Wednesday, May 31, 2006
I don't know how amazon.com deemed it an item that I might be interested in, but they did. And it seems that at least 75 others stumbled upon it and reviewed it.......though I'd be highly skeptical if a single one of those guys owns it.
Though it might not be the weirdest thing that amazon sells, it definitely generates some of the the funniest reviews I have ever seen on their site. It's light reading for the end-of-the-month post.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Here is my favorite ride that was at Blossom Time. WTF?
Too bad the Flight 800 or Challenger simulation rides were already reserved for another festival!
I almost forgot......on the way to Blossom Time I did my good deed of the day. You'd think taking a 7, 5 and 3 yo to a crowded, hot festival would have been my good deed. But I went one better - stopping for an injured bicycler.
Coming over the crest of a hill I spotted him lying in the middle of the road....a motorcycle coming towards both of us. Denton was ready to dial 9-1-1, as I checked on him and then helped the rider up and out of the road - along w/his bike. Apparently, he had come out of his saddle to pump up the hill.....feet firmly in his clips when his chain broke. With no way to quickly dislodge his feet he went over - and went over hard. His shaved (ick) legs were unscathed, but one arm was badly bleeding. I had water and napkins in the car to help him clean the wound (it wasn't as bad after the blood was washed away) - and used my cell phone to call his parents to come get him. The man was in his 30s or 40s....and visiting from Canada. He had ridden a good 30 miles from his parent's house - but he refused a ride back there (or to the hospital). He was shaken - but fine....and I can only imagine another car coming over that ridge faster than I was and what his fate might have been.
Monday, May 29, 2006
I have not been to Blossom Time in what I'm guessing is 30yrs. Chagrin was never a great metropolis, but it sure has grown since I was a kid. The rides still look as unstable as when I was a pre-teen. The booths where the carnies have their games look just as seedy. Instead of blacklight posters as prizes, they are now ones of Jessica Simpson, the guy from Prison Break. Instead of face painting there is now temporary tattoos. Instead of stuffed Tweety Bird prizes, now you get SpongeBob. And of course, there is always the live goldfish in a Glad sammich bag for tossing the ping pong ball into the bowl.
The food - still corn dogs, elephant ears,
I don't remember the parade being unending (Blobby pretty much fried his un-SPF'd head during the 3.5 hrs we were there). We ended up sitting near the end of the parade route. By the time the participants got to us, well.....they just didn't have it in them. Maybe they didn't at the start......who knows. The marching band who by that time were just...well.....marching. Drums played....and no one else. But the boys loved the fire trucks - and I guess that is what mattered mostly.
...and bagpipes? Are there anything worse? And you can't have just one group.....there were two. I swear those "instruments" could raise the dead.....but not in a good way (is there a good way?). When are these guys gonna start dying off? Speaking of dying off, they say that X amount of WWII vets die daily. I now know the source of many of those: they are forced to carry massive flags in full dress uniform in 90+ degree weather for 2 miles.....and they're 85!!!! It's enough to make anyone keel over.
And when did parades become political events? There were more judge, representatives, congressmen, etc running for something than there were band members, shrines, fireman and soldier - combined!. Not only that, the fuckers didn't even throw candy? C'mon - a little something for the tykes who are out in the scortching heat if you even want me to entertain voting for you???
Sunday, May 28, 2006
For the last decade or so, I've been enthralled w/Mt. Everest. I have a slight desire to go to Nepal to see it. I'm not a mountain climber nor do I have any interest in climbing Everest. Ever.
After reading Into Thin Air my OCD nature allowed me (?) to read most books on and watch most specials/movies on the subject. ....at least my Patricia Hearst phase is over!
But each April/May I eagerly anticipate the climbing season on Everest to see what stories come out of it. This year - nothing good. Most years nothing good - but this year is just tragic. 15 deaths so far. One of the highest climbing fatality seasons ever recorded. But if it were just due to conditions it would be one thing. Total disregard for human life to get to the summit goal is beyond belief.
