Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010


I think that WikiLeaks distributing classified information is in the same ballpark as Al Qaeda blowing things up. Neither is a state that can be held accountable, both think they are right, and both are so totally wrong as to not be believed.

Where's a Predator drone when you need one?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Superhero Girl

This is Superhero Girl. She's pretty cool.


I wrote myself a note and stuck it on my laptop's main screen.

Quite some time ago, some people who look at this blog made some comments that really helped me when I was down. I kept their comments in a note on that same screen (in fact, it's still there, though I don't look at it now). So recently, when I've occasionally gotten a little down about my progress with French, I jotted down a reminder:

Je n'ai pas étudier le français pour pouvoir parler avec Eloise sur Facebook.
J'étudie le français pour que je puisse parler avec des gens qui parlent seulement français.

The name cited is our French summer guest. It may seem silly, that I needed to write that. But, you know? It helps. Reminders help.

Oh, and by the way. I couldn't write that from scratch. But I can read it.


I am not a particularly religious person. Like, I suspect, other people who were force-fed religion as a child (not that it was onerous; it really wasn't), I grew up feeling that it was an optional part of life. It didn't cause particular delight; it didn't bring particular pain. That it did give pleasure to others, I knew; I just wasn't one of them. I don't know if my mother knew this; if she did, I suspect she murmured and he was an altar boy, too!

But every so often, I hear a sermon that makes me stop, even for just a moment, and think a bit. Today's was one of them. It was given by the pastor. The odds are 50/50 on that, as our church has just two priests in residence; it works out to about 50% that the pastor will do it, about 40% that the other guy will, and about 10% that there will be some itinerant or visiting fellow up there. I tend to like the other guy better, mostly because he tends to have short sermons. But the pastor's not bad. He has a serious tendency to wander away from his topic, or to end, then think of another point he wanted to make, one which may or may not relate to what he just said. But he's almost always sincere when he talks. You don't get the feeling that he's just going through the motions. He means this stuff. I learned a while back that there are services which will offer up 'topic du jour' for priests and ministers, and sometimes you can tell that's where todays talk came from. But he doesn't do that. This stuff, he writes himself.

So when he stood up there today and earnestly said that he thought people should relax a bit during the holiday season, not get so tense about gotta get the Christmas cards out, gotta get the decorations up, gotta buy presents, gotta get the tree, and instead spend a little quiet time thinking about the motivation behind all of this -- the classic Christian reason for the season -- I listened.

And I thought about it.


I'm not the most empathic of people, but seeing the Knights of Columbus at today's mass, I felt for them. They're all so old -- at least, the ones who were there -- but they take this stuff seriously. Good for them.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


This is quite encouraging.

Je Suis Un Bloggeur

I'm studying French again - just went from level 2 to level 3. I have to say, though I'm picking up grammar and vocabulary, I don't yet feel that I'm getting the ability to speak the language spontaneously. For example, a few minutes ago, I was putting on my socks (I thought I'd be bringing my daughter to get a haircut, but she decided at the last moment that she'd rather have her mother do it -- and I hadn't even threatened to have her get a buzz cut, so I don't understand why) and I thought How would I say 'I'm putting on my socks? I'm getting dressed?' And I realized that I didn't know. I knew socks -- chaussettes -- but I couldn't recall how to say that simple phrase. I -of course - ended up looking at Google Translate, and when I saw the phrase -- which I'm going to render from memory as Je mets ma chaussettes; Je s'habille; I'm sure that's not right, but it's close -- I thought Okay, I KNEW the word Mets -- kind of knew, more like recognized -- so why couldn't I do that? And I don't know.

I'm perservering, and getting better, but not as quickly as I want or in the areas that I want. On the other hand, if you need someone to be able to say "She camps near the ocean", I have Elle campe á coté l'ocean ready. Just in case.

Friday, November 26, 2010


I don't know if this, found on the Shareable site, is true -- I'm thinking not -- but I love the imagery.

