Wednesday, December 31, 2003

More Monochrome...

"Airplane Mode" on Elie's cell phone--the feature that disables all the functions of the phone while keeping the power on to drain batteries, for those who can't bear the thought of actually having to turn off their phones--still takes top honors as stupidest feature on an electronic device, but I have found a close second. Having worn out my old PDA, I recently purchased the new Palm Tungsten E. Among many other cool things, my new Palm allows me to pick from about 2 dozen color schemes for the screen. One of them is called "Nostalgia," and recreates fairly accurately the color (or lack thereof) scheme of my first PDA, the Palm Pilot. For those who have not yet joined the PDAed world, or who did not know the joy of the Palm Pilot, those screens had a background of dark army green with off-black LCD displays. There was a dial on the side to adjust the contrast. Why on earth someone would actually be nostalgic for that when they have a 320x320 transreflective full-color display, I will never know. Maybe some people out there buy the 65-inch high definition TV with picture-in-picture and pine the picture quality of a 3-inch portable black-and-white set.

Elie found it interesting that the monochrome color scheme is called "nostalgia," considering he bought our first Palm Pilots only about 5 years ago. Times, they are a-changin'.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Gack! M&Ms Go Monochrome!

Let me preface this by disclosing that I have not eaten an M&M in probably over a year now. That said, what was Mars, Inc. thinking? No more blue, red, green, brown, orange or yellow M&Ms for "the next few months." Did the junk food industry learn NOTHING from New Coke, the removal of tan M&Ms, or Crayola's new 64 colors? People do not react kindly to manufacturers screwing with products that have become American institutions.

Of course, there is an up side to this. We can now make M&M penguins.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Killer Pointsettia, Phase 3

Seems that the Killer Pointsettia does not need to be present to work its deadly magic; the image will suffice. I've been trying to set up a link to a photo of the actual Killer Pointsettia, but every time I try to save the page, I get that "website cannot be displayed" message.

And you may have noticed I didn't have anything to say yesterday, either.

Saturday, December 27, 2003


I just have nothing to say today. Check back tomorrow.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Winner of the "Well, Duh!" Medical Study Award...

Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have just published a study that found that--hold on to your shorts, everyone--"Women with a history of infertility who are involuntarily childless tend to exhibit more long-lasting symptoms of distress than other women, but only if they remain childless." (Article)

Yup. Someone got actual research money to tell us that women whose central life goal is to have a child feel better when they finally manage to conceive or adopt. In an obvious corollary, they found women who are childless because they have no desire to have children exhibit fewer signs of distress over their motherhood status than "involuntarily childless" women or mothers.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Someone Finally Did It...

Think you've seen every possible version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol? Think again and click here.

Thanks to ME for the link.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Blitzen Blitzes ABC Newswoman, or Reporter Gets Run Over By A Reindeer...

Grandma isn't the only one the reindeer have it out for this Christmas. A reindeer named Blitzen tackled an ABC reporter as she prepared for a live broadcast from Santa Claus House in North Pole, Alaska. Her camera crew got it on tape, but, so far, the video has not surfaced on Google.

Click here for the story, with photo. If anyone runs across the video clip online, drop me a note so I can link to it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Psst! Buddy! Want A Bootleg Flu Shot?...

It's come to this, has it? The FDA is looking into "unlicensed influenza vaccine" that is being sold by "unusual suppliers." You'd think it was heroin in some back alley or something.

Click here for the article.

Killer Pointsettia Update

The copier repair person was at the office yesterday to repair the work of the Killer Pointsettia; however, the copier seems to have more or less recovered on its own since I moved the Killer Pointsettia. We do need a new duplexing tray, but that is for a problem that predates our pointsettia issues.

The Killer Pointsettia is now sitting atop a block of wall-mounted mailboxes above the copier. Prevailing opinion is that there are three possibilities for the KP's next hit:
The mailboxes will fall off the wall onto the copier, taking out the mailboxes while finishing the aborted attempt on the copier's life
The fluorescent lights above KP will explode, possibly shorting out the entire building
Our entire climate control system will blow out, since there is an a/c vent next to the light

Updates as information becomes available.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Too Much Free Time...

That's the only explanation I can come up with for dressing a lobster in Barbie clothes, flinging her to the ocean and seeing how many times your fellow lobster fishermen haul her up and release her back.

Click here for the details.

The fact that she's been caught in traps at least 10 times supports my theory that we are eating only the stupidest crustaceans.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Just a Rhetorical Question...

Now that we're back at Threat Level Orange (which would make an excellent name for a rock band), does anyone out there think we'll ever see Level Green or Level Blue? I think they're just there for aesthetics.

Two Words I Did Not Expect to Read When I Woke Up...

Deer contraceptives?
Click here

Are You Ready For This?...

I'm not sure how long this photo will remain up, but it's worth a click while it's there.

Click here for a picture of a menorah, several rabbis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Attack of the Killer Pointsettia...

The annual office pointsettia has struck again. Every December, my office receives a potted pointsettia from one of the magazines in which we advertise. Last year, I stuck the plant on top of the corner filing cabinet, and the next morning, the ivy plant hanging above that cabinet was a pot of shrivelled up leaves and twigs. Not that the plant was exactly thriving before, but it was on the mend. I think I might have renewed its will to live if the killer pointsettia hadn't whacked it in the middle of the night.

This year, someone stuck the pointsettia on the Xerox machine. Now, the copier will not spit any copies out, preferring to accordion-fold them and hoard them just short of the document sorter.

Now, if I could only decide where the plant should go next year.

Happy Hanukkah...

The internet Hanukkah jokes state that one of the reasons Hanukkah is better than Christmas is "No barking dogs version of the dreidel song." However, I have to report that there is a Jingle Cats version of "Hava Nagila." Click here.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Bravo, Karl Rove and The Spin Doctors...

AP Headline: "Bush Visits Wounded Soldiers at Walter Reed"
Click here for article

Much better than the alternative possibility: "Bush Already at Walter Reed For MRI Thursday, Couldn't Make Time To Go Down The Hall to Visit Wounded Soldiers."

Only in the 2nd to last paragraph of the AP does the reporter get around to mentioning that Bush was at Walter Reed to get his own medical tests. It's not like he actually made a special trip to visit the wounded soldiers in a building he was not already in. But, hey, at least someone noticed he would be at the same hospital as wounded soldiers and managed something to avoid Headline #2.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

You Need Instructions?...

So, the other day, I opened a carton of sour cream and found out dairy products now come with instructions, starting with "Remove foil seal and discard." Well, dang! That's where I've gone wrong all these years! I've been scooping my sour cream through the foil seal!

Of course, these instructions are printed on the underside of the abovementioned foil seal, so Step 1 is pretty much moot by the time you read it.

Wacky Gift Idea...

Looking for that unique gift for the person who has everything? Unless they have a genuine Kangaroo Scrotum Coin Purse, they don't have everything.

Get one through this auction on eBay.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

New Rule...

No country whose leader has already decided upon a punishment for Saddam Hussein gets to be part of the trial.

This is not because I in any way like the man. I just don't think it will look very good if he now goes before an American court, an American-picked tribunal, or even and American-approved Iraqi court, since Bush has publicly declared he deserves the death penalty. You just can't create the illusion of a fair trial after a comment like that. Maybe there are reasons that Hussein does not deserve a fair trial, but everyone else in the world deserves for him to have one. We must keep on believing that he does not reflect human nature as a whole. We need to know that we can provide justice for everyone, even if the accused has denied that same justice to others. The immorality of the accused should not be an excuse for immorality of the rest of humanity.

For the record, I am of the opinion that if he is found guilty (an outcome which no one seems to doubt), a more fitting penalty might be to throw him in solitary confinement in Devil's Island or some equally remote and inhosiptable prison until he dies in obscurity 30 or 40 years down the road. If he is executed now, he goes out at the top of his game, like John Kennedy or Marilyn Monroe. Let his star fizzle until his death is nothing more than a blip on the obit page, and don't allow him to be a martyr for any cause.

Any yes, I know that by my own rules I have now disqulified myself from the jury.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Today's Amusing Observation...

As part of my Sunday night process of setting my TiVo recordings for the week, I go A-Z through all the documentaries (you can do that with a TiVo) and set to record any that look interesting. Owing to the fickle nature of alphabetical order, I came across these two listings, one immediately after the other:
Meet The Royals [a documentary series about the British Royal family]
Meet The Weasels [a documentary about weasels, wolverines, mink, and related vicious rodents]

A few weeks back "Who Killed Jesus" was listed immediately before "Who Killed Laci Peterson." Sometimes, the transpositions are just poignant.

Separate But Equal...

A judge in Iowa signed a divorce decree for two women who entered into a civil union in Vermont. Not that he meant to recognize a same-sex marriage; he just did not realize that both parties were female when he signed the decree. I can understand this sort of slip-up if one party was, say, "Chris" or "Pat" or "Francis," but the judge divorced a "Kimberly" and a "Jennifer"--not the most unisex names in the book. You'd think something would have jumped out at the judge if he actually read the divorce decree he was signing.

Many people still insist that the prospect of same-sex marriage will bring down the institution. I'm beginning to think part of the problem with marriage is that divorce is apparently so easy to come by that two people who were not actually married can get one.

