Friday, December 22, 2006

Polls Are Confusing

I took my first Zogby poll today, even though I've been getting mailings for ages. It asked a lot of multiple choice questions, which meant that I couldn't answer, "it's good if it's done this way, but bad if it's done that way". I find that a lot of my opinions depend on the implementations.

Other than that, I wish I had taken today off. There's no motivation to work. I went to some web page that supposedly calculates the name of your soulmate based on your first name. Of course I tried it, and it sent me back the following message:
Your calculated match is Alexander. Together, the two of you will be fruitful whether you are creating a family, a business, or an artistic enterprise.
I actually know two people who are called Alexander, and I think one who's actually named Alexander. I don't see me pairing off with any of them, due to one being already married, one being a zillion years younger than me, and one never showing any interest at all in the gazillion years I've known him.

Guess it's another Alexander, huh? Because I believe in web games as accurate predicters of who I should spend the rest of my life with!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Work Surprises Me

I found out yesterday that my whole group is being moved to a different manager's "stable". I'll no longer be matrixed to 2 people, and the new department manager is a man who I've respected since I met him 10 years ago. I'm actually happy to be part of his team.

Oh, and the immediate manager whom I was unintentionally, horribly rude to? He just gave me a holiday gift. It's a visa debit card for 25 bucks. I'm either relieved, or feeling even more guilty. It might be both.

I am not getting a damn wink of sleep tonight. Stupid holidays.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Today, on the radio, I heard the phrase "Christ on a pony!". That may even be better than my trademark exclamation, "Christ on a cracker".

What do you think?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Good Old Days

Ex-Russky spies can rest easy:

Russia does not murder spies any more: KGB veteran
"That was long ago. It belonged to the days of Stalin," Velichko told Die Welt newspaper. He was referring to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, who in the 1930s led a campaign of political persecution, repression and executions.
Nice to know that some stories of boogeymen aren't just made up to scare children. Wait - maybe that's not nice at all.

I'm going to think about that one for a while.

My favorite part of the headline, though, has to be the last bit: "any more".

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I Am Not Always Funny

Reading Blanton's and Ashton's today, I noticed that I have something in common with Jeff Greenfield, Senior CNN Analyst; I am not always funny.

Today I walked up to a table of bald managers and said, "hey, if I shave my head, can I sit here?"

Sometimes, I am an idiot who is mean when she doesn't mean to be.

Did I mention that one of them was my boss? The same boss who just gave me a low rating on "Shows respect for others"?

Yup. Idiot.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Monday, December 11, 2006

Writing It Down Doesn't Help

When you work at a Dunkin' Donuts drive through, you have a computerized cash register in front of you. When people order things, you press the appropriate button. Say it's a cup of coffee, you type the size, the flavor, if any, if they want whole milk, skim milk, cream or black, and what kind of sweetener, if any. It shows up on a screen so you can see what you punched in, and if it's correct. If it's a busy time of day, there are usually people working inside who then get the order together, based on what's on the screen. Simple! You barely need to be literate.

Today, I went to the Dunkin' Donuts drive through, and I asked for a medium hazelnut coffee with cream and 2 Splendas, and a large cinnamon coffee with cream and 3 Splendas. When I got to the window where you pay, I saw that the inside people were all familiar, experienced workers. They were the people who give me my coffee every morning, and I found that reassuring. Sure, the girl who took my order was new, but that's the easy part.

Later, when I went to take a sip of the medium coffee (this is what I drink on the hour-plus ride to work) I discovered no flavoring at all. Plain coffee! It was OK, but I was looking for the girly drink. Now, I'm at my desk, and sipping on the delicious large hazelnut coffee. This is not what I ordered. I can only come to the conclusion that the girl standing at that computerized cash register pushed the wrong buttons, and because she's actually functionally illiterate, she couldn't tell that the wrong words were coming up on the screen.

I have no choice but to blame the government's "no child left behind" program. I hear that nowadays they teach to the test, so if someone could please add the word "hazelnut" to the test, I think that would improve the quality of all of our lives. You know, while they're at it, I'd appreciate if they could add the word "latte", too. It's a new world we live in, they can just put these words in where they used to put "would you like fries with that?".

Friday, December 8, 2006

Fridays Aren't Supposed to Suck

I have finished all the work that I can complete without further input from people who are on vacation, and I snapped the wheel off of my chair. Crack, just split the plastic right down the middle. I picked the wheel up and saw that it's completely jammed up and unable to turn, hence the break. What's it jammed up with? My hair. Doesn't anyone ever vacuum here?

I cannot leave, so I'm stuck in my cubicle guest chair, and now I know that I shed more than a normal human. This is not a joyous day.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

I Haven't Said Anything In A While

It's a combination of reasons, really. I've been sick, I have a lot to do at work, and if I'm being honest with myself and all of you, I'm not sure how much more I really have to say.

Do I have to say that I fear our current administration and the fact that they've been treating the world like some game of Risk that they're actively trying to lose? Because seriously, you want to take any territory, you need a fuckload of troops, and that's the way it's always going to be. I think I'm talking about Risk, there.

Do I have to say that I'm appalled about people's attitudes towards repressing gay marriage or the "right to choose"? Look, civil marriage is civil marriage, and religious marriage is religious marriage. Religions can make up all the rules they want about who can and can't be married under their umbrellas, but civil services are supposed to be completely secular, and it seems to me that any two humans that tell me they're in love and want to make a family should go ahead and have a good time. And the right to choose? I'm totally talked out on that one. I have the same story, the same tag line: People who don't believe in abortions never have to have them, but for those of us who do think that they're a safe and effective way from bringing unwanted children into this world, they're essential. Having children is the most important thing most people ever do, it's important that it's a decision to do so, not a sentence.

I don't want to talk about Israel any more because it depresses me beyond reason. I think that the Jews should have a homeland, and I was pretty happy with Israel being that homeland, but the violence has worn down reason, and I don't think that anyone is the good guy any more. Too many people killing too many other people. The moral high ground has become a muddy morass of missiles flying in every direction, and no one can stand on it.

So there you go - in one post I've talked about the majority of my most important issues, and I can't see why I keep saying the same things over and over.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

What am I Thinking?

I'm thinking that I'm tired of "Regular Joe" speech from our president, and for once would to hear that someone is "Absolutely the correct person" instead of "Right Guy" for the job. Even if I don't think that person is correct for the job. Formality only seems stiff and unnecessary when it's over-done, and I actually miss it when it's NOWHERE.

I'm also thinking that men who call powerful women whores are scared of powerful women. At least they're not calling Nancy Pelosi a slut. That would just be idiotic. Why do insults directed at women inevitably end up directed right at her privates? Now that I've said that out loud, I wonder how many times I've called Bush a dickhead, and wonder if I should just be less sensitive. Huh. Probably not, we're probably all wrong, here. I'll put that on my list of things to work on: "Start calling people assholes instead of gender-specific insults". Got it.

And since I'm catching up at Shakespeare's Sister, now I'm thinking that America was NEVER a Christian nation. It was ALWAYS supposed to be secular. Do people think that Benjamin Franklin believed in god? Would someone with a fear of the all-powerful try to attract electricity from the sky? Of course not!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I Used to be a Good Writer

Lately I haven't had the time or the will to write the kind of essays that I used to. I used to spend time carefully crafting my paragrahs, espousing my opinion as clearly as I could. After a while, I realized that all of my major points had been made, but the world remains so stupid, in so many ways. Rather than make the effort to write something new, I think I'm just going to quote one of my old postings, because let me tell you, I'm re-reading them, and they really are pretty damn good.

From my review of the October 10, 2004 Presidential debate (written October 11,2004):
I don't think that religion has a single place in government policy. Don't give me any crap about the idea that morals aren't religion. Why the hell does the president get away with saying that destroying a life to save a life is wrong, when he sends our soldiers TO WAR? What, it's better to end a life at the 18-22 mark rather than the "not actually a viable organism" stage? An embryo that has never taken a step, or said a word, or learned ANYTHING is to be saved, but soldiers can be disposed of like paper plates? You know what? Anyone supporting this inconsistent position can bite me. Right on my big white behind.
See what I mean? Pithy!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Altrok's Rantcast: Melody Bar Refugees: A Reunion On The Horizon?

Altrok's Rantcast: Melody Bar Refugees: A Reunion On The Horizon?

OK, I'm just seeing how this works...

