Friday, November 19, 2004

Thursday Three, a bit late

I was away from the computer all day yesterday, so I'm catching up.

1. Is your birthday in a good time of year or does it suck?

Depends. August is a nice enough time of year, but as a kid it meant I basically had no birthday parties. Nobody was around. On the other hand, I now have a job where I get my birthday as a personal day, so it's pretty cool.

2. How did you spend your 21st birthday? (Assuming you have done that and still remember.)

I have (at least physically) passed my XXI birthday, and I have no memory of what I might have done. I don't drink, so it's not because of alcohol. I was unintentionally, but decidely single and unattached, so it wasn't lost in a haze of romantic bliss. Chances are I watched a bit of TV.

3. Do you know anyone with your birthday?

There was a guy in school and summer camp with me who had the same birthday (I think I was older by a few hours). We'd get a birthday cake during lunch at camp, which is how I found out we shared the day. Others with my birthday are here. I knew about Dustin Hoffman and The Edge, but Esther Williams was a surprise. Events of the day are here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Archives of Interest

This week's entry is technically a museum, but there's a lot of crossover between the archives & museum worlds, and they do have a research library.

Anyway, here's the website of the Cartoon Art Museum. I have been a fan of both still and animated cartoons for many years, and clearly so are others. I still maintain that the 1940s era Warner Brothers cartoons are among the highest form of art produced in America. I'm sure others are better artists (although the animators and background artists were terrific), but comparatively few of them actually make you laugh.

Learning to Drive

Well, learning to take some points off my license, anyway. 'Bout two months ago, I got my first ticket in 17 years of driving. As they say across the pond (or did in the 19th Century, as Rumpole points out often [caution: sound file]) "It's a fair cop, guv." I was over the speed limit, and earned the ticket.

Anyway, to knock the points off I went to the AAA defensive driving course Monday and last night. I don't know how this works elsewhere, but in NY there's no practicum - it's all classroom stuff. Ours was, to boot, basically watching videos for 6 hours. The guy teaching the thing is a retired cop, so he was full of war stories about people doing stupid (and occasionally fatal) stuff on the roads.

It wasn't quite as fascinating as I might have hoped, but I admit I'm more conscious of what I'm doing and others are doing on the road. And I've hopefully kept my insurance premiums where they were.

Weekend Update

Why no bloggy for a few days? Dunno - semi-busy at work, and not a lot went on, I guess. Lunch with our neighbors on Saturday, rush from there to a 40th birthday party for another neighbor, then home. Sunday was mostly quiet.

The only noticeable thing is that I got a cold and can actually pinpoint exactly when it started. 4:30 PM on Friday, I suddenly thought "I don't feel so good." There begins the sinus cold I've had since then, which I can't say has been fun. Poor me, Poor me.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Ding, Dong...

the terrorist psycho's dead. It's a joyous day for me, and I only hope it was miserably, excrutiatingly painful. Or maybe not. There's a concept in Judaism that God doesn't let the evil suffer on earth so they will suffer more in the afterlife, where it is infinitely more permanent, and more painful.

He's directly responsible for the death of thousands of my co-religionists, widowed husbands, orphaned children, and parents who had to bury their children. He and his terrorist associates have maimed thousands, and shattered lives around the world. As the father of modern terrorism, he opened the door to the sorts of things we see now in Iraq, and the midwife to the Al-Qaeda movement. Don't read what he said in English if you want the truth of this man - find out what he said in Arabic, and you'll know what he really felt. He stole from his own people by the billions, and left them without the barest bones of a civilized government or hope for the future.

He was not a leader. He was not a statesman. He was not a proponent of peace. He was an evil, twisted, sick gnome and the world is a better place without him.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Archives of Interest

In honor of Mrs. Skinny's brief trip to Chicago (she goes to see her sister, a sometimes theatrical-type person, perform on stage), this week's interesting repository is the Chicago Historical Society. I actually made a stop there on a vacation to the Windy City a few years back (busman's holiday and all that, though I seem to remember I was gainlessly unemployed at the time). Their online projects page looks pretty neat, including their exhibit of glass plate negatives from the Chicago Daily News. I don't personally maintain any of that variety of negatives, but I have heard they can be difficult to preserve properly.