The different-sex-marriage-only crowd claims that civil unions are "marriage in everything but name" as they provide all of the legal benefits of marriage. We tried this separate-but-equal thing before, and if I recall correctly, the Supreme Court did not take very kindly to it.

Anyone who believes that civil unions are really just marriages with a different name, and not a second-class legal arrangement, should ask themselves one question: if I had a choice between a civil union and a marriage, would it matter to me which one I had?

If civil unions and marriages are really the same thing, there should be no reason that someone would object if the person at the county courthouse flipped a coin and issued a marriage license if it came up heads and a civil union license if it came up tails (or vice-versa). If someone has reasons for personally wanting one over the other--meaning that there really is a difference, if only in perception--I really want to hear why they should be the one deciding who gets the more prestigious label to their legal arrangement.

Keiko, RIP

Not as important, in the wide scheme of things, as the previous news item, but Keiko the killer whale, star of Free Willy, died of pneumonia a couple days ago.

I got to see Keiko when he was staying at the Newport Aquarium. The phrase "A whale of a..." takes on an entirely new meaning after you see one swim past you, not 10 feet from your face.

Well, This Is Probably Good News...

Well, at least on the surface, the news would seem good. I'll reserve final judgement until the powers that be decide what to do about it and how the powers that were respond.
Click here.

By the way, if you are hearing this first from me, you need to get out more.

The Request Line is Open...

I've had a request for more humor. Ok, so it was more like "What happened to the funny stuff." I'll do what I can.

I'm No Economist, But...

Here's a headline that deserves some thought:
"Bush Plan to Halve Budget Deficit in Five Years."

Strictly speaking, the headline is true. By Bush's plan, in five years, the budget deficit would be half what it is now. This means that the budget deficit would be about where it was in 1992. Until last year, 1992 had the highest budget deficit. So, by halving the deficit, we get the third highest deficit in the last dozen years.

And how is this happening? "by pursuing very aggressively his pro-growth economic policies, and by leading the Congress toward overall policies of fiscal restraint" (quote from Joel Kaplan, deputy director of the White House budget office). He goes on to say that these pro-growth policies are to make all of the tax cuts permanent.

Meanwhile, the congress has to make the politically unpopular decisions about what programs to cut to fund these tax cuts.

It's a win-win situation for someone.

Saturday, December 13, 2003


Last year, people were freaked out about driving through Canada because of SARS. This year, the Centers for Disease Control are considering quarantine as a way to deal with SARS should it re-emerge next spring. Meanwhile, they are depending on pharmaceutical corporations, with two eyes on their bottom line, to protect the population against influenza.

Number of worldwide cases of SARS last year: 813
Number of confirmed cases of SARS in the US: 8
Number of SARS-related deaths in the US: 0
Number of people hospitalized with the flu last year in the US alone: 114,000
Number of flu-related deaths in the US last year: 36,000
(All numbers from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control)

44 times as many people died of the flu as even came down with SARS, and that's the disease we're worried about?

Do Not Adjust Your Monitor...

No, I'm not ignoring everyone today. It was just one of those busy days. I had to run across town twice because I accidentally submitted my final paper to the life insurance underwriters instead of my literature professor.

I'm going to take a day or so to wrap my head around the headline "Bush to Halve Deficit in Five Years" before I blog about it. It's a doozie.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

The Votes Are In...

Who Wants to Marry a Presidential Candidate is over. The winner is 34-year-old Gina Marie Santore, who flew from New Jersey to New Hampshire to have oatmeal with Dennis Kucinich, a vegan, at the Kansas City Steakhouse.

When asked whether there might be a second date, she said they'd have to consult the schedulers. No mention about whether they'd also consult her live-in boyfriend.

Click here for the article

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Coalition of the Undemocratic...

So the Pentagon has said that France, Russia, and Germany cannot bid on Iraq contracts, but they insist that is not meant to punish them.

Instead, they have trotted out their favorite phrase: national security. These rules are meant to encourage nations to join the coalition if they want the cash--"joining" in the sense of saying "sure we're with you."

Rumsfeld's spokesperson admits that joining the coalition will be politically risky for national leaders. Of course, taking political risks is only a problem if leaders need to worry about whether the people will reelect them. There is a certain category of world leader who need not bother with whether the people agree with their decisions. These contract rules seem like the best way to ally ourselves with dictators and discourage democracy among our coalition.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Obvious Question...

The Associated Press reports that the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston just mortgaged a cathedral and seminary.

Just what kind of credit rating does the Catholic church have?

What's Good For the Christmas Goose...

My advance apologies to anyone who still takes anything Jerry Falwell says seriously. Click here for his latest diatribe.

Apparently, Christmas is being adulterated. No, not by the spirit of blatant commercialism and materialistic greed. The problem is "the holidays." We've become too aware that there are people out there who do not celebrate Christmas, and even though it is nearly impossible to pick up a quart of milk any time between Thanksgiving week and New Year's without being subjected to Christmas carols, Christmas is not pervasive enough.

In particular, too many people recognize that Christmas does not have a monopoly on December holiday celebrations. Sure, it's the Microsoft of December holidays, but there are one or two others, and celebrating those is taking the thunder away from Christmas, leaving us with the nondenominational "holidays."

Funny thing about that, though. Taking the thunder away from the major celebration is exactly how Christmas ended up in December in the first place. People smarter than I seem to agree that Jesus' birth probably occurred in the springtime. However, back in the 4th century, when emperor Constantine was trying to convert his empire of Pagans into an empire of Christians, the big holiday most of the people celebrated was in midwinter, on or around the time of the winter solstice December 21 or 22. Depending on where you were, this celebration involved decorating with evergreens (particularly holly and mistletoe), hoofed animals pulling an elf who delivered presents, gift-giving, decorating with candles, cake with dried fruit, celebrating rebirth, and in at least one case a 12-day-long celebration of the birth of a king to a virgin. Any of this sounding familiar yet? Anyway, in an effort at empirewide unity, Constantine moved Christmas to December 25. Many components of the pagan celebrations were reassigned new meanings according to the Christmas story, and Christmas as we know it was born.

So Constantine, while not malicious, placed Christmas on December 25 because that was the time of year with the major celebration. However, Jerry Falwell seems to think that it's playing dirty pool when other groups try to emphasize existing celebrations that coincide with--and in some instances predate--Christmas.

Recommended Viewing

If you liked the song "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" and Mel Brooks movies, you just might like "The Hebrew Hammer," a new movie on Comedy Central--coming to a theater near you this Hanukkah. Or maybe you won't, if you think you might be offended by images like reindeer killing Santa, Tiny Tim turning evil, potty-mouth elves, or circumcision jokes. Also, the funny parts are less funny without a working understanding of Yiddish.

"The Hebrew Hammer" is the first movie that actually takes Kwanzaa seriously as a holiday, or at least as seriously as it takes anything.

What's New?

Really, what could be so new in Algebra that would require them to put out a new edition every year? I didn't think the rules had changed that much since algebra was invented in the third century. Also, if they do have to put out a new edition every year, what could possibly make it worth $107?

I'll report back on that last question when I get the book.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Dude Looks Like A Lady...

While I don't think ladies are extinct just yet, nor that females have a monopoly on polite behavior, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach does have a good point here. If women want to impose a rigorous set of etiquette on the men they live with, they lose the moral high ground when they flash their breasts for Spring Break videos.
Click here for the article.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

New Brief...

Getting the flu shot in October doesn't seem so silly now, does it?

This from the president who called a reporter a "major league a**hole.

And, by the way, the White house has been doing a whole lot of defending for a policy that isn't, and I quote, "f**ked up."

First Jayson Blair gets a book deal from plagiarism in the New York Times, then this guy? It just doesn't pay to be honest anymore.


Saturday, December 06, 2003

Commercial Break...

The Papa Murphey's in Toledo is now open, on Airport Highway just west of Reynolds. Try it; you'll never go back to pre-baked pizza again.

Now, not only do we have Starbucks, we also have the best pizza that you can't get with zucchini and gator.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Crass vs. Stupid

One must assume that the 425 people who attended Bush's fundraiser in Pittsburgh, PA--aka "Steel City"--were the 425 people in that city who have absolutely no connection with the steel industry. Otherwise, they must feel pretty stupid for ponying up $2,000 apiece to support the reelection campaign of the man who the very next day may have screwed their industry over.

Here's the rough timeline for those who have not followed the international steel tariff fiasco:
1. U.S. imposes tariffs on foreign steel to protect domestic steel industry.
2. The E.U. and W.T.O. find those tariffs to be illegal.
3. The E.U. and W.T.O., sensing the only way to get through to Bush, threaten retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products--almost exclusively products from states that Bush needs to win the 2004 election, and that is not a coincidence.
4. Bush attends a fundraiser in Pittsburgh that nets him at least $850,000 for his reelection campaign.
5. With the money from Steel City in his pocket, he announces that he will lift the tariffs protecting the U.S. steel industry.

It might seem that when the international community decides something you are doing is illegal, then your only real option is to stop doing it. In that sense, in my limited understanding of the nuances of international trade, Bush did the right thing by lifting the steel tariffs. However, waiting to do it until after the area that has the most to lose coughs up some cash for his reelection was crass. And coughing up the cash before Pennsylvanians had a clear answer on an important regional issue was just plain dumb.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

It's Official...

