Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Have I grown?

Monday, December 31, 2007
I don't
fucking get it.




That's what I posted, one year ago today.

Have I improved any?

Sorry, that's as much of a look back as you are going to get from me.

Happy Meme Year

Tagged by the illustrious Kathleen, (www.dontcallmekathleen.blogspot.com) here are Seven Things About Me:

1. I will do almost anything, including nearly injure myself, to get a child to laugh.

2. I am somewhere between 50 and 100 pounds overweight.

3. I have an irresistable fondness for the Ocean's Eleven/Twelve/Thirteen series.

4. I get paid more money, frankly, than I deserve.

5. Deep in my heart, I know I could devote more time and energy to maintaining my relationships.

6. Way, way down deep in my heart, I regret having a vasectomy.

7. Ironically, as much as I write, and as much as I read, my spelling is still terrible. It didn't used to be.

Resolved:

1) Stop making promises I'm not going to keep.

Happy New Year, Everybody!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

We will see your oft injured former Marlin, and raise you...

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2008/12/report_red_sox_1.html


...an oft injured former Marlin, Brad Penny.

Reportedly, the Red Sox are about to sign oft injured former Marlin Brad Penny to a one year contract.

Not exactly the decisive response to the Texeira signing I was hoping for.

Say No To Drugs

http://www.drugpolicycentral.com/bot/images/killerdrug.jpg

My comrade DMarks will appreciate this one-an anti drug poster that might be from the 1930s. I can read old ads like this one all day long.

Attention Writerly Types!

http://oneword.com/index.html


Check this out!

Gorgeous Page

http://progressiveboink.com/archive/calvinhobbes.htm


A gorgeous page. 25 Calvin and Hobbes strips, with commentary.

Well, this is cheery, too!

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3796019&campaign=rss&source=ESPNHeadlines

Apparently, Tom Brady is now in some danger of missing NEXT football season, too.

Oh, happy day.

BTW, Santa? Screw you.


http://blogs.zappos.com/blogs/ceo-and-coo-blog/2008/12/27/everything-i-know-about-business-i-learned-from-poker

This is interesting-the CEO of Zappos, making analogies between business and poker. I wish I worked for smart people like this.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Extraordinary

http://www.flickr.com/photos/couragecampaign/sets/72157611501972510/show/

An extraordinary flickr feed of photos in opposition to Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage measure that passed in California.

It's heartbreaking, sad and funny and awful and hopeful.

I cannot believe we are actually still talking about this. This doesn't affect me in any way, other than the fact that I don't want to live in a country that does this to people.

I challenge anyone to view it and still believe that gay marriage should be banned.

Nothing Says Christmas...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5402643.ece


...like hauling bodies out of a pile of rubble.

In a childish way, I am just sick of Israel. Sick of Palestine. Sick of Hamas. Sick of this story, which hasn't stopped since practically I learned to read, and apparently, is never going to stop. Just keep killing people until everyone's dead, guys. That will solve it.

This is one of those conflicts where everyone's right. Israel deserves a homeland after the Holocaust. The Palestinians didn't deserve to get thrown out of their houses because of some lines white guys drew on a map. We've put people into outer space, and we can't solve the ancient problem of two kids who want one cookie?

You know that scene in an alien movie where the aliens express contempt for humans? This is one of the reasons why they do that.

Why My Life Is Like A Sitcom

(INTERIOR: Cluttered house, dusk. Elegant, pretty WIFE approaches disheveled HUSBAND.)

HUSBAND: I ordered pizza. Penn Pizza Palace. Because they're alliterative.

WIFE: (frowns silently, contemplating whether or not "stupidity" is adequate grounds for divorce.)

HUSBAND: And they make Sicilian. (pause) I wouldn't order food based on alliteration. That would be silly.

WIFE: You'd have to go to the Dolphin Diner. And order Salisbury Steak.

HUSBAND: (thinks) With French Fries. And Chocolate Cake.

WIFE: That sounds pretty good!

(End scene.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Calvin and Hobbes: Prophets




(Thanks to www.dvorak.org/blog)

Merry Whatever You Call It

Mark Teixeira is going to be a Yankee, and I'm still not happy about it.

I know its peevish and childish to be unhappy on Christmas Day. There is this enormous weight of expectation in our culture that we not only have a Merry Christmas, but the MERRIEST Christmas. Katie Couric said so, after all. And there really isn't anything wrong. Except the Teixeira thing. F&*king Yankees.

The Teixeira thing does lend some spice to the rivalry, though, as if it needed more sauce. Beating them is going to be extra sweet, because they are SO loaded, and losing them is going to feel like an extra strength "kick in the goonies", as Mike Myers used to say in the old Saturday Night Live sketch with Patrick Stewart. But I digress.

Christmas was fine. My nephew and bosom buddy Simon was over, and he was. predictably, a little touchy as he seems to be fighting a bit of a cold. He was also being pushed beyond his bedtime comfort zone, so that made for a few meltdowns. His parents handle him brilliantly, though, much better than I did at the same age, and, once the gift wrap started flying, he got in the zone.

He got mostly Thomas the Tank Engine stuff, which seemed to delight him no end. He gets another Christmas today, at his other grandparents' house, so I can hardly imagine how happy he must be today. Undoubtedly more Thomas stuff, and more attention, and more, more, more.

My own son, 'Ol Whatshisname, (kidding!) made out fairly well too. He's more into the Christmas spirit of getting than that of giving, but he showed admirable restraint in waiting for Simon to start the gift process.

Other than watching the kids, that was pretty much it. The rest of the time has been spent finishing the James Bond novels I got from the library ("On Her Majesty's Secret Service", "You Only Live Twice", and "The Man With The Golden Gun".) I haven't read them in probably 20 or so years. They aren't quite as good as I remember.

The books are lurid in their descriptions of violence and the damage to Bond's body and psyche. Fleming is a racist, even by the standards of his time, but if you can overlook that stuff, they aren't bad. I don't think I'm going to read any more, though.

I started a paperback I think I borrowed from my father's collection-a Star Trek collection of novellas about the engineers-LaForge, Scotty, etc. It's not bad. When I get back to the library, I may check out a few more. I haven't read any Star Trek books in a long while, either.

Sigh.

As Dr. Denis Leary used to put it, Merry F&*king Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Factually Correct Five

Five things, in honor of Matthew Berry of ESPN.com, that are factually correct:

1. You really need to stop dickering at the grocery store. It is the price that it is. Arguing with the vacant teenager or addled senior that is ringing your groceries is not going to give you a 10% discount. If you really think it's wrong, don't buy it, or take it to the customer service desk. Don't argue with someone who doesn't know and doesn't, frankly, care.

2. Pantomiming different ways I am going to kill myself (shooting myself, strangling myself, setting myself on fire, hanging myself) while the aforementioned customer dickered and I looked away from them and at my wife, who was shaking with silent laughter, is funny.

3. It's friggin' cold.

4. Christmas is both going to be more and less than I expect.

5. At least five times tomorrow, someone is going to ask me, "Are you open?"

Thanks for nothing, Claus!

According to numerous sources,
{http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2008/12/reports_teixeir.html) slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira has agreed to sign with....wait for it....The New York Flippin' Yankees.

Yeah, the Yankees.

The Freaking Yankees.

Bah, humbug.

Monday, December 22, 2008

On Again, Off Again

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3786801&name=olney_buster

The On Again, Off Again Mark Teixeira talks appear to be somewhat on again. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, Boston still has the best deal. According to Teixeira, he wants to be done by Christmas. Christmas is Thursday.

So it shall be written, so it shall be done...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Well, this is cheery...

"The search for efficiency and the urge to consume has set us all up like a row of dominoes - there is no buffer, no resiliency. As one problem rises it causes another. As one solution is tried it drives another problem. We all pull back and the consumer economy stalls. The auto industry and credit firms feeds the media (40% of conventional advertising). Papers and TV and Radio networks, many subject to LBO's will have to fail as per the Tribune. Every sector will be laying people off. Sales of all things fall off a cliff - driving more business failures and layoffs. Cities and states that depend on sales tax and property tax and the credit markets can rely on none of these. So they too will have to lay off millions - thus making all the problems worse. National governments will be asked to save us all and of course cannot. As States and Cities get squeezed and cannot borrow, they will too lay off millions - teachers, firemen police. No one will be safe."

-Consultant Robert Paterson
(http://smartpei.typepad.com/robert_patersons_weblog/)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Wall Street Journal Likes To Make Stuff Up

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122964985803120513.html

The pathetic attempt of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page to defend the torture of human beings.

"Actionable intelligence is the most effective weapon in the war on terror, which can potentially save thousands of lives."

There is no evidence that torture produces actionable intelligence.

"In fact, Congress has always defined torture so vaguely as to ban only the most extreme acts and preserve legal loopholes. At least twice it has had opportunity to specifically ban waterboarding and be accountable after some future attack. Members declined."

Well, that's fair. I mean, everyone KNOWS that it is ONLY waterboarding that keeps us safe. Not, you know, security and stuff.

"As for "stress positions" allowed for a time by the Pentagon, such as hooding, sleep deprivation or exposure to heat and cold, they are psychological techniques designed to break a detainee, but light years away from actual torture."

What is the difference? "Techniques designed to break"? It's torture. Whoever wrote that sentence should undergo SERE training and report back about how non-torturous it is.

"Mr. Levin claims that Bush interrogation programs "damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives." The truth is closer to the opposite."

The evidence, unfortunately, supports Mr. Levin.

