Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I don't know why

I bother listening to the radio in the car - it just makes me mad.

Harry Reid is either the biggest dunce in a carnival of dunces, or he's a disingenuous sack of horse manure. Granted in the senate it's all one and the same, but this jerk is supposed to be helping lead the free world.

Schmuck says this morning on Imus that he's "not going to defund the war, but he wants Bush to change course from our failed path"; in other words, he doesn't have the guts to use the power he's been given to actually make the change - he wants to dance away and not have to commit to anything.

Far more serious in my mind, coming from the #1 guy in the senate, was his observation that the way to solve the Iraq problem, and the Middle East in general, is "we have to go talk to all of them. Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and make it a regional issue, where we don't have to carry all the burden and they take some responsibility for resolving these things."

You read that right.
Saudi Arabia.

The exporter & financier of the Wahabbist Islam we're fighting, the supporter of destabilization forces in Lebanon & Iraq, and the single most pernicious influence on the Middle East (sponsors of terror and exporter of Jihadists) are where we need to look to solve the very problems they created. These people LOVE what's happening in Iraq; they want us to lose; they want us to suffer.

How can Reid be considered the leading light of half the country? How can anyone so simpleminded be given control over an automobile, much less the foreign policy of this nation? He seems not to understand how our enemies think, assuming he believes they are our enemies. Talk is a gambit to Iran, not a serious discussion of resolving problems. Talk is weakness to them. Talk is a way to buy time, and a sign that your opponent has no real interest in beating you.

Reid quoted Baker - "sometimes we had to go back there [the Middle East] fifteen times just to get them to sit down. You have to try & talk to them." So you went back 15 times - what did you get out of it? An agreement on a round instead of rectangular table? You certainly didn't negotiate peace with them; you simply encouraged them to attack us, by showing them we will take all kinds of punishment and not respond. Talk to Syria? Why? They're suddenly going to wish us well? Why do you people think you're dealing with people who want the same thing we do? I'm sorry, it's not universal. Not all men desire peace above all else. Some want power, influence, and an Islamic world more than they want peace. And they don't care how many people die in the process.

One other note - the bastard had the nerve to bring up Ronald Reagan (darling of the left throughout his existence, right?) Reid said "Reagan had his people talking to the Soviets all the time, he didn't just use military force. We should talk too." Look, stupid, let me say this only once. Reagan could talk because he told the Soviets that he was fully prepared to step outside if he had to. Reagan also had to deal with a power that had nuclear weapons - you have to step differently than with these terrorists. And finally, Reagan was dealing with an opponent who felt the same way as we did in one key respect - they actually wanted somebody to survive the Cold War. You can negotiate with people who agree on that basic premise. Our enemies today don't care about who lives or dies, them or us, and it makes a hell of a lot of difference.

May God protect us from leaders who talk as Harry Reid does, and from the head-in-the-sand policies they choose.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I wonder

if all those people screaming bloody murder about record oil company profits would care to retract their statements now that oil is down $20-$25 a barrel since its highs. I heard on the radio this AM that crude is down to around $54/barrel. Is it possible, however unlikely, that the communists in the media and entertainment would recognize the basic economics of high prices when supply is scarce, low prices when it's not?

I didn't think so either.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday Three - How weird

Weird is my specialty, so I really ought to play. And it's even still Thursday!

1) Do you have any peculiar rules about the foods you eat? Not stuff like religious dietary restrictions, but stuff like having to have the crusts cut off your PB&J sandwiches, not having the peas touching the carrots, having to eat foods in a particular order--stuff like that.

I'm glad you clarified - my life is full of religious dietary restrictions. I wasn't even going to play today until Sarah's post mentioned mushrooms. Which reminds me that I posted a while back that I may be the only person on the planet who loves mushroom barley soup, but won't eat the mushrooms. Tomatoes remain the devil's fruit as far as I'm concerned, though I eat more tomato products than I used to.

2) What about your personal grooming? Do you have a particular way of brushing your teeth? Do you have to always put on your left sock and shoe, then the right? Tell us please!

There is actually a Jewish way of putting on shoes which I've forgotten - something about right foot first, then left, then tie the left, then tie the right. I don't follow it personally, so I may have it wrong. On the grooming end, for whatever reason I always shave my neck first, then chin, then right side, then left. I don't know if it's weird, but it is my routine.

