Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays

Sure, I'm still Jewish, but I have tomorrow off of work, anyway, and then it's a mad dash to New Year's Eve! Wheeee!

I'm going to be away for NYE weekend (the 28th to the 1st). I'll take my laptop, and I'm staying somewhere with WiFi access, but whether or not I'll post is any body's guess.

I guess what I'm trying to say is "Have a happy holiday season, everybody!"

Friday, December 21, 2007

But it Doesn't Fly

OK, it looks like:
  • a Jetsons car on the outside

  • my 1986 Mercury Sable on the inside

It does not fly. It does, however, get 300 mpg with a price tag of $30k. I thought that was expensive, until I realized that my car cost $25k. Yikes.

The Aptera Electric Car

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Welcome, Mob-Bust Searchers

Here's what you're looking for.
Mob bust reaches into Morris

Four Morris County men -- including the reputed New Jersey head of the Lucchese organized crime family -- were charged Tuesday in the operation of an illegal gambling ring that authorities say transacted $2.2 billion in bets in 15 months.

The county residents were among 32 people who were rounded up as part of the year-long "Operation HEAT" investigation conducted by the state Division of Criminal Justice. The gambling probe -- with 61-year-old East Hanover resident Ralph V. Perna alleged to be at its center -- also uncovered what state Attorney General Anne Milgram called "an alarming alliance between the Lucchese crime family and the Bloods street gang to smuggle heroin, cocaine, marijuana and cell phones into East Jersey State Prison" with the aid of a prison guard.
[State Attorney General Anne] Milgram said she believes the charges have seriously undermined the Lucchese crime family's ability to operate.

"With today's arrests and charges, we have disrupted the highest echelon of the Lucchese organized crime family in both New York and New Jersey," she said.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hoo-Nelly, Prncesses!

OK, anyone who has a little girl or has ever been a little girl knows what the phrase "Disney Princess" means, even if they only have the earlier ones ensconced in memory.

A lot of people don't like it because of the anti-feminist slant. In truth, I honestly believe that all young children love sparkly things because they're visually interesting, and they want to play dress-up so that they, too, can be interesting. Not everyone agrees with me. In her article, "Bonfire of the Disney Princesses", Barbara Ehrenreich doesn't agree with me. She sees sexuality being forced on minds too young to comprehend it. I see her point, and I'm not sure if I'm with her 100%, but she had a paragraph in that article that was so beautifully written that I needed to point it out:
In faithful imitation, the 3-year-old in my life flounces around with her tiara askew and her Princess gown sliding off her shoulder, looking for all the world like a London socialite after a hard night of cocaine and booze. Then she demands a poison apple and falls to the floor in a beautiful swoon. Pass the Rohypnol-laced margarita, please.
Holy cow, that's impressive imagery.

OK, wait, I'm still impressed with that writing, but I feel the need to clarify - I am completely against people sexually abusing children and do not mean to make light of it! That's not what I mean.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Spot the Problem

Saudi king pardons rape victim
"The king always looks into alleviating the suffering of the citizens when he becomes sure that these verdicts will leave psychological effects on the convicted people, though he is convinced and sure that the verdicts were fair," al-Jazirah quoted al-Sheik as saying.
I'm not the only one who sees what's wrong with this story, right?

Do I even have to explain? I will, I suppose, if people ask.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Abolishment of Death Penalty in NJ Probably Good Thing

As you may or may not know, New Jersey has decided to abolish the death penalty in our state. This is probably a good thing.

Why do I say "probably", you wonder? How can someone who treasures human life as much as I do not rejoice at this news? Simple- I'm human, and I've had tragedy touch my life. When I was younger, someone I cared about was murdered. Yes, murdered. She was shot by someone who wanted her to give him her purse. It was someone she knew. It was someone I knew. He used to throw rocks at girls waiting for the school bus. I didn't know what made him the way he was, he just was. When I found out, I wanted him dead. I wanted his toenails pulled out and his feet set on fire while he watched. I wanted him to suffer the way he had made so many other people suffer by snuffing out the life of a wonderful woman.

