virtual earth fails the geography test

Unrelated to subject line, but One Million Reasons Dot Org is online:

It’s a CODEPINK initiative to get 1,000,000 people to give reasons against the war.

The subject line of this entry actually refers to Microsoft’s Virtual Earth product, which is in the news this morning for showing outdated satellite photos of Apple HQ and the WTC. I gave it a basic geography test of my own, and it failed that, as well. Way to go Microsoft! Nice work launching a product that shouldn’t be out there, just because Google beat you to it!

My test for Americans’ geography skills is simply a matter of name dropping my hometown of Victoria, British Columbia.

SMART – “Victoria, on Vancouver Island? Just north of Seattle?”
SLIGHTLY WITH IT – “Victoria Island’s in BC, right?”
CLUELESS – “Where’s that? Is that part of Vancouver?”
TYPICAL – “How far is that from Toronto?”

I applied the same standard to MSN Virtual Earth today, and found out that it should be called Virtual America. There is no photo data for BC. At all. It simply dead-ends at the 49th parallel. I input my parents’ address, and it returned the same street in North Carolina. Google Maps at least has a blurry image of Oak Bay available, and has much more detailed images of Vancouver.

So therefore, I deem Virtual Earth to be a complete misnomer, and they officially fail my “Are You Too America-a-Centric” test.

In an unrelated topic, I made gazpacho yesterday. “It’s tomato soup, served ice cold!” No, seriously, I took a recipe from a Martha Stewart magazine (the sales rep from was in last week) and modified it to a less expensive version:

Ghetto Gazpacho

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (I used TJ’s Organic)
1/2 a cucumber, preferably English, or 2 small Persian ones
1/2 a red onion
1 tsp. chopped garlic (the 99 center is a great source for this)
1 roasted red pepper (prepared by cooking it on the Foreman grill until softened & blackened)
1 lb. shrimp (TJ’s frozen small size is fine)
1 1/2 cups tomato juice (or 1 can paste mixed with 2 cans water)

Place the tomatoes, cucumber, roasted pepper, onion and garlic in a LARGE blender. Puree. Pour into bowl. Add juice (or paste/water mix) and defrosted shrimp. Add cilantro to taste & for garnish. Makes 4 servings of approximately 220 calories apiece.

It’s been HOT lately – even here in Venice, which is 20-30 degrees cooler than that hellhole of the Valley – so cold soup is a much less unappealing idea than it was in Vancouver.

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