Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hippo Birdie Two Ewe

Today happens to be Mrs. Skinny's birthday. Unlike some others, I will not make a list of things about her commensurate with her age.

Her wonderfulness is without limit, and woe to me should I try and encapsulate such glory in a mere internet blog list.

(And that, ladies & gents, is how I weasel out of coming up with a list. Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week. Try the duck a'lorange, it's terrific.)

Monday, January 30, 2006

First things first

I have apparently been tagged by the Lovely Jordana™ in some sort of game of electronic tag. I would beg post-vacationitis, but that would mean I'd have to organize the vacationblogging into some sense of order, and this is actually easier. Per herself:

Ground Rules: The first player of this "game" starts with the topic "5 Guilty Pleasures" and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their 5 Guilty Pleasures as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next 5 people to be tagged and list their names

[ed. Please note that while I will participate, it's kind of rude to wait a full six days after the game has ended to tag someone else, so I'm skipping the last part.]

1) Staying in bed when I can hear the children whining for things. I should be a good parent & leap out of bed at the first signs of progenic distress, but I'm far too inclined to allow Mrs. Skinny to get up. There's a great deal of joy at staying in bed while someone else dishes out Rice Krispies.

2) Wise BBQ potato chips. I can easily eat a large bag of these without coming up for air or sharing with anyone. Given my high cholesterol it's a bad idea, and so I have pretty successfully avoided them on any kind of regular basis for a while. But when I go for it...

3) Goofing off at work. Res Ipsa Loquitor.

4) Drinking out of the bottle. This is a man thing, and it's probably disgusting, but there it is.

5) Lacking anything else, I'll say blogging without anyone I actually know finding out. It's like having a secret identity, only both the Superhero and the Mild-Mannered Reporter personas are Clark Kent.

I have returned

from a long and pleasant ski trip to the wilds of Vermont, where the men are women, and the women are hippies, and they make Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream.

Details to follow.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I must object...

"To sit in solemn silence in a dull dark dock
in a pestilential prison with a life-long lock
awaiting the sensation of a short sharp shock
of a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block."

Yes, I know the G & S post was from last week, but the concept of protest, subject of this week's Thursday Three, brought that snippet to mind.

Anyway, to the Inquisition:

1. Have you ever been involved in a protest?

Sorta. The Chancellor of the City University of New York spoke at my college graduation, and people stood up & turned their backs on her in protest over budget cuts. Halfway through her interminable speech my legs cramped up, so I stood to stretch & figured I was halfway there, so I turned around too.

2. Have you been an active member of a political party and campaign?

Member, yes. Active, no. I was for a time a registered Republican, and I have since gone to no party affiliation. I was also buddies with the folks at Student Government at above mentioned college, and I hung around their office a lot (and yes, there were some attractive women there), so if that counts as active, I guess I'm in.

3. What was the big movement of your generation?

I guess that depends. Assuming my g-g-g-generation begins when I was a teenager, there was Big Hair, Big Wall Street Bucks, and Bigtime Drug Use. Sheltered as I was in a yeshiva, I missed most of it. Looking back on it now, if I had to say what ended up as the most impactful movement, I'll go with the Reagan Revolution. I don't think anyone wanted to realize it then, but most of what's happened since was caused directly by Reagan's actions as president.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Here is Something

I think I would have been happier not knowing. Costco sells caskets? Do you need to buy 6 at once?

That's more than a little creepy.

Money money money

Cheap SOB that I am, I hate spending money. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of outflow these days and not as much inflow. Thank God, we are not poor. Slightly shy of really comfortable, perhaps, but we can buy what we need, and pretty much buy what we want.

Unfortunately, all that starts to add up, and the bank account is getting thinner than I'd like. Add to that the call just now from the car place today informing me of the need for a brake job (yes, I know some people do that themselves - I'm not that talented) and my blood pressure is beginning to rise. There's some other cash around somewhere, but I've been saving that for the tax bill I am expecting come April.

I wonder if we could do without food for a while?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady

I should point out that last night was part 1 of Mr. & Mrs. Skinny's Annual Cultural Adventure. Which is to say that the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players (NYGASP) are back with their annual shows in Manhattan.

Not that you couldn't tell, but we don't get out much. The G & S shows are about it for pure adult entertainment (we need not discuss impure adult entertainment), and I think once a year is about all we can reasonably afford.

Given that yesterday started out with another child sick day - strep for youngest, accompanied by throwing up in the car - and went downhill from there, a night out was definitely in order for the Mrs. So she got to me at work late, we hit some traffic, made it to Manhattan in plenty of time (with VERY little gas in the car, I might point out), and promptly got stuck behind a garbage truck for 15 minutes. Things were not going well, but happily it moved eventually, we got to our favorite kosher Indian restaurant and found a FREE!!! parking spot. Skipped the appetizers, got the mains, poori, & a mango lassi to share, ate without rushing too much, and headed for the theater.

