Monday, October 31, 2005

A chain letter you'd better not ignore:

If you don't send this e-mail to at least 1200 people in the next 60 seconds, a large bird with diarrhea will drop it's bomb on your head at 5:00 pm today and the fleas of a thousand camels will infest your armpits. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of a friend of a friend's neighbor's cousin twice removed.

Matt hates daylight savings time

Lonetreeonthe prairie doesn't like the way the whole thing is handled:

I have a new proposal for Daylight Savings Time.

This whole spring forward thing where we lose an hour? This needs to not be on a weekend. That is my hour. I need to lose an hour on Monday or even Thursday. Preferably in the middle of the afternoon. I think it would be fantastic to magically have one less hour on a Monday to deal with. But take somebody's boss's hour. Don't take mine.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The joy of public toilets

I'm limiting myself to women's toilets, because I don't know what goes on in the men's room.

Okay, girls, who among you is peeing on the toilet seats, and how do you manage it, given the limitations of anatomy?

And what is exactly the fun of festooning an entire roll of toilet paper around the stall?

And what's with not flushing? Trying to conserve water?

I've been meditating on public restrooms since the other day, when I found myself using one which had no toilet paper. Always prepared, I fished out a small pack of tissues from the bottom of my purse, where they had been since the Carter administration. Unfortunately, they had morphed back into their original form, that of wood pulp. A teeny tiny piece of plank.

As I attempted to rip this block of wood into some semblance of paper, I could hear muttering from the waiting line. (There is always a line at the women's room.) I finally found a pair of sales receipts and finished the job.

Next time I'll try to hold it until I get home.

How to enjoy library conferences

An experienced conference attendee dispenses hardwon advice:

Sitting through a day of presentations with other librarians can drive a person to drink. When you go to a professional library conference, you should spend your evenings binge drinking and being obnoxious with other librarians in the hotel bar. If there's anything more exciting than forgetting that you're an adult and reverting to your oh-so-attractive, old college self, it's spending your down time with more librarians. Be sure to use all your outdated college slang (e.g., "I wanna get smashed!") to make it that much more obvious that you don't get out much.


I seriously recommend drinking before, duing and after library meetings. If you're drunk enough, you may miss the reeferences to "diversity," "thinking outside the box," "visioning," and "new paradigm."

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Another challenge, another meme.

You want to meet and entertain some bloggers you think you would enjoy meeting. You only have eleven chairs, so can only invite ten people. Who would you pick?

My choices:

Tim Blair. He would bring beer.

James Taranto. He is plenty snarky.

James Lileks. I love him, his dog, and his kid. Bring pictures.

Nickie Goomba. Sarcastic wit.

TAN. He can choose the music.

Pam Meister. She can talk about politics and give the party some class.

Air force wife. i've always wanted to meet her, I bet she's cute.

Akaky. An entertaining speaker, i'm sure. Also, I want to know what town he lives in. It sounds suspiciously like somewhere I've lived.

Lonetree on the prairie aka Matt. He could help drink the beer. Also, he's helped me with my blog.

Neil, who could do the kvetching.

Now that I've done all this work, I will pass it on to Rachel, dustbury, and Pat.

Prairie biker pushes it too far

Matt, evilwife, and a bell--perfect together.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Keeper of the keys

Teahouse blossom keeps keys:

There are the keys for my new apartment, the keys for my old apartment (that hasn't been taken over by another tenant yet). There's a key to my gym locker.

And there are a bunch of random ones, to things I haven't been able to figure out.

One I believe may be the key to my bicycle lock from college. Another one could be the key to the front door of my apartment in law school. Another might be the key to my parents' car, which was sold last year.

But I'm not positive. And what if I have to use them someday?


I, too, have keys to cares that have been scrapped, my old safety deposit box, former houses, etc. I feel kind of funny getting rid of them. It's like throwing away your history. Except it doesn't make any kind of sense.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Canadians ban Halloween

Canadian schools want to play down Halloween, says surgite.

Canadian socialistic cultural engineers will not be outdone in foolishness, idiocy or mendacity! No other nation's poltroon's must be allowed to surpass us when it comes to multi-cultural political correctness. For we are Canadians!

Forget Piglet! We Canucks have ghosts and goblins and wicked, wicked, witches to slay. Or the Toronto Public School board does.

As All-Hallow's Eve approaches an unnamed, dimwitted, cultural inquisitor from the Toronto Board of Education has circulated a memo to school principals directing that they play down Halloween. Sadly, the article by Nicholas Kohler of the National Post is no joke.

TORONTO - Teachers should forego traditional classroom Halloween celebrations because they are disrespectful of Wiccans and may cause some children to feel excluded, says a Toronto District School Board memo sent to principals and teachers this week.

"Many recently arrived students in our schools share absolutely none of the background cultural knowledge that is necessary to view 'trick or treating,' the commercialization of death, the Christian sexist demonization of pagan religious beliefs, as 'fun,' " says the memo.

The Christian sexist demonization of pagan religious beliefs, as fun? Toddlers in bumblebee costumes, roaming neighbourhoods on a cool October night, caging sugary treats are Christian sexist demonizers? Who knew? The Toronto School Board that's who.

