Planet PDF Weblog
A daily chronicle of Acrobat/PDF-oriented newsbits

For week beginning August 12, 2002
By Kurt Foss, Planet PDF Editor

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday


NOTE: Previous Weblogs will be archived at the end of each week, and start fresh here. You can also catch up on last week's Weblog.

MONDAY

PDF Pilgrimage: You know you're a Big Time Somebody when your impersonators have impersonators. And many of the Elvis Presley wannabee clones will likely be doing their "Hound Dog" acts in and around Presley's "Graceland" estate in Memphis, where an expected mob is likely to overlook the alleged look-alikes' blatant dissimilarities long enough to celebrate 25 years since the King left the building for good.

Graceland map

If you missed it, August 12 is apparently the start of "Elvis Presley Tribute Week 2002," the latest in the annual pilgrimages and tributes to the singer who popularized (among other things) gyrating hips, sneering, too-tight jump suits and Brylcreem-greased locks.

All things considered, a remarkable life for someone who according to a published chronology, unwittingly began what became an international musical career by singing "Old Shep" in the 1946 Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show talent contest -- he placed second. According to another source, the early Elvis didn't exactly strike some of the era's talent scouts as the next American idol. According to "Famous Predictions," a collection of famous quotations that missed the mark, Jim Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, said on firing Presley after one performance in 1954:

"You ain't going nowhere son -- you ought to go back to drivin' a truck."

Just to be sure that error isn't forgotten, Presley is more visible in death than in life. According to one source, "Elvis impersonators grew from 51 in 1981 to almost 15,000 in 1995."

Despite his premature, still controversial death in 1977, reports of Elvis sightings remain commonplace, if not suspect: according to tabloid reports over the years, he's been spotted at different times gorging on ice cream, shooting pool on a remote island with late Pres. John F. Kennedy and cavorting with aliens. Such is the life of a Rock 'n' Roll Legend.

Probably the most witnessed sighting in recent years was an apparent movie appearance ("Forrest Gump") in which, through a scriptwriter's bit of revisionist R&R history and digital production magic, Elvis seemingly learned some of the fancy footwork for which he later became famous:

ELVIS: "Say, man, show me that crazy little walk you just did there. Slow it down some."

Forrest begins to dance again as Elvis plays the guitar and sings.

ELVIS (sings): "You ain't nothin' but a hound, hound dog..."

Sometime later, while Forrest and his mother are out walking, they notice a TV in a store window:

FORREST: " ...was out shoppin', and we walked right by Benson's Furniture and Appliance store, and guess what..."

The television reveals Elvis as he thrusts his hips and sings.

ELVIS (sings): You ain't nothin' but a hound dog..."

Mrs. Gump and Forrest watch the television. Elvis dances around in the same manner Forrest did. A woman in the audience screaming and applauding.

    -- from movie script for Forrest Gump.

Elvis may not show up anywhere near you this week, but he can be found online at most any time -- frequently appearing in PDF. If you can't make the trek to Graceland to pay your respects (and your $$), you can still create your own mini-shrine with some of the many freely downloadable bits of memorabilia.


   

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TUESDAY

Baseball's PDF Poster Boy: When Barry Bonds hit the 600th homerun of his baseball career last Friday night, his historic drive into the centerfield bleachers at Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco vaulted him into an elite group: Only three others -- all Major League Baseball Hall of Famers -- have reached that plateau. Playing for the San Francisco Giants, Bonds now trails only fellow Giant legend Willie Mays (660), Babe Ruth (714) and Henry "Hank" Aaron (755) in career homers.

Bonds, however, has something none of the other three can claim -- a downloadable PDF poster marking *his* No. 600 milestone! Barry Bonds To commemorate Bonds' historic achievement (some sportswriters express reservations about celebrating Bonds the *professional athlete* any more than necessary, due in part to his private personality that comes off as arrogance), The Sacramento Bee newspaper is offering free downloads of a printable color poster (12 x 21 inches) showing Bonds hitting the highlight-film homerun. The momento includes all the important vitals worth noting about such a rare accomplishment: where and when it happened, who was pitching, the type and size of bat used, how far the ball traveled, where it landed, who caught it, etc., as well as a snippet from the surprisingly mundane play-by-play account of the hardly unexpected moment:

"The pitch comes on ... Bonds swings, there's a high drive, deep into center field, way back there, and this is it! No. 600 for Barry Bonds!"

