Wednesday, September 22, 2004
I compiled a quick list of Bush's biggest flip-flops, from a few different sources. Clip and save!
- There were several versions of the Iraq funding bill put forth. (It was $87 billion.) Kerry voted for one of them and against another. This is the core of the "flip flop" charge, and they run a clip of Kerry saying he voted for it before he voted against it. No one mentions that BUSH also opposed the bill in one of its forms, so he threatened to veto it before he signed it. (Kerry wanted the money to be a LOAN to Iraq, repayable with their oil profits, and Bush wanted it to be a GRANT to Iraq, no strings attached.) Kerry and Bush behaved identically towards the funding bill.
- In 2000, Bush said that he would not spend us into a deficit. Then he launched a huge tax cut for the rich, and put us into deficit. The worst part of all is that he lied about it by saying that when he was campaigning he said he would "only in times of war, in times of economic insecurity as a result of a recession, or in times of national emergency. Never did I dream we'd have a trifecta." He actually said that - 9/11 was LUCKY for him!
- Bush said that sailors put up the big "Mission Accomplished" banner he spoke in front of in 2003. Later he admitted that it was his own advance team.
- Bush was in favor of fingerprinting and photographing Mexicans who entered the US. He met with Mexican president Vincente Fox and then decided he was against it. Because the last thing we need now is more secure borders!
- In 2001, Bush said that he would bring back Bin Laden "dead or alive." When we screwed up his capture in Tora Bora, and we realized we couldn't get him, Bush transferred our national anger to Saddam Hussein and said that where Bin Laden was was unimportant.
- In 2000, Bush said that we should not be in the business of "nation building." Iraq is the biggest nation building project since WW2 ended.
- Bush said that we should have a more "humble" foreign policy. Now he makes fun of Kerry for saying we should have a more "sensitive" foreign policy, and we are the exact opposite of "humble."
- In July 2002, Bush opposed the formation of an independent 9-11 commission. He agreed to it in Nov 2002.
- In Jan 2004, Bush opposed the formation of an independent WMD commission. A month later he agreed to them provided their findings came in after the election.
- In March 2004, Bush said that we would go to the UN and ask for a vote on the Iraq war. He knew he would lose it, so he never went back.
- In Oct 2001, Bush said that there was no need for a Department of Homeland Security when Democrats proposed it. He changed his mind and supported it when he realized he could do things like remove whistle-blower protections from the workers affected.
- In 2000, Bush said that it was up to the states to decide what they wanted to do about gay marriage. Now he says that it's an important federal issue, and that it can't be left up to the states.
- In 2000, Bush mocked Gore for proposing tax breaks on hybrid cars. In his 2003 State of the Union, he proposed tax breaks on hybrid cars.
- In 2001, Bush supported extending the assault weapons ban. In 2004, he opposed the extension and let it lapse.
Monday, August 9, 2004
Friday, August 6, 2004
Fortunately, I can recreate it all! The first part had to do with Korsakoff’s Syndrome. As you know, one of the great things about the Internet is that you can make unqualified medical judgments about public figures. Well, Bush might have Korsakoff’s Syndrome.
Let’s look at the causes and symptoms of Korsakoff’s, and compare them with Bush’s history.
|Korsakoff's Syndrome||Bush symptoms|
A brain disorder that is usually associated with heavy drinking over a long period.
Is an untreated alcoholic who just went cold turkey one day.
|Difficulty in acquiring new information or learning new skills.||Doesn't like to read newspapers or acquire new information.|
Lack of insight into the condition. Even a person with great gaps in their memory may believe their memory is functioning normally.
Never admits that he's made a mistake or that his memory is wrong, even under direct questioning.
|Inventing events to fill the gaps in memory.||Reinvented the sequence of events that occurred on 9/11, insisting (impossibly) that he saw the first plane hit the WTC live on TV.|
|Apathy, in some cases, or talkative and repetitive behaviour in others||Sat apathetically in a classroom for seven minutes when told that the second tower was hit on 9/11.|
But wait, there’s more! The White House Pastry Chef was interviewed on the White House site last week. He made a couple of interesting observations:
The First Family, however, does not snack. They are usually very regimented on that. They eat meals at specific times and there is very little food served or eaten between meals which makes it easy for us to plan a schedule in the kitchen.So then, how do we explain the fact that the White House claimed that Bush choked on a pretzel a couple of years ago while watching a football game? Is it because the First Family really DOES snack? Or did Bush just enjoy a twelve-pack of MGD before reeling and smacking his forehead on the executive coffee table? No wonder his Korsakoff’s isn’t reversing itself!
No, the President and his family do not have midnight snacks. They are very good at respecting meal time hours and do not eat between meals as you have to understand they have to be very careful with their diet most of the time.
Therefore there is no snacking and usually there is no food available if they wanted to snack.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
We also had some excitement (the unwanted kind) yesterday when a guy in a pickup truck plowed into a crowd of union protestors, killing two of them. He then sped off to the Bay Shore Inn, which was the scene of many a post-prom party when I was in high school.
Except now that I think about it, I attended high school in Connecticut, not on Long Island. And my prom date turned out to be a man in disguise. Well, nothing that another quarter in the therapy jar won't fix.
Monday, July 19, 2004
I don't want a safety Q-Tip. I want a ramrod-straight Q-Tip. I want to be able to plunge it into my ear so far that I have to tie a string to the outer cotton bud. I want to twirl the Q-Tip around. In fact, I want an adapter so that I can put the Q-Tip into a cordless screwdriver. If necessary, it can bend like a sigmoidoscope, but I'd prefer that it stay straight and make my ear canal bend to fit. I want to get it in there so far that it touches my brain and my leg twitches. Because that's where my ear itches right now. My Flents ear plugs can work their way in that deep, so why not my cotton swab?
In the looming shadow of an NHL work stoppage this fall, the revived WHA has announced six franchises, including one in Quebec. They also announced that they would be naming that franchise the Quebec Nordiks. Great idea, considering the NHL still owns the rights to the Quebec Nordiques. The WHA is confident that there will be no confusion because they spell the name differently. I don't know about you, but I'm really excited about some of the potential WHA rivalries. The battles between tri-state rival New Jersey Devels, New York Raingers, and New York Islandurrrrs will soon be legendary. The Toronto May Poleefs may be facing off against the Buffalo Say-Brrs at the very same time the Philadelphia Phlyurs will be traveling to meet the Los Angeles Kingzz. And really, the NHL will see no reason to file suit against any of this because the WHA founders are living on a small cloud community on a planet orbiting Arcturus.
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
I also made my way over to World of Drugs World a bit further down Bloor Street. You know how people come to Canada to get prescription drugs cheap? Well, they also have great over-the-counter stuff. Go ask the pharmacist for acetaminophen with codeine - 200 caplets was about $10. Back hurting? Why not try some methocarbamol with ibuprofen? Sneezing? Allegra awaits.
Coffee Crisps aren't bad either. They're like a Kit-Kat, but if you close your eyes and concentrate, you can make out the faint wisp of mocha-like flavoring. For some reason, Eclipse gum is called Excel up here. And the winterfrost flavor is called winterfresh.That really knocked me for a loop.
My flight was scheduled for 7:30. I got to the airport at 5:35, and went through the same harsh questioning about my lack of a fifth form of ID. The ticket agent then said that there'd been some weather problems, so she'd put me on standby on the 5:40 flight. So I'm off the 7:30 flight in favor of another flight that leaves in five minutes on the other side of customs. Interesting concept - take away my guaranteed seat for a plane whose doors have probably already closed.
