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