Thursday, June 25, 2009

Obama Acronyms

I visited a web page a while back, in which people proposed various acronyms based on Barack Obama's surname. Here are a few of my own suggestions:

Obviously Believes Abortion Merits Approval

Obtusely Believes Abortion's Most Appealing

Overtly Bulldozes America's Moral Authority

That last acronym is based on the following definition (found in the American Heritage Dictionary) for the word "bulldozing": "To do away with; demolish". It is very closely related to the first two acronyms.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Obama and Socialism

Here's a link to a rather thought provoking blog post I discovered a moment ago while randomly browsing through the blogs at How valid is it? I don't know. But in light of Barack Obama's association with people such as Bill Ayers, I personally find it to be plausible.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Temper, Temper

"I never liked anyone who didn't have a temper. If you don't have any temper, you don't have any passion." — Michael Bloomberg (2002)

I found the preceding quote in an article on the web, and I liked it a lot, and not just because of my own personality. I think the quotation is quite apt, particularly in an age when a relentlessly sanguine personality is falsely seen by many as a sign of virtue. I believe that people have a moral responsibility to be angered by injustice and evil, because people who are apathetic about such things tend to tolerate them. When we tolerate evil, we help to perpetuate evil.

Jesus was angered by the economic injustices perpetrated in the Temple by people who ostensibly represented God — even to the point that Jesus scourged the moneychangers with a small whip and overturned their tables! What? Did you think they crucified Jesus because he got along well with everyone? Think again! It's no accident that the crucifixion took place a mere week after the incident in the Temple.

Admittedly, some people have a tendency to lose their tempers over trivialities. There's such a thing as making mountains out of molehills. Some people also have a tendency to get angry for rather self-centered reasons. (Some of Michael Bloomberg's detractors would undoubtedly accuse him of having done so, and for all I know, they may be right.) But there's also such a thing as making molehills out of mountains. When we trivialize everything, refusing to take a firm and passionate stand against things which are wrong, our complicity makes us perpetrators of those things. I believe that we'll answer to God for our apathy, if we are guilty of such apathy, on the day of judgment.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ethics and Capitalism

The following quote is from the cover story for the most recent issue of Newsweek (6/22/2009). The article is entitled "The Capitalist Manifesto." It was written by Fareed Zakaria.
No system — capitalism, socialism, whatever — can work without a sense of ethics at its core. No matter what reforms we put in place, without common sense, judgment and an ethical standard, they will prove inadequate. We will never know where the next bubble will form, what the next innovations will look like and where excesses will build up. But we can ask that people steer themselves and their institutions with a greater reliance on a moral compass.
Amen to that!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Social Bookmarking Sites

Ever since I started browsing the Web regularly, I've been a big fan of the ability to create bookmarks (known as Favorites in Internet Explorer), so that one doesn't have to remember web addresses (especially really long and complicated ones) and so that one can keep track of all of the best web sites and pages which one has visited.

The only problem is that one's collection of bookmarks tends to be limited to one's own computer, which means that it isn't normally available when using other people's computers or public computers. That can be a big problem if one's computer crashes, forcing one to use public computers such as the ones at the library until one can afford to repair or replace the computer. (That's particularly relevant to me in my current situation!)

One can transfer collections of bookmarks from computer to computer, but if one is borrowing someone else's computer, that person may not appreciate having his or her own bookmarks overwritten. (Of course, one can back up those bookmarks first by exporting them before importing one's one collection, but that's a hassle.) And public computers are often set up so that importing and exporting bookmarks (or even creating bookmarks) may not be an option.

A better idea is to store one's bookmarks online so that they can be accessed regardless of which computer one is using at the time. Social bookmarking web-based services such as (previously are beneficial as a means of enabling one to do just that. Some social bookmarking sites enable one to import entire folders of bookmarks at once, which is particularly handy for people who, like me, have created extensive collections of Internet Explorer Favorites in numerous folders and subfolders.

A second benefit is that such social bookmarking web services enable one to share one's collections of bookmarks with others, by making them "public" when saving them. This is one good way to increase the likelihood that people will visit one's own web pages and sites, and it's also a good way to easily help out others who have websites, blogs, etc. which are worthy of promotion. One may also be able to share one's bookmarks with other members by sending e-mail messages to them.

I just signed up with, so I now have a web page which stores my own links. Right now, I only have a few links there, but I intend to significantly expand that list in the near future.