I have enough to worry about.

Reason #4,254,675 Why Computers ain't all they're Cracked up to Be

This is a NY Times link, which needs registration. You can avoid giving them a blood sample by going to, which will give you a userid & password for these sites [ed. I won't use this for pay sites, but if they're offering the content for free, I see no reason to share my personal information with them]

Anyway, a couple of things to note. First, it's good to have this conversation in a very public arena like the Times. Second, I'm glad they talked to actual professionals. Third, this part is a bit overstated:

"Professional archivists and librarians have the resources to duplicate materials in other formats and the expertise to retrieve materials trapped in obsolete computers. But consumers are seldom so well equipped."

Dunno what resources they're talking about. There's a box of 8 inch floppies sitting in a storage room that I can't decipher, and I haven't any idea who could. My professional resources are a bit more limited than that. Thankfully the materials on these disks are not archival. I snagged one to use as a demonstration to people who think they have taken care of their records, but I don't need the boxload of 'em.


Mr. Tony is back on the Radio!!!!!! The Tony Kornheiser show has returned on SportsTalk 980- WTEM in Washington DC. I was a longtime listener to Tony's show on ESPN Radio, and I had to go find something else to listen to when he left in March.

Well, the TK Man From DC-Town is back, and I am glad to have something useless to listen to. I don't care about the sports, it's all the stuff about his crazy dog and his family.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Weekend...

..started off peacefully enough. Mrs. made a lovely crockpot-based chicken thingy for Friday night dinner that was very nice, along with a very nice apple crisp (listen, Jews & food go together - that's just how it is)

Saturday was the usual morning services, where oldest was well behaved. At least I assume she was - she disappears as soon as we get there, and comes back only to get snacks and ask permission to eat the lollipop she wangles every week. We were then off to lunch at some friends way over on the other side of town - I think it's about a mile and a half, which is a lot when you have to walk and push a double stroller. I got my cardio in this week, anyway. As the clocks have changed, sundown hit around 5:30, so we just stayed till after Sabbath and got a ride home.

Sunday was supposed to be hectic - two birthday parties for oldest, plus a party for the rest of us, thrown by some friends for a new baby they had. A lot of running, but two out of three were right in town, so not a huge deal, right? Youngest had other plans. She says, around 8:30 AM, "I poopy Daddy", so I go and get started on the business. Except she starts to cough, then proceeds to upchuck all over the place. So I got problems on both ends, and Mrs. (who had been sleeping in) gets screamed for. The rest of the morning was a bit of a shambles.

We'd already arranged a carpool out to oldest's first shindig, so at least by 9:30 she was out of the picture. Youngest is sitting in a series of clothing changes as she drinks two sips of sick juice (Powerade), then shares it back with us. The poor thing was miserable, and our party was essentially out the window. So I go off to the thing for about 10 minutes, see some old friends, give our regrets to the host, and off to pick up oldest and friend from end of party #1. Drop off friend, call Mrs. to check in. "Oh, other friend needs a ride to party #2, or she can't go" Off to the other end of town, pick up friend #2, leave both at party #2.

Return home, discuss various food options for the week, and rest. Briefly. Head out to drop off donation for birthday present for other friend, see house of nice new people in the neighborhood we met recently at services, got phone number (no pens on Sabbath, so gotta wait for a weekday). Got jealous of people who, a month in, have lots of stuff nice and finished while we, two and a half years in, still have lots to fix/update/finish. Off to supermarket. Bought a little junk, not too bad.

Home, drop groceries, yell for Mrs. to put freezer stuff in actual freezer. Off to retrieve oldest and friend, eat birthday cake in substitute of lunch, drop off friend, return home, collapse in front of dismal NY Jets football-type performance. Youngest has awoken from nap, and is much more chipper. Dinner for children, bath, bed. Dinner for us, and Persuasion on DVD. [ed. - Movie is not bad, but you have to think it would have been easier had Ms. Austen not come up with all these complicated twists. Mrs. pointed out it would have been an awfully short film. Which might have been my point to begin with.] Collapse into bed, eventually - after making the bed at close to midnight, since the youngest's effusions had landed where they oughtn't.