Rumors and Random Amusement

Rumors first: When I was younger I spent an evening or two at the Melody Bar in New Brunswick. I wasn't a regular, but I'm attached to many people who were. Today, I heard a rumor about a Melody Bar Redux, featuring a "certain bald DJ personality".

Next, random amusements. I like an internet quiz as much as the next gal, so I went for the "Which Tarot Card are You?" quiz. I went in knowing that I have one orange cat and one black one. Apparently, the quiz knew that as well:

You are The Devil

Materiality. Material Force. Material temptation; sometimes obsession
Check Spelling
The Devil is often a great card for business success; hard work and ambition.
Perhaps the most misunderstood of all the major arcana, the Devil is not really "Satan" at all, but Pan the half-goat nature god and/or Dionysius. These are gods of pleasure and abandon, of wild behavior and unbridled desires. This is a card about ambitions; it is also synonymous with temptation and addiction. On the flip side, however, the card can be a warning to someone who is too restrained, someone who never allows themselves to get passionate or messy or wild - or ambitious. This, too, is a form of enslavement. As a person, the Devil can stand for a man of money or erotic power, aggressive, controlling, or just persuasive. This is not to say a bad man, but certainly a powerful man who is hard to resist. The important thing is to remember that any chain is freely worn. In most cases, you are enslaved only because you allow it.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Why I'm All About Education

I've mentioned this before, but not recently.

Both my parents were school teachers. My late mother taught elementary school, and my dad taught high school math until he retired, at which point he started teaching college math part-time. So, in case you were wondering why I, a non-parent non-teacher spend so much time talking about education and the money we spend and waste on it, there's your reason - I was raised to it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I Get Harsh Comments!

Someone who gives no forwarding address has written (in response to a Barry comment below):
Save your breath BNJ. People like Tami NEVER express outrage at the politicians who squander our money here in Jersey. They only express outrage at the hardworking taxpayer when said taxpayer declines to be good little sheep and sign over even MORE of their hard earned money to the crooks in Trenton so they can fuck us over even more.

I am a lifelong Democrat for what it's worth. But any REAL democrat would be outraged by the way the Jersey government is screwing hardworking overtaxed families. Any so called "Democrat" who's not furious at the plight of the NJ taxpayer care only about the Democratic PARTY and has long since ceased to care about the ideals on which that party was based.
Hoboken Eddy

So nice to meet you Eddy, and so glad you jumped right in with assumptions about my outrage levels! Let me get this straight - you think that I don't care about overspending, misappropriation of funds, and outright stealing because I'm a good Democrat who toes the party line? Well thank you very much, I guess the things that I write about mean nothing at all. You know, things like hating corruption, wondering why the hell we have a million and a half school superintendants and speculating on construction projects that have no business taking place at all, forget taking place over 3 to ten years. Things like specific suggestions about combining the administrative work for small school districts so we can stop wasting all the damn money to have superintendants in every corner. Crap like that, which I am way to annoyed to even go find for you in my archives. The kind of thing that I write to my legislators about, because they're the ones who MAKE LAWS.

Understanding that debts incurred by corrupt politicians still need to be paid and wanting to avoid those kinds of stupid-ass debts in the future are two different issues. Guess separating them out in more than one post is too hard for some people to understand.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I Get Comments III

Barry, from Cynical Nation makes a point:

(I said)
> I've said over and over that someone has to pay the bills and that people should just suck it up...
(Barry said)
But what if the bills are unreasonably high, as a result of waste and mismanagement? Isn't that at all a cause of concern? Isn't it worth at least a complaint or a bitch or a grouse?

Of course it is! Of course we should bring up what we think is wrong, and what we think must be changed. Rail! Complain! Take action and suggest what you think could work instead! Make the future world a better place.

The thing is, making the future world a better place doesn't pay the bills that are due, today. If you let your brother use your credit card and he maxes it out in a month, those charges all have to be paid off no matter what you do to your brother.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Upstream, Red Team

First things first - Holy Crap, Rutgers beat Louisville! w00t, Rutgers!

I know I don't actually care about football, but when the college you graduated from is all over the news, you can't help but feeling kind of... good about it. Crazy!

Now, I don't care about Rutgers, but my dad does. Poor Dad, there he was this morning, all excited about his beloved team, the team he stands by year after year, who this year is actually giving him something back, when he hears the news about New Jersey property tax proposals. He did the math this morning. Seems that as a senior, he was getting a $1200 rebate from the state of New Jersey. Under the new plan, his rebate will be cancelled, and his taxes will be lowered $1040, for a net loss of $160. My dad has fallen through the cracks. To be truthful, we're actually thrilled that something's actually being done, but it would have been nice if it didn't cost him money.

I actually sighed out loud while I was writing that. I've said over and over that someone has to pay the bills and that people should just suck it up, so I guess that's what we're doing in my house. My dad, and me, the hypocrite who doesn't own the house and doesn't have to pay this tax, anyway.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Sense of Balance

The Dems Take the House.
Democrats picked up at least 28 seats, more than the 15 they needed to capture a majority in the House.
Will the Dems take the Seante, too? I don't know, but it doesn't seem as important to me as the whole concept that our government isn't a one-party party any more. Fight it out ladies and gentlemen, that's the way it's supposed to be.

I predict that the Senate will come out even, with 2 independents amongst the ranks. OK, the independents are kind of a gimme, since they already won, but I'm not exactly George Stephonoplis, here.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Election Day 2006

Finally! I am so completely sick of stupid stupid STUPID campaign ads.
I am going to vote after work. If you live in my town and don't know where you go to vote, here's a handy list: Somerset County Board of Elections (Franklin Township).

Friday, November 3, 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pilot of the Airwaves

I know a little about radios, and I'm sure I could learn more if I applied myself.

How much money do you think is in reading government RFID chips remotely?
The story seems simple enough. An outside privacy and security advisory committee to the Department of Homeland Security penned a tough report concluding the government should not use chips that can be read remotely in identification documents. But the report remains stuck in draft mode, even as new identification cards with the chips are being announced.
I mean, I know that selling government secrets to foreign agencies is treason and all, but who can resist a quick buck?

I, more than most people, understand the value of working around testing and reports to actually get some work done, but ignoring security warnings seems so... pig headed. Yes. That's the phrase I'm looking for. Maybe "deliberately wearing blinders" can be worked in - that's a good one, too.

Monday, October 30, 2006

An Email Conversation With a Friend

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, October 30, 2006 11:09 AM
To: Tami
Subject: meat

"If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside ... and the cats come to eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat's? The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred."
-- Sheik Taj Aldin al Hilali, Australia's subsequently-suspended-from-preaching top Islamic cleric, on immodestly dressed women


I suppose it's not his fault that he's been raised to be an ignorant, sexist f***pig. If a feminist comes along and kills him, is it the fault of the feminist, or the sexist f***pig?

You know what has to happen there? An outbreak of violent, same-sex rapes. When men like this are accosted sexually on the street, maybe they'll start to understand the inhumanity of it all.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sadness Near Me

Today I found out that the son of someone here at work was recently killed in action while on a tour of duty in Iraq. I don't really know the dad all that well, but my heart is breaking for him.

Last Saturday night I was the one at the party who made my gung-ho for war friends shut up. They were talking about military strategy, and I couldn't argue that their theories were sound of you want to win a war, but, I told them, I just couldn't get past the fact that every single soldier is a person, and they all have moms. I wouldn't want to be the mom of a soldier who died, it would break my heart. I'm sure I didn't change their minds, but at least they had the decency to stop sounding so bloodthirsty. I'm also sure that they went back to talking about it after I was gone.

I know that I'm a wuss, and that projecting my own emotions onto something so much bigger than just me is incredibly over-sensitive, but if you can't do that, if you can't imagine yourself in someone else's place, then you can't make the most informed decision. Understanding how war affects the people involved is a crucial part of whether or not war is worth it. Isn't it?

It should be.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Damn Straight!

New Jersey court recognizes same-sex unions

New Jersey is one of only five U.S. states with neither a law nor a state constitutional amendment blocking same-sex marriage. As a result, the state is more likely than others to allow gays to wed, said advocacy groups on both sides.
I, for one, will not be satisfied until gay marriage is legal, because I think the whole concept of it being illegal is stupid - and you know I hate stupid things. I've written about it before, and I still mean it.

Google Bomb

What can I say, I'm a joiner.