"The second-guessing of Democrats is likely to lead to a risk-averse mindset at the CIA and elsewhere that compromises the ability of terror fighters to break the next KSM. The political winds always shift, but terrorists are as dangerous as ever."

Nowhere near as dangerous as the reckless gang of thugs who currently occupy the White House.

As if you needed more evidence we need trials for bankers...

http://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/story?section=news/local&id=6563329

According to this story, Bank of America, which was more than willing to take taxpayer money in the bailout, turns around and repossesses a soldier's car, while he is serving in Iraq.

As Douglas Adams once wrote, "first against the wall when the revolution comes."

Helium

I went to see Jimmy Pardo tonight. (Well, last night.) (Whatever.) He was terrific, not the least of which because an early arrival got my wife and I into the very FIRST ROW. Of course, being a comedy show, we were ragged on the whole night, but it was hysterically funny.

(Special note to Katie: Helium is on Sansome St., downtown Philly-very easy to get to. It appears to be new-at least, I never heard of it. Food prices are fairly reasonable. Total tab for the night for two of us is maybe $100-but then again, we're not drinkers. Once you get reemployed, you could do worse than to catch a show there.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Top Five At Four

ONE: http://tinyurl.com/4eamve
Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, which has sold more copies than there are people on the Earth, is going to give President Elect Obama's invocation. This has ignited a kerfuffle, since Warren has not been shy, like most preachers, about his opposition to gay marriage. However, he is anti poverty and anti human misery, which is frankly more important. He is wrong about gay marriage, and the future will prove him so. As Dr. King said, the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice. (He was quoting someone else, but I don't recall who that was and I am too lazy too look it up.)



TWO: http://tinyurl.com/4dfzsh
Mark Teixeira, the free agent prize still on the board, is still in limbo. Reportedly, Boston has dropped out of the running when shown offers that Teixeira, a name only a copy editor could love, supposedly has from other teams. But Scott Boras, Teixeira's agent, is infamous for the baseball equivalent of vaporware, "offers" that have originated only in Boras' skull. So it may not yet be over.



THREE: http://tinyurl.com/4oo65w
Retailers say that Christmas shopping is disappointing. Yet, everytime I have gone into a store this week, it has been PACKED. WTF?


FOUR: http://tinyurl.com/4hztp2
Majel Barrett Roddenberry, widow of the creator of Star Trek, has passed away. While by no means a big fan, I have seen a number of movies and TV shows, and always thoroughly enjoyed each one. RIP.



FIVE: www.jimmypardo.com
I'm going to see Jimmy Pardo, standup comedian extraordinaire, at a new comedy club in downtown Philadelphia tonight.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One of the most remarkable things in the history of things

http://baseballcardblog.blogspot.com/2008/12/casey-at-bat.html

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What recession?

Shopping for baking supplies with my better half this afternoon, I encountered a shelf full of chocolate covered somethings, about the size of a softball. I came closer.

Handmade chocolate covered apples.

$8.99 each.

9 DOLLARS? FOR AN APPLE?

Better be covered in gold and cocaine for 9 dollars. Sheesh.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You Can Call Me Al

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOiVaE-pKqM

I forgot how funny this video was. The song that lent a lyric to the title of this very blog, Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al".

I HATE CHRISTMAS

http://www.slate.com/id/2206713/

A fascinating anti- Christmas piece by the always interesting Christopher Hitchens.

Kucinich on Banks and Lying Scumbags

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20081215_rep_dennis_kucinich_on_his_battle_with_the_banks/

Interesting historical perspective-it's not just recently that bankers have been shown to be lying scumbags.

Monday, December 15, 2008

When In Doubt, Meme...

From the ever popular butyoucancallmemiss.blogspot.com








Hi, my name is:
Mike

But you can call me:
Spud

The one person who can drive me nuts is:
My child

My high school is/was:
better off forgotten

When I’m nervous:
I get reserved

The last song I listened to was:
Metallica's "Enter Sandman", live in Moscow, 1991

If I were to get married right now it would be to:
the everlasting surprise of my wife.

My hair is:
mostly absent

Last Christmas:
my darling nephew Simon was sick.

When I look down I see:
the sweepings of the street

The happiest recent event was:
realizing I don't have work again until the 21st.

By this time next year:
I probably won't have my Christmas shopping done, either.

If I won an award, the first person I would tell would be:
my wife

The world could do without:
American Idol

Most recent thing I’ve bought myself:
A cream cheese filled pretzel

Most recent thing someone else bought me:
takeout from Wendy's

In the morning I:
took my son to school, then came home and watched The West Wing

Last night I was:
watching "Sunday Night Football"

Tomorrow I am:
maybe doing a little Christmas shopping. Maybe not.

Tonight I am:
Watching "Monday Night Football"

My birthday is:
in October, but still coming way too quickly.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quick Puzzle Break

FINISHED FILES ARE THE RE-

SULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIF-

IC STUDY COMBINED WITH

THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS.

Courtesy Dave Winer (www.scripting.com)

Count the Fs in this sentence.

My Boys Bringing It Old School

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QP-SIW6iKY&feature=related

Metallica at Tushino Airfield, Moscow, September 28, 1991. Even if you don't like the music-check out the crowd-1.6 million people.

this, too.

http://digg.com/world_news/White_House_Moves_Toward_Auto_Bailout


Sure, we have to make sure that autoworkers don't get paid too much money. But restricting Robert Rubin's pay at Citi? Why...why....that's positively unAmerican! You can't limit someone's pay unless they, you know, WORK for a living.

This should sicken you.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20081212_report_rumsfeld_responsible_for_detainee_abuse/


The last paragraph of the executive summary is the money shot:

"The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of “a few bad apples” acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees. Those efforts damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority. This report is a product of the Committee’s inquiry into how those unfortunate results came about."

Unfortunate? Criminal, maybe. Actionable. Illegal. Evil.

Not unfortunate.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

And the money kept rolling in...and out....

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2008/12/13/yankees_give_burnett_825m/

The Yankees, apparently determined to sign every player in baseball, have come to an agreement with righthander AJ Burnett on a 5 year contract. This is somewhat along the lines of the Sabathia deal, in the sense that, if everything goes well, it's a great move-but Burnett's injury history is significant.

These deals could both be tremendous flameouts, but we will see.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Two Cathedrals

More West Wing this morning, and perhaps my favorite scene ever. President Bartlet's secretary, Mrs. Landingham, has been killed by a drunk driver, and after her funeral service, Bartlet locks the cathedral doors and lectures God. A moving scene, in my opinion, and a fine bit of acting from Martin Sheen.





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FScv89J6rro

"BARTLET [tired] You're a son-of-a-bitch, you know that?

He slowly walks up the center aisle.

BARTLET [tired] She bought her first new car and you hit her with a drunk driver. What,was that supposed to be funny? "You can't conceive, nor can I, the appalling
strangeness of the mercy of God," says Graham Greene. I don't know who's ass he was
kissing there 'cause I think you're just vindictive. What was Josh Lyman? A warning
shot? That was my son. What did I ever do to yours except praise his glory and praise his name? There's a tropical storm that gaining speed and power. They say we haven't
had a storm this bad since you took out the tender ship of mine last year in the north Atlantic last year... 68 crew. Do you know what a tender ship does? Fixes the other ships. Doesn't even carry guns. Floats around and fixes the other ships and delivers the mail. That's all it can do. [angry] Gratias tibi ago, domine. Yes, I lied. It was a sin. [holds out arms] I've committed many sins. Have I displeased you, you feckless thug? 3.8 million new jobs, that wasn't good? Bailed out Mexico, increased foreign trade, 30 million new acres for conservation, put Mendoza on the bench, we're not fighting a war, I've raised three children...

He ascends the stairs to the Inner Sanctuary.

BARTLET [pleading] That's not enough to buy me out of the doghouse? Haec credam a
deo pio? A deo iusto? A deo scito?

He stops at the top of the stairs and extends his arms.

BARTLET Cruciatus in crucem! Tuus in terra servus nuntius fui officium perfeci. [angry] Cruciatus in crucem. [waves dismissively] Eas in crucem!

Bartlet turns away in anger. He descends to the lower sanctuary and lights
a cigarette. He takes a single puff, drops the butt to the floor, and grinds it defiantly with his shoe. He looks back at the altar.

BARTLET [betrayed] You get Hoynes!

Bartlet holds back tears as he walks down the aisle."

(from www.westwingtranscripts.com)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CC to NY

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/shysterball/article/cc-says-y-e-s-to-ny/

Pitcher Carsten Charles Sabathia, the big (in more ways than one) fish in the free agent ocean, apparently agreed to sign with the New York Yankees, a 7 year, $160 million contract. Besides fulfilling Bill Simmons fondest wish, ("The thought of 365-pound CC Sabathia laboring through a 98° game at Yankee Stadium in 2012 with four more years and $105 million remaining on his contract. Please, God. I don't ask for much") this certainly puts the Yankees into a strong position in the American League East. They desperately needed pitching, but this sounds like they were bidding against themselves a wee bit. But since they're moving into the "ATM with foul poles", in Rob Neyer's phrase, of the New Yankee Stadium, they can afford it.

Of course, we don't really know what Sabathia's career is going to look like. He's 28, so this contract takes him through age 35. He is not, shall we say, a fitness nut, though I'm not one to talk. His arm has been remarkably durable, but it has some miles on it, in baseball terms. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Get Blogfected!

http://isplotchy.blogspot.com/2008/12/son-of-son-of-story-virus-v3.html


Here are the rules of the story virus: Take the ongoing tale, continue it, and pass it on. Simple, eh?

