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September 21, 2009

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Story Time

The third quarter of the year is winding down.  With it comes the deadline for finishing up the work for volume 2 of “The Fiction of Kosmo”.  Consolidating the short stories into the document isn’t difficult – but writing the longer, capstone story is quite a bit of work.  I strive for a story of at least 10,000 words for this story.  The capstone story for volume one (Key Relationships) took more than a week of work (in various small pieces of spare time) to complete.  Hopefully I can finish the new story in a similar amount of time.  Currently, I have fewer than a thousand words written (just the ending), so I need to buckle down and finish the story.  This might result in me skipping a few article in the course of the next two weeks.  I’ll try to make the story worth the wait.

Rockies Update

Friday night, the Rockies had their wild card lead cut just 2 1/2 games.  With wins on Saturday and Sunday, couple with Dodgers wins over the Giants, the Rockies now stand 4 1/2 games clear of their nearest pursuers.  With just 12 games remaining in the season, this is a solid lead, but not insurmountable, especially with series left against the first place Cardinals and Dodgers.  It feels weird to be a fan of the team that is being chased.  In 2007, the Rockies were behind until the tail end of the season.  The other times my teams have made the playoffs (1984 and 1989 Cubs, 1995 Rockies) are too far in the distant past to remember the race with any clarity.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki deserves some MVP consideration.  After a dreadful start to the season, Tulo turned around his season at nearly exactly the same time that the Rockies turned around the season.  It is doubtful that this is a coincidence.  Tulo now stands just one homer short of reaching 30 for the season.

Annie Le

The authorities seem to be keeping a pretty good lid on the information in this case, but theories are being bandied about.  Apparently, suspect Raymond Clark had warned Annie Le that the cages that housed her mice were too dirty.  While I agree that cleanliness is a good thing, is it really possible that Annie Le was killed because there were too much mouse poop in the cages?

The Lost Symbol

The Lost Symbol, the latest book by Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, hit the shelves on Thursday.  My daughter loves the book.  She wanted me to read from the book.  I complied, and read the dust jacket and a few other short snippets.

Why didn’t I read more of the book to her?  Well, she’s only two, and the material might be a bit too mature for her.  Honestly, I think she likes the cover.

Lazy Man vs MonaVie

Lazy Man of Lazy Man and Money is a friend of The Soap Boxers.  A benefactor, actually, as he is providing free hosting and invaluable technical support and advice.  Lazy has been critical of the MonaVie corporation, questioning whether or not the product actually provides the benefits that the company and MonaVie distributors claim.

Lazy has been sent not one, but two, cease and desist letters.  When The Consumerist questioned MonaVie, they agreed that the first letter was incorrect.  They subsequently sent a second cease and desist later.  The complaint?  That Lazy Man and Money was using the trademarked term (MonaVie) in the meta keywords for Lazy’s article on the company.  Considering how meta keywords are using by search engines (to create the blurb you see listed in the search results, but typically not used to determine the page’s ranking) it seems perfectly natural to use the company name in the meta keywords.  In fact, it would be a bit strange to NOT use it.

Lazy has written about MonaVie on several occasions (see the complete list here).  The original article has attracted a pretty incredible 3300+ comments in the course of the last 18 months (note the comment at the bottom about archived comments).  By comparison, The Soap Boxers sometimes gets 5 comments on an article …

Spam Comments

Lots of porno-spam in the comments lately (all of which have been caught by my spam filter).  I guess I should be proud of the fact that the blog is successful enough to attract spammers?

The Murder of Annie Le

September 17, 2009

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I have an interest in true crime, and the result is that I can fairly easily absorb news stories that would make a lot of people queasy.  Every once in a while, however, there is a crime that just grabs my attention and won’t let go.

Currently, this is the story of Yale graduate student Annie Le.  For those of you who have been living under a rock lately, Le disappeared last Tuesday and her body was found on Sunday – ironically, the date of her wedding.  The moment I heard of her disappearance, I feared for the worst.  Initial news reports were holding out hope that she simply had a case of cold feet.  This seemed a bit unlikely, though, because of the fact that she had left belongings – including her purse – behind.  When police were able to identify surveillance video of Le entering a medical research building, but were unable to find video of her leaving the building, it became apparent that Le’s body was somewhere in the building.

There are a few unusual aspects to this case.  I’ll speculate on what I think they might mean.  (Note: I have read online reports, but have not seen much of the television coverage – Hopefully I’m not parroting what some talking heads are saying.)

  • Le’s body was found inside a wall in the basement – in a recess where utilities and cables are found.  Leaving the body in the building made it very likely that it would eventually be found, due to the eventual impact of decomposition.  Had the killer originally planned to move Le’s body to another location?  Or was this a spontaneous crime, and the location of her body simply the best available hiding spot at the time?
  • Bloody clothes were found in the drop ceiling at another location in the building.  The Yale Daily News has stated that officials told them that the clothes were not what Le was wearing when she entered the building.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that they weren’t Le’s clothes – perhaps she had spare clothes in the building?  Perhaps they belonged to the killer.  Most troubling of all is the possibility that they belong to another victim.
  • The medical examiner has said that the cause of Le’s death was strangulation.  Again, this creates confusion with regard to the bloody clothing.  Strangulation is not usually a bloody type of death.  If the blood is indeed Le’s, how did it get on her clothes?  Was there an intense struggle before she was strangled?  Was there torture before her death?

The police have a substantial amount of evidence, as they have 250 pieces of evidence and 700 hours of surveillance video.  I’m assuming the surveillance video is from several locations within the building, as the length of her disappearance was around 100 hours.

Police have issued a body warrant (authorizing taking of DNA sample) and two search warrants for Raymond Clark.  Clark has not been arrested.  Although Clark and others are under surveillance, it is unlikely that an arrest will be made until DNA tests are complete.

I hope that the police are able to quickly bring Annie’s killer to justice, so that she can rest in peace.  My thoughts are with Annie’s family and friends.  By all accounts, it seems that Le was an incredible young woman.  Her death is a great loss to our society.

UPDATE: News reports (CNN.com and others) are circulating this morning saying that there has been a DNA match for Raymond Clark and that an arrest is imminent.