Across the bottom of the free Reader-ready poster are mini-profiles of the three retired, legendary members of MLB's exclusive "600 Club," listing their respective career totals. Aaron's homerun record could eventually fall to Bonds if the 38-year-old slugger is able to continue playing for a few more years at the superman-like level he's performed the past several (he set a single-season MLB homerun record last year with 73.)

But there are strikes against him ever overtaking Aaron, who sadly suffered the mindless abuse of many small-minded baseball fans when late in his own productive career he eclipsed the long-time homerun record of the legendary -- and white -- Babe Ruth.

Strike One against Bonds is literally the lack of strikes -- good pitches he'd be able to hit well -- that opposing pitchers are going to throw him in any meaningful games the rest of this season.

Strike Two may be that the currently unsettled contract dispute between the players' union and baseball owners could soon lead to a walkout, even possibly ending the season prematurely (again) -- possibly even without the usual season-ending World Series championship (again).

And if/when that happens (again), it could be Strike Three not only for Bonds, but quite possibly also for MLB's claim as our so-called National Pastime. (Many would argue that Professional Football has already displaced baseball as the top American spectator sport, in part a result of previous baseball player strikes.) Homerun heroes or not, the remaining baseball fans may also decide to take a walk if/when the players and owners do; and if the ticket-buyers decide not to come back, will there be anyone around to see and care (or to download a future PDF poster) if Bonds -- or some younger baseball player just starting a pro career -- can someday hit homerun number 756?


   

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WEDNESDAY

Puzzling Political Pundits in PDF: How the U.S. Government actually works given all the partisan wheeling and political dealmaking that goes on routinely is just one of many Washington, DC-area puzzles. Only a serious, long-time observer of the American political scene -- a "pundit" -- could even attempt to offer a solution to that riddle, based on an insider's understanding of how the various pieces fit (and what to do if they don't!).

There's another puzzle in the nation's capital that's somewhat less complex, but that still requires a depth of specialized, politically correct knowledge. Think you're savvy enough to play? Here are a few practice clues:

ACROSS
1. Cushing in Pierce's Cabinet
6. Take testimony from
10. "The Blue Dahlia" star
17. A task for Congress when it reconvenes
22. Rep Dick from Texas
35. Part of Rep. Tom Petri's hometown
36. Bush vs. Gore in 2004, for example
41. Hussein or Arafat
43. Endangered whale
44. Word in Sen. Lott's state motto
63. Word before axis or doer
64. Rep. John E. Sweeney's hometown
65. Tribesmen from Sen. Nickles' state
68. It went into force on Jan. 1, 1994

DOWN
1. No-goodniks
6. Rep. Duncan from California
8. Treasury Dept. org.
10. Presidential repository
23. NEA concern
24. Nullify a correction
25. Civil rights agcy.
39. Sherman Antitrust Act signer
42. Rep. Leonard L. from Iowa
48. Rep. Bob from Alabama and family
52. DEA agents
58. Rep. Darrell from California
60. Rep. Gephardt's hometown, for short

If you're stumped, you probably aren't a regular reader of The Hill, the free political pub and epub with the motto: "We will respect the institution, but scrutinize its members and policies." The publication, founded in 1994, describes itself as "a non-partisan, non-ideological weekly newspaper that describes the inner workings of Congress, the pressures confronting policy makers and the many ways -- often unpredictable -- in which decisions are made."

The Hill Crossword

In other words, The Hill tries to make sense of the governmental puzzle. As part of its regular politically oriented grist, The Hill publishes a weekly crossword puzzle in PDF dubbed "HillWord." Only readers with Readers can take up the informational challenge, as it's a PDF-exclusive feature (designed for printing) on the Web site.


   

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THURSDAY

No Post Today: Vacation


   

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FRIDAY

No Post Today: Vacation


   

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