(NOTE: also has a feature which enables one to periodically export all of the links one has stored there, as a safety precaution in case there's some data loss on their end. The export process produces an HTML file, the same as exporting with browsers such as Internet Explorer.)

Here's a partial list of some other social bookmarking services. (Or click this link for an even more extensive list.)
  1. Digg
  3. StumbleUpon
  4. Reddit
  5. Squidoo
  6. Furl
  7. BlinkList
  9. Simpy
  10. Spurl
  11. Raw Sugar
  12. Yahoo MyWeb
Notice that I now have a link, in the sidebar of this blog, which enables one to easily bookmark any page on this site at If you like reading my blog or a particular blog post, please take the time to click that link, or the link at the end of this blog post, if you already have a account. That way, you can help me to increase the web traffic for this site. That would be greatly appreciated!
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Pentax K7

Pentax has a new digital SLR, known as the K7. The resolution is the same as the already excellent K20D, and it seems to have retained all of the cool features offered with the K20D (such as the weather-resistant design and the built-in interval timer), but they've added some very desirable new features, such as a movie mode and an optional vertical grip (very handy for portraits).

The interval timer would be very handy for self-portraits, upon which one could base paintings or drawings or digital art if one wished to do so; and it could do things a standard self timer couldn't do. (For example, I'd like to take a series of photos of myself while I'm playing an entire piece on the piano. A standard self timer would only take one shot, and then I'd have to get up from the piano bench and set up the camera to take another photo. That would pretty much negate the possibility of getting an authentic photo of a real performance.) The number of intervals (between 1 and 99 shots) and the length of time between shots (up to 24 hours, 0 minutes and 0 seconds) is more limited than the options offered by some computer software programs (such as software which comes with just about all Canon DSLR cameras) or by third party solutions such as the PClix LT or the much bulkier Mumford Time Machine), but having such features built into the camera would make it possible to take intervalometer photos in situations where one might be hindered from doing so with other solutions. (For instance, since the K7 is weather resistant, one could take intervalometer photos out in the rain. That would be much harder with other options.)

There's also a very desirable in-camera feature which merges three photos together in order to produce HDR JPEG files. For home editing, it would probably be better to create RAW files and then use a more sophisticated program to create one's HDR files, but the ability to make HDR JPEG files on the road without access to a computer would be very handy for making quick prints of exceptionally high quality at local stores equipped with photo kiosks, right after taking the photos. And since the K7 has a mode which shoots RAW and JPEG files togeter, there's no reason why one can't make such quickie HDR photos and also create better HDR versions later at home, even if the in-camera JPEG files can only be created from other JPEG files. But I'm guessing that one can create such files from RAW files as well, for higher quality.

For more information about the K7, visit this link.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Information About Another Namesake

Here's a link to information I discovered when I searched on my name (at for links pertaining to my name, Mark Pettigrew. And here's a link with his contact information at Queens College CUNY, where he apparently works as an Assistant Professor in Arabic. (We Pettigrews are such an intellectual bunch!)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Quote of the Day for 6-9-09

"It's impossible to spend too much money on your employees. Whatever you spend on your employees comes back many fold." Bob Parsons, CEO of, according to June 4, 2009 interview on ABC News.

It's a shame that some employers have a completely different mentality, which might be paraphrased as follows, "Squeeze your employees for everything they have, and offer them as little compensation as possible. If you can avoid paying benefits (by hiring two part-timers instead of hiring one full-timer, for instance), then do it. Give raises as seldom as possible. Pay CEOs far more than they deserve, and pay your employees far less than they deserve. Never mind that your stinginess and unfairness ultimately costs you, inasmuch as it leads to substantially increased employee turnover, which means that you have to invest needless time and resources in finding and training new employees. Never mind that low employee morale results in low productivity and minimal loyalty to your company. Think short-term, not long-term. Act as if the Golden Rule doesn't apply to you."

Bob Parsons has sometimes been criticized for the racy ads with which he promotes Maybe those criticisms have a grain of truth to them. Nevertheless, I choose to use that company's services for the purpose of hosting Mostly, my reason is that the company simply provides some very good services for reasonable amounts of money. But it doesn't hurt, in terms of my loyalty to that company, when I see signs which suggest that is probably a very good company to work for. I'm guessing that a lot of other ordinary people feel the same way. That creates customer good will, and customer good will ultimately leads to an increase in sales, as people such as Bob Parsons have discovered.

Treating employees with respect and consideration for their needs isn't just a matter of good ethics. It's also good business.