The two big stories are the climber who was close to death and the 40 people who passed him saying 'oh, there was nothing that could be done'. ...and left him to die. Then there was the climber who was determined to already be dead, but then found to be alive. After being carried down a bit - he walked to base camp on his own. Could the other climber been in the same situation had anyone given a fucking crap about him?
Time and again, from my readings, on how climbers survive the mountain - who have thought to have been lost causes.
But one quote in the news items disturbed me more than others:
"The sheer pressure of numbers and accessibility to these mountains (have) changed the kind of people who go,'' said Lydia Bradey, a 44-year-old New Zealander who in 1988 became the first woman to summit Everest without supplemental oxygen.
As a result, Bradey said in a telephone interview, Everest climbers may be forced to decide whether to jeopardize their once-in-a-lifetime investment to help a dying person.
"If you're going to go to Everest ... I think you have to accept responsibility that you may end up doing something that's not very ethically nice,'' she said. "You have to realize that you're in a different world.''
G-d fuckin forbid that one accepts responsibility that you may end up giving up your dream and goal to do something that is morally and ethically CORRECT. It is, indeed, a different world.
And I think my OCD chain for Everest has been broken.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
We're still considering getting a pooch. Whiskers seems cute enough......except his name. That would have to go. But Petfinder had his pic rotated oddly. When I go an put it upright, I'm not sure he's AS cute as I thought. G-d, I hope I'm not talking myself out of a dog. We had to fill out a 6 page questionnaire just to even see Whiskers.
Of course, I had to overthink the questions. The right answer might not be what they are looking for. Dity had to tell me her thoughts from her shelter-working experience. He might not be the dog for us....but there is one out there.
Denton has never had a dog. Neither of us want to upset the cats. We love the cats.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
At first, I was confident that this
But upon further investigation (ok....that might be too extreme. One Gooooogle search) shows that she indeed is going to Auschwitz w/Elie Wiesel.
But to the people in marketing: does she have to look so fuckin happy about it?
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Yesterday we met w/our financial planner. I cannot tell you what a funk I've been in ever since. I can't quite place the reason. In her terms, we're doing the right things on planning for the future. Sure, we can look at our expenses and see what we can cut back, but we're on track.
If I had to narrow my mood down to a specific reason, I can probably get it down to three. Maybe there is no specific reason. But let's break it down:
67. It's the age in which I can retire. Denton too. Only he'll be 70 by the time I retire. Doesn't seem like a lot of time to do things. I mean, between artificial hip and knee replacements - what are two old men to do?
24.3. More years of work until I reach 67. A frickin' quarter of a century left to go!!!! How incredibly depressing.
90. The actuarial age they used to plan our finances and retirement. I run out of money by the time I'm 90. Denton too. Oh, but by the time I hit 90, in our printed out timeline - Denton has xx next to him. Yes - he's DEAD!
In the best circumstances I don't want to live to 90. And I don't really want to live w/out Denton. In reality, I never thought I'd make t0 35. I think I'd be a lot farther ahead if I truly thought I would live this long. I would have started earlier than I did in my investment stuff - but the irony is, at that time, I wasn't making enough to really put too much away.
Afterward, I just walked down to Barnes & Noble and bought the new Dixie Chicks cd - while Denton hobbled behind me.....w/out his cane.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
"Why are so many people, including clergy, raising a fuss about 'The Da Vinci Code' movie? Hello? It's based on a novel, which means it's fiction."
It's been awhile since I've done a Monday Moaning. They just haven't been Grandpa Simpson-y enough. This one isn't either - but it brings up a bigger thought(s). The Da Vinci Code is a novel. But in my estimation, for the most part, so is the bible. It's a great work of fiction.
Critics, consumers and Oprah (ha!) sit here and criticize James Frey for his work: A memoir. (disclaimer: I've never read James Frey and could care less about anything he puts to paper.) Apparently memoirs are based on experiences as the author remembers it. They need not to have everything corroborated. So in theory - all autobiographies are memoirs unless you have a factual basis for everything that hits the page. If not everything - then what is the threshold that makes the work 'true'?