The line through customs was empty, so I made a quick detour through the duty free shop to buy maple candy. Unfortunately, they didn't have the big trays - the ones with the single super-sized maple leaf in the middle. I did a grab-and-run on the smaller boxes, shoved aside some dawdling tourists from Wisconsin, and was out of there in three minutes. My new flight was scheduled to leave in two minutes now. As I left the duty-free, an entire women's hockey team flooded the line in front of me. My choices were to go to the end of the line, or enter it at the point of the store exit. I'm an American - you take a guess.
The strange thing about the customs booths were that they were American agents on Canadian soil, and it displayed a "Welcome to the United States" sign. I was still in Canada. In fact, the "Friday's American Bar" near the gate was more than happy to take Canadian money. There aren't "Welcome to Belize" signs anywhere in American airports, are there?
I got to the early flight gate about 5 minutes after the scheduled departure, and they weren't close to boarding. Everyone who'd arrived for the later flight was being sent over to this one without a seat. They finally let us on about 45 minutes late, but held the plane at the gate until they got every seat filled. Then they pushed back and announced that we didn't have a gate opening for almost two hours at LaGuardia, so we'd be hanging out on the runway until we were an hour away. The last seat - the one next to me - was filled by a kindly gentleman named John Boozehound, who needed to order four mini-bottles for the one-hour flight.
Monday, July 12, 2004
I have to admit that I like the money up here. The $5 bill is especially fetching. It was designed so that you'd always have something to do. When you get bored of Canada after 3 minutes, you can just turn the money over and watch a hockey game on it!
Sunday, July 11, 2004
The other problem was that while I did have my driver's license and birth certificate, I was born in England so my papers left the ticket agent dangerously confused. When you're an American citizen born in England, you get a second sheet, which is the US embassy's record of an American being born abroad. I triumphantly displayed four forms of ID to the clerk: expired passport, birth certificate, American certificate, and driver's license. She took a good, long stare at the papers, then looked back up at me and let me know that the easiest way would be if I just kept my passport current. A quick $20 under the table and I was able to avoid the American Airlines detention facility for people who only have four forms of ID on an international flight.
The flight itself is only an hour long, not counting the time waiting on the runway and the bus to the terminal at Lester Pearson airport. I discovered that when people are trying to get off a plane, they don't appreciate it when you're walking down the steps to get off the plane and start waving and blowing kisses like you're The Beatles. Their loss.
I grabbed a cab from the airport to town, a route that encompassed both the best and worst of Canada. I discovered that you can make anything Canadian by sticking a tiny maple leaf next to the logo. So Sears becomes . Subtle! Now I feel good about spending my hard-earned loonies at this retail establishment! This is much better than that Wal-Mart down the road. No local cultural sensitivity at all when they adorned their logo for the Canadian market:
I snapped back to attention as we drove past one of the saddest things I'd ever seen: a giant inflatable green monster sitting atop an industrial storefront. The temporary sign on the store read "Bailiff Seizure Baby Furniture!" Now I started thinking about an episode of Cops, where the sherriff's men smash their way into a two-room house, throw the baby on the floor, and repossess the crib. And now you can purchase that crib at low, low prices!
Saturday, July 10, 2004
Herb's sign presents, for the benefit of its staff, a fried chicken price chart. It starts innocuously enough: "4 pieces, $4.00." The next price point is "8 pieces, $8.00." Okay, I think, there's probably some sort of discount that kicks in when you buy fried chicken in bulk. But the chart continues unabated in multiples of four pieces: "12 pieces, $12.00," "16 pieces, $16.00," all the way up to "96 pieces, $96.00." Why? Someone explain to me the utility of this sign. Hey, I think I have the hang of this now. How about: "Chicken: $1/piece, 4 piece multiples please!" Or did they have seasonal help scrambling with a calculator to work out how much a 36-piece order would cost someone at $1/piece?
Wednesday, July 7, 2004
After John Kerry named John Edwards his VP candidate yesterday, the Bush campaign launched an ad campaign calling Edwards the "second choice." And who knows more about being a second choice than, oh, GEORGE BUSH - the second choice of the American people in 2000!
I've been walking to the train station lately. It's eight to ten minutes, depending upon which side of the platform I want to end up on. It's something I feel I should do now that gas is up around $2.20/gallon. That one mile a day I walk instead of driving might not seem like much, but you multiply that by 20 days a month, and figure that my car gets 20 MPG, and I can save $2.20 a month if I walk every day. That's MY $2.20, not the evil oil companies'! I can buy myself something special with it, like half an Entenmann's crumb cake, and eat the entire thing on the way home, thereby negating the healthful effects of a month's walking.
One downside of the walk is The Cat. Two weeks ago, a dead cat appeared on the grassy area between street and sidewalk along the shortest route to the station. Someone had put a washcloth on top of it. I figured it would be moved pretty quickly - no one wants a dead cat in front of their house.
Days went by. The cat wasn't moved. Someone mowed around it, so the grassy strip was now well-tended except in this little dead cat jungle. It wasn't being eaten or anything, it just sat there. I finally drove past it again yesterday, and it was still there, lying there twisted with a death meow on its face, looking like it had just spent some time on a feline Catherine wheel.
Another good thing about walking is that I don't have to deal with Escalades. I was on the highway yesterday, minding my own business but wondering just what crap the white Escalade in the far left lane would pull. They always do; their drivers tend to be atrocious because of their false feelings of womb-like safety. So I properly apply my turn signal to indicate my imminent exit, when Womb Boy comes barreling out of the far left lane because, well, too busy on the phone to move into position for the exit without going perpendicular. The driver, who I must say never appeared to break conversation, flashed the universal signal of Escalade triumph: a rocking motion that made the semi-semi look like it was about to go up on two wheels as he tried to reestablish a straight-line trajectory. No offense, but Escalade drivers are dicks, and their trucks are leaky condoms that provide the illusion of safety without actually coming through.
And speaking of commuting! The train I take home is always hit-or-miss when it comes to peaceful coexistence, since it stops at all the connector stations for Fire Island ferries. A couple of days ago, I found a nice quiet seat. A young woman sat two seats ahead of me and curled up with a book.
Then the train got to Jamaica. A group of three young gentlemen boarded. You could instantly see that they were looking for trouble - they were carrying three fishing rods and a bongo. THey were wearing stupid straw hats and were trying to grow vague beards. I could immediately tell that there was the potential for some explosive anger on my part. The three young men sat two behind the woman, and one next to her.
Things started slowly, just some generalized inane chatter. One of the lads was reading "Fight Club", and when he got to a passage about "tits", he chose to read it aloud to the others without the benefit of removing his headphones so that he could modulate his voice in any way.
We passed Hicksville, and Lad 2 announced in his best outdoor voice, "Dude, that sign just said HICKSVILLE!!!" The three lads collapsed in laughter. Then they got into a deep discussion about the proposed cross-sound tunnel.
"You mean they're going to dig under the ocean? They could never do it by hand. You'd need some really fast water robot."
The explosive anger kicked in. I'm sure that one of them could hear the anger forming behind them, because he hooked his ear buds to his hat so that we could all share his nice someone-else's-walkman effect.
Finally, we were approaching my stop. The discussion turned to another young lady that Lad 3 knew. For unknown reasons, the young woman trapped by them didn't claw her way out of the side of the train at this point. Maybe she was deaf.