Starbucks is everywhere. They've announced plans for a store in West Virginia, previously the last of the 50 states to be Starbuck naked.

According to Lewis Black, the end of the universe is in Houston, where there is a Starbucks across the street from a Starbucks, which he depicts on the cover of his album "The End of the Universe." Click here to see it.

Don't get me wrong. I believe that the more Starbucks there are, the better. In fact, we just recently got our first in Toledo, and, goodness, was I happy.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Something to Think About...

We organize the alphabet from A to Z.

Why? Because millennia ago, the Phoenicians did. No one knows how they landed on that particular sequence, but it has stuck for millennia because no one decided to reorganize it into something logical when it was still feasible to do so, before dictionaries and the Alphabet Song and ten thousand ABC books.

How much more illogic will we be saddled with in the future because no one will think to instill logic before the chaos gets ingrained?

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Irony Attack...

Ohio, home of electronic voting machine manufacturer Diebold, will miss the deadline for implementing electronic voting machines in all its counties.

Click here for the AP article, which makes no mention of the fact that Diebold is headquartered in North Canton, Ohio.

On the upside, no matter how I'll be casting my vote, it feels nice to finally live in a state that is "in play" for a presidential election. This will be the first time the candidates have not taken my vote for granted.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Having It Both Ways...

Tom DeLay may have just taken leave of his senses completely. It was not crass enough that the GOP scheduled their convention in New York City to all but coincide with September 11. Now DeLay has put forth the idea of putting up GOP delegates on a cruise ship docked on the Hudson--apparently so the GOP can have the convention in NYC without actually having to stay there, thus allowing the GOP to have the worst of both worlds, taking the flak for the scheduling, while simultaneously being perceived as not wanting to really be in New York. I understand there is an implied agreement between political parties and the cities that host convention: something along the lines of "The city will absorb the cost (in extra policing, traffic, etc.) of having a political convention, but the Party will drop large wads of cash on hotel rooms, restaurants, entertainment, etc. and we'll call it even." However, by holing everyone up on a cruise ship, the profits on shipboard lodging, services, meals, and entertainment go to Norwegian Cruise Lines; the tips go to a "multinational" ship staff; and the conventioneers may be skirting some of the city taxes (how many is unclear) and may or may not be able to circumvent the city's smoking ban.

That is just the stupid part of the idea. The scary part is that DeLay--who also may have been behind that Texas Redistricting fiasco a while back--apparently has all other politicians so whipped that no one will tell him this is a bad idea and he should drop it. C'mon, guys, he is just one person, and he is House Majority Leader, not God. If everyone in the House got together to take him down a peg, the 434-1 advantage would surely be enough that he couldn't pull rank.

Who Wants To Marry A Presidential Candidate?...

The website has opened a contest to find a first lady for twice-divorced candidate Dennis Kucinich. So far, 80 women have applied, and Kucinich has agreed to a date with the winner of the online voting.

Click here for candidate photos and bios.
Click here to cast your vote.

Interestingly enough, no one is offering to set up Carol Moseley-Braun, the other currently-unmarried candidate in the field, and the one who has a much greater chance of needing a First Gentleman. Of course, she has not been flouting her candidacy as a way to meet dates the way Kucinich has. Come to think of it, this was an episode of News Radio.

By the way, we have had eight previous presidents spend all or part of their terms unmarried (three remarried in office). In the absence of a First Lady, the president names a female relative to act as White House Hostess, fulfilling the social duties of the First Lady. Five married presidents have also named White House Hostesses when their wives were too ill to attend to the social duties like hosting state dinners or welcoming official guests.

Most recently, Woodrow Wilson used a hostess for a brief period in 1914-15 between when his wife died and he remarried.

So even if the polls showed Kucinich had the slightest chance of actually becoming president, there is no need for this circus to get him hitched before Election Day.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

The Early Worm...

Click here to read what the Spirit of Christmas has come to.

By my count, we still have somewhere around 26 shopping days left until Christmas. That should be plenty of time to get all of your shopping done. There is no need to trample your fellow shoppers into unconsciousness. Whatever you are going after, it is just a gift. Christmas will not be ruined forever without it. Yes, the Great Tickle Me Elmo Famine of 1572 nearly ended all celebrations of Christmas forever due to a shortage of AA batteries, but we've grown beyond that now.

This Monday at 8 p.m., the Cartoon Network is showing "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (the animated Chuck Jones/Boris Karloff version, not the live action Jim Carrey version). It really ought to be shown in the wee hours of the day after Thanksgiving, as that should be required viewing for anyone embarking on the holiday shopping season. Set your TiVo if you've got it; it's one of the few holiday specials that doesn't seem cornier every year.

Also, a side note to Wal-Mart: although it certainly was nice to put the DVD player on hold for the woman until she gets out of the hospital, perhaps she has already paid the price for her $29 home theater equipment by landing in the hospital bruised and unconscious. A freebie might be called for at this point.

All Part of the Food Chain...

Here's some light reading for those of you who have wondered what would happen if one endangered species depended on eating another endangered species to live.

Click here for the Reuters article.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Happy Day After Thanksgiving...

I do not often agree with what the president does, but it sure was nice of him to visit troops in Baghdad for Thanksgiving.

It'll be even nicer if footage of his 10 minutes dishing up mashed potatoes for military personnel does not show up in a campaign ad.

Thursday, November 27, 2003


The classic definition of chutzpah is killing your parents, then asking the court for mercy because you're an orphan. Though no one actually died, this woman (click here for the full story) comes close.

For those too impatient to read the article, in sum:
Melissa French, 27, was convicted yesterday of first-degree kidnapping and sentenced to at least 18 years in the slammer, for her role in planning the kidnapping of her ex-boyfriend. During the course of the ordeal--for which she was not present, but the jury determined she had a role in, nonetheless--the man in question sustained stab wounds, and several broken bones, in addition to having an assault rifle shoved in his mouth then fired between his legs, and having the word "narc" carved into his forehead with a pocketknife.

According to the article:
"French's attorney, Stephen Aarons, said he was shocked by the verdict. He said French's daughter, who suffers from cancer, will be dead and her 10-year-old son will be grown by the time French is released."

Now, that's something she really should have thought about before sending four of her friends out to castrate her ex the hard way.

Elie's comment on this item: "If trying the do-it-yourself home neutering kit is not a reason to have your kids taken away from you..."

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

About Freakin' Time...

It's not a cure for cancer, but someone has invented a color-changing sticker for fruit, to indicate when it is ripe so we don't have to squeeze, sniff, prod, heft, or thump.

Click here for the story.

Note: It is being test-marketed in the Portland area on pears. Those of you out that way, and you know who you are, please keep me advised if you find it, and how you like it.

Hope it works better than those pop-up doneness indicators on turkeys.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

The Fantasy Politics League...

I know I'm a few days behind the times, just now talking about the MSNBC debate, but TiVo means never having to watch things when they're broadcast. After watching two hours of debate--and not realizing until afterward that Lieberman wasn't there--I think I have come up with my ideal Democratic administration. I'd like to see the party nominee bring many of the others into high places in the administration.

President: Howard Dean
Vice-President: Al Sharpton. Hey, the guy has some great ideas. I'd put him forth as President if I thought America was ready for him.
Secretary of State: Carol Mosley-Braun
Secretary of Defense: Wesley Clark. He'd also work well as Sec. of State, but I think his talents and experience would be better in the DoD.
Attorney General: John Edwards.

John Kerry and Dick Gephardt would remain as allies in the legislature, partially because they do not seem to play well enough with others and I'm not sure they'd be able to put the internal attacks behind them to work in concert with the team. Dennis Kucinich would also remain in the legislature, because he really seems more of a local politician. I'm not sure where Lieberman would fit in, but I'm working on that.

More Bush Ad Notes...

The official presidential website has a video feed of the 2003 State of the Union address. The "one vial" flub-lette is left as it was originally spoken, and not cleaned up as it was for the campaign advertisement.

Click here for the White House webcast archive of the State of the Union Address. The sentence in question is very near the end.

I don't think the issue here is the size of the correction the Audio/Video people made to the tape, since all they did was remove a split-second pause and a minor mispronunciation. As argued in the New York Times piece, this is the type of thing that is "cleaned up" by reporters in print media as a matter of course when transcribing quotations. However, they cleaned up a quotation for use in a voiceover (if you haven't seen the ad, the visual cuts to the president immediately after the tidied-up audio). We are accustomed to looped audio in our movies and to airbrushed cover models, but we expect our politicians to be un-retouched. Spin is one thing. Doctored audio tracks are another.

In short, no matter how small the fix, that was not how it really happened. We have a right to have things presented to us how they really are, not how they would be in a perfect world.

Found it...

For the video of the RNC ad, click here.

More Commercial Break...

I haven't seen the new Bush ad, but after reading this morning's New York Times, I think I will make a point to try to find it somewhere.

Apparently, the ad-makers digitally enhanced part of Bush's State of the Union address when they used it in the spot, removing a place where the president tripped over his own tongue mid-soundbyte.

This particular instance is rather minute, but it is disturbing that political campaigns begin using cinematic special effects--a la Star Wars prequels--to make their candidates look like something they are not, or that they have done something they have not, or that they did not do something they did.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Commercial Break...