--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl

--AZ-01: Rick Renzi

--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth

--CA-04: John Doolittle

--CA-11: Richard Pombo

--CA-50: Brian Bilbray

--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave

--CO-05: Doug Lamborn

--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell

--CT-04: Christopher Shays

--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan

--FL-16: Joe Negron

--FL-22: Clay Shaw

--ID-01: Bill Sali

--IL-06: Peter Roskam

--IL-10: Mark Kirk

--IL-14: Dennis Hastert

--IN-02: Chris Chocola

--IN-08: John Hostettler

--IA-01: Mike Whalen

--KS-02: Jim Ryun

--KY-03: Anne Northup

--KY-04: Geoff Davis

--MD-Sen: Michael Steele

--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht

--MN-06: Michele Bachmann

--MO-Sen: Jim Talent

--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns

--NV-03: Jon Porter

--NH-02: Charlie Bass

--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson

--NM-01: Heather Wilson

--NY-03: Peter King

--NY-20: John Sweeney

--NY-26: Tom Reynolds

--NY-29: Randy Kuhl

--NC-08: Robin Hayes

--NC-11: Charles Taylor

--OH-01: Steve Chabot

--OH-02: Jean Schmidt

--OH-15: Deborah Pryce

--OH-18: Joy Padgett

--PA-04: Melissa Hart

--PA-07: Curt Weldon

--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick

--PA-10: Don Sherwood

--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee

--TN-Sen: Bob Corker

--VA-Sen: George Allen

--VA-10: Frank Wolf

--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick

--WA-08: Dave Reichert

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Party Lines

Republicans losing crucial swing voters: poll
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Independent voters overwhelmingly favor Democrats to take over the U.S. House of Representatives in the November 7 election and back them on major issues, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll said on Monday.
Ah, so the Democrats' day has come, has it? Know what I say to that?

So what.

I am sick and tired of people acting like political party affiliation equates with morality or honesty or integrity. It does not, people. The day that each voter sees that each candidate is an individual worth considering or discarding on only his/her merit, and merit alone will be the day that we have achieved the best government possible.

Until then, we're stuck with what we vote blindly in along party lines.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fair Weather Friends

I popped over to the Opinion Mill today, to catch up, and I found a bit about how Rutgers football is not the money maker people think it can/will be.

I come from a Rutgers family. Since the early 1900's (1910, maybe?), members of the Feller/Haimovitz/Yaches clan have been going to Rutgers. My dad, the biggest Rutgers fan of them all, counted the Rutgers attendees among us once; he stopped after 30 graduates. I have a late cousin who is rumored to be buried at the site of the new stadium (yeah, I know, it's not that new) because he loved Rutgers so much. Every time one of my family members, dead or alive, is mentioned in the Rutgers Alumni magazine, my dad shows it to me with glee.

Now, I'm not one of the clan who's been bitten by the Rutgers Loyalty Bug. I mean, I'm fine with the fact that I went there, it's a good school, but I don't really care whether the Rutgers teams win - at anything - or not. Now that they're winning, though, I find that way more people than I ever recall mentioning the teams before CARE. I've seen more than three scarlet "R" magnets on the backs of cars on route 287 in the past 3 days. I never saw any of them that weren't on campus or on my dad's car before.

Posers. Real fans show their allegiance even when the team sucks.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Random Thoughts for a Wednesday

This morning, I walked into my living room and found my cat on my couch - my velvet couch - doing the "I'm going to throw up" dance, which consists of shoulder hunching an gagging noises. I leapt into action, grabbed the cat, and held her over a plastic bag I grabbed out of a nearby wastebasket. The cat obligingly threw up right on to the bag (despite the fact that I could tell she didn't want to), and I was able to just scoop up the bag and re-throw it away, avoiding a much more disgusting clean-up job. I sat down on the un-violated couch and thought, "If only I could have done that with people who voted for Bush. The mess would be so much smaller with Gore".

No really, I actually thought that.

And, of course, I was riveted to Dancing With the Stars last night. Watched the whole Sara Evans interview, which was actually a little more candid than I expected, but still not exactly hard-hitting journalism. I noticed that she was sitting in a very reclined position with her hands linked across her stomach every single time her lower body was on camera. I'm telling you people, the announcement of a new baby is on the way.

Still don't know why I care, as I've never listened to a single one of her songs.

Monday, October 16, 2006

How Simple Are We

I was thinking, as I was reading "Faces that could launch thousands of votes - Will beauty gap swing the House?" that perhaps I would name it "Stupidest story of the day". I was remembering the episode of Laverne & Shirley where Laverne was being interviewed by a T.V. reporter about her opinion of the Nixon/JFK debate. Laverne focused mainly on how she liked JFK better because Nixon was altogether too sweaty. It was a joke, it was intended to make us laugh. How absurd, I thought, that someone would base their vote on looks alone!
"He is pretty good-looking," observed Paula Ferrin with admiration, as the 47-year-old district attorney worked the crowd at a local senior center.
"What we want is brains, honey," scolded her friend Rose Oliver.

"True," Ferrin answered, "but handsome doesn't hurt."
Ah. Handsome doesn't hurt. That's when I realized that there's a basic truth: humans are, by nature, shallow. Nothing like bright colors or shiny objects to catch our attention, whether or not the item in question can hold that attention. If marketing didn't work, people wouldn't have jobs doing it. So all right, I rescind my earlier declaration of "stupid". I do wonder, though, why I get email alerts about this, but not about, say, an earthquake in Oklahoma, or even one in Maine. (hat tip, Cookie Jill, who told me what MSNBC didn't.)

I pondered this for a little while, and then it came to me - our brains hit overload levels and beg for relief. That's got to be it. After thinking about North Korea and their "Nuclear tests" and Mark Foley liking much younger men (how polite a way to put it is that?), or about the national debt, that I care about my soap opera, I care about pop culture.

I'm avidly watching the gossip news about Sara Evans wondering when the heck someone besides me is going to say out loud that my goodness, that woman is pregnant! She just seems awfully thick in the waist to me for someone who's in the spotlight all the time, not to mention someone who's going through the physical rigors of learning ballroom dance. No one gets heavier around the middle during that.

I'm sure I lose points as an intellectual for caring about this crap.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

We're All Idiots

We're stupid about science, and we're stupid about politics.

If you personally are not stupid, then good, good for you. The rest of us, though, are just complete idiots.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Morality Has Left the Building

How the hell am I supposed to support any politician in this world when all the people who actually run for office seem to be hiding a seedy underside to their lives? I am equally as disgusted by the illicit conversations between Mark Foley and an underage page as I am by the inappropriate appointment of Golan Cipel by McGreevey. I could list dozens and dozens of infractions on both sides, but for brevity's sake, I'm going to stop with just these 2 examples.

Have I mentioned that I'm still stunned by the fact that McGreevey never got in any kind of real trouble for his shady dealings? As much as I don't think that your sexuality or your personal life really matters to me when you're a politician, anything you do that's illegal always does.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

When the wind blows and the rain feels cold
with a head full of snow

I read an interview of George Clooney a year or two ago in a doctor's office. I don't remember the magazine in which the interview was published, but I do remember Clooney said something I liked. He said, "Always do the right thing, because if you do, it won't come back and bite you on the ass."

Dennis Hastert and his fellow Republican Representatives didn't do the right thing and now it is biting them on the ass. It had to take a big bite to affect Hastert's position, because that's an awfully big ass, but covering up a sexual predator's attempts to seduce children seems to have taken a big enough bite to leave a mark.

The immediate response from Hastert and his co-conspirators in the cover-up has been to lie and deny, which is so typical in these situations it is a cliche. In this case there were just too many people involved in this scandal for it to remain quiet, the fall guys aren't taking the fall silently, and the crime is so dirty it is threatening to take a lot of folks down with it, folks who won't drown without grabbing at anything that looks like it might float, even if it means drowing someone else.

And that, dear Tamionians, is where today's revelations bring us.

Kirk Fordham, a former aide to disgraced ex-Representative Mark Foley (R-FL), who resigned "Wednesday amid allegations that he tried to protect Foley from congressional inquiries into his inappropriate contact with congressional pages" is not keeping his mouth shut and being a good little boy about all of this. Fordham says that he warned Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, about Foley's sexual predation three years ago. He says that Palmer talked to Foley about it.

Palmer and Hastert's spokesperson Ron Bonjean deny it.

Representatives Shimkus (R-IL) and Reynolds (R-NY) say they talked to Hastert about Foley's relationship with the pages in 2005 and Hastert says he doesn't remember those conversations.