Here goes:

**********
The bus was more crowded than usual. It was bitterly cold outside, and I hadn't prepared for it. I noticed that a fair number of the riders were dressed curiously. As I glanced around, I stretched my feet and kicked up against a large, heavy cardboard box laying under the seat in front of me. (Splotchy)

I hunched down to see what it was, but as I did, the bus violently veered to left. I was thrown up against a heavyset Asian woman with blond hair. I pardoned myself, but she faced forward with no reply. Just then, a man wearing a jumpsuit of silver and gold stood up at the front of the bus. He was holding a megaphone and a box of graham crackers. He held the megaphone up to his face and began to speak... (Some Guy)

"Ladies and Gentlemen...please do not be afraid! I am here to help you" he said in a mighty booming voice. As he began to step towards me I felt a hand creep its way around my throat and all of a sudden I was pressed against the mighty bosom of the Asian woman as she she hauled me to my feet. She began to back away from the costumed crusader all the while holding me, feet dangling in the air. I panicked and my eyes searched the bus, hoping to connect with someone, anyone who would be able to help me. My eyes met those of the hero in gold and just as I began to gasp for air he yelled...(~E)

„Put her down and no one gets hurt“, he yelled at the Asian woman. All the passengers turned to see what was going on and, as they did, I noticed they were more panicked than I was. A small bespectacled man closest to us hissed at my captor and said in a low voice „Take me, just don't hurt her.“ My fear gave way to curiosity. Who were all these people, and why were they so concerned for my well being?
The Asian blonde's back was now pressed against the back of the bus, and she increased her grip on me as the megaphone man crept slowly towards us. As he passed through the bus people started getting up, and now they formed a small army behind him. He raised the box of graham crackers above his head and put his lips to the megaphone... (That Damn Expat)

...and emitted an earthly high scream. I was blown away, for I did not know I was in the presence of such being.
"Ar-are," I stammered. "Are you.... Rah-r-rob-robert Plant??" He gave me a sharp look, as if he knew that I am really bad at stammering.
"Did you let the dogs out, miss?" He asked, in a clipped tone.
"Wh-what?" I asked, trying to keep up the stutter, but failing quickly.
"The dogs, your chihuahua and your minature pincer. Before you left and got onto this most dangerous of public transportation vehicles, did you let your dogs out so that they could relieve themselves?"
I was flabbergasted, as I thought back, and gasped. Had I?
(Morgan the Muse)

I had to find out, and FAST. After realising that I did not have any home-automation in place, and so did not have any cameras to log into. There was only one option. I quickly grab my laptop from my bag, and use my uber 1337 skills to hack into the brain-chip of the driver, causing him to turn around, and break every road law, and several other laws, back to my house. I briefly wonder whether this is ethical, or even moral, but there is no time to decide, because...
(Scutterman)

With the screech of brakes, and the hiss of hydraulics, the bus was back at my house. The Asian woman, stunned at the force of Plant's vocalizations, had released me, and I stumbled off of the bus in a haze. The bus lurched back into traffic, when I realized what had happened. I don't even own any dogs! Robert Plant doesn't live anywhere near me! Either something is desperately wrong with my version of reality, or I am having a deeply psychotic nightmare.
(Innocents,Accidents...)

*****************

I tag:

http://kalistempleofdoom.blogspot.com/

Who's the Boss?

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/12/15/081215fa_fact_gladwell


Remarkable Malcolm Gladwell piece about success. How do we know who is going to succeed?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Get Your Pitchforks and Torches Ready

http://money.cnn.com/2008/12/08/news/economy/Cuomo_Thain/index.htm

John Thain, CEO of Merrill Lynch, asked for a $10 million dollar bonus for his work in 2008. Yes, the story cites his withdrawal of this request, true. But still, after his company lost ELEVEN BILLION DOLLARS in 2008, he had the nerve to ask for a bonus.

I'm no financial genius or anything, but I probably could have done better than that.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Oh, yeah.



It snowed yesterday, the first snow to stick around so far this winter.

Katie's Got Questions...I've Got Answers (I Hope!)

The irrepressable Katie (whom I know better than to call Kathleen) (www.dontcallmekathleen.blogspot.com) has answered some questions from the opposite gender (that being men) on her blog, and had submitted some questions to a male to be answered on his blog. She calls this co-blogging, which is as good a word as any. Since her partner in crime has not yet answered, I will take up the baton of maleitude and attempt to answer them here. Bear in mind that I am looking at these questions from my own perspective, and since that is one of a married man approaching 40, I don't claim to represent randy young twentysomethings. I don't claim to represent 40 year olds either-as I point out in my disclaimer, I'm not even sure if I represent myself.

But now then, to the questions from the Katie:

"-What's up with the lack of interest in performing Oral Sex n a female? Is it ME or is it like men have adapted to a new religion that does not support giving oral sex?"

Ah. Er. OK. What?

Seriously, I am tempted to quote Chris Rock here. Referring to women who won't do the same on a male, he asks, "They still MAKE you?", meaning he was not aware women were still being constructed with that feature.

As will become a theme, guys don't TALK. About anything. But based on my own limited experience, and the few conversations I have had on the topic, I think men do, generally speaking, not have a problem doing that. I also wish to paraphrase film director Kevin Smith, who pointed out once on his podcast (www.quickstopentertainment.com/smodcast) that a male who is not overburdened with physical beauty had darned well better get good at it. I think attractive men, maybe, don't have to work quite as hard, and thus may not feel the need to give what they would so eagerly recieve.

I, personally, love to do it.

I must say, briefly, in this anonymous, clueless male's defense, that it is HARD to do it, physically. The muscles involved get sore quite easily. But like anything worth doing, it is worth practicing until you get it right. Or get TMJ trying.

"-When out at a bar or any establishment created for males and females to co-exist and possibly mate - why is it that men consistently act egotistical, arrogant, and obnoxious ESPECIALLY when their goal is to get into a chick’s pants? Who are they trying to impress?"

Well, it seems to me a couple of explanations may be at work here:

1) The male in question is egotistical, arrogant, and obnoxious, and could not act otherwise any more than he could flap his arms and fly out the window.

2) The act is an elaborate ruse, meant to keep the group at ease by allowing them to deflate his ego. (IE I will tell my wife something like, "I'm sure you'll agree, because I'm a man, and therefore, naturally superior in all things." She will laugh hysterically, knowing that a) that is dramatically untrue, and b) I am simply setting her up for a joke to be made at my expense.

3) It's a cover. Men, more than almost anything, don't like being embarrassed. What's one of the first things an animal does if cornered? Make itself look bigger than it is. These men are bluffing, knowing they have nothing on the table, hoping they can steal a pot while no one else at the table is paying attention.

4) Men are jerks.

"- If you could perform oral sex on yourself, would you REALLY have no use for a romantic relationship with a female?"

No. While it is a tempting mental experiment, there are pleasures to be had with women that have no equal on this earthly plane.

"-Cheating: Why do so many men do it?"

Ah. The Big One. The Question To End All Questions.

Once again, several explanations present themselves. I have never done it, so I don't know, really. Haven't been offered a chance to, actually. But, like every male with a pulse, I've thought about it.

1)As with so many things in life, because they can.

2)Men are jerks.

3)There is something that goes out of a relationship after a while. I don't think it can be helped, I don't think it's anyone's fault, but I think it just happens. When you've been with someone for a while, you just stop trying. When the other person isn't trying, I think it becomes easier to step out.

4)There really is something to the biology/spread your seed argument. There's a cell phone commercial where a guy is sitting at a table at an outdoor cafe with a gorgeous blonde. (I have a feeling I should know who she is, but I don't.) She is talking, and he uses the reflective back of his phone to watch the butts of two women as they pass by on the sidewalk. She texts him, "OMG! UR A PIG!", and he kind of shrugs. There is a part of us that makes us want, in some tiny, lizard brained way, to reproduce with every woman of reproductive age we see. The fact that we don't is all that makes us civilized.

"-Why is one woman not satisfying to a man for an extended period of time?"

This is really kind of the same question. I don't think it is technically true.

Just like there are many kinds of pizza, there are many kinds of satisfaction. Kurt Vonnegut points out in many of his essays that humans evolved as part of extended families-for thousands of years, we had 40 or 50 people close by who knew us and loved us. It's hard for one person to be everything to another person, no matter how hard they try. Or, as Howard Stern pointed out in a magazine interview years ago, EVERYONE is hard to live with. Or, as Chris Rock says, every woman, no matter how beautiful, has some man, somewhere, who is just sick of them.

I think that a man can be satisfied by one woman, well enough, for a long time.

I hope so, anyway.

"-Why don't men communicate even to a smallest degree as much as women about their feelings? Seriously. Where is the communication gap, and why is it there?"

Another biggie.

Simple-men don't have feelings.

(Ha!)

Seriously, this is something you could write a book on.

Men are conditioned, from very early on, that is perfectly okay to express feelings about a) your mother, and b) your sports team. And that's it. To express a feeling is to express a vulnerability, and men aren't supposed to be vulnerable.

We don't have the aptitude, or the language, or the grammar, to express feelings. We're afraid you'll leave, or you'll get mad, or you'll think less of us, if we express our feelings.

And there are whole areas of life to which, with men, feelings just aren't germane. I could fill a book with my wife and I fighting about just this topic.

I have a lot of discussions at work like this-how I feel about a policy or a rule just simply doesn't matter. I am much more interested in how we progress than in how we got here.