3) Have you ever embarrassed yourself with the public display of any of your peculiar habits? Details appreciated, of course!

Not that I can think of. I have made a spectacle of myself during shaving on a few occasions. There are a few periods of mourning for Jews (including the Three Weeks I have talked about before) when men don't shave if possible. Work rules mean I do shave now during them, but in ages past when I had no job I would let my facial hair grow. At the end of those periods, I used to shave different sorts of ways and go show my mother (and at least one girlfriend, as I recall) the results. Mutton Chops, goatees, one half of my face at a time. I found it amusing to demonstrate my temporary facial coiffures, but I don't know if they did.

UPDATE: And I just remembered - I cannot stand the feel of frosted glass. A number of people I know have these little cups they serve out the kiddush wine in on shabbos that are made from frosted glass. Just the thought of it gives me the heeby-jeebies, like fingernails on a blackboard. Matter of fact, just last week at lunch I switched drinking glasses with one of the kids because I had gotten one that was frosted. Nobody said anything, so either they just let it pass or I snuck it in under their notice.

On a more positive note

I type these posts on my old computer which has been wiped completely and utterly clean of everything else I had on it. For all intents and purposes, there's no remnant of all the years of crap I used to have on it before. I used something called Darik Nuke & Boot to wipe everything off.


I do NOT recommend this unless you have an actual full copy of an operating system available to install. Or if you actually want to save anything on the hard drive in question. In my case, all the files were moved to my new(ish) laptop probably close to a year ago, and I'd been meaning to clean the old one up for months. Unfortunately, the disks they give you with a new laptop are recovery only, not install on another PC.

So with my Microsoft bux, I got a clean version of Windows XP Pro, and after three installs, including the aforementioned nucular meltdown, I have a pretty clean slate here to install all kinds of different junk from the junk I had before.

On the downside, I checked out a memory site online, and apparently I've maxed this thing out at 256 (!?!?!?) MB of memory, which is not going to cut it if I want to do much of anything. I wonder what would happen if I put a coupla 1GB chips in...

At the risk of offending someone

there are reasons only certain members of my family are permitted to pack.

Exhibit A?

Someone left for DC this afternoon with a car full of stuff.

With the notable exception of my bag and the clothes therein.

So I will now have to take a bag full of said clothes on the train with me tomorrow, which is not something I either planned or wished for. Fortunately it's a small overnight bag; unfortunately, there was also a suit for shabbos which was going to be hung in the back of the car. So, in the end, the pants will go in the bag, my slippers will not make the trip, and I will need to get over my distemper by the time I get there tomorrow.

All this after I ran home in the middle of the day since I forgot to move the kids' booster seats back to the van from my car. I suppose I should've checked to make sure the stuff made it in, but alas I did not.

Again, some people are not allowed to pack anymore.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Change of Plans

We have not, in fact, made it to the Isle of Manhattan for a day of gallivanting. No, the folks in The City will have to make do without the Skinnydans for another day. It's cold, we didn't get moving quickly enough, and frankly none of us really felt like a trip in.

So instead we're hanging around the house, cleaning various offices of eons of old paperwork, and possibly going to the movies this PM. I am also attempting to install Windows XP on my old desktop to make it a bit more usable - possibly so the kids can play dopey Dora video games online.

I actually did the install once already today, but I screwed it up and put it on the wrong partition. I actually WANT to wipe out everything that's there, and I didn't. So now I go through it a second time, and this may take a while. I don't much care what happens to it, but I really want to get rid of all the crap that's on it now. The XP is a copy I got for going to Microsoft training last September - they didn't give it to me, but I got employee pricing on it which was extremely discounted.

Anyway, I seem to be making progress on that front, and I can see the floor of my office, so it's a good day all around.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I'm not really

AWOL at the moment, but the kids are on school break this week and I told Mrs. Skinny I would take off some time to keep her and them from going insane.

We had thought of another ski trip, but with one thing and another (including the financial burden) we didn't get it together. So it's a local vacation instead. I baked cookies with the kids on Sunday, went ice skating yesterday, and they went to a Jewish Children's museum (this one in fact) with my folks today while Mrs. & I did some shopping for new dining room furniture.

