Thursday, November 27, 2003

Thanksgiving Link Feast

Let's start out with a little wining and dining and thoughts on the benefits of networking, from George...although I have to imagine he'd somehow combine coffee and wine. Meanwhile, Todd may only be able to have some soft cheese for a while, due to his root canal. Ouch. The Bruce Blog observes the taxpayer funded edifice of Jacobs Field is crumbling a bit like a cracker: "Bruce blog wonders how long it will be before the entire stone facade on the ticket booth will come undone and what's causing the steel beam above to separate and bow?"

Let's also stop and considerthose travelingg far from home to be with family, like Chas Rich, who says the big news in PA is a proposed rail stop. Hrm. Actually just today my cube-neighbour said hthoughtth Ohio should build a Monorail from Cleveland to Columbus. I asked him "Is there a chance the track could bend?" He said, "Not on your life, my Hindu friend".

It's also a time to wish well to those who couldn't make it to the party, like Jen who is having pain and ear ringiness. I can sympathize...back in 1995 my left ear started a very loud ringing - loud enough for me to hear it no matter how noisy a room is - and I had to learn how to sleep without going crazy. That only took about a year to more or less get used to ignoring...let's hope Jen's ear improves, and give thanks for the sounds of silence.

Joy is hoping for some good food this holiday but has a personal rule - no spam, especially when it pops right out of the can.

Virginia has some ideas on Turkey (the other kind), As one there said "It's not just politics," says one. "They're attacking our way of life." Amy Sullivan is in the kitchen giving tips on cooking what Ben Franklin wanted to make America's national bird. Meanwhile Jay is giving some tips on how not to get sued over Thanksgiving. He's having trouble getting an audience as Meryl is talking about her underwear again Oh wait she left. Just in time to get everyone's attention, Kate lets it slip about an invention once seen in Woody Allen's 'Sleeper' that makes me wonder what more jobs that I do are they going to take away by automation?

Tony has some news that's as sweet potatoes to Tolkien fans about the upcoming Lord of the Rings Finale. Ok I'm stretching here.

We also have some Sweet Potato Casserole, prepared by Kelley for you holiday - uh stuffment? It's good to have extra food because Bryan Keefer has smelt something overdone in the kitchen when a certain group mixed two ingredients, not knowing if they really go together or not.

Michele serves up some tasty deserts in the form of pumpkin pies each containing a thanksgiving comic book parody I'm not sure if this will take off like the quarters-in-birthday-cake my grandmother used to have.

Lynn sits at the head of the table (since we are all a random bunch of nonrelativess and offers words on what Thanksgiving is all about.
And then there's Thanksgiving. A lot of planning goes into our big celebrations but once the day is here everything stops. It's almost like going back in time. Families get together and really spend time together. We actually talk. Nothing deep. Why spoil the day with too much seriousness?
Read it all here - thanks and my sympathies to all who wont get to taste my mother in laws pumpkin chiffon pie. It's why I decided to become a US citizen one day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Jimmy's back...back again.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

The Cleveland PeeDee hops onto a statement that Dennis Kucinich made at a recent debate about being single: "'If you are out there call me,'" and the PeeDee added "he concluded with a flourish reminiscent of 'American Gigolo.' ". They then go on to say "Kucinich's plea for a soul mate uncorked an unexpected torrent of lust and longing from the nation's Reikei instructors and anti-war activists". Hrm. But according to this item in the Free Times gossipy Nose column, the PeeDee told one of it's reporters that she could not write a profile of Dennis for Mother Jones magazine. Perhaps as the "Nose" notes, that " [PD Editor] Clifton is embarrassed that Mother Jones would run a major story on Kucinich written by one of the PD 's reporters before the PD did so itself?" Good question.

Thanks for the Tryptophan

Being a dang foreigner, it's taking some time to get used to all the special rituals here in America. Take for example Thanksgiving. Back home it's a mild holiday, sometimes we have a little Turkey, but basically it's a glorified harvest festival. But here it's nearly the biggest deal of the year. Leaving aside the obvious dish, what's the quintisential part of the thanksgiving meal that it would not be the same without?

