Please visit the new Coyote Mercury Blog.

It's even all up-to-date and everything.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

This Blog Has Moved

As of today, I am blogging at the new Coyote Mercury site. I am leaving this blog up, but have imported all posts and comments into the new blog. Comments are turned off here, but enabled at the new site.

The new URL is: for purposes of updating blogrolls.

There is a bloglines subscription button as well for you five who subscribe to this blog.

Thanks and see you at the new blog.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Pimpin' Post

Pimp. It's an interesting word that one hears quite often especially around high school students. Of course, they don’t use it to mean "a man who manages women in prostitution, often street prostitution, in order to profit from their earnings"(wikipedia). It’s generally used as a compliment as in: "Mr. Brush is cool. He’s a pimp." There’s no implication here that I might be managing the business of prostitutes. I’m just a cool guy.

Interestingly it can also be used as an adjective as in "Did you see his pimp ride?" or "That ride was pimpin’." Both statements essentially mean that he had a cool car.

The most fascinating use that I’ve heard is when it’s used as an adverb as in: "Did you check out his pimp tite ride?" Here, 'pimp' is the adverb modifying the adjective 'tite' ('tite' of course means really cool. One might even say as cool as a pimp).

Most adjectives can be adverbed just by taking the advice of "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here" and adding an '–ly.' Unfortunately, this approach would turn the adjective ‘pimp’ into potential adverb ‘pimply’. That would never do.

No pimp should ever be pimply. A potentially pimply pimp wouldn’t ever be pimp much less a pimp pimp even if the pimply pimp was pimping pimply and had a pimp tite ride such as a pimpmobile. The pimply pimp probably would receive a pimp-slapping by a real pimpin’ pimp who can pimp properly without being pimply. (One hopes our pimply pimp wouldn't be tied to the pimping post.)

by Professor Truth J Brushefeller


Despite the lack of posts this week, I've actually been blogging. I'm in the process of building a new home for this blog. Ever since I first dipped my toe in the waters of the ‘net and began experimenting with building sites, I’ve owned the domain and have hosted it on Yahoo! I never did much with it and basically forgot about it, using it only as a repository for old stories and such. Recently, though, I learned that Yahoo! had partnered with both Moveable Type and WordPress, the end result being that users can for no extra charge run a blog on Yahoo! using either (or both) platforms.

This sounded good since I was already paying for Yahoo! hosting so I experimented with both, but decided to use WordPress. It’s easy, powerful and intuitive. Moveable Type was cool, but I had WordPress figured out much sooner and was happy with the results. I’m using the Gila theme with a lot of my own modifications in the CSS. I also decided to use WordPress to power the main site and since it has this cool feature that allows you to make static pages it was perfect. I had to make a whole bunch of modifications to the static page layout to develop a look that makes the blog seem to be part of the site rather than everything being parts of the blog.

WordPress also has a feature that allows one to import all posts and comments from Blogger. I’ll do that when I’m finished tweaking my layout and then I’ll start posting there. Until then, I’m still on Blogger, and I'll post something to announce the switch in the coming days.

For updating blogrolls, the new URL will be


Monday, January 09, 2006

Weekend Hound Report: Football and Other Adventures

Readers of my previous post will be aware that though the week may begin on a Sunday or a Monday depending on one’s language and location, Monday is never part of the weekend, and yet, a Weekend Hound Report. Just a little temporal paradox to enrich your experience.

The hounds had an interesting week. Some friends came over for the UT game, and as Vince Young charged into the end zone to seal the game, much celebration ensued. Quite terrifying.

The hounds leapt from the sofa and ran into the cave in the back of the house study to hide from the crazed apes who were beating their hands together, screaming and generally whooping it up. Morrison sauntered off into another room with his tail fluffed out like a bottle brush. When the humans settled down, he walked in to check on the dogs. He found Phoebe (the sixty-five pound greyhound) huddled in a corner so he naturally hissed at her, which caused her to tremble and cry in terror until my wife rescued her. Morrison (the seventeen-pound cat) was sent to time out. He must have been pulling for USC.

