has proposed a T3-mini edition, to be run on Friday instead. So we're all screwed up, but it's a short week anyway, so play if you want to:
What is the best/worst thing about the first day back after a holiday?
Well, as I have said earlier in the week, if it's a week between holidays, the best part for me is no traffic and lots of parking. I've even risked taking the highway to & from work this week, which I would never do under normal circumstances. If there's no traffic, it's always faster. It's just that normally, there's never no traffic.
If it's a one-off holiday, I sometimes find the worst part being confused. I'm not sure what day it is (I think it's Monday since I just had a day off, but it's really Tuesday), and I have no memory of what I was doing when I was last in the office. I can usually live with the confusion, but it makes it even harder to get the week started than normal.
Friday, December 29, 2006
has proposed a T3-mini edition, to be run on Friday instead. So we're all screwed up, but it's a short week anyway, so play if you want to:
If you're a Firefox user, as I am, this little number is kinda cool:
You have probably noticed by now that the cool kids' sites (like Jordana's) have these little icons that appear in your bookmark list if you've bookmarked the site. I don't have one myself, but I noticed recently that several sites I have bookmarked had them, but the wrong one. Terry's site had a Yahoo icon, and our company intranet had a google icon for some reason.
The Favicon Picker extension allows you do edit, change, and delete favicons from your bookmark list. All it does is add the favicon property to the properties of your bookmark, and gives you the option to get rid of the icon. So I'm sorry, Terry, but you're not really Yahoo anyway, so I removed the icon.
Incidentally, if you'd like to make your own favicon, this site looks promising, though I haven't tried it. You basically need to be able to save a graphic image at the right size as a *.ico file, but most graphic programs won't do it. There's some shareware out there that will do it too, but I think the site I listed will do it free and give you the code you need to make it work on your web page/blog/whatever.
Skinnyblog - your site for even less useful stuff than Possumblog™
Thursday, December 28, 2006
that I finally have time to blog, and nobody is around? The internet is as quiet as the office these days, and there's almost as much parking available.
I have nobody around to amuse but myself, and thus I will post this one article about global warming. Or the environment. Or something.
Researchers: Baking impacts Puget Sound
The only answer, of course, is to stop having food so the fish don't have to smell the cinnamon.
today, my second child made her entrance into the world in a big ^&%^$ hurry. I may have told the story before, but we very nearly had her in the month-old car on the way to the hospital. Needless to say, she's been in a big rush every day since.
Regardless, she is a joy, a delight, and has absolutely the best giggle on the planet.
Happy birthday, kiddo.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Get it? Wrap? Oh, I crack me up.
Chanukah was very nice. The Sunday of Chanukah was insanely busy. In this order: We had a bris (circumcision ceremony) to go to in the morning; Youngest had a birthday party to go to; oldest went to a Chanukah party at one of the local synagogues; we went out to Mrs. Skinny's relations in Westchester for a Chanukah party; back home for a Chanukah party locally. And we skipped my brother's Chanukah party in Brooklyn. All in all a busy day. Naturally, oldest got sick as a dog that night (I blame the latkes and donuts she ate all day), but at least she had off of school the next day. Youngest was kind enough to wait to get sick until Monday night.
Both were thus home with Mrs. on Tuesday, while I was off gallivanting at another all day meeting. They did risk the mall so oldest could get her ears pierced as her birthday present, which I consider a fairly significant milestone. They are both awash in presents for both Chanukah and their birthdays, so I don't think they're suffering much overall. I received one gift (other than the cash my folks handed around in lieu of presents they couldn't come up with. Mrs. bought me Cars, which I had been meaning to see and never got to. I love animation (certain types, anyway) and the Pixar stuff has always worked for me.
My idea for the wife's present has yet to come to fruition. She's been complaining for a while that the FM transmitter for her Ipod doesn't really work that well in her car, and she gets a lot of static. I checked in at a few places nearby & they claim I can't get it to play through her car stereo, but according to Crutchfield, this setup will work (warning - sound file plays automatically.) Problem is, there's a new version out and I can't figure out if it will work on the Honda. Nobody at the stupid company will get back to me, so I can't get an answer yet. If they ever let me know, there may be a little in-dash work for me in the future.
Otherwise things are quiet. Kids had school yesterday and I was off, so I got a little quality time with the Mrs. Most of which was spent cleaning the house for my MIL, who arrived yesterday for a week's stay. I spent gobs of money at the store yesterday (and I think Christians all over New York are grateful for all the Jews - there are always a few places likely to be open even on Christmas day) for a kiddush we're sponsoring at our usual synagogue this upcoming weekend. I believe the usual translation is "collation", which is a polite way of saying we're offering a ton of food for people to gorge on after services. I'm not sure why, but this is the first we're sponsoring in the nearly 5 years we've been there. I should be embarrassed by it, but it is what it is. This is in honor of the kids birthdays, which conveniently enough are three days apart.
We're making up for the delay by providing hot food, which usually makes people happy. There's a caterer who will be bringing that in with a warming oven, and I just have to bring in associated drinks, cookies, candy, etc. Kiddush is a funny thing, at least in most places I've been. People stuff themselves full of the same food they have sitting on the stove at home for lunch. If I know a hot kiddush is coming, I don't even make lunch at home. We eat at shul and just go home for salad and/or dessert.
Anyway, I'll think of you all over the cholent this weekend.
I live for the days between Christmas & New Year's - workwise, anyway. There's next to no traffic, and nobody's actually here. It's much easier to blog when nobody is calling, or emailing, or interrupting.
It's been several weeks of aggravation around here thanks to a large intranet project, so I'm happy to have a week or so to goof off a bit. I actually had a long post about the project in the hopper that I think I will not post. It was written at the height of frustration, and on the off chance somebody reads this thing who knows me, I don't really want to blow off steam quite that publicly. There's something to be said for self-censorship. In these days of instant communication, many people don't know when to hold off hitting that "send" or "post" button. I pride myself on thinking these things through carefully before committing things to electrons, and in the case of that post I think it best not to vent quite so obviously.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
For many, many reasons the last 10 days have been quite hideous. T3 represents quite a departure from that, which should give you some idea of how ornery I'm feeling.
1) What sorts of things will you be doing this year to bring the year to a close? Any special traditions or such that signal the end of the old? Parties, football games, airing of grievances, Twister?
Based on the last two weeks, beating my head against a wall. Certainly I've been doing that metaphorically, now it's just a question if I do it literally or not. New Year's eve of the secular sort has never meant much for me as a rule, so I don't expect to do much. the 31st is oldest child's birthday, so there may be associated cake type things.
2) What are you most looking forward to in the new year?
I had been hoping for some financial reward from the employer, but that seems to have hit red tape of the unpleasant kind. A month ago I might have said the implementation and conclusion of a large project at work, but since I have doubts that we'll get started, much less finished in 2007. Do I sound cranky at all?
3) And since we missed talking about such things at the end of last month, what things that came your way in 2006 were you most thankful for?
Certainly the new car was cheer-inducing, and as always the continued good health & well being of my family is always something I'm grateful for.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
As I sit here at home, able to breathe only intermittently, what better way to celebrate a sick day than answering the Thursday Three?
1. Best/worst Christmas/holiday party you have attended?
Nothing is really standing out except the first one I went to (six years ago) at my current job. Invited to the boss' house in Greenwich, CT (very chi chi, trust me), we're driving up from our then home in the Bronx in the midst of a miserable rain on sneaky back roads with no lights. We get to one road we had been told to use (through a country club, naturally) and the road is under about 5 feet of water. Mrs. is nine months pregnant, we nearly hit a deer, and we're struggling in the dark to find a way around to where this guy lives.
All this to spend two hours with people I barely knew.
2. Best/worst religious Christmas/holiday activity.
I love the religious part of Chanukah Light the candles, sing Maoz Tzur (Rock of Ages to the unlearned, and all six stanzas thank you very much) acknowledge God's assistance in allowing our ancestors to defeat the pagans and cleanse the Temple. I've grown to dislike intensely the commercialization. Don't get me wrong, I love watching my kids get gifts and their joy, but we've had to get them to calm down and wait while we take care of the critical part of the holiday. There are too many people in the Jewish world who treat Chanukah like the Jewish Christmas, and I can't say I love that.
Oh, and I absolutely LOATHE Christmas music.
3. Best/worst gift--given or received?
I'm sure there is, but nothing specific is coming to mind right now. Although the huge boxes of Godiva Chocolates we used to get at my last job were fabulous.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
A question I would like to ask Mr. Annan, who thinks his erstwhile employer needs to address Darfur.