Entitled "Halloween at TDSB Schools: Scarrrrrry Stufff," the document seeks to clarify for teachers and principals the extent to which Halloween activities should be pursued in multicultural settings. In the past, the unsigned memo laments, schools have received "mixed messages" from the board regarding Halloween. School board officials could not be reached for comment last night....


Citing calls by concerned principals and parents on the subject, the memo aims to make classroom Halloween celebrations consistent with the board's "equitable schools policies" and warns that "some students and their parents/ guardians might experience their first Halloween not as a 'strange surprise,' but a 'traumatic shock.' "

It is self-evident to any normal parent from any tribal group that the shock experienced by "recently arrived students" can be quickly overcome once they grasp that lots and lots of free candy is to be had in this celebration.

he memo goes on to remind teachers that, "Halloween is a religious day of significance for Wiccans and therefore should be treated respectfully."...

Y
For other students, "food products that are marketed heavily during the Halloween period" may conflict with dietary habits that children know from home. An alternative to eating sweets in class would be to "write health warnings for all Halloween candies."

Maybe the Sulzberger family should retire

In its most recent quarter, the New York Times Company earned $60.8 million on $845 million in sales. This is a 7.2% profit margin, about one third that reported as average in the Star Tribune. Last month, S&P put the New York Times Company on CreditWatch for a downgrade of its A+ credit rating. This occurred when the Times said it was laying off 500 people, which we wrote about then.

We had not realized, however, that the Times is only one third as profitable as its peer group. The Board really should consider running the Company for its shareholders, rather than for the family trust, as we have said previously.

How much is my blog worth?


My blog is worth $21,452.52.
How much is your blog worth?

Blogging is evil

Boing-boing has this gem from Google news:

A blog isn’t just fun, says a Catholic school principal in New Jersey —

It’s an open invitation to predators and an activity that Pope John XIII Regional High School in Sparta will no longer tolerate,
the Rev. Kieran McHugh told a packed assembly of 900 high school students two weeks ago.

(Because if there’s one thing Catholic Church officials know about first-hand, it’s the behavior patterns of sexual predators.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I can't believe this story, but you might

KAMPALA — In a country where most people weigh less than 125 lbs., U.S. missionaries Tom and Rhonda Beck have managed to stay tubby by drinking local goat milk and shipping in boxes of Jif peanut butter from their native South Dakota
...
Money quote:
"Our children always tell us, 'They are round like the moon!'" says a Ugandan woman. "We love watching them waddle around handing out gospel literature."
Before the Becks went to the mission field, pastors say they weighed between 250-300 lbs.
"There was a lot of heft to his sermon, and I don't just mean the message," says a pastor who dined with the Becks and watched them raze the breakfast buffet
....

Can only white people be successful?

recently, i was talking with a person who is an avid supporter of hillary clinton for president. i brought up the idea of condi running against her, for an unprecedented woman v. woman election. my friend quickly dismissed the idea of condi running for president because she was an "oreo." which she meant "white on the inside and black on the outside." as crass as this sounds, this is not the first time i've heard someone refer to condi rice, or colin powell for that matter, as a member of the white establishment. i've even seen tshirts that have a picture of condi and read "i work for whitey."

this leads me to ask, what about condelezza rice and colin powell make them "white" on the inside? is it because they are successful? educated? intelligent? wealthy? part of the mainstream? because their political views are conservative? or maybe because they don't spice up their sentences with phrases such as "what's up my boo?"

when thought of in this manner, my friend's "oreo" comment might be one of the racist statements i've ever heard. ... although she might outwardly claim to be open-minded and accepting (by virtue of being left-leaning), she harbors the stereotype that only white people can be part of the educated, ruling class.

Armed and dangerous

Fade In says Seagal, Sylvester Stallone, music mogul Tommy Mottola and billionaire Kirk Kerkorian are among a mere 500 people licensed to carry a gun in public in Los Angeles County (pop. 9.8 million).
Meanwhile, those who can legally pack heat in New York include Donald Trump, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Seagram owner Edgar Bronfman, Howard Stern, Don Imus, State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, Bronx Supreme court judge Richard L. Price and defense lawyer Barry Slotnick. *


Read the whole thing at Kitty Litter.

A sinister little town

Elmwood Park New Jersey is like one of those sinister towns in sci fi where the citizens prey on strangers. The citizens in this case are the local police and justice department. They lie in wait outside stores in the town and look for motorists who don't have inspection stickers, young people, etc. It's so much eaasier than actually patrolling the streets, sin't it?

I went to court in this one-half horse town (it consists of the rear part of the animal) for a trivial matter which might get you a mild spoken reproof in Delaware on Maryland, for example. At least three hundred people were there, waiting to speak to the prosecutor.

It works like this: you get a ticket, worth 4 points. Your insurance carrier will raise your rates from now to infinity if you mail the town a check for $75, which is what the ticket costs. So you go to court, stand in line to see the prosecutor, and make a deal. The deal is, you pay them $200 and they forget about the points. Your insurance carrier will never know.

Before dealing with the people standing in the line, they saw the miscreants who had lawyers. They went to the head of the line. Court started at 5 p.m. and it was 6:20 before they got finished with the shysters. Then the prosecutor started funnelling in the paying customers. He offered you a deal. Take it or leave it. Everyone took it, except one man who had been to court 5 times for the same offense and apparently had nothing better to do.