"She's like the devil. She like doesn't care that people can go to jail for having sex with her. If she were like a morally like good person like, she would say this is like fine but you're going to go to jail and i don't want you to go to jail, man. I'd rather be ignorant than a whore."
"Her having sex with two people does NOT make her a whore."
"No, the fact that they were over 18 makes her a whore. That's sick."
Yes, Hicksville indeed.
Friday, June 11, 2004
After a long, tedious week of reminiscence, Reagan will actually be buried today. It is important to take a step back and remember what the man actually did for our country, and honor his legacy now and in the future. To summarize:
Reagan sold weapons to terrorists in Iran, then gave the money to terrorists in Nicaragua.
In other news, I feel that an important social contract with me has been broken today. When you open the cap of the Sierra Mist bottle just a little bit, it foams up and then subsides. The social contract then says that you should be able to twist it all the way off without having the damn bottle EXPLODE all over your laptop and phone. What the hell?
Wednesday, June 9, 2004
Tuesday, June 8, 2004
As expected, the wave of "pretend Reagan was America's last hero" pressure has continued since the weekend. Here's a typical conversation, completely made up by me (like so many of Reagan's homespun bullshitty stories):
Person: Reagan was our best president ever.
Me: How can you say that? He was evil - EVIL! Here's a list of 243 things he did wrong. (Start with Iran-contra, work backwards through dead Americans in Beirut and capitulating to terrorists by removing troops, Bitburg, deficits, ketchup, etc. etc.)
Person: Typical liberal, all you have is "Reagan was evil" but no substance. He was so much better than Clinton, who was sleazy and crooked and everyone hated.
Me: Actually, if you look it up you'll find that Clinton's popularity over eight years was identical to Reagan's. And he was more popular than Reagan at the time they each left office.
Person: Well, but Reagan was decent and honest and Clinton was a
Me: Strangely enough, Reagan's administration was so crooked that it ended up with 30 convictions for crimes committed while in office. And that doesn't even include the big ones, Iran-contra, which Bush pardoned! Clinton's administration had exactly one.
Person: But Reagan was the Great Communicator!
Me: Weren't you the one who told me last week that you liked Bush because he didn't communicate well and that showed he was sincere? It sounds like you just like these people because they're willing to water down school milk to give you a fake tax cut and you're just backfilling their qualities to suit.
Person: Reagan was our best president ever, and you're an un-American asshole.
Monday, June 7, 2004
Today was the first Fire Island Monday of the commuting season. Honestly, what a bunch of tards. You can tell them immediately - they're sitting around the Bay Shore station, sprawled out in groups of three and four, blocking the platform with their backpacks and oversized suitcases and shitty little yap dogs, and they're all desperately sipping coffee to get back to reality. Then on the train they wheel on their backpacks and oversized suitcases and shitty little yap dogs and leave them in the aisle. Jerks.
We're in Day Two of the Reagan Post-Mortem, where we're all supposed to pretend that Reagan was the greatest, most beloved American in history. We're supposed to bump Hamilton off the $10 bill in favor of Ronnie. We're supposed to sandblast his face onto Mount Rushmore. We're supposed to name a monument after him in every county in the United States. Well, guess what? He was atrocious. It's bad enough that the newest Bush strategy is to pretend that the War in Iraq is comparable to World War II in some way, now we're going to have to deal with "Win One Last One For The Gipper."
He was the president though, and he should be shown the proper respect. If you are flying a flag, make sure to keep it at half-mast for a month. A lot of places (Stamford Post Office, William F. Buckley, Jr.'s house) didn't do this when Nixon died. That's just simple respect for the office and the country. If you can't handle this, do what I did - just take the flag down for a month.
Then we have people on hockey chat lists saying stuff like:
> As our passed former President used to say:
> WIN ONE FOR THE GIPPER
> As a longtime season ticket holder, I hope we make him proud in his
> grave tonight.
Yeah, that's what Reagan's doing tonight. He's sitting there dead, rooting for a team he never knew existed. Yeesh.
Friday, June 4, 2004
Monday, May 31, 2004
It was not to be. We get to the staging area and start looking around. Julian’s class is off to one side – they’re all wearing laminated cardboard signs with magic markered names of American troops who’ve died in Iraq. Leading this charge is the Sir Learns-A-Lot banner that some grade school alumnus donated for parades.
Cordelia’s class is out in a side street. They’re handing out the Uncle Sam hats they made out of white paper bags. Cordelia gets a small American flag, but gets upset because she wants a big American flag. Of course, she works her way to the front so that she can hold the school banner: “Don’t Go Extinct, Read A Book!” I ask a teacher where I should meet them, and I’m told that I have to walk with her. I’ve just been press ganged into the Memorial Day parade.
Of course, you know what happens in these scenarios. The kids walk for a few feet, then get tired. For much of the mile and a half, I am forcibly marched through the streets of Bay Shore holding a “Don’t Go Extinct, Read A Book!” sign, enduring the derision of the angry crowd. Main Street is littered with roadkill, thanks to the Town of Islip’s crack Dead Animal Removal division. At one point, we stepped over something with a nametag on it. $ir Win$ton, of $ir Win$ton Realty, made sure that his “God Bless America / $ir Win$ton Realty” balloons got into everyone’s hands. So now I’m marching while holding a “Don’t Go Extinct, Read A Book!” sign in one hand and a $ir Win$ton balloon in the other. Some Dr. Seussian “Proud To Be An American” song is on a continual tape loop in front of us. I don’t have my sunglasses, and it changes from overcast to that uniquely glaring sun thing that you only get when you leave your sunglasses in the car on a cloudy day.
God, sometimes I just hate America.
Sunday, May 30, 2004
Clerk of the day: I’m standing there at King Kullen, trying to bag my groceries before the Sierra Mist rolls its way down the belt and pops the top off the mac salad, when the supply line is suddenly broken. I look back up and see the checkout girl staring quizzically at a bag of Granny Smith apples. She rolls one of them around, looking for a sticker. Finally, in desperation, she turns to me and asks “What kind of pears are these?”
Thursday, May 27, 2004
Steve and I packed up the car and made the arduous three minute trek to the Lindbergh Field. There was a little confusion at the airport as he temporarily booked the seat next to mine, but it was all cleared up when I explained the joys of an empty middle seat in coach.
I got on the plane and made myself comfortable, looking forward to that middle seat. A few minutes later, a woman walked on and started pointing to me, asking me something in Spanish. I didn’t know what was going on, but it seemed to involve the middle seat next to me. She asked about my ticket, and when I showed it to her she said “Oh, you are in Group 5.” She then squeezed into the middle seat and started talking to HER sister, in the middle seat one row back.
Annoyed as hell, I sat there until takeoff in a grumpy fog. And to make things worse, across the aisle there seemed to be an empty middle AND aisle seat. Then just as we started taxiing, I looked at my ticket again. I was so exhausted that I’d taken the wrong seat! It turns out I was the big idiot, not the woman. Naturally, it was below me to apologize.
We got to JFK just before midnight. I had checked two bags – my big-ass, overweight suitcase and a TechEd conference bag full of magazine samples. The big-ass, overweight suitcase rolled off just fine, but an early trickle of TechEd bags soon became a cascade. I had cleverly put my business card into the NetIQ luggage tag so that I could identify my bag, but none of the bags had the ID on them. The belt kept going around and around. Most of the people claimed their stuff and left. There was nothing left but about five TechEd bags. I started rifling through them one by one until I found the publication-laden sack – with no nametag. It turns out that I was so exhausted, I put the card UNDERNEATH the generic “write your name here” tag that came with the bag. Good thing I’m not paid for thinking or anything.