....and where does this leave the bible? Stories handed down over decades or centuries before being put to paper. Stories that have no basis in fact. Stories - if exact same events were told today (i.e. parting of the Red Sea, fish and loaves, water to wine) would be written off by the 24 news cycle as looney news items. People claiming to be the 'son of g-d' would be given psychiatric evaluations and written off as nutso.
All these bible-reading, jesus-believing, g-d fearing folks all assume they will know 'him' when he comes again....b/c after all they are good christians (don't get me started on that oxymoron!). But they won't. They look for Mary in grilled cheese sammiches and on the sides of water towers and in underpasses. Now who is the fucking nutso?
....and THAT people is how you write a Monday Moaning!
As Lionel Hutz would say: "I rest my case!......What? Oh no, I thought that was just a figure of speech. CASE CLOSED!"
Monday, May 22, 2006
Sunday, May 21, 2006
I was going to say how bad performance of The Marriage of Figaro was that we saw this weekend in.... West Virginia!!! Yes, opera comes to Charleston.
To back-up a bit, we actually went to WV to see the in-laws. Nothing against my family - but it is kind of refreshing to have everyone agree on politics. Not that all is talked about - but they can be discussed w/out deteriorating into irrational ideals based on .....well.......usually nothing. And it doesn't hurt that I really like Denton's family.
During this trip most of us attended the annual opera performance. Yes. 'the' one. Same time next year; Carmen. It was actually very well attended and in a really nice theatre. Some guy coming in w/us was a tux w/a gold bow tie and cummerbund. I overheard him saying it was their big night in from Elkin and they thought they'd make a show of it. I'm not even Gooooogling 'Elkin'.
To be honest, except for two operas that my sister and brother-in-law performed in, I've never sat through one. This one, to me, wasn't that good. The singing was in English w/lyrics still projected above. Not only was it annoying - it was necessary. Hell, w/the scrodeling, it may as well been in Italian. You couldn't understand their words anyway. And I don't find Mozart to be Puccini or Verdi. It just seemed tiresome at 3.5 hrs long!!!!! ...and the English speaking/singing parts made it sound more like Gilbert and Sullivan.
During intermission, the guy behind me was going on about Wagner's Ring cycle...and how long that was. Only he called it The Trilogy of the Rings. You know - the one where Gandalf does his big aria about 'you shall not pass!"?
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Yet another installment in the drudgery that is everyday shopping. The camera-phone makes it a bit more fun - though I get looks whenever I take pics of products. Like I care what people think!
....and no one says 'japanese cooking sauce' like the jews. Am I right, people???
Friday, May 19, 2006
No - I'm not doing them still. But the fall-out still remains. It's just impossible to give everyone glowing reviews. It'd be so much easier (kind of) to give the evals and annual increases at the same time - really drive home the point, be it good or bad.
But we space these things out. By months. So, now I get to give increases to the staff, who most of have short term memories. I will get to relive their review w/them as they get their 2.5% adjustment. That's the average - not definitive to all of them.
I myself got 4.5%. I think that is the highest I have gotten in years. It was more like battle pay than earned it. But I did earn it. It's been a TOUGH year here. Not only financially - but the hurdles of starting a new area and the things and people that just didn't work out.
In reality - a start up department shouldn't have a positive contribution margin until year five. The expenses far outweigh the revenue. But w/some tight tight tight cost cutting and looking at every single invoice that comes through, we might actually pull off a profit. By end of fiscal/calendar year. Nothing major by any stretch of the imagination. But since we were budgeted to lose $500k - breaking even would be HUGE. A profit (even though technically we are not-for profit) is simply amazing.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Not that anyone calls me 'Bob', I feel the need to differentiate myself from my friend 'Bob' by putting some kind of descriptor on him. So, he's 'Chef Bob'. Guess what he does for a living? Go ahead.........guess.
So in the dream, Chef Bob, Rob Lowe and I are at dinner. Chef Bob, in the dream, is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.....and in full military dress. Due to some message the three of us get up and walk through the very crowded restaurant to a waiting black Hummer (very clean, very shiny). The back door is open and I get in assuming Rob Lowe and Chef Bob are in the front. Only Chef Bob gets in - Rob Lowe is never to be seen again.