Then you go before the judge, who lectures each person. He has a monotonous voice, but apparently likes it well enough, because he talked for three hours.

But wait--as the line snaked slowly, slowly before the prosecutor, a prison guard escorted in five guys in handcuffs and orange jumpsuits. They then took precedence over those who were still waiting. We got to hear the judge excoriating them, as well. Most of them were poor wretches who had pursued an unsuccessful career in shoplifting, judging by their records, which the judge read aloud.

As it happens, I went to traffic court once in Passaic, NJ, a large town with a large immigrant, minority, and generally low-income residents, and there were not nearly as many people there. Those who wanted to make a deal spoke to the prosecutor, paid their money, and left. The judge had no desire to talk to them.

Most of the people in court had done some relatively trivial thing, like not having their insurance card (!!!) when they were stopped, driving on an expired license, etc. None were a danger to themselves or society. Maybe 5 were convicted of DWI, which I grant is a serious offense.

Clearly the legal system functions as a form of revenue enhancement for the town. I'm surprised the streets are not paved with gold.

Incidentally, the police in this burg are paid more than those in Paterson, a nearby big city, where crimes like murder and breaking and entering flourish. But they do bring in the dough.

Why not put the MSM in charge of the war?

ombudsgod has a great quote:

Why, it appears that we appointed all of our worst generals to command the armies and we appointed all of our best generals to edit the newspapers. I mean, I found by reading a newspaper that these editor generals saw all of the defects plainly from the start but didn't tell me until it was too late. I'm willing to yield my place to these best generals and I'll do my best for the cause by editing a newspaper."
Robert E. Lee

Monday, October 24, 2005

I haven't pumped gas yet

I managed to get my husband to pump my gas the last time. Now I am going to New Jersey, God's country (State slogan: we're too dumb to pump our own gas).

I'm going to fill her up. Ha!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

No bathroom break?

Wow!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

A friend I don't see much of nowadays

Call her Edna. We used to go out to eat. The waiter shows us to a table.
E: Oh, not that one, it's too cold (hot, near the window, near the door). Shows us to another table.
E: Could you turn the music down? It's too loud.
Astonishingly, the music gets turned down. Waiter comes to take our order.
E: Is the pasta made with eggs? I don't eat eggs. I have high cholesterol.
Waiter, who speaks little or no English, disappears into the kitchen. Comes back. The answer is no.
E: I'll have cranberry juice, very cold, but no ice. Waiter brings cranberry juice.
E: This has ice in it. Waiter takes it away. Brings another, sans ice.
E. It's not very cold.
E orders an appetizer, main course, and tira misu.
Me: I thought you were watching the fats--cholesterol, you know?
E: Oh, I always do that.
I have a cup of cappucino. Nothing else. The bill comes.
E: It's $45--Should we just split it?

A great new library resource

Courtesy of xrefer.

It's good to know there is stuff like that to make the whole library biz worthwhile, despite the ALA.

Balls

One day when I was a little girl, someone organized a game of volleyball and told me it would be lots of fun. I stood there expectantly until I was hit in the stomach with a volleyball. Being myopic, I didn't see it coming. That was my intro to ball games. I didn't enjoy it, and I've never changed my mind.

I can't play tennis, racquetball, volleyball (of course)or softball. I can't bowl or golf. Likewise pingpong--the birdie is an honorary ball, to me. Name a sport--I can't play it.

I've never liked team sports, either. I've never understood them. Someone has the ball and someone else tries to take it away or kill the party of the first part. Or someone tries to move the ball down a field and is assaulted by a bunch of 300-lb assassins who try to prevent his passage. What of it? The finer points elude me.

That is not to say that I never went to a college or high school football game when I had my eye on a cute guy in the game. That doesn't count as watching sports.

My idea of an athletic contest is a game of Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit. I'll even play Monopoly or Candyland, the dumbest game in the universe.

This puts me at odds with half the universe--the male half. I had occasion to notice this when I was with a number of people last weekend. The men kept sitting inside the hotel watching sport after sport, only emerging to ask, "What did you think of Ohio State?" or "Wow, those White Sox." The women went shopping or availed themselves of the cultural and recreational events on offer.

I guess I don't understand men either.

Sexy gets 'em every time

Iowahawk gets it right about sex and blogging:

....let's talk about the other primary human emotion: sex. As we all know, sex has been an influential part of the human experience for over a hundred years. According to many experts, our minds are hardwired to be on the alert for sex, and various forms of sexiness. As a blogger, you can harness the irresistable primal power of sex by developing a sexy style of sexiness. Not only will this attract sexy readers, your frequent references to sex will get you to the top of the sexy Google rankings for "sex."


I can attest to that. I got my peak traffic when I mentioned "naked" and "breast." Where are your minds, people? Get your minds out of the gutter. Take a cold shower, or read the Bible or something.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Poor Harriet Miers

Ever have a day that started with a rip in your pantyhose, then you got gum on your shoe, and it just went downhill from there? Well, that's how Harriet Miers must be feeling right now. Everyone is being mean to her.

What's wrong with the right-wingers? The woman is qualified. Bush trusts her. End of story.

English towns with funny names

Stellblog , who is Scottish, thinks English place names are funny:

Someone at the AA, Ordnance Survey or whatever hell branch of the government it is that is responsible for naming English towns and villages, must be taking the piss.