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
I looked outside the bar and saw Brian, Rocky, and a “friend” who was talking to them like she knew them. They were both trying to ignore her. I walked over to do my mingle thing. After a few seconds, she announced – and I may be paraphrasing a bit here – that she bemoaned the lack of men in this town who enjoyed anal. Well, okay! I told her that I thought there were a couple in the bar, so she went back inside to look for them.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Much of the rest of the day was a wonderful blur. I saw my friend Theresa for the first time in 16 years as she sought me out at the CMP booth. (If you need consulting services, make sure to give AVI Consulting a ring.) I met a list of people too long to recount here – including people who are interested in writing for TechNet Magazine, people who want to advertise in TechNet Magazine, and people who want to subscribe to TechNet Magazine. Guess what’s been on my mind this week?
Our annual MSDN Magazine party kicked off at 9:30 PM. Every year it gets more buzz around it, and this year saw people lined up outside to get in. And that includes people who weren’t actually invited – next year we have to figure out some armband system or something. It got to be a bit messy.
Being the center of attention at a party of 150 people in a bar is an odd experience. A lot of people wanted to talk about submitting content, and about how to get involved with TechNet Magazine. The one hard part about these shows is that I really, really like a lot of people on a personal level, but I also have to find the time to talk to dozens of folks in just three hours. It’s something I’ve worked on year after year – being graceful and perhaps moving to the next person even though you still want to hear from the person you’re with. Since I’m not naturally a party guy, I do have to put on my TechEd face before doing this – it’s good to learn how to be more social in any event.
One thing I’ve spoken with Sara Williams about in the past is strategies we can adopt to improve the gender representation in our author pool. I know that there are good female authors out there, but it’s not easy to find them! I really feel that if we can sign more qualified female authors, we can help lead perceptions that we don’t have to be a male-dominated industry. Sara has done her part by introducing all the women authors she knows. I don’t have a written goal for it, but I know that we’re not there yet.
Anyway, things broke up at about 2:30 AM again. Two more days of TechEd fun.
Monday, May 24, 2004
I needed a Snapple. Ralph’s had the promise of Snapple, but they appeared to have nothing but Mango Madness and some other crap. I walked through the store, desparately searching for their Snapple repository, but found only the one cooler in the front, next to the walk-up latte stand. Using classic Eastern ingenuity, I scanned the back row and saw one Snapple cap unlike the others. YES! It was the only regular iced tea in the place.
After our morning meeting with CMP, we repaired to the exhibit floor, where a stack of TechNet Magazine cards was waiting for us. Since you asked, TechNet Magazine is a new publication we’re launching for the IT professional.
We’ve got one issue planned right now, discussing security from the IT perspective. It’s going to be great, you’re going to have to sign up for it, and you’re going to tell your friends about it. It’s going to be the best thing you read all year. (Fiction and non-fiction not included.)
This was an unusually long day, punctuated by the exhibit floor reception in the evening. They had THREE KINDS of chicken wings! It was just fabulous. It turned out that the punctuation was just a semicolon, however, because from there I headed over to Ruth’s Chris for one of those 9:30 PM plus time zone steak dinner opportunities that only come along a few times in your life before your heart explodes. I managed to escape with just a salad before heading over to the W Hotel for what turned out to be a four-hour nightcap. It started with the media reception, then ended up huddled up in a cabana with a slowly dwindling crowd from exotic locales like Toronto and Maryland. We learned, among other things, that the Quality Inn has smoking rooms that actually smoke, and that you can upgrade to a menthol suite for just $29/night. Who says business travel isn't glamorous?
Sunday, May 23, 2004
American has removed its “More room in coach” program except on its 767s, so try to get one when you fly cross-country. This seat isn’t that bad – 34” pitch – but I’ve set a new record in that my assbone is already in searing pain and we haven’t even closed the door and pulled back from the gate yet. I discovered SeatGuru – it lets you check the exact configuration of the plane you’re about to take domestically. I discovered that American puts underseat power in every third row and that JetBlue has smaller seats in front of the exit rows.
But back to this flight. The woman in 35H is now eating a can of Bush’s baked beans with a plastic spoon. And reading the first two chapters of a Dick Francis novel, ripped from the full paperback. I always wondered who they were addressing when they explained how to use a seatbelt, but I think I have my answer.
Dinner was chicken. Not just any chicken, mind you. That’s right! The old paradigm is gone. No more flabby chicken breast with some BBQ sauce slapped on top. Now you get little cubes of that flabby chicken breast with some BBQ sauce slapped on top, pushed right up against some burning hot red potato cubes with cheese sauce slapped on top, accompanied by some green bean cubes with, well, nothing slapped on top.
Dessert was a little cube of cake. Actually, that’s not fair – it was more of a rectangular prism of cake, except that it was opaque to light and flavor. It looked like pineapple upside-down cake, but the yellowish topping emitted more of a vague coconut burst upon entry into one’s cakehole. The roll was exquisite. In fact, airline rolls are always top-notch. They’re completely uniform in texture – not light, yet crumbly. They usually taste better dipped in the pepper ranch dressing than slathered with the fingernail-sized packet of “Now! More Buttery Taste!” spread provided for a $2 fee in coach.
Okay, here’s the next problem. I’ve got Morrissey’s new CD, “You Are The Quarry.” I turned it on, and within about 45 seconds I wanted to put a fist through his throat. He’s come up with the revelation that America is a dominant country and is driving it home through shocking lines like “America, your belly’s too big.” So not only is he repeating the bleeding obvious, fashionable opinion but he’s STEALING FROM CROWDED HOUSE.
That’s right. Morrissey, who used to write about topics that touched all of us – topics like headmaster abuse of fifth-form students and clergymen who dance ballet – has now decided to take on his least controversial topic to date – the concept that America exports gluttony. Well, duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuur.
. . .
But when the president is never black, female or gay
And until that day you’ve got nothing to say to me
To help me believe in America
Sorry, but which nation WERE you going to believe in then? The one where they filmed that Old Navy commercial with a black guy, a gay guy in a sweater, and Fran Drescher? Morrissey: his ideal nation is a TV commercial for cargo pants.
Wednesday, May 5, 2004
Edina has been blessed with several benign cysts just under her skin surface. They're anywhere from dime to quarter-sized. They've started to burst through her skin. THe first sign that a Beagle cyst has burst is that the cyst has flattened out, replaced with a hole that looks like a pitted Bing cherry. The second sign is the oozing cyst juice that mats her hair and drips off her.
Edina exchanged biz cards with the vet, and returned home with tubes of burst cyst ointment and pills that can only be hidden by deboning a chicken leg and inserting the caplet where the bone had gone. Fortunately, a Beagle can swallow a half chicken in one gulp (although for some reason it takes them five minutes to eat a single blueberry), so that's not that big a deal. The ointment however...
You think you're doing the right thing. You close your eyes, grit your teeth, and rub the ointment on the Beagle scab twice a day. But is it the right thing? No, of course not. After a few days, you're told by the vet that you're SUPPOSED to be lifting the Beagle scab and rubbing the ointment on the still-raw Beagle cyst hole. Oh, and don't let the Beagle see that you're distressed because it will hurt her self-esteem and body image.
I tried to trade her in yesterday, but her value has plummeted to the point where I can only get a lease on a Pekingese. Which seems all well and good until you see the balloon payments on one of those fuckers.
Tuesday, May 4, 2004
I decided that I wanted to put the song "Athena" on my Archos.