It's also part of what men like about sports-The Eagles beat the Giants today. There are many subsidiary storylines to go with this game, but there is a clarity to the fact that the Eagles add one to the win column, and the Giants add one to the loss column, no matter how you feel about it.

"-Mama's boy specific, but all men related: Why do you take your mother's side, even when she's wrong?"

Because she's Mom.

Seriously, I just listened to a Marc Maron comedy album recently, on which he admits, whenever a man is screaming at a woman, he is really saying, "Why can't you be like my MOMMY!"

I think this is overplayed a bit. She may be wrong, but a guy's mom and his girl are the two elemental forces in his life. There's got to be something serious at stake before he offends either one.

"-Is a woman's willingness to perform oral sex REALLY a deal breaker? Perfect girl in every sense of the word won't put your penis in her mouth.... do you really kick her to the curb?"

Absolutely not. Guys say this to be funny, and to sound tough and cool, but in reality? No.

"-Honestly, why are men so freaked out about male homosexuals? Is it really because you think they might pull you aside on the street and pork you? Do you honestly think you're THAT attractive to females?"

I think the last word is supposed to be "males", but this one is a mystery. I don't understand homophobia, never have, never will. I think guys pose on this one, too, so they won't be seen as less than manly.

I will joke with other men in just the opposite way-kidding about being homosexual. Of course, this is with men, like me, whose marital status is abundantly clear.

"-Which is REALLY better on a female; Shaved..or not Shaved? What are the benefits of both?"

Doesn't matter. The fact that we get to see it, and maybe touch it, is reward enough. I think shaved has a porn star/naughtiness vibe to it that is a bit of a rush, especially as a change of pace that implies, "look what I did for you". But it's not important, really.

"-Walking down the street - you scratch your nuts, its acceptable. Walking down the same street, you see a chick scratch her nether-region and she's got crabs? What's the deal?"

That's just crudeness, I think-someone is trying to make a nasty one liner at someone's expense. We all get sweaty down there, and scratching absent mindedly crosses gender barriers.

"-Pick Up Lines. WHY?! WHY?! WHY?!"

You have to say something, don't you?

I have never done the bar scene, so I really can't tell you. The only reason I can think you might use one is as a joke opener-say one so ridiculously hackneyed that you get a chuckle, and maybe that's your entry point.

I have to admit, the thought of approaching a group of women and trying to think of something to say sounds pretty terrifying.

Think about it from your perspective-what would you have them say?




Well, that's it. That was really a kick. I enjoyed it.

Begin the discussion, innuendo, and criticism below:

Friday, December 05, 2008

I'm Not Made Of Stone, Here, People

I guess I've always had a little bit of a thing for vampire stories. Other than the Anne Rice books, (shocking, I know-I'm not sure why I never got to them) I have always liked vampire stories, ever since a wise English teacher (and author of his own horror novel) decided to cover Dracula in 10th grade English. I loved Salem's Lot, and The Historian, which came out a few years ago, was also marvelous.

So with all the fuss and fanaticism about the Twilight series, especially since the release of the film, I had been thinking about trying them out. Put off by their hyper girly reputation, though, I kept holding off. For reasons I cannot explain, I finally pulled out the first one, "Twilight", and decided to give it a shot this morning. (My wife bought and devoured all four some time ago. At the moment, books 2, 3, and 4 are on loan to her sister. This has been causing me no small amount of panic, since I am not completely positive I can wait to read the next one.)

A few thoughts-

1. As an adult, there are some groanworthy passages. Teenagers talk with all the heavy, weighted speech of Shakespearean lovers. But when you're a teenager, love is freighted with the weight of tragedy, isn't it?

2. This is the sexiest book with no sex in it that I have ever read.

3. The heroine, Isabella Swan, is utterly precocious. She is much more mature and responsible than, say, Carrie Bradshaw, while only being seventeen.

4. I found a lack of description in places to be puzzling. Things and people are said to be beautiful without really saying why or how they are beautiful.

5. It is easy to see why it is so powerfully compelling to young girls.


All that being said, it is a marvelous story. I loved every second of it, I am utterly hooked and plan to begin reading the second without delay.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

JCal on the end of the world

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-mccabe-calacanis/the-120-solution_b_148303.html


Jason Calacanis, millionaire entrepreneur, on the coming apocalypse. When well off guys like Calacanis are scared, that petrifies me.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Bears!

http://ccinsider.comedycentral.com/cc_insider/2008/12/colberts-best-bear-moments.html

Five Rules For Today

1. I can do many things. I cannot, however, make someone call me back. If they haven't called me, I suggest that you ask THEM, not ME, why they haven't called me.

2. If you don't tell me what you want, I won't give you what you want. I can guess about what you might want, but I might be wrong. Don't be mad if you don't tell me what you want, and then I fail to deliver what you want.

3. And once again, don't ask me a question and then get mad at me because you don't like the answer. If you ask me a question, I'm going to give you the best answer I have. If you disagree, feel free to ask someone else. It's a free country. But it's not my fault that you don't like the answer.

4. My superiors are free to insist and expect all they want. My son expects a Wii for Christmas. But unless my superiors give me tools and resources, and unless my son discovers a vein of gold and/or uranium in the front yard, they are both going to be disappointed with the results.

5. If I'm paying you money to protect my stuff, leaving the front gate wide open is not a good way to make me feel all warm and fuzzy about how safe my stuff is.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Selections from ITunes/Where Did The Songs Go?

Apple really helped me out-their online help people discovered something that I had forgotten-I had used two different accounts to buy ITunes music, which is why a number of songs I had purchased were not being recognized.

In celebration of my ITunes finally recognizing that I own the stuff that I bought, all the songs from my(really, our)(as you will see) collection that begin with the word "Where":


Metallica, "Whereever I May Roam"
Carole King, "Where You Lead"
Martina McBride, "Where Would You Be"
Traveling Wilburys, "Where Were You Last Night"
Billy Joel, "Where Were You (On Our Wedding Day)"
Elton John, "Where To Now St. Peter"
Metallica, "Where The Wild Things Are"
U2, "Where The Streets Have No Name"
Madonna, "Where Life Begins"
Chess(Soundtrack), "Where I Want To Be"
They Might Be Giants, "Where Do They Make Balloons"
Nirvana, "Where Did You Sleep Last Night"
The Supremes, "Where Did Our Love Go?"
Billy Joel, "Where's The Orchestra"

Do you have a favorite "Where"?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Imprison The Torturers

"One last thing: Bush should consider pardoning--and should at least be vociferously praising--everyone who served in good faith in the war on terror, but whose deeds may now be susceptible to demagogic or politically inspired prosecution by some seeking to score political points. The lawyers can work out if such general or specific preemptive pardons are possible; it may be that the best Bush can or should do is to warn publicly against any such harassment or prosecution. But the idea is this: The CIA agents who waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and the NSA officials who listened in on phone calls from Pakistan, should not have to worry about legal bills or public defamation. In fact, Bush might want to give some of these public servants the Medal of Freedom at the same time he bestows the honor on Generals Petraeus and Odierno. They deserve it."
-William Kristol
(http://weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/876qyutv.asp?pg=2)



No. Don't pardon torturers. Imprison them, and imprison the ones who ordered them to do it.

Found it!





After months of searching, and inspired by fellow blogger DMarks at inaholdingpattern.blogspot.com, I finally found this postcard. It came to me as a bookmark in a Franz Kafka paperback, and it is just as full of mystery and wonderment now as when I first saw it, maybe 15 years ago. It actually inspired me to write a short story, way back then. I wonder where that story is now.

Anyway.

The front, since you probably can't see it, is the University of Colorado.

On the back is a 12 cent stamp (!), with Henry Ford and the Model T on it. The postmark is June 15, 1981, in Reno, Nevada. It is addressed to Scott, who lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The message is, "Scott. Ted + I are in Lake Tahoe right now-tell John we DID make it through the Rockies. Having a great time. Spent some time in Utah+ Nebraska was HOT. Miss you. Love, Sarah"

Then, at the bottom, the postscript, which is what sends my mind reeling.

"PS Ted will send money later, okay?"

Wow.

The multiple relations are what get me. Who is Sarah with? Ted? Scott? Nobody? Did she used to date Scott, but now they're just friends? And why is Ted sending money? Where is he going to get the money? Where are they going? Why was John so sure they wouldn't make it?

The mind reels, doesn't it?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

JCal on NYT foolishness

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-mccabe-calacanis/on-bailouts-and-sports-ca_b_147261.html

A smart, perceptive rebuttal of a New York Times editorial concerning auto loans/bailouts by tech entrepreneur Jason Calacanis.

Tazawa!

According to reports, the Red Sox have agreed on a contract with young Junichi Tazawa, a 22 year old Japanese pitcher. Tazawa needs work, reportedly, but has a live arm and may pay off down the road.

Happy Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 29, 2008

OK...

Thanks to the irascible Phil Nugent, (philnugentexperience.blogspot.com) I stumbled onto this:

www.genderanalyzer.com

It purports to use Artificial Intelligence to determine if a blog is written by a man or a woman.

So I, being the curious sort, plug in my own blog.

And what do we get?

Wait for it......................











"We think http://innocentsaccidentshints.blogspot.com is written by a woman (69%)."

Sixty Nine Percent?

(?)


Well, uh, no. I happen to be a male of the guy persuasion. A man. A dude. A hombre. A muchacho. A rugged, insensitive brute who doesn't put the toilet seat down, talks about sports and...well...other manly stuff.