I feel odd, as if I'm being chauffeured around, but that passes quickly. We drive for awhile to Columbus, OH - but it only takes 20 minutes from wherever we were. In my mind, I'm thinking we were hours away and 'how did we get there so quickly??' - but we did. Before we arrived at our destination, we pass and african-american hitchhiker. I feel bad we passed him by, but looking back after the fact, he is just waving to us, as nice as can be.
At some point, Chef Bob is no longer in the picture and all the sudden I'm in what I'm guessing is downtown Lazarus (yes, I know it no longer exists). It's not really Lazarus, but looks more like Yankee Trader w/racks of clothes in it. People are there picking up their prom gear. For a brief moment I'm upstairs peeing and talking to Denton who is standing next to me. He's never to be seen again.
Switch to some party/reception kind of area that is more like a VFW hall. It seems to be for Chef Bob's brother who was injured during combat. This seems to be the reason we left the restaurant to drive down here. Chef Bob walks enters wearing civilian clothes and has greying hair - which he didn't have before. Though stoic, he is clearly upset. I walk over and tell him, "though I know you'll say 'nothing', let me know if there is anything I can do for you". He takes me up on my offer to get the convertible back to his house. Somehow I know what this means. I start trying to figure out now how he's going to get back.
I take from other info in the dream that CB's brother is only injured, but somehow has 100 flags at half-mast for him during his transport back home. While standing near a table of food, CB says he needs to write a note of thanks to Maureen Dowd. Two girls look at him and go 'really??' - as they clearly don't agree w/Dowd's liberal views. CB takes them to task about how intelligent Dowd is - and how right she has been. The girls cower away.
Then CB is sitting in a corner expounding on a bible reading either by or about St. Paul. I sit next to him and tell him he's never read the bible and barely ever been to church and how dare he go on and on about this crap.
Next thing I know, I'm dropping him off at his house......from a convertible.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
I swear, only in the Bush administration could anyone, let alone the press secretary (and natch - former Fox newsman), get away w/using the phrase 'tarbaby'!
How did he get away w/it, you ask? I guess that is a question for the 'liberal press'! They clearly let him off the hook. It is practically buried in a CNN piece (it doesn't even appear in USAToday's similar story) about Tony Snow's first real day on the job, and his welling w/tears on recounting having had cancer.
Boo-fuckin'-hoo! I'm a cancer survivor and you don't see me weeping up about it. Of course, he has to take a swipe at a democratic blunder from almost 40 yrs ago by bringing up Muskie in the process.
But in the same press conference he uses the word 'tarbaby' - claiming 'american lore'. Even if - he has to be well versed enough to know that using the word in any context is just plain bad and wrong!
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
You know, sometimes I really like Family Guy, but lately it's just been so-so. I appreciate it for it's cultural references (much more up to date than say The Simpsons), but rarely does the entire story work. I've been watching for the completely inappropriate joke between the plot - if there is one.
Last Sunday was a perfect example. I hadn't laughed that hard in a long time. You really have to wait 28 seconds into it for the true set-up.
Monday, May 15, 2006
LAURA BUSH IS A TWAT
Clearly the new WH chief of staff is trying to put a softer, more reliable face on their stupid fucking messages. Mrs. Shrub is making the rounds on anyone who'll put a camera in front of her. No one in the communication office wants to be reminded of the guy who holds the office who has a 29% approval rating.
But Laura's kinder-gentler message is just as offensive, if not moreso. I also have problems w/her interview/article:
- I could care less what Laura Bush has to say. Ever.
- I doubt Laura is any kind of political strategist. I bet she can't decide what to have for dinner
- I love the fact that she doesn't think the issue of gay marriage should be used as a campaign tool - two years after it helped her husband and his cronies get re-elected
- If #2 were true, #3 would never have happened
The only thing more repulsive, is Mary Cheney and her little media-go-round (for her book.) How does that dyke sleep at night???
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Today was Mother's Day - as most of you know. I did the right thing and take my mother (and father) to brunch. It was easier than coming up w/a present that she didn't need or want.
