A post on Sunday satirizing the Anne Nicole Smith paternity question is still in the RSSS feed, even though the post itself was taken down soon after it went up. Not wanting to draw attention to the post given how quickly it came down, I opted not to offer an apology, but since it's still out there, an apology is in order. The post mocks the issue of the abduction and rape of women. I did not see it that way when I wrote it, but Lesley pointed it out to me. She is correct. I take the issue of rape seriously and apologize for the insensitive nature of the post.
I don't believe there are words that can express my deep dismay and disappointment in the American public to learn that there was public disorder, crime, and re-sale for obscene amounts of money when the PlayStation 3 went on sale today. When there are so many needs being unmet in so many places, including here at home, it says something profoundly sad about our society that people are willing to stand on line for days on end to buy a simple toy for their family, stand on line for days on end to re-sell it for $2500, pay $2500 a piece for a simple toy, push and shove and beat up people for a simple toy, and rob people who have been standing on line for days. Is there any wonder why people hate the U.S.? I feel slimy being an American right now, and I didn't stand on line and would never stand on line for a toy. My kids, when I have them, can live without it. When they ask why, I will tell them this story and tell them that a PlayStation 3 isn't important in the larger scheme of things.
I have decided to give up pennies where possible. No longer do I ask for pennies back as change. They are useless.
I just filed what turns out to be a worthless complaint with the FCC regarding a solictation telephone call from the NYS Fraternal Order of Police. I have been a member of the Do Not Call list since day 1, but after reading the fine print today I learn that charitable organzations are excluded from the law. That's bogus. To me, do not call means no one should call, no matter who they are or what they represent. Period, paragraph.
Today's fact of the day: mosquitos have 47 teeth. In case you were wondering.
Regular readers know that I suffer from anxiety disorder and am a recovering agoraphobic. The underlying condition that causes my anxiety is obsessive compulsive disorder. I have worrisome thoughts that go around my head in circles and that create anxiety that a few months ago was debilitating.
When I was out with Jennifer on Saturday night, I decided to tell her. We have only been together a short time and I wasn't sure if I should tell her so soon. However, she values honesty above all else in a relationship and had been open enough to tell me that her brother is bipolar. She would have to know at some point about my illness, especially if we became intimate because of my medicine's potential side effects, and I felt Saturday was the right time when she started expressing anxiety about an upcoming cruise she's going on.
I took a deep breath and told her everything that happened from basically last October through April when I finally overcome the agoraphobia. At the time - and you know what's coming - it seemed to go well. She had a lot of questions, but she was understanding. We parted on a very good note.
Unfortunately, last night she called to end the brief relationship. She is looking to settle down and have children. Because her brother is bipolar and she suffers from anxiety of her own, she is concerned about what would happen if we were to have children together, that there is a risk of them inheriting a mental illness of some sort - be it my OCD, anxiety, or her brother's bipolar disorder. There was little I could say to change her mind, though I am not 100% sure if she was closing the door for good or needed time to think things through. I will try once more to persuade her to move forward, that there are risks inherent in any partnership and that OCD isn't a true mental illness but instead a condition that is mild in my case and manageable.
Regardless, I at first rued my decision to be honest with her, since we would still be together if I had kept my mouth shut. My shrink would say that I might have been subconsciously sabotaging the relationship, which might be true. In reality, though, it is better to know now rather than later, better to end things before we became too attached. I can only hope that the next person can handle the news better than Jennifer and my last girlfriend, that I can fully participate in the relationship despite my obsessive tendencies and anxieties.
There I am in the dry cleaner dropping off some hangers while picking up a pair of pants. I reach into my pocket for my wallet and ticket. Not there. Forgot to bring it. Not a problem. They simply called up the ticket on the computer and found the pair of pants in a snap. Reach into my pocket for cash. Whoops! Didn't have my cash either. It's in my wallet, too. Now I really like a fool and think that I've got to the leave the pants there. But they're kind at the dry cleaner and agree to let me pay next time. So on my way out for my date with Jennifer today, I'll pop by with the cash.
Sunday is softball day. Unfortunately, not today. It's going to be raining all day long.
Speaking of which, let's resuscitate Name That Tune. For installment number 15, name this:
Down here, the river meets the sea
and in the sticky heat I feel you
open up to me
Love comes out of nowhere, baby
like a hurricane
You know the rules - be subtle, leave a clue
My uncle e-mailed this to me yesterday. Words to live by.
FOR THE WIFE
WHO SAYS IT'S HOT DOGS TONIGHT,
BECAUSE SHE IS HOME WITH ME,
AND NOT OUT WITH SOMEONE ELSE.
FOR THE HUSBAND
WHO IS ON THE SOFA
BEING A COUCH POTATO,
BECAUSE HE IS HOME WITH ME
AND NOT OUT AT THE BARS.
FOR THE TEENAGER
WHO IS COMPLAINING ABOUT DOING DISHES
BECAUSE IT MEANS SHE IS AT HOME,
NOT ON THE STREETS.
FOR THE TAXES I PAY
BECAUSE IT MEANS
I AM EMPLOYED.
FOR THE MESS TO CLEAN AFTER A PARTY
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE
BEEN SURROUNDED BY FRIENDS.
FOR THE CLOTHES THAT FIT A LITTLE TOO SNUG
BECAUSE IT MEANS
I HAVE ENOUGH TO EAT.
FOR MY SHADOW THAT WATCHES ME WORK
BECAUSE IT MEANS
I AM OUT IN THE SUNSHINE
FOR A LAWN THAT NEEDS MOWING,
WINDOWS THAT NEED CLEANING,
AND GUTTERS THAT NEED FIXING
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE A HOME.
FOR ALL THE COMPLAINING
I HEAR ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT
BECAUSE IT MEANS
WE HAVE FREEDOM OF SPEECH..
FOR THE PARKING SPOT
I FIND AT THE FAR END OF THE PARKING LOT
BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM CAPABLE OF WALKING
AND I HAVE BEEN BLESSED WITH TRANSPORTATION.
FOR MY HUGE HEATING BILL
BECAUSE IT MEANS
I AM WARM.
FOR THE LADY BEHIND ME IN CHURCH
WHO SINGS OFF KEY BECAUSE IT MEANS
I CAN HEAR.
FOR THE PILE OF LAUNDRY AND IRONING
BECAUSE IT MEANS
I HAVE CLOTHES TO WEAR.
FOR WEARINESS AND ACHING MUSCLES
AT THE END OF THE DAY
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE BEEN
CAPABLE OF WORKING HARD.
FOR THE ALARM THAT GOES OFF
IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS
BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM ALIVE.
AND FINALLY, FOR TOO MUCH E-MAIL
BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE
FRIENDS WHO ARE THINKING OF ME.
Suck! Came down with a case that lasted about an hour tonight. Nothing worked - breathed into a paper bag, nothing; chowed down on peanut butter, same; swallowed three tablespoons of sugar, you got it; held my breath, nada; breathed into a paper bag, same scoop; breathed through my nose and exhaled through my mouth, utterly ineffective; pulled cold water from a bottle real fast, zip. Then in frustration, I grabbed another bottle full of water and drank it to the point where I could feel my breathing getting short. Five minutes later the hiccups were gone.
Major league flashback to New Year's Eve a couple of years back. A lousy New Year's Eve. The worst. I had a chest cold with a fever. I'm sleeping at home when I wake up with a coughing fit. Brings on the hiccups. Which. Did. Not. Go. Away. For. 13. Hours. Nope. Everytime I coughed they came back. Got no sleep, wound up in the ER, where they gave me a shot of Thorazine, which might I add is one kick-ass drug. I passed out as soon as I got home. Woke up. Hiccuped again. Finally globs of peanut butter did the trick.
The power of the McDonald's side is strong. I was hanging in Bryant Park with a blind date this afternoon. We spot two people chowing down on McDonald's for lunch. On the spot, I decide that's what I'm having for dinner. Grab some Mickey D's on the subway ride home, hop back on the subway, and set the bags down. A boy greedily eyes the bags, turns to Dad, and queries, "Why don't have we McDonald's for dinner?" A power that cannot be resisted.
To all those who sacrificed their lives so that I can sit here in a comfortable apartment, blogging on a laptop, sipping Diet Sprite and eating Oreos. As mundane as all of that sounds, a lot of people in the world don't have even 1/10th of that, and I do appreciate that fact.
I bought a box of Life cereal from the corner grocer this evening. When I opened the box, which was sealed, the inside bag was open at the corners. Being paranoid, I took it back to the store. They were most obliging and actually decided to eat the cereal themselves rather than return it to the vendor. I ask you, would you have eaten from that box? And I really hope nothing happens to the woman. Forget about her, I'd be the prime suspect!
Some laughed with me, others at me after I discovered that the complete power cord for my Dell laptop was in the box only after I dismantled the box to recycle it. I now lay out my latest exercise in absentmindedness.