I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel about this.

My first reaction is to think, "Duh. That Artificial Isn't Very Intelligent."

But then I think about it. What is a blog, really, but your feelings about things and reactions to them? I mean, I assume none of you have this blog bookmarked above CNN.com, right? You don't come here to learn things, you come here to see what I have to say, or because you don't feel like doing work, or because you don't want someone looking over your shoulder to know that you're watching born.

I guess telling about your feelings, by nature, is a traditionally feminine thing to do. So maybe if you just assume 60% of bloggers are female, you'll be right enough to make it seem like you know what you're doing? Is that even close to right? Does anyone know what the gender breakdown of blogging is? Is there even an answer to that question?

In any case, in order to masculinize my blog, I add the following, in order to tilt my AI gender back in the right direction.

Hunting. War. Death. Guns. Bowling. Beer. Taciturn. Solemn. Football. Insensitivity. Heavy Metal. Expressionless. Mean. Cruel. Mustaches. Baseball. A 2-2 backup slider to a right handed hitter. Breaking up the double play. Basketball. Sliding your feet on defense. Taking a charge. Hockey. Backchecking. Hard shot from the point on the power play.

Hopefully, that will do it.

Ahem.

Bolt!




Guns N Roses released a new studio album this month. If you needed another sign of the impending apocalypse, that’s a pretty good one.

I finally sat down and listened to “Chinese Democracy”, all the way through. It’s hard to know how to feel about it, exactly. As Chuck Klosterman so wisely put it-it doesn’t live up to the hype, but that’s only because nothing could. It’s brilliant in places, bombastic and overblown in others. It’s also hard to react to because I’m not the same person I was in 1987.

“Appetite for Destruction” was Guns N Roses first full length album, and it is still, by far, their best. Which is kind of like saying the Civil War is the most important war-it’s true, sort of, but all the others aren’t less important by comparison. “Appetite” was an hour long scream, full of passion-perfect for the grieving 15 year old I was at the time. Axl Rose, the band’s tempestuous front man, has never produced work as raw and passionate as that since.

Now, after more than 20 years, the band, which is really just Rose with a bunch of other guys, since everyone who performed on that first, transcendent record is gone, is back with a long rumored, long awaited studio album. I like it, I guess I can say, but I don’t love it-I don’t HAVE to listen to it-the way I did with “Appetite”, all those years ago.

I also saw Walt Disney’s “Bolt” today, which has been aptly called their best non- Pixar animated film in a long, long time. According to what I’ve read, it is the first Walt Disney Animation film since Pixar genius John Lassiter took over, and it is very Pixar-y. Lots of vibrant, rich color, a Las Vegas scene that pops off of the screen, some inside baseball-type movie jokes, and a creative plot make it a fine way to spend 90 minutes.

The Best of Fools

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_wMslbxwOA&feature=related

I woke up this morning thinking about Led Zeppelin's "Since I've Been Loving You".

Call them revisionist thieves if you want to-there isn't any question billions have been made on the backs of blues musicians who got paid paltry sums, if any at all, by white English boys like Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page.

But listen to the first few notes, before the drum starts, from this version, the made for TV "Unledded" performance by Page and Plant, or the studio version, or a cover-whatever. Every single time I hear it, which is probably running into the hundreds by now, those few notes, in that order, to me, is what a broken heart sounds like.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Wes Littleton Era Begins

The Boston Red Sox acquired right handed pitcher Wes Littleton from the Texas Rangers, a sidearming, Chad Bradford, give me a grounder to short or give me death type.

Aside from being the name of the town where I went to high school, this move has very little significance of any sort.

Well, that might explain it.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081126/ap_on_fe_st/as_japan_polar_bears

At a zoo in Hokaiddo, Japan, the mystery about why a pair of polar bears refused to mate was solved when it was learned that both bears were female.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ten Things

Ten Things I Did Today

1. Listened to Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant"
2. Watched Football
3. Played with nephews and nieces of various ages, and marveled at how little it sometimes takes to amuse them.
4. Wished I was somewhere else.
5. Wondered exactly what level of desperation is achieved when you are asking Drew Henson to play quarterback.
6. Wondered why the Tennessee Titans' logo looks like a flaming thumbtack.
7. Watched a James Bond Marathon on Sci Fi.
8. Wished I were normal
9. Listened to a fascinating "Studio 360" on Nikola Tesla.
10. Wondered how on Earth I was going to come up with something to blog about

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm sure this is legitimate

"Dear Sir/Madam,
NOTIFICATION OF PAYMENT VIA ATM CARD
This is to officially inform you that we have verified your contract file presently on my desk, and I found out that you have not received your payment due to your lack of co-operation and not fulfilling the obligations giving to you in respect to your contract payment.
After the Board of director's meeting held in Abuja,we have resolved in finding a solution to your problem.We have arranged your payment through our SWIFT CARD PAYMENT CENTRE in Europe, America, Africa and Asia Pacific, This is part of an instruction/mandate passed by the Senate inrespect to overseas contract payment and debt re-scheduling.
We will send you an ATM CARD which you will use to withdraw via ATM MACHINE in any part of the world,and the maximum daily limit is ($5,000.00).
However, Note that this method of payment will be granted if it is acceptable to you for the release of your contract entitlement. In View of this, you are advised to contact the Director (CBN, IRD, and ATM) DR.Paul Adim for further information with the following contact details:
DR.PAUL ADIM
DIRECTORS FOR FOREIGN OPERATIONS.
Telephone line: +234 703 334 7773
Email: drpauladim1@yahoo.cn
If you like to receive your ATM CARD, Kindly reconfirm your
(1) Your Full Name.
(2) Full residential address.
(3) Phone And Fax Number.
(4) Occupation.
(5) Age
We shall be expecting to receive your information as you have to stop any further communication with anybody or office.
Thanks for your co-operation.
Best Regards,
Dr. Paul Adim"


Dear Dr. Adim,

Huh?

Yours very truly,

Me

CK on GNR

http://www.avclub.com/content/feature/chuck_klosterman_reviews


Chuck Klosterman reviews the new Guns N Roses album, Chinese Democracy.

Mirena

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYBHhw1GnR0


I've been watching a lot of Bravo, due to my inappropriate West Wing fondness. Although, I nearly flew into a spittle-heaving rage the other day when Bravo decided to run the first half of the assassination attempt episode, only to segue into their Stupid Television No One (And By No One, I Am Mispronouncing I) Cares About Marathon, without showing the second part!!! Doofuses.

Anyway, if you spend any amount of time at home watching Bravo during the early morning hours, you will see this commercial. Endlessly. It really makes me think that advertisers think women are pretty stupid.

It's for an IUD (Intrauterine Device) called Mirena. I'm sure it's a fine product, and I have no objections to birth control of any sort. In fact, if truth be hold, I have less of an objection to birth control than I have to children. The commercial shows a cheerful redhead with a husband and three adorable boys living in a huge house. (which you'd have to). (And which, in the current economy, is probably worth 43 cents plus a slightly used Bazooka Joe wrapper.)

The point of the commercial is to get the 87 women who are home watching it and are wealthy enough to not have to be working to ask their doctors to put in this device so they won't have any more kids, or at least won't have any more kids right now. Which is fine, I maintain.

What has bothered me about the commercial, and has bothered me more and more ever since I saw it the first time, is right at the 0:05 mark on the video. While intoning her milestones, in a cutesy little voice, she lists, "...Coach soccer..."
WHILE WEARING A SOCCER UNIFORM.

Soccer coaches don't wear soccer uniforms.

Monday, November 24, 2008

This morning...

I told my wife I loved her "unreservedly".

She replied, teasingly, "you have reservations."

"No," I answered. "I'm like Anthony Bourdain. I have no reservations."


Now, I think that's funny.

My wife disagrees.

Tell me, was that funny?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Back to Imagination Station...

Today's Imagination Station Prompt:

"Are you afraid of death?"

Wiseacre, standup comic answer: "I don't know, ask me after I die."

Real answer: I don't know. In a sense, yes, in a sense, not at all. As little joy as I seem to be able to suck out of life, I'd miss it if it were going to be imminently taken from me. I cant shake this feeling that I still have stuff to do.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Incoherence

Yesterday's post was pretty incoherent, mostly because I was just tired. I shouldn't blog when I'm tired.

I'm still tired, but I'm going to try anyway.

During my podcast listening today, there has been a lot of discussion about the potential bailout of the auto companies.

This kind of aggravates me. These are the same companies that opposed seat belts and emission laws and fuel efficiency rules and air bags and building smaller cars, and now they come crying to the government for help? On private jets?

Similar to the financial bailout, it feels like this one is inevitable-literally millions of jobs are at stake, in not only the auto companies but also the suppliers and other associated companies. But it also feels like they deeply do not deserve it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Remove one letter from BCS...

President Elect Obama came out strongly against the current college football system in an interview with 60 Minutes last week.

For those of you who don't know, the college football national championship is determined by means of sheep's entrails, sophisticated computer programs, and tarot cards. President Obama disagrees, and thinks a tournament should be established.

This had been a longstanding bone of contention in the college football world. Everyone wants a tournament, except the only people who are responsible for it, who are making oodles of money the way things are now.

Personally, I see the value of a tournament-like any sports fan, I can appreciate a clear, relatively controversy free champ.

But in general, I am against it, primarily because these are supposed to be amateur athletes. The fact that we do not have a well designed championship is not a great tragedy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What you choose is your choice.