My point is, that when you're touched by crime, you lose your ability to keep a clear head. These feelings can pretty much stay with you for life. I was 14 when that happened, but I still remember the hate. This is not a good reason to make a decision, but it's why I've never opposed the death penalty being on the table. Often I'm not in favor of it - I can't be. Killing others is wrong, with very few exceptions. Exceptions do, however, exist, and the part of me that still wishes for revenge wanted the option open.

So, like I said, not having a death penalty in New Jersey is probably a good thing, but I find myself curiously detached from the news.

The teenager who shot my teacher, by the way, came to a bad end. The story I heard was that he "shot himself" when the police came for him. Yes, it was told to me with those quotation marks. I was glad, and I'm ashamed of that.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Weekend Activities

If you haven't read the book "The Golden Compass", go ahead and see the movie, you'll probably enjoy it. It is, indeed very, very pretty, and the story is a decent one. It's a bot overly violent for the young children - I flinched a lot.

If you have read the book, you don't have to avoid the movie, but know that they cut it to absolute ribbons. There's added dialogue, changed situations, the order that things happen in has been changed, and it ends at a different point. The basic story remains, and just seeing the zeppelin at Jordan College might have been worth it for me.

I do recommend that anyone who likes children's stories involving alternate universes read the book. I'm looking forward to books 2 and 3, but rigt now I can't take myself out of "World Without End". I love Ken Follet, and "The Pillars of the Earth" may be my favorite book of all time. After "Madeline", of course.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Flying Saucers Have Been Found!

(From Jazz)

Well... ok. Not really, but they sure look like it! This just in from NASA's Jet Propulsion Labs. (Hey hey hey... here comes the science!)
Imaging scientists on NASA's Cassini mission are telling a tale of how the small moons orbiting near the outer rings of Saturn came to be. The moons began as leftover shards from larger bodies that broke apart and filled out their "figures" with the debris that made the rings.

The tip-off was the very low density of the inner moons, about half that of pure water ice, and sizes and shapes that suggested they have grown by the accumulation of ring material. The trouble was, these moons are within and near the rings, where it is not possible for small particles to fuse together gravitationally. So how did they do it? They got a jump start.
If you follow the link I provided above, you'll see a detailed image of two of Saturn's tiny moons out in the area of the rings - Atlas and Pan. These aren't places you would want to build a vacation home on... they are less than 30 kilometers in diameter. But the interesting bit is that they really are shaped like saucers with a bit of a bulge in the middle. Plus, they're fragile enough that you could probably bust them up with a decent sized hammer.
You can sign up for periodic e-mail updates on the Cassini mission (along with everything else NASA is up to) and links to cool pictures by writing to

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Human Factor

I took the "Choose Your Candidate" quiz today (hat tip, Middle Earth Journal). This isn't the first one of these types of things that I've done, and I keep wondering why I consistently score the most things in common with Hillary, with John Edwards second. I know me, and I know what these people are saying, and I know that I would choose Edwards over Hillary. So why do the quizzes say different?

Then, I suddenly got it - the quizzes are based on what I say, and what the candidates say, and they have no way of knowing whether or not I believe that the candidate is being honest. Now it makes more sense.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Why I Might Believe Iran

OK, so there's a report that says that Iran stopped trying to make nuclear bombs in 2003. France and Israel seem skeptical.

I might believe it, though. Know why? 2003 is when we invaded Iraq. It seems perfectly plausible to me that Iran might have stopped that program to put the money towards arming U.S. enemies wherever they could.

Of course, I might be paranoid.

In case you think that my paranoia regarding Iran and it's U.S. enemy status means that I'm in favor of invading Iran, though, think again. We have a stretched-too-thin army (which I've been saying for YEARS) and I have this whole "respect for human life" thing going on that makes me in favor of no wars at all.

But I still might believe that Iran's not actively building nuclear bombs.