As I perused a road atlas recently, I was struck by the number of plain stupid names that abound, for whatever reason, in Kent:

We have a station called Bat & Ball, a town called Battle (must have been a useful pointer when William was wondering where to start his fight), the downright disgusting Pratt's Bottom, and that triumvirate of villages named in honour of the Marx brothers: Upper Dicker, Lower Dicker and simply The Dicker.


Also:

* Bishops Itchington
* Feckenham
* Willey
* Foul End
* Lickey End
* Wyre Piddle
* Piddle Brook
* Bell End
* Druggers End
* Butthole Lane

Could he be making these up?

Butthole Lane?

Neatest anatomical trick of the week

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The dumbest person in the Senate

First she was a PR manager for bin Laden's charitable foundations (and perpetual winner in the stupidest person in the Senate poll), now she is the mob enforcer for the transportation appropriations committee. Powerline reports:

Mrs. R. reports that Patty Murray is now speaking against the Coburn Amendment, and has just issued a threat against any Senators who vote for the amendment: we on the Appropriations Committee will take a "long, hard look" at any projects in your state. Can anyone say, "culture of corruption"?

KIRO, The local CBS affiliate omits this, but does have this choice Murray quote:

Washington Sen. Patty Murray said the sculpture park is a critical economic development project for Seattle that will encourage jobs and investment in the city. She said there are other ways to reduce the federal deficit.

"If the senator from Oklahoma wants to look for a culprit for the fiscal situation in this country, he should look at the tax cuts granted to multi-millionaires," Murray said.


Patty Murray won the First Prize for Cluelessness in the Senate, despite stiff competition.

How to tell if someone is an atheist

Blogmeister wonders how to tell an atheist from, well, a human being:

A rally will be taking place at noon in the city of Milford, Connecticut today in support of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Members of the Knights of Columbus plan to fight the federal court ruling in California that said the phrase "under God" is unconstitutional, and today's rally is to bring awareness and drum up support.

Atheists will be right there counterprotesting.

Dennis Himes, state director of American Atheists, said his group would be there to counter-rally, because the addition of the phrase to the pledge was "directly aimed at atheists in the first place and is trying to say that we’re not true Americans."

He seems a little paranoid! After all, I would't know an atheist to look at him unless he went around with a sign hung around his neck proclaiming his beliefs (or lack of them).


A professional atheist does have a sign around his neck or in his hand, as he stands out in the cold protesting a Santa Clause display on goverenment property. Or his hand is full of legal papers, as he happily brings lawsuit after lawsuit. If you talk to him, within 5 minutes he will reveal how Bush and the Christian Right want to destroy his civil liberties. The species is eaasily recognizable.

I'm not talking about agnostics, skeptics, or non-believers. But professional atheists are a breed apart.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Healthy breast care

I saw this article title on the cover of a magazine. I have two of the items mentioned, side by side on the front of my chest, but I wasn't aware they needed anything special, besides washing and putting a bra on so they don't jiggle. I have mammograms and gyn exams. Other than that, they don't bother me, and I don't bother them. There they are, and here I am.

Now I learn I have to take care of them, doing what? Taking them for a walk? Buy them special treats?

Everything our ancestors seemed to take more or less in their stride, we have to take special care of. When my house was carpeted, I was left with instructions on how to take care of your carpeting. It looked pretty much like a full time job. The newly refinished wood floors, ditto. And don't get me started about grout!

The hell with them. I have enough to do, what with carpets, wood floors and grout. And brushing my teeth. And flossing. Putting on night cream at night. Sunscreen in the morning. Cutting my nails.

My breasts can damn well take care of themselves.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The bright side of identity theft

TAN finds the silver lining in the cloud:

... someone told me I should be careful with how much personal information I disclose on the internet.... I was wondering if they were concerned about the apparent epidemic of identity theft spreading across the country.

Because I'm not.

Quite frankly, things haven't taken off the way I'd like. So I wouldn't mind resetting the 'ol identity odometer . Therefore if any identity thieves are lurking about figuring out how to become The Assimilated Negro, let me help you out:

First Name: Broke

Last Name: Negro

Middle Name: Ass

SS# : 021 – 47 – 6402

Amount owed in loans - $500000000000000000000000000000000

Amount of revenue currently being contributed - $00000000000000000000000000.01

# of current friends: 0

# of former friends who are owed money: 427000000000000000000000000000000

# of bounced checks in the state of Virginia: 5,269


I think this can get you on your way.

I have a street team handing out flyers and t-shirts with my social and other key information. Please use it yourself, or forward it on to your friendly neighborhood identity thief.

Good Chicago karma

I know this is hard to believe, but I've been to Chicago three times in the lastyear or so, and the weather has always been excellent. People tell me that it rains and snows there, that it can be quite cold and windy. Maybe they're just making this up so they can keep Chicago to themselves. Or maybe I have good Chicago Karma.

When I'm there, so far anyway, the weather is nice, the buildings stunning, the Art Institute always has wonderful exhibits, and the people are friendly and helpful. No, honest. I ask for directions on the Metra, and (which was right on time) and a dozen people rush to direct me. There were flowers blooming, the sun was shining, people wore short-sleeved shirts, winter seemed like a country we'd visited a long time ago and would never see again.