Monday, November 24, 2003

I'm not usually a celeb watcher, but was sad to hear that Kelly Waymire died. You may wonder who that is, but if you look at her picture you'll recognize her from appearances on Six Feet Under, Enterprise, and other shows. She also had a career as a stage actress. One is left wonder what was left in life that she could have done. She was only 36.

Need a few quick links? Lynn has some, including a mini-guitar and marshland catastrophes. She also remembers the Kennedy assassination. My parents went to visit the memorial in Hyannisport when we went through there in the 90''s an event that will also resonate for many. Lynn should be on your reading lists already, so get going there....please.

Christmas quote of the day: "It's always seemed to me, after all, that Christmas, with its spirit of giving, offers us all a wonderful opportunity each year to reflect on what we all most sincerely and deeply believe in - I refer, of course, to money" - Tom Lehrer

You know, I was just thinking that I needed a atlatls - or maybe I just like the model pretending to be an ancient woman who apparently had access to a stylist. Link via memepool.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Lucky for us Kate has not been washed out to sea by beach erosion in Hawaii. However she has dealt with a bit of a catch-22
You see, now that the erosion has eaten its way so close to my lanai, we no longer meet the requirement for a 25-foot setback and now the city has to grant a permit so we can restore that mandatory buffer-zone. Ironic, isn't it? Before this, they wouldn't allow us to put in a sea wall to protect the property because that might have imperiled the beach, but now that we've lost so much waterfront property they must allow us to do what we'd asked in the first place... at five times the expense, since we have to buy sufficient sand to re-establish the 25-foot boundary.
It would be nice is some case-by-case analysis was available instead of the bureaucracy sticking to a rule regardless of the "facts on the ground"...or in the water, as the case may be.

Like most people I'm sure you've found yourself driving down the highway on a long trip, and thinking "How about a refreshing snack that's out of the ordinary? Say like in the classic tale "How to eat Fried Worms" by Thomas Rockwell?" Boy does Jen have the vending machine for you.

Don Iaonne takes issue with Cool Cleveland's critique of the way economic development is handled in Northeast Ohio. He says that's it's not a good thing to think bad thoughts:

If I had to cite one shortcoming that Ohioans and Greater Clevelanders need to work on to advance their economic development in the future, it would be our "negative self-image" and our propensity to criticize ourselves and others. Some people may think it's "cool" to criticize. I don't. "Cool" to me is doing something with what you have in life. Use the talents and resources you have to create something new and better. That's what true artists do
I'm thinking of Picasso's Guernica - should he have torn it up as it added to Spain's "negative self-image"? The gripe seems to be that there is too much bad news...yes there is...and not reporting on it does not make it vanish.

Rex Murphy notes of all the media furor surround you-know-who (name omitted so I hopefully won't get google hits from this post) notes unhappily "... the fusion of celebrity, crime, race and the media has found its perfect storm.". Seems like we can rely on the media to do....whatever the ratings conscious managers at the outlets deem it good for their wallets to do...

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Bored of the same old stuff at Thanksgiving? How about some Pumpkin-Coconut bisque? Ladygoat has the recipe. It looks quite...Orange.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Barbara Payne contemplates what blogs are all about. She compares them to a library, and recalls some bloggers that no longer blog but left their archives online. Rachel Lucas seems to have more or less stopped, but I keep checking now and then as I found her insightful and funny, plus you can peruse archives. Others like Redsugar Muse left and took their writing with them. Unlike books, most blogs are not archived except by their authors. So are blogs essentially somewhere below normal media but above ephemera?