We now have way too many denials from Hastert for his story to remain credible. It appears a lot of people were telling Hastert that there was a problem and Hastert is denying everything.

Although Fordham's story has changed at least once during all of this, it's not hard to see why. The cover-up habit is probably as hard to break as smoking if covering up worked at some point. My take is that Fordham realized he had nowhere to go with this if he didn't come clean, so now he's trying to redeem himself with truth. He's already lost his job and there's not much else to lose. What supports his story is, in fact, that Hastert is denying the statements of multiple people, all of whom said they talked to Hastert about the problem.

All of which comes back to what Clooney said. There were a number of people who didn't do the right thing here. Hastert and Fordham covered up Foley's behavior. Reynolds and Shimkus claim to have told Hastert about it and left it at that, but neither of them took any responsibility for it. It was like they said, "This is your problem, deal with it or don't." But if you see a crime being committed and you tell a cop, and the cop doesn't do anything, do you consider your responsibility to be over? Wouldn't you phone it in to the station if the cop did nothing? And Reynolds and Shimkus aren't just ordinary citizens. They are members of the House of Representatives. You expect a greater sense of responsibility and leadership from them. One of their own was preying upon high school kids. Hastert wasn't the only one who didn't do the right thing; several Representatives failed those kids, their parents, and their constitutents. They all deserve to be bitten on the ass for it.

(cross-posted from Blanton's and Ashton's, where cheese is more than a food; it's a way to touch the face of god.)

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Astrology Amusement

Today my horoscope amuses me:
You are a very knowledgeable person, TAMI. In general, women born under Sagittarius are staunch ideologists, and when this tendency is mixed with their more masculine side, it gives them a very black and white way of expressing their opinions. It's often as if what they are saying is always the God's honest truth. Today's celestial energy could help you to be a little more flexible and tolerant in your relations with other people.
Sure. I'll be more flexible and tolerant. As if. I am always amused, though, when part of my horoscope is actually accurate.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Morality Quiz Question

I think that the "terror" part of the word "terrorist" affects peoples brains in a much more dramatic way than they could ever expect. As an example of this effect, I pose the following question: who is more dangerous - a serial killer, or a suicide bomber?

Friday, September 29, 2006


In today's wapo:
...Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) issued a written statement on Wednesday declaring: "Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and 159 of her Democrat colleagues voted today in favor of MORE rights for terrorists."

GOP leaders continued such attacks after the wiretapping vote. "For the second time in just two days, House Democrats have voted to protect the rights of terrorists," Hastert said last night,...
Because the U.S. Congress is supposed to protect the rights of everyone, you asshole, even the people you don't like.

I am so sad - so very, very sad.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mind Still In The Gutter

Today I noticed the MSNBC headline, "Sen. Clinton Backs Husband in Terror Hunt Row"

Yes, that says "Row". As if anyone uses the word that way (definition three, for chrissakes), any more.

Anyway, you don't have to read the article to guess that it's about Sen. Clinton not-so-subtly slamming Secretary Rice regarding the infamous "Bin Laden determined to attack within the U.S." report.

Now, I could start thinking about if maybe trying to blame the whole mess on just one President, or one National Security Advisor is a little short-sighted, or I could think about how during the Clinton era, the news would occasional say "Bin Laden", but no one really listened, or I could think about a dozen other important things. Did I have these thoughts straightaway? No, I did not. In fact, my first thought was, Huh. Cat fight. I guess that Bill and Hillary actually still sleep together". Extrapolate from this thought that I obviously also believe deep down that Dr. Rice is sleeping with the President, and you're left with one more question:

What the hell is wrong with me?

I was going to leave it at that, just sit here and wonder if the soap operas are melting my mind, and then it came to me that the number of actual sex scandals in the world are legion. People do stupid things all the time for sex, they just do. So now, rejuvenated by the power of my suspicious and cynical mind, I feel kind of justified in my incredibly inappropriate assumptions.

Hey, thanks for listening!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Do You Like Tom Kean Jr.?

If so, is it because you just can't trust Menendez now that you know about him renting out that building in Union City? If that's the case, you should know about this BlueJersey article.
I have a question for you. What were you doing in February of 1996?

It was a month that saw yet another major snow storm hit New Jersey. Bill Clinton signed a telecom bill to widen competition and market access in cable television. Republicans were watching rightwing freakjob Pat Buchanan bury Bob Dole and Steve Forbes in the New Hampshire primary.

Kirsten Danis was writing an article [Page one, Page two] for the Jersey Journal revealing that then-Congressman Bob Menendez had approval from a House Ethics lawyer to rent his former business office to the North Hudson Community Action Corporation.
I'm not saying that you have to stop liking Kean, per se, I'm just saying you should probably base your decision on other factors. Like anything you find out for yourself and don't hear from any particular political party.

Yeah, I know, that takes effort, it'll never happen. Thought I'd try asking, anyway.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Final Soap Frontier

Lulu had an abortion (Monday, September 18th). For those of you who don't watch soap operas and don't feel like clicking the link, we're talking about "General Hospital" here, but that doesn't really matter.

For years, soap operas have been telling their viewers that abortions are legal, and they're safe, and they're a valid choice for a woman to make, if it makes more sense than bringing a baby into this world.

I'll tell you all right now up front: I'd be afraid to have go through with a pregnancy. Yes, afraid. Afraid that I'd do a terrible job raising a child, afraid that I'd go insane if I carried a child to term and then gave it up, afraid of what being adopted might do to the kid's psyche, and not least of all, afraid of what it would do to my rapidly aging, already messed-up body. I try to be responsible by never being irresponsible, if you get my drift. There are options in this world, and I use them.

So I cannot personally censure abortion for moral, or even religious reasons, what with my being Jewish. There are specific Jewish teachings about when a fetus becomes a person, and they conveniently tie in with what my own mind came up with before I went out and found them. I've written about this a lot, if you want to check.

Soap operas have been notoriously chicken about pissing off their pro-life viewers. I cannot imagine any other reason, when the characters on these shows routinely lie, cheat, steal, and kill all for our entertainment. And most of the time, especially if they're a lead character, they find some way to get away with it, and we're all supposed to forget that Miranda suffocated her ex-husband to death 3 years later when she's going to marry Desmond, the handsome pediatrician who 6 years ago was both blind and paralyzed, but is walking and fully-sighted today. Soap opera fans suspend their disbelief and their conceptions of right and wrong every day just so they can lose themselves in the story - the story which never, ever gets boring.

I've chatted about this topic with several friends, and none of them thought that Lulu would actually go through with it. Last minute change of heart, right there on the table, one said. Another suggested a miscarriage would take the decision out of everyone's hands. They were positive that a soap opera wouldn't "go there" and actually terminate a pregnancy, because it would generate lots and lots of hate mail and boycotts. Well, I've found a couple of discussion boards where there is indeed dissenting opinion, but I haven't heard the raging outcry that they were expecting. In fact, I see a lot more comments that this is a good issue to bring up, and that choice is important, and even that showing the repercussions of choice is important. Not that soap operas really do that.

So what does this all mean, what's my point? My point is that one of the cheesiest mainstream outlets for schlock watched by millions of people, every day tested a boundary. Someone actually went an had an abortion on a show viewed by roughly 5.2 million people, and no one mentioned it on the news. Perhaps the lack of outcry is because there's a lack of outrage; perhaps people are coming to their senses.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Arr, matey, sorry for the light blogging lately, but I've been preparing for the holiday.

Friday, September 15, 2006

And You Thought I Was the Moon and Stars!

I Am Wind

Strong and overpowering
A force to be reckoned with, no one dares cross you
You have the power to change everything around you

You are best known for: your wrath

Your dominant state: commanding

Granstanding Old Party

Republican members of the NJ State Senate have a new bug up their behinds - no candidate swaps during the final days of a campaign before an election. No later than 48 days, they say. I say, OK, fine! What's with you people?

They're still mad over the Torricelli/Lautenberg deal, I guess. I got news for you, people - Torricelli most likely could have beaten Forrester from a jail cell (Not that Torricelli went to jail for anything at all, mind you). It wasn't because of the last minute switch that Doug lost that one.