On Saturday, we went to visit some friends who just bought a house on the north shore of Lake Travis. They invited the hounds so we all cruised out through the hills to Lago Vista. This time it was Daphne's turn to be afraid. She loves our friends when they come to our house. The drive was too much, though, and she spent the evening sleeping and recovering in a corner of the bathroom.

Phoebe loved the whole adventure. This was the first time she’d met these friends and she was very into them. It seems like each day, Phoebe comes out more and more, becoming more adventurous, more of a dog. Daphne is also coming out, but her progress is measured in years.


Want to save a greyhound in Central Texas? Check these pups out. Or go here to find a greyhound near you.

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Saturday, January 07, 2006

It Really Is 2006

I’ve read about the danger posed by bloggers to the interests and bottom lines of major corporations, and it is with that in mind that I must freely and happily retract something I recently posted.

On Tuesday, January 6, 2006 I wrote a post entitled Groundhog Year that suggested a product created through the hard work and dedication of the many workers and executives at a big corporate calendar company might be defective. In fact, I am the defective. I did not realize that the calendar was manufactured in Europe, where the week begins, sensibly enough, on the first day of the week – Monday. Wikipedia explains:
According to ISO 8601, the week begins on a Monday. This agrees with the term weekend for Saturday and Sunday. But this differs from the numerical weekday order used in medieval Latin churches, who numbered the first through sixth days of the week (Sunday through Friday). Similarly, weeks now exist in two varieties. The traditional Sunday-first system is used by some English speakers and much of Latin America, while most of continental Europe uses the ISO order. The ISO 8601 order has the potential for confusion with speakers of Church Latin, Portuguese, and Hebrew as in these languages the names for days from Sunday through Friday are numberings out of synchrony with this standard; "Sunday" is "first day," "Monday" is "second day," etc.
Not being a speaker of Church Latin, Portuguese or Hebrew, I can only blame my American upbringing and tired eyes since I saw the dates, but did not notice the days at the top of the columns, thus I thought the dates were for 2005.

I humbly and freely apologize for any unintentional damage I may have inadvertently caused the global calendar industry. I apologize for careers ruined, jobs lost, and any dips in stock prices that may have occurred as a result of the lack of editorial oversight at Coyote Mercury.

I know now that we bloggers must watch our words carefully and do our collective duty to police ourselves to help protect big defenseless corporations from the outrageous excesses and self-interested machinations of the little guy.

Perhaps posts that have the potential for confusion and combativeness ought not to be written on Tiw’s day.

In all honesty, it’s a great calendar of the ISO 8601 compliant Gregorian variety full of Ernest Shepard’s Winnie-the Pooh illustrations.

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Playing with Ideas in Sophie's World

Football elation can’t last forever, so this blog now returns to its usual grey for a post about a book. (Perhaps we’ll try yellow when Lance wins his next Tour de France.)

When I taught high school debate I always wished I had a book to share with my students that would provide a fun and easy introduction to philosophy and that would hold the interest of kids ranging from freshmen to seniors. Apparently, a Norwegian high school philosophy teacher named Jostein Gaarder thought the same thing, so he wrote Sophie's World.

This has been on my bookshelf for several years (so, as my wife points out, I did have it while I was teaching debate) but I’ve only just now found the time to read it, and I loved it! The book tells the story of a fourteen-year-old girl who begins receiving cryptic letters in her mailbox. She soon finds herself enrolled in a correspondence course with a mysterious philosopher.

Gaarder does an excellent job presenting the history of human thought about existence from the early myths to philosophy to modern science in a whimsical and good-natured mystery wherein Sophie’s philosophy lessons become the clues to solving the mysteries in her own life. The story takes strange twists and turns that mirror the thinking of the various philosophers Sophie studies and ultimately each turn provides some kind of contextual example of the ideas Gaarder is trying to illuminate.

It’s clear Gaarder has a specific audience in mind – young people being introduced to philosophy – but I think even one well educated in philosophy would enjoy this simply because Gaarder manages to capture the wonder and thrill of learning for the first time about big ideas that sadly gets beaten out of so many of us. The book is never pedantic, always charming, and provides many jumping off points for thought-games and other mental excursions into the nature of both storytelling and reality itself. Sophie’s World never takes itself too seriously and reminds the reader just how much fun it can be to play with ideas.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Bringing It Back to Austin, Baby

41-38. Still happily blogging in burnt orange today.