I was heading into Manhattan via the Long Island Rail Road for a doctor's appointment this morning. Bear in mind that I work for the LIRR and ride for free. As long as I have the pass on me. Patting my pockets on the way to the station, I don't feel the pass, but since it's too late to turn around, I keep going, knowing that I can get a roundtrip ticket for a modest $6. I pay the roundtrip freight, and then what happens when I got to my doctor's office? I stick my hand inside my pants pocket for some reason and presto! find my pass. Whoops! Up to you whether to laugh with me or at me.
Is it me or is Tony Blair having a serious Johhny Mac moment in this picture?
Click below and judge for yourself.
My sentiments about the Jennifer Wilbanks case remind me of how I got bounced as a prospective juror last year. We were brought in for the case of a woman charged with interfering with police officers during a drug arrest. Two thoughts went through my mind when the judge read the charges. The first was since when do they actually go to trial for such a small offense. The second, upon looking at the middle-age black woman before us, was that she looks like someone's kindly mother who under normal circumstances probably wouldn't hurt a fly. Yes, I realize that's judging a book by its cover and I could have been dead wrong. Still, I couldn't help but think that she was protecting someone close to her and really hadn't done anything that outlandish, otherwise, she would have been on trial for a more serious crime. Again, another leap on my part. But when it came time to answer the prosecutor's question if any of us would have a problem finding her guilty, I spoke up with the simple comment, "Based on the nature of the charges, I'm not sure it's worthwhile" or something to that effect. Just like that I was a goner. The woman, however, was certainly happy with me. She gave me a big nod in agreement. Wonder what ever happened and if the case was what I thought it to be. I will never know.
Forget winning the lottery, though that would be quite nice, how about I get one number right every now and then? Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
I get a notice of a Class Action settlement in a lawsuit against American Express for charges made in foreign currencies. Fill out the accompanying form and get some type of refund. Catch is that the form asks for an account number. How do I know if this thing is legit as opposed to some scam to get my account information? For the few cents that my share of the settlement is likely to be, I will err on the safe side. Sad, though, isn't it that scams are so pervasive we don't know whom to trust anymore.
The Grammar Police are back. When last in action, they were pursuing people for failing to distinguish between who and whom.
Now they're on the Case of the Misplaced Modifier. Occurring when "single words, phrases, or clauses. . . do not point clearly to the word or words they modify," they are alarmingly frequent. That, by the way, was a properly placed modifier.
Today's culprit is the NY Post and its coverage of yesterday's Yankees game. Summing up seventh inning action, the Post (another properly placed modifier) writes:
Down a run, Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli brought in lefty Steve Kline to face lefty Hideki Matsui. Matsui hit a high pop-up to left that probably should have been caught.
Yikes! That's wrong on two counts. When the Post writes "down by a run," it is referring to the Yankees, not the Orioles, which brings me to the second problem. It was the Orioles who (more grammar perfection on my part) were either up or down a run, not Lee Mazzilli.
As corrected, the sentence should read, "With the Yankees down a run, Baltimore Manager Lee Mazzilli. . . ."
Serving to protect the interest of grammarians everywhere, the Grammar Police shall remain ever vigilant for other abuses of the English language.
One of my biggest pet peeves is reading news stories that mistake who for whom. It just rankles me to no end to see professionals who should understand the basics of grammar make such a fundamental mistake.
The Niners have extended invitations to the agents of Rodgers, Alex Smith, and Braylon Edwards to begin contract negotiations. Head coach Mike Nolan seems to be learning toward Rodgers, especially now that Smith failed to wow coaches at his most recent workout. However, it's always possible that notoriously cheap team owner John York will let his wallet determine who the team selects with the first overall pick.
Dear nitwits who wrote and edited the story:
It's "whom the team selects with the first overall pick." Who is used as the subject of a verb, as in who was the team's draft pick. Whom is used as an object, which it is in the above sentence.
The Grammar Police
The story says it all.
Memo to the motorist who would have just as soon run me over:
You are not "supposed to stop because [I] want to run". You are supposed to stop because you have a stop sign, and as a pedestrian, I, not you, have the right of way.
Memo to self:
In the future, try not argue to with SUVs. They're much bigger than you.
Ok, I'm playing armchair shrink, but it sounds like this person wanted to be arrested. Otherwise, why would he have struck up a "dialogue" that lead to his eventual capture? Arrogance? Maybe, but even so, on some level, odds are he wanted to be caught. Well, regardless of the reason, if the cops have the right man, he will now pay for his crimes.
You may all recall my experience with Federal Express failing to deliver a package on time for a dental appointment.
Now it seems that I am not eligible for a refund because weather problems caused the delay. That would be ok, except that the package wasn't a few hours late, but instead was a day late, and Federal Express never advised anyone of the potential for a delay. Had they, I would have used a courier.
Hopefully, a letter to the president of the company will suffice, but in the meantime, I will ask my credit card company to reverse the charge. Also, the trust that Federal Express had built up over the years has been exhausted. Unless the matter is resolved to my satisfaction, I will not use the company again.
Yes, it's Groundhog Day again. I am going to make a prediction. Phil will see his shadow. Yes, six more weeks of winter. I know, with the cold weather we've been experiencing the last couple of weeks (although today is going to be pretty warm, it's quite late for the annual mid-winter thaw), it's a daring prediction.
UPDATE: My daring prediction has come true.
After my dentist's appointment this week, my Mom's first cousin helped to take me home. (I was put under because of the anxiety I was feeling.) As I was buttoning up my coat and getting ready to put on my hat and gloves, she noticed that I routinely stuff my gloves into my hat. "Your Mother taught you well" or something to that effect was her comment. I never gave it much thought, but she's right. It's one of those habits that become so ingrained that you don't remember where you first picked it up. Indeed, it was from Mom, one of her many valuable lessons.
Here are three things I think I think. (King is Sports Illustrated's lead football reporter. He thinks he thinks five things.)
1. Even though I never supported the decision to go into Iraq and question whether the current situation is better than when Hussein was in power, I genuinely hope that this weekendís elections are the first step towards a stable, safe, and free Iraq.
3. Time to bone up on the social security debate. I donít have a position at this point, not being fully versed in whatís proposed, but it would be helpful to know how I might be affected. Though I will note that Iím not especially enamored of the idea of controlling my social security investment. Thatís what my 401k is for, unless, of course, Iím able to equal or beat the market, as Iíve done in my 401k.
I am about to head out into the frozen tundra of New York. But I will have my Icelandic sweater to keep me warm. Sure, it set me back about $200, but it's worth every penny.
"On another note, does anyone make some kind of telescoping scrub brush for bath tubs? Tired of getting down on my hands and knees to clean the tub."
They do. Hooray for Mr. Clean. I am getting one of these.
The handy dandy
Swifter Swiffer Duster is good for a multitude of uses. Before trying it out for dusting, I thought Scooter, who loves to be brushed, would get a kick of it. He did.
Overall, convenience thy name is
Swifter Swiffer. I added to my Swifter Swiffer collection today by finally picking up the WetJet and the duster. (I already owned the dry sweeper.) I see myself mopping more often now. Wait, on second thought, maybe CVS will take it back. On another note, does anyone make some kind of telescoping scrub brush for bath tubs? Tired of getting down on my hands and knees to clean the tub.
How about a blizzard? Curious to see whether our mail carrier delivers the mail today. Then we'll know how true that adage about the post office really is.
I live in New York City and work at the Long Island Rail Road because I don't believe in cars. That's right, like Peter Pan and fairy dust, they don't really exist. (Although from a philosophical standpoint, Peter Pan and fairy dust really do exist, but that's a topic for another time.) Ok, it's not that I don't realize that there are cars, but more feel that society has become too auto dependent, and I try to live my life in an auto-free way.
Today, however, I admit it would have been good to have a car. My weekly shopping included many bulky and heavy items, thus in turn requiring a handful of trips to the stores. The stores are all within easy walking distance, but a car would have reduced the trips to, let's see now, one! Oh, Lesley, where are you when you and your car are needed?
Seems like I am in a verbose mood this morning, as this is entry number five, but just moments ago, I pondered poetic about the top New Year's resolutions.
Along those lines - the resolutions part, not the verbose part - I figured people might be interested in my resolutions. Then again, they might not be, but tough luck, as my top ones are right below the fold.
1. To continue to be better in all things that I do - includes keeping up with and advancing my exercise programs, striving to keep my chin up even more, and giving more of myself to people
2. Getting in a relationship for keeps
3. Leaving the Long Island Rail Road for greener pastures
4. Advancing my nascent screenwriting career, which right now consists of having written one script and having a bunch more in the pipeline
(All of which means I will now stop pestering everyone with Blog entries and get to work.)
Without doing any earth-shattering or Google-searching research, I will venture a guess that the top two new year's resolutions just might be to get our bodies and finances in shape.
This conclusion is supported by some rather unscientific research. An e-mail from Handmark, which makes software for PDAs, with a subject line of "Keep Your Resolutions with these Great Titles". "Hmm", I thought to myself, "let me hazard that some workout tracking software will be on the list." It was, at the top, followed by one to track finances. Thus, clearly my theory is correct.