Just because

I actually wrote this yesterday, and then Blogger ate it. Clearly the squirrel on the wheel that powers Blogger's generator got tired, or went to hibernate. You get what you pay for, I suppose. Anyway, I shall attempt to recreate yesterday's brilliantly mediocre humor.

I got the following from Chuck Shepherd's news of the weird site.

More Scenes of the Surreal
(1) Joseph Manuel Augusto, 37, and Andres S.
Diaz, 52, chased each other around a Burger King in Stratford, Conn., in July
after Augusto had become enraged that Diaz had occupied the men's room too long;
Augusto was flailing at Diaz with a small pocket knife, and Diaz at Augusto with
a straw dispenser.

Now, I have been in desperate need of a restroom in the past. I don't agree with the idea, but I can even see how someone might get into a fight about it. But a straw dispenser? C'mon, pal, what kind of girly-man attacks with a straw? At least throw ketchup packets at the guy.

How much damage can be done? I can just hear it now "the guy tore off the end of the paper wrapper, and shot it at the other guy, and he could've gotten like a paper in the eye, or a paper cut!" You know there's a legislator out there with too much free time about to introduce the Cylindrical Paper Enclosed Bendy Suction Device Assault Weapons Ban into whatever august body he belongs to.

Some people.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Archives of Interest

I had planned to move this to Wednesday so as not to conflict with the Thursday Three. But I forgot. So here it is on Thursday, and that's life.

This week's winner? The International Jazz Collections at the Lionel Hampton Center of the University of Idaho. Why? First of all, why not? It's different, and people like music. Second, I have an online pal (I've actually met him in person) who is the archivist there. Third, my dad is a musician with a deep interest in Jazz (he still plays dixieland once or twice a week for free, with a bunch of other old guys.)

More interesting and unique primary source websites to come, dear listeners. And now, a word from our Sponsor, Blub Blub Soap.

Thursday Three

1. What was the first election you voted in and who did you vote for?

Bush/Dukakis in 1988, and I'm fairly certain I went Bush.

2. Who was the biggest loser you ever voted for?

Depends how you mean it. The one who lost by the biggest margin, probably Dole 1996. If you mean Capital L on the Forehead, I believe I voted Clinton in 1992. I say that not just because I'm a right-wing maniac. I say it because the man's legacy (such a focus for him) is going to be one of empty rhetoric and failed delivery. Peace in the Middle East? Healthcare for all? Destroying the terrorists trying to kill us? Ending Saddam Hussein's evil ways?

Oh fine, it is because I'm a maniac.

3. Have you ever run for office or worked in a campaign?

Sorta. I was part of a group in college that ran a referendum to get more money for the academic clubs on campus. I spent the entire day running like a looney talking things up, and the referendum passed. Plus all my buddies were in student government, so I had connections.

All is well

In my America, anyway. Americans did the right thing as far as I'm concerned. John Kerry had nothing to offer in any concrete way, and apparently values were a critical factor. For reasons beyond me, all the hullaballoo on the Left side of the fence is about how they could possibly have lost, and we're about to turn into a fascist state. Since no one has actually arrested Michael Moore, I think it might be a little over the top.

Some observations, in no real order:

1) If everyone who claimed they were going to leave the country actually leaves, this should be a nicer place to live. Though, as this article points out, getting into Canada isn't as easy as it sounded coming from Alec Baldwin. Sean Hannity offered to pay for a flight for Al Sharpton and Michael Moore to anywhere in the world they wanted to go. I'd be happy to contribute. I hear Tora Bora is nice this time of year.

2) Boy, watching the media implode has been fun. I think Dan Rather is still treating the race as "too close to call." I think the major news sites still haven't given New Mexico and Iowa to Bush. On a side note, I can't tell you how irritating it is to stay up until 2AM, then wake up at 6:30 and find out they STILL don't know what the deal is. Most notable partisan shot I saw? Peter Jennings talking to John McCain, after asking him about his "good friend" John Kerry: "Do you feel the President has used you?" Depends, Pete - do you think maybe you have no idea how people in this country actually feel?