I'm not personally unhappy with what we have - my plate sits fine on the table, my tush sits fine on the chairs - but Mrs. needs the change, so we went looking. No decisions made, but a fruitful enough trip I guess. I detest Borough Park as a concept, but considering how I've seen the neighborhood on other trips, this wasn't too bad.

Tomorrow I think we take them into Manhattan, and Thursday they head to DC for the weekend while I take a day at work as a rest. Big fancy meeting with big fancy muckety-mucks, and I have no idea what we're going to tell them as some major bumps in this project have come up. We'll see. I'll follow the family down by train on Friday, and we should have a nice time with our friends there.

So updates will be as infrequent as ever.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I am so

not listening to this conference call I'm on. We spent half an hour talking about something that's not the vendor's responsibility, and the rest of it I'm not paying attention to at all.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Let me say this

about Canadians. They seem to better understand the need for tradition and memory than we do here in America. Case in point - the Edmonton Oilers are planning two days of celebrations as they retire Mark Messier's jersey sweater.

I happen to think Messier's impact on New York was far greater, overall. The psychological issues with no cups in 54 years were immense for the team and the fans, and regardless of all the other great players that won the Cup in '94, that was Messier's team. He taught them how to win, and carried them when he needed to.

His impact in Edmonton was lessened to my mind by a number of factors: they hadn't been around as long by the time they won it all; it was a team full of other phenomenal players; and of course, Gretzky was King (well, he became a King later, but you know what I mean.) Don't get me wrong - I think he meant an enormous amount to the Oilers, but I think Messier owned New York for a while in a way he never quite did Edmonton, if only for the fact that NY is a different level of stage.

I don't think the Rangers have shortchanged Messier in any way. I watched his retirement ceremony, and it was a wonder to behold. Yet leave it to the Oilers to take two days to do it right, and to make sure the Coyotes are in town so Gretzky doesn't have to make any special arrangements to be there. Moose's jersey joins some of the greats of the game in the building where he honed his craft (Rexall Palace indeed - Northlands Coliseum as it used to be before they had to name everything after a corporation, including I imagine the urinals) and they do him the honor he deserves.

Good on ya, eh?

Thanks to Blogger's

messages on the dashboard I bumped into Boston 1775, which looks like an entertaining place if you're interested in the Revolution.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Gee, what a brilliant idea

Memphis pandas get privacy to mate

Ya think that might help set the mood a little, Sparky?

Three Cheers for Rockport!

In all this talk of corporate greed and misbehavior, it's nice to run into a company that still knows how to take care of its customers. I have been wearing Rockport shoes (not the same pair, mind you) for close to ten years. They're the most comfortable shoes I can find, and they're moderately enough priced that I'll replace them once every three years or so. Generally I have two pairs - one for work and one for shabbos/special occasions.

Well, surprise surprise, about two months ago in the middle of a shabbos I noticed something felt weird on my shoes. They have a separate piece of leather in the front half that sort of looks like a cap - I look down, and the right shoe cap has completely separated from the rest of the shoe. All the stitching came out. So I get on the phone with Rockport (after shabbos, naturally), tell them the shoes are less than two years old, is there anything they can do for me?

Boy, was there.

The lovely person on the phone tells me to send them in by UPS or some other trackable method. If they determine it's just normal wear & tear, they'll send me back my shoes & I'd be off to Zappos for a new pair. If they determined their was some kind of manufacturing error or problem, they'd send me a new pair in the same price range.

So what shows up at the house yesterday? A brand spankin' new pair of Rockport Dress shoes. Not quite identical to my old ones, but near enough. So for the $12 it cost me to ship the shoes back, I got a new pair.

It's rare enough to find polite people on the phone when you call up a company. It's even rarer these days to find one with this level of customer service. They still take care of people at Rockport, and I'm glad the shoes are so comfortable that I can continue to support a company that cares about keeping their customers satisfied.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


and why I hate them. Terry notes in a comment that I'm spending too much time in meetings, hence the poor attitude. Allow me to demonstrate the problem.