At last an answer to this conundrum that has puzzled people for ages. To get arrested! At least in Quitman, Georgia, where it is illegal for a chicken to cross the road.
In the meantime, in Columbus you must be nice to chickens on Sundays. You cannot cut off a chicken's head on Sundays or carry a chicken down Broadway by its feet. Thus, if you are a chicken, steer clear of Columbus unless it's Sunday.
Stupid laws courtesy of Dumb Georgia Laws.
The tag line on the banner add for the New York State Lottery is "Educating Leaders of Tomorrow." While it is true that lottery proceeds help to fund the state's public schools, that's not why I play the lottery. I play in the vague hope that I might win the big payoff. That education benefits is a happy benefit. Maybe there are others out there who think less cynically about it than I do. Or maybe not.
During his tenure at WMCA, New York radio legend Harry Harrison recorded a holiday poem full of warm wishes for the season. The poem, "May You Always", is beautiful in its sentiments and has become a beloved tradition. It is now played on WCBS FM, which Harrison returned to earlier this fall after retiring from his morning radio show in 2003.
If you've never heard it before, you can find both the words and the audio file on WCBS's web site. Take a moment not just to read it, but to listen to it as well. You will be rewarded as I always am when WCBS plays it - as much for the thoughts as for Harrison's warmth.
Okay, enough with the Presidential elections. Now let's talk about something really important - Regular reader Justin's son being on the championship football team of the Clearwater League 3rd/4th graders! Sure, you'll see lots of pictures of Bush celebrating his victory around the Internet today. But where else can you get pictures of Sam (#4) and his best friend (at least one of the thousands of Sam's best friends) celebrating their victory?
Haven't these people ever heard the saying, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Let the kids have their fun for crying out loud. Rest and relaxation - the occasional fun break - are as important to learning and work as learning and work are.
Does Dave Roberts try to steal second base? Does Bill Mueller look to drive Roberts home to score the tying run against the Yankees? Do they seek to extend game four if they knew that it would start a ball rolling that would lead not only to the Red Sox coming back to the win the series but also to a celebration outside Fenway Park that leads to the tragic death of Victoria Snelgrove? I know that you can't blame what happened on the field for her death. You can blame the fans that got out of control and maybe the police for using too much force.
Maybe I should stop thinking about this, but it's hard not to think about it. It's heartbreaking. Let's hope that fans around the world take this lesson to heart and learn to control themselves.
Thus, here are my new predictions. The price of Google will a) continue to rise, b) slip, or c) do nothing. A team with red in its uniform will win the 2004 World Series.
The presidential election.
The Yankees run through hopefully another championship post-season.
On a more somber note, my condolences to Mariano Rivera and his family on a terrible loss.
No one in sports ever has the flu. They have flu-like symtpoms. Now, Brett Favre, knocked silly in Sunday's loss to the Giants, doesn't have a concussion but concussion-like symtpoms. Is there a difference? Maybe Favre thought the doctor was holding up 17 fingers when he would have said 170 if he had a concussion.
Leaves me wondering what's next. My pet hamster isn't dead. Sure, he's not breathing and is motionless, but those are merely death-like symptoms.
With all the stories in the news about car jackings and abductions, how could someone be negligent enough to leave a baby alone in a running car? Thankfully, the culprit was caught quickly and the child is fine. The mother has probably learned her lesson, but I wouldn't mind if she were charged with a low-level crime and fined as an example.
Pity the poor television reporter who always seems to be smack in the middle of a hurricane or other major storm. I can understand why itís important to have a reporter on scene in, say, a war zone, where you want contemporary news and the only way to gather it is live. But why expose a reporter to extreme weather conditions when everyone else is told to get out of dodge?
I personally donít gain anything by seeing a reporter blown about by the wind and dumped on by the rain simply to report, ďWell, Jack, as you can tell itís really windy out here and thereís a lot of rain.Ē What I care about is what the storm is likely to do over the next day or so, which gives me and others a chance to prepare, and not what itís doing at that moment. Not to mention someone in a studio can tell me what itís doing as well as someone on scene. For crying out loud, Mr. and Ms. news producer, let them in out of the rain and snow!
The relentless spate of hurricanes hitting Florida reminds me of how when I was kid living in Boca Raton I wanted to experience a hurricane. Thankfully my wish was never fulfilled, but ah, the foolishness of youth.
Last night, I found a unique use for Vindigo that the company probably never even envisioned. I was at a transportation hub serving two west side subway lines when a woman from overseas, laden with a backpack and another large bag, approached me. She was totally lost, having been in the country for only two days, and looking how to get to 891 Amsterdam Avenue. That's all she knew. She didn't have a cross street. I couldn't really help her and sent her over to a token booth clerk with regrets.
I stood there for a moment pondering how I could help. Finally, it dawned on me. I was carrying my Palm Pilot, and with it, Vindigo. After some trial and error, I found the address for a restaurant, complete with cross streets, near her destination. Thus armed, I tracked her down, showed her the address along with a digital map and then directed her to the 103 Street station along the 1/9 line using my handy-dandy pocket subway map. Do I see a new marketing slogan: ďVindigo, showing you the way to goĒ?
All the time you hear about people who cycle or run several thousand miles. There's a group that is cycling across the US (from Seattle to Kennedy Space Center) right now.
Today I learned of an even more inspirational story. A man who rode 3,000 miles from Moscow to Spain in a wheel chair. He is 65 years old and was riding to discourage young people from doing drugs.
I cannot think of words adequate enough to profess my admiration for him. Except maybe to say that he's truly amazing.
Or beer, for that matter.
It used to be, "Hey Boo Boo, let's steal a pic-a-nic basket." Times have changed. Apparently, it's now, "Hey Boo Boo, let's steal a six pack."
About a year ago I bought a fitness watch that has various add-on accessories that you can buy. Instead of buying the heart monitor right away - I figure I have a finger, a wrist I can apply it to, and can count for 10 seconds without losing track - I opted for a foot pod that communicates with the watch and tracks mileage.
The catch? You have to calibrate it, and the only high school track nearby was to my chagrin closed to the public about the same time I got the watch. I do have another track I can avail myself of, but living in NYC without a car, that would be a far run or would require public transportation. I never made the effort, until today, and wouldn't you know, I didn't even think about the foot pod until I got there. Now, I did have the foot pod with me, as it attaches to my sneaker, but I didn't know how to use it! Next time I either read the instructions before making this trip or bring with them me.
Not that it was a total loss. Running along the track, and through the park that brings me there, enabled me to keep track of my distance and time. Confirming that Iím still running the same pace as always. So I can continue to time my runs with confidence.
Okay, that's it. I'm swearing off drinking for a long time. Over the last month, I have had more to drink than I have had in the last year. That would be 8 glasses of wine. 3 glasses one night, 3 glasses another night, and 2 glasses tonight. In fact, that might be more than I've had to drink in the last 2 years. Yes, it's true. I am the world's cheapest date.
Nonetheless, after tonight's 2 glasses of wine, I nearly got sick (fortunately a Gelusil tablet and some fresh air helped it pass). By the end of the evening (it may be late afternoon for most of my readers, but it's after 10 pm here in London), I was feeling nauseated. This may have been connected to the fact that all I had to eat while imbibing was some hors d'oeuvres, but still. No more drinks for me until at least the holiday party, and maybe not even then.
The flight was uneventful. Best kind of flight. I arrived at the hotel around 11:30 am local time. Thought I'd gotten my second wind during the car ride from Heathrow to the hotel during a great conversation with the driver. My plan was to stay awake for the day and go to sleep around 10 pm.
I checked into the room, feeling all energetic and everything. Made a couple of phone calls and then headed out to get some British-style cash at the ATM around the corner. Went to eat lunch. Started walking around after lunch intent on finding two things: a Starbucks for really strong coffee (I theorized that London is much like any other major city - walk far enough and you'll find a Starbucks) and a place to buy a prepaid SIM card for the GSM mobile phone my friend lent me. I did find a Starbucks, thus proving my theory. However, for the first time in my life, I've seen a Starbucks that is closed during broad daylight. Yeah, I know it's Sunday, but I've never come across a Starbucks that is closed on Sunday. So much for the strong coffee. Couldn't find a Vodafone or some such to purchase the SIM card, so I figure I'll get that tomorrow.
After walking around for about an hour, I hit the wall. I was exhausted. I felt like I was literally going to fall asleep whilst walking. So I headed back to the hotel and changed my plan - I slept for about three hours. Ah well. I'll get some dinner now and still try to go to sleep around 10 pm local time. The way I feel right now, I won't have any problem falling asleep in 2 1/2 hours.
I'm meetinged out. Too bad for me, as I have another full day of meetings on Thursday.