An excerpt from the Ledger article linked above is what made me stop and think that this isn't just legislation, it's also a neat opportunity to malign people needlessly!
"It is vitally important to the integrity of the election process to prevent cynical maneuvers to substitute duly nominated candidates and replace them with candidates approved by party bosses," Lance said at a Statehouse press conference.
Approved by party bosses? We're talking about Frank Lautenberg, right? Or are we talking about Robert Menendez being not acceptable to party bosses? When Junior's been talking about how corrupt Menendez is actually supposed to be? Are they accusing someone - anyone - of anything concrete?

This is nothing but a way to get controversial words into the heads of the voters with no real substance behind them. I hate that this method is so often effective.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My Hero

(also posted at skippy the bush kangaroo)

I know, I know, 9/11 was yesterday, I could have said something then, but I didn't really know for sure until today that Keith Olbermann is my blogtopian hero.
And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft,"or have "forgotten" the lessons of what happened here is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante and at worst, an idiot whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Moment of Silence

I've already read around the blogtopian block a bit this morning, and it's at the point where I'm holding back the tears. I had, for most of this year, forgotten how very very very sad 9/11 made me, and everyone around me. Nervous, anguished, determined, and so, so sad.

Right now, however, I remember as if it were yesterday, and so I'm going to observe a moment of silence. It's the least I can do.

Friday, September 8, 2006

I Have Eyes, You Know

Blondesense has a post today about how the government lied to all the rescue workers at Ground Zero and said that the air was perfectly safe to breathe:
UPDATE: Check this bogus shit out. Christie Whitman the EPA chief on 9/111/01 had assured NY that the air was safe. Now she says she didn't say that and it was the city's fault. May they all go straight to hell Check it out.
From that article:
"We didn't have the authority to do that enforcement, but we communicated to the people who did," Whitman says in the interview with Katie Couric.
Oh, my freakin' god, you lying, deceitful hag.

I was riveted by everything that was going on at the time, riveted. Like everyone else, I'm sure, I remember exactly where I was when I heard about the first plane, and when I watched the towers fall on television I was horrified. I live about 30 miles from NYC and I could smell the new burnt smells. I could taste the faint trace of dust when I spoke. Everyone with allergies got bronchitis. Everyone without allergies knew that the air wasn't quite right. We all could tell these things, and there, in the middle of it all, on TV, for Christ's sake, was Christy Whitman, spewing the falsities for all of us to hear.

"It's safe", she said, "There's no need to panic. The rescue workers are perfectly safe in there. The people sifting through the rubble are fine".
She was quoted in Newsday on Sept. 15, 2001, as saying, "There is no reason for concern," referring to asbestos measurements at Ground Zero and elsewhere in lower Manhattan. And on Sept. 16, she said, "New York is safe."
And I knew at that moment that Christy had sold her soul and wasn't ever going to get it back.

Back to the Cheese!

Do you know enough about cheese? From
Serving and Storage Tips

* Unpasteurised cheese with a range of flavours should not be sliced until purchase otherwise it will start to lose its subtlety and aroma.
* Keep the cheese in conditions in which it matures. Hard, semi-hard and semi-soft cheeses are stored in the temperatures from around 8 - 13 C.
* Keep the cheese wrapped in the waxed paper and place it in a loose-fitting food-bag not to lose humidity and maintain the circulation of air.
* Wrap blue cheeses all over as mould spores spread readily not only to other cheeses but also to everything near.
* Chilled cheeses should be taken out of the refrigerator one and a half or two hours before serving.
* Cheeses contain living organisms that must not be cut off from air, yet it is important not to let a cheese dry out.
* Do not store cheese with other strong-smelling foods. As a cheese breathes it will absorb other aromas and may spoil.
* Wrap soft cheeses loosely. Use waxed or greaseproof paper rather than cling film.
* Let cold cheese warm up for about half an hour before eating to allow the flavour and aroma to develop.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

I Need Some Good News

And I need good news that isn't crap, like "the price of gas has fallen back down to $2.53 on Route 1 North in Edison" (although that's true).

No, I want good hard news. News like this:
Cancer deaths fall, new diagnoses stable
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Death rates from cancer have continued to drop in the United States, with Hispanics showing lower-than-average rates of most cancers, according to the latest statistics published on Wednesday.
All right, I admit, the number of diagnosed cases of cancer hasn't gone down one whit from last year, but fewer people died from it. That's good news to me. I credit science. Go science!

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

I Still Notice the Disconnect

Israeli air strike, commandos kill 3 Palestinians
GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli forces killed three Palestinians, at least one of them a militant, during separate operations in the Gaza Strip and West Bank on Wednesday, witnesses said.
All right, I'm reading along, there seems to be some dispute about whether the man was a militant or not, I get it. Then, though, then I come across this line:
During the offensive, at least 208 Palestinians have been killed, about half of them civilians.
I was momentarily confused. Why is it so important that half of them are civilians? Aren't all war fatalities of equally terrible import? And that's when it hit me: Americans still don't know what it's like to live with war. I've said it before, but it's still true. No one runs through our streets with guns because they're from another country and they're here to kill us for being American. We've got it all sorted out in our heads that in war, only soldiers get killed, and killing the civilians makes an army the Bad Guy.

How I wish that it were true that casualties could somehow be limited to those who had signed on to be part of a war - hell, I still wish there was no war. This is just a wish, though, people. Anyone in a war zone can be killed, on purpose or by accident. There are bombs and guns there. When a neighborhood is suddenly deemed to be a war zone, people who couldn't or wouldn't get out are now in danger of being killed, whether or not they're soldiers. Thinking that civilian casualties can be avoided is delusional.

War is terrible, people, for everyone involved, not just the soldiers. As Americans, we're all just lucky that land war against us is geographically improbable.

Make the connection.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Some Random Thoughts

I have a referral to go see a specialist. I had 3 choices, and all 3 were Jewish. I just live in an area with a lot of Jews.

My father lectures me on the same stuff over and over again. The man hardly ever has conversations, he just warms up to a topic and starts lecturing. These days the repeat track is how people are crying that pension plans in New Jersey cost too much, and they're one of the causes of our high real estate taxes. His points:
  • Only allowing people to take one state job doesn't lower pension spending, because those jobs would just be filled with other people, so the money spent is the same

  • Lowering the amount of money spent on pensions wouldn't affect property taxes anyway, because property taxes aren't set by the state, they're set by individual municipalities.
I tell him that lowering the amount spent on pensions could possibly, indirectly affect property taxes, if - IF - the money saved was then distributed as state aid to the municipalities, thereby lowering the amount that they need to collect from the residents. I tell him that, but I don't really believe that it will ever work that way.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Most Bigoted Thing I'll Ever Say

Medical practices blend health and faith
...The center is one of a small but growing number of practices around the country that tailor the care they provide to the religious beliefs of their doctors, shunning birth-control and morning-after pills, IUDs and other contraceptive devices, sterilizations, and abortions, as well as in vitro fertilization. Instead, doctors offer "natural family planning" -- teaching couples to monitor a woman's temperature and other bodily signals to time intercourse.
Well, then. While I'm not opposed to people being able to practice their religions, I'm certainly opposed to people putting their religious beliefs on to me.

Looks like I'm sticking to Jewish doctors, I guess.
(Yes, that was the bigoted thing, in case you missed it)

I also thought this was fairly moronic:
"What happens is a patient says to her doctor, 'I don't want an abortion. I don't want to go on birth-control pills. I don't want to create 10 embryos and kill eight of them to have a baby,' " said Thomas W. Hilgers, who started the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha to do research in this area, offer patients alternatives and train doctors. "They end up getting ridiculed or told they are stupid."
I have *never* heard of a case where a patient didn't want birth control, abortion, or artificial insemination and because of that, their doctor said that they were stupid. If that is indeed happening, then I agree, those doctors are wrong. Choice is choice, and if you choose to live your reproductive life in a religious manner, that's your business. The thing is, choice is still choice for everyone, and if you choose to not live that way, then the full range of medical options should be available to you.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

More Useless Filler

Yes, more useless filler while my actual job makes actual demands on me.

Today, my weirdest referrer was this Google search:

"hurts to swallow white spots".

Apparently, when you've got strep throat, I'm the seventh most useful place to go for answers.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Christ on a Cracker.

Well, the Klimt exhibit was very cool, but coming back to work isn't. Of course major changes happen whenever I'm away, and there's been a re-org of my whole department. My immediate boss isn't my boss any more, but the person who insists that I work a million miles from my home is still at the top of the pyramid.