My colleagues’ faces flicker gray and pale in the light of their computers and tablets. The tap of their keyboards fills the newsroom as they pass content down the workflow chain and then, with a final keystroke and an obeisance to the “publish” button, they hurl it onto the net.

In the maelstrom, their work flares, tagged with site location, content tags, and social poke data. Blooms of color, codes for media conglomerates: shades of blue and Mickey Mouse ears for Disney-Bertelsmann. A red-rimmed pair of rainbow O’s for Google’s AOL News. Fox News Corp. in pinstripes gray and white. Green for us: Milestone Media—a combination of NTT DoCoMo, the Korean gaming consortium Hyundai-Kubu, and the smoking remains of the New York Times Company. There are others, smaller stars, Crayola shades flaring and brightening, but we are the most important. The monarchs of this universe of light and color.

New content blossoms on the screen, bathing us all in the bloody glow of a Google News content flare, off their WhisperTech feed. They’ve scooped us. The posting says that new ear bud devices will be released by Frontal Lobe before Christmas: terabyte storage with Pin-Line connectivity for the Oakley microresponse glasses. The technology is next-gen, allowing personal data control via Pin-Line scans of a user’s iris. Analysts predict that everything from cell phones to digital cameras will become obsolete as the full range of Oakley features becomes available. The news flare brightens and migrates toward the center of the maelstrom as visitors flock to Google and view stolen photos of the iris-scanning glasses.

MegaChurch? Maybe...not

Apparently, one of the original megachurches is having both financial and organizational problems, and a descendant of its creator is going for a smaller, more connected, more intimate church. Interesting. Wonder if this presages something?


I don't have a tablet computer, and I rather doubt I'll be getting one any time soon. Much of what I do with a PC involves keying, and though it's possible to key with a virtual keyboard, I prefer the tactile feedback that a screen doesn't give. I'd say can't give, but I suppose that's overreaching. I can imagine a keyboard array that sort-of gives feedback while still being a flat-screen; I just don't think it'd be particularly satisfying. Overall, a tablet doesn't do it for me. I've seen people using one, and I tend to find myself thinking gosh, that looks clumsy....too bad you can't collapse it down when not in use. A tablet with a slide-out keyboard -- that would be interesting. On the occasions when I think of upgrading my phone -- before the are you out of your mind; do you know what that would cost, in service fees alone? strikes -- I like looking at the ones with that kind of keyboard. I used to have (actually, still have; it died and is buried in my sock drawer) a Casio Boss PDA. I loved the clamshell design, and could not believe that people were buying the glass-front style. It seemed that those would scratch so easily; wasn't that a consideration? Apparently not. So when I think of tablets, I'm really thinking a really thin laptop. Yeah, that would be good.

MacBook Air? Ah....no. Not quite ready to go to the dark side yet.

Apollo 18

No idea if the film will be any good, but the ad's awesome.



I've ridden in some pretty luxurious cars. On our honeymoon, we rode in a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow from the airport to the hotel. (My sister-in-law said that from then on, when she saw one, she'd wonder is my sister in there?), and when we were in DC this summer, we used their Cadillac Escalade limo service (way high off the ground). Luxurious cars are comfortable, they have useful appointments and amenities, they're just nice.

There's something about this car, though -- I'd love a chance to ride in it. It looks like fun.

Found here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


This reminded me of what I used to do for a living, when life was simpler. Picture six, in particular, and the seventh from the end.

And in case you're curious, the small white truck in the very last picture is almost certainly a security Camper Alert Truck; the small blue one is probably a Security Alert Team, and the big honkin white one has a GNC section in it.


Not everyone has something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.

I do.

I hope that you do, too.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Yes, Precisely


Years ago, I read a science fiction story that incorporated the concept of a Secrets Registry. They knew where all the bodies were buried and the secrets filed, but they wouldn't tell anyone -- would, in fact, work to keep them secret -- unless there was good reason for the word to get out. Then they'd tell.

Might be impractical in practice, but its better than WikiLeaks, which, to me, is a tool that foments treason, at the most, and criminal mischief, at the least. Secrets exist for many reasons, some of them ignoble, and things which should come out sometimes never do -- but its not the call of a band of vigilantes.