Next time, there will probably be a blizzard.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The conquistadores got a bum rap

Culture cult doesn't think much of the Maya:

.... I don’t care if the Maya civilization did collapse. I don’t think we should shed a single retrospective tear. It might be interesting to know how or why it fell—whether from war or drought or disease or soil exhaustion—but I don’t much care about that either. Because quite frankly, as civilizations go, the Mayan civilization in Mexico didn’t amount to much.

Now I know this is a shocking thing to say. Gallery owners in New York and elsewhere will cry out indignantly about the glories of Maya art. They will show you terra cotta figurines and fine reliefs and paintings and tell splendid tales of “kings” and “nobles” and such. In deference to this view we shall gladly concede that Maya art is not uninteresting. But it is sheer romantic fantasy to mourn the passing, around 900 AD, of an aristocracy of hypersensitive native aesthetes—though anthropologists and art critics have written reams of such stuff.

Glamorous talk of “kings” and “lords” and “nobles” always sounds better than a realistic description of murderous and predatory chieftains with little but power, conquest, self-glorification, enslavement, and killing and torture on their minds. Yes: they wore spectacular feather head-dresses. Yes: they built sky-high piles of masonry. But their hands dripped blood—incessantly....


It is simply not the case that the Maya once lived in warm, loving, supportive communities, reciting nature poetry and drinking jasmine tea… and then somehow lost their way. Instead they were doing what bellicose tribal populations have always done—straining the carrying capacity of the land, warring with neighbours, and trying in grisly ways to appease their gods.

* * *....

“Captives were tortured in unpleasant ways depicted clearly on the monuments and murals (such as yanking fingers out of sockets, pulling out teeth, cutting off the lower jaw, trimming of the lips and fingertips, pulling out the fingernails, and driving a pin through the lips), culminating, sometimes years later, in the sacrifice of the captive in other equally unpleasant ways such as tying the captive up into a ball by binding the arms and legs together, then rolling the balled-up captive down the steep stone staircase of a temple.”

* * *

I suppose it all depends on what you expect a civilization to offer. The Maya, and the Aztecs too, offered barbarism plus pyramids. Personally I don’t think that’s enough.


Hat tip to Armavirumque.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Johnny Virgil takes on 24-hour news

And he thinks it's pretty stupid:

Hello... What have we here? This is HUGE!! I'm talkin' story of the year. Dare I say Pullit-surprise? Yes, it's Dolphins singing the fucking Batman theme song. What could be more newsworthy than this? BATMAN for chrissake!! But wait -- turns out, I got my hopes up for nothing. According to the news story, it's an "extremely high-pitched, short version of the Batman theme song." Don't think back to the Batman movies, either. They're not orchestrating any Danny Elfman themes here. Think back to the campy old 60's TV show. The one that went "na na na na na na na na Bat-maaaaaan!" Yeah. That's the one. Turns out that a "short version" of this incredibly difficult tune consists of the "Bat-maaaaan!" part. So after years of painstaking training and hundreds of thousands of dollars and untold man-hours spent, the dolphins have learned to sing:

Two notes. One short, one long.

That's it. Just two. And get this: If you remember the song, you will also remember that they are both the same note. And they are "extremely high," which means it's basically two regular dolphin whistles of differing length.


I think the whole project revolves around being "extremely high."

Carnival of the Vanities is up

Cute terrorist song

God is punishing me for listening to NPR.

Last night they interviewed a member of an Iranian rock band called 127, I think. ( I did not take notes, I was in the car.) The young man was charming, unpretentious, and had a nice sense of humor. I was starting to like him. Then they played one of the group's songs.
Yes, it was rotten, but what did you expect? Worse, to me, was the title of the song, "Dear Terror." The Iranian lad explained that it was about Guantanomo. Was I upset? You bet. Was I upset about my taxes going to pay for such drivel? Was I upset that the only public radio station I can get plays no classical music, but drones on all day with this supercilious, often anti-American cr-p? Yes, yes, and yes.

Very, very upset. I'm going to get satellite radio.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Happy Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is the festive Jewish holiday when you are not allowed to eat anything for 24, no make that 25, hours. Trust the Jews to make a 24-hour-day longer. This happens because kol nidre must come before sunset, and you can't eat after sunset, until the next sunset. Then you can't eat until ne'ila (closing the gates), which always seems to drag on forever. So, make that 26 hours.

A friend told me that Catholics are not required to fast on fast days after the age of 60. A sensible attitude. But the Jews exempt no-one. The exception: to save a life. Will I die without food for 26 hours? No, but I'll be plenty cranky.

To my Jewish friends--no, to all my friends--may you be inscribed in the book of life for a happy and healthy New Year.

Dr Phat Tony has advice for Republicans

Dr Phat Tony has advice for mealy-mouthed Republicans.

• Call it what it is. If a grieving mother goes all crazy and socialist, then call her a crazy socialist. If Muslim terrorists blow something up, then call them Muslim terrorists. You don’t have to add extreme, militant, or fringe to it. When the Muslim community starts policing their own, then we can start separating the Muslim terrorists from the rest of them. Until that happens though, their going to have to live with the stigma of being a violent religion.

Of course these are just humble opinions of a working class conservative. I really doubt that anyone is listening besides the few people that read my blog. With that said, if the Republicans don’t change their ways, they will lose to a 3rd party candidate and a Democrat will be the next president.