As an aside, may I point out how much I DETEST driving in Manhattan.

Found a street parking spot with the fancy muni-meters they have nowadays. Someone actually figured out to allow credit cards on the thing so I didn't have to feed a million quarters in. The truth is, it cost us $7 to park for three & a half hours, which I think is a bargain. A lot probably would have been $25 or more.

Anyway, went to the theater, went to the special members "room" (Mrs. called it more of a hallway) where we actually got to hang up our coats. Went in for the show, which was a little different. This was "NYGASP ala Carte", (allowing for puns on the original producer of the G & S operas) including a selection of songs as well as the full performance of Trial by Jury, a shorter piece. I think that was the best part, and Mrs. agreed. The rest was fun, but she & I felt you don't get the full impact when it's a bit of this and a bit of that.

A few patter songs, some romantic bits, and other stuff. Fun, but now we can look forward to tomorrow night when we go back, this time with friends, to see HMS Pinafore (What Never? No Never).

Oh. And the kidlets are off to gramma & grampa's for the weekend, so we get a little quiet time.

More Proof

that the media just don't get it. If you've ever seen Colbert on his show or the Daily Show, he's very smart, very deadpan, and very funny. It's just like the AP to go to some bowtie-wearing lexicologist for a quote. Colbert will ride this for all it's worth, and they're just giving him ammunition.

It's also proof that these reporters have no sense of humor.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Speaking of Hole Digging...

Terry has noted repeatedly that Joe ("I hate Princeton. Wait, I love Princeton. Wait...") Biden would probably be best off not digging any further, as he's close to hitting oil down there. Not far enough, unfortunately, to fall into the Earth's Mantle, but far enough.

I had a similar thought about Oprah Winfrey. I'm neither fan nor foe of the Afternoon TV Queen, though what I've heard of her politics is not promising. However, I do think she too would be well advised to cease & desist her subterranean excavating. As this article reports, Ms. W is defending her boy, James Frey, the writer of what sounds like a useless piece of tripe, A Million Little Pieces.

The Smoking Gun, which I think is actually a tremendous benefit to society in puncturing the egos and discovering the truth about the celebutante culture, has a huge section basically shredding Frey into A Million Little Pieces, demonstrating fairly well that the guy's true millieu is Bovine Byproducts. The great part about the modern world is that documentation is relatively easy to find & produce if you have the resources & energy to find them. I frankly believe TSG - their documentation, no matter how sordid, is usually spot on.

Here's a place where I think Ms. W would be well served to shut her yap. Say nothing, say you believed the story to be true and you want to see how it plays out, or say "no comment." If it turns out you got snookered, wait until it's clear and say "look, I'm sorry, we thought the book was real, we got fooled, we'll try not to let it happen again." The woman has an amazing influence on the reading habits of America. For her to move from the classics of literature to this tripe is kind of awful to begin with. To defend the guy after all this explodes is not smart. Stop digging.

You know what else? If the guy had just written the book as fiction, there wouldn't be any problem at all. He could've said something like "parts of this are based on my own experience, parts on the experiences of people I knew, but it's a work of fiction." And who'd argue with him? I don't want to read the thing - it sounds awful, real or imagined. But as a work of fiction, there's nothing to complain about - it's simply his ideas on paper. But if you call it a nonfiction book, and you made most of it up? That's just dishonest, and the guy deserves to fall on his face.

Thursday 3

1) What sorts of activities that you have to do in your normal everyday life that are so mind-numbingly boring that you could just scream, if you cared enough?

I dunno - most people consider most of my job deadly dull, but there's a once a week task I think is beyond stupid. I get a weekly email with a listing of the articles written by members of the staff here. Naturally it's all in a simple text email, and then I get to spend an hour or so copying & pasting each piece into a database I created. I tend to fall asleep in the middle of it, but at least it's only once a week.

2) Although you might think YOUR boring thing is the most boringestest thing of all, what do you see OTHER people doing around your workplace that causes you to think maybe you don’t have it quite so bad after all?

Hard to say, but I suspect it would be the file clerks in medical records, who I think spend all day filing. It's not that far off from what I do, but I get at least to think about what I'm organizing & how I do it.

3) Conversely, what sorts of things do you see other people getting to do in their daily tasks that you think would be SO COOL if you could do them?

I see other people making five times my salary, which I think would be cool. The A/V guys get to run around taking pictures & shooting video, which might be fun.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Statistical Proof

that the Alito hearings are all about the Senatorial hot airbags. Via the Corner, the kind people at Ankle Biting Pundits have reduced hours of nonsense to simple numbers.