I seriously hope we have cyber-warriors busting on them.


Ever have so many things that you want to do that you find you don't do any of them because choosing is such a bear?

For example, right now I want to read an article in the Economist, read three books I picked up at the libe today, finish reading a book I picked up two weeks ago, study French, and possibly bake something.

So, instead, I'm going to Starbucks. Though I may study French when I get back. Its one of those things where if I concentrate on the experience of learning it, I like it; if I think about the possibility of navigating central France without fear, I like it; and if I think that the original idea was to visit a family that rarely if ever responds to emails, I think then why the hell study it? And I have to remember that there are other reasons.

But reading? Baking? Heck, those come ready equipped with reasons for doing.... Picking, though, is another question entirely.

See Ya!

An ad for the Nikon Coolpix S60 with face detection.


I likely couldn't even get into this car, let alone out.... but I like it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I love learning French. I hate studying French. It is getting easier, but man.......

and there are times when I wonder if it's really worth it.


Read an interesting little article in the latest Economist about home-grown efforts to slow down drivers. After the police in Cardiff moved a mobile camera van to a new location, a local resident bought a used police van and used silver tape to emulate the camera port. He said pedestrians aren't fooled but it 'works a treat' on speeding drivers. In the US, one fellow mounted a camera (real or fake, unknown) which convinced drivers to slow. And then there's the old joke about the guy who comes upon the local cop standing by the road, holding a hair dryer. "Radar gun's getting repaired", he said, laconically. "For some reason, all these people think this is a real one."

The cops, ever willing to accept the assistance of the population, respond by telling a guy who used his own camera to catch a speeding policeman that it could be considered a violation of anti-stalking laws; others, with dummy cameras, have been told that they had to stop because it might make drivers brake unsafely.

Personally, I think it's like the old joke: Don't steal from the government. They hate the competition.

Monday, November 22, 2010


It's been a good news, bad news kind of day.

The good news is, our insurance company is going to pay for a roof covering replacement, as well as replacement of aluminum siding on two sides of the house, which, we're assured, will cover the cost of vinyl siding with thicker insulation on all sides.

The bad news is, my wife's company is still laying off qualified, talented, competent people. Not her, yet, but I tell her that it's only a matter of time until they completely dump every single person they got when they bought her company. And yes, they expect loyalty.


I don't text, so the fact that my phone doesn't have an autocorrect feature bothers me not at all.

But DamnYouAutocorrect shows that it can be an .... interesting... feature.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Today, we're going down to my sister-in-law's house for what will, essentially, be Thanksgiving. Well, some of us are going. My niece is bugging out early because she's invited to her boyfriend's house for the annual Packer food fest cum family reunion. And my daughter is bugging out because she wants to go see the Harry Potter flick. About which, I understand that Emma Watson was told how much money she's earned so far, and said she felt sick. Me, too. So it'll just be me and my wife, her and her husband, and their joint mother. I'll nod and smile a lot, while thinking how can you people live with so few books in this house?

My wife pointed out an article in, of all places, Parade magazine about an innovative method of assisting people with Alzheimers. That disease scares me, as it does a lot of other people. I don't know anyone who has it, but I fear it. Of course, even if I did, they wouldn't know me ( rimshot) . But the approach is intriguing, and is based on the assumption that the person, their core personality, is still there, still available -- you just have to assist them in making the linkage between what their senses are telling them and what they know from prior experience. One woman was not being recognized by her mother. She held up two pictures -- one of her at a young age, with her name and age written beneath them; another, a more recent phone, with her name and age. The mother recognized her.

I am still studying French. There are times when it comes easily, and times when I despair. Last night, one of the writing exercises had a male voice rattling off the request for his father to read to him; even after I gave up and displayed the phrase, I couldn't 'hear' the phrase's words in the spoken portion. Not even a hunch. Very depressing. But every so often I can make a decent guess, a close-enough approximation, and that gives me hope.