I heartily concur. Enough with the Religion of Peace. Enough with no racial profiling. Enough with grieving Mother Cindy Courage.

Budweiser outlawed in Portugal

The EU Court Of Human Rights (huh?) has ruled that Anheuser-Busch can't sell beer in Portugal under their long time Budweiser label. How is it that the jurisdiction of a so-called human rights court covers anything about trademarks? Is it a human right to drink beer with a certain name?

It's nice to know that the Eu Court of Human Rights is on the case. We wouldn't want them to waste their time on trivial matters, like honor killings of women, now would we?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Libraries for losers

Libraries for Dummies wonders why the library attracts so many of the, er, eccentric:

Despite multiple pleas to the committee, librarians aren’t allowed to dispense drugs. A tragic loss for all sides.


We had one patron, let's call him Dudley, who played chess in the library. Unfortunately, his pants were too big and as he was sitting, they would fall off, leaving a fine example of ass-crack. One of the security guards even gave him a belt, but they still fell off.

I had to have an interesting conversation with him. Such was my privilege as director.

We also had a library child. Her parents ran a Chinese restaurant down the street, and she was constantly wandering in. Cute little thing, about three. We tried to warn the parents, who lost all their English when we spoke to them. Finally, we accepted our fate, and kept a box of crayons and a few coloring books for her. Otherwise, she might have been hit by a car.

But my worst library person was an employee, Eddie. He came with the highest recommendations (his former employer wanted to get rid of him). Eddie would disappear when he was supposed to be on the circ desk. The children's librarian got the fright of her life when she went to the auditorium to prepare for a program and found Eddie asleep on one of the tables. He told me he was taking a power nap.

Eddie was also an awful liar and backbiter. He was there only a few weeks, but I got so that when I entered the library and saw his smiling face--or not, because he was habitually late--my heart dropped to my boots.

I asked myself a question--did I want to look at Eddie's face the first thing in the morning for the rest of my professional life? No. Did I want to continue to have little talks with him, asking him to change his ways? NO. I asked the Assistant Director and she didn't want to either. Since he was provisional, we fired him. It was unpleasant, but not as unpleasant as having to look at him.

Today was not my best day ever

Went to the hairdresser, someone new, since I don't know anyone here. She put something new on my hair, since my color wasn't developing fast enough to suit her.

I felt like my hair was on fire!

She immediately washed it off, but not before a line of little red bumps erupted at my hairline.

This was how I spent the rest of my day, after spending the morning seeking the Delaware Motor Vehicle Commission and being denied a new license.

Inquiring minds want to know

Didn't baseball season use to end before football season started? Way back in the 20th century?

Does anyone else hate Mapquest?

I took down directions from Mapquest to get to the local DMV. They were very complex and detailed. Turn right on street A, bear left at street B, take a slight left at street C (What's a slight left?, and I am not kidding, they said slight left. As opposed to a sharp left, I suppose).

I found myself down under the railroad tracks in a godforsaken part of town, an area that never had any glories to lose because it's been awful since the Revolution, as contrasted with other areas of downtown Wilmington, which have lost glories in the form of humongous houses now turned into funeral homes.

Went around in circles a few times, always prevented from turning by one-way signs. At last, I found--AAA headquarters! I went inside and the lady told me where the place was--not too far--and gave me a map.

Turns out the DMV is right down Rt 13, which is right off Martin Luther King Blvd, which is right off 202. No streets A, B, or C, no slight lefts, just a straight run.

This took all morning. When I got there, they refused to give me a Delaware driver's llicense. Turns out I needed a letter from my rabbi, or something.

BTW, just asking, why isn't MLK Blvd ever in a really nifty part of town? I, personally, would not like Miriam St to be a place with boarded up businesses and decrepit houses, but that's just me.

Blogger wants to know how you blog

Project Bowl wants to know your blogging and e-mail habits.

I check my e-mail twice a day, to avoid having to read 400 messages in one day. Also, that's how I keep in touch. Except for now, with horrible Comcast, I can't access my address book. Everyone I know thinks I have dropped into a hole.

Next, I check my own blog and read the precious, brilliant witty comments of my dsicerning readers.

Then I check my stats.

Next, I go down the list (or up if I'm in the mood) on my blogroll and try to read all recent posts. This is getting more time-consuming.

Then I read the NYTimes, or at least the parts that don't bore me stiff.

If I'm lucky, I'll think of something to say, and say it.

And so to bed.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Bloggerbeer explains his take on Harriet Miers

I agree.

Furthermore, I resent the know-it-alls calling for Miers to withdraw her nomination. This is insulting to her, as though she had been discovered robbing the poor box at church.

My feeling is that she is going to be an excellent justice.

I still haven't pumped any gas

My loyal readers will know I don't like to pump gas. Well, so far, so good.

I passed a gas station that had signs for Self and Full; pulled up at Full; surprised attendant came out and asked me what I wanted; I handed him debit card. He sulked, but pumped.

So far, so good.

Why should little old ladies pump gas? It ruins our image.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

299 comments on a non-news non-story

At this point, the commenters are exchanging recipes,not to mention addresses and phone numbers.

It reminds me of a little ditty:

Today as I was on the stair
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again tody.
I wish that he would go away!