1. Ask around to see if anyone has a CD of "It's Hard." No one does, because it's crap.
2. Find a copy of the song online. For this particular endeavor, I chose buymusic.com because it doesn't make me sign up for the Apple iTunes lifestyle, and I didn't have to look at the smirking Napster logo, now incorporated for your convenience.
3. Find the song. No big deal.
4. Pay 99 cents. Again, no big deal.
5. Download the song. Here it comes!
6. Look at what I just got. MP3? No! DRM-protected WMA file.
7. Try to play the song, but since I'm offline on the train, I can't because it can't get the license from the server.
8. Try again to play the song, and have to log on again to get the DRM license first. Okay, it plays.
So I have my song. How hard can it be to put it on my MP3 player?
9. Realize that my Archos MP3 player doesn't support WMA files.
10. Attempt to convert the file to MP3, which fails because it's rights-managed.
11. Burn an audio CD with a single song on it.
12. Rip the CD back to MP3 format.
13. Hook up my Archos to the USB 2.0 port on my laptop so I can copy the MP3.
This is where things get a bit tricky.
14. Get a message that the USB device connected to my machine has malfunctioned, so replace it.
I'm not going to replace it, and anyway I bet the port's broken or something.
15. Hook up the device to another machine, with a USB 1.1 port. This freezes the machine until I unplug it.
Things are looking down. So I
16. Head out to Best Buy and pick up a USB 2.0 PC Card.
17. Choose the one that's $10 cheaper than the brand I've heard of.
18. Fail to have the external CD drive for my laptop on hand, so...
19. Search for the drivers online. The company doesn't seem to have a Web site. But it turns out that I only need USB 2.0 Windows drivers anyway.
20. Plug the card in and let it install. For some reason, the card can't provide its own power, so I need to...
21. Connect it through a little wire to the machine's USB 1.1 port if I want the ports to be powered.
So Windows tells me everything's good to go. I'm ready to copy the MP3 to my device!
22. Plug the Archos into the new USB 2.0 port.
23. Get a message: the USB device connected to my machine has malfunctioned, so replace it.
24. Write to Archos customer support.
25. Wait three days.
26. Get no answer.
So right now there's no "Athena" on my MP3 device. There's no customer service from Archos. I'm sure they're all busy making preparations for the "Shitty Device of the Year" awards ceremony at Radio City next week. And there's no way to get files on or off of the device that I can figure out. Life is grand.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
"I think that after September 11, the American people are valuing life more and we need policies to value the dignity and worth of every life," she said. "President Bush has worked to say, let's be reasonable, let's work to value life, let's reduce the number of abortions, let's increase adoptions. And I think those are the kinds of policies the American people can support, particularly at a time when we're facing an enemy and, really, the fundamental issue between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life."
Friday, April 23, 2004
I was dawdling on eBay the other day, looking for great buys on single airplane napkins. I typed in "napkin" and one of the hits wasn't an airplane napkin at all - it was a St. Labre Indian School camping salt and pepper shaker set. For most people, this wouldn't be cause for alarm. However, a long-buried synapse fired in the back of my mind. When I was young, we used to have a set of these. The pattern is unmistakeable - ugly colors, cheap plastic. Man with tepee represents salt, and deer with butterfly represents pepper.
But, as is often the case with a mind as utterly magnificent as mine, the sight of these crappy shakers touched off a second memory: the fornispoo. For at one point, we had a single combo fork-knife-spoon set, the kind that latches together so that you can take it...CAMPING. I searched my mind more deeply, but I recalled no time that we ever went camping as a family. Leaving behind the obvious answer - my mom was a compulsive crap-by-the-lot purchaser at local tag sales - I feel that there may be a far more sinister explanation. Growing up, I was part of a camping family.
But something so horrible, so unspeakable, must've happened on one of our frequent trips to the Adirondacks that I must've completely wiped it from my memory. What could it have been? It must've been something really bad, because my sister remembers things like being spanked and sent home pantsless by our former neighbors, the F------s. And I remember when Michael F---- stuck a marble up David's ass and they couldn't get it out, and it ended up with their little sister Erin being denied pants for the rest of the day to "think about what she'd done." So then, worse than a psychotic neighbor.
Then it hit me - the reason I don't recall any details of our frequent camping trips is that I used to have a twin brother, Joel. When we went to one of our frequent camping trips, using the St. Labre shakers and the fornispoo and some other tin camping stuff whose origins were shrouded in mystery at Chez Trup-ardle, I was killed and eaten by a bear. The bear snuck up on our campground at night, slashed through my tent fabric, and devoured my secret stash of Wacky Packages gum. He (and I'm assuming it was a he - my memory is a bit vague on this point) then spotted me in my "all 26 NFL team logos" sleeping bag and, enraged that they were using the older Chicago Bears logo, mercilessly slashed and ripped at me until I passed out from the pain. My twin brother, Joel, survived the attack and assumed my name, ghastly acrylic sweaters, fly-away hair, and overbite. I got a shallow plot in the middle of a KOA campground. The sleeping bag was the family's only remaining memory of me; it was destroyed in 1982 when "we" gave it to some of the boxers for a slumber party and they ripped it to shreds while fighting over a bitchy comment that Daisy made about Poppy's floppy left ear. The past 31 years of my life have been a lie. So, "Mom", if that IS your real name, I just want to thank you for this latest round of therapy.
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Headline of the newspaper directly in front of me: "Artik batacak banka yok." I suspect that tomorrow's weather forecast will be Scorchio.
This is one of my rare ventures onto the Babylon line these days. Green Acres Mall has really spruced up. They have a Best Jewelry - and really, who could doubt the quality of baubles purchased in a converted PhotoMat booth? They also have a new restaurant, Bronx BBQ. And it's really true. If you've grown up in the NYC area, you can leave for years, but one thing's always missing. There's nowhere else you can find genuine, traditional Bronx-style barbecue. I still think back to my days growing up in Connecticut. Sure, it was fun going over to get some Bridgeport wings or some Danbury clam chowder, but it was a rare treat when mom would pack the 12 of us in the VW van and take us to Grand Concourse to get some of that real Bronx BBQ. We'd top it off with some down-home Mamaroneck cream pie on the way home.
Oh no! Evidently, the newspaper ahead of me is the only media outlet covering "Onur'a virüs engeli." That's right, the ONLY paper with the guts to cover this topic.
I should check out Mi-T-Fine Gifts & Collectibles in Massapequa Park. Maybe they'll have some of that shitty pudding my mom used to make when we ran out of dairy products.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
...Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson's opening declaration, "The United States is at war," appeared to rankle rather than persuade the skeptical justices. "Supposing the war had ended," Justice John Paul Stevens asked Mr. Olson. "Could you continue to detain these people in Guantánamo, and would there then be jurisdiction?"
Mr. Olson replied, "We believe that there would not be jurisdiction."
Justice Stevens then asked, "So the existence of the war is really irrelevant to the legal issue, is it not?"
Given the way the Bush Administration handles situations like this, I'm surprised that Olson didn't reply "How can you argue with me on this? My wife died on 9/11."
Saturday, April 17, 2004
Now I'm planning big things for all the money I saved tonight because there was no Game 6 of the Islanders series. I think I've settled on buying a steak dinner and a pair of slacks.