Promises, Promises

Ashcroft now says they deported Canadian citizen Maher Ara to Syria (where he was tortured for the better part of the year) because those upstanding Syrians promised not to torture him. Ahem. So you're sending someone to a country where they have to PROMISE not to torture someone, because it's widely known they regularly use torture. Aha. It's a good thing your own president didn't basically contradict what you were saying right....oops.
Nevertheless, Mr. Ashcroft maintained that the deportation order was legal because the Syrians promised that Mr. Arar would not face torture if he was returned to the country of his birth.

Noting the Syrian government's recent denial that Mr. Arar had been tortured, Mr. Ashcroft told reporters "that statement is fully consistent with the assurances that the United States government received prior to the removal of Mr. Arar"

As recently as two weeks ago, U.S. President George W. Bush denounced the Syrian regime for leaving its people "a legacy of torture, oppression, misery and ruin."
The fact that it turns out the man in question does not have any ties to Al Queda - not sure if this makes it worse or not. In other news, Ashcroft said they'd stop looking into Iran's nuclear arms program because they promised not to make any weapons, and to stop bugging North Korea about being oppressive, because the Dear Leader promised they would have democracy as soon as everyone in North Korea learns to play a musical instrument.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Top Ten Excuses for taxpayers paying for sport stadiums. Reminds one of the powers that be here in Cleveland trying to rev up support for the convention center.

Kate has decreed that the letter of the day is J.
J is for Judge not, lest ye be judged, whereupon some wingnuts blame a judge who ruled against prayers at school football games is blamed for many of the ills of the world today.
J is for jump start, which is what some kids in Cleveland may get thanks to Bill and Melinda Gates.
J is for Jewelry, and the woman in this paining has some interesting pieces...
J is for Journals and other smallish publications....

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

By way of Salam Pax's website, comes this question from G in Baghdad about the protestors in London:
tell your friends in London that G in Baghdad would have appreciated them much more if they had demonstrated against the atrocities of saddam.
And if you could ask them when will be the next demonstration to support the people of north Korea, the democratic republic of Congo and Iran?
Excellent question.

Jen has a way for you to find your inner brand. Why pay some company millions to dub you with a new moniker that no one understands, when you can just get one here?

A man uses a cellphone where there should be etiquette rules against it - in his own coffin. Link via Crooked Timber.

If a tree falls in Ohio, will it cause a blackout? The answer is apparently yes.

Over at "...muttered the ogre", Anton links to a page on the Piltdown man hoax, and the people who misuse it at times...

I hope Glenn can survive this trauma of being publicly delinked by some blogger named Hesiod. In related news, Hesiod declared he would no longer shop at Wal-mart or buy McDonalds - the stockmarket expects massive downswings do to this change of heart. As a wise man once said, when Hesiod sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold. You can help poor Mr. Reynolds by linking to him - I'm sure he'll appreciate an extra hit or two! Link via Reflections in d Minor.

You can't go home again, but we'll send you to Hell. Have a nice day

The Solicitor General of Canada is making noises about ended the sharing of terrorism information after they way Canadian citizen Maher Arar was treated. He was flying through NY to Canada when he was detained, and deported to Syria against his wishes and apparently without informing the Canadian consulate as is legally required. Arar was tortured in Syria - no surprise there - and was only recently released back to Canada. I think the Solicitor General is unlikely to terminate the sharing of info, they're just looking to gain some political cover. There's more in a NY Times article here. Arar sounds a note that is reminiscent of the personal destruction wreaked upon those accused (but not charged with anything) of being communists in the 1950's - as he says in the Times article "My life and career are destroyed," he said matter-of-factly. "To brand someone as a terrorist after 9/11 - I don't think it will be easy to return to normal life."

Dana Priest of the Washington Post reports on the Justice Department Official who signed the order sending Arar to Syria. This graf is interesting:
The U.S. immigration law used to carry out the "expedited removal" of Arar strictly prohibits sending anyone, even on national security grounds, to a country where "it is more likely than not that they will be tortured," said a U.S. official familiar with the law applied in the Arar case.
Link via Today's Papers.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Venomous Kate sees all - including a pretty amazing collection of photos from a soldier on the ground in Iraq. Here's a couple of shots from the site, with credit to the 101st Public Affairs Office

I'm sure it's not all rescuing dogs

There's also meeting the locals! Worth a visit, there are hundreds of pictures there...