You've been in charge of the joint for almost a decade. Darfur has been a humanitarian disaster since 2003. Why on earth have you decided now that something must be done? I grant you there's little the guy could've done to corral the misbegotten horror show of an organization that he oversees, but what's with the loud pronunciations of moral righteousness when the door is about to hit you on the posterior? What happened to the buck stopping there? Oh, that's right, the bucks did stop there in the acclaimed Oil-for-Kofi's-Retirement Fund.
This joker said in his speech
"I urge you to lose no time in sending a team of independent and universally respected experts to investigate the latest escalation of abuses," Annan said in a recorded video address opening the meeting.Because everyone knows machete-wielding militias are in terror over universally respected experts. Yes, and the soon-to-be-delivered UN resolution is likely to stop the pillage.
The organization is a joke. Its efforts are meaningless. And this particular "leader" is the same as all the rest of them. Venal, self-righteous, and full of platitudes. I'd say good riddance, but I doubt it matters. I suspect the next cowardly time-server will be just as bad.
It occurs to me that I may be the only person on the planet who loves mushroom barley soup but really doesn't like mushrooms. I spent more time than is reasonable picking the mushrooms out of my lunch today. I would ask if that's normal, but I think it's quite clear that it isn't.
Friday, December 08, 2006
As well it should have. I blogged some months back (here and here) about a Rabbi at the school I went to who was accused of child molestation over a period of 20+ years.
Well, he's been arrested. (Warning - video file).
Apparently there is now a charge not only from 20 years ago, but a recent case in 2002-2003. The nonsense will now commence - denials, he doesn't work here anymore, we never knew, etc., etc., etc.
Everything I said back in May remains my position. We are now faced with the public Chillul Hashem (desecration of the name) caused by our community's failure to take care of this properly before. You will see some reporter standing in the pitch black AM in front of the yeshiva I called home for 10 years. I have not been proud of it for some time, but I am now ashamed to be associated with it. An institution of Torah represents Torah above all else, and this school and its management have not been true to the Torah.
The word of God remains sacrosanct, however we delude ourselves into thinking we are not beholden to it. Dance around this all you want, boys, but you dropped the ball on this one big time. Pray for mercy from God, as you and all of us will need it.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I rouse myself from several crises involving a Board of Trustee meeting this evening and a number of electron-related failures. Plus a few actual human screwups. Making this week's Potpourri a perfectly tuned
timewaster critical thought processing exercise.
1) Have you ever been removed from a public conveyance for breaking rules regarding passenger behavior, such as Miss Windybritches on the DC-Dallas flight?
Not that anyone told me.
2) What is the latest movie you've seen (theater, broadcast, or video) and how did you like it?
High Fidelity with John Cusack. Not bad on the whole, but somehow missing something.
3) What is your favorite soft drink?
As a general rule I avoid them, but when I do indulge (responsibly, of course) I would trade most liquids for a Dr. Brown's Cream Soda (scroll to the bottom). Nectar of various pantheistic deities, at least when a Corned Beef sandwich is involved. Please note that half-sour pickles are an invention and tool of the devil.
And since these are all so pitiful, we'll even throw in an extra question that you can use as a substitute or as a bonus question--
4) Who do you consider to be the worst United States President in your lifetime?
I will join the herd and vote for Jimmuh Cracked Brain. Treasonous, poisonous, ignorant, biased in the extreme, and unable to keep his mouth shut. Hands down winner, despite my deep distaste for WJ Clinton.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Busy enough Friday & Saturday. The lack of tension was replaced by an extremely high strung Friday as we got ready for guests. Our DC friends were in town and we spent a lovely Shabbos with them, but getting ready for it seemed difficult and last minute. At 2PM (with Shabbos at 4:17) I was stuffing shells, making mac & cheese, grilling chicken, and many other sundry things.
Relax. The dairy was for Friday night, the chicken for Shabbos lunch.
Leftovers + chicken for lunch, and everybody in the world stopped by. Some friends from the other side of town stopped in to say hello and we made them stay for lunch. Neighbors came by, we went to neighbors, etc.
Saturday night. Ahhhh, Saturday night. We concluded our gustatory weekend with a night out with the Southerners. Babysitter shows up, we head out to our favorite kosher Indian place in Manhattan. Our poor friends in our nation's capital are short on both honest politicians and kosher restaurants, and she in particular misses going out to this place. The food was terrific, the waitress was extremely pleasant to look at (enough that we lived with the slow service), and best of all we were child free.
I spent Sunday loafing around watching sports and nursing youngest who has a bad cold. And now here I am, fatter but happier.
So, how was everything? In Order:
- Turkey - Fabulous. We didn't really have enough leftovers for the Shabbos guests as planned since everybody ate so much. I had to grill chickens on Friday to make up for it.
- Gravy - Ask the Mrs. She seemed happy.
- Rolls - Thanks Mom!
- Cranberry Sauce - Pureed. Mrs. had the bright idea to run the immersion blender, as she actually doesn't like big cranberry bits. We thought of sticking it in an empty can just to get the lines on it.
- Corn Muffins - I can admit it now Thanksgiving is over. They had sugar in them. They went over well with all my ignorant Yankee relatives anyway.
- Mashed Spuds - Fine
- Sweet Pertaters - UNBELIEVABLE. That's mostly because I REALLY like onions, and this was full of 'em.
- Chestnut Stuffing - I didn't try it.
- Sausage Stuffing - Came out extremely well. As it turned out the package of what I thought was Andouille sausage was actually southwest, so there was no debate over spicy/not spicy.
- Apple Pie - Became apple tart. Mom couldn't find her pie pans. It was good, but she keeps using tart apples and it ends up sharper than I'd like.
- [Possibly] Chocolate Cake - Definitely chocolate cake. We had enough time to get it done.
(And, like all good Thanksgivings, I was able to recycle the leftovers of Wednesday's blogpost into this one.)
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
is as follows:
- Cranberry Sauce
- Corn Muffins
- Mashed Spuds
- Sweet Pertaters
- Chestnut Stuffing
- Sausage Stuffing
- Apple Pie
- [Possibly] Chocolate Cake
The turkey is last year's freebie from work - it's been in the freezer for 11 months, which hopefully is not too long. It's going on the grill someplace around 12 or 1 PM, with the meal hitting around 4 or 4:30. Mrs. will need enough time for the gravy, so I may put it up a little earlier.
I'm getting hungry already.
Terry stole my first answer, but I think I may have another.
What do you think other people aren’t thankful enough for?
Other than the greatness of where they live, as Terry wrote about so nicely, I think people need to be more thankful for what they have and less concerned about what's missing. All of us, myself included, wish too often for more or different than what we have. A better car, more money, power, whatever. We're so busy looking at the pieces that aren't quite as we would like them that we fail to acknowledge the wonderful things we do have.
It's natural to be jealous or wistful of the things we don't have, and it's not a bad thing to have dreams of better things. But we all need to remind ourselves now and then that for most of us, what we have is pretty darned good.
Monday, November 20, 2006
The US is the most unfriendly to visit.
I can see how they'd feel that way. Rude inspectors at Customs & Immigration makes for an unfriendly country. As opposed, naturally, to places like Saudi Arabia where a woman without a head covering is likely to be attacked upon leaving the airport. Or France, where the Islamic fascists have taken over whole neighborhoods, and you enter at your own risk.
Yup, I get it - America is unfriendly, and nobody wants to come here anymore.
Also from the NY Post:
Powerhouse Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem) says he wants to bring back the military draft to counter widening threats and keep politicians from starting wars.Deja vu all over again. Was it not the democrats and the left swearing on every nondenominational secular bible (swearing on the NY Times, that is) that Bush was going to bring back the draft and send all the poor people to fight?
"I don't see how anyone can support the war and not support the draft," he said. "I think to do so is hypocritical.
Shall I assume that Face the Nation is not important enough for anybody to question this lunatic about this? Charlie Rangel, did you forget to take your medicine again?
caught my eye in the weird news today (quoted in full):
An elephant that killed at least 12 people in Nepal since October received its punishment this weekend.Apparently, elephants are a protected species and people are not. I bet the PETA folks are upset that any harm was brought to the elephant.
Elephants are a protected species in Nepal, so local authorities tranquilized the mammal, then trimmed its tusks with a handsaw, said Murari Prasad Pokharel, a Sunsari District forest officer.
Strange times, my friends, strange times.
Friday, November 17, 2006
the frappin' hamsters running our intranet servers are down again. I can only imagine they were fed steamed broccoli, which is the usual cause of the catastrophic failure represented by the site right now.