Just caught a new commercial on TV. AOL is now making fun of all the free AOL discs they send out.

Their joke about the fish sculpture made of free AOL discs is not far off the idea I once had for wallpapering my bathroom with the reflective side of the CDs.

About That Last Item...

From Elie:

"Doesn't Burger King have signs at the entrances to their restaurants that say 'no shoes, no shirt, no service'?"

Want Fries With That Breast Milk?...

New and expectant mothers, take note: Burger King now has an official policy permitting breast feeding in their restaurants. The policy also instructs BK employees to tell people to move to another table if they find the sight of blatant nursing less than appetizing. BK says the timing of the policy has nothing to do with a threatened "nurse-in."

Click here for the AP story

Wasn't this an episode of "Married...With Children"?

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Party Favors...

Do you want to see the difference between Republicans and Democrats? Check out their respective gift shops.

Click here for the Democrats
Click here for the Republicans

The Democrats seem to have better prices on comparable items (about $4 cheaper on a baseball cap, for instance), but the Republicans seem to go in for a higher class of merchandise (e.g. the Swarovski crystal elephant). Also, the Republicans seem to be your only choice for golf equipment and sculptures to accent the top of your door hinges, but the Democrats have scented candles and an entire section called "fun stuff."

I may have mentioned here before that I think that political parties are the worst thing that happened to American government. Nonetheless, you can learn a lot about the parties by taking a peek at the tawdry wares the hawk.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

This Should Scare You...

Now, when your company blacks out most of the Northeast US and parts of Southeast Canada, that can be considered a fluke. But when you do it while the NRC is investigating you because no one noticed acid eating through the reactor cap on your nuclear power plant until part of the reactor cap was no thicker than a pencil eraser, that may indicate a larger maintenance issue.

Read it here.

In Other News...

The papers are full of the annual Kennedy coverage, but click here to see what other anniversaries we should celebrate today.

Warning: the link points you to the current date, so if you are not reading this on November 22, it will make little sense.

Frankly, it would suck to have been Aldous Huxley or C.S. Lewis, both of whom died today in 1963, when the obit pages had a bigger headliner.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Have Some Respect for the Turkey that Gave Its Life For You...

On the way home today, I passed no fewer than 10 homes decorated for Christmas. Now, I do not mean "get the lights up before it starts to freeze" decorations. I'm talking full-out Santa-on-the-lawn decorations.

By my count, this means that celebrating one day now takes fully 10% of our calendar.

Thursday, November 20, 2003


Over the next several days, I'll be making some changes to how this page looks. If something is amiss when you read this--for instance, you can't read it--please email me at the address at the right.

Holy Matrimony, Batman!

Whatever we all think of allowing same-sex marriages, can we not all agree that the current, dismal, state of marriage can be attributed largely to how easy it is for heterosexual couples to get married? Honestly, if you can get married without leaving your car, is the institution of marriage really in that great shape? While I did get out of my car to exchange vows, I spent longer in the Social Security Administration office changing my name on my social security card than I spent getting my marriage license and getting married, combined. Come to think of it, I have spent longer on hold with the student loan people than I spent in the entire matrimonial process, and the student loan people want money from me.

For a more eloquent look on why marriage was in trouble even before same-sex couples wanting in on it, click here.

Back to current events...

Now, I am not up on my California law enforcement procedures, so maybe I'm wrong here. Nonetheless, it does not seem that the police would usually just wait for someone charged with multiple counts of child molestation to surrender when it fits into his or her schedule. Facing sex offense charges is darned inconvenient for anyone, but we seem to give people with publicists and spokespeople time to get their ducks in a row before they get cuffed.

Thanksgiving Dinner, Final Installment...

The secret of the perfect pumpkin pie: Buy it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Speaking of Flightless Birds...

The terminally dim Dodo bird managed to hang on 30 years longer than previously thought. Bad news is, they're still extinct.

Click here for the full article.

Flushed with Pride...

Happy World Toilet Day.

Really. If you don't believe me, click here.

Building a better mousetrap...

A German company has invented a cell phone that you cannot eavesdrop on.

Click here for the story

Now, if they could only invent cell phone users who don't broadcast their end of the conversation to everyone within 50 feet.

Thanksgiving Dinner, Part III

Now, for the mashed sweet potatoes.

Peel, cube, and boil sweet potatoes like you did for the mashed potatoes. Mash and add butter and brown sugar. Spread in a baking dish, cover with a layer of mini marshmallows, and bake until the marshmallows are melty and golden brown on top.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Be Kind to Animals

Now, for merely 8 times the cost of a turkey at my local grocery store, I can get a turkey that has been humanely treated and allowed to roam free before it was beheaded, stuffed with breadcrumbs and roasted.

According to the story:
"Some consumers prefer to know that their turkey had the ability to roam free," said Sherrie Rosenblatt, the National Turkey Federation's public relations director.

Is it cruel of me to not care where whether or not my dinner had a full and happy poultry life? In the immortal words of Monty Phython, "A sheep's life consists of standing around for a few months and then being eaten." Same can be said of turkeys.

Click here for the full turkey story

Monday, November 17, 2003

Thanksgiving Dinner, Part II

It's Tater Time!

Estimate 1 1/2 to 2 potatoes per person, depending on potato size and how many leftovers you want. You want Idaho Russets. A good bowl of mashed potatoes starts with the ideal potato.

Peel potatoes and cut them into vaguely cubelike chunks. Bonus point are awarded for tetrahedrons.

Put the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Boil until you can stab one of the chunks with a fork and not feel anything crunchy. Drain potatoes and return to the pot.

Mash potatoes. This brings to mind my secret for a happy marriage, but that is a post for another time. Check back in the morning.

Mash in enough milk, salt, and butter to make the potatoes smooth and yummy. Frequent tasting is the best way to decide if the potatoes are done.

For a tasty variation, mash in some cheddar cheese, sour cream, and garlic powder.

Coming tomorrow: Yam, wonderful Yam!

It's about Time...

The FDA has approved a spearmint flavored chewable birth control pill. It appears to be something along the lines of a Necco wafer spiked with estrogen.

Click here for the article.

Now, if we can just get them to put estrogen and progesterone in those little strips that dissolve on your tongue, we would have a truly useful item: oral contraceptives and breath mints in one.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Thanksgiving Dinner, Part I

I have just discovered that some people are paying upwards of $75 to learn how to cook Thanksgiving dinner. Click here for the full article. In the spirit of public service, I offer instructions for free, based on my many years of turkey apprenticeship under my grandpa, Turkey Master David Mills.

1. Buy a turkey, a couple packages of seasoned stuffing mix (the kind that looks like croutons, not Stove Top), and a meat thermometer that has a marking on it that says "poultry."

2. Defrost turkey. This is best started a week or so ahead of Thanksgiving, so clean out your refrigerator now.

3. Rinse turkey off and remove the packet of giblets from inside the bird. If you can't find it, check the hole at the other end of the bird.

4. Boil the giblets. The neck is good eating, and if you do not wish to put the remainder in the stuffing, you can feed them to relatives and/or the dog.

5. Moisten seasoned stuffing mix with the liquid you used to boil the giblets and add any or all of the following: sauteed onion, celery, apple, walnuts, chopped giblets.

6. Shove the damp bread mixture up the bottom end turkey, packing lightly. Cover the opening with a slice of bread or foil.

7. Shove more stuffing down the neck part and tuck the skin over it.

8. Put the rest of the stuffing in a baking dish, drizzle with extra water and melted butter, and bake alongside the turkey.

9. Stick the meat thermometer into one of the turkey's thighs (the meaty part connected to the drumstick), being careful not to hit anything hard.

10. Bake turkey at 350 degrees until the thermometer get to the "poultry" line. Do not, under any circumstances, trust that little pop-up timer.

Look for the instructions for turkey accessories, including mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, in the next few days.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Team Players...

I've managed to catch a few hours of this fillibuster, and it is rather engrossing. Nonetheless, I am disturbed by the pervasiveness of "us" vs. "them" in the debate. I made this point before and I will say it again: this is government, not a skins and shirts football game. We need to ask them to stop worrying about who is on whose team, and worry about the business of the nation.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Just a Chuckle...

As I was spellchecking the last post, the computer wanted to change "Colin Powell" to "Colon Bowel."

What Happened to Our Coalition?

So far, Japan and South Korea have decided against sending troops to Iraq, at least until the people keeping the peace stop getting killed on a daily basis. In an impressive display of self-governance, the Iraqi people have decided that they don't want Turkish troops in--a move which we probably could have seen coming since Turkey used to own Iraq.

Just 240 days ago, we had a coalition of 30 countries (Colin Powell's words, not mine). We'll overlook whether or not that actually existed and just consider how Bush's "Up Yours" attitude toward international diplomacy, plus the general lack of a plan for keeping peacekeepers alive, has managed to scare off everyone.

Call to Action...

Do we have a government or a gaggle of whining infants?

Click here for details on quite possibly the most childish thing our government has done all week.

Everyone who is supposed to be running this great country of ours seems to be saying, "If I do not get my way, I'm going to hold my breath until I turn blue!" This goes for everyone, regardless of party. The only exception would be the president, who seems to be saying, "Because I'm the President. That's why."