I had so much adrenaline going after the game it was hard to go to sleep. Amazing. Wow. Unreal.

Vince Young is such an exciting player to watch - I don't think he ever doubted he was going to pull it off, and of course he did just like he always does. He's even more fun to watch than Applewhite was.

It's been great watching the Horns exorcise their demons this year: top ten teams (Ohio State, Texas Tech), Oklahoma, The Big XII Championship, scares against OSU and A&M. Mack and the coaching staff have done amazing things despite a few mistakes in previous seasons, and Vince Young has led this team as I've never seen any other player do before.

Only nine more months until the next game. Can't wait.

Hook 'em.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hook 'em Horns

The Austin American-Statesman's Kirk Bohls is predicting Texas 48-44. He says someone has to beat USC someday, why not the Longhorns tonight? Sounds good to me.

This blog is wearing burnt orange today (and hopefully tomorrow) in support of the Texas Longhorns football team.

The CSS code is #CC6633 for anyone who wants to blog in the orange as well.



Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Groundhog Year

I glanced up at a new calendar yesterday in order to date a check and saw that it was the 3rd. That's odd, I thought, tomorrow is the third. I checked against another calendar and saw to my surprise that my 2006 calendar has 2005 dates.

I wonder if this means I have unfinished business or an incomplete '05 resolution. Either way, I guess I'm living in the past. At least until I exchange the calendar.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Jazz, Photography, and Playing with Light

Jazz and photography are probably my two favorite art forms so I was thrilled to receive as a Christmas gift a very cool book from my aunt and uncle: Jazz by Jim Marshall, which is a collection of photographs of great jazz musicians including such giants as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Thelonius Monk often captured off-stage in moments when those icons of jazz music were mostly just being themselves, or in some cases, onstage in such a way that you can hear their music coming out of the image, such as with the breathtaking image of Monk that graces the cover or the image of Ray Charles silhouetted on a bass drum. The book has little text and is mostly just beautiful photography and captivating images of some of the most important and influential musicians taken between the 50s and the 80s.

As I enjoyed the book, I couldn't help but think about the Ansel Adams exhibit that I had just seen a few days previously. Something that I read on the display card next to "Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico" stuck in my mind. It mentioned that several prints had been made by Adams and there were variations in the way he had chosen to do it each time, bringing out certain nuances here, obscuring details there.

When I got home, I looked up the section of his book Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs that details "Moonrise." Adams wrote, "The printed image has varied over the years; I have sought more intensity of light and richness of values as time goes on." This fascinated me since I always assumed that he just made one print and that was the image as it would be.

I've spent many hours in darkrooms trying to acheive an ideal print of some particular negative, but I usually threw away the prints that I didn't think were perfect (well, okay, as good as I could do) because it never occurred to me then to have different versions.

Staring at the images in Marshall's book and thinking about the subject matter, I remembered an analogy between photography and music that Adams, who was a classically trained pianist, had made in which he said the negative was like the score and the printing was the performance. This approach to photography goes nicely with the improvisational nature of jazz.

A photographer may spend hours in the field or perhaps just seconds composing a particular image, essentially writing sheet music in light, but the work isn't finished until it's performed. The image is then performed in the darkroom and depending on the filters and settings and quality of the chemicals and paper, the photographer takes the initial composition and improvises with it to create something of the moment. A year later, the same negative and same photographer might produce a very different image. Or perhaps exactly the same one.

I really like this idea that there doesn't have to be one correct version, that there can be many, each existing momentarily like a saxophone solo that changes from night to night, each time sounding new and timely, but also part of something recognizable. And each of those slightly varying solos or images when taken as a whole might tell a fascinating story about the person who made them. It's this active, living-in-the-moment aspect of these two forms that I so enjoy and admire.

All of this makes Jazz a great book for lovers of jazz or photography to get lost in while listening, perhaps, to Monk work the keys.

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