In other work-related news, sometimes being in finance sucks. I get to enforce the corporate policies, but guess who gets the blame for being mean? Me. "Lesley won't let us have a party to celebrate the deployment of an application." Yeah, sure, the T&E policy specifically says "no entertaining other employees", but I'm the one who won't let them have a party. Whatever.
Today is Memorial Day. There won't be any other blogging beside this post. Today is a day for us to reflect on the men and women who sacrificed defending this country, whether they sacrificed their lives, their limbs, whatever they may have sacrificed. To all of these men and women - Thank you.
I finally finished unpacking my boxes. Sure, you say, I've lived here nearly a year. Your point? So I now have all this additional space in the living room. It's fabby! I love it. I can even see the fireplace now.
Next up - it's time to paint.
I'm starting to think that I communicate in some odd dialect of English that people who work in technology don't understand. For example, when I ask that they send me forecasts of big ticket items they will be purchasing over the remainder of the year and specify that I need to know (1) what they will be buying, (2) how much it will cost, and (3) when they expect to buy it, I'm lucky if they give me two of those three pieces of information.
Today and today only, Michele is running a great deal - Ask her a question, and she'll donate a dollar to the Spirit of America. Her offer is also being matched by several people, including yours truly.
As most of you who read this site regularly know, I was not in favor of the war in Iraq. But that has nothing to do with this. I think that this is a good cause. The Spirit of America has, to date, provided school supplies, medical supplies, dental kits, musical instruments, and toys to the Iraqis. So go ask Michele a question. It won't cost you anything except the time to type it.
But if you want to donate directly as well, please do so.
Another year has past and a new one started. I'm not a big New Years' person. I don't see the point in staying up to watch the ball drop. The start of the new year is purely arbitrary anyway. Once upon a time, as the names of our last four months indicate, the start of the new year was in March. This makes more sense to me. March is the month when winter turns to spring, at least in the northern hemisphere, and spring is the season of renewal. That ties into actual human experience. But what is January 1st? A day, like any other.
I don't make New Years' resolutions. If there's something about my life I want to change badly enough, I don't wait until a special, "magical" day to start to change it. No one really does. I think that New Years serves a purpose for many people, in that it gives them pause to stop and reflect on their lives; perhaps that is why resolutions are most popular on New Years.
Do I expect that 2004 will be a better year than 2003? No, but neither do I expect that it will be a worse year. Dickens sums it up best:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Or perhaps T.S. Eliot:
For I have known them already, known them all-
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons
Well, perhaps I'm a wee bit melancholy.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, saw dawn, felt sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up your quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
by John McCrae
To all the veterans who fought to preserve our freedoms - Thank you.
Way back, at the end of August, a colleague and I came up with a little idea for how to have some fun at work - Start a Taste-Off. A taste-off is our name for a taste-test. Since I've heard multiple reports of participants sharing this with family, friends, and acquaintances who wish to mimic it, I figured I'd tell you all about it too.
We started off with the idea that we'd stack up Dunkin Donuts against Krispy Kreme across several varieties. Week 1, we did a Boston Kreme taste-off (Dunkin Donuts wiped the floor with the poor Krispy Kreme showing), moving on to Chocolate Glazed, Jelly, Glazed, and Iced. At the end, the winners of each category competed against each other for a Donut Best in Show. The Dunkin Donuts Boston Kreme emerged victorious.
Although initially we had then planned on doing muffins, bagels, etc., we revisited our plans at the end of the Donut segment and decided to move on to packaged goods instead. You know, all those gooey Hostess and Drakes Cakes goodies we all grew up with. This time we changed our methodology. We're doing an elimination taste-off, starting with quarter-finals and ending with a winner-take-all championship round. We seeded the 12 contestants and had our first quarter-final match today. There was an upset, with
Gonzaga Ho-Hos beating Arizona Twinkies. 12th-seeded Sno-Balls did better than you might think, but still finished last. Yeah, the quarter-finals are 3-way competitions. It was just easier.
It's been tons of fun. Lots of merriment and camaraderie.
BTW, we don't eat entire servings of anything. We generally cut things into halves or quarters so as to not completely blimp out. In fact, I just started Weight Watchers (I want to go back down from a size 10 to a size 6, my size prior to 9/11), and managed to stay within my daily points total even eating 3 meals and participating in the taste-off. Sticking to quarters of each treat brought me in at 2.5 points for the entire exercise out of a daily allotment of 22. So I skipped my afternoon tea with half and half. Tell me you wouldn't rather have a quarter of a Ho-Ho than a cuppa.
You may already know that Chief Wiggles started a project to send toys to Iraqi children. However, the project has expanded over the last week to become Operation Give. Many major corporations are looking to become involved, and there are links set up to stores that allow you to send not just toys but clothes, school supplies, and a host of other items.
Whatever you think of the war, you can't possibly think there is anything wrong with giving toys, clothes, and school supplies to needy Iraqi children. So head on over to Operation Give and do as the name asks.
Urban planners who put in brick sidewalks. They must be men. Sure, they look lovely, but they are killer on heels. Every urban planner who allows a brick sidewalk should be forced to walk across one in 3" heels every day for the rest of their lives.
People who use corporate jargon terms like "business partner." Can't we just call it "doing your job?"
Mike Bloomberg. Just on principle.
Idiots who Google search terms like "why have the jews gone crazy?" But what do I know? Evidently I've gone crazy.
Steve Ballmer. Face it, Steve, Windows and Outlook are just lousily written programs. It's not just that there are more Windows machines than any other OS. It's that Windows is easier to write viruses for.
Ying-yangs who call hazing rituals where teenage boys have brooms shoved up their nether regions "kids getting carried away." I'm pretty sure that when most kids "get carried away," they do things like drink, smoke, have consensual sex with their partners, and borrow the car without permission. Shoving broomsticks in other people's bodily cavities was the kind of thing the Boston Strangler did or the sort of incident which landed NYC cops in jail. Kind of outside the scope of "getting carried away."
Three people I've met while wandering the wide wonderful world of the web (I love
onomatopoeia alliteration , even if I do have to look it up to make sure I'm spelling it right*) have started their own blogs.
First the incomparable MissusDe will be California Dreaming. Trish has a knack for finding some of the oddest collection of stories and links on the web, so I definitely encourage you to read her frequently. Plus she has an interesting take on things.
Next we have Der Spiel (why yes, it is a take on the famous German magazine). Jim has a political point of view that is sure to get nearly everybody's blood boiling, regardless of which side of the fence they are on. And, not to toot my own horn (at least not terribly loudly), but I did his website design.
Last is Elevator Cabeza. It's really hard to describe Bryan/Brassmask. He is extremely left-wing. He loves Howard Dean. He wants to be a filmmaker and actually has his own little independent production company in Memphis. Outside of those three rather obvious statements, I wouldn't dare to describe him further. You'll have to (try to) figure him out for yourselves.
Good luck to all of them.
*I have a mental block. Of course, I meant alliteration, not onomotopoiea, which is a word that sounds like what it means.
It's a funny old thing, I've discovered, but there's an inverse relationship between feeling calm and desiring to participate in the wide world of the web. At least for me, there seems to be a correlation between being pissed off at things, anything, and wanting to write.
Manhattan is a conducive environment to pissed offness. You don't realize until you're not there just how conducive it really is. I'm sure not all people react that way. Some undoubtedly miss the excitement, the fast pace of life in the big, glittering city. It just turns out that I'm not one of them. Who knew? Certainly not me.
I come home at night and think about blogging, but then I realize that I don't feel like becoming pissed off. I have to figure out a way to blog about things that don't piss me off as well as about those that do. I just fear that those things that don't won't be nearly as interesting. Maybe it's just me, but villains in the movies and in books (not in real life) seem to be more interesting than heroes (let's face it, Skeletor had it all over He-Man), and things that piss me off seem to be more interesting than things that don't. I suppose that's why the Chinese curse goes "May you live in interesting times", not "May times be mundane and dull".
Hopefully I'll work it all out.
I have too many books.
I have no idea why they call them book boxes. Books don't really fit well in them no matter what the size.
It feels like an ending, but not a corresponding beginning. I guess the beginning comes when you start unpacking.
Cats are of no use whatsoever in moving, unless you consider sleeping on top of packed boxes useful.
My back hurts.
I was getting all ready to write a blistering diatribe of why I was going to link and then delink dustbury.com (pretty much because C.G. has been trying for ages to get someone to boycott him, and I aim to please), until I saw this entry on his blog: Buck Floomberg. Well, given my not-so-subtle feelings about the erstwhile Mayor of my city, how can I possibly boycott someone with such fine taste in disliking politicians? Sorry, C.G., your quest remains unfulfilled. In fact, I shall now have to simply link you.
The World Wide Runt has made her debut, and is already talking about taking over the planet. Go wish Andy the best on the birth of his daughter, Fiona.
Just been taking a little break lately, hoping to have a little more balance between life and the Internet.
To those who celebrate it.
To the rest of us, Happy Liberation from Annoying, Singing Bunnies Day.
I've been getting a few more hits from international search engines lately, so I thought I'd take a look at what people from different countries are trying to find.