3) Kerry conceding was the most adult thing done all campaign. He earned a modicum of respect by doing the mature thing. Edwards, on the other hand, is deservedly unemployed. He didn't bring along the South as he was supposed to do, and then in the concession outlines his campaign for 2008. Pardon my french, but he's a putz.

4) My wife and I have been talking about this nonstop since Tuesday AM. Neither of us has ever been this interested before. We're older, we have children, and obviously 9/11 completely changed our view of the world. I'm not sure this really explains why this is so much more interesting to us (note I didn't say important - voting has always been important, but not necessarily of interest) , but we've been dissecting it in a way we never would have before.

5) This is a red country. This map should make it quite clear. Take a look at California in particular. By comparison, here's 2000. Other than urban areas, most counties in this country are red. What the dolts overseas, the hard-core lefties, and the media in this country don't understand is that many, many people think this way. They think that way not because they're stupid goobers or bible thumpers, but because they're regular people who have a different value system than the left. We are not all primary school dropouts, farmers, Southern Evangelicals, or anything of the kind. We are, most importantly, not proto-communists in the making, waiting to toss of our chains. We're ordinary, everyday people who made an intelligent, informed choice. It just didn't agree with what the left wanted, and instead of realizing we disagree, they think we're too dumb to make the right choice.

I'm feeling optimistic about the next four years, and the future of this Nation.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I Eat Color!

Words you don't really want to hear from your nearly 2 year old child. I didn't actually hear them because A) I'm nearly stone deaf in my left ear; and B) said small human was down in the basement while I was upstairs straightening the kitchen area. Mrs. Skinny comes up the stairs yelling for help, holding a smiling but struggling toddler.

Seems the Mrs. went over to the laundry machine to rotate one mound between washer & dryer. When she comes back, munchkin has a large grin on her face, the title statement, and a ring of red around her mouth. Seems one of the crayons looked good enough to eat, so she did. Probably just a nibble, but enough. She seems fine two days later, so...

It set the tone for the day. Both children were certifiable all day. Clearly we brought two more lunatics into the world. Little one was alternately grumpy as heck and devlishly mischievous all day [Editorial aside: I get REALLY cheesed off when people pronounce that word as "mis-chee-vee-us" Don't know why it bugs me so much, or why people can't speak what they see. Goes along with people who say Nukular.] Oldest was better behaved, until...

The candy bowl came out. We don't celebrate Halloween, but I thought we should be neighborly enough to have something for people who came by. It was beautiful in NY on Sunday, so I dragged oldest outside during youngest's nap, forcing her to [shudder] PLAY OUTSIDE. Except she didn't want to play. She wanted to hover six whole inches from the candy bowl. (Reese's minature peanut butter cups and two-piece Kit Kats, for the record). "When are people coming by? When can I give someone candy? Can I have just ONE piece? PLEEEEEEEZE?" Repeat until nausea.

Suffice it to say one or two people came by, candy was dispensed. Oldest's best friend came by, they proceeded to fight for 90 minutes out of the two hours they were together. The last fight of the afternoon was over, I kid you not, a sequin one of them found on the floor. Of such crises wars are made.

Anyway, I had spent the earlier part of the day cleaning out the garage in order to fit my car inside. We heard when looking for a home here that nobody parks their car in the garage, and it turns out to be true. Halloween, with it's accompanying shaving cream/egg rituals meant Mrs' car had to go in the driveway, & itty-bitty Honda Civic had to go in the garage. (it worked - not a spot on either car.) So by the end of the Great Sequin Incident, I was close to foaming at the mouth. All got resolved eventually, and I collapsed on the couch in front of a completely meaningless Bears-49ers football scrum, and went to bed way too late.


Vote. Now. Please?

I went at 7:15 AM, and sailed through. NY is a lost cause in many ways, but at least one popular vote for George W. Bush is coming from the state. I even turned the lever for some guy other than Chuck Schumer. A guy can tilt at windmills, can't he?