The thought was to ask some of my sisters to come, but the restaurant said we got the last 4-top and they had no additional room. To be honest, I didn't really want to coordinate that nightmare anyway. So, I didn't invite them - and then had to cop to taking my parents out and not including them. I don't think they cared but you never know.
The irony is: whomever schedules at the restaurant had it way wrong. We were only one of three tables. Upstairs only had four filled tables when we go there. When we left, we were the ONLY table downstairs. Upstairs was kind of full, but not entirely. They had major room - and I could have invited the family and let them sweat the details.
But it was a good meal....a good space....a nice view. And of course, I scored major 'good son points'.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
We were entertained when he, what I call 'flitted' out to the podium. Denton even turned and said "that's a lot of Loafer Lightner!"
At first, the piece started out ok. I won't say it deteriorated horribly - they are all still talented musicians. Butttttttttttttt....it wasn't great. Can't say I'm a huge Wagner fan anyway - and let's face it, the only thing most people know of the Ring cycle is 'The Ride of the Vallkyries' (yawwwwwn).
I don't know a lot about classical music, but I know this much:
- Conductors shouldn't be so excitable that when they bounce up and come down you hear their shoes hit the floor......from 14 rows back!!
- Audiences shouldn't be so fucking quick to applaud at what they think is the end of the performance. It makes us look like hicks.
...and the problem w/the Ring is the same thing that was wrong w/Spielberg's AI. You think it's over. You want it to be over. And then it gets another ending. Then another. And then another. IT JUST WON'T END. (in truth it was only about 90 minutes long.)
On the way out I did see, in its own way, a great thing: a true music lover. In a reclining wheelchair...almost flat on their back w/a trach tube. All there to listen to music. It was something they had that they could do. Something they could love. Something they could appreciate.
So if the conductor was a hack or not, whether we applauded in the right place or not, or whether the piece was played well or not - it was beautiful to someone.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Denton that is. Back from his week in Tel Aviv. ...and better yet, he came bearing gifts. Actually last year he traveled so much, it was gift enough just to have him home for a weekend. But when he goes to Israel, it's always fun to get something a bit more cultural. You know - a trinket from Wilkes-Barre just isn't the same thing.
One thing he did get me is one thing I wanted: a new Israeli Defense Army t-shirt. My last one ripped upon first try-on.....due to my being 'big boned'. Ok......that's not true, but I'm not fat either! I'm NOT! Sizes are different there. I cop to needing (or even liking) XL t-shirts. But XL didn't cut it w/the last one. It was like an M at best. So this time he got me an XXL. If this doesn't fit, well, then I am just plain porky!
He also got me two David Broza cds. Je heart David Broza. For those who don't know him, he sings in Spanish, Hebrew and English - rarely on the same album (did I just say 'album'?). They are usually segregated to their specific markets. So these cds two are both in Hebrew. They are older disks too. Maybe 15 yrs old? I'm telling you - if you have a chance to catch him live - do it.
The last gift Denton claims is for me. It's a Hamsa Hand (or sometimes known as a Hamesh Hand - depending on Arabic or Hebrew culture). It provides protection from the Evil Eye....and I don't think we're talking about Sauron.
My theory is Denton got it for himself for protection from THE evil eye - who sometimes also goes as..............BLOBBY!!!
The picture isn't great, but it's a pretty piece...and it now hangs in our kitchen.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
G-d, how bad does it have to get before someone just cans this shmuck from the White House?
Furor over illegal wiretapping seemed to have vanished - as does almost any indignation that Bush puts us through. He's got the power to get people to forget. Or maybe it's just the short attention span of the undereducated american population.
The gov't has been buying kerjillions of call records from landlines and cellphones (personal and business lines) from phone companies. Three in particular: Verizon, AT&T and BellSouth. To be honest, I'm not sure if I'm more upset w/the gov't doing this w/out warrants, just cause, or lack of a soul - or the phone companies for selling out for something that had no court order, just cause or warrant.