13 minutes to ask a question? C'mon, Senator Biden, you can do better than that. Why not use the entire half-hour to fulminate, and don't bother giving Alito any time to answer? Who's it all about anyway?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Just so's ya know

today is a fast day - the Tenth of Tevet to be precise. Today marks the date when Nebuchadnezzer, King of Babylon, besieged Jerusalem. More details here.

The pertinent points right now are I'm hungry, tired, and developing a headache. Add to that my wake-up time of 5AM, and you can see I might be getting cranky. We had an oral history interview in Beautiful Midtown Manhattan, and leaving an hour & a half beforehand meant we got there with about 5 minutes to spare. Courtesy of the World's Longest Parking Lot, the Long Island (HA!) Expressway.

Either way, I think I'm checking out for the day, given I got here an hour earlier than usual.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Headline Funnies

One-way trip into black hole takes 200,000 years

"Unless, of Course, Black Hole is Government Program. Money Reported to Enter Such Holes Moments after Printing."

"Only Known Longer-Lasting Phenomenon is Bill Clinton's Autobiography"

This is why...

I love the internet. Some dude spends all kinds of time recording rats squeaking.

Oh, man!

This one's too easy. Where do I start? Does the book come with driving instructions, especially for bridge crossings? Cocktail mix recipes in an appendix? Quotations from Chairman Mao?

I'm not sure what makes every person on the planet think they can write children's books. Granted, pretty much everyone can, but that's why 95% of kids books are garbage. We can only hope that the smarter of the pair wrote this one. I imagine the dog's writing is more balanced, anyway.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Snxxxxck -wha? Wha happen?

I think I just conked out for a few minutes at my desk.

It's not the first time it's happened, but I feel a little disoriencombobulated.

P'raps staying up until midnight fiddling with the stupid ipod was a poor choice of bedtime routine.

(Mrs. got her own ipod awhile back, so I decided to finally make my ipod Windows formatted instead of using her Mac. Unfortunately, there's no way to do that without wiping out the whole business, so I had to kind of start over. Nice to have a clean slate, but I had to do the whole import/export thing, and it's slow going.)

Thursday... I forget

T3 has arrived for the new year, and my answers will be just as lame as last year's.

1) What is the most important thing you ever forgot to do?

I'm sure there's something really grand and important, but it's escaping me. I'll substitute the time I REALLY screwed something up, where I went to mail out an accident report my dad had to do after a minor fender-bender, and I ran to put it in the mailbox without a stamp. The fact that we were about to leave for the airport did NOT help. So I guess I forgot the stamp.

2) Do you try to keep yourself organized through a routine so you don’t have to rely so much on remembering things, or do you follow a more open approach based on what you want to get done during the day and try to actually think things through?

I don't actually remember anything regardless, and I'm far less organized than I ought to be. I've walked from one side of the room to another & not remembered why I was going there. At least every day is new & different.

3) What do you have the most trouble remembering--people’s names, how to get places, or important dates?

Of those three, probably the names. What I really have trouble remembering is the stupid little stuff - was I supposed to get milk or bananas at the supermarket. I'm fortunately VERY good with how to get places. I can often remember the route someplace even years later. Even if I forget why I'm going there.

Just heard

something interesting on Limbaugh. I'm not a steady listener, but I think he's got some good points amidst a lot of loud bluster. I believe he's right more often than not, but there's an abrasiveness I could do without.

Anyway, a caller pointed out that McCain is getting credit via McCain-Feingold for outing and nailing down Jack Abramoff. If you've missed that particular piece of news, Abramoff is a lobbyist who one way or another has in effect been spreading bribes. How it's different from all the other lobbyists out there is beyond me, but apparently he's worse. (As an aside, I should point out that he's supposed to be an orthodox Jew, but the Judaism I know does not condone his actions.)

The big problem, as the caller pointed out, is that McCain-Feingold SPECIFICALLY exempted Indian tribes from its provisions. Abramoff was taking advantage of a gaping loophole in the legislation, and thus McCain himself created the whole Abramoff situation.

I've come around to the Conservative position on M-F. I had no particular opinion on it when it was originally introduced, catching only soundbites on TV. Now I believe it's deliberately and unconstitutionally restricting free speech, and clearly it's just forcing the snakes, both in congress and in the lobbying world, to find new and equally disingenuous ways of buying votes & influence.

I'll also point out here that in contrast to my post on Reagan, I'm thoroughly disgusted with John McCain. Like all of them, he's a self-centered bully, but on top of it he's a disgrace to the party of limited government. He's been referred to as a RINO, and I suppose that's true. But for a guy who went through a Vietnamese prison camp to act this cavalierly with the freedoms and safety of the American people (c.f. his anti-torture bill) is embarrasing.