Why do the little varmints wait to do this until Friday afternoon when I'm trying to fix a few minor problems with a page?
Thursday, November 16, 2006
1) Who is your most favorite puppet character (and no, it doesn’t have to be a Muppet), and why?
You want me to pick just one? Impossible. Longtime muppet fandom runs in my family, and I'd be hard pressed to choose a favorite. For simplicity's sake, I'll go with Animal just because, and Rowlf, who is my dad turned into a muppet.
And I've always had a soft spot for Crazy Harry.
2) Did you have a favorite puppet that you owned as a child?We had a Cookie Monster hand puppet that I loved. I think it's still around at my mom's house somewhere
3) Do you ever engage in puppetry?
Again with the personal questions? Of course I do - every chance I get.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
a few changes around here. I have bitten the bullet and moved on to Blogger Beta, meaning things are supposed to be easier.
Leaving aside the issues with getting haloscan to work with the updated framitz, there are some nice benefits to beta. Certain parts, like the link lists and organizing the page now have a PhD interface (Push Here Dummy). I have also been adding labels to my posts, but if I do 25 at a time, it's still going to take a while to get everything added. This is all supposedly better connected to my new gmail account, which would be lovely. Except I haven't given anyone my gmail account, so I'm not sure I'm going to get anything special out of it.
The best news is it finally kicked me in the pants to update my links on the side. I didn't look at half of them at all (let alone regularly), so it was time to clear out some of the dustier ones and add a few new ones. So apologies for those of you I ought to have added ages ago.
Let me know if you like things, or hate 'em. It's the same pointless writing either way.
as I was last week, me & Missus went out on one of the local Hebrew Bowling Nite Outs this past Saturday eve. Now that shabbos ends some time before Tuesday, we can actually get out at night.
One of the local shuls does a couples bowling night every year, and that's actually how we met a number of our friends in town. So we went again this year to a new place a bit farther away. I bowled lousy, but a bad night bowling beats most other entertainments.
I suppose if I went more than once a year I'd do better, but it would also help if the numbskulls would stop turning the freakin' lights out. I grant you some people find a darkened bowling alley with unintelligible music blaring and airplane landing lights the only source of vision romantic, but I'm not one of those people.
Bowling should take place in the bright UV light of flourescent bulbs, and snuggling should be reserved for the back seats of cars and public phone booths.
is just making me a tired puppy. For various reasons I have taken over Mrs. Skinny's gym membership for the remainder of her time, which lasts until June. In the interests of using the thing, I have gotten up at some point between 5:30 and 6 of the AM the last three days to go sweat with other
morons early risers.
It's harder to get out at night, and I need enough time to get home, shower, & make it to work, but I don't really think I'm so much of a morning person. Technically it's still bloody dark out when I leave, so I guess I'm not a night person either.
Exercise is supposed to make you feel better, but I think it just tires you out so much you don't notice you feel lousy.
Friday, November 10, 2006
occurred to me last night. It happened around 1:15AM, it being Hockey Night in Long Island (HNILI)and me still being up. I suspect others have noticed this, but I will post on it anyway.
Joe Lieberman is in a very, very good position. He is, at least nominally, Lieberman (I). I truly believe Joe can have absolutely anything he wants from either party right now, and I think he should ask for it. His vote is the one deciding vote in the Senate that can make the difference between a Democrat success and a Republican one. (I'm discounting the Stalinist independent from Vermont or wherever - I expect him to vote with the Dems regardless.) If Joe decides to vote with the Republicans, and everything else goes along party lines - the tiebreaker goes to the VP, who last I looked was still a Republican and the devil incarnate to boot.
Oh, I'm not kidding myself - I recognize Lieberman remains a democrat at heart, and still a liberal (though an older, more intelligent and more refined type.) He'll vote with the Dems on a lot of issues, no question. But if he chooses to exercise the power he has he'll switch sides to make a point, or to vote with his heart, or just to screw people over. If I understand the breakup of the Senate right now, and unless I'm missing something, Lieberman is the key guy.
If I'm in the leadership of either party, first thing I did yesterday was call Lieberman and try to make friends. If I'm the Dems, I promise him a committee chairmanship. If I'm the GOP, I remind him often how his party cannot be trusted to stand by him when he needs them to. They have votes to trade, and securing Lieberman's openmindedness is worth a vote or two.
Here's my message to Joe - your friends in the party threw you under a bus. They dropped you like a hot potato in a very poor guess at how the electorate felt about you and your stance on Iraq. They guessed incorrectly, and I believe the voters of Connecticut understood that you were unfairly abandoned by your own national party. You mainly lost that primary because of the more liberal types who bothered to vote in it, but Harry Reid, Howard Dean, John (I Served in Vietnam) Kerry hung you out to dry.
What do you owe these people?
Joe will stick to his core principles (since he seems to actually have some), which is as it should be. He will vote with the Democrats most of the time. But he doesn't have to, and he shouldn't when it doesn't suit the need of the people of his state and the nation as a whole. Democrat control of the Senate hangs by a thread, and while other Dems might jump ship occasionally, Joe Lieberman is the one who could be a steady roadblock to the more extreme liberal hopes of the left.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Courtesy of a friend. He thought (given that we've called each other stupid for years - more as a nickname than a description) I'd appreciate it. So now I'm sharing it with you.
For the record, I can't say I've heard, nor expected to ever hear, the term "scorched colon." I think it puts things in perspective, but I'm darned if I can figure out how.
Nobody was asking for it, but may I recommend you take a listen to Juluka?
I don't know if South African music works for everyone, and I don't really like the stuff Johnny Clegg does in English as much as the Zulu, but if you're looking for something different, take a listen.
as Comicus once noted. It got him is some hot water as I recall.
Regardless, here comes T3:
1) Now that the balance of power in the House and Senate has changed (due in large part to Democratic Party gains brought about by running more centrist candidates than they have in the past), will they surprise everyone and purge their fringe elements and actually try to lead from the center, or will they continue to pander to the tinfoil-hat folks with impeachment/frog marches and putting all the filthy Christianists into reeducation camps?
There will be no purge. As is often the case, it's harder to lead than to sit in the back shooting spitwads at the party in power. My prediction is largely business as usual - meaningless legislation will be trumpeted, actual work will be minimal, and every spending bill will have pet appropriations attached. Two significant things will be when the hard left starts screaming at the Dems for not going far enough, and any potential Supreme Court nomination, which has likely tremendous impact on the future of the nation, far more than the Missouri River Amoeba Protection and Defense Act.
2) When you cast your ballot, do you do so with at least some desire in the back of your mind to make a decision that the international community would be pleased with?
I could give a rat's tuchus about what the international community wants. It ain't their country, and they can build their own ^&%$# democracy if they don't like ours.
3) Now that this little exercise has passed, everyone is now ready to talk about the REAL race, that of President in ’08. Who’s it going to be?
Hillary will run - she has no better shot than now. I believe she's too polarizing to win, and I pray she does not win. The usual collection of midgets and buffoons will parade by, and my guess is Hillary vs. Romney.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
if you haven't already. And let's get this traveshamockery of a political process over with. Our public officials have spin to spin, time to waste, and our money to burn. Let's get the least objectionable criminals into power and get the whole bunch of them back into the slimy, infectious toxic waste dump they came from.
I voted this AM, and for what little it mattered I voted a straight Conservative Party line. It was all the same losers as on the Republican line, but I wanted my protest vote to register. I chose not to vote for one Jimmy McMillan, described on Wikipedia as follows:
Rent Is Too (Damn) High PartyWhile I sympathize with Mr. McMillan's position, I don't pay rent and I'm not really a single-issue voter. Besides, if I'm going to toss my vote away on a candidate who can't possibly win, I'd like to join the few other NY State conservatives in supporting the same losing candidate.
* Jimmy McMillan 59, a Vietnam War veteran and former letter carrier, ran for mayor of New York City in 2005. In 2006 he sought to run for Governor as the candidate of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party. The State Board of Elections allowed him on the ballot, but only under the rubric of the "Rent Is Too High Party". That version will appear on Row H.
The only joy today could bring me on the NY State level is if Hillary Clinton was struck by political lightning and lost. Which will happen the day her husband admits he's a sick serial rapist who opened our nation up to terrorists.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Ah, the fall. And the T3 changes colors as the seasons move along:
1. Do you have any food or plant allergies that kick in this time of year?
No allergies of any kind, happily. Our neighbor's kid is allergic to everything all year long (or so it seems) and I'm grateful we seem to have escaped it.
2. Is there anything in the food or plant realm that you might not be allergic to, but that you dread seeing during the fall anyway?