I must attend many meetings, now, to find out how exactly my job will not change at all. Honestly, I think this is the 4th department I'll be in while doing the exact same projects. Plus ca change...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Day Off

Today I have taken the day off so that I can go to the Neue Galerie and look at the Klimt exhibit.

I'm kind of stoked about it.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Company You Keep

Feminists And Islamists

Matt Drachenberg makes an excellent point:
A funny, ironical, thing happened during the anti-Israel, er anti-war, protests in Britain: feminists were protesting against Israel, er against the war, side-by-side with... Muslim extremists.

This, of course, is so ironical because Muslim extremists are feminists' natural enemy. Somehow, though, those feminists chanting against the war, didn't understand that, or, perhaps better said, weren't willing to understand that.

Maybe when one looks at all the reasons there are for taking up a cause - and certainly, I understand protesting against war - perhaps one should look also at the reasons to not take it up at this particular time. The enemy of my enemy is my friend? Not so much in this case. No matter what the cause, you will never find me standing on the same side as someone who holds up a sign that says, "We're all Hezbollah, Now".

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Today In My Email

I got an email claiming that my order for Canadian drugs was confirmed and on its way, and one email from my actual prescription plan telling me that my real, I-actually-ordered it drug order was confirmed and on its way.

It's not too often that my Spam matches my real mail so well!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Personal Is Still Political

Hat tip to Sharon GR of BlueJersey and The Center of New Jersey Life.

Some of the lowest points of my life have been at funerals. Dealing with a sense of loss, trying to wrap your head around the new order of who is and isn't there any more, it's a lot. The last thing anyone should be doing at a funeral is protesting - even the most unprincipled felon came into the world as someone's child. This is why I'm glad that a bill was signed into law here in NJ yesterday that would keep protesters back at least 500 feet. Yes, it's a free country, and we can protest if we want to, but we should be allowed to grieve without physical harassment when we need to, as well.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Is "Debby Does Cape Verde" Too Obvious?

Hello, I'm back from vacation, all tanned and rested and more determined than ever to win the lottery!

I've returned just in time to preach gloom and doom, old-school. Tropical depressions lead to tropical storms, and nothing says doom like catastrophic weather.
At 8 a.m. EDT, the depression that formed Monday was centered 130 miles south-southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde and was moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph.

The storm had maximum sustained winds near 35 mph, 4 mph below the threshold for a tropical storm and well below hurricane strength of 74 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. But it was expected to become a tropical storm by Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Pluto Position Plagues Prague

(This was originally posted on August 15 at Blanton's and Ashton's. It is the first of two postings on the subject of the conference of the International Astronomical Union.)

Scientists are meeting in Prague to decide whether Pluto should continue to be designated as a planet or be downgraded to something like "that asteroid named after the Disney character". Okay, so maybe this doesn't matter to you, but to Plutologists, this is their entire life's work on the line. About half of the scientists say it should remain a planet while the other half say it should be considered an asteroid. I am sure there is a joke in there somewhere about "a third half of the scientists say", but I'll leave that for the physicists to work out.

Delegates from the Plutonian delegation could not be reached for comment.

The deliberation is part of the 12-day conference of the International Astronomical Union, or "IAU", as we acronymists like to call it. In addition to the fate of Pluto, the Union will decide whether to go on strike for bigger planets, longer breaks between comets, and an "asteroid-sharing plan" that would allow the members to participate in asteroids that are developed as a result of their efforts. When viewed through a telescope, by the way, the meeting looks like this:A team of scientists are now studying this picture to try and determine whether there is water in Prague. Their efforts are being hampered by the fact that none of them speak Czech. NASA is applying for funding to mount a mission to send probes to Prague to gather further information.

Fall into my orbit, chilluns: NEW PLANETS!

(I am reposting these from Blanton's and Ashton's. This was the second of the two pieces I wrote. This one was posted today, August 16.)

You all thought I was just posting a throwaway piece yesterday when I wrote about Pluto and the International Astronomical Union. Ha! This should teach you not to take me lightly. I was on top of the story of the day. A committee of the IAU has proposed that not only will Pluto remain a planet, but three large pieces of space detritus (look it up) may become new planets. After all those years of painstakingly memorizing the nine planets in our solar system in order (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto), you'll have to memorize three more. And the names are real dillies, let me tell you.

2003 UB313, the farthest-known object in the solar system and nicknamed "Xena, Warrior Planet"; Pluto's largest moon, Charon, named for the ferryman who takes the dead to Hades in Greek mythology; and the asteroid Ceres, which was a planet in the 1800s before it got demoted, could all become planets if the proposal is accepted. Of these, 2003 UB313 is my favorite name for a planet. It's like when they started naming cars "ES 300" and stuff like that instead of "Phaeton". Completely lacking in romance or personality, bled of all warmth, planets can become big hunks of matter circling some other big hunk of matter. If you want to ensure that few people become astronomers, name the planets with letters and numbers.

I mentioned the planetary additions to my co-worker just now and her response was perfect. "Yeah, I heard they were thinking of adding three new planets. You can do that? You can just add three new planets just like that?"


Monday, August 14, 2006

Beat this woman to a pulp (figuratively, of course)

Until I ran across this post (on Memeorandum) from one Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey (can you possibly have any more names that don't involve saints?) I had never heard of the woman. When I finished reading it, I wanted to hit her with a half-brick in a sock. I'l fully admit that I've not done enough personally to alleviate the gender gap in our society... hell, I'm sure I'm far behind the curve. But if there was ever an example of women out there who just make men want to say, "Why bother ever getting married if THIS is what I'm going to get" this is your girl.

I’m not looking for a new boyfriend right now but it seems I should clarify what it is I look for in a man when I am, which will hopefully stem the flow of offers from guys who really don’t have it.

I am a very high-quality woman. I know that sounds arrogant, but let’s consider the facts:

  • I’m slim (whereas 62% of American women age 20 to 74 are overweight)
  • I’m attractive (my new picture has been rated more attractive than 86% of the women on Hot or Not -- and the women who upload their pictures are a self-selected sample that is probably already biased towards being more attractive than the general female population)
  • I’m relatively young (whereas 82% of American adult women are over 30 years old)
  • I’m intelligent (IQ tested at 145 when I was a child, which is 3 standard deviations above the mean -- higher than 99.85% of the population. Even if I’ve gotten dumber as I’ve aged I’m probably still at least a 130, which is higher than 97.5% of the population.)
  • I’m educated (whereas 77% of American women do not have bachelor’s degrees)
  • I have my financial shit together (no debt, perfect credit history, 6+ months living expenses saved, adequate insurance, self employed)
  • I have a strong libido and love having sex (my lover *never* has to beg, unless it’s for me to let him get some sleep!)
  • Most of my interests tend to be more popular with men than women: science fiction, libertarianism, blogging, politics, economics, guns, gambling, etc.

Given that self-improvement is an ongoing project of mine this list will continue to grow (I’m currently working on adding bilingual, very physically fit, well-traveled, higher income, and fantastic cook to the list). So even when “relatively young” (an important criteria for most men) drops off that list, I should have added enough other things that my overall dating market value should remain the same or even improve.

She felt a need to top this off with some advice for men who don't qualify to date her.

I realize that some of you will find this post depressing because you’ll realize that you don’t qualify as a high quality man and thus won’t be able to get a high quality woman. You have a few options:

  1. Lower your standards and stop pursuing women who are out of your league. There are lots of fat single mothers out there who can’t find dates either.
  2. Look in the developing world. If you’re literate with a home computer and an internet connection you are very wealthy compared to the rest of the world. Citizenship or legal permanent residency in a rich country makes you more attractive to women in poorer countries. Your value on the dating market is thus much higher there.
  3. Self-improvement! I used to be a fat unattractive college dropout who couldn’t get her life together. Now I’m thin, attractive, and successfully self-employed after graduating. You can make yourself over into a higher-quality man capable of winning a higher-quality woman too.

Thanks to everyone who e-mailed or commented their offers, it's nice to feel wanted. Although I'm not looking for a new relationship right now (don't worry, I'll blog about it when I am), hopefully this post gave those of you who are interested a better idea of your chances in the future.

I'd go into this further, but I think I'll leave you with the opportunity to stop by and let her know just how high quality she is.

Ceasefire agreement in effect

I'm sure Tami would want me to tell you all what you already know. The ceasefire agreement between Israel and the terrorist organization Hezbollah went into effect at 8 AM their time. They are about 7 hours ahead of us, so must of you were probably sleeping quietly when it took effect. There were reports of some forces firing upon others, but no major outbreaks of renewed conflict.