What do you say we all write our legislative representatives and president and ask them to get their heads out of their hindquarters and start running the country?

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Happy Exploding Whale Day!

If you don't know the story, follow the link below for everything you need to know about why an 8-ton whale carcass and 1/2 ton of dynamite and the Highway Department are a bad mix.

Click here for the definitive website

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The Beagle Has Landed...

Well, not quite yet. Beagle 2 is scheduled to land on Mars on Christmas.

Click here for the full story.

Stupid Attempted Criminals...

While we were dining tonight at our local Lone Star Steakhouse, a group of four would-be criminals apparently forgot that an integral part of the "dine and dash" is to, well, dash.

Four alleged women (the waiter had his doubts) ran up a $100+ tab. Three of the four then stepped out "for a smoke," leaving the fourth one at the table, presumably to slip out unnoticed shortly thereafter. This is where the plan fell apart. The fourth person forgot to leave. This is why the criminals in movies always review their plan one last time before the heist.

When it became apparent that the fourth person had forgotten the "dash" element of the plan, the other three came stomping back in, shouting at least one of the seven words you cannot say on television, and probably should not yell at top volume in a family restaurant. This, of course, attracted the attention of the entire staff and made a subtle, unnoticed getaway much more difficult. However, having fetched all of the diners, these women (?) made a run for the doors, pursued across the street by several members of the waitstaff.

No word on how the situation played out after they ran out. The remaining waitstaff was more concerned with placating diners who suddenly found their dinner out was rated R for language.

Monday, November 10, 2003

'57 T-Bird

Does anyone out there have any ideas how a guy in Van Nuys can get rid of a nearly-perfect, impeccably restored 1957 Thunderbird that may have appeared in several movies? ME is looking to get rid of his. Click here for the details on the car, and for ME's email address to send ideas for how he might sell it.

While you're at it, read the rest of ME is always a fun read.

Scary Thought for the Day...

Heard from at least two people in a room full of college juniors and seniors:

"Patriot Act? What's that?"

The rise of the Machines...

Printers just know, don't they? With all the fuss my printer has been making trying to print out the paper due in an hour, I think it might be faster just to break out the old Remington manual typewriter and retype all 6 pages.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Picture Imperfect...

I know this is not new by a few days, and I am far from the first person to point it out. Nonetheless, Penguin Perspectives exists in part to point out the ironies of life, so I had to give you a link to this picture. (Click Here).

The irony in this does not depend on whether you agree with the legislation Bush is signing in the picture. When it came to advocating tax cuts, Bush's team managed to find several average families to use as examples of the benefits of the tax cuts, but when he banned a medical procedure that can only be performed on a woman, the people who stage-manage his photo ops to rival Broadway productions couldn't dig up one woman to stand behind him.

Kind of makes you wonder.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Good Health News!

Hot cocoa is good for you. Yup. You read right. Swiss Miss is now health food. Now all we need is for someone to find some sort of nutritional benefit in mini marshmallows.

For the details, click here.

For other food-related, time-wasting fun, click here. You can't actually read the articles on the site without subscribing to The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, but reading the titles of the studies is fun enough if you have some time to kill.

For Example:
-Characterization of the Pyrazines Formed during the Processing of Maple Syrup.
-An Assay To Estimate Tannins Added to Postmortem Turkey Meat
-Reversible and Irreversible Emission of Methanethiol and Dimethyl Disulfide from Anaerobically Stored Broccoli (note: I'm always careful to anaerobically store my broccoli. Aren't you?)

Research like this keeps people out of the unemployment lines.

The inevitable march of progress...

You'd think that with all the advances human beings have made in so many other areas, we would have improved on toothpick technology since prehistoric times.

Click Here for the Full Article

While I'm on the subject, why is it that, in science fiction TV shows, every bit of technology has advanced except the handheld fire extinguisher?

Who Says Politics and Carnival Games Don't Mix?

For the most fun you can have picking a presidential candidate, Click here

Friday, November 07, 2003


Seen on a billboard for rent, painted solid Crayola green:
"This Green Span Generates Interest."

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Party Time...

Finally, someone else who is saying what I have believed ever since the first time I registered to vote and had to choose a political party: parties hurt the democratic process. Democrats and Republicans spend far too much time being Democrats and Republicans and not enough time attending to the business of our country.

Click here for the full article

Wednesday, November 05, 2003


This is a direct cut-and-paste from an article in the New York Times this morning:

"Intel has had a small team working on the problem of a replacement for silicon in its Hillsborough, Ore., research laboratories for five years in an effort to continue to advance chip making technology "

Now, I know a lot has changed in my old hometown since I left 5 years ago, and I don't often keep up with the goings-on out there. Nonetheless, I think my local contacts (and you know who you are) would have apprised me of any changes in the spelling of the city's name. At least when I lived there, the name did not have an "ugh" in it.

To Clarify...

I am not a Luddite. I find progress to be good and in many situations, long overdue. The dropping of a ballot into the ballot box is a ceremonial gesture, the final stage in the ritual of voting.

A new ceremonial ending to our participation will replace the casting of a paper ballot. We'll have to wait to see what that is.

Think of all the news photos of a candidate dropping a ballot into a ballot box. The tableau doesn't work without a ballot box. But the world will go on.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I Voted Today. Did You?

Our local precinct gave us a choice of voting medium: touch-screen machine or optical scan ballots. When I say touch screen machine, I mean "machine," as in "ten people in line for one machine, no curtains, no cubicle, nothing." I went with the optical scan ballot. Also, the process just feels more official when you physically cast your ballot, rather than just tapping "cast ballot." This was probably the last time in my life I will be able to actually drop my ballot into a ballot box, even if the ballot box was an optical scanner.

While I was pondering my ballot tonight, I watched a mother congratulate her daughter on her first vote--using a touch-screen computer. In 20 years, we could have people running for president who have never dropped a ballot in a ballot box in their lives.

Yes, I'm waxing nostalgic. I cast my first vote by mail, punching my little numbered squares off on my friend's dorm-room floor. Back then, I lived in Oregon just as that state was considering going to the current system of all vote-by-mail. People lamented the demise of the polling place, which has since gone extinct in Oregon. Now, we are seeing the death of the ballot as something you can actually touch. That is the price of progress, and progress is necessary. However, it will mean our last tactile connection with the democratic process is gone.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Want to be Scared out of Your Wits?

Read this entry from Talking Points Memo, more specifically the links he points to.

Does Anyone Else Feel A Draft In Here?

The Department of Defense is bent on keeping this item quiet, particularly given that we are just a year before the next presidential election. They have put out a call to fill out local draft boards. (Click here for the official statement)

That in itself could be dismissed, but there are also bills in both houses of congress to reinstate the draft, mercifully going nowhere since no one wants to have to vote for the draft right before an election.
Click here for the Senate Version
Click here for the House Version
Women, pay special attention to Section 10 of both bills if you think that being female is going to keep you out of the selective service.

As might be expected, no one in the administration is bringing this subject up voluntarily, but let's not let them sneak the draft back in behind our backs.

This is particularly important if you or someone you love was born between 1979 and 1987 (those dates assume Bush wants to keep his job more than he wants to deploy an adequate number of soldiers, hence would not dare sign the draft back in before the beginning of his next term).

In marginally better conscription news, a competing bill is languishing in committee, after receiving "unfavorable executive comment from the Selective Service Comm." that would eliminate the selective service entirely (click here to read the bill).

Sunday, November 02, 2003

The Lighter Side of People Fixing Things

Our Ford dealership is much more effective at repairs than the cable modem technicians. Friday, facing steep obstacles, they removed an inch-long nail from the right rear tire of Elie's Mustang and patched it up good as new in less time than it took our cable modem people to figure out how to fix what they did wrong.

The steep obstacle in question is a chunk of metal the size of a gumball that is used on Mustang tires instead of one of the lugnuts, to prevent theft of the aluminum wheels. This piece of metal cannot be removed with a standard lug wrench, which is why the Mustang came with a tool to remove it. Unfortunately, one of the previous--and more cablemodemlike--service centers neglected to return our tool after rotating the tires, so our current service techs have to rely on their "universal" set, which of course does not include anything that will remove our particular wheel lock. So they improvised.

Picture this: 3 Ford service technicians, one angry Ford Blue-Oval Certified Service Department manager, and one dealership owner standing around a fourth service technician who is banging on the aluminum wheel of a newly-detailed 2001 Mustang with a ball peen hammer.

As entertaining as this was to watch, the group might have done better to move the car into one of the service bays first, rather than bal-peening the aluminum wheels right in front of the picture window to the customer waiting area, where horrified Ford owners were mentally considering just what these service technicians were doing to their fancy new cars.

By the way, because of this wheel lock technology, anyone looking to illegally acquire a set of aluminum wheels will find it easier to steal the whole car than to try to get the wheels off. This is not what I would call a material improvement in overall automobile security.

Back In Action

I won't bore you with the insipid details of my saga with the broadband tech support--after all, everyone has a tech support horror story. Suffice it to say, somewhere between calls 7 and 9 to the customer support center, I managed to get myself bumped up in the in-home tech support schedule by a few days, by impressing upon them that this whole situation came about because I followed their instructions and I am not about to go half a week without internet service because of their mistakes.