Politicians. Most of them have the mental capacity of plants, and it always gets worse this time of year.
3. Setting aside your discomfort for just a moment, what are some of your favorite fall things?
Believe it or not, cooler weather. I enjoy crisp weather with a chill in the air, though it's a very thin line between "crisp" and "$#%@ it's cold." And hot chocolate, which I enjoy year-round, becomes more socially acceptable.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
[This started out as a comment to Terry's long post on the subject, but I think it's just gotten too big.]
I find it very instructive to judge people by who they consider important, or worthy of admiration, or who they want to model themselves after. The yokel who considers white trash pop stars as examples; the thug wannabe idolizing the rap stars; the hollywood groupies enraptured by a heartthrob or babe of the week - at best these people lose my respect, and at worst I have contempt for them. You have to set your sights higher, on the kinds of people that represent the best in human action and behavior, not the lowest & most meaningless we have to offer.
So what to make of a political party and its supporters that thinks a man like Kerry deserves the highest office in the nation? That a man that can casually insult the most honorable members of our citizenry (not to mention the rest of us who disagree with his politics) should be given the right to decide and direct national policy?
I recognize the reality of Kerry's presence in presidential politics. Many within the party do not idolize Kerry - he appeared at the right time for many to be the best option to win the White House. Most, I suspect, would have chosen a better candidate if they could have. The fact that Kerry is the best they had to offer is frightening - no one serious, with respect for the citizens of this nation and the tasks ahead of us was available to them? There are practical political factors behind Kerry's standing within the party and the left, I grant you. And, naturally, the Bush Hatred Factor contributes mightily to every choice made by the left.
There is a noticeable group of people who truly respect this man. And Harry Reid, and Ted Kennedy, and the rest of the lefty "leadership." This is what they idealize. The old saw is "judging a man by the company he keeps." I think one can also judge by the leaders people follow, and the examples they hold up to the rest of us to follow. Needless to say, Kerry is a fool. A wealthy, privileged fool lording over the plebes and promising panem et circenses for all, never mind the higher taxes we shall have to pay to accomodate the circus clowns. A fool without the sense to keep his mouth shut, especially when his foot is zeroing in on his perfectly whitened teeth.
This is what you hold in high esteem? Think carefully, voters, if this ideal matches what you truly respect. What's worse? The fool, or the fools who put him in power?
I think "[Kerry] has basically radiated himself with the isotope Asinine-90" is my favorite line.
UPDATE: Oh, Lordy! Goldberg is firing on all cylinders when it comes to Kerry. A later post:
And a fair-minded person might expect him to apologize for any unintended offense. Kerry refused because Kerry has the self-awareness of carpet mold.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
I'm home today, given that other people in the family have been laid low by some kind of bug or the other. Well, one other person, who made the mistake of checking with WebMD about her condition. The good doc suggested that her aches & other symptoms were signs she was suffering from Neoplastispoziphlebomitisosia. And to find a local practitioner and give him all our money.
So I stayed home to nurse her through her illness. And drive carpool for youngest in about ten minutes.
On a far more salubrious note, I have a Very Important Piece of Advice. Always. ALWAYS. Make friends with the secretaries/Admin assistants. They can make your life outstandingly wonderful, or they can make it a living hell. In my case the former comes true tonight. The CEO's assistant slipped me four seats to a local hockey contest, gratis. And the good seats, not the nosebleeds. (I did drop a hint about getting the skybox, but that is nearly impossible to pull off.)
So, despite the fact that it's an Islanders game, and that they're playing Chicago, I will be sitting front (though not center - the seats are to the right of one of the goals) at the game tonight. We'll have to see if Mrs. will join us - call it a gametime decision.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Late questions, and even later answers:
1. Have you ever been stopped by the police for a driving infraction?
Twice - once about two years ago, and once about two months ago.
2. What was the cause?
48 in a 20 (school zone) and the last one was for driving with my lights off. The latter was kinda freaky - I passed a couple of cop cars on my way home from hockey, and I watched my speed. A block or two later, I get the flashing blues in the rearview. So I signal right & pull over. Officer comes up, says "sir, did you know you're driving with no lights?" No, because I had had the Accord about a week, and the dash lights are on all the time. I didn't notice I hadn't turned the outside lights on. He looks in the back seat, sees the hockey sticks & says, "oh, you were playing hockey down at the rink? Well, please drive carefully. We got a call of shots fired, and when you see a car driving with no lights, it often means something's up." I turned the lights on & drove home very carefully.
3. How much was the ticket?
over $100. I just paid it without fighting it.
Optional: Have you ever taken a defensive driving course to mitigate punishment?
Yep - on that one ticket, which is my only one in 18 years of driving. I did take it once before for insurance reasons, where I sat next to a friend working off a ticket for doing 85. Which would be acceptable, except for one detail. He was driving an RV at the time.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
is a lawsuit people's answer for everything? I'm in favor of making websites accessible to all. I understand that making things accessible to blind people is not only nice, but a smart business move.
So what happened to normal advocacy? The story doesn't mention if the guy went to Target and asked them to address the problem. Why not approach the CEO's office and make your case? I've spoken to a number of CEO's offices when I have a problem. More often than not they are quick to respond when you can get them directly, which is easier to do than you think.
I understand the point of the law. I do think the legal profession has occasional benefits to American society. But could we possibly try and find a solution to things without a lawsuit? Just once in a while?
Monday, October 23, 2006
Very rarely, but it can be fun. Amidst all the offers to make my member grow to positively Brobdingnagian proportions and the various attractive young women looking for my attention, came this intriguing Subject line:
Now, to be sure, they were promising in fact to make me rich. But the very idea of Oncorhynchus tschawytscha laying down their weapons in the name of global peace strikes me as tremendously funny, and worth getting the useless come-on for.
Add to that a google search leading me to the first page of this article:
Greek and Latin Terms for Salmon and Trout
Alfred C. Andrews
Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 86, 1955 (1955), pp. 308-318
and spam is suddenly entertaining.
Friday, October 20, 2006
(reg. required. www.bugmenot.com may help.)
I enjoy watching internecine bloodbaths, especially as senior party apparatchiks are part of the stabbing in the back. For those who can't get to the article, The Pravda of Record is under attack by other members of the Politburo. Ted Kennedy is lecturing Arthur Sulzberger because of the gutting of the Boston Globe. How nice is that to watch?
Newspapers are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Sure, the elites of both political stripes read them, but the average person is getting their news elsewhere. Too much can be confirmed or disproven by alternative sources. I don't think they're going away, exactly, but I don't know if they're capable of adapting. Not enough people will pay for stuff on the web to make this work for a lot of these companies, and especially not as people with opposing political views abandon the NY Times and other socialist rags.
The added irony of such a lefty institution being hoist by the petard of capitalism only increases my joy at the infighting.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
the sanctimonious "we're just reporting the news" crapahoola, please. I refer to this blog entry from one David Doss, producer of Anderson Cooper's show on CNN. It's about their decision to air terrorist-supplied footage of themselves playing sniper and shooting our troops.
Mr. Doss writes "Whether or not you agree with us in this case, our goal, as always, is to present the unvarnished truth as best we can." Your goal, sir, is nothing of the kind. Your goal is ratings. Your goal is to make money and keep your job. I suspect, given the proclivities of the average CNNer, your goal is to take down the Bush administration for being more fascist and jackbooted than anyone ever existing on the planet.
Look, sir, I'm an idiot, but not a fool. Don't waste my time with the idea that "you just want to give it to us straight. The public has a right to know." I've heard it all before. The more titillating the better, and half you jackals would show video of your grandmother being disemboweled if it meant higher ratings. Why not take an hour and go tape American soldiers building schools & roads? Because it doesn't sell, or it doesn't match the prewritten storyline.
As one Joseph Welch, Special Counsel to the Army in the McCarthy trials famously put it, "Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
what I think of piercings and tattoos, more of signs to my mind that people who write news articles are spotting trends that don't really exist. I notice they didn't actually talk to anyone at major financial or corporate firms. Yes, the "quirky PR places" will be happy to have Lydia the Tatooed Lady on staff, but I doubt the boys at Goldman Sachs particularly want to see the yin yang on your left buttock you had tatooed to remind you of that bad place in your life that you rillllly don't want to forget but you've moved past now.
I like watching Miami Ink on TV. It's entertaining, the artwork is beautiful, and it kills an hour. I don't want a tatoo, and if I never see another vapid beach bunny on the show getting a koi fish it will be too soon. I don't really care if there's a lifestyle here - let it be reserved for the models and the painters and the bikers and whoever else.