Markeplace had a good story (more about the telecoms than anything) tonite - only one company had the gonads to tell the gov't 'no': Qwest. If we had Qwest service here, I'd change over in a second! Apparently the administration berated Qwest for being unpatriotic and then threatening them to pull any gov't contracts. ......so.....who exactly are the unpatriotic ones?
More than 3 to 1 in a CNN poll says that this NSA intrusion makes them feel 'creepy' as opposed to 'more secure'. (honest, 'creepy' was the choice.)
As always, the gov't, their agencies and their watch groups are completely at odds:
- Michael Hayden - up for CIA director says, "Everything that N.S.A. does is lawful and very carefully done." Did I mention he currently works for the NSA?
- Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, said, "If they don't get a court order, it's a crime."
- Kennety Bass, former counsel for intelligence policy @ the Justice Department said "The concept of the N.S.A. having near-real-time access to information about every call made in the country is chilling....though probably not illegal"
Oh yeah - and this has been going on since 9/11, but the AG and the NSA says they were 'fully forthcoming'. ....um...........w/whom? If they were, wouldn't the public know about it say.....more than 4.5 yrs after it started?
oh yeah......and W thinks Jeb should be president. What? You didn't see THAT coming???
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Rebecca supplied me w/a SOTM site, which I am archiving for a later date (sorry Becca!). This month I'm giving it up to another suggestion - from my big sis, Adrienne! She is the only one of my sisters who actually reads my blog..........oh wait..........she's the only one of my sisters who knows this blog even exists. ......that I know of...!!!
Anyhoooo....The New Yorker now has a Cartoon Caption Contest. In theory it sounds great - but I love their cartoons and always have. Let's face it - no one is getting The New Yorker pining for a new Steve Martin essay - are they???
Back to the contest......The pressure is too great to be funny. Sophisticated funny. You know - like my readers. Or like my readers claim to be - yet here they are, still reading my rants and drivel. .....so maybe there is no pressure.
btw....Ade's link goes pretty much nowhere. Feel free to goad her into actually blogging something. Heck, she went to the trouble of setting it up!
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
I rarely blog about work. But last night I attended a media event for (and at) my workplace. I should have known it'd be and odd evening when my name was missing from the guest list. They had to make one up for me. After s-p-e-l-l-I-n-g my name four times for the people at the desk, they still printed my badge incorrectly. I am now 'Roger'. People I've known for years, but interact w/infrequently said 'oh, I've always called you 'Robert' - I feel so silly'. All w/out a hint of humour. I'm keeping the badge forever. Or until I move out of my office or something.
The main event started out ok, but went a little over the top as media events tend to do. The lasers. The smoke. The exploding streamer canisters. If someone had given me some ecstasy it'd have been 1990 all over again. But w/out the crying jags the next day.
My favorite was Scott Hamilton as the emcee. And how he went on about how after getting testicular cancer he thought he'd never be able to have a child. I wasn't thinking that would have been his biggest obstacle to procreation. But at the end of the event, the CEO called Hamilton the most talented and courageous person he's ever met.
I guess 'talent' is subjective. That triple salchow (yes, I had to look it up) sure beats any painting or musical composition. But courageous? Because firefighters, policemen, or the men that the CEO served w/in Viet Nam are clearly wusses compared to a man who wears spandex, sequins and twirls on ice skates. Clearly I need to learn a thing or two about courage.
Oh yeah - and my fly was down for the entire event!
Monday, May 08, 2006
Our first born turns 14 today.
Yes, Kylie is an old gal. For a cat. In my way, she was a present for Denton's graduation in 1992. I didn't get him the cat - but the necessities for a cat. Bowls, boxes, toys, etc. She came home in a box that sat in a pharmacy for his entire shift. Her paw poking out from time to time. She's been his faithful companion ever since. She is not all that independent - and likes to be by her dads at most times.
Before we lived together (for a 2nd time) I'd go down a few times per week to play w/Kylie while Denton was at work. I'd make forts out of album covers for her to go into and swat at me - the intruder. I'd house-sit for him and have her attack my legs at night - as they were a game to her, since at least one leg moves constantly all night long. I saved her from a collapsed fireplace that got her white whites all sooty.