So we now have a new modem and network card, which as far as I can tell have nothing to do with anything they did to cause the problem. Nonetheless, we're back in action, so I can't complain. Moral of the story: the more times you call customer support, the faster they get someone out to get you to stop calling.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

What Tech Support?

I'll probably not be posting much until Wednesday. The cable company, who supplies our supposedly solid internet connection, has managed to somehow completely remove internet access from our PC instead of just making the cable modem stop bumping us off the internet. I am stuck on the backup computer with the backup dialup internet access until a technician can come out to see what exactly happened while I was diligently following the click-by-click instructions of the tech support people, which most likely will be Wednesday. At least they kindly decided not to charge me to have a guy come out to fix what they did.

However, until I can get back on and post the long, painful saga of my encounter with the Customer Service technicians, let me leave you with this actual exchange that happened with the first of four (so far) people I have talked to at the cable company. Let me set up for you that our PC is right next to the kitchen, and Elie was boiling a pot of water while I was on the phone with tech support.

ME: (turning to see foot-tall flames eminating from under a frying pan on the stove, unrelated to the computer problems): Whoops. Wait just a second. My kitchen is on fire.

TECH SUPPORT: (silence)

(Elie throws a cup of water on the flames.)

ME: Okay. Fire's out.

TECH SUPPORT: Now go to your Start menu and click on your control panel...

Friday, October 31, 2003


For 364 days a year, parents tell their children not to take candy from strangers. In fact, be very wary of strangers offering to give you candy. Don't even talk to strangers. Then, October 31 comes around and parents lead their children around to take candy from strangers.

Is it any wonder our young people are confused by the values the older generations are trying to impart in them? We can't even get the message straight.

Guest Blogger

Courtesy of Elie:

Ever since the first radio station in Chicago in 1921, parents have complained that the mindless drone of radio, fading into the mindless drone of television, has kept children from reading. Now that Harry Potter has coaxed children back to books, parents fault the series for promoting paganism, dysfunctional family values, and most recently, health problems (click here for the full article). J.K. Rowling solved an 82-year-old problem of childrearing, and for that, she deserves to be richer than the Queen of England. Did the doctor that has diagnosed "Hogwart's Headaches" stop to think that maybe the aches are the sensation of young brains being asked to think for the first time in their lives?

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Still no Fireworks

I don't think these geomagnetic storms are going to happen. Last night, the cable was on the fritz, but then again, our cable often is staticky and unreliable. The bad reception could possibly not have been sun-related. Our satellite worked fine.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Blood in the Water...

By one of my two barometers of presidential approval, Bush is in trouble. Today the local oldies station played both Edwin Starr's "War" and Jonathan Edwards' "Sunshine." The implications of "War" are pretty obvious ("War [grunt] what is it good for? Absolutely nothing..."), particularly on a highly republican radio station. I'm not sure that anyone at the station has listened to the song "Sunshine" with the current administration in mind, but if you read the lyrics, the correlations are hard to miss.

I've wanted to call in and dedicate that one to the president, but I'm not sure anyone would get the message.

Incidentally, my other approval barometer is if and when Comedy Central reruns "That's My Bush," the sitcom parodying the president, back when we all thought he was stupid and before he became scary. It suddenly dissapeared from the lineup on September 12, 2001. It's made reappearances for President's Day marathons, and not long ago, it ran for no apparent reason, albeit at 2 a.m. When it reruns for no reason during daylight hours, the end of the administration is nigh.

Maybe this time...

Well, the fall out from the solar flare they promised us last Friday didn't materialize, but not to worry. There's another one on the way tonight. This time they say the light show might be visible all the way to Florida.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Who Was At Those Meetings?...

Now, I'm all for teaching our teenagers not to jump in bed with just anyone, and that there are distinct advantages to not having sex until they are in a committed relationship, but if this is the only perspective we are giving the next generation, we are going to have to rely on the innate biological horniness of young people who don't know how to use contraception, or else the species is going to become extinct. What sort of twisted logic do these policymakers follow? "If we frighten our young people spitless of having premarital sex, they will have healthy, mature marital relationships, enjoying God's natural gift of sexuality that would certainly kill them until the moment they said 'I do.'" Yup. Teenagers will believe that.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Butts in slings...

It seems to me that the Democratic presidential candidates who are not current members of congress have those who are senators/representatives over a barrel.

Back in the day, most decided that the prudent course of action was to authorize military force in Iraq. They came to this decision based on the available information, much of which now hovers somewhere between suspect and disproven.

However, now that we have a bigger picture to look at and the congressmen have to make more decisions about what the next step in Iraq is, the congressmen who made a decision based on faulty information now face a catch-22:

1) Basing their decision on the new, and with any luck more accurate, information, they can vote against continued funding or whatever other Iraq-related measures come before them. This gets them accused of flip-flopping on the issues and not supporting our troops.

2) They can maintain a position in accordance with their previous pro-military action vote. This gets them accused of supporting their political opponent and not being a real Democrat.

There is no good way out of this quandary, except for the candidates who never had to make a decision on record before more complete and more accurate information was available. They can claim that the whole thing is a theoretical exercise for them, so it doesn't matter.

I would rather vote for someone who makes the best decision based on all the available information, and is not afraid to re-assess his position when new information becomes available. I do not trust someone who figured out a set of political positions at the age of 16 and has kept them for the last half century or more without considering the impact of new social/political/medical/financial/technological developments.

Changing a position on an issue is not the worst thing a person can do. Ignoring new information is infinitely worse, as is putting the party ahead of the good of the nation.


Just a little something to make you laugh. I'll post a longer, more serious item later tonight.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Rational Discussion...

I find the Christian Science Monitor intriguing, as newspapers go. Their reporting is better than many outlets, and even though their editorial slant is a bit more conservative than my own, I find they make valid points more often than not. Most importantly, even when I don't agree with them, the writing is such that at least they make me see the logic of their viewpoint.

This article on marriage is a great example. Not only is it a remarkably balanced discussion of the debate over same-sex marriage--particularly remarkable for a publication with "Christian" in the title--it examines the issue's larger impact on the shifting attitudes toward marriage and how visceral reactions make a rational discussion difficult.

For my part, I think the best way to solidify marriage in this country is to take the emphasis off the wedding. Women, in particular, can be so obsessed with having the wedding of their dreams that I think they forget that it involves a marriage. I'm convinced that more women get married just to have a wedding than will ever admit it, even to themselves. Maybe we should just divorce the wedding from marriage and allow women to throw a wedding without a groom--after all, that's how many are planned from the bride's early childhood.

One of my friends was married in by a judge in between two arraignment hearings. She and her husband didn't even know the people who signed as witnesses to their marriage. My husband and I were married in a fairly simple civil ceremony that we probably put a grand total of 12 mintues into planning. Other women I know have done everything except rent swans to make their special day picture perfect. In my experience, the amount of fuss put into the act of getting married seems to be inversely proportional to the happiness of the subsequent marriage.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

That Time of Year Again...

Tonight's the night we get an extra hour of sleep or what have you. If you want to be precise about the clock-turning, go to the US Naval Observatory to see what the official time is. From the above link, click on "USNO Time in Standard Time Zones" to find local time.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Look out your window

Well, the sun just hocked a loogie in our direction. The bad news: your cell phone may be on the fritz today. The good news: Those of us as far south as Oregon and Ohio may catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights tonight. Check it out.

Penguins in Space

NASA is getting into the penguin game.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Battered Men...

I have CNN's American Morning running in the background, and I was trying to ignore the segment on Liza Minelli and David Gest's divorce problems. Frankly, I don't put much stock in celebrity reporting, particularly about postmarital problems.

Thank goodness for TiVo's rewind feature (for those of you who haven't entered the world of PVRs, it allows you to rewind live television). I could not believe I actually heard the following question CNN's Bill Hemmer put to Carolina Buia, a reporter from "Celebrity Justice," the program that is publicizing the details of the Minelli/Gest allegations.

HEMMER (after reading one of the allegations Gest makes against Minelli, involving her punching him repeatedly in the head): What are we to make of this? David Gest is a very successful man. Is it money, or is there more to it?

Putting aside both the celebrity and the as-yet-untried legal merits of this particular situation, I cannot imagine a national news station ever implying that a woman would charge a man with savagely beating her so that she could get money.

Ms. Buia actually managed to salvage the question by discussing the underreported prevalence of domestic violence against men.

BUIA: Well, from the suit, I mean, he alleges he is just a victim of domestic abuse, and actually it is shedding light on domestic abuse against men because normally you don't hear about this. But apparently 1/3 of the cases of domestic abuse are against men, and at least 800,000 cases a year are reported against men.

Unfortunately, Hemmer did not rise to her serious reply, and, after commenting "Is that so? I did not know that," he went on to question Buia, rather dismissively, about physical complaints that Gest says in the court papers resulted from the beatings.

Domestic violence is a serious social problem, but there is a limit to the amount of progress that can be made when a major media outlet dismisses 1/3 of the problem. It is even more limited when the victim's advocacy groups ignore the possibility of domestic violence against men.