The wider conflagration that some analysts said would break out in the region never materialized. So much for all those traditional media analysts. Probably the same ones that told us about the WMDs in Iraq.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Seek and Ye Shall Be Found

If you've got the mental horsepower required to fire up a computer and read this blog I probably don't need to tell you that electronic privacy is an issue of growing concern to users of "the internets" all over the world. But it's not just jihadists meeting up in chat rooms trying to decide which cow to blow up next in North Dakota who need to be worried. The folks who run the most popular search engines keep an alarming stack of records covering every web search that you do. Recently AOL royally screwed the pooch by releasing a batch of search information on the web. It turns out it wasn't hard at all to trace that information back and identify the people doing the searching.
Buried in a list of 20 million Web search queries collected by AOL and recently released on the Internet is user No. 4417749. The number was assigned by the company to protect the searcher'’s anonymity, but it was not much of a shield.

No. 4417749 conducted hundreds of searches over a three-month period on topics ranging from "“numb fingers"” to "“60 single men"” to "“dog that urinates on everything."

And search by search, click by click, the identity of AOL user No. 4417749 became easier to discern. There are queries for "“landscapers in Lilburn, Ga,"” several people with the last name Arnold and "“homes sold in shadow lake subdivision gwinnett county georgia."

It did not take much investigating to follow that data trail to Thelma Arnold, a 62-year-old widow who lives in Lilburn, Ga., frequently researches her friends'’ medical ailments and loves her three dogs.
I particularly enjoyed the caption to the picture of Thelma accompanying the linked article:
Thelma Arnold'’s identity was betrayed by AOL records of her Web searches, like ones for her dog, Dudley, who clearly has a problem.
We can all get a good chuckle out of poor Thelma's situation, and Dudley's propensity for peeing. However, stop for a moment and think about everything you may have searched for in the last three months. What if you recently found out that you have an embarassing medical condition and you were seeking information on it. Is that the sort of thing you'd want your friends or even your employer to know? Even worse, what if the information was for a friend but people saw it and just assumed it applied to you?

Maybe you were searching for information on known pedophiles and sex offenders in your area because you were concerned for your children's safety, but the search engine also returned some links to kiddy porn? Want that showing up on the six o'clock news on your local CBS affiliate?

We are living in an era where the current administration knows no shame or hesitation in collecting all manner of private information about us in the name of the "war on terror." I think we need to ask ourselves if we really want the search engine companies storing and compiling this information at all. What use does it serve the public? And by simply having irepresentists reprsent the fruit of temptation to a government with an appetite that is never sated.

Be careful what you search for. Whether you find it or not, somebody else may find it even more interesting than you.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Bob Ney Drops Out of Ohio Race

How did I miss it? After all my postings on Bob Ney, former chairman of the House Administration Committee and "Representative Number One" in the Abramoff indictment, after spending months making sure to check for Bob Ney news on the Internet every week, how did I miss the news that Bob Ney has dropped his re-election bid this year?

It's always like this, you know. You have to wonder how they think they can get away with it for so long, but then they are so accustomed, some of these guys, to slinging bologna at the public and being believed that they can't stop themselves. They think they can get away with anything. Tom Delay is a case in point. Now Ney has dropped out of the race.

Buh-bye, Bob Ney. To me you will always be the guy who hung HR 550 up in committee rather than permit the United States to hold honest elections.

Congressman Ehlers? Let's get that legislation moving, sir. Time is a-wastin'. As a physicist, you must understand how much energy needs to be applied to the legislation to move it from committee to the floor. Apply it, sir, and get your committee applying it, too. The bill currently has 206 co-sponsors. It hardly needs many more votes than those of its co-sponsors to pass.

Tarentaise is an aged raw milk cheese of the Tarentaise Valley in the Savoie region of the French Alps. Traditionally, tarentaise cheese is made in a copper vat. The cheese is smooth-textured, subtly nut-flavored and naturally rinded. Tarentaise is a good melting cheese.

(Cross-posted at Blanton's and Ashton's)

Monday, August 7, 2006

Please allow me to introduce myself...

I posted already (see below), but now I realize I should have introduced myself first. I'm a blogger and friend of Tami's. I blog as DBK. Last year, I asked Tami to be a contributor at my usual hangout, Blanton's and Ashton's and she agreed. As a reward for giving her posting privileges at B and A, Tami asked me to guest blog here at her joint while she is away. Which I am doing.

How do ya like me so far?

I tend to post about all things political as well as all things...well, all things, really.

I may even do some cheese blogging since I am a fromage-o-phile. Maybe you heard about my trip to France. Or the visit I made some years ago to the organic goat farm and cheese factory in California. Or perhaps you know me from my many guest appearances on "Silvio's Big Hamper of Cheese", where I played the spelunker with a taste for tarentaise. Or maybe you have never heard of me at all, which is just as well. It's all good, except for that cheese with the volcanic ash on the rind because that wasn't nearly as good as it was exotic, and exotic isn't necessarily good. Okay, so maybe it isn't all good after all.

I hear they made a movie of Tristram Shandy. Has anybody seen it? What did you think of it?

Who is Carol Gay?

Where is Major Owens?

Waiter, what's that gun doing in my soup?

On Dawn Patrol with Superman's girlfriend

Run, run, run as fast as you can...
Lucky podcast number 13 is available at Bluejersey (click the link atthe top-center of the page). It's an interview with Democratic candidate for Congress Carol Gay. She's running against popular incumbent Chris Smith. With all the anger against Congress these days, incumbents remain popular and even if Democrats gain control of both houses, it won't really represent a great deal of change in terms of percentages. There are 435 members of the House of Representatives and it will only take a flip of, I think it is, 15 members overall from Republican to Democrat to change the party in control. The other 420 can stay exactly the same. In the Senate, I think it will require a change of only six members from Republican to Democrat to change the majority. That would leave 94% unchanged. The Kremlin in 1954 would have admired our electoral system for the way in which power is retained by a small number of people.

Is that an oligarchy in your pants or are you just glad to serve me?

Sharon GR does a great job with her interview (again, the link is top-center) and I hope you'll all give it a listen.

This is ground control to Major Owens...
From the tip box comes the news that Major Owens is expected to campaign for Ned Lamont in Connecticut. With the Connecticut primary vote tomorrow, blogtopia is salivating at the prospect of challenger Ned Lamont (okay, so he's another rich white guy, like all the other rich white guys, but he's at least on the right side of the issues) knocking off Bush-kisser Joe Lieberman. Congressman Major Owens coming in to help out Lamont's campaign is a huge victory, as it puts a Democratic Party incumbent in Congress in Lamont's corner. Democratic Party faithful have been sticking to Joe Lieberman like snot to a doorknob, but they have stopped short of saying they would stick to him if he Joe lost the primary and ran as a third-party candidate. It's a big deal that a Democratic Party and member of Congress is standing with Lamont. The rumor that Cory Booker, the newly minted Mayor of Newark, New Jersey is going to campaign for Lieberman appears to be just a rumor.

Ten pounds of flour and a .45...
I'm sure you get a lot of odd email. Ads for cheap Canadian Viagra manage to ooze past my spam-filter and into my mailbox all the time, along with intriguing offers to help exiled Nigerian princes retrieve their ten million dollar fortunes (if I had a nickel for every exiled Nigerian prince I tried to help out...)

Today's intriguing email was a tip that was dropped into the Bluejersey "tipbox", as follows:
At approximately 630pm on august 4th a 32 cal handgun was found inside the New Jersey State prison in Trenton, NJ. This weapon was found in the North compound in unit 4c hidden in the unit pantry with one thirteen round clip/magazine.The prison is now on lockdown!
The gang at Bluejersey isn't quite sure what to make of that tip, especially since it isn't really Bluejersey-style material (crime reporting is not what Bluejersey is about, unless it is political crime). Besides, already reported this one yesterday. Still, it's nice to know that blogtopia can get in on the mainstream news tips. And while Bluejersey may not be interested in reporting this sort of thing, this is Blanton's and Ashton's; the editorial board at Blanton's and Ashton's is up for practically anything.

Unless it's dangerous or smells bad.