Friday, April 16, 2004
If not, there's always Mike Milbury to complain about. Sure, the team is back in the playoffs now after seven years wandering the sand traps at Bethpage Black. But there's still the nagging sense that he doesn't know what he's doing, a sense that's only enhanced by the fact that he doesn't know what he's doing. And he has a weird spell over Charles Wang, the team's major owner. When Wang finally does do something about this languishing team, chances are he'll ask Milbury for the name of a good replacement. Milbury will say "Mark Melberry," and then we'll have to suffer through five years of Milbury wearing a comical fake moustache and speaking in an exaggerated British villain accent.
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
My guess is that she had just encountered the mystical predictive powers of SOLLOG.
Tuesday, April 6, 2004
This morning, I stepped onto one of the 48 elevators that serve the six
floors on our side of the office complex. Each elevator has an LCD screen in it,
provided by the Captivate Network. The name itself is their way of saying, "Ha
ha, there IS NO ESCAPE from our factoid blasts!" I suppose there could’ve been
worse names for this – the In Prism System or the We’re Not Opening The Elevator
Door Until You Stare At This List Of Today’s Celebrity Birthdays Network.
And this is the point I’m getting to. When your entire purpose in life is to
blurp up pointless factoids to people who have little choice but to see them for
40 seconds, at least make some effort to get these celebri-bits correct. Today,
I looked up and was informed that today’s birthdays include:
52 – Marilu Henner, member of ABBA
I was pretty sure that Marilu Henner was too busy in Taxi to have toured with the 70s super-pop group, so I googled up "Marilu Henner Abba." She wasn’t in ABBA. She wasn’t even in "Mamma Mia," the fabulous Broadway play. The closest thing to a connection was that they both appeared on Midnight Special at some point in the 1970s.
Confused, I wrote to our friends at the Captivate Network. Surprisingly enough, they replied to me in 12 minutes.
Thank you for catching that and notifying us of the error. There was an Abba member on the birthday screen yesterday, and the description wasn't updated as it should have been. We're correcting the error on the network.
So bravo, Captivate Network! But my Tuesday Email Fun was just beginning. On Saturday (4/3), we got mail from a PR agency that represents Sollog, who is apparently some guy in a room in Baltimore who makes predictions about the future. This mail said:
We are less than 48 hours from when the GREAT QUAKE of 04.04.04 will occur.
Sollog warned on 11/11/03 that April 4th 2004 would be THE DATE OF THE GREAT QUAKE
Note the dates on the mail, okay? The Great Quake of 04-04-04. Not the Average Quake of 04-05-04. The GREAT QUAKE OF 04-04-04. This should be pretty easy to prove true or false, I thought, reveling in my non-believer’s misunderstanding of Sollog’s true gift.
April 3 passed. April 4 passed. I forgot all about the grave warnings of a quake. Then on April 6, I got a triumphal warning. The subject was “MAJOR QUAKE STRIKES WHEN SOLLOG WARNED.” The press release continued:
You received a QUAKE WARNING the other day through this Press Release
The quake struck in NE Afghanistan at 4:24:04 PM EST on 04/05/04
The TRIPLE FOUR appeared in the time of the quake using EST
The quake struck on THE FULL MOON of April 2004
Both of THESE FACTS where in the famous 1111 PROPHECY of Sollog that was
issued to usenet last year about the details of this quake
FACTS ABOUT THIS QUAKE
It was the first 6.5+ quake anywhere in the world since 2/21/04
The time had the TRIPLE FOUR in it using EST (all of Sollog's quake warnings use EST)
Okay, that’s mildly interesting. But then I looked back to the first QUAKE WARNING and it clearly stated that the quake was going to occur on 04/04/04. I did not know that all of Sollog’s warnings just happened to use Eastern Standard Time, but it would make sense because the world is controlled through a storefront in Jersey City. However, I felt it was important to warn Sollog that his original warning was not exactly accurate. (Leaving behind the fact that quakes are about as common as thunderstorms.) That’s right – couldn’t leave well enough alone. Poked
the rattler. Picked the scab. Made eye contact with the deranged wino. I wrote back a simple note:
The Voice of Sollog got back to me less than two hours later with a strongly worded correction. (It actually qualified as a “screed” because of ITS EXTENSIVE USE of CAPITALS to show that THIS WAS THE truTH.) The point was that Sollog was better than SCIENTISTS because HE was only ONE DAY off. And ALSO, he GETS PREDICTIONS WRONG on PURPOSE. Or SOMETHING.
This is incorrect. The warning that was issued was that the quake would strike on 04/04/04 - I have the press release. It did not. You're changing the terms of the prophecy after the fact.
From: Press [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 2004 7:37 PM
Subject: Re: MAJOR QUAKE STRIKES WHEN SOLLOG WARNED
You need to do a little research before you make claims.
1. The 1111 Prophecy was released to Usenet on 11/11/03, this is a link
below archived by Google with that date
2. The prophecy states TRIPLE FOUR and FULL MOON of April 2004 are the KEY
3. The quake struck 1 day from the TRIPLE FOUR date of 04/04/04 on THE FULL MOON and at a time when the triple four was present
4. Sollog is known to use a few SIMPLE CODES in his prophecies that his fans have discussed all over the net, he INTENTIONALLY issues dates usually ONE DAY OFF and he puts KEY INFO in his prophecies in CAPITAL LETTERS. That being said, the prophecy was exactly as many of his past prophecies have been ONE DAY OFF from the date clearly given and the capital words FULL MOON gave the exact date which was 04/05/04
Now if you think being ONE DAY OFF (16 hours actually) is no big deal,
SCIENTISTS CAN'T DO IT
If you think Sollog isn't KNOW TO USE ONE DAY OFF EXACT DATES I can give you links to hundreds of posts where his many fans discuss THIS KNOW
If you think the fact that the quake struck at 04:24:04 PM EST is not big
deal, the exact time had THE TRIPLE FOUR in it, and it's a fact all the
Sollog quake warnings usually state an exact time and date using EST
Anyway, if you want links to verify these facts, I can supply them, or you
can stop by the Sollog forum where thousands of people visit everyday and
you can ask his many fans in the forum ARE THESE KNOWN SOLLOG CODES, there are many discussing these FACTS now at http://www.theparanormal.net/forum
That forum is ranked in the top 50K at Alexa
The reason is simple SOLLOG HITS EXACT INFO ABOUT QUAKES ALL THE TIME
Do you deny his Xmas 2003 Prophecy stated MANY TO DIE IN QUAKE?
Here's a TIME STAMPED prophecy about the Xmas 2003 quake that killed 50K in Bam Iran, the prophecy was released 9 days before it hit
Do you deny the FBI harassed our offices after 911 since Sollog gave a clear WARNING about DC and tragedy on 911 three years to the exact date of the event?
Here's a TIME STAMPED WARNING about 911 that was issued on 9/11/98 three
years to the day of 911
Do you deny that both the Madrid Massacre and the Bali Bombing both occurred on dates connected to 113 that Sollog gave in this TIME STAMPED WARNING about terrorism and certain dates with 113 in them
So before you say stupid stuff about something being changed GET THE FACTS
The warning was based on the 11/11/03 issued PROPHECY, it gave an exact date that was 16 hours from when a rare quake struck
If you don't think 6.6+ quakes are rare, then you need to do some research, there have been no quakes anywhere in the world that large since 2/21/04
Here's a list from the USGS to backup my claims, NOT ONE QUAKE 6.5+ since
February 22nd this year
What backs up your claims we changed something?