Monday, November 01, 2004


Terry & Jim decided that predicting elections is not just for the hoi-polloi, and dopes like the rest of us should have an opportunity to look stupid. Heh heh - not that we have to look like fools in front of millions of people, as the dopes in the MSM have to. Are you listening, Dan R?

Anyway, the question was to predict outcomes of the national & state races. For my unfortunately Democratic state, the outcome is pretty straightforward. I expect that in the Senatorial race, Chuck Schumer will crush John D. McWhatisName; it's likely to be 85% for Schumer or better. I intend to be in the minority. I expect Carolyn McCarthy will also win big, 75% or better. I don't honestly know what else is up for grabs - some local judges, I think.

On the Presidential question, I expect NY to go big for Kedwards. 60% at least, and possibly closer to %70. Happily, my neighborhood is a bastion of some Bushies - there's a guy a block away with a yard sign bigger than my car. Granted I'm driving a Civic, but still.

Nationally, I say Bush takes it all in a noticable way. Not a landslide, but somewhere between 52% - 55%, and around 300 EV. The Osama video is just one more reminder what we're up against. As a bumper sticker I saw on the way home last week put it, who would OBL vote for? Based on the video, now we know. I know how I'm voting.

I must say I'm tired of the whole thing - it's dragging on me, and I even turn off the radio for people I agree with. I will not be entirely sorry when we can go back to talking about the latest "reality" show.

Awfully quiet around here, isn't it?

The silence (relative) in our house this Shabbos was deliberate. Oldest child got a chance to spend the Sabbath with Grandma & Grandpa just down the road a piece. Given the nature of that road & the so-called drivers who use it, that's neither as close nor as quick a trip as it might look on the map. In the dead of night, Christmas Eve, say it shouldn't take more than 20 minutes. On our annual pilgrimage to see friends in Washington, DC last year it took us probably an hour to cover the same distance. That, incidentally, is why this year's pilgrimage involved leaving the house at 4:30 AM. It worked - we made it to New Jersey in about 45 minutes, which is as smooth a trip as can be.

Anyway, Grampa came by on Friday to get the girl - he pulled out as I was returning from work. I followed him for about 5 blocks honking & flashing the brights so I could say goodbye before the overnight. Happily, he noticed eventually (don't get me wrong - my Dad is a terrific person and a good driver, it's just he can get a little focused sometimes) and I got to say goodbye to the cutie. And then home, to figure out what was for dinner. As you may remember from last week's episode, no direct cooking on Sabbath, only reheating.

And boy, did we reheat. I cooked up some rice fresh, but the rest was leftovers. We had some frozen Chana Masala (Scroll down a bit, or Edit/Find on this page for the recipe). I grew up pretty traditionally, and meat on Friday night was pretty much expected, but I was willing to broaden my horizons for the sake of not cooking. Gave me time to make a batch of cookies. Chocolate chip, mostly without the chips. I'm part of what I've discovered is a growing cadre of people who like the Toll House cookies without the chips. I did concede to a couple of trays with chips.

And then a peaceful, on time Sabbath. I think younger child was confused she kept saying "[Older child] school?" We said "no, [older child] at Grampa's house", which was repeated to everyone's delight. I went to services solo on Saturday morning, and had the unique experience of uninterrupted prayer. I felt like I should have been doling out raisins or denying multiple lollypops to someone. The Mrs. felt a bit sad at Oldest's absence, but Friday was clearly a lot calmer. Saturday might have even included an unheard-of nap, but using her evil Femi-nine wiles, Mrs. pulled out the secret nap-denying tool. A 1500 piece puzzle.

Nap time was frittered away on this monster, based on this picture. Not finished, and in the middle of doing the edges we realized it was too big for the table we were using. It's now sitting on the Coffee Table, hanging over the edge.

Girl made it home in one piece, had a wonderful time seeing her cousins (who live near my parental units), and got put to bed. I changed the clocks, wasted more time on the puzzle, and the rest will follow in a post on our Sunday fun.