Italy wants to find out if Bush is crazy.
Canada is trying to find out the same thing and about yellow stars of David. They're also trying to find a nickname for Mike. Here's a clue - Mike is a nickname for Michael. What, you want a nickname for a nickname?
The Brits, on the other hand, want to know about crazy Saddam. Sounds far more reasonable to me.
Belgium is looking for Camilla Parker Bowles. I'm sorry, but I don't think Charles is parting with her. Apparently, though, the Belgians want to negotiate with him, since they are also looking for "prince vibrator vanity listen". I appreciate their creative thinking, although I think they're bound for failure.
Germany is searching for Lesley (I'm a little concerned about that... What do they want with me? I didn't do it, I swear!)
Well, now that the Germans have piqued my paranoia, I think I'm going to go hide for a bit.
At last, something for a geographically
impaired challenged (must be politically correct) adult like me!
Oh.My.G_d. To think, I was wondering if I ought to spend another $30,000 next year to renovate the kitchen in the apartment I'm buying.
Via The Daily Rant
However, all this apartment hunting has exhausted me! I lost count of how many apartments I looked at over the last week. Over 20, I think. And the real estate agent, who is a great guy, said the most real-estate-agenty thing possible to me when I dropped off the check for the binder - "You're buying a lifestyle." As I groaned internally, I had to confess that in some ways he was right. The apartment was about $30K more than I wanted to spend. As I was trying to decide whether or not to go ahead with it last night, having seen another apartment I liked as well that I almost certainly could have gotten for a little less than I wanted to spend, I thought about how beautiful and upscale the building was. The cheaper unit was above a Thai restaurant. Ultimately I opted for the more expensive one because something about the building and the space just said "You've made it, kid!" I guess I really am buying a lifestyle. How frightening.
Okay, I found the apartment I want, made an offer on it, and reached a deal with the buyers! It's fabby! 775 s.f., 11 foot ceilings, marble bath (ignore the hideous black wallpaper with blue flowers and hideous powder blue fixtures; they will be dealt with), working fireplace, nice-sized living room with dining alcove, nice-sized bedroom, and decent-sized kitchen (formica cabinets with faux formica wood grain cabinets will also be dealt with at later date). The building has a pool in the courtyard and guaranteed parking 1.5 blocks away for another $150/month. Yippee!! Take a look and see what you think.
Sigh. Well, I went to measure the rooms yesterday, and they were smaller than I thought. The bedroom is about 12'10" x 12'6". The dining room is about 9' x 9'. The living room is 12'0" x 12'6" (smaller than the one I have in my 525 sf apartment, dammit!), and the 2nd bedroom/study is 12'6" x 8'6". Given the way it's laid out, I don't see how I can actually fit my furniture. Ah well. The hunt continues. Those details were damn nice, though. I'm also still trying to figure out where they came up with 950 sf for the place, though. The bathroom was pretty small, and there's only one foyer.
I received an all-cash offer on my apartment in Manhattan last weekend, so I've been spending the last few days looking at new apartments in Hoboken (on account of my company is shipping us out there in July). Today I saw one I really liked a lot (although it WILL be repainted if I buy it, you'll see why). I'm going back tomorrow after work to measure the rooms and if all goes well, I'm making an offer! Go me. I've already prequalified for the mortgage, so it should go smoothly.
Take a look at this baby and let me know what you think: Lesley's Maybe New Apartment
It's got a huge kitchen, two bedrooms (one of which is really small and I'm calling it the study), a dining room, and living room. All told it's somewhere between 900 and 950 square feet, which is a big jump in the 525 I'm currently living in.
It's just a ventilation kind of day.
So I was riding home in a cab tonight from my shrink (hey, I'm a Jewish woman living in New York City; if I wasn't in therapy they'd revoke my card). I was chatting with the cabbie about the war. Now, I may not have made this perfectly clear to all and sundry, because mostly I don't feel like getting caught in the old "You're an anti-American moron"/"You're a warmongering bitch" kind of arguments that seem rampant nowadays, but I am not in favor of this war. I happen not to believe that Iraq is an imminent threat to the United States, I believe that we could have addressed the threat of potential WMDs the way we are addressing it in other countries (see also North Korea), and that we are not the world's police force (i.e., it's not about liberating the Iraqis). If we're going to liberate people, maybe we ought to start with the Sudan, where 2 million have died over the last 15 years. I don't think Saddam has a record of 2 million in 15 years. But I don't see any big line-up to invade the Sudan. So, yeah, I'm skeptical of it being anything like Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Anyway, I was expressing my views on this with the cabbie, who was in agreement. All was fine and good until suddenly he dropped the big one - "It's the Jews." I told him he was wrong, and that I was a Jew. He said, "I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings, but I'm just telling the truth." I told him he didn't have any idea how all Jews felt about this war. He told me his wife was Russian and her parents were Persian and she told him everything. Because, after all, the Russians and Iraqis are so known for their unbiased opinions about Jews.
Anyway, yes, that's it, folks. It's the Jews. Despite the fact that Jews are as likely to be anti this war as any other group in this country, it's the Jews. I'm amazed any of us actually have any time to do anything else, given all the crap we're apparently responsible for. I'm amazed I have time to work a full day, given that apparently I'm part of some top-secret cabal making all kinds of nefarious decisions about your lives. But I've decided to take advantage of this great power to take care of a few things that are bothering me.
1. The lousy bindings on paperback books. Of course, the Jews are responsible for that, because we own the paper companies and want your novels to fall apart quickly so you'll have to buy more. I've decided to end this practice.
2. Newspaper ink. We are also responsible for that, no doubt, because we must own the soap companies, the paper towel manufacturers, and the textile mills. Not that I read actual newsprint any more, but I know how annoying it is. It's over.
3. The AL and NL Division Series and interleague play. Those are offenses against G_d and man. They must end. I don't know precisely how we're responsible for those, must have something to do with us owning the media or something. At any rate, I hate them. They must now go.
P.S. I hope no one is waiting for any of those things to occur. Unfortunately, I actually do not have that kind of power. If I did, I'd be doing something a lot more fun with my life. I just think it's blatantly unreasonable for me to be held responsible for things without getting the benefits of them. Bastards.
Man, but I'm sick of morons. I posted on another board that Martin Sheen wasn't hurting for money. Now a more non-controversial statement I thought couldn't be made (except, maybe, that the sky is blue). The man is the star of a top-rated TV show plus had a long and successful movie career. Not a big leap to the fact that he's probably doing just fine in the bucks department.
Or so you would think. But sure as hell, someone responded back asking me how I was sure Martin Sheen wasn't hurting for money. What a fucking idiot.
I also posted to the same guy that Martin Sheen's time was his to decide to do with as he pleases. So if he wants to go out and protest, it's his time to go out and protest with. What does said fathead reply back? That he's glad I keep track of Martin Sheen's schedule. No clue where in my rather obvious statement it came across that I kept track of his schedule or even gave a damn what his schedule is. But that doesn't stop the dimwits.
...you no longer know the difference between "cursed is Haman and blessed is Modechai." Yes, it's Purim again. It's one of those Jewish holidays along the lines of "They tried to kill us. They failed. Let's eat." The eatings for this holiday are hamentaschen, a tri-cornered, fruit-filled cookied. So I'm baking some tonight. If I only had a digital camera that worked, I'd take a picture of the final result for all to see. Alas, I do not. Still, a Happy Purim to all!
Yes, now Brits can play between $12,600 and $15,800 to give their cats kidney transplants that will probably extend the cat's life by at most two years and keep it on medication for the rest of its life. It's cheaper for Americans to do that - only $8,000 to $10,000.
Next week, the Carnival stops at Gut Rumbles.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
I'd really like to thank
Judy, Janet, Richard, Diane for contacting me to let me know she has been assigned as my account manager for a new account for something I've never even heard of. I know that I always trust e-mails from people who send me three e-mails under three different sender names but one e-mail address and tell me in the text that their name is Diane. Always a winning move.
Another winning move is to not describe your business model at all, but to tell me to either click on a website with the URL diane.moreinfoneeded.com or call a toll number in Texas.
I was, however, especially impressed though by the following disclaimer:
This e-mail is sent in compliance with our strict anti-abuse regulations. You have received this e-mail because you or someone using your computer has used an FFA List, Safe List or requested other information. If you do not wish to receive any mail from our servers you may permanently block your e-mail address by clicking on the following link. (Please be advised by blocking your e-mail you will not have access to over 900 domains and the thousands of users and services they represent)
If it weren't for the fact that I know clicking on unsubscribe will validate my e-mail address as being active, I think I could manage to live without having access to these unspecified "over 900 domains" associated with such a "reputable" company as this one.
I think I'll take the spam, egg, sausage, and spam, because that's not got much spam in it, thank you very much.
There have been a recent spate of "resignations" at work lately, so it's put kind of a damper on my mood. This is why blogging has been light lately. It may continue to be so for a bit. There's kind of a pall over the work atmosphere. Sigh.