You failed to search the 1111 Prophecy it was issued last year and it pointed to the event that occurred
Anyway WE WARNED YOU that Sollog issued a quake warning about THE TRIPLE FOUR
It was based on the 1111 Prophecy
NOTHING WAS CHANGED
Sunday, March 28, 2004
Saturday, March 27, 2004
Continental 6925 JFK 12:00 noon – Detroit (DTW) 2:06 PMSo if I fly from JFK to Detroit, then back to Newark, taking an additional 8½ hours, I’m able to avoid the drive to New Jersey. Now THAT’S an algorithm that makes sense!
Continental 3446 DTW 3:05 PM – EWR 4:49 PM (on a regional jet)
Continental 16 EWR 8:25 PM – GLA 8:00 AM
Friday, March 26, 2004
I’m a bagel snob. Seattleites are coffee snobs. Texans are BBQ snobs. I’m a bagel snob. I’ve had the best – Murray’s Bagels in NYC. I’ve had the worst – Lender’s frozen. And now I had my first chance to sample Noah’s REAL New York bagels right there in SFO! With excitement in my heart, I stepped up to the counter...
Look, I can’t even fake it. I knew from the start that these bagels were going to be crappy. I won’t pretend otherwise – there was no bagel boiler there. I didn’t even see a bagel steamer. Bagels MUST be boiled before baking. It gives them that chewy texture inside and crispy shell. I expect that Noah’s bagels were parbaked before shipping. It also didn’t help that the Real New York street sign above the concession showed us at the corner of Delancey St. and Shittybagel Blvd. But I wasn’t about to try the turkey Canadian bacon, so I got my standard poppy with cream cheese.
Surprisingly, it was crappy. There was no segue between the bagel’s core and its crust. None. It was like a piece of bread with the crust cut off. It wasn’t very toasty at all, and it certainly wasn’t worthy of the fine bakeries along Shittybagel Blvd. in Lower Manhattan. New York bagels my ass.
You know what really instills a sense of calm on a flight? Well, I’m going to tell you. United calls my group number to board the flight home. I get on, head down to my seat (576C – it’s a widebody), and all alone in the back row, three guys are sitting there. They were clearly boarded first. The guy in the middle looked like Jeff Leonard, and he was wearing a hooded SF Giants sweatshirt. His hands were hidden inside his I looked back, and he glared angrily back at me. The two men who flanked him were chatting a bit too cheerily on their cell phones.
So we’ve got prisoner transport, and we’ve got what turned out to be a violently bumpy flight for most of the trip. The movie was “School of Rock.” My Archos ran out of batteries after about 30 minutes. The guy next to me had elbows and knew how to use them. The flight attendants were scolding people who got up to use the can. The lunch consisted of a box with chips, a pinky-sized Toblerone, a packlet of raisins, and some “genuine cheez” crackers. Now THAT’S good eatin’. I nearly broke into the emergency box of honey-oat bars they kept in the overhead storage “for use when the delay is longer than two hours.”
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
On board the plane, I sat next to a girl who was a Singaporean college student who lived in Seattle. She asked me about which major she should pursue, and some other standard college-person-talking-to-Microsoft-guy questions. It was about halfway into the flight when I realized something was wrong. She asked whether I thought aliens were real. Because a friend of hers told her that Colin Powell was an alien. I told her that if anyone was an alien, it was Rumsfeld.
Then a few minutes later, she asked me if I ever felt like I was sad or had no emotions at all for no reason. I KNEW I should’ve just put the headphones on when the flight started.
I made the excellent choice of the Clift hotel, which has that “I’m self-consciously post-modern” feel to it. For some reason, the new thing in hotels is really creepily low levels of lighting in hallways. The Clift’s elevators are nearly unlit, but they’re designed (as is much of the hotel) with colorful Lucite paneling. So it’s dark, but also orange.
VSLive was nice and crowded this year – big exhibitor floor, big attendance, some excitement. It was good to see the industry feeling stronger, even if it WAS three shows in one.
Oh! Chinese food alert. I had dinner with Michele and David of CMP at Brandy Ho’s. http://www.brandyhoshunan.com. You haven’t lived until you’ve had their Spicy Beef with Green Onions in Wine Sauce. It’s got the Cynicor money back guarantee – if you’re not satisfied, I guarantee you’ll wish you had your money back.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
I was fortunate enough to sit in on an MSDN Online content group meeting. Unfortunately, the proceedings were repeatedly disrupted by Chris Sells’s scuffles with Duncan Mackensie, so I missed 2/3 of what was going on – including my mini-presentation.
I walked past Ed Kaim’s office on campus, and was shocked to see a sign from the former Republic LIRR station. It turns out that Ed went to Polytechnic, but that no one else had ever figured out what was going on with the sign. LONG ISLAND RULES!!
After my last meeting of the day, I headed up to Evergreen Medical Center to see Meryl Stillman, who has been fighting cancer and who ended up in intensive care a week ago. She was in good spirits – at least as good as you can be when you’re hooked up with a bag of fiber drink and on oxygen mask.
Several years ago, Microsoft started withholding New York City tax from my paycheck. I tried in vain to explain to the payroll specialist that I lived on Long Island, not NYC. The response I kept getting was “but you live in New York, right?” Meryl was the only person who had the clue that New York was both a city and a state.
Monday, March 22, 2004
Sunday, March 21, 2004
I managed to wheedle my way to a seat anyway, and started up a conversation with the guy sitting next to me. We talked a bit about outsourcing and he grilled me on the magazine’s business model. He said that he was a former senior VP of the US Chamber of Commerce, and that he worked for Boeing. Later, I looked him (Craig Johnstone) up online and it turns out that he was what I would consider an American hero. In 1975, he launched and funded a rescue mission to rescue Americans from Vietnam.
For the first time, I rented from National at Sea-Tac. They have an interesting deal going on. If you’re an Emerald Club member (which I found out I was, even though I’m not a Friend of Judy), they just tell you to go pick any car off the lot. And oh, the choices! I never knew that so many companies made the same damn car. I got a Chevy Classic which started to emit the pungent aroma of fried chicken and cigars about five minutes after I hit I-405.
For some reason, I got a room at the Residence Inn. It’s got a little fireplace with Duraflame, a kitchen, and 4000 light switches you have to find before you can turn everything off. I hit the wrong switch in the kitchen and the trash compactor nearly took my hand off. The stove is nice, in case I need to whip up some skillet potatoes during the week ahead.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
The train pulled into Bay Shore right on time, 5:50 PM. I walked over to my car, started it up, and hopped back out to scrape the ice off. I got that nagging realization right then that I'd somehow locked myself out of the car, which was ridiculous, because...uh...the door won't open. None of the doors will open. The car's running, the lights are on, my bag's inside, my key's inside, and I can't get in. No one's at home because of the kid's hockey practice. The wind is gusting to 30 MPH, and the little pellets of ice are stinging my face. I can't go home to get a key because I can't get in the house. I don't want to leave my car sitting there running with the keys in it. There's no one who can help. I go into the shelter at the station (it's open air, just a roof and a wall) and call AAA.
After waiting for the next available operator in their call center somewhere up in Saugerties, I finally get an operator. I explain what's going on, and they ask me for a number where I can be reached. I completely blank out on my cell phone number. "Wait...I know the 631 part..." I end up giving them some number that's probably connected to a beauty parlor in Brentwood. Then I go back to standing in the shelter area.
The shelter area is quite nice. I shared the space with one guy who was drinking tallboys, one guy who kept following me around, one guy who was smoking, and one guy, complete with huge beard and limp, who kept coming up to me and asking if I could loan him a cigarette. WHen I said that no, why would anyone smoke, he asked the drinking guy and the stalker and the other smoker, and they all ignored him. Then he went up to a waiting car and asked if the driver had a cigarette he could borrow. She quickly rolled up the window. Then he went over to my running car and looked in the window to find out if he could borrow a cigarette. Since no one was in the car, he just stared forlornly into the driver's window to see if there was something he could steal.