Natalee Holloway has joined Jimmy Hoffa and Judge Crater on the list of people you won't be meeting on the stair.

A righteous arrest

Dustbury describes some hazards of traffic:

somebody ... decided that it wasn't worth waiting for the left-turn signal at May to come around again and followed the last car through despite a total lack of yellow — and totally not noticing the presence of a Village police officer, pointed southbound on May and in position to give chase. Easier busts than this you will seldom find.


I love it when somebody actually doing something hazardous and illegal gets arrested. (As opposed to me getting arrested for speeding, which isn't hurting anyone and is anyway a New Jersey tradition.)

I've seen two righteous arrests in my lifetime. In the first, a guy was weaving in and out of traffic on I-95 somewhere in North Carolina or somewhere and a State Trooper got after him. In the second, someone made an illegal left turn and was caught by a municipal cop.

New Jersey motor vehicle administration is really over the top anyway. I once had my license pulled for not paying a parking ticket of $10.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Ten books I promise not to read

Might I add to the list, Lee Iacocca's self-serving biography, and anything by Donald Trump.

This is beside the point, but: if I were as rich as The Donald, I would have better hair.

Blogger happy to be a rat

Akaky is thrilled to be promoted to rodent:

The Truth Laid Bear, before whose infinite wisdom we must all bow in reverence and awe, has raised me from a flappy bird to an adorable little rodent. I would like to thank all of the readers and linkers who've brought me up to the level of common vermin, and I will do my utmost to be deserving of the trust you have placed in me.


Congratulations from another rat! Soon to be reclassified as primordial slime, since I quit blogging for a week.

Friday, October 07, 2005

How can this be poetry week when we had poetry month in May?

Norm has me all confused.

Catherine Gander, who is researching a doctorate on modern poetry, says:

At a time when novelists have acquired the status of rock stars, poets are still the poor relations of the literary world. Just how poor can be seen in the tepid reaction to national poetry week, the days from October 3 to October 9 officially allotted to the celebration of poetry. Yesterday was national poetry day and no one cares.


I celebrated poetry month in April (wrongly, as it happens) and then in May, which was National Poetry month. I posted a poem every day.

Are the poets trying to hog the whole calendar? Or is this some British thing?

Support your local firefighter

Sex and the librarian

Libetiquette thinks that on the whole, librarians are not sexy.

Au contraire! We're as sexy as the next person wearing sensible shoes with her glasses on a string around her neck. Maybe sexier!

Teenage angst

Betsy gets steamed about a book for teenagers.

When I was a kid of 9 or 10, I devoured teen books. At that time they were all about going steady, hanging out at the drivein, going to sock hops and learning to be a grown-up. An example--Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly. The book had whiskers when I read it, but it really spoke to me.

For some reason teen books have gone over to the dark side. At first, they were about being fat or your parents getting divorced or having a stepmom. They gradually morphed into examinations of child abuse, incest, alcoholism and for all I know, cannibalism. A sympathetic look at a suicide bomber obviously is just one step further down that road.

No wonder no-one reads any more.

Anti-Bush jerk wins Nobel

Powerline is seriously pissed off.

What a shock! I couldn't be more surprised if Bill Clinton was discovered in a compromising position with a woman (gasp!) not his wife.

The agony of choosing new placemats

Tom Utley discusses the pitfalls of choosing home decor:

My project for last weekend was to buy a new set of table mats. That may sound like a straightforward task, but anybody brought up in the social minefield of the English middle class will testify that it is anything but. A naff choice would make the Utleys objects of derision in our London suburb. The new mats would have to be exactly right.

....
My first port of call was a shop in our local high street - one of those amazing little places that sell everything that you could possibly want for the home, all crammed into a few square feet: mops, bins, pots, pans, plates, sheets, food processors, clocks, table linen, clothes pegs…you name it. Cheap, too....

Sure enough, the very first thing that I saw in the shop was a pile of boxed sets of table mats. They were an astonishing bargain - only £2.75 for a set of eight, with little matching mats for wine glasses thrown in at no extra cost. There was only one problem: they were decorated with photographs of kittens.

Now, I can see that at this point I risk giving great offence to some readers. I can hear them saying: "What's so wrong with kittens?" To them, I say that kittens are all very sweet - in their place. It is just that I was brought up to believe that the proper place for a picture of a kitten is not on a table mat in the Utley household. I can also hear the contemptuous laughter spreading around my suburb: "My dear, we dined with the Utleys last night and you'll never guess: they served up the food on table mats decorated with kittens!" Instant social death.

Gas: to pump or not to pump

Everyone knows about my obsession with gas--I don't like to pump it myself. 28 years in New Jersey (State motto: we're too dumb to pump gas) has spoiled me.

Well, so far I haven't pumped any. My grandson did it for me, then my daughter.

Today, I plan to drive The Man Who Lives Here to the library. Must remember to get gas while he is with me.

Next week, I am getting my oil changed and will ask them to fill the gas tank while they have the car.

I'm trying to see how long I can go without pumping gas. Two weeks, so far.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Behind the curve

I suppose I'm late mentioning it, but Carnival of the Vanities # 159 is up.

I've been disconnected for a while. No TV, no newspapers, the phone didn't work, and the Internet was down. I was in limbo.

Now I'm up and running.