This morning was supposed to be a conference call. It was to take two hours, but since I had called a meeting of my own an hour in, we said we'd be there for the beginning. So we get on the phone, and participants on the other end begin showing computer stuff we can't see. We're OK with it, but they insist we'd really be better off coming over to see what they have up. Fine. I haven't got my car, as we're headed into Manhattan tonight (more Gilbert & Sullivan!) & I got a ride in so Mrs. could pick me up & we'd have one car.

So we get in colleague's car, drive two miles to another site, park, get told by a security guard we can't park there, drive all the way around the construction site that used to be the parking lot, and find a reserved spot that we park in anyway. Wander halfway around the building until we find an open entrance. Get in to the conference room where they are looking at...

a screen we could easily have called up from where we were in the first place.

Some discussion, promises of more paperwork, (the two hour meeting lasted about 45 minutes, so we would've had plenty of time for the one we actually needed to have) back outside to the car. Drive around for five minutes trying to figure out where the hell the exit is. Finally guess we need to go into the lower parking levels (which look like a wonderful place to get mugged), and eventually three levels down find an exit ramp. Back to the office, where we find a parking spot a mere five miles away.

And this doesn't even begin to explain the problems with the actual content of the meeting. So if I sound irritated, there's a good reason. Based on one email yesterday, a colleague said I was thisclose to having a brain hemorrhage. I told him I was much more likely to go postal. He asked if I'd wait till he was gone, which I assured him I would.

Thursday Three, grumpy edition

focuses on the grand gatherings of our time - trade shows. The grumpy part is mine and not everyone else's, and is based on yet another pointless meeting. I understand that's repetitive, but in this case it's appropriate.


1) What do you think is the most significant product introduced at the Consumer Electronic Show?

Digital dental floss, clearly. Revolutionizing the War on Tooth Decay.

2) What is the biggest surprise of the Detroit Auto Show?

Oddly enough, none of the, ummmm, "floor hostesses" have PhDs in Biochemical Engineering.

3) What one thing are you most excited about at the Farm Show?

Hmmm. Not going?

Oh, this is comical

for so many reasons.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Bishop Lord Daniel the Infinite of Tempting St Mary
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

I'd be concerned for the theological implications, except for the fact that the C of E doesn't really believe in God any more, does it?

Many thanks to Jordana for the link.

Friday, January 05, 2007

How Late

Can one post a Thursday Three? Let's find out. (I realize I could date it yesterday and no one would be the wiser, but it's not really in the spirit of things.)

1) What new thing would you like to attempt in the New Year?

Like many of the others I too would love to learn to play an instrument. Having gone through the process badly as an eight year old with a clarinet, I'm a little wary. My dad is a musician by profession, so I have a bit to live up to. In reality I probably won't do it this year, so a more realistic goal is to learn to puckhandle better than I do now.

2) What one new thing do you really, REALLY need (not want, but truly need) to have?

A discount on yeshiva tuition, and a much more generous raise than I finally beat out of them last year.

3) What grungy old ramshackle thing do you have that you should replace with something shiny and new but just can’t bring yourself to make the switch?

Probably the middle ear bone in my left ear that's not working right. Getting it put in would require surgery, and I have many, many issues with medicine and medical procedures.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Isn't that just like

a psychotic terrorist?

Mullah Omar says hasn't seen bin Laden for years

"I don't understand" the red-eyed lunatic cleric sighed. "He said we would be together forever, even in Heaven. He said we would even share our virgins. But I guess it was just a come-on line to get me to give up my RPGs and share my 4X4s with him." "Maybe he sent me an email to my old AOL account, and that's why he hasn't called..."

Seriously, how in the hell did Reuter's get Mullah Omar's email address? And why? He needed more hits to his Myspace page? Ridiculous.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

May I say

that by the third conference call of the day, I'm a little weary of listening to ten other people on the end of their tin cans with strings?

And since each conversation is directly contradicting the previous one, I'm even more confused than usual.

I have often said

that cartoons are among the highest form of art. Apparently that's not all they are:

After the Danish Cartoon Controversy

As often happens in these sorts of cases, the highly offended "religious leaders" turn out to be shameless, self-promoting hucksters. Public indignation over manufactured controversies usually has a short shelf life. You wonder at what will happen when the "muslim street" suddenly realizes their promised virgins in paradise turn out to be yet another case of snake oil sold by charlatans.

(Hat tip to Michael Rubin at the Corner)