The Washington Post is moving its data center to Tysons Corner in Virginia.
U.S. News has plans to send reporters and editors to hotels in Frederick, Maryland.
The BBC would evacuate its staff to waiting boats on the Potomac River to avoid land-based escape routes that are likely to be jammed. (Apparently, they figure it will be Dunkirk all over again.)
The New York Times Washington bureau says it hasnít a clue about what to do.
Ever since Pinch Sulzberger appointed Howell Raines as managing editor, the Times has been clueless about everything anyway. So nu, why should this be different? It's disgusting that management in NYC can't figure out how to protect employees, but it's not different.
Confirming what I've been feeling all along, this February is making people feel gloomier than usual. Amidst bad weather and orange threat levels (really, the orange does not match the grey of the weather, much more of a summer color really), this isn't surprising. But it would be the month of my birth. Sigh.
I've got my 3 days of food and water now. I've got my spare sets of clothes and toiletries wrapped up and stored both at home and at the office. I have a hand-crank-powered flashlight/radio combination. Tonight I get the plastic sheeting and extra duct tape. Go me.
Preparing "for eventualities" like this got me thinking a bit about what it means to be a woman. As I was getting the spare sets of clothes and toiletries ready, I noticed myself worrying about things like whether or not they color-coordinated. As if in an actual emergency I or anyone else would actually care. I realized this on one level, yet still proceeded to not just worry about it but try to choose things that did color coordinate. My shoes at the office don't, so I was considering purchasing a new pair (which is doubly symptomatic, not just of a color-coordination obsession but my previously disclosed shoe fetish as well).
Then as I was packing the toiletries, I was going beyond just having some soap, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. I was packing my little spare travel foundation, some concealer, and moisturizer. Because, of course, if something terrible does happen, it's going to matter to anyone if I am well made-up, including myself. Again, I realized all this rationally, but still, there I was packing the stuff. I will confess to having a moisturizer obsession also. I have more types of moisturizer than Picasso had paint. I carry a mini-size moisturizer in my purse to use if I have to wash my hands when I'm not at home or the office. Not having moisturizers in my emergency kit would be unthinkable.
I'm sure this is related to my being a woman. I doubt the vast majority of men would be obsessing over whether or not their emergency outfits color-coordinate, and I know they wouldn't be packing cosmetics. It's semi-annoying, though, to find myself doing these things. Maybe it's some kind of attempt to achieve "normalcy" even in the midst of a crisis, or at least give myself the opportunity to do so. I don't know, and I'm not going to psychoanalyze it to death. It's done, and it didn't have any huge impact on my life.
What kind of weird things have you found yourselves doing?
And so today as I get ready to go to work, I find myself packing a complete change of clothes and some toiletries and wrapping it in two thick plastic trash bags to leave in my office just in case. I don't actually have a battery-operated radio any longer, but I will be buying a couple today. Yippee.
Why someone was searching for this. Actually, given that the results were me and a bunch of porn sites, I think we already have the answer to that question.
to figure out that those damn recordings were "more annoying than helpful"? Well, anyway, hallelujah!
I thought I was reading the secret diary of a twelve year old girl; is this what you consider to be blogging? Check out readeralert.com which is our weblog. We are concise, detailed and to-the-point. And our readers tell us we are among the elite. Regarding the impending war, the frontpage looks at the Powell speech in a column titled, Why France Suffers Fools Gladly and at the history of European Alliances going back to WW11, The French Connections.
This is but one example of a phenomenon I simply don't get - the impetus for people participating in online forums to hang out at places they don't like. I don't know about you, but when I come across a place in real life that I don't care for, I don't go to that place again. What would be the point of doing so? When I meet people I don't like in real life, I don't maintain an ongoing relationship with them. The only exception to this is work-related situations, but if anyone is getting paid to surf and comment on blogs as their job, I want to meet them and get a job where they work.
So why is the Web different from real life? It really shouldn't be. It is, for the vast majority of people, a leisure activity, a hobby of choice. Who, in their right mind, participates in a leisure activity they don't enjoy? Or is that the thing? Is it that some people really enjoy insulting others and can't satisfy that desire in real life without facing negative consequences they aren't willing to? Does the enjoyment of insulting someone outweigh the frustration from the fact that you don't like them or their site? And if so, what does that say?
The Carnival turns 20 this week. One more week, and it's old enough to drink. It will be celebrating its coming of age at Dissecting Leftism, so be sure to send John Ray your entries.
We start out this week with a section devoted to the Columbia tragedy.
Columbia the Gem of the Sky
Acidman ponders how people die.
Xanga mfinley wonders if Americans understand anything other than bright flashes and booms .
Dietz Smith remembers the moon walk and celebrates astronauts as ambassadors to the cosmos.
Seth the talking dog says we should do it right or not do it at all.
Meryl Yourish offers her Requiem for Columbia.
Madeleine Begun Kane discusses unheeded warnings about the shuttle program and a byproduct of the tragedy.
David Melle informs us that artist Barry Mundsen has created a painting in memory of Ilan Ramon and Petr Ginz.
Chuck Simmins wants NASA to get back on track and boldly go where no man has gone before.
Barry wants kids to have a dream.
Solonor believes we're better than proclaiming that G_d is punishing other nations, unlike some countries who shall remain nameless but whose initials are I and Q.
James DiBenedetto looks ahead to The Future.
Blog, Blog Baby
Diane L. disses us wimpy M.T. users in Customer service is a crutch for people who can't handle Blogger....
Oh my G_d, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo goes like totally Valley. Just blog him with a spoon!
Steve H. quits the blogging biz!
Ask Me No Questions, I'll Tell You No Lies
Michele wants you to be honest.
Chris Ruzin wants people to dare greatly.
Alex Knapp tells us why the 9/11 Commission is still in formation, but there's already a Columbia Commission.
James DiBenedetto points to high school sports hypocrites.
Fuze asks you who is violating your civil rights?
Oh The (in)Humanity!
Laurence Simon ponders what would have happened If Rosa Parks Had Been Palestinian?
Seth the talking dog asks the timely question What Could Be Funnier than Colonel Qaddafi as Head of the Human Rights Commission?
C.G. Hill knows somebody who knew McCarthy, and you, sir, are no McCarthy!
People Are Strange
Blogger Rabbit visits Captain Kirk in a politically correct universe.
C.G. Hill refuses to get a bikini wax. C.G., honestly, they're not that bad after the first dozen or so times.
Left, Right, Left, Right, Left
John Ray says the young are out of their heads.
Dave follows the ketchup money trail to Mexico. No blood for ketchup!
Bigwig gets all Irma La Douce on the Republicans.
War, War, War, How Do You Like It
Peter wonders why some people are so anxious to get their war on.
Dietz Smith talks turkey about Korea.
James DiBenedetto says he's not a warmonger.
Button tells us Saddam doesn't like surfers.
Frank J. wants to free Nelson Mandela. Permanently.
Ball of Confusion
Seth the talking dog talks some more and gives his state of the State of the Union.
Wylie in Norman liked the State of the Union, but wishes Bush had said Saddam - All Your Base Are Belong To Us!
Rick DeMent has a message from the clue fairy.
Chuck Simmins fisks The New Yorker.
Talk Like the Animals
Feste tells us about our own home-grown cheese-eating surrender monkeys.
Steve H. wishes he were only dreaming about a farting dog.
Lesley is grateful that someone is worried about the rights of pigs.
What's Race Got To Do With It
John Rosenberg wonders what the Constitution might look like if the founding fathers had thought of the nation as a confederacy of racial, ethnic, and religious groups.
Steve H. wants to be a profiler.
Change the Channel!
Alan Dale channels Gene Siskel.
This Is The End
Jarl Mousebender celebrates not having to buy any more books.
Tim Hall lays some track.
Dave discovers that contrary to European popular belief, Americans do have taste.
The rumors are true. Carnival of the Vanities #20 will be hosted here on Feb. 5th. E-mail me your entries by 7 pm EST on that day. If you don't, you'll just have to wait until next week, when Carnival of the Vanities #21 will be hosted at Dissecting Leftism. But why wait? You can (and should) send another entry for #21.
Nutrasweet. It was supposed to be the savior of those who wanted to cut their caloric intake without using saccharine. You could drink your soda and have your weight loss too. Unfortunately, it may not be all that it's made out to be. I had heard of reports which tie aspartame to vertigo as well as other unpleasant and/or dangerous symptoms. I've heard that aspartame increases cravings for sugar and carbs. I can't judge the veracity of these reports. I know there are conflicting research reports that say aspartame does not cause any problems and that it actually decreases cravings for sugar and carbs. All I know is what I have experienced since drastically cutting down on my aspartame intake.