Eric Olson has found a way to assuage the guilt many feel from file sharing. Instead of wallowing in sadness from the music files they have downloaded, they can return the offending files directly to the RIAA. Don't want to email them? You can snail mail them like so:
1. Locate on your computer the first MP3 you want to send. (Hint: MP3s usually end with the letters ".MP3" or ".mp3"

2. Open up your hex editor. (Did you know that "hex" is short for "hexadecimal?" Well now you do! :)

3. Resize the hex dump (usually on the left side of the page) as small as it goes. You won't be needing it.

4. Drag-select the ASCII dump. Use the "copy" command.

5. Open your favorite word processor such as Microsoft Word™ or Microsoft WordPad™. Press "paste."

6. Set the page margins to 1" all around (2.54 centimeters). Consider single-spacing.

7. Load your printer with a fresh ream of paper. (Did you know that there are 500 pages in a ream?)

8. Press print.

9. Pack the paper carefully in a carton and take to the post office.

10. Send to the RIAA address in Method #2.
It's the right thing to do, folks.

Jessa notes the editor's job at the New York Times Book Review is up for grabs, but isn't too excited.. "It's almost certain that whoever takes over will keep things just as boring and predictable. And Michiko and Laura Miller will probably keep their jobs. So I don't care."

Bill imagines a world where he is king. With regards to the French, he says
Like I would send a bunch of helicopters over there and hover over the Eiffel Tower and strap hooks to it and fly it back to America. There would be all these French people under the Tower as it was being raised into the air and they'd be all jumping up and down with outstretched arms screaming, 'You cannot take zee Eiffel Tower!' But then the Army guys in the helicopters would just open the helicopter doors and drop water balloons on them. That would show them.
. I guess it's good to be king. However it sounds like what the Brits did in raiding Greece for her treasures. So I'm coming down on the anti-Steal-the-Eiffel-Tower front. I think Americans must have a love-hate relationship with the tower. It shows up in the backdrop of any movie set in France. But there is an underlying current of hostility, like when in the film Armageddon when a meteor chunk turns Paris into a crater. Of course at the time the tower was created, not everyone liked it
Is the City of Paris any longer to associate itself with the baroque and mercantile fancies of a builder of machines, thereby making itself irreparably ugly and bringing dishonour ? (...)
Apparently they've gotten over it since then.

Michele remembers how they used to remember grim events in history with LP's. That's Long Playing record for you young ones. A record is a vinyl disk we used to have all of our musicians record on, for you really young ones. Musicians are people who know how to play instruments and write songs, for you ones who only know manufactured "stars".

Where everyone types in ALL CAPS....where people dress their pets...and then use what looks like Microsoft Paint on the photos...WELCOME TO CAT TOWN. I'm checking now to see if it's one of the signs of the end of time. Link via M_.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Tony points to a possible cure for Type 1 Diabetes.

Josh Levin casts a skeptical eye to a Time Magazine piece on how we're in, ahem, a "job thaw".
The anecdote-driven cover package suggests that jobseekers consider nontraditional maneuvers like a move to Fayetteville, Ark., or starting up an online baby-stroller business. The page of suggested 'cool gigs'—private investigator, video game tester, production assistant—seems like it sprung from the mind of an MTV-watching 60-year-old guidance counselor.
Ouch. Those of you not reading Slate's Daily Papers column are missing a lot...

Steven Den Beste has some thoughts on Bin Laden's strategy, and focuses on what most media outlets gloss over - that religiosity clouds his every move.
But for bin Laden and other Islamic zealots bent on jihad, even that would be heresy. The only way to truly prove your faith is to rely on miracles, and that's what I think they're doing. I think that was bin Laden's strategy
Which is why all of us should be nervous when someone on our side or bin Laden's side starts invoking divine support.It implies the impossibility of even questioning the choices leaders make.