This Morning

Hai Joe um Jai Ho

Saturday, November 20, 2010



I like the idea of sensors. It's the implications that kill me.

The idea is awesome. Something that can tell where there's traffic congestion based on the density of cell phone calls from a given area? Brilliant. Measuring blood flow - and, by implication, clots - is an obvious extension to the concept. (Just got to get those blood cells to use cell phones!) Evaluating the purity of water by measuring how long it takes light to pass through it? Man, you can MEASURE something that's going that fast? Real-time measurement of brake overheating and tread wear coming up! So I like the idea. And when I think about the 'smart dust' battlefield concept, I get tingles.

The implications amplify those tingles and turn them into a shiver down my spine. Measuring cell phone call density makes me think of Carnivore, the NSA program to listen to millions of phone calls simultaneously, flagging those with key phrases. (I hear they've figured out that if they get Omar, we have set the bomb to go off here at six oh two PM, it's likely not a worthwhile intercept. Or is it?) Real time measurements make me think of facial recognition software that can locate and track a person automatically, and remember it forever. Which is good when its whom I'd agree is a bad person, but pretty awful when its me. And the idea of 'smart dust', aka sensors everywhere implies that we could -- some say, already do -- experience the inability to get away from the All Seeing Eye. Which is okay if its people I trust doing it, but not at all when its people directed by, say, the likes of Dick Cheney.

I like the idea, though. I just doubt we're smart enough and moral enough for the reality.

Self Protection

Protecting yourself from police misconduct is daunting -- hey, they have guns -- but it's certainly possible.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I am delighted to say that when I mentioned quantitative easing to my daughter (who is not a finance or econ geek), she knew what it was. She didn't know the name, but she knew the concept. Great kid.

Take A Message

Take enough of them, and keep them, and you might just end up with something like this. Quite fascinating, actually.

VHC, Of Course

But I admit, it took me a minute....


I really wanted to send that fleur-de-lis, but my wife feels that it'd be overwhelming, and possibly trigger a Now we have to get THEM something. I didn't think so, but, well, what's the point of asking an opinion if you're not going to be at least influenced by it? So it appears that we'll just send them a Christmas card.

But it's in French!


One of the RSS feeds I like to look at is The Daily Batman. It's a series of clips of things related to the character-- usually comic strips, but frequently pictures of kids dressed as Batman, or products sold with the image. It's kind of amazing how much of it there is.

I really liked this one. And in case you wonder why they're all yellow -- why, it's because the Green Lantern's there. Guess they don't want him to be able to use the ring. Or something.


God help me, I liked this.


I'm drinking a cup of coffee at the moment.

It's a new brand to me -- one of the packaged (I was going to say Prepackaged, but that's redundant, and as I tend to bristle when I see recipes note (as they always do) to Preheat the oven (I'm with George Carlin on this one), propagating the use of Prepackaged would have been just wrong) -- as I say, one of the packaged Starbucks, a Vanilla flavored one. It's not bad.

We used to drink a lot of coffee -- almost every morning -- and once we discovered Ghiradelli flavored coffee, it tended to be about one third plain coffee, two thirds G. Then my wife discovered that regular coffee tend to have an unfortunate and scary side effect on her, and so we switched to decaf for the plain, while I slowly drank the remainder of the G. We later found that G did make decaf versions of some of their things, so we would get them as we thought of it. It got to be a ritual -- every three or four months, order six or seven bags of the stuff. Years ago, we found a company that sold coffee flavorings, and we liked that a lot, so much so that we ordered a whole mess of it. When we ran out, we went to order more, only to find that now they only sold the stores, doncha know. Irritating, but we got over it once we found the flavored coffee. Now I find that the online company where I buy G coffee has instituted a new system that makes it harder to search their inventory (easier for them, I’m sure), and I wonder:

Are the tea-makers of the world behind this?


We're starting to think about replacing the van.