What finally lead me to that point was one bad day of feeling terribly dizzy and lightheaded after imbibing several diet sodas throughout the day. This wasn't the first time I had felt that way either. It finally got to the point that I decided enough was enough. I would try reducing my aspartame intake with the goal of eliminating it completely (I'm practically at that point now). Since then I haven't had problems with dizziness and lightheadedness. I have also noticed that my cravings for carbs have been significantly reduced as well. I really don't care how medically sound any of the research is, either pro- or anti-aspartame. I just know that I feel better since reducing it. Take that for what you will.
Based upon the 25,347 people who have arrived here today through web searches for the National Geographic Swimsuit Issue, it's bound to be a hit. (Oh, okay, it's only about 100.) For those of you who want to see a picture of the cover, here's a link: Yahoo! article with picture of swimsuit issue cover. Live it up.
Duckboy has found a new home, and he's no longer calling himself Duckboy. You can find him at Phillip Coons, and he's now just going by the name of Phillip. So go pay him a visit or two or three or many. Same great content, new name.
Dave Barry has started his own blog. Most of you have probably already read this on other sites, since I'm hardly original in posting about this. I post it primarily for my Mom, who is a huge Dave Barry fan. His blog is on the blogroll under Dave's Blog. One question, though. Why Blogger?
Time for a Plum Crazy pool: How long before Dave Barry moves his blog off Blogger? I'm in for 1 month. Times to be calculated from the date of his first entry (1/24/2003). Put your entries in the comments. Whoever is closest gets a free item of choice from the soon-to-be-live VCWC merchandise collection. Well, except for me, since someone has to pay Cafepress for the merchandise, but the sacrifices we make for our conspiracies.
(Here's today's entry in the Amish Tech Support Blog A Day Tour...)
A long time ago, I used to be plum crazy myself. You see, at the corner of Appletree Lane and Central Avenue in Deerfield, Illinois there was a plum tree. I know it's odd that there was a plum tree on Appletree Lane, but there was an apple tree on Appletree Lane, too. There were as many apple trees as plum trees, to tell you the truth.
Lots of streets out there with tree names in them don't have that kind of tree along them. There's lots of Elm and Maple and Redwood Streets out there which probably have never had one of those trees along them in the time there's been a street there, let alone the eons before there was a street to begin with. But this Appletree Lane had an apple tree and it had a plum tree.
Both thrived. They were well taken care of. It gave plums every year, and the apple tree, well, the apples were good for throwing.
Bert of Sesame Street liked plums. I did everything they did on Sesame Street. I was more of an Ernie-type of a kid, but I followed Bert's lead. So I liked plums.
There was also a strawberry patch that had many strawberry runners, a grapevine that had excellent grapes, an asparagus and herb garden, and all sorts of other interesting things growing. And the last Willow tree of the area stood tall, too, even though Willow Street was a long ways away.
I was told a while back that the plum tree is no more. Somebody took a turn wide or something, and wiped it completely out.
I hope there's some sort of tree there again, despite the corner. If people can't keep on the road, then it's their problem if there's a tree there, not the tree's.
A plum tree would be nice.
I learned a couple of weeks ago that my rather small one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan is now worth between 4 and 5 times what I paid for seven years ago. So I decided that now was the time to sell, especially since I believe that the real estate market has now topped out. I have spent the last couple of days going through the detritus of every day life, the things you put aside, figuring you'll deal with them one day. That day has arrived, and I dealt with the vast majority of it by throwing it out. It's amazing how much junk you can fit in a small space. Just think how much more junk I'll be able to collect when I move into a bigger space with the hefty down payment I'll have.
So between doing that and the hideous hours I've been working the past couple of weeks, I have had little time to blog. I still have more things to do today, but hopefully blogging will resume normally tomorrow.
In the meantime, wish me luck!
There is a get-together the weekend of March 14th for East Coast bloggers (although it's not limited to just us East Coasters). It's being held in the Poconos, land of my parents, so I'm going to have to get my butt on up there. Details can be found here.
Link via Michele.
If anyone is in the Houston area and would like a cat, get in touch with Laurence Simon of Amish Tech Support. Seems one of Laurence's neighbors has ditched his cat, and Laurence already has four others who don't like Rufus. I hate people who get pets and then discard them like yesterday's paper. Pardon me, while I go play with Emma and Jane now.
Sorry for the light blogging lately. Work is keeping me very busy. Film at 11.
Thanks to the fine folks over at randomWalks, from this point forward we can offer you all a convenient and easy choice. For those of you, like me, who prefer to have links open in new windows, you can do that by checking the little box over to your right. For those who prefer to have links open in the same window, leave the little box unchecked. Ain't choice grand?
I found this code via Alas, A Blog.
I was reading some comments on a post about the Giants
debacle game over at The Empire of Man (overall an interesting blog which I found today when Joshua left a comment on my WWJS post) earlier when I came across this:
So the refs didn't call a penalty on a clear pass interference ? ? ? ? It happens every game. New Yorkers have had all the luck in recent memory--huge amounts of federal dollars flooded that city in 2001 and 2002; the Yankees made the series in 2001 on a clearly erroneous call at the plate; and who can forget Scott Norwood's missed field goal back in the day. It's about time some other city gets some of the luck usually reserved for New York.
Okay, now I have no problem with someone talking about sports calls as luck. But the huge amounts of federal dollars that we received in 2001 and 2002 was luck? Yeah, I guess it was lucky that those terrorists flew a couple of planes into our tallest buildings and killed 2,800 people. What the fuck was wrong with me for not understanding that before? It wasn't a tragedy at all. It was damn good fortune, because without that, we'd have never gotten the huge amounts of federal dollars! Thanks, AC, for turning my life around.
What I actually said in response was this:
Hold on a sec. I have no problem with you're referring to sports calls as luck. But you're calling this luck - "huge amounts of federal dollars flooded that city in 2001 and 2002." Hey, dipstick, I worked at the WTC. 100 people I knew were killed that day, and I only avoided being killed because I was still 10 minutes away on a bus. Give us back the towers and the people who were killed, and you can have all the money back. None of us would give a damn. Some other city can have that "luck."
I think I was way too nice.
I do not believe Elvis is still alive. I do not now and have never owned an Elvis recording. I have no idea what I did when I heard the news that Elvis had died, because it had such little impact on me that I can't even remember hearing about it, let alone what I did afterwards.
Make sure to click the MORE... link at the bottom of the "The Return of the King Protest" entry and read the whole thing.
My site traffic is around 2.5X its usual average as of right now. Not that I mind. Like most bloggers, I am a traffic and links slut (although I have the bonus of also being a gum slut). There are 3 reasons for this influx of traffic:
1. The Washington Post linked to me today. Seems somebody (go on, see if you can guess who) wrote to them telling them I was their favorite blogger.
Thanks to all of you! I hope I have some stickiness.
UPDATE: I really should have mentioned that the following is part of a blogburst, a simultaneous, cross-linked posting of many blogs on a single theme. This blogburst concerns J.R.R. Tolkien. For a guide to other Tolkien articles, go to The Tolkien BlogBurst Index at Yourish.com.
"So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - Gandalf the Grey in "The Fellowship of the Ring"
When I first saw the movie, "The Fellowship of the Ring", it was three months after 9/11. Three months after nearly 100 people I knew were killed and my office destroyed. Three months after my life was irrevocably altered and I no longer felt safe.
Perhaps that is why the movie got to me on such a visceral level. From the moment Galadriel told the story of the rings of power, I felt tears well up. I rarely cry, although I do so more now then I did before. Yet throughout the film, tears were welling up in my eyes. The power of the story overwhelmed me.
Looking back, I realize I was still in shock at the time. The story reached beyond the emotionally protective walls I had built to my core. It represented to me how I was feeling, in some ways transforming itself within my psyche to the life I now led. Sauron became Osama bin Laden - omnipresent in my mind, yet shadowy and surreal, invested with a tremendous power for evil. The One Ring was the twin demons, Melancholy and Fear, that engulfed me, twisting me into someone different. I longed to be like Frodo - carrying my burden with acceptance and fortitude - but it was a struggle to simply get through the day.
Yet the story was incomplete, because nowhere in it was a wise and protective Gandalf, a calming and healing Elrond, an insightful and powerful Galadriel. Ultimately I played those roles myself, with the help of family, friends, and a professional. At that time, though, it seemed as though there was no one to take them on and help me fight the demons.
"How can men fight against such reckless hatred?" - Theoden, King of Rohan in "The Two Towers"
When I went to see "The Two Towers", it was 15 months after that Day. I sat in the theater waiting for the film to start, wondering how I would react to this one. Surely it would not be as powerful, because I was more removed in time from the raw emotions, from the depths of Melancholy and Fear. It was, yet it was not.
As the music started, the tears welled up again. I felt myself once more overwhelmed by the larger-than-lifeness of the story. Gandalf falling deep into Shadow. The sense of impending doom, as the massive Uruk-Hai troops stormed Helms' Deep. As with all mythology, the fight between good and evil resonates inside us. In times of peace, it reminds us of our own internal battle with those forces. In times of peril, it focuses our thoughts on the external world, on the people and things that threaten us.