Getting up in the middle of the night to get someone out of jail

Senator Mike DeWine, Republican of Ohio, pronounced her "tough as nails" after an hourlong meeting with her. Responding to criticism that Ms. Miers had never been a judge, Mr. DeWine praised the breadth of her practical experience in the White House and in her long career as a private lawyer. "She is somebody who has gone out late at night to get someone out of jail," Mr. DeWine said she had told him.


This quote brings my mother, the lawyer, to my mind. She, too, would get up in the middle of the night to get someone out of jail.

Perhaps because she was a woman in a time when not many women practiced law, my mother's clients were poor, either black people or hillbillies from West Virginia. They would call her at any hour of the day or night. Our family resented the calls. We thought they took up too much of her time. But I realize now that she loved this, loved the practice of law, and loved her clients.

Her clients named their children after her, came and cut her lawn, baked cookies for her, visited her in the hospital, drove her around in their pickup trucks (She was a terrible driver).

My uncle said they should have had the funeral at the First Baptist Church (the black church in town). It would have been mobbed.

I'm all for Harriet Miers.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I've had a bad week and it's only Wednesday

I'm still unpacking and I guess I always will be.

My sneakers are missing, or not unpacked yet.

The movers packed the Staples catalog from 2002 among my books.

I have too many books or too few bookcases. Books are heavy.

In the day and a half when the Internet was up, I was happy. It seems a necessity of life that I blog.

I can't access my bank account from this frigging library computer.

I HATE COMCAST!

I'm living in Delaware, without a classical music station, and no discount stores. Everyone pays retail!

Happy New Year!

Samizdat blogging

In the Sept 17, 2005 issue of the Economist, I found the following letter to the editor:

SIR--You mention a Sears catalog that offered a "food processor doubling as a pleasure vibrator for women". Do please elaborate on how this worked? Who did what to whom and what fitted where?
ALAN MORGAN
Mas Canet, France


Now keep your filthy comments to yourselves. This is a clean blog.

Besides, I'm blogging from the public library.

Kill comcast!

Three times they have come to my house, and 3 times Internet has broken down within an hour after they left.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The everlasting post

On Aug 2, I posted a wry (I thought) comment concerning Natalee Holloway's diappearance on Blogcritics. It has proved to be, like guilt, a gift that keeps on giving.

The responses, numbering 287 so far, have taken on a life of their own. Commenters occasionally mention NH, but in general they are preoccupied with other matters. They congratulate each other, insult each other, comment on other topics, tell their life stories, and in short have started up a self-perpetuating thread which has little or nothing to do with Natalee. (She's still missing.)

Headline news! Philadelphia is a cultural desert

I like to listen to classical music in my car. WQXR was my all-the-time station in New Jersey. I figured there would be a station that would meet my needs in Philadelphia. No! NO CLASSICAL MUSIC AT ALL! All they have in the way of public radio is dismal NPR, self-satisfied twits yammering on and on, day and night, in their know-it-all voices. All the music stations either play head-banging stuff or soppy Christian music. I can't even find a decent country and western station.

I am outraged! Philadelphia has a world-class orchestra. Don't some of the people there like to listen to classical music? Or has satellite radio taken over the world while I wasn't looking? Or what?

Portrayal of racism is so, like, twentieth century

The assimilated African-American criticizes the movie Crash:

For my money, racism (as it is portrayed in movies), is in need of an extreme makeover. I think Crash recognizes this need, but ultimately doesn’t live up to the lofty ambition of bringing new perspective to an old conversation.

Most movies present what I would call “behind-closed-doors racism,” someone closes the door, and someone else goes on a rant, “damn them ni**as did this, them ni**as did that.”

This is a progressive step from “out-in-the-open racism,” where of course, there was no closing of the door, you just yelled your thoughts right to a ni@@a’s face.

Behind-closed-doors racism is based on the premise that you can’t have the racism out in the open, because the races we’re racist towards don’t tolerate it anymore. But all of the racists still have a common bond, so in the interest of public relations, they touch base on those racist feelings after closing the doors.

But I think behind-closed-doors racism, like out-in-the-open racism before it, has lost its relevance. When seen on the screen it doesn't get you fired up like it once did. No matter how you dress it up, it's not compelling, because it’s not true to life for most people. There’s also an extra schlock factor because actors/writers/directors are so often proving their moral righteousness. Watching a character make some bone-head racist remark is the equivalent of a Maxim cover....

My nomination for the Supreme Court vacancy

Even while I have been busy unpacking and finding a gas station that will pump gas for you, I have not neglected the political scene. In fact, I have come up with many brilliant ideas. Let's roll!

Okay, here's my suggestion for the Supreme Court vacancy: Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter, who I believe is named Mary, although possibly not. The Democratic candidates for president and vice president mentioned her often and approvingly, but not by name. They just called her Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter, but you could tell their wells of compassion were overflowing for her. In fact, she seemed to be the only Republican of any sexual orientation the Democrats truly liked--notice the way they kept dragging her into the debates, even when she had nothing to do with the matter at hand.

So I think we can all agree that DCLD would be the perfect candidate: female, lesbian, and if she takes after her parents, bright. She has no baggage, so no-one can criticize her stand on abortion, the poor, children, Halliburton, etc. The fact that she is not a lawyer is also in her favor.

Democrats, here's a Supreme Court nomination we can all get behind!