I'm still convinced that the work environment is the work environment. If you have the kind of job where that sort of thing is unacceptable - you work with clients or investors, you're in a management role - you have to look the part. I don't care what you have on your bum as long as no one sees it at work. I'm simply anticipating the lawsuits by some be-holed, be-speckled employee who wants to know why he didn't make partner. They will be here soon, and they are ridiculous. Here's my free advice. If you want to be taken seriously at a serious job (and no, academia doesn't count), a large tattoo of a half-naked mermaid on the side of your head - no matter how artistically or personally inspiring - is probably not the way to go.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
Know what else I did? I yanked the living ^%$#@ out of a muscle in my sacrum. That would be the buttbone to the uninitiated. The pain is mostly in my hip, as I believe the offended bit of gristle connects hip to pelvis.
I was bending over to clean something off the floor, and with barely a move in the wrong direction I was in a world of pain. I literally had to crawl my way over to my bed and figure out a way to get in it. Which I did eventually, but it was not pleasant.
So no hockey, and not much movement last night. I managed to wedge a heating pad under my butt, and by about 9:30 I was feeling well enough (despite a craptastic finish to the Ranger game on TV) to head downstairs and get some dinner. I called in sick today, but I'm feeling much more human. Changing positions is the biggest problem. Once I'm there it's not awful.
And no, sadly, I did not injure myself in the company of Scarlett Johanssen.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
What incredibly cool thing did I do this week?
Answer will follow later after I get to laugh at all the wacky guesses.
UPDATE: There were comparatively few wacky guesses, which makes me sad. I was hoping at least one person would suggest I went exploring the Polar Arctic with Scarlett Johannsen in a Bikini. (That would be the delectable Ms. J in the bikini, not me. I can't imagine why she'd consider going with me in the bikini.) Mind you, I'd rather actually go anywhere with her in a bikini than just have one of you suggest it, but still, a guy can dream about what his virtual friends will think of for him.
Regardless, I must now spill the beans on my great adventure. I went to ring the opening bell at the NY Stock Exchange earlier in the week. Our local archivists group was tapped quite late one afternoon to come down the next day to ling the berr. Fortunately I saw the email, and I was able to go. I didn't actually hit the button, but I was there on the podium and have the image to prove it.
It was extremely cool. The Board Room at NYSE is humongous - I think my house would fit in it. A good time was had by all, even if I had to do a lot of traveling to get there.
Isn't it time we found a new word for that mixture of odds & ends? "Freedom Mishmash" or something. Regardless:
1) We know none of you are full of vainglory, but everyone has a little something they like to have around to show off as a status symbol. What thing (or things) do you have that you use to signify your high level of couth and culture?
Hmmm. The Honda Accord barely qualifies as a status symbol. Oddly, I always feel more official & important when wearing my work ID badge. It's meaningless, but it says I belong somewhere. Ah, yes, I have it. Cartoon ties.
I have often said "I have class. It's all low, but it's class."
2) What time do you go to bed at night?
Well, I always plan to be in bed by 10. It never happens. 11PM on a good day.
3) What year did you first experience the Internet?
Whoa, dude, what's with the personal questions? 1993 seems the right time. I got my first email account at NYU before there was an actual graphic web interface - I was vaguely able to search for things with Gopher and I have a vague memory of something called Lynx. All text, but you could look for stuff.
My AOL account followed soon after, and I used to hang around a Jewish singles chat room. Never met any women, but there were a few people with a sense of humor there and we used to trade one liners. I think it was a year or so later that I was asked to help build a website for my department, and I got HTML for Dummies, which led to my now vaunted & stellar career as a quasi-web guy.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
worth reading if you're interested in the difference between Jews & Christians. I certainly am, but I'd never thought about this particularly until someone at the Corner posted this today.
At its heart, the article argues that in Christianity all is forgiveable, and probably should be forgiven. Judaism, on the other hand, believes that there are things out there and people who commit them that are beyond forgiveness. To paraphrase him, Christianity argues "forgive them for they know not what they do," and Judaism argues "forgive them not, for they know full well what they do."
Anyway, read the whole thing.
for a T3. Thus, this week's everyone's-favorite-escaping-the-nazis-with-a-nun inspired set of questions:
1) What is your favorite color? (Yeah, I know it’s an easy one, but they get a LOT harder.)
Red. No Blue! AAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!
Okay, now you can start humming the song.
2) Of all the items on the following list:
Raindrops on roses
Whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles
Warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
Cream colored ponies
Crisp apple strudels
Schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eye lashes
Silver white winters that melt into spring
Which item is your favorite, AND, which item is your LEAST favorite? (See, told you it gets a lot harder!)
You have to ask? Girls in White Dresses, all the way. Least favorite? Wild Geese, moon or no moon. The Canadian Geese around here are loud, brash, and leave far too much of their output around for my tastes. Shove off, eh? Hosers.
3) What are three of your favorite memories from childhood?
1) Grampa Abe & the roller skates. To the best of my memory, I am the only grandchild to actually get Grampa to take me to Toys R Us and buy an actual present - two as I recall. A set of roller skates and a large scale model of a Rolls Royce (I forget the name of the Italian toy company that made them.) Grampa was good about gifts, but predictable - the same number of dollars as your age, and a birthday card with happy birthday in about 7 different languages, laid out as neat & straight as a pin. Maybe there's a blogpost in here about Grampa.
2) Ghosts & Goblins. A variant on cops & robbers, but I can still sense the late twilight, the smell of summer, and running up & down the block with the neighborhood kids.
3) The girl. The first crush, back in second grade. Lord, she was cute. I have no idea what I thought I wanted from her, but she was the ONE. I've completely lost track of her - last I knew she was living in Israel.
There you have it. I can only presume next week will be equally inspired - favorite Great Escape moments or something.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Some dopey bunch of terrorist wannabes post a video and the AP thinks this is news? YouTube has thousands of videos - perhaps a press onslaught is in order to announce someone else has posted clips from old Dr. Who episodes?
Go out and get a real job, would you?
this article yesterday by a superior. I'm not sure what to make of it, or if said superior thinks we're supposed to work that way too. While I can appreciate the unique approach Google has taken to business, I'm not sure chaos is a strong platform to build a successful enterprise on.
Nimble & inventive is fine, but it's a long way down off the highwire.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
against Islam continues. If we cannot defeat them militarily, we'll increase their cholesterol. I can only imagine the screaming about torture coming from the great unhinged. And in the meantime, our own citizen soldiers are making do on MREs and food packages from home.
Remind me again which side is the captured terrorists and which are the free citizens of the greatest nation on earth?
Jim's question, the season begins this coming Thursday, October 5th. The Rangers open at home against Alex Ovechkin and the assorted scrubs calling themselves the Washington Capitals. It's a pity, but typical, for a great player like Ovechkin to spend a lot of his early years surrounded by a terrible club - lousy team = high draft pick, after all. If there's some patience and shrewdness in Caps management, they'll build him something to work with before he gets fed up and demands a trade.
I expect Jim's Cup-champion 'Canes are in for the usual post-Cup hangover. They also lost some key character guys, so we'll see about their chances of a repeat. I'd expect them to be competitive and make the playoffs easily, but I don't think they'll pull it off again. I don't see the kind of strength to them that previous dynasties had - Detroit, the Devils, etc.
My beloved Rangers are probably in for a rougher road this season. They surprised a lot of people last year, and I think other teams will be geared up more for them this season. Everything hinges on Jagr and Henrik Lundqvist - as they go, so go the Rangers. If Jagr's shoulder is not up to snuff, their already worrisome Power Play is in deep trouble. My guess for them is a 5-6th place spot in the playoffs (i.e. 2nd in their division), and I expect a much better playoff performance from them this year.
Consider this my NHL Season Preview.
and much better fed & watered than yesterday. I would like to say Yom Kippur was filled with the awe & dignity it deserved, and largely it was. As always my concentration was not exactly where I wanted it, but as usual I did my best.
G'mar Chatima Tovah, all.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
How easy can they make these? A nice fat one down the middle of the plate:
Georgia accuses 4 Russians of spying
What do you suppose they were spying on? The Coke museum? Peach Production? Silly peanut farmers? Surely not the UGA Cheerleaders page, which is sadly underpictured?
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
passed away last week. He was Mrs. Skinny's grandfather, and a decent, honest, bighearted man. I had the privelege of meeting him several times, and it was fewer than it should have been. It's hard and expensive to travel to the west coast, there's no kosher food where he lived, etc., etc. As usual in these cases, you wish you had done things differently despite the effort involved.