And they're off...
8 AM, Saturday, August 5 and I can't believe I got up so early on a Saturday to be here. Laurie Lane, whom I suspect changed her name from "Lois" to help her career, is yelling at me through a loudspeaker. I am surrounded by dozens of children between the ages of 3 and 10, all accompanied by responsible adults whom I would like to strangle for bringing children between the ages of 3 and 10 within a hundred yards of me at 8 AM on a Saturday morning when they ought to be eating crunchy, sugary cereals and watching cartoons and disturbing someone else's's the Dawn Patrol at Monmouth Park.

Monmouth Park is a fine, old New Jersey racetrack and tomorrow (well, yesterday, now, since I am posting this on Monday) is The Haskell Invitational, one of the most prestigious horse races in the country. The Dawn Patrol is an early morning event that takes visitors behind the scenes. Our guide, the attractive and competent Ms Lane, walks us through the jockey room, then by tram to the stables (where the junior members of our party feed forty or fifty pounds of carrots to a soon-to-be-sick-to-his-stomach retired racehorse), up to the starting gate to watch novice racehorses practice their gate skills, and back to the clubhouse.

At the clubhouse, we receive a promised breakfast consisting of juice, coffee, and donuts (I hate donuts, folks...little blobs of grease and sugar are not breakfast; they're a new addition on your future cardilogist's house). We also receive a brief talk about ReRun Inc., an organization that rescues retired race horses. I now proudly wear a ReRun baseball hat. I like horses.

Later, Mrs DBK, a friend of ours, and I attend the races, where I win $94 dollars on a win and exacta bet, which allows me to break even for the day. We get out of Dodge before the tenth race to avoid traffic.

If you're looking for some wholesome Saturday morning entertainment for the kiddies, you could do worse than the Dawn Patrol. And you'll be entertained at least by the jockey's boots.

How do they do such fantastic stunts with such little feet?!

(Cross-posted with permission of the owner from Blanton's and Ashton's, where the cheese always smells like sweatsocks.)

Friday, August 4, 2006

I don't live in Jersey anymore...

... but I do play a Jersian on television.

Just thought I would check in and let you all know that during Tami's absence I will be attempting to amuse and delight you with my thoughtful prose once again. Of course, I had to agree to a gag order not to talk about a whole bunch of subjects, chiefly the growing threat of mutant albino alligators in the Newark sewer system, but ... mfffmff mffmmfmf mfmfmffmfmf!!!!! #(*&$


Actually, due to an accounting error with PayPal and some problems with the support folks at PowerBlogs, my own Blog (Running Scared) is temporarily shut down, so I can only blog here and at Middle Earth Journal anyway. But lately, I haven't been doing much political blogging. Actually, I've moved into amateur filmmaking to take up my days. So before I leave you to ponder what I'll write about here, I'll leave you with a link to my latest short film. It's an experiment in cloning. Just hit the green play button to watch it.

Talk at ya soon, oh devotees of the The True One.

Least In Sight

So, you think my posting has been light this past two weeks? Just wait, my friends, just wait. Tomorrow, I go away until the 20th, and I'm going where there ain't no internet access.

Actually, I kind of think that blogging while on vacation negates some of the relaxation that I'm there for in the first place.

I'll miss you all, but when I come back, I'll have gotten some sleep, and I'll be way less cranky. Perhaps I'll even be able to write about stuff without getting quite so morose and/or violent.

I don't want to leave you guys with nothing to read, though, so Jazz and DBK, two of my favorite bloggers have kindly agreed to pop in every now and again and post for me.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Friday, July 28, 2006

Observations on Body Image and Insanity

I read "Cathy" - you know, the comic strip. This week Irving is having an image crisis, because he's sure that he's fat and that everyone last week was staring at his stomach in his bathing suit. Cathy assured him that they've always stared at his stomach. That didn't help.

I also am a member of eDiets. I have 2 boards I'm a member on, and last week a friend of mine wrote a long post about how she'll never be a size 6,and is any of the denial even worth it.

Today, I was reading Poor Impulse Control, and Tata mentions wanting to be a size 2, and that she's sure that she'll achieve this goal just one year after her death.

What I noticed was the difference in goals. Irving wants to be "ripped", my eDiets friend is despairing over a number, and Tata goes out of her way to insist that she's looking for good health above all, but you can tell that she has to remind herself of this constantly.

I do want to be healthier, it's true. Not that I have as many problems as I could; I have normal blood pressure and good cholesterol levels, but there's plenty of issues abounding. As much as I want to be a healthy body, though, there's always that part of my brain that assigns value to the random numbers assigned by the fashion industry. This has been, recently, a predominantly female issue. According to "Cathy", this is now happening more and more to men, as well. What are we going to be like if we're all crazy obsessed about how we look? I can tell you now, we are not going to be universally hot.

This could get *actually* ugly.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Because I'm Jewish

I have an email in my inbox from the American Zionist Movement (am I a member of that? I don't even know) advertising an "Israeli fact-finding trip" from August 7-9, for just 1600 dollars or so, including airfare.

Now, I'm pretty intrepid, and I absolutely support Israel, but I'm not walking in to the middle of a war on purpose. No one needs me there. It is amazing that these groups would ask it of us. Don't be fooled, this isn't a volunteer mission for soldiers or aid workers, this is just a "meet and greet" with some "Israeli leaders". Could anything seem any more elitist and ignorant? Deliberately obtuse?

Today my opinion of the war is (and remember, it changes pretty much every damn day):

I wish that Israel wasn't holding back. A half-assed war will give them only death for death's sake, and no political gain. Innocent people are already dead as a result of bombing areas where Hezbollah has been headquartered; to have them die for something that amounts to a fruitless vanity charge would be more tragic than even I can support. War has already started, I cannot change that. Since this is true, I want Israel to abandon the small-unit ground force idea that obviously is not effective and just win.

I know, I know, if they do, then who's going to actually be the "peace-keeping force" in that mile-and-a-half buffer zone Israel keeps talking about? I have no idea.

You know, a lot of times, I start writing this stuff down, and as I go, my ideas become clear, and I re-write, and I edit, and I come up with something cohesive and coherent. When it comes to this stuff, though, that just isn't happening. I'm no help, here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Backwards Americans

With all that's going on in the world today, perhaps you haven't had time to notice that there's a new version of Monopoly available in the United Kingdom.
The new card, which resembles a debit card, is inserted into a small plastic reader/writer that can display and update the balance on the card. Traditional money is gone altogether, though purists can still purchase the original version. Visa's partnership with Parker Bros. seems designed to bolster the belief that using paper money is baffling and insecure.
Now, maybe you think this is cool, or maybe you're all up in arms, because you like your games exactly as you left them when you were a child, thank you very much. Well, no worries:
No word on when the debit card version will reach US shores.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Monday, Busy, High Pressure

I have a headache. Anyone else have a headache, too?

Been reading pro and anti-Israeli opinions about the current violence. I'm still anti-violence (in theory, sometimes my patience snaps, as you all know). I feel like I'm losing a battle with myself.

Still, I haven't punched anyone in years, and I've never shot anyone, so maybe I'm doing all right on a personal non-violence level.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Pressed For Time

Sorry, other stuff is interfering with my blogging time.

I'd love to tell you about cheese, since it's Friday, but I'm in a rush. This week I had a fabulous combination of chevre with apricot jam that made me realize once again why expensive cheese is worth it.

Before I go, I must tell you that I've learned a new word from Jill at B@B: Kitler.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I'm of Two Minds

First things first - killing people is bad. When I read that a 16-year-old is among the latest casualties, I'm obviously upset by it. Of course I am, I have a heart. I had a conversation with my 17-year-old cousin just yesterday, and if he were killed by a tank, I'd be devastated.

Next, though, next comes common sense. If my 17-year-old cousin were living in a settlement near a location that was launching missiles over the border into another country, I can't say that I'd be surprised if he got killed by a tank.

Living near violence is dangerous. Purposefully moving to a turbulent area is either brave or stupid, but it's also always dangerous.

I'm still all torn up about this. What I'd like to happen - that all parties just stop shooting each other and start focusing on the lives they have on the land they have - is a naive dream. Admitting this is true, and being as opposed to war as I am, I can't say what I think should be the strategy.

When I boil down my feelings to the bare bones, I want there to be an Israel, and I want it to be a Jewish homeland. Knowing that, I suppose in the end I'm going to support whichever method seems to be most effective at accomplishing this goal.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

History Repeats Itself

Presidential Groping (Crooks and Liars)

Can someone tell me why Bush has been behaving exactly lke Henry VIII? Next thing you know, we'll be hearing about how he's been sleeping with the Boelyn girls.