For a long time, she viewed me as a step-dad. Only after 5-6 years of living together did she actually come to me for pets or greet me when I got home from work. Neither of our cats are lap cats, so I'll never truly have that w/her.
If I want her, all I have to do is sing. Forget the can of Pounce! Break into any tune (usually made up lyrics w/her name in them) and she comes running. I find I can't even sing w/the stereo on, as it will get her up from sleep anywhere to come to me. Denton says it's b/c she likes my singing. I say she tries to distract me w/rubs and jumping to get me to shut up and focus on anything else.
She's endured 5 house moves (not including the one where she was born) and the addition of Tovah. The house moves went better - even though Tovah has been w/us for 12 yrs now.
btw....I know Kylie looks big - but she's only 9lbs. It's all that fur. Honest.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Granted, I have no true concept of what it's really like to be President of the United States. I've seen The West Wing and The American President. Hell, I've even seen Dave. I'd always imagined the highlights of the job would be brokering peace accords, balancing the budget, saving Social Security or perhaps securing healthcare for all americans.
Imagine my surprise when it only comes down to rod and reel.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Friday, May 05, 2006
Thursday, May 04, 2006
If Homeland Security uses the My Heritage face recognition program for known or suspected terrorists, we are in a heapin' mess o'trouble. Using 4 or so digital or scanned pictures of myself, I was ALLLLLLLL over the board w/whom I may resemble. Or who may resemble me.
- Let's run it down, shall we?
- Ricky Ponting was the winner (or would that be loser?)- coming up in 3 of the pics. (I Goooooogled him, apparently he is a cricket player)
- Val Kilmer came in twice
- Matthew Fox once (I'll take that)
- Howard Dean once (there are worse things)
- Uday Hussein !!
- Sadamn Hussein !!!!!!
- Khalil Gilbran
- Ritchie Valens (now I'm hispanic?)
- Penelope Cruz (now I'm hispanic and a woman??? swear to g-d. either I'm more feminine than I care to believe, or she's a dude!) ......then it goes
- Yao Ming and a slew of other asian men I don't recognize (note to self: stop squinting in pictures)
In one pic I put in was Morty and me. I'll give the software this - it picked up the two separate people. Trust me - Morty fared much better!
- George Clooney
- Billy Zane
- Matt Dillon
- Brad Pitt
- Andre Agassi
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Truth be told, I'm not a big fan of Stephen Colbert. I thought he was great when he was a 'senior correspondent' on the Daily Show, but I have not taken to him when it's a full 30 minutes of his schtick on the Colbert Report. It becomes tedious and annoying. That's the great thing about the Daily Show - it's not all Jon Stewart all the time.
But I'll give Colbert this - he was funny as the 'moderator' (?) at the White House
Correspondents' dinner this last weekend. Here are some snippets of his 'routine':
- Wow. George W. Bush. To be this close to the man. I feel as if I'm dreaming. Somebody pinch me. You know what? I'm a pretty sound sleeper. That may not be enough. Somebody shoot me in the face."
- I believe in this president. I know there are some polls out there that say this man has a 32% approval rating. But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in reality. Reality, that's a well known liberal bias."
- Colbert urged Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, and reality has a well-known liberal bias.
- He attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. This administration is soaring, not sinking, he said. If anything, they are re-arranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg.
- Colbert told Bush he could end the problem of protests by retired generals by refusing to let them retire.
- Turning to the war, he declared, "I believe that the government that governs best is a government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq."
- He noted former Ambassador Joseph Wilson in the crowd, just three tables away from Karl Rove, and that he had brought " Valerie Plame." Then, worried that he had named her, he corrected himself, as Bush aides might do, "Uh, I mean ... he brought Joseph Wilson's wife." He might have "dodged the bullet," he said, as prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald wasn't there.
- He advised the crowd, "if anybody needs anything at their tables, speak slowly and clearly into your table numbers and somebody from the N.S.A. will be right over with a cocktail. "
- Also lampooning the press, Colbert complained that he was surrounded by the liberal media who are destroying this country, except for Fox News. Fox believes in presenting both sides of the story the president side and the vice president side."