John was a WWII vet, as I recall, and worked for Lockheed for many, many years. He was an inveterate record collector, stopping at all the yard sales to pick up more, whatever they were. He gave Mrs. Beatles records years ago - he never listened to them, but he had them. He was a fine singer, and fond of the Gilbert & Sullivan operas that Mrs. & I like so much - he played Ralph Rackstraw in Pinafore on a number of occasions. My dad met him on a trip out there a few years back, and the two musicians hit it off very well.
I'm glad he got to meet both of our kids, and we will certainly tell them about this wonderful man. Mrs. has gone out west for the memorial service, and, the rest of us are with her in spirit.
He was a terrific guy, and we will all miss him.
firmly shut. Literally, and especially after making fun at Terry's expense about Southerners with no teeth. Saturday night, while chewing on a piece of Chalah (quite soft, delicious, and with chocolate chips, courtesy of Mrs. Skinny) I had a crown fall out. I was pretty annoyed since I had the root canal & the crown put in no more than a year and a half ago.
So I spent the last three days not at all ignoring the gaping hole in my mouth. It's extremely annoying to have that gap there and not think about it, which is why I failed miserably. I finally got the thing popped back in about an hour and a half ago, for which I am extremely grateful.
Unlike Terry, however, I did not take pictures. You'll have to manage without.
to read all of this drivel from the president of one of my Alma Maters. (Alma Matera? My latin still needs work.) I get the impression it's an impassioned defense of the University as institution, a bulwark against the tide of barbarism surrounding it. Which isn't too far off the mark in NYU's case, given the local population.
I don't expect much else from a University President, and as I say I can't be bothered to read the whole thing. Maybe he's talking about a new strain of genetically modified potatoes, I dunno. But a few things did catch my eye. He writes:
The Internet is a revolutionary tool, which provides the newest basis for such a belief; however, it works not only for but also (and less obviously) against the ideal of an informed and intellectually curious public. It does enable the previously passive and powerless to become actors and interactors in the unfolding drama of public discourse and politics; but, even as it empowers and informs vast numbers of citizens, it also is a tool for misinformation and false attacks, polluting the dialogue with an apparent “knowledge” base undisciplined by traditional standards of accuracy in public communication. Bloggers are their own editors and many make little effort to verify what they post.Traditional standards of accuracy in public communication? I don't think he understands that a lot of the public now believes there are no longer any standards of accuracy. Memogate was just the most obvious recent example of the loss of those standards. Half the news stories we read in the MSM are from "unnamed sources", when a half an effort would reveal that those sources are utterly wrong.
A second item, along the same lines:
As an information surplus develops, the absence of accountability combines with an absence of formal checks to make it possible for pseudofacts to spread like wildfire. This presents even the intelligent and the rigorous with a serious sorting problem. One unsurprising response to this barrage of undifferentiated information is a kind of nihilism about knowledge which leads almost inexorably to an equation of fact and opinion and the reduction of argumentation to assertion. Paradoxically, this trend breeds and feeds a version of unreflective dogmatism.I like the term "pseudofacts", but I think the good Prexy needs to examine his own institution for the very same malady. "Unreflective dogmatism" was an issue in my own schooling close to fifteen years ago - it's only gotten worse. Nihilism regarding information is, to my mind, a direct result of the increasing nihilism of society in general, spurred by the left and his own beloved academia's belief that there is no truth. Or that truth exists in the mind of the beholder.
Perhaps this is a brilliant essay, but Sexon's arguments in these two cases strike me as the usual bleat of the elitist uncomfortable with the free market of ideas. It's too easy for them to taken apart by rubes like me.
Monday, September 25, 2006
participate in these sorts of things, but this one seemed too good to pass up:
The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Level Score Purgatory (Repenting Believers) Very High Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers) Low Level 2 (Lustful) Moderate Level 3 (Gluttonous) Low Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious) Moderate Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy) High Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics) Very Low Level 7 (Violent) Moderate Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers) Moderate Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous) Very Low
Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test
Your fate has been decided....
You are one of the lucky ones! Because of your virtue and beliefs, you have escaped eternal punishment. You are sent to Purgatory!
You have escaped damnation and made it to Purgatory, a place where the dew of repentance washes off the stain of sin and girds the spirit with humility. Through contrition, confession, and satisfaction by works of righteousness, you must make your way up the mountain. As the sins are cleansed from your soul, you will be illuminated by the Sun of Divine Grace, and you will join other souls, smiling and happy, upon the summit of this mountain. Before long you will know the joys of Paradise as you ascend to the ethereal realm of Heaven.
Well, that's one less thing to worry about.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
political note. I had the misfortune to hear George Stephanopolous on Imus this morning. I'd love to know how so many smart people can be this dumb. He repeated the same stupid old story the liberals have been touting for the last year or more. "We have to give these captured Al Qaeda types the protection of the Geneva Conventions. The US cannot ignore a treaty that the rest of the world holds to. Why do we think we have a right to act unilaterally and illegally?"
Look, stupid, I'll say this once more, on top of everyone smarter than me who's said it. The Geneva Conventions DO NOT APPLY to nonuniformed, non-governmental troops. I cannot cite you chapter & verse, but you're a smart boy - look it up. The Conventions are meant to protect NATIONAL troops, in UNIFORM, of SIGNATORY PARTIES to the Conventions.
Al Qaeda is not a Nation.
It did not sign the Conventions.
Its members do not wear uniforms.
By definition, they have no rights under the Conventions. I believe the treaty is also supposed to apply only in times of war - are you admitting now that we're at war with Al Qaeda? Or do you want to stick to the script that this is all our fault?
The Conventions assumed we were in a typical war with other sovereign nations. We wanted to assure humane treatment for captured prisoners, on the assumption that each side would want safe treatment (within reason) for their citizens. Marquess of Queensbury rules for nations, if you will. But Al Qaeda fights dirty, and they fight to the death, and they're not looking for some level of accomodation. By the very law you knuckleheads keep quoting, we owe them nothing. Please stop pretending you don't understand this.
the Muslim community wants another, bigger apology. (See here if you can stomach AP stupidity on the subject.)
I'm going to presume to respond for the Pope, with the response I think he should deliver. As we would say in New York, "Apologize this, Abdul." (With appropriate hand gestures.) I don't care what they think, and I don't think the Bishop of Rome should care either. In the first place, no more than five people on the Muslim street had ever heard of Manuel II Paleologus; and I'd be surprised at this point if the number has reached 50. I'm aware of him as a former medievalist, but since I confuse the Byzantine emperors routinely (well, as often as it comes up, anyway) I couldn't have told you beforehand if he was in 9th or the 14th century. The average member of the Religion of Peace (as Mel Brooks as Hitler put it in "To Be or Not to Be: "All I want is a little peace! A little piece of Poland, a little piece of France...") hasn't the faintest idea what the Pope said, or why old Manny knew what he was talking about.
In the second place, Benny has a point - these people want to kill us, and it's pointless to pretend otherwise. We need to be careful of offending these nutballs? How about an apology for the 3,000 dead civilians of 9/11? How about a nice, loud, "Al Qaeda is not Islam" from an Imam or three? Never happen, right? You know why? Because they're not sorry. They like jihad. They want a world without Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and probably half the Muslims (depending on their own orientation.) It's hard to satisfy people who want you dead.
So why bother apologizing? Apologize for existing? No thanks. What are you going to do now, try & kill us? What? We're putting ourselves more at risk than we were before? The Yahoo link above had a sidebar that Al Qaeda is planning more attacks because of the Pope. So if he hadn't mentioned an obscure Byzantine Emperor the whackos would be sitting nicely and offering us peace & love? Somehow I don't buy it.
So here's my fantasy version of Benedict's apology. He stands in St. Peter's Square, and says "If there are Muslims out there who are offended and want an apology, they can bend over and kiss my holy, white robed tuchus. I'll apologize when you quit murdering Christians, Jews, and anyone else that gets your panties twisted."
Think it'll happen?
Thursday, September 14, 2006
if this story actually means anything about a revival of Jewish life in Europe. So much of European Jewry was destroyed half a century ago, and our best efforts have not really revived the depth and breadth of Jewish life that once was. There are also many, many more Muslims in Europe, and whatever they may say publicly, the Jewish people have (for all intents & purposes) few friends amongst the Muslims of the world.
But ordaining Rabbis in Germany is proof of one concept: Am Yisrael Chai - The Nation of Israel Lives. Kill us, torture us, assimilate us - do your worst. We shall not pass from the face of the earth, and we will in fact outlive anything you can throw at us. Mazal Tov to the graduates, and I'm sure they will be hearing from the Alumni Association shortly.