The rough plan has been to do so - well, actually, last year, so it's more like the ongoing plan. It's in pretty good shape, and as we had a major expense this year -- the bathroom remodel -- and we might have one next year -- the possible trip to France -- it could well be a couple of years till we do it. Still, we're thinking about it. That's how we do major expenses around here -- we think about it for a long time. Make notes. Write up spreadsheets with characteristics we'd like, characteristics we find in ads, and then we weight them. I remember one thing we bought, the spreadsheet was about forty items long -- and when we went through the whole weighting process, we ended up buying something we'd just thrown on there to be complete. Oh, we'll never buy that one, but go ahead, put it on.

We tend to keep vehicles about ten to twelve years -- the van is a 2002, so we're a bit early, this time; we put a lot of mileage on it this summer -- and so when we get it, it'll probably be the last one we get. After that (and possibly even this one) we're more likely to get a large car than a van. Our eye gets caught by some of those crossover vehicles. We still want the moving capability of the van in case we need it to cart the kiddo off to college in a couple of years (she's a junior now, and is thinking about college vaguely, but we're pushing the idea of do the first one or two years at a local community college, get the basics out of the way while still living at home). But after that, a crossover might fit the bill. With a sunroof. Our Buick Regal had a sunroof, and I really liked it, even when it started to jam and become balky. And a good sound system.

So, we're thinking.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Rock

Star Team TOS


I saw twenty nine seconds of this and said oh, my goodness..... and then it went on. And on.

Found on Carolines.

Monday, November 15, 2010


So long as the TSA doesn't publicize the weaponry it's found -- the actual weaponry, and not the lame we think that liquid could be an explosive, so you can't bring it -- I doubt anyone's going to believe their statements about how the pornoscanners are really just another tool, nothing to worry about, and Enhanced Pat Down isn't another word for being groped. Treating citizens as criminals -- okay, let's start with Barack. The whole family gets to go through this every time any of them flies on Air Force One. All the Senators, all the Congressmen. Them, too, every time. All the actors, the celebrities. Oh, and everyone going to a private jet, too -- after all, those can be flown into buildings, too. All of them. Every time. Okay?

Yeah, like that's gonna happen.

Of course, fools writing that we should just accept that someone is eventually going to 'ship a few bombs', and we should get over it, don't help the discussion.


Last year, we visited a friend's home for Christmas and noticed a lovely display of crystal ornaments. He told us that he'd started collecting Waterford christmas ornaments several years ago. We were quite taken by them, and decided that we'd get one, too. Which we did.

This arrived today:

It's really nice. My daughter, upon seeing it, exclaimed Dude! That's terrific!

So now I'm thinking it'd be a nifty Christmas gift for the family of our French visitor. Trying to talk myself into it. I want to do it. I just don't know how it'd be perceived. The old I want them to like me....am I trying to buy that?


If I sound a little different, it's because today... finally.... after a year.... they put in the implant denture.

Feels strange. But hey... this is a good thing.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010


In the last twenty-four hours, I've exchanged two messages on Facebook with the French guest. By exchanged, I mean that I've gotten responses, both times. This from a kid who has never responded since she went back home.

I don't think anything has changed -- we haven't become an important part of her life or anything like that -- but suddenly the effort that I'm putting into studying French seems worthwhile, again.


"CV Dazzle™ was developed by Adam Harvey as a thesis project at New York University's Interactive Telecommunication Program in the spring of 2010 to explore ways of protecting and interfering with privacy compromising technologies. "

Sounds good to me. I think it'd be better if it wasn't detectable by the human eye, but still: sounds good to me.


I was delighted by the Rally. Here are some more images from there. (No, I didn't go. But I kind of wish I had.)

Friday, November 12, 2010


Yes, this is rude. Absolutely.

But there are times when it'd come in handy.


Just saw part of an issue of The French Chef, with Julia Child. Interesting. She has a much different approach to bread than any I've heard elsewhere. Much less dogmatic.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


We were told by the builder who would do the work that we definitely needed a new roof, and that once the claim for replacement of aluminum siding on two sides was accepted, they'd use the money to replace the siding on all four sides with vinyl, if we wanted. Okay.

We were told by the inspector that we definitely needed a new roof, and siding. Okay.