I still reacted to this film in that latter manner, amazed at how the tale being played out on the screen so well represented my innermost thoughts and fears living in a post-9/11 world. Sauron was still Osama bin Laden. The Uruk-Hai were those who wish to destroy and kill us, nameless, faceless, not caring for our lives, in numbers great enough to instill fear of loss and wonder at how anyone can hate so much.
But this time I did not long to be Frodo. Frodo has taken a different journey; the Ring he carries twisting him, at times nearly overpowering him. He desperately wants to believe that he can return, to be the hobbit he was before embarking on his quest. My Ring has grown lighter, less burdensome. The song has ended, but the melody lingers on. Its tendrils wrap around my soul, but without the grief that used to accompany them. They are comforting now, because they carry the memories without the terrible, raw anguish. Although at times I do yearn to be the person I was before, I know and have accepted that will never be.
I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! I'm off to get ready to go out with my sometimes-boyfriend for the holiday, so blogging will be light. I leave you all with my New Year's snowflake. Mouse over the one with the large arrow saying "Your Friend's" to stop it and read my highly unoriginal message. And if you're so inclined, make your own and e-mail it to me at lesleyAThouseofplumDOTcom. You know the drill.
May all of you have a very happy and healthy 2003!
Michele is hosting a poll for the Most Intriguing Blogger of 2002. Right now it's a close race between Laurence Simon, who insists he is not intriguing and we're all insane, and Acidman, who is
whoring stumping for your vote. So go vote!
UPDATE: Well, it appears to be pretty much a dead cert that Charles Johnson will win. He's something like 600 votes ahead of the next closest blogger, Acidman. It was pretty much over, IMO, from the moment he posted a link to the poll on LGF. My personal choice, the disturbing and disturbed Laurence Simon looks like he's only in for a fourth place finish. Oh the
Write an entry and then post it!
Be careful, you might get roasted!
Ooooooh Happy Blogiversary!
The Washington Post has an interesting column today, written by a clinical psychologist, on the damage of not letting kids grow up. I think it's a column well worth reading. I have one thing to add that the column doesn't specifically address. I have a few single female friends who regularly receive financial assistance from their parents so they can enjoy the lifestyles they grew up with. Larger apartments than they could otherwise afford, vacations abroad a couple of times a year, thousands of dollars of designer clothes. There have been times when I got envious, wishing I could go to Saks and buy a few Tahari suits. Don't get me wrong, I make a good living and am generally quite happy. I'm not poor by any means. I still can't afford several Tahari suits at the drop of a credit card.
In talking to them, the envy quickly passed. I have heard all of them at one or more points worried about the fact that they are not yet married. I hear them. I wish I were married too. But the primary reason they worry about not being married is that they don't know who will take care of them when their parents are gone. I don't envy them that. What a horrible feeling that must be, to not think you are capable of taking care of yourself. Yet I think that must be one of the effects of having parents who continue to subsidize you even into your 30s and 40s.
Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour. Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour. Roll up AND THAT'S AN INVITATION, roll up for the mystery tour. Roll up TO MAKE A RESERVATION, roll up for the mystery tour.
Go, sign up. Could it hurt? Okay, never mind that question.
Yes, that fine New York holiday tradition, watching the Yule Log burn on television is back. If television stations can show pictures of fireplaces with burning logs as filler, why can't we? So sit back, enjoy, and look at the picture of the Yule Log below. You can also click through to see the WPIX presentation of the Yule Log and hear Muzak versions of Christmas carols. Ah, what would the holiday season be without traditions?
Blogging will be light the next couple of days. I've been out all day and will be going out again shortly. In addition to being Christmas, tomorrow is National Jews Go To The Movies Day, so I will be celebrating that. Am going to finally see Harry Potter. Saw Star Trek: Nemesis last night. It was all right as an episode, but not as a movie. If you haven't already gone to see it, my advice is wait for it to come to video or cable or, even, broadcast TV. Or just miss it altogether.
For those people searching for information on Bill Frist, click Here for the post you're interested in.
For those interested in Amazon.com and Israel, an update is to be found at the Israeliguy's website. Click Here to view it. Long story short, the e-mail was written by some idiotic Amazon employee and was incorrect. Hey, Iraq, Israel, you know, they both begin with the letter "I." Amazon.com has not changed its policy in shipping to Israel.
Yesterday's Washington Post's Filter column was called Blogging Goes Mainstream which has links to other traditional media outlets' articles on the blogging phenomenon.
Laurence Simon of Amish Tech Support is a genius. He developed a method for segregating blogrolls into categories. I have used it to categorize my News blogroll by region. I had been wanting to do that, but didn't want to have to maintain separate blogrolls for each country/region. His method works perfectly.
The blogosphere is busy making lists of children's books in response to a gift list Jim Miller found in the Seattle Times. Far be it from me not to jump on the bandwagon. Here's a few I haven't seen on any of the lists yet:
UPDATE: Kesher Talk has also made a list!
Apparently there's an underground swell of fans for Adel al-Jubeir. Someone else arrived here today through a search for an Adel al-Jubeir fan page. What do they want? Autographed pictures? Answers to such earth-shaking questions like what his favorite color is, what 10 CDs he'd want if he were stranded on a deserted island, or his idea of the perfect first date? WTF?
Maybe I could make some money off this thing. Start a little fan club, charge a fee, and post disinformation. "Adel says his favorite color is purple. He's especially fond of Tinky Winky the Teletubbie. But don't tell the mutaween!"
Jane forwarded me this article from the National Post about the New York phenomenon of the "sometimes-boyfriend." Figures I have to read a Canadian paper to learn that something I do is "normal" for New York women. Yes, I can attest to the veracity of the article. I have a "sometimes-boyfriend." Mine happens to actually live in New York City, so we see each other more frequently than a few times a year. But it's not a committed relationship, in large part because he does not want one. As the article says, when you're having trouble finding the right man "something is better than nothing." So I have the choice of going out on dates in hopes of finding my future husband or, when I don't have a date lined up, seeing him. At least I'm not alone all the time. I used to think that it was better to be alone until you found the right man. I've changed a lot since the attack, though. I'm not as good at being alone as I used to be.
Yes, Jane Finch is now blogging. She has been given co-author status at The Daily Rant. If you weren't already reading The Daily Rant regularly for Jay's commentary, I order you to go there and read it now. If you don't, the VCWC will come after you. Look out for the muddy gray helicopters...
Imagine my shock on learning that I come in as the #2 entry in a Google search for "Adel Al-jubeir fan page." Actually, first imagine my shock that anyone would actually do a search for an "Adel Al-jubeir fan page." Do Saudi spokespeople generally have fan clubs? But let me make this perfectly clear - I am not a fan of Adel Al-Jubeir. In fact, I am quite far from being a fan of his. So anyone searching for his fan page is more than welcome to
jump off a bridgemove right along.
My only consolation? That I'm not the #1 entry in such a search. That honor goes to Robin Roberts' Final Protective Fire. Go figure. I'm quite sure that Robin isn't a fan of his either.
The budget presentation is finally over! At noon yesterday, the CIO suggested that I lead the presentation (the presentation was at 1:30 pm yesterday). I was a bit taken aback, as I had not been preparing to do that, but agreed to it nevertheless. Much to my surprise, the CIO started off the presentation announcing that it was my official debut as the new chief finance person for Technology. It was a surprise because no one had actually informed me that I was being promoted into the position. But it was a good surprise.
Overall, the meeting went well. I thought I did poorly, but I was the only one who thought so. The Head of North American operations, who didn't know me from a hole in the wall before, came up to me afterwards and said "Great presentation, Lesley. Very clear." Everyone else complimented me as well. So I'm psyched. Exhausted, but psyched. I got home last night and crashed completely. Woke up around 1 pm today. A week of working until after midnight will do that to you. Now I'm off to dinner. Have a great night, everyone!
The latke's nice and fat. Please to put a zlote in the alte cocker's hat.
Back from the Thanksgiving trip to visit my parents. Much food and fun. I'm a bit tired from the trip back, but have laundry that needs doing (fun, joy, excitement). Hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving enjoyed theirs.
And tonight is the first night of Chanukkah! I will be making latkes this weekend (probably Sunday evening) to bring to work on Monday. Envy my colleagues. My latkes are way tasty. And, of course, I serve them with sour cream. That whole eating them with applesauce thing? It's an offense against G_d and man.
Thanksgiving is upon us. Time for eating too much, ignoring football, and being thankful. So, without further ceremony, the things for which I am thankful:
1. My family and friends.
2. That we made it through a year without another terrorist attack.
3. My two cats, Emma and Jane Eyre. BTW, anyone dissing cats will be smacked.
4. That I'm in good health.
5. My internet connection and, specifically, my cable modem.
6. That I have a job, and that I actually like it.
7. The Brits. They are such a source of weird news. Who can forget Peeball and pop-up toilets?
8. The Canadians. Because I better be nice to them in preparation for when New York becomes part of Bombardier.