Most cell phone stores have a box where you can donate your old cell phone to "Call to Protect," a group that distributes cell phones to victims of domestic violence so they can call 911 if they fear their safety. Unfortunately, this program is in partnership with The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. I don't know much about the organization, but here is the testimonial that Rita Smith, the group's executive director, gave to the "Call To Protect" website:

"The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has gained a great deal from our partnership with The Wireless Foundation, the most important benefit being that lives have been saved. In addition, all battered women at risk who have been given a cell phone have been able to gain a higher level of safety and peace of mind as they try to rebuild their lives." (emphasis mine).

With that attitude, I wonder how many of these emergency phones are going to the 1/3 of domestic violence victims who are men. When even the victim's advocacy groups ignore the male victims, the problem is not going to go away. Although NCADV's site does the "he/she" thing when discussing the batterer, their sections on "getting help" and "safety planning" are blatantly worded to assume that the victim is female (e.g. Step 10 of the plan after the victim leaves a relationship: "Go to a battered women's shelter").

Again, it matters very little if the particular allegations David Gest makes against Liza Minelli hold water or not. What matters is that apparently no one--not the media, not the victim's advocates--is taking the problem of domestic violence against men seriously.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Children and Restaurants...

I just had an otherwise lovely evening out ruined by a screaming infant ("14 months old!" the parents proudly proclaimed to the hostess, waiter, and everyone else who would listen).

There was a time when parents used to ingrain proper public behavior in their children BEFORE they took them out to a restaurant. I know I'm not imagining that because I was a child during this time and I remember that my parents made clear that obnoxious behavior would get us an immediate ticket home, regardless of whether they were done with their errands or meals or whatever took them out of the house.

Aaah, for the good old days.


If you liked the last post, check out this related op-ed in the CSM.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

The Death of Thought in College

The Christian Science Monitor posted an intriguing article here about how college students have, at best, minimal critical thinking skills. Most universities and professors maintain that they teach and encourage critical thinking in their classrooms, but when pressed for details, often can't quite come up with how.

In my seven-year-long quest for a university degree, I have attended a small private university and two large state-run public colleges. The state schools are glorified vocational schools. Everything is about advancing your career. The only difference between the state schools and a trade school is what kind of trade they are training for. Very few students care about knowledge for knowledge's sake. I'm currently taking a class at the second state school to finish up the degree, and most of my classmates are the traditional straight-from-high-school-looking-for-the-most-marketable-degree type. Just the look on their faces when I dare to challenge the professor's interpretation of a literary work should be proof enough that they are not being asked to think critically. Most don't even realize that you are allowed to disagree with the professor, or at least require him to offer support for his interpretations. They seem to believe that the professor's word is the law handed down on the mountaintop.

Byron Steiger, one of my sociology professors at Pacific University, the private school, showed what it meant to force critical thinking on students. When an exam came around--and all of his exams were essay or short answer--his minimum expectation was that everyone in the class could answer the question adequately. Hence, simply answering the question was worth a C-range grade. If we wanted anything more than a C, we had to start showing how the question related to other areas of sociology or even other disciplines. His final assignment for the criminology class was "write an integrated theory of criminal behavior," which was the very task he had emphasized all semester that professional theoretical criminologists had failed to do. If it matters, I managed a 98 on that paper.

That was critical thinking. I tell that to my classmates and they cringe. I can't convey to them how that kind of a classroom environment was infinitely more interesting than having to regurgitate what the professor wants to hear in proper MLA format with the proper number of well-researched scholarly secondary sources used to formulate support for the interpretations discussed in class.

Incidentally, Byron's critical thinking skills are the reason that I can answer the question about the chicken and the egg.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Double Standards...

Can anyone explain to me why two major department stores will allow me to accompany my husband into the fitting rooms in their men's departments, but will not allow him into the fitting rooms with me in the women's departments? It seems that any of their concerns, whether it be shoplifting or illicit activity, would be just as easily accomplished in the men's department as the women's.

Elie and I went down to the mall today to pick up a couple new brassieres (it's okay, the girly things are incidental). We went to two stores--to protect their identities, I'll refer to them as Dillard's and J.C. Penney's--in search of the perfect garment. At Penney's, the sales associate was nowhere in sight when we walked into the fitting room together with the first round of picks, but she said nothing when we walked out. We picked out a few more and tried to go back to the fitting room. This time, the sales associate politely but firmly informed my husband "you're not allowed back there." In all my shopping at Penney's, no sales associate has said I could not accompany him into the men's fitting room when we are shopping for him. In fact, when I was a sales associate for Penney's a few years ago, the men's suit associate actually encouraged me to go into the fitting room with him when we were purchasing men's suits.

The sales associate was polite about it, but we were so disgusted with the double standard that we put the four garments back and left for Dillards. It's a shame, too. The ones we had picked out were quite comfortable.

At Dillards, we found a few more articles and again headed for the fitting room. Again, one of the sales associates firmly told my husband that he was not allowed in the fitting room with me. If I hadn't needed a brassiere before tomorrow, we would have just left. As it was, we purchased what I had in my hand, fully intending to make the store go through the trouble of taking a return on any that did not strike my fancy.

On the way out of Dillard's, we found a sale on men's slacks. Elie decided to try a pair on, since he needs new slacks anyway. The sales associate in the men's department had no problem with me accompanying him into the fitting room in the men's department.

The double standard has so disgusted me that I fully intend to spend a little more to shop at another, smaller, store that allows men into the fitting rooms with their wives.

If anyone has any insights as to why this double standard exists, please email the address at the right.

Before you sign on the dotted line...

If your cell phone contract is set to expire in the next month, expect your carrier to offer some sweet deals to get you to sign on to a 1-2 year contract. Cell phone companies are trying to lock as many people into the longest possible contracts before November 24.

That's the day your cell number becomes portable. You will no longer have to put up with subpar service just because it is a pain in the backside to switch your cell number. In a bit over a month, you can take it with you when you find a carrier with better service or reception.

Unless, of course, you've signed a two-year contract with your current subpar provider because they offered you airline miles or a few more weekend minutes. Then, you're stuck with those guys until your contract expires.

If the airline miles and extra minutes look good now, wait and see what kind of incentives you can get out of them for staying when you have a choice.

OK Guys...

You can start reading again. I'm done talking about girl stuff.

Public Service Announcement for the women in the audience...

By some estimates, around 75% of women wear the wrong size brassiere. Brassiere stores put the figure around 90%. Whatever the particulars, there are a lot of us out there who haven't reassessed our brassiere size since high school.

Victoria's Secret stores are pushing their "free bra fittings" right now. It takes about 15 seconds and they can measure you right over your shirt. You don't have to purchase anything, although if you like, they will send you into a fitting room to see how the new size works out.

It's amazing how much more comfortable a properly-fitting brassiere is. Plus, I think I look thinner now that my bra is not creating love handles.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

3 of 4 stars on the irony-o-meter

This item has been all over the blog circuit, but since I am devoted to pointing out mind-blowing irony in the news, I have to mention it.

An unnamed administration official leaked the story of George W. Bush demanding an end to leaks by unnamed administration officials.

Thanks to ME for pointing it out.

Campbell's Soup...

I didn't have time to make any observations about the weird world we have found ourselves in, so I am giving you another day to ponder the last three bits of irony and blatant hypocrisy I have pointed out.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Speaking of Excess Calorie Consumption...

The following excerpt is taken directly from the McDonald's website:

"McDonald's cares about our customers. We want to help them make informed choices not only when they come to our restaurants, but just as important, when they make decisions about exercise, diet, and other daily activities that can affect health.

We support healthy lifestyles by:

-Serving a variety of nutritious, high-quality food products and portion sizes.
-Providing nutrition information to help our customers make informed choices.
-Educating our customers about healthful eating and energy balance."

Click here for the press release announcing their "Healthy Lifestyles"campaign.

While you are reading all this information about how McDonald's is committed to helping us eat healthily, consider that the game pieces for McDonald's much-publicized Monopoly game come only on the following menu items:
-Large and Super Size® drinks
-Medium, Large and Super Size® Fries
-Hash Browns
In addition, a special Best Buy Chance piece (two Monopoly Game Stamps, plus one Best Buy Chance Piece) "is attached to Large and Super Size® Fry Cartons ONLY."
That last sentence is cut-and-pasted directly from the Monopoly game rules. The emphasis is in the original.

Yup. That's really getting behind that commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Thanks to my dear Elie for pointing out the fact that he could not get a game piece for their promo by eating one of their health-conscious "adult Happy Meals" for lunch today.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Chew on this...

"Absurdly, while one hand of the federal government is campaigning against the epidemic of obesity, the other hand is actually subsidizing it, by writing farmers a check for every bushel of corn they can grow. "
--Michael Pollan, writing in the New York Times Magazine. (Full Article)

Apparently, there is a very elegant solution for both the domestic obesity epidemic and much of the anti-American sentiment in developing nations: stop paying American farmers to grow more food than we need.

Farmers have managed to grow 500 more calories per person per day than they grew in the mid-70's, and, although only about 200 of those wind up in our bodies (check your gasoline, sunscreen, and prescription drugs for the rest of the corn), that still works out to a potential weight gain of about 22 pounds per year. The increased yeild is made economically feasible by agricultural subsidies that pay farmers by the quantity of crop they produce--kind of like when we pay welfare mothers more for having more children.