We were told by the builder that the roof had been approved, and they could start any time. We said we wanted to wait until the claim was completely approved (it still said 'in progress'). Okay.

Today, I called. The insurance folks said that they're asking the inspector to come back and take more pictures.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I'm not thrilled about raising the full-benefits Social Security age, but it makes sense to me. Perhaps it doesn't to everyone, though.


Actually, not so much. It's just that I'm in a weird mood.

Partially, it was reading this morning of two events involving the Muslim religion - the usual things. My wife and I talked about it as we walked. We didn't come to any surprising conclusions. My wife tends to think that things like that happen with any religion. She did observe that much of religion seems to be superstition, or the feeling that 'you can't talk about my religion, but I can talk about yours'. I'm not a deep thinker - the older I get, the less I am - but I think she's right. Religion gives people the opportunity to take offense. It does more, sometimes a lot more, but it does that, too.

Still a little bummed by the election results. It'd help if the Republicans had some style and integrity, but they don't seem to. At least, their leadership doesn't.

I read, too, about a woman who'd been in jail, learned a trade, got out, got a job practicing that trade. She told the hiring peole about having been in jail. They gave her the job anyway, and she worked out okay. Then a newspaper wanted to use her as an example of how hard it can be for ex-cons to find a job. She asked her bosses if that was okay, and the corporate overlords for the company fired her. They said that they hadn't been informed, and while they support the concept of ex-cons getting a job, well, not here. Weasels.

Last night we went to a 'banquet' for the band. They gave out awards for this and that -- best marcher, funniest person, most improved -- all of which was good. But one was a 'broken drumstick', for the guy who broke his foot, dropped out of marching drumline, and joined the non-marching part of the band. The aware was to 'symbolize his broken committment to the drum line'. They laughed, but that left a bad taste in my mouth. Which in turn makes me wonder: am I getting old?

Wierd mood. This helped.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Je cuis au four.

Four years ago, I bought one of those Christmas Baking magazines. Since then, I chuckle to myself when the new ones come up, thinking I still have ones I haven't made from that original one!

So this year, I am going to bake six kinds of cookies that I don't ordinarily make. Just as a personal challenge.

I'm thinking something with icing, something very flaky, something with crunch. And possibly variations thereof.

If they turn out well, I'll mail them to relatives. If not.... well, the challenge will be not to just eat them myself.

Monday, November 08, 2010


My wife sent me an instant message to say that the IM system, which had been down most of the day, was finally up. I replied "Si, a este momento, pero manana? Quien sabe?"

Drives me nuts that I can't do that in French, yet.

(Just looked it up on GT. Oui, pour le moment, mais demain? Qui sait? Okay, the sait, I wouldn't have known, but I know those other words. Argh!)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Rear Window Decal

Ah, yes. Too bad my van's rear window is tinted.

Found here.


I wish that I had someone to practice French with. I'm not good, not at all, but I am better than I was two months ago. I think so, anyway. I'd like something - someone - to measure myself against.

Je ne pas compris. Pourriez-vous repeter, s'il vous plait?

Though there are times, thinking about the lack of response from la fille when I wonder if we even should go. That would certainly make my linguistic proficiency a moot point.


Someone noticed that if you line up the quarter, nickel, dime, and penny, they're all looking to the left, except for the penny.

Their conclusion: you get shot in the back of the head, you tend to want to keep an eye on whats going on back there.


My daughter likes to listen to country music -- that gene comes from my father, but skipped me -- so we were, on the way home from church. Some girl was enthusing about how wonderful it was that at the last show she did, some actor she really likes came out on stage. "So, did you sit on his lap?" the announcer asked. "Oh, yeah", the girl burbled. "And did you make out with him?" I turned it off. Didn't say anything to my daughter. Didn't have to.

Saturday, November 06, 2010


I wish that I could like Harry Turtledove's work. Many other people do.