Brilliant "Radio Lab" podcast this week, about choice and neurology.

One of the scariest recent discoveries, for me, is the whole business about deciding before you decide-according to MRI studies, your brain makes a decision before you are aware of it. For example, a person in an MRI machine is told to pick between colors or shapes, and to raise their hand the moment they have decided which one. The thing is that the brain shows the decision making activity before the subject signals they have decided.

So you decide before you decide. Wierd.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And baseball season never ends....

A couple of quick notes about baseball, which is always being played in my heart.

Tip O' The Hat to Our Man DP for winning the American League Most Valuable Player Award for the 2008 baseball season.

Wag O' The Finger to Theo, who deals All Purpose Super Guy and Starting Center Fielder of the All Name Team Covelli "Coco" Crisp to the Kansas City Royals for reliever Ramon Ramirez. Admittedly, Ramirez looks good, but Crisp was...well...Coco. An absolutely superlative defender in center field.

Of course, fan memory being what it is, I will immediately type "Coco who?" when Ramirez strikes out Jeter with two on and two out in a tie game at Fenway.

Judge Not

I have subscribed to Sports Illustrated, on and off, since the 1980s. They have always had a back page essay, inside the back cover, like a lot of magazines do, with an essay from a columnist, usually offering simply a different take on the news. With SI, it's often a criticism of a notable sports figure or trend, or a heartwarming story of a hardworking amateur or a retired pro.

This week, it was the latter, and Selena Roberts' story about retired power forward Derrick Coleman. (http://www.fannation.com/si_blogs/points_after)

Derrick Coleman was a phenomenally talented basketball player, a coach's dream on the court-tall, with a wingman's range, the length and strength to score, rebound, and defend inside and the accuracy to shoot from outside. After starring at Syracuse University, Coleman was a Number One overall pick by the New Jersey Nets. He played well as a pro, but his teams did not win any championships, but things got sour with trouble with coaches and the law, and he wound up a vagabond-drifting from team to team, earning great money but disappointing team after team by showing up out of shape or seemingly disinterested.

Anyone who followed the NBA during the 1990s knew who Derrick Coleman was, and his name would probably evoke a sad shake of the head. All that talent, we thought, and a ten cent head. Lazy, we thought. Just in it for the money, we thought. I was among them, seeing the flashes of greatness and wishing he could sustain it for a full game or a full season. I don't think this was racism-Coleman is African American-but I'm sure it figured into it, made the stereotype easier to believe.

These toxic player-coach-team-fan dynamics always have at least two sides to them, and at best, I think we learn 1 1/2 of them. I don't know Coleman, and I don't know his side of the story. But when you're an obsessive fan, and you've seen the beauty of the game unfold in front of you, it seems impossible to believe, almost criminal, that someone gifted with such a physique and such talent would seemingly squander it.

This week's "Point After" was the story of how Coleman is using his NBA millions to help his Detroit neighborhood. He has invested in a strip mall that includes a barber shop, farmer's market, and pizza franchise to provide services, and, most importantly, employment, in his old neighborhood.

So, I'm sorry. Mr. Coleman, I apologize for all the bad things I said or thought about you. Clearly, you were a decent human being, and fans should think before they speak.

Imagination Station!

Thanks to the indomitable Katie, whom you should not call Kathleen(dontcallmekathleen.blogspot.com), for the Imagination Prompt Generator (http://www.creativity-portal.com/prompts/imagination.prompt.html), a nifty little page that prompts you with a topic to blog about.

Today's Prompt is

"Were you ever rushed to the hospital? What for?"

Oh my, yes. Never in an ambulance, though.

In the last couple of years, I have been hospitalized twice for cellulitis. Before that, it would be cellulitis again in college, a few sports wounds in high school, and emergency surgery the summer I was about to turn 5, for a urinary matter that goes without further discussion.

Oh, and by the way...

I don't cry. Ever.

What happens is, when I watch "The Replacements", and Shane Falco, played by Keanu Reeves, gives that little speech about pain healing and chicks digging scars and glory lasting forever, is that something gets in my eyes. Both of them. Every time.

But it's not crying.

Because men don't do that.

I just figured I'd clear that up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy BlogSecret Day!

It's BlogSecret day. Inspired my the immortal PostSecret, (www.postsecret.blogspot.com), BlogSecret is run by Nilsa (www.newsomi.blogspot.com), who has collected secrets from more than 70 blogs, and exchanged them. Every blogger who participated, including me, submitted a secret and recieved one in return. We are to post the other person's secret on our blog, and somewhere, out there, is ours.

So here, unedited, is someone's secret. All I know about this secret is that it was (presumably) written by a human. Though not, in this case, me. The secret is everything between the quotation marks.

"I've racked my brain for days trying to think of what my secret would be. I'm not a very secretive person in the sense that I have a lot to hide so this was pretty difficult. I'm a quiet person and I pretty much keep to myself and those I'm close with, so naturally I don't go parading stuff around. People make mistakes. It's human nature, right? Everyone has to have a something. I eventually realized the something about me, that I'm very embarrassed of. For a big part of my youth, I was a kleptomaniac.
 
I'm not talking about gum from the gas station. I'm talking about cd's, (a lot of) clothes from major retail stores, and basically anything I could get away with. Hostessing at a restaurant was the first job I'd ever had, and believe it or not, when women would accidentally leave their purses at the tables, they were left at the hostess stand to be kept "safe". So no one would steal them. Well, guess what I did? I went through them, and checked for money. I wish I would have gotten caught. I would literally steal $100 worth of panties from a store in 10 minutes tops. I would get loads of clothes and tell my parents my friend's let me "borrow" them. Why couldn't I get caught? I always told myself, "Well, I'm under 18, the most that can happen is community service, and hey - it can't be that bad!". I stole cheap jewelry from cheap little teeny stores. I stole make up from pharmacies. I would take a big bag to the mall, and shove stuff in it while hiding it in the rack, so no one can see. How did nobody see?? It was about the thrill. The rush was amazing walking through the detectors and not hearing them go off.
 
I wish I could have slapped my young ass into the future. I wish I would have known how stupid I was being and how much trouble I most likely caused for those businesses. Seeing a lot of my friends at the time get caught and get in major trouble curbed my appetite for theft. Thank God. Growing up and maturing made me realize how wrong it is.
 
I am such an honest and trustworthy person. I am so loyal, and caring and compassionate. I honestly do not know where that phase in my life came from. I believe it was because I wanted to fit in. My family hasn't ever been a financially comfortable family, and so I felt that was the only way to get the things I wanted, like my friends had.  I don't really want people to know this fact about me, because it's not who I am, and I would never want anyone to feel like they couldn't trust me."

Monday, November 17, 2008

In other news, rain is wet

Apparently, Yahoo's Jerry Yang, who has watched his company's stock close under $11 after refusing a $33 offer from Microsoft, is going to leave his post as chief executive, bringing an answer to the question, "what do you have to do to get fired?" Well, not fired, exactly-but they weren't begging him to stay, either.

A Century of Stone

The Phil Nugent Experience: A Century of Stone#links

Phil Nugent on the inimitable IF Stone's 100th birthday.

Phil's point is an excellent one- the whole Will Leitch/Buzz Bissinger electrons/dead trees dichotomy is a false one, and like all false beliefs, including sacrifice bunting, Communism, and the value of reality television, it will collapse under its own weight.

What matters is content. It doesn't matter what the form is.

The MSM is annoyed because we're not treating their every utterance as holy writ? Well, tough. Source your stories better. Do your freaking JOBS better.

We're here-the consumers are here. Smart companies will find us and sell us stuff. Dumb companies will go broke.

And I won't weep for them.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Visually striking




This ad ran in the New Yorker a few weeks ago, and I found the image incredibly arresting.

That shoe doesn't even seem possible, though. Could anyone even stand in that shoe, never mind walking?

And so, onwards...

On into the next thousand posts.

http://lilyspeak.com/blog/2008/11/12/d-is-for-delightful/#comments


While out bloghopping, I came across Lilyspeak, and the following challenge: Take a letter, and list 10 things that you love that begin with that letter.

P is my assigned letter.

So, Ten Things That I Love That Begin With The Letter P:

1. Punctuality-I hate being late, and I don't appreciate people who are late. As Chris Rock puts it, there is on time, and there is late.

2. Pedro-as in Martinez, the baseball player. One of the greatest of all time. At his peak, the most dominating pitcher I've ever seen. Fiery, combative, able and willing to get batters out by any means necessary.

3. Pepsi-specifically, Diet Pepsi. Other than Coke Zero, my favorite beverage.

4. Pajamas-specifically, lounging around in them with nowhere to go and no reason to do anything other than watch a good movie and have breakfast in bed. Very rarely happens.

5. Paul Simon-one of my very favorite lyricists.

6. Podcasts-I have become an inveterate podcast listener. Among many, "Never Not Funny", and "Countdown" are my favorites.

7. Power Plays-one of the most exciting plays in hockey-whether fraught with danger, if your team is defending, or opportunity, if they are attacking, they almost always result in something thrilling happening.

8. Pepperoni Pizza. 'Nuff Said.

9. Posner-specifically Gerald Posner-attorney and author who writes very readable books about famous cases, like the JFK assassination and the OJ trial.

10. Peace-what can I say, I'm for it. World peace, personal peace, mental peace, all of it. I'm pro peace across the board.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Post #1000

According to Blogger, this is my one thousandth post. One thousand of anything is a lot. One thousand whiny, boastful, neurotic, insecure, funny, sad, vitriolic, scary messages from somewhere within my cerebral cortex.