Those of us who can't remember the mid-70's or before might not know that the farm subsidy program was not always like this. The (Franklin) Roosevelt administration created a system that set and supported a price for crops based on the production costs, without directly paying farmers to grow the crops.

The current overproduction of crops also angers developing nations. Overproduction, prompted by subsidies-by-the-bushel, depresses the prices of the commodity worldwide. Understandably, farmers who aren't getting a check from their government are not so keen on having to sell their crops for artificially low prices. You know, the same anger we are currently feeling for China because they are keeping the value of their currency artificially low, giving them a comptetitive advantage.

In sum:
1. The government pays farmers to grow too much food for us to eat.
2. They government then spends money trying to figure out how we can lose the weight we have gained from eating the food they have paid farmers to grow for us.
3. By paying farmers to grow too much food, the government lowers the worldwide prices of crops.
4. When artificially depressed prices make it difficult to impossible for other country's farmers to make a living, they become upset at us.
5. People who are upset at us tend to want to harm us. Thankfully, to our knowledge, these nations are too busy trying to eke out a living to develop offensive weapons.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

No wonder prescription drug prices are so high. The pharmeceutical industry has spent $29 million dollars lobbying Congress against allowing imports of approved prescription drugs, which can almost always be had less expensively than domestically-purchased prescriptions. For the complete AP story, click here.

$29,000,000. That is about $1 for every American who went without health insurance for the entire year of 1998, the most recent year that the Congressional Budget Office has reliable comparative data on the subject.

TiVo Alert!

Sunday October 19 at 10 p.m. on TVLand, the 60 Minutes Interviews will air an interview with Charles Schulz.

Recommended Reading

Representative Barney Frank outlines his reasons for voting against President Bush's request for $87 billion here. Thanks to Mark Evanier for pointing it out.

Representative Frank has a valid point.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Name that Context...

Referring to Intuit, the company that makes TurboTax tax preparation software:
"They really want to make it clear that they're going to be a little more customer-friendly than they were last year."
--RBC Capital Markets analyst Cameron Steele

What was so customer-unfriendly about TurboTax 2002?
a) It crashed Windows XP when you entered your IRA contributions
b) You couldn't get a live customer service agent on the phone in under 20 minutes.
c) Intuit had installed precautionary measures to prevent unauthorized copying and sharing.

Correct Answer: C

Yup. Intuit issued a formal apology to consumers for making it harder for them to pirate software. For the full Reuters article, including apology, click here,

I used the 2002 TurboTax software in question to prepare my returns last year. The software did not bar users from preparing multiple returns using the same disk. It did limit installation to one computer, and would only allow one tax return to be filed electronically. There were no limits on the number of returns that could be prepared on that computer, as long as the additional returns were printed and mailed to the IRS in hard-copy. The only inconvenience to people wishing to share software was that the additional tax filers had to come spend an hour or two at someone else's house entering the data, then print out a copy and mail it. Acquaintances of mine routinely have done just that in the past to "go halves" on the $30 or so cost of the software with other family members.

First, record companies became "the bad guy" for cracking down on illegal file swapping that infringed on their copyrights. Now a software company has apologized for making it harder for people to pirate their program.

Apparently, the electronic age has rendered copyrights meaningless.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Nearly mind-blowing irony...

I actually had to argue the social benefits of not having censorship during a discussion of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 today. People who had just read the classic anti-censorship novel were arguing for the limitation of access to ideas.

Their theses were something to the effect of "freedom of speech unless the speech is about a nontraditional idea" and "Books, good. Internet, bad." Now, I do not argue that there are vast amounts of absolute dreck on the internet, some of it from this very site. However, there are also no gatekeepers deciding what we can and cannot read by virtue of accepting or rejecting book proposals or articles. Anyone can post any idea they want on the Web, whereas publishers, editors, and booksellers decide what is and is not published and made available to the public in print. Electronic media have made censorship harder and freedom of speech easier to come by. The down side is it puts on the reader the onus of deciding which ideas are worthwhile.

Now that no one is filtering what we read before we have a chance to read it, we must make our own decisions about the merit of the ideas. Technology may be making us physically less active, but it is requiring us to develop previously-unnecessary critical reasoning skills.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

It depends on what your definition of "is" is...

The U.S. government is arguing that the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay can be held indefinitely, without charges or access to a lawyer, because they are "aliens held outside U.S. territory and therefore are not entitled to rights granted by the Constitution" (for the full AP story, click here).

So, they are not protected under the Constitution because they are not in America--and have not defined what jurisdiction Guantanamo does fall under. They are not protected under the Geneva Convention because they are not prisoners of war; they are "enemy combatants" in a war that has no forseeable end.

By fiat, our government has defined people, places, and situations in such a way that no rules apply to them. There is no way for us to even determine whether they have done something wrong. Perhaps they have, and if so, they deserve to have a public declaration of who they are and why they have spent two years in no-man's land. They are stuck in limbo, while those of us who put them there have not only extinguished the light at the end of the tunnel, we are finding ways to deny that the tunnel even exists.

Campbell's Soup

Pardon my lack of blogging for the day. I'm working on a slightly longer piece for my other website. It should be up tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

President Schwarzenegger?!?

I'm not yet ready to proclaim this fishy, but a resolution was introduced in the House of Representative on June 11, 2003 that proposes a constitutional amendment to allow naturalized citizens to become president of the United States.

One of six co-sponsors of this resolution is Darrell Issa (R-Calif), the man who started the recall process that ended with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The timing may be coincidence. The idea may have been a long time coming. Issa may have deeply held principles that require him to take action to make all citizenships equal. I know only what I read about Issa in conjunction with the recall, so I can't say what his motivations may have been. The fact that there are five other co-sponsors, in addition to the main sponsor, insulates him from suspicion a bit.

Whatever Issa's motivation for signing on to the resolution, I would not lay odds that Arnold Schwarzenegger could survive a full-length presidential primary schedule. If this is a bid to put another republican-actor-turned-California-governor in the White House, the legal hurdles are only a start. Presidential Hopeful Schwarzenegger will still have to convince an entire country that he can lead a country, and I sure hope that takes more than spouting movie catchphrases and the magical ability to deflect accusations of repeated sex crimes.

Funny Money...

The last time the U.S. Mint redesigned the currency, I thought my grandparents had given me Monopoly money as a graduation present.

Now the Peachback is set to debut on Thursday, and after two major redesigns in 10 years, we still have some of the ugliest currency I have seen. When the treasury does its next revamp, which I believe is set for about 2010 or so, could they at least consider the aesthetics of the stuff they want us to spend like there is no tomorrow? Is it not possible to have both counterfeit protection and a reasonably pleasant color scheme? Peach and green should only be seen together on a peach tree.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Bizarro World

If the projections are right, it will be interesting to see what happens to Caifornia now.

When did knowing smart people become enough to make someone a viable political leader? Am I imagining a time, long ago, when you yourself, not just your advisors, had to have a clue?

The weather is officially whacked...

When I left for work at 8:30 this morning, there was frost on my windshield and my car's thermometer registered 35 degrees. When I left work at 5:15, the thermometer read 75.

The temperature is not supposed to swing 40 degrees in one day. A month, maybe, but not at day. Then again, I just switched my closet over from light summer blouses to my winter sweaters, so this was pretty much inevitable.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Spoke too soon...

William Safire just published a column referring to the flap over the outing of a CIA employee/operative/agent as "intimigate."

At least journalists are getting more creative with the -gates.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Did we really need to be told?...

The back of my jar of almonds carries the following warning: "May contain nuts or tree nuts."

Well, I certainly hope it contains nuts. Ditto on my jar of wheat germ that someone saw fit to warn me might contain wheat. If they do not contain nuts or wheat, respectively, I want some answers.

Now, I understand why warnings about common food allergens is needed on some products. It's impossible to know where every food additive comes from, and it is helpful to know if a product may contain traces of the nuts from the previous product packaged on an assembly line. But if the product is 100% unadulterated nut, will the little print on the back be any more effective than the big label on the front?

More reasons to drive a Prius

Here's another reason I'm glad I drive a hybrid. For those of you who don't want to register with the New York Times to read Thomas Friedmn's columns--although that alone is worth the three minutes it takes to register, and they don't send spam--he proposes a $1 per gallon gasoline tax, with rebates to truckers and farmers, to solve many of America's problems.

In sum:
"A tax that finances the democratization of Iraq takes money away from those who would use it to spread ideas harmful to us, weakens OPEC, makes us more energy independent, reduces the deficit and overnight improves the world's view of us — from selfish, Hummer-driving louts to good global citizens — would be the real patriot act. (It would also encourage Iraq not to become another oil-dependent state, but to build a middle class by learning to tap its people's entrepreneurship and creativity, not just its oil wells.)"

Friedman also goes through the reasons George W. Bush will never consider this obvious solution.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Last Word

I know I promised something insightful about how utterly unnecessary the outing of Ambassador Wilson's wife was, but I don't think I can add anything to the debate.

In lieu of rehashing old arguments, I submit the op-ed by Ambassador Wilson (you'll need to register with the New York Times to read it), and Robert Novak's column that revealed the ambassador's wife's true occupation. When you get to the paragraph about her, ask yourself what journalistic purpose could possibly have been served by including that particular bit of information.