HT is an author, specializing in alternative histories. What if Gandhi had been jailed by the Germans instead of the British. What if the South had won the Civil War. What if Germany got the atomic bomb before the US. The problem I have is that it always, always comes out that the bad guys win. Gandhi gets shut down and the movement dies. The South wins the war, and the country divides into two nations, one wealthy, one degenerate. The Germans -- well, they just go on and on. Today, in the bookstore, I saw one asking What if the Germans had been able to extend World War II. I flipped through it, and soon enough, came to the happy Americans flying a C47, abruptly killed by two German spies secreted on the plane.

The bad guys always win. If I wanted that kind of result, I'd read more about this last election. Sorry, Harry.


One of the things that my trainer suggested is that I alter the way I eat, from the standard three (in my case, usually two) meals a day to five, each smaller than the originals. I was (and still am) skeptical about the efficacy of this, but after checking with a woman I know who's a nutritionist (she said that yes, this is a recognized concept which actually leads to a more efficient metabolism), I decided to give it a try. The trainer suggested having protein as an 'in-between' meal; this was also backed up, by my wife, in this case, who said that a nutrition person had suggested it to her as a way to avoid snacking, and she finds that it's effective.

So, yesterday afternoon, after the trainer was through tying me in knots (she says I'm doing better with the stretching; I think it's more along the lines of the that you say to a little kid when you say Good Job! when they don't spill all of the jelly on the floor), we went down to a local health foods store, where I bought a gihugic container (though not as truly gihugic as they had for sale) of Muscle Milk, a powder that looks, when you open the can, like spackling powder. It mixes moderately well, but not completely; yuck.

However, I'm trying it now, and so far, it's not bad. Not great, by any means, but not horrible. So, we'll see.

Friday, November 05, 2010


So which would you like to cut, Republicans?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

So Tell Me....

What now? Who will provide viable leadership to the (I want to believe) hordes that were disenchanted even before this disaster, but who in their hearts still believe that people first is the right thing to do? That limiting the greed of banks, that caring for the basic health of people, is right, even if it's not in the Constitution. There are people looking for leadership -- I know I am. Please god let it not be the 'Leadership? That's where we ask you for money, right?" corps..... but somebody? Anybody?

Perfect Storm

This is actually a hailstorm in Georgia, but it could be a metaphor for last Tuesday.

Oh, great

Guess who owns the website WHITEHOUSE.ORG?

Its not the guy who's having a very bad week, that's for sure.


I have a cheap cell phone and a cheap pay-as-you-go payment plan. (Which is actually more like 'pay to use the phone, and at some point we'll declare all the money used up, even if it wasn't).

This horror story demonstrates part of the reason I don't have a great phone and a monthly plan.

Will I eventually? Maybe someday....

Earning It

I’m guessing that the probability of Barack Obama’s getting reelected plummeted this week. I’m no great forecaster, but I’d wager its down around 25% -- and that’s assuming he both chooses to run and gets the nomination.

During the last presidential election, I was one of those people who said that he ought to punch more, ought to be aggressive. He won without my advice, but that won’t stop me. I think he ought to spend the next year with a bold notice on his desk: MAKE THEM PAY FOR IT. Meaning, don’t let them get away with squat. Don’t let them use their standard bombast – refuse to acknowledge that they’re even in the room; if that’s not possible, point to their plans and demand details. Don't let them slide into well, if we were in charge. To a large part, they are. Make them belly up. We’re not playing at Wimbledon here; we’re playing street football in Detroit, and the other side just got a cache of new weapons.

If they say something useful, acknowledge it -- but only it. Nothing more. Don't say nice things about them. Demand to know why they haven't implemented these plans yet. Be unreasonable. Make them earn it. Don't be bipartisan. That ship has sailed. They took that noble desire and they whacked you with it, big time. Don't give them another chance. Remember who puts you in office. Forego visions; deliver.

There are things to like about Republicans, and Republican goals, but there is almost nothing to like about their leadership. Make them pay for it.

They want the spotlight, the power? Make them earn it.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


Slight Alteration

So now the Party of No becomes the Party of Hell, No...and If Nothing Gets Done, It's Not OUR fault.


