at this point but we’re pretty sure the polls will keep USC on top this week for some reason.

Dept. of Predictable and Lovely Outcomes No. 2: We’ve said for years that the high-scoring teams of the Big East are paper tigers in a weak conference, undeserving of their rankings, and that if they played strong schools from strong conferences — like those required of real contenders in conferences like the SEC — that they wouldn’t be able to cruise to 0 or 1 loss seasons.

Turns out, we were right — and we didn’t need a strong team to do it. 9th-ranked Louisville fell to unranked SEC football weakling Kentucky in a back-and-forth battle that looked nothing at all like Louisville’s in-conference routs. Redbirds, if you’re going to pretend to be a contender, you have to beat real teams. Here’s a hint: Rutgers and UConn don’t count. Call us back when you win on a schedule with more than a couple quality squads on it.

Finally, LSU cruised to an easy win over Middle Tennessee (whom, we note, Louisville had trouble dispatching last week). USC, on the other hand, struggled early against No. 14 Nebraska, though they did manage a blowout in the end.

Ira Glass Has No Sense Of Humor

Michelle points out the tale of This American Jeff, a clever boy in Oxford, MS, who wanted to work for This American Life so much that he put together a hilarious mashup faux-interview in Flash as part of his campaign to work there. Go watch it; it’s great.

They demurred, amazingly, citing insensitivity in humor:

Regarding the flash “interview” on your Web site: While we appreciate the use of comedy and creative job applications, the part of the animation where a candidate was dismissed and was then referred to as “overly gay” was inappropriate, especially for a job application. We at Chicago Public Radio are very proud of having a diverse workplace and that includes sexual orientation. I’m writing to inform you, your resume is no longer under consideration.