Jen frets about her Mom finding her blog online. Mine is generally a bunch of nonsense and political mutterings, so I don't worry about that too much myself. With that guy who got canned by Microsoft for posting photos on his blog of them unloading Macs at MS, it makes you pause a bit. I probably don't post anything I wouldn't say in casual conversation - I wonder how many people post in fear of workplace or personal retributions?

Whilst looking at the comments on Jen's post (above), I found out from RowdiGirl that the problem with Blogrolling earlier today was a malicious hack. I still love the way Blogrolling lets so many of us link together and see who's linking to whom, but I think I better improve my backup bloglist plan.

Blogrolling is not working right now. Attempting to redo it manually...stay tuned!
Update: 11:36 AM Seems to be back up again.

There are links from A to Z over at Kelley's Cul de Sac

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Joy, of Confessions of a G33k, reports that there's a free DOS emulator for Windows XP. Allow me to dust of some old cd's and disks I thought I'd never be able to use again...

Over at Very Happy, the author (lacking a name I can find on the blog) dissects some absurd attacks on a Tom Tomorow cartoon. Several bloggers either intentionally pretend to misunderstand the strip, or need some basic reading skills beaten into them. He tracks point by point the development of the attacks on Tom, and the lack of reason behind them. Endless posts explaining why " this person is not funny" for no readily apparent reason other than they disagree with you are enumerated and skewered like tasty BBQ chicken (sorry, I'm still relishing my birthday dinner at Dave And Buster'). Telling people what is funny or not is so insane as to defy any attempt at analysis. Interesting reading, and some harsh words for many bloggers who should have known better.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Paul Martin celebrates becoming the next Canadian Prime Minister by playing "pass the apple without your hands" with the only person to run against him, Sheila Copps. I told you Canadian politics was hot. Actually, I guess I didn't.

Photo: Jonathan Hayward/CP

Bloggers are getting more spam these days. They interview California blogger Adam Kalsey, who saw some of the same spams that many of us have...
Recently, his site has been getting remarks like ``Thanks for the information!'' and ``Sounds great!'' They're not from supporters, but from people -- or machines -- who leave names like ``Generic Viagra,'' ``Online Gambling'' and ``Free Poker'' and links to unsavory sites.
Spam has never been limited to e-mail. But now, commercial pitches are increasingly popping up in online chats, instant messages, cell phones with text messaging and, as Kalsey found, Web log comments.
The trouble is my commenting tool only lets me block by IP address, so I just have to keep an eye out for trouble, as do we all. Venomous Kate has a take on posts that aren't spam per se, but have basically nothing to say.
See, if there's one thing that I hate worse than an ungrateful (albeit cute) celebrity like Johnny, it's a whiny blogger with a bad case of the "me, too!" syndrome. You know what I'm talking about: the kind of blogger that's just a troll in disguise, who never contributes anything of substance to a comment section but sees them, instead, as a potential way to strike up traffic for himself.
A good guide might be to ask oneself "would I care about this comment if someone else left it? If not, maybe you don't have much to say..."

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Wonder how the world will end? This flash animation postulates one possibility. Heh. Link via IMAO

An alternative to Government at helping local businesses, called "BIDS", is detailed in this Reason article. What caught my eye:
• They’re 'not necessarily downtown-oriented.' Where other programs bleed outlying neighborhoods for the sake of the central business district, BIDs help neighborhood enterprises help themselves.
• Instead of pouring money into the usual civic white elephant projects -- 'hotels, convention centers, sports arenas and other megastructures' -- BIDs focus on 'street-level services and small-scale improvements.'
(bold was mine) Perhaps those still attempting to dig the Cleveland Convention Center out of it's much deserved grave could be offset by such an organization here. Link via Chas Rich.