At 7:25, the tow driver finally showed up with two wedges and a coat hanger, and tried in vain to open the door for almost 15 minutes. The sleet was stinging, the wind was howling, and the driver was swearing. He wiggled the wire, worked it up and down, tried to unhook everything on the door panel, until finally he popped open one of the rear windows. My hands were so numb that I could barely open the door by then. I'm such an idiot.
Monday, March 15, 2004
The Bush campaign has just unveiled an ad called "100 Days." It claims that Kerry would raise taxes, weaken the Patriot Act, and "delay defending America until the United Nations approved." Wait a minute - Kerry would restore fiscal solvency to the country, start restoring the Constitution, and not launch unilateral wars based on falsehoods? Is there anything that monster WOULDN'T do????
Saturday, March 13, 2004
Anyway, the reason I brought this up was because of the ad that accompanied it. The Times was running an ad for Endless Pools. This is a great idea for those without much space - it's a small box of water that you tether yourself into and pretend you're swimming. You could also leash yourself to your bathtub spigot, but that might be too complex. The picture on the click-through ad made it look even more appealing. The poor guy looks like he's being ripped limb-from-limb by an Endless Pool gone awry! I'm wondering whether the Endless Pool corporation actually bought a cadaver from Tulane to test the strength of their tethers or something, because this does not look good for the poor guy.
"Help me I don't wanna die like this!!"
Thursday, March 11, 2004
Todd Bertuzzi has just been suspended for the rest of the season, which will cost him over half a million dollars. This comes on the heels of his press conference yesterday, where he repeatedly started crying. (Although I prefer the term “blubbering,” because it casts Canada as a land of whale-hunting primitives.)
The Bertuzzi incident proves at least one thing. As an American, I am SHOCKED at the violence that is a part of day-to-day Canadian culture, and I am worried and alarmed that we are sharing a border with such a bloodthirsty, out-of-control nation.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Edina the dog is close to losing out under the terms of my own personal “three strikes for pets” law. Since I carried her up the stairs to bed for a couple of nights, she now expects the royal treatment all the time. Tonight, she didn’t get it. I just didn’t feel like it – she’s heavy and she smells.
Edina gets to the top of the stairs, walks into the nearest bathroom, and craps on the floor. The ten steps obviously exhausted her digestive tract, and she just plopped one right then and there. As you know, nothin’ says lovin’ like a pile of hot dog crap on a tile floor. Tomorrow we’re going to compromise – I’m going to kick her fluffy little ass up the stairs.
Tuesday, March 9, 2004
Last night, Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks viciously assaulted Steve Moore during a hockey game. It’s hitting all the papers today, and this can only mean one thing. For the next week, I’ll be expected to defend the sport of hockey against a number of people who have no interest in it either way but who love to cluck about it every couple of years when something happens.
Monday, March 8, 2004
Crazy Guy provides sharp social commentary, but he really shines when his friend, Crazy Ed McMahon, drops by. Crazy Ed McMahon stands next to him, agreeing with each revelation as it comes out.
“WOMAN NEEDS TO BE TAKEN CARE OF. WOMAN IS LIKE A BABY.”
“Heh heh, you’re right about that!”
“WOMAN NEEDS TO BE TAKEN CARE OF. WOMAN IS LIKE A BABY.”
“Heh heh, you’re right about that!”
And who says New York is dull?
Saturday, March 6, 2004
So, a couple of observations about Tesla. They’ve aged about as well as the Go-Go’s did. Their site has the most atrocious Flash animation I’ve ever seen. And from Nassau Coliseum, they go to the Midwest and celebrate their new album by playing the East Peoria Convention Center. “I said, are you ready to haaaaaaaaaaaaaarvest!!!” Good times.
Saturday, February 21, 2004
Friday, February 20, 2004
As a Squirts team activity, we all headed down to Leda Lanes in Nashua and indulged in some candlepin bowling. I've never played this before. It uses a palm-sized ball and ten nearly cylindrical pins. You get three throws per frame, and there are some other weird rules about strikes and spares.
Other than that, it was a typical bowling alley. They had ancient video ads that flashed on monitors above the lanes. The ones that employed smiling candlepins imploring you to bowl more were especially freakish, because the pins looked like happy-go-lucky cigarettes. Other newly updated ads invited you to join their morning league to bowl against a crowing rooster, and to visit their well-stocked snack bar for some Coke, Sprite, or Sunkist C-Plus orange soda that hasn't been manufactured since 1987. And as in any bowling alley, the residual cigarette and mildew smell was something that a mere fresh coat of paint ain't gonna solve. Best of all, I got horrible neon shoes that say "Hi, I'm the only size 13 in the place!" Neon pink on one side, neon yellow on the other. The right foot had yellow, then pink. Which means that there's a matching pair out there somewhere!
After getting some exercise knocking down oversized novelty cigarettes with bocce balls, we made our way to Friendly's. After much internal debate, I ordered the Honolulu chicken sandwich. "Honolulu chicken," you say? Well yes. What says "Honolulu" better than fried chicken, bacon, and melted Jack cheese on toast? By the time I worked my way to the rapidly congealing fries, I felt like I had been transported to a warm, white sand beach under a gently swaying palm tree. Aloha!
Thursday, February 19, 2004
We stopped at Norwalk's famous Pasta Fair restaurant (also known as "Pasta Mediocre") for lunch to celebrate my mom's 176th birthday in style. For some reason she's gotten into the habit of bringing Julian a Ziploc bag full of shelled peanuts every time she sees him - I guess it's their special "thing" these days. More disconcerting was trying to finish my just-passable fusilli with pesto as an angry horde of blue jays gathered by the window next to the ripped up vinyl booth we were occupying.
The drive up to New Hampshire isn't that bad, because several major cities break it up. You hit New Haven, then Hartford, then...uh...well, I-495 outside Boston. We took a side trip into Boston, which Julian had never seen. He brightened up when he saw the collection of comics at Newbury Comics. Then we walked a couple of blocks to the new Lush outlet, which offers lots of hand-made soaps and bath accessories, because let's face it - I'm a girl. I asked them when they were opening in New York, and the surprise answer came back: this weekend! They've got a new outlet on Broadway and 34th, a block from Penn Station.
We got to the Nashua Sheraton just in time for dinner, which was enjoyed in a completely deserted restaurant on-site. They must have some amazing ovens, because they were able to roast a half-chicken to perfection in about three minutes.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
And also, there's a huge pair of men's briefs on the sidewalk next to the Bay Shore LIRR station. Railroad officials have assured me that they'll be moved by nightfall. I'm keeping an eye on this developing situation.
Monday, February 16, 2004
2 lbs. chicken cut into little nuggets
3 bell peppers - red, orange, yellow, cut into 1x1" pieces
1 cup unsalted peanuts
3 green onions, sliced
1 jar Trader Joe's General Tso's sauce
eggs, flour, oil
Dip the chicken in egg, then flour, then fry up in the oil. Remove. Add the peppers to the oil, and cook until almost tender. Drain the oil. Add the green onions, peanuts, and chicken. Pour a bottle of General Tso's sauce over it all. Serve over egg spaghetti. Mmmmmmmmm.
Anyway, that was my birthday dinner, in advance of my actual birthday tomorrow.