Ah yes, Thursday. Time for the Thursday Three, that fine example of critical time-wasting skills. Today's set:
1) What are three new books that you’ve read recently?
The first is Sweet and Low, the story of (duh!) Sweet & Low sweetener. It's a terrific read, chronicling the truly bizarre actions of the family behind those pink packets. The author is actually a grandson of the founder.
Next, I recently read American Gunfight about the plot to assassinate Harry Truman hatched by members of a Puerto Rican independence movement. A fascinating story about something I'd never heard of, which I found slightly marred by Hunter's focus on the firearms involved. I don't mind that he's interested in them, but it's a bit more noticeable than I would want.
The last is my current read, Borscht Belt Bungalows, on the life and culture of New York Jews in the Bungalow Colonies of the lower Catskill Mountains in Sullivan County. I went to camp up there, and my dad got his start in the music business up there, so I have some personal connection to the area. Although this story is not my experience, exactly.
2) What three new products have you tried lately and what were your experiences?
I tried the 2003 Honda Accord. My experiences have been quite positive, but you can read about that elsewhere on here. I've worked on something called Windows Media Server, and while I don't know how it stacks up against other streaming media tools, it seems to do what I need, so I can live with it either way. I've watched other people play on a Microsoft product called SharePoint, which I am hoping to get my mitts on soon to play with.
3) What are three new movies or shows or plays or whatever that you have seen lately, or would like to go see soon?
Movie? Play? I'm barely allowed out of the house. We did just get notified of the next season of the local Gilbert & Sullivan troop, and they're doing something called the Rose of Persia which I'd like to see. I would also like to get to Cars at some point, but I suspect that's going on my Netflix list instead. And I have Narnia on my Netflix list for the future, so I guess that's it.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
locked in a room with a buncha work people and a few folks from Microsoft. With no Windows. (get it? Windows?) It was a largely useful conversation about some projects we have coming up, but it was kind of a long day. I've forgotten what a cattle call commuting into Manhattan can be, which didn't help much.
On the plus side, when you go to these kinds of things they do take a certain amount of care of you. Free drinks and food, replenished often throughout the day. I actually got lunch from them, but decided I was too close to the kosher falafel cart to pass it up, even though there was a free kosher turkey sandwich arranged for me. I used to work a few blocks from where I was today, so I know most of what's in the neighborhood. I even got a freebie travel mug in the deal, and I love tchotchkes.
I get to repeat the whole thing again tomorrow, so I expect to fully loathe commuting in by tomorrow AM at the latest. On a positive note, the late meeting I was supposed to go to on Thursday has been cancelled, so I'm off the hook for one thing this week, anyway.
Monday, September 11, 2006
is probably not a name you've ever heard of. I hadn't either until a few weeks ago, when he was assigned to me as part of the 2996 Project, where bloggers around the world and the country are acknowledging each of the victims of September 11th.
So how do you capture the essence of a man you've never met? How can you possibly pay tribute to a total stranger? What on earth makes a guy like me, with no immediate losses on that terrible day, qualified to memorialize an innocent murder victim. Nothing does, and yet I still have to try.
There is one thing I think he and I have in common, aside from being New Yorkers living in the suburbs around New York City. We are both ordinary people - regular guys leading regular lives. Don't get me wrong - I'm sure Mr. McHugh was an extraordinary man to those who knew him - but there was nothing out of the everyday that you can't find all across America. He went to work, did his job, spent time with his family, got active in local politics - the picture of a decent ordinary citizen pursuing the totality of his life's work to the best of his ability.
And yet. And yet.
He was extraordinary in every way to the people who knew him and loved him. Brilliant or not, handsome or not, generous or not, he was the one and the only him, and no one could have been a better Michael Edward McHugh Jr. than he was. So who was Michael Edward McHugh, Jr? I couldn't tell you the first thing about the inner person, but here are some things I've gathered over the internet:
He was a husband to Maria Cermele McHugh;
He was a father to Michael III, Christian, and Connor McHugh
He was a son to Eileen and Michael McHugh
He was a brother to Darby McHugh and John McHugh
He was an energy trader for Trade Spark, a Division of Cantor Fitzgerald
He was a Village Trustee in Tuckahoe, NY
He was campaigning for a seat on the Westchester County Board of Legislators
So there you have the bare facts. But what of the depth? What of the life the man led? How to capture such things? Did he like football or baseball? Pepperoni on his pizza or peppers and onions? By the tributes on his Legacy. com page, I get the sense that he was the kind of guy all of us know in one way or another. A decent, hardworking guy who roughhoused with his kids and did what he could to make his corner of the universe a better place to be. A real man's man - not the overhyped blowhard type - but the guy who takes his responsibilities seriously and does what he needs to get the job done.
And what of Michael Edward McHugh, Jr.? What happened to that man's man? His life was cut short by the lowest scum of humanity. Evil, twisted subhumans who considered violent death for themselves and others to be a blessed event. Who decided that others had no right to live based on their faith, their nationality, or some other meaningless, invented designation. Michael McHugh had a right to live. He had a right to pursue his own dreams and success without the murderous bastards cutting those dreams short. He had a right to grow old with his wife. He had a right to see his boys grow up and become men. He had a right to see future generations born and grow. And all that lost because some nutcase had a deathwish.
Let us grieve for Michael. Let us remember his passing with sorrow, for all that he was and all that might have been. Let us recall his life and the joy he gave the world, and the benefit his existence was to the rest of us whether we knew him or not. We have arrived, as we did on that terrible day five years ago, on the cusp of the High Holy Days of the Jewish calendar. Rosh Hashana of 5762 arrived exactly a week after 9/11, and I can recall praying extremely hard that year for God to have mercy on us all. These days, even five years past, remain an opportunity to beg God for mercy for ourselves and the world around us.
We pray for life and health, and the Unesaneh Tokef prayer explains that on Rosh Hashana God decides who will live and who will die in the upcoming year. We none of us knew the previous year that so many would perish so close to the Days of Awe that followed. Michael McHugh did not know, and we must trust that God had a need for Michael greater than ours. That sounds terribly trite, but it is our responsibility to try and make sense of God's decisions, and take what lessons and solace from them we can.
There is no possible way my pointless blog can bring comfort to his family and friends that knew him. Trying is almost meaningless, but I had to give it my best shot. If any of his family happens to read this, I have done the best I could, and I hope you accept it in the spirit in which it is meant. I would comfort you if I could, and I grieve for your loss.
Michael, I wish you Godspeed wherever you have gone. May God bless you and yours, keep them safe from harm and grant them peace. Your sacrifice and martyrdom have not been forgotten, and your legacy will live on in the lives you touched all to briefly on this earth. May your memory be a blessing to all.
ca. 1966-September 11th, 2001
Friday, September 08, 2006
a coronary just the way you want to go into Shabbos? Me neither, but I didn't get the choice.
Oldest is now old enough to take the bus to school. Yesterday was day one, and the bus was 40 minutes late. OK, it's the first day. Probably about the same amount late on the way home. Again, it's the first day. This morning, the bus is about 20 minutes late, so we're doing better. But the trip home. Ah, the trip home.
The bus shows up, neighbor gets off the bus, other neighbor, and her older brother (about 13) who says "did oldest get another ride home?" Uh, no. No sign of my child. Freak out time has now arrived. I call the school. No answer. I leave a message at the principal's home. No answer. I call the bus company "we're not allowed to contact the drivers while they're on the road."
Great. A lost child, and we have protocol to worry about.
I call the school district, more than half frantic, and the woman says "hang on". While I'm on hold, another bus shows up with my kid on it. Huge sigh of relief, but still very upset and frankly pissed off. She's very upset, and explains that the end of school was very crowded, she couldn't understand what they were saying, and she ended up on the wrong bus. Fortunately she was with some friends, and on a bus that comes to our town, but scared and miserable.
So she's in PJs and watching TV, and I'm composing oratory to use on the school officials when I go see them on Monday. I appreciate that it's the first few days, and there are a lot of kids and confusion, but you damn well better be sure that a five year old ends up on the correct bus going home.
Somebody's getting an earful on Monday.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
the Mrs. is actually down South, Atlanta way, on some conference or the other as she starts the long road to becoming a certified lactation consultant.* Meaning I am left home with the kiddles. Alone. This on top of the onslaught of relatives over the weekend just past explains my lack of activity (sister in law on Thursday, in-laws on Monday, parents came for dinner with in-laws on Monday [excellent grilled turkey breast, I might point out], inlaws to the airport tuesday with rental car thankfully, wife to airport Tuesday, my dad with the kids while wife taken to airport) blogwise.