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
It was the first time I used my new polling place. It should have been my second time, but I forgot to re-register to vote w/new address. Since I have never missed a primary or general election I wasn't going to let a little thing like address change stop me from voting. I just drove to my old polling place. Sure, it's a little fraudulent, but nothing like what I fear is coming.
Yes, it was the first time (that I know of) Ohio used electronic voting machines. NIGHTMARE! (say like JoAnn Worley). As usual, I'm there at the crack of dawn - always the first or second person in line. Today I was second! Damnit Willie Chapman for beating me by a minute!!!
Ok - on the best day this process at this new place would have been glacial. Though I have yet to be at an election site where all the volunteers aren't octogenarians, these guys were especially slow and clueless. One looked downright mentally deficient. And Mr. Chapman was a quick as molasses going up a sandy hill.
The old site had maybe eight booths. This place had three. Well.....actually they had one. One working machine. Two either didn't work - or the volunteers didn't know how to set them up. They tried calling the Board of Elections, but no one answered. I only imagine this scenario was being repeated throughout every precinct, in every county, all over the state. YIPEEEEE.
When I finally did get to vote it seemed quick and painless. The machines were very intuitive and responded easily to touch.
Because of all the issues prior to implementing these machines, there is supposed to be a printed copy of your casted ballot. The machine prompts you to print each page. I can hear it printing, but I get and see nothing. I think you're supposed to. The volunteers had no idea.
Some other guy waiting to vote was amazed at all the problems ("well....ain't that a kick in the head!"). I was not. I more than anticipated these things.
There was an official Exit Poller in the room whom while I waited asked if, on my way out, I'd stop by. Sure. I'm all for (re)evaluating this process!
And stop by I did. Of course, I had to wait, b/c Mr. Chapman was s-l-o-w-l-y giving his answers. I'm sure they were the same questions - I mean, it was a pre-printed questionnaire, but the poller seemed stumped at my response that I didn't get a printed ballot to validate. There wasn't even a place on his sheet to mark that answer. I know Mr. Chapman didn't get one either - so why Mr. Poll-Taker was surprised that I didn't was beyond me.
The Exit Guy also axed if they could take contact me later for follow-up if needed. They asked Mr. Chapman too. But they asked me my email address and Mr. Chapman his phone number. Reeks a little of ageism.
The system is so fucked up and apparently easy to hack, is there anyway that most of these elections aren't going to be contested in the courts?
Oh - AND I didn't get an 'I Voted Today' sticker.
Monday, May 01, 2006
While the primary is tomorrow, it's just that - a primary. We'll select the lesser of two evils (hopefully) to face-off in November. The democratic candidate for governor is almost a sure thing - Ted Strickland. I can live w/him. Both the republicans are frightening!!! Kenneth Blackwell, who (almost) single-handedly gave Ohio to W (and who has Jeb's support!). And Jim Petro is just as sickeningly conservative-like as his opponent.
I don't like living what has become THE swing state. I don't like being the new Florida. And as Taft predicted (and I blogged on 08/31/04) we would be the new Florida in the 2004 election (eeeeek).
I always feel in the minority in this state - but it seems that others might be coming around to my way of thinking. "Heave-ho the status quo!" The eight years we've seen being republican run might soon be a thing of the past.
The Plain Dealer reports that our scary scary governor's race at this point might not be much of a race. A poll of 625 likely voters (first, I'm not convinced the 'n' is big enough or second, what determines a likely voter) - but here's how they break it down:
- In the republican race Blackwell leads Petro in a 50% to 29% of the voters respectively
- 41% say they prefer to see dems in the governors seat (compared to 28% for republicans). Taft has run Ohio into the ground. And we let him do it for two terms!
- 47% said they'd vote for Strickland in Nov over the 37% that has Blackwell's support
- In the Senate race - democrat Sherrod Brown is 11 point behind in the race to dethrone Mike DeWine. Though it seems like a big spread, the poll suggests DeWine is surviving on name recognition alone at this point
Hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel. And hopefully, it's not the train!