Over at One Fine Jay, some thoughts on bloggers saying what they think, rather than what they might be expected to think based on their politics in general. It will never join a political party, and this is part of the reason why. What I think is not going to be determined by committees or even by a majority vote - in fact I don't care if I'm the only person on the planet who thinks something, I'll say it. Meanwhile, Glenn thinks "the anti-war left" needs to disavow Rall. I'm more or less pro-War, though I reserve whole planets of doubt about the planning behind this, but I don't think the anti-war folks need to continually say who they oppose, no matter how vile the speech. With Rall, it's nearly all vile, all the time. They'd have little else to do but disavow him full time. I won't say he's not funny, only that I've never found him funny. I agree with Ebert who said you can't convince someone what is or is not funny with arguments. So should bloggers pro and anti war, left and right, point out mindless idiots like Rall and rake them over the coals? Yes. But they're our coals, so we can't be told how to rake or how hot the coals should be. Michele will be bitchslapping Rall to any heart's content, and I'm content to allow her the privilege.

With this whole Senate filibuster thing, there are three thoughts....1. isn't checks and balances how the whole government is supposed to work? 2.Why are they pretending the politics is all on the Dems, and the GOP is putting up candidates with nary a political motive, and 3 doesn't this seem fair, as per this article? "Carle said that the 168-4 approval rate compares favorably with the Republicans' treatment of President Clinton's judicial nominees. According to statistics compiled by Leahy's office, 62 of Clinton's nominees were blocked while 248 of them were confirmed. " Ahem. Looks fair enough to me.

People being bilked by an email scam that purports to be email from a a rule you should never click on a link in email that you were not expecting...especially one that pops up a window for you to fill in login information. When in doubt, you can always just open a web browser and point to the site in question. Legit emails always describe where to update info from the "main" page that users will normally see. This is just more fuel for the hopefully universally understood rule - do not click on things in unexpected emails. Just like you wouldn't open your door to someone you don't know.

Lynn has complaints about the difficulty of taking your own picture. I think all pictures of this nature have that same look - you know with the person concentrating and looking at their monitor. To me this just seems to say "look how I can take pictures of myself" and has little else in aesthetic value. Aside from hiring a photographer the only solution is taking as many pictures as you can. I myself know nothing about taking pictures (hence my auto focus camera), and the only way I can get any decent shots is to take as many as possible, use Photoshop to crop it to a better balance, and just dump the many bad pictures.

I think I got my first camera when I was 13 or so, and used it on high school band trips (owing to a shortage of trombonists, I was thrown into the HS band early). I look back through the pictures, noted the uselessness of taking landscape photos with an auto focus camera, and now realize I needed to take more pictures of people. Digital cameras make picture taking much easier, but then you have another dilemma - what's worth taking a picture of? I think since so many things just happen without a plan, I need to lug my camera with me more (lacking a camera phone). So perhaps I will put some more photos on the blog as well, bearing in mind the average blog reader does not want to see repeated images of :
1. my cat
2. my friends hanging out in a restaurant
3. Red headed Canadian trombonists

Why no random cat photos? I think the problem with cat blogs is the same problem with dreams. Everyone thinks their dreams are fascinating to others, and they're worse than listening to Dr Phil.

Josh Marshall has been running Talking Points Memo for three years now, and is amused that he's now better known via his blog than his magazine writing. He's always worth reading, for us political junkies who want some inside info on pols and the media who cover them...

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

It's getting close to Thanksgiving. This is an American tradition that has been made very clear to this Canadian, with a tradition of candied yams, potatoes, pumpkin pie...and of course Turkey. You would think that this fellow would have a better sense of self-preservation. He's chasing and harassing trailer park residents right around a time of year when it would most advisable for those of his species to stay out of sight. Link via Fark.