Political Support

Yesterday, while I was the judge of elections for our local precinct, I had a woman who asked to hand out political literature inside the building. Normally, that's not done. But it was chilly out, and this woman had three small kids with her, so I said yes. She could stay just inside the door, between it and the next door into the building. It was about a 50 square foot space. During the day, I got a complaint about that, but I said it was okay with me. If she'd been alone, I wouldn't have let her do it, but I just couldn't see having to stand outside with those kids. Later, I found that what I did was legit -- you just can't hand out literature in the immediate proximity of the voting area - but in much of politics, there are these rules....not all of which are written down.

I was impressed by this woman's energy and willingness to do that -- three kids, small area, multiple hours? - so I wrote to the candidate and told her. I mentioned that the complaint I got was that I was clearly favoring the Republicans. I'm a Democrat, though they didn't know that. The candidate wrote back thanking me, and said she knew exactly whom I meant. They'd already talked, and the woman had told the candidate that she appreciated what I had done (apparently, at least one judge had made people like that stand out in in heavy rain instead of letting them stand on a covered porch). She said that the woman had always supported her in her candidacy.

Which is, she said, a nice thing to have from your sister.

Say Again?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


I have a new sister. Kind of.

Our French student designated me as her brother, on Facebook. At first, I was just delighted -- I've already figured out that this is something done to indicate a close friendship. Then I realized that she's doing a quiz where she has to get a 'like' from several of her 'brothers and sisters' in order to win. Which I promptly did.

Still pleased, even if there was an ulterior motive.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Count The Cops

I lost track. From RavennaBlog --


...more hours until I'm at the polling place, again.

Actually, less -- I get there around 530, spend about ten minutes hammering the 'vote here' signs into place, and another fifteen moving the election stuff from the van into the church hall where we do it. The location isn't bad, but it's not great, either -- the church has two parking lots, one on either side, with a connecting road behind it; the door into the polling place is in back, down in a little gully, where the road connects to the right-side parking lot. So, you can't see where people go in if you use the right side lot (hence the signs; five of them in a fairly small area, stacked like the old Burma-Shave signs to keep people moving from the street across the parking lot and down the sloped corner to the door), and if you use the left lot, you can't even see the signs - which is why the very first sign is as far out as I can put it, in the strip of grass that's littered with elect-me signs. At 6, I unlock the back door (the church gives me a key, which I think very nice of them), flick on the lights, and wait for the crew to show up. It takes about thirty minutes to post all of the official notices, lay out the poll books and registers, and boot the voting machines and print out the documentation that 'proves' the vote-recorders were empty on arrival (I put that in quotes because I believe those things are eminently hackable; not by me, but by anyone who has an interest in doing so -- all I can do is keep them as secure as I can). After they all arrive, I lock the door again, so that no stray voters show up until the official start time. Usually that's not a problem, though at the Presidential, we had people arriving at six thirty, standing in line up the slope and into the lot.

Then at 7 (perhaps a minute or so before), I unlock, and we're off to the races -- for about thirty minutes; then we're down to perhaps two or three people an hour all day, and less in the middle of the day. We close down the voting at 8PM, and shut down -- it takes about 45 minutes to take down the notices and document the day; if you have absentee ballots to check (which I always hope we won't, but we do, this time), that's another 20 minutes, easily. Lots of cover envelopes/security envelopes/shuffle-the-ballots so no one knows who sent them. So I'll get to the county voting office around 940, if I'm lucky (always fun, there -- they use local prison inmates to assist in carrying in the signs, flags, etc -- first time I had a guy say politely Do you need help with that? who was someone I'd cross the street to avoid, I was startled -- though the sight of sheriff's deputies lounging about was reassuring), and then back home around 1030, exhausted.

Then I will check in on the results, and I'm sure, I'll be horrified. There will be lots of political blather -- Democrats saying This doesn't mean we were wrong, Republicans saying Oh it sure the hell does. Neither side entirely right, neither side entirely wrong, both sides thinking the wrong people got elected. Feh.

I believe that the next week or so will be a Don't Read The News period for me. Concentrate on French - just in case I have to move to Montreal.