You people send me the darnedest stuff.

  • If you’re like me and don’t hold a lot of fondness in your heart for Qwest (or even if you do), you might check out Packet8, an Voice Over IP (VOIP) solution. Using a little adapter, you plug your phone into your high-speed Internet connection and get unlimited phone calls in the US and Canada for $19.95 a month. Plus Caller ID, Caller ID Blocking, Call Forwarding, 3 Way Calling, and voice mail for no additional charge. [Conflict of interest note: Our friend Michelle works for the company who makes this.]
  • Erin’s cousin Kurt, presently engaged in the world of computers at ITT, send along this nifty optical illusion. Mondo bizarro. Props.
  • OK, nobody sent this to me, but if you’re writing a lot and looking for a good dictionary/thesaurus, you simply must check out WordNet. It’s a lexical reference system developed by Princeton University’s Cognitive Science Laboratory. I’ve been using version 1.6 for about a year; I just upgraded to 2.0 today. It’s free, and if you’re a writer (or even if, like me, you’re not—haha), WordNet may well prove indispensible.
  • I somehow neglected to mention the arrival on planet earth of Marcus Cecchettini Daroczi on June 18. For this I should be flogged. But instead we’ll settle for passing along in this forum our heartiest congratulations to the “amazed and tired parents,” our friends Shan and Heather. Word is that Marcus has lots of blonde hair and serious blue eyes. Initial stats: 7 lbs 12 oz., 19.5″ long. We can’t wait to see him!
  • In case you’re not getting enough political bombast with your breakfast cereal, try adding Greg Palast’s web site to your early morning reading list. [Shout-out to Dennis for the link.]
  • The Amazing Race is back for another go-round, and already we’re getting our share of dysfunction amongst the couples. My takes: The pizza guys (aka Team Newman) are fat and negative. And that’s their good qualities. The bowling moms seem a happy-go-lucky long-shot, but I suspect theirs would be a pleasant victory. I’d say that Donny and Alison deserve each other, but nobody deserves Alison. I would pay good money to see her teamed with Flo (of Flo and Zach) from seasons past. I want to shoot the midget and her cousin, and that’s not a sentence you type every day. In one breath they talk about how everyone underestimates them and how they’re as good as everyone else, then in the next minute they’re begging help from people. Team SeniorMoment seem like the most competent, well-matched of the lot, but I think the physical challenges will wear them down ultimately. This season’s Team Double Mint hails from Eugene, Oregon, which I mention as a local point of interest, not anything important. They sure are snippy for twins. Chip and Mrs. Chip are positive folks who, by their own admission, have botched up virtually every moment of the race up to this point. Either they get with the program or they’re last to the mat before too long. Bradon and Nicole, this season’s Team God, are handsome enough. Eye-candy doesn’t usually win championships, though. Especially when one of them says things like, “Nicole just needs to learn to trust me and God.”

    Well, there’s more to be said, but best to tune in for yourself. For my money, TAR is the best mindless reality television available. In the US. On free TV. This summer. And “best” is a relative term.