Now, if you've read all one thousand of them, God bless you. I don't think I even read all one thousand, and given the grammar I sometimes display, that is not hard to believe. But there they are, one thousand posts, from 2003-present, all about life, liberty, and the pursuit of good fitting pants.

My wife and I are going to the Borgata tonight to see comedian Brian Regan for our anniversary, which cynics will note was a full month ago.

So, as Jim Bouton once wrote, tell your statistics to shut up.

I should be back here at some point tomorrow.

Peace Out!

Not a Fan...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dE9GWecp3s

I'm not a fan of new music, typically. For me, mostly, if it isn't from a group that was popular when I was sixteen, I don't want to hear about it.

(That's 1987, in case you're keeping track.)

This, however, was a pretty cool discovery. Youngster Avril Lavigne kicks out the jams on Metallica's "Fuel", from a tribute show I somehow missed.

Master of Puppets

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEL6_SuQCu8

My boys, San Francisco's own Metallica, bringing the noise, Old School style, from the 1989 tour that still reigns as the most intense experience I have ever had.

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's Over

http://www.businessweek.com/managing/content/nov2008/ca2008117_654471_page_3.htm

Bloody brilliant article in Business Week, an opinion piece about the failings in American business. Professor Shoshana Zuboff argues that Obama's victory heralds a change-that, like the character from "Network", we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more. Profit is no longer our sole master, and productivity is not its own goal.

I hope she's right.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

111 Reasons Why DRM Blows

(First 110 Reasons Edited For Space)

111. Because, ITunes, you refuse to acknowledge that music that I PAID for exists on my new computer.

Damn DRM.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans' Day

In a sense, every day is veterans' day, like when you used to ask your parents why there was a Father's Day and a Mother's Day but not a Children's Day.

So, from the farmers who stood on Lexington Green and said, "No. We've had enough", to the soldiers in the Middle East who are trying to let tiny little flowers of hope bloom in the hard, dry soil of misery-I say thank you.

Thank you for, if nothing else, ensuring the fact that assholes like me get to blather on about nothing, or to accuse the President of heinous crimes, or to say basically whatever the hell pops into my head without fear of retribution. Thank you for being an example of decency. Thank you for, as Demi Moore's character says in "A Few Good Men", saying that nothing is going to happen tonight, not on your watch.

Thanks.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Keith Olbermann rocked tonight!

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment, from today's "Countdown". Please just read the whole thing and then please, if you disagree, tell me why.







A Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.

Some parameters, as preface. This isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics, and this isn't really just about Prop-8. And I don't have a personal investment in this: I'm not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.

And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics.

This is about the... human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not... understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don't want to deny you yours. They don't want to take anything away from you. They want what you want -- a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

Only now you are saying to them -- no. You can't have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don't cause too much trouble. You'll even give them all the same legal rights -- even as you're taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can't marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn't marry?

I keep hearing this term "re-defining" marriage.

If this country hadn't re-defined marriage, black people still couldn't marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal... in 1967. 1967.

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn't have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it's worse than that. If this country had not "re-defined" marriage, some black people still couldn't marry...black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not "Until Death, Do You Part," but "Until Death or Distance, Do You Part." Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.

You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are... gay.

And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing -- centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children... All because we said a man couldn't marry another man, or a woman couldn't marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage. How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the "sanctity" of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?

What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don't you, as human beings, have to embrace... that love? The world is barren enough.

It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness -- this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness -- share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

---

You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of...love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate. You don't have to help it, you don't have it applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know...It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow **person...

Just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.

This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.

But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:

"I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam," he told the judge.

"It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all:

"So I be written in the Book of Love;

"I do not care about that Book above.

"Erase my name, or write it as you will,

"So I be written in the Book of Love."

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Andrew Sullivan says it best...

"What I wrote last Monday was not meant casually. Knowing that the Bush-Cheney-Addington axis will be forced out of power is an immense, slackening relief. I've felt compelled by politics these past few years in ways I don't like or enjoy. With men and women finally back in power I can trust to act reasonably and ethically and within the rule of law, I feel less hesitation in getting on with life."

Palin in 2012!

I haven't been blogging much at all since the election and the end of baseball season. I've had plenty of thoughts in my head, just not time or wherewithal to put them down here.

I really have got to get another job. I feel like my talent is being wasted where I am. Of course, now is probably the worst time in the last 80 years to be trying to find a job, even in my profession, which is in high demand. I think my problem is I really don't like my profession.

Yeah, that would have something to do with it.

So while I was sitting around cursing my fate (which other people call being alive), I was thinking about the following:

-I don't agree that Sarah Palin's political future is over. Kenneth O'Donnell tried to point out that all previous vice presidential losers have essentially sunk back into the woodwork, which is true. However, I don't think there has ever been a vice presidential loser this young, incredibly compelling, and popular. I have a feeling Caribou Barbie will be back.

-Scott Boras is smoking crack. " "When you think about the parameters of who should be the highest-paid player in the game, Manny Ramirez fulfills them all," Boras said " ( from http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/thebuzz/)

Uh, yeah. Except for "catching the ball", "showing up on time", "running",...stuff like that.

Boras also wants Jason Varitek to get a four year contract from the Red Sox. I love Jason Varitek. Every Red Sox fan loves Jason Varitek.

Jason Varitek hit .220 last year.

Jason Varitek does not deserve a four year contract, not even if he is the second coming of Johnny Bench.

Blog Secret!



Watch this space for Blog Secret, coming to a blog near you November 18.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Last Word/Why Is It So Bloody Hard To Understand?

http://campaignsilo.firedoglake.com/2008/11/08/transition-team-wont-discriminate/

Apparently, the Obama/Biden transition team has announced or stated that they will not discriminate when selecting candidates for employment.

Specifically, Christopher Anders of the ACLU says, "As the new Administration gears up, it should be focused on hiring the best people for the job. By including sexual orientation and gender identity in its non-discrimination policy, the Obama-Biden transition team makes clear that it will focus on the relevant qualities that actually predict an applicant’s success on the job – professional experience, character, skills and education."

Now, I've been reading and listening to all my commie pinko leftist podcast and bloggy comrades, all either falling over themselves in praise and hosannas, or warning that the Bushes can still wreak horrible vengeance upon what remains of the Constitution, or even climbing the barricades to scream that Obama isn't left wing ENOUGH for their tastes, and sometimes I still have to remind myself that it really happened. That 200 years on, old Tom's bit about being entitled by our Creator to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness has been, far, far too late and not yet completely,but still, redeemed.

After hearing it, and hearing it, and hearing it, all day long, while I was supposed to be, y' know, working, this quote reminded me. It's over. Our long national nightmare, as my parents' generation used to say, is over.

We're actually going to start giving jobs to the people who deserve them. Imagine that. Not the person we went to school with, not the person who went to Liberty University, not the person who has no experience but was a good fundraiser. The person who can actually do the job, no matter what their personal life is. The person that will come in at 9 and leave at 5 and give the taxpayer value for their dollar. THE BEST PERSON FOR THE JOB, THE RELEVANT QUALITIES! Imagine, picking people on merit again!

No more "we won't do that because the last president did it and everything they did is yucky-ucky-poo-poo." No more "well, we locked them up because they're bad. And they're bad because we say they're bad. No, we can't let you see the evidence why they're bad, but trust us, they're bad." No more, "I'm going to sign this law, but I'm not really going to do what it says." No more, "Press conference? What business is it of yours what your government is doing?" No more of Chimpy McFlightsuit and his rotten, evil little smirk. No more of , in Ann Richards' glorious phrase about Bush Senior, being born on third base and thinking you hit a triple.

Now bear in mind, I'm exaggerating. I know full well that there will surely be legacy hires, and screwups, and goofballs, and money being wasted foolishly. I wasn't born yesterday. Lincoln had war profiteers too.

But I just get the feeling Obama won't be PROUD of it, the way the current president seems to be. Returning shame to government-what a gift!

BART: "What's the opposite of shame?"
HOMER: "Pride?"
BART: "No, not that far from shame."

Blog Me A Secret!

http://newsomi.blogspot.com/2008/11/blogsecret.html

So here's the thing...everyone is going to submit secrets to this one blog. The secrets will be stripped of personal information and redistributed, where each participant will post a secret, not their own, on their blog.

How illicit!

Ralph Predicts The Future!

"It seemed too rash, on a purely local reputation, to build so grave a trust in such anxious times."

Ralph Waldo Emerson, on the nomination of Abraham Lincoln for President.

Lightning Crashes

For the first time in a long bloody while, I have not posted, I believe, in two days.

I see the Internet got along ok without me.

My desktop PC has gone from being unreliable to downright annoying to DOA.

So as a new one makes its way to me from the fine folks at Dell, I am stuck on the laptop downloading podcasts now. Not exactly Stuck in Mobile with the Memphis Blues again, but what can I do?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

This I don't get

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-gaymarriage5-2008nov05,0,1545381.story

" "I think the voters were thinking, well, if it makes them happy, why shouldn't we let gay couples get married. And I think we made them realize that there are broader implications to society and particularly the children when you make that fundamental change that's at the core of how society is organized, which is marriage," he said."

In a word, uh, no.

What implications? Where? When? The same implications when we banned polygamy? Allowed interracial marriage? I was born in Massachusetts, and travel there several times a year. At no point has the presence of gay married couples affected me in any way. Ever.