It's not as bad as it sounds, largely because oldest starts school tomorrow and thus I am down to one as of about 7:30 AM tomorrow. So today I took oldest for her annual lice check at school, dropped off some of her supplies at her locker (yes, I was surprised that first graders get lockers, but they're not locked, so it's basically a cubby with a door), and then took the kids to a local science museum. It wasn't the best I've seen, but they were entertained and that was fine. We got ice cream on the way home, and I have to say I may be getting too old to eat an entire Carvel butterscotch sundae at one sitting.
I have no big plans with youngest beyond taking her to meet her teachers tomorrow, which will kill exactly 1/2 an hour. We've been invited out for both shabbat meals, so I may dedicate part of tomorrow to baking cookies with her. This will keep her busy, and give us something to bring to our various meals. Gingersnaps sounds appealing to me - simple enough & fun to make, without the noodgy part of shape cookies. My dad is supposed to come out again tomorrow so I can go play hockey at night, so that may distract youngest as well.
Posting may be light until next week.
*I should note that the idea of looking at women's chests, and getting paid for it, sounds too good to be true. And, in fact, it is.
Friday, September 01, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
the anticlimactic answer to the question one of you is desperately bored enough to wonder about if nothing else is pressing on you. Like the need to floss, which would be far more entertaining than...
[please hum suitably dramatic music]
This [representative image only] has been replaced by this.["]
Yes, I have pulled the trigger on my longstanding desire to replace my 1996 Civic with a newer car. Moronic because there wasn't really anything wrong with the Civic. The engine ran fine, I wasn't having any major issues with the car, and we owned it outright. It was, in fact, bought with cash, back when we had such things available to us.
But (and I may have talked about this before) I was tired of the car. It had next to no pickup, to the point where I routinely turned off the AC if I wanted to accelerate onto the highway. It should be noted that unlike some other places, onramps in the NY metro area are somewhat shorter than elsewhere. The average entrance ramp is somewhere between the length of a ruler and that of a yardstick. No pickup is thus something of an issue. And the car was ten years old, and we've had it for 7 of those ten years.
So the question came down to this. Was I prepared to live with this car, with only 94,000 miles on it, and drive it until it died? Or did I want to trade it for something I was happier with while there was still some resale value? Trade full ownership for car payments? Spend money or don't?
Obviously, the moron side of my brain won out. I didn't need to spend money, the Civic worked, all I really need is a commuter car, and I did it anyway. I'm still torn about the choice I made because I'm cheap. I didn't have a love affair with the Civic, after less than a day with it I'm happy with the Accord, so this wasn't an emotional decision about the car. But I HATE, I repeat, HATE spending money. I come from a long line of cheap SOBs. And yet I pulled the trigger anyway.
The buying itself was fairly straightforward. I've been talking with Mrs. about this for a while, so we just decided last week we'd go looking this past Sunday. So we head off to one dealer, and the guy just acts like he can't be bothered to talk to us. He hands us a shopping list of what they have, says "what do you want to see", he can't find the keys to the one we're interested in, and I said "just pull something around so we can try it." One dopey around the block test drive, and we say "we'll let you know."
On to the next, which is the same dealer we got Mrs.' car from four years ago. She suggested I try the new Civic just to see - the engine's bigger, and maybe for the same price I can have a new car, not a used one. So we get a salesperson (skinny, attractive, not very talkative or salesmanlike) and we take a spin in the new Civic. Definitely faster, nicer, digital display doohickies, but kind of uncomfortable - the headrest was poking Mrs. in a very rude way.
So we head over to the used, and I tell the guy there I want to look at an Accord. So we get in the nice blue one, and drive it around, and its not bad. We start haggling, and I get some heebie jeebies. What if that's not the right car? Mrs. says "look, there's the gray one we peeked into, take another drive & make sure." He pulls it around, we take another spin, and I'm sold on this one instead. It's cleaner inside, 12,000 fewer miles, just feels better. Back to the table, I say I'll make a deal if he'll give me the same price on the gray one, and we're done.
I feel like I did a pretty good job negotiating. We got the sales tax included in the price, and knocked that down to $2,000 less than their original absolutely rock-bottom asking price. Did I rob them blind? Not likely. Did they rob me blind? At least it was only in one eye. Add the lojack and the bumper to bumper warranty and I didn't end up off quite as cheap as I wanted, but I would have paid for those anyway even if I didn't knock the price down.
So I am the proud owner of a 2003 Accord LX. I'm not sure I made the right choice about doing this or not, but I like the car a lot and I would have had to do this eventually. I was bargaining from a position of relative strength, in that I had a car. I could walk away no worse off than I was before. The cost is an issue, and I still feel like I was being selfish wanting something else when the other car still worked fine. But as the great Hebrew sage Hillel is reported to have said, "Ve-im lo achshav, eimatai?" - "And if not now, when?"
I doubt the sage had in mind buying Hondas (used or new), but the choice is made and I'm pretty happy with the result. Considerably cash poorer, but happy.
[Incidentally, my hint yesterday said "round things are involved, but not the sum total of the story." I will remind car people in particular that there are numerous round parts on cars that should have given away the answer. Washers, air vents, knobs, etc. Maybe even one or two things on the outside of the car. I thought it would be obvious if you're a REAL car guy.]
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
may be my alltime favorite Dire Straits song. And I really like Dire Straits, so that's saying something.
Once I had a woman I could call my own;
Once I had a woman now my woman she gone
Once there was a river, now there's a stone
You know it's evil when you're living alone.
Ahhh. It loses a lot without that fabulous steel guitar in the background, though.
Hang on a sec - I want to play it over again.
UPDATE: The same holds true for Southbound Again. It's very difficult for me to really pick a favorite, but the self-titled first album is full of gems. All anybody knows is Sultans of Swing, and I've lost interest in that over the years because of how bloody often it's played. It is a fabulous song, but there's more to DS and more to this album in particular. If you don't have it and like guitar pickers, I highly recommend it. Available, naturally, at Amazon. (BTW, I agree wholeheartedly with the top review listed on the page.)
Monday, August 28, 2006
comes in all shapes and varieties, as do the morons that effect the moronitude. I have, I suspect, dived headfirst into the moropool. Unlike the usual suspects ::cough cough::Terry::cough cough::, mine does not involve a project at all.
It does, however, involve gobs and gobs of cash, was likely unnecessary, is more than a bit selfish, and is entirely self inflicted, which are the other key parts of moronitude.
Details will follow, most likely later this week when the point of no return has been surpassed.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I don't quite get the French, example #26754404056453. Via the Corner, this quote in a Wall Street Journal Europe article:
The charming French minister of defense, Michèle Alliot-Marie, says she is not sending troops unless and until the U.N. can guarantee their safety.
Guarantee their safety? They're TROOPS, dammit! THEY...ARE...SUPPOSED...TO...BE... IN...HARM'S...WAY!!! They get paid to be shot at so that nobody else does. That's what most people's armies are for, though I grant you in France's case it can't be assumed.
I'm willing to guess the troops themselves are fairly robust, brave types. The Resistance proved there are French people with cajones. But their minister gives me the impression they're a bunch of nancy-boy [not necessarily Nancy-boy] wusses who need coddling.
Oh, I know this is just political posturing by a slimy politician, but there's something surreal and postmodern about keeping your troops safe. Very French, either way.
First, this little gem:
Under fire, Indian eatery drops Hitler from name
I grant you some think there's no bad publicity, but I disagree. I imagine a "Stalin's Mustache" wouldn't go over too well in some places either.
Next, one for the "if you say so" file:
Cows 'moo' with an accent, farmers believe
This would seem to raise a number of interesting possibilities. From the Barnyard Players version of My Fair Lady ("Why can't the Cattle...learn...to...speak") to the development of the BLA (Bovine Language Association), where lefty cow professors could debate the existential superlative nonconsenusal meaning of "moo".
For the record, you can learn about cow breeds here.
for the BlogTribute to the victims of 9/11 (saw the link on Michelle Malkin's blog.) If you have a blog, and have not signed up, I strongly recommend you sign on. There were more than 300 names remaining of the nearly 3,000 dead, and I think it would be a terrible shame if we left those names off. It's not that I think this is the greatest thing ever done in the world, but it's one way of remembering those murdered on that day.
I have been assigned to acknowledge the life of one Michael Edward McHugh, age 35. I had never heard his name before today, but I will do my best on the anniversary of that terrible day to do his memory justice.
Sign up too, won't you?