I'm sorry, but I take this personally. There used to be laws that said I couldn't marry the person that I married. It offends me that we treat any group of Americans as second class citizens.

I only barely understand my own marriage, so I am hard pressed to pass judgement on anyone else's.

Why don't they just call it what it is: "Proposition We Hate Gay People"?

Zack and Miri Make A Porno

I saw Kevin Smith's "Zack and Miri Make A Porno" today.

I'm a fan, so I loved it. It's a perfectly enjoyable romantic comedy-plenty of cursing, and some scatological humor, and a little nudity, but as long as you can stand that, a fine way to spend an hour and change.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Salt The Ground

It's Election Day.

I voted early this morning. I had to work today, so my window was small-if I didn't get out by about 10 of 9, I would have had to leave and would not be able to return. Our district moved its polling place, so once I found it, it went relatively swiftly. There was a line, but not an outrageous one.

It is almost 11pm, and according to news reports, it is an Obama tidal wave. I am pleased at this fact, as you may have gathered if you have read more than 3 or four paragraphs here.

I am confident he's up to the job, but I'm just as confident that it's a huge job-an enormous job. If anyone can do it, he can.

I am proud, seriously proud, that America was able to do this today. As Keith Olbermann said tonight, this is a choice we made together-which makes it different from other achievements African Americans have made in our country's history. We said no to hateful, divisive campaigning, and yes to hope and growth and progress.

Part of me hopes to salt the ground- destroy the Republican party, splinter it and drive it into the wilderness for 50 years. There is a temptation to do an end zone dance, mocking the end of an era. The triumph of the politics of people over the politics of organized selfishness.

It's not that simple. I think the Republican Party has taken a punch tonight, and hopefully the sensible members of that party can retake it from its loony fringe. There are Republican ideas that make sense-cost effective government, an end to handouts without reason, tax cutting to stimulate growth, welfare reform. Hopefully those ideas can come forth without the right wing baggage that used to come with them.

But for now, as hard as it is for me to believe it, Barack Obama is the President Elect.

God Bless America.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Pre Election Jitters

I've been watching a lot of paranoid Youtube videos about the New World Order and how the coterie of bankers and elites control everything. I don't believe it, but I don't entirely disbelieve it, either.

But vote tomorrow.

Maybe it doesnt make a difference, I don't know.

But I have to believe that it matters. I think Obama is the better man. You're entitled to disagree. I think you're wrong, but you can disagree.

But vote.

Vote for the men who suffered and died in Valley Forge.

Just vote. It's too precious to throw away.

Endangering the Shower

Being Election Eve and all, Bravo has apparently decided to endanger my chances of having a shower by running The West Wing all the way until 2pm. However, they are once again switching from the Alda/Smits election storyline back into the Rob Lowe era, so I will be able to comfortably miss part of one episode to take a shower and behave like a human being briefly.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Two Nice Pieces

...about universal health care in Massachusetts
http://www.rd.com/living-healthy/universal-health-care-in-america-massachusetts-first/article102083-1.html

...and about the "idiot wind" of the McCain campaign. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/30/AR2008103003244.html?referrer=digg

It's Good to Be The King

http://tinyurl.com/67ol5u

Talk about your redistribution of wealth!

"The struggling Wall Street bank has set aside £7billion for salaries and 2008 year-end bonuses, it emerged yesterday.
Each of the firm's 443 partners is on course to pocket an average Christmas bonus of more than £3million.
The size of the pay pool comfortably dwarfs the £6.1billion lifeline which the U.S. government is throwing to Goldman as part of its £430billion bail-out.
As Washington pours money into the bank, the cash will immediately be channelled to Goldman's already well-heeled employees.
News of the firm's largesse will revive the anger over the 'rewards for failure' culture endemic in the world of high finance.
The same bankers who have brought the global economy to its knees seem to pocketing the same kind of rewards they got during the boom years."

That's Goldman Sachs, pocketing tax money that they "needed" to avert a global "catastrophe". If by "catastrophe" you are mispronouncing "missed boat payment".

The first Web site.

http://www.tinyurl.com/3apuu


This is the first web site ever, from 1991.

Pretty cool, huh?

USA! USA!

USA is running a James Bond marathon, in conjunction with the release of Quantum of Solace in two weeks. They are running little preview spots and commercials in between for the new movie, which looks deeply cool. Daniel Craig is much closer to the Bond in the books-cruel and vicious. But the movie marathon, even with commercials, is still deeply cool for a Bond geek like me.

Nanowrimo Word Count: 804
Goal: 50000

In other news...

I overheard someone on the Today show this morning saying that Americans are following the presidential election because "it's like a reality show."

I don't think there's a more American statement than that.

A Fraction of the Whole

I finished Steve Toltz' "A Fraction of the Whole" this morning, a novel about the Dean family-ubercriminal Terry, Terry's brother, pseudo philosopher Martin, and Martin's son Jasper, locked up for trying to illegally immigrate into his native Australia.

If that sentence makes the slightest bit of sense to you, then you may enjoy this story.

It is an affecting tale, ranging between narrators and across continents, while the central need to tell one's story-to order the events of your life so that you, if no one else, can understand them.

It is a little hard to follow, but Toltz has an absolutely unmistakable voice and a sardonic, Vonnegutian sense of humor. Funny, sad, and compelling-the comparisons made to Hunter S Thompson and "A Confederacy of Dunces" are apt.

I feel that usual sort of relief upon finishing a novel. In a sense, I'm glad its over, and in another way, I'm sad that it is.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Nanowrimo

Support National Novel Writing Month!

www.nanowrimo.org

Stupid is as Palin does

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/10/palin-fears-med.html

"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations," Palin told host Chris Plante, "then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."

One of the stupidest things I have heard her say. So far. Today.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Wholloween

DEEPLY IRONIC MUSINGS DEPT: David Frum, former Bush administration official, says on “Marketplace” that it is important that we have an exit strategy from the bailout plan, so as to prevent those evil regulators from remaining in control forever. Oh, NOW an exit strategy is important!

Now that Philadelphia has shed the label of “Biggest Loser”, (Philadelphia had been suffering as the team with the longest title drought-among cities (or metropolitan areas) with four major sports teams, they had gone the longest without a champion) one wonders who the titlist is now? I did some thinking, and based on my own memory, I believe it is San Francisco-assuming you include San Jose to give them a hockey team. Their last title was Steve Young and the Niners, which was, I believe, in 1994 or 1995.
Philadelphia had been waiting since 1983, with Moses Malone and the Sixers.

My workplace has music in it. You can call it Muzak, but I don’t think that’s really what it is. I suppose whoever programs it is programming “Halloween music”. I am not sure what that means-I think there are maybe 10 Halloween songs, technically. What interests me is the fact that they consider the overture to the “Phantom of the Opera” to be Halloween music. That seems like a stretch. I enjoy listening to it, because I am a big “Phantom” guy, but it seems like a stretch.

I tried to absentee vote this morning, but I couldn’t find the person you need to find. I am going to be at work until long after polls close on Tuesday, so if I can’t get in that morning, I’m screwed. I’m in a pretty safely blue state, but still…I want to vote. I should have absentee voted months ago, but I didn’t.

My immediate supervisor is going to be out for 2 weeks, possibly more, with a flareup of fibromyalgia. I fully understand that is a real, serious, and debilitating disease, but at the same time, it doesn’t seem to me that she takes it seriously enough-not enough to make changes in her lifestyle to accommodate it. Don’t we, at some point, need to accept that maybe we can’t do everything we want to? I’m frustrated. I'm not mad at her, really, I'm just mad.

I bought "Who's Next" today on ITunes. The Who documentary was on VH1 Classic this morning after my mandatory West Wing A Thon, and it inspired me to add more Who to my collection.

I love the Internet.

Who's In Charge Here?

Last night, I had a dream that Alec Baldwin and Cal Ripken, Jr. were doing a commercial for Diet Pepsi.

Brain, I hate you.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

An Instructive Comparison

http://tinyurl.com/6pom4c

John McCain says that Barack Obama should be ashamed of his friendship with former PLO member Rashid Khalidi.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/28/mccain-funded-work-of-pal_n_138606.html

A man so dangerous, so evil, that a McCain led group gave him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I guess we're not the only ones getting early snow...

http://tinyurl.com/55tmam

It's snowing in England, too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Congratulations to the 2008 World Champions!

The Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series, fair and square, 4 games to 1, ending this wierd, wonderful season. Thank goodness that the tragedy of this final game ended properly. Congratulations to the Philadelphia Phillies and their long suffering fans.

WS LB G5 P2 Part II: Stepping over the threshold

Bottom Eight: David "Deathbringer" Price on for Tampa. JRoll flies out to left.

Jayson "Pay Me What I'm" Werth takes called strike three.

Chase "Pretty Face" Utley walks, steals second, and Ryan "Don't Call Me Olivier" Howard whiffs.

Here comes Brad "Living On The" Lidge for the ninth.

Lidge, in 2005, had the Houston Astros one out away from going to the World Series when Albert Pujols hit a neutron bomb of a homer that hasn't come down yet, spoiling Houston's plans.

Lidge now on to face Evan "The Desperate Third Baseman" Longoria.

Longoria pops out to second.

Dioner Navarro now flares a broken bat single to short right.

Ben Zobrist, who came into the game for defense, watches pinch runner Fernando Perez steal second. Zobrist lines out to right for the second out.

Eric Hinske ,who hit a home run in the 2007 World Series, on now. Last hope for Tampa.

Lidge strikes out Hinske and the Phillies are World Champions!