Ever wonder what your name would be in Middle Earth? Wonder no longer!, link via GeekPress. So saith Thingrist aka Merimac Took from Bree aka Frerin Snowcryer.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Tony has some info on a new MP3 player - the line that caught my eye:
he USB cable is also used to charge the player's built-in rechargeable Lithium Ion battery. At full capacity, the battery provides 14 hours' playback time, Creative claims.
That's more than halfway of a drive back to Nova it looks cool.

Sorry for the long period without posts, I've been tied up night and day in a software conference. Today is Remembrance Day in Canada, as marked by this poem. It's also an explanation of why Canadians can be seen sporting plastic red poppies on this day. In times of war like we have now, they are words worth noting, I think. As said John McCrae:

In Flanders Fields

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, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our 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.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Once again, zero tolerance equals zero intelligence.They're expelling a seventh grader for....drug dealing? Murder? Assault? Cursing? Burning the flag? Nope - something much worse - doodling.

"Under the district's 'zero-tolerance' policy, it really doesn't matter, spokesman Greg Viebranz said.
'When you see anything or hear anything that reflects violent images or violent statements - whether or not it's a direct threat, whether or not there may be intent - zero tolerance states that action has to be taken against the student,' Viebranz said
The zero tolerance policies that have taken hold of the nations schools are an excuse that brainless, spineless cowards in the administrative portion of education have taken to like rats to a maze. Instead of deciding anything about student behaviour on say, the student behaviour and circumstances surrounding it, they want a form telling them what to do...More and more I wonder if we're facing a future of worm like bureaucrats who get their decisions from procedures and not thought

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Why do I suddenly feel like I'm in Florida, even though it's cold outside? How about a recount? We just had a referendum on whether to use eminent domain to take some houses and business on the west end for redevelopment. You may have seen Mike Wallace ask our - now ex - Mayor some questions on it a while back. It failed - just barely. But, as reported in the PeeDee:
After the counting of 16,000 ballots on Election Day, the West End project appeared to lose by 39 votes. But at least 600 people cast provisional ballots, which are used by registered voters who moved and failed to register at their new addresses.
This time I don't think anyone will send an army of lawyers down here to decide how the election went and which chads are hanging. Oh yes, we still use the punch card machines. As Lionel Hutz once said, can you imagine a world without lawyers?

Jen has a link to an 80's music quiz here. I managed a 68.5, and I'm no big fan of pop music. I guess the age of deck shoes, Cosby sweaters and Miami Vice is sprayed into my brain like too much starch.

Friday, November 07, 2003

While I obviously am a fan of alternative journalism, some ideas they have had are just plain bad. The Cleveland Free Times runs a gossipy column called The Nose. They choose a place, in this case a restaurant which they recommend to their readers - but they call it "The Nose Pick of the Week." I don't care if they report the place serves the greatest foodstuffs know to man, this name does not encourage my appetite.

Nice cartoon on the teaching of evolution, and it's opponents...I'm waiting on the repealing of the laws of thermodynamics, and finding that the sun revolves around the earth as the next step in this series of attack on scientific thought.

Meryl Yourish has a bunch of links with responses to the "Kim du Toit essay on what he thinks is a real man". Personally I'm waiting for Andrew "Dice" Clay to sue him for copyright infringement.

So I got my Green card today - a year and a half later - and it comes in a little white holder that says "We recommend you use this envelope to protect your new card". The card has a optical stripe with reallly, really, tiny pictures of US Presidents and some cool holograms on the back - I'm thinking this stripe is what needs protection - can it just get worn off, I wonder? Or is it also magnetically sensitive? Needless to say, the official site doesn't say, so all I have to go on are the instructions on this flimsy paper envelope.

Bill, um, sucks up to Michele in hope for linkage for his blog Bloviating Inanities.

George says to Michael Hayes don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out (more or less). Mikey is moving to Oregon because as he puts it " An oligarchy of Anglo-Saxons still rules a populace descended from Slavs and slaves.". Those damned Anglo-Saxons. Can we count on the Flemish to help us drive them out? One can't help but agree with George in his lambasting of one so obviously "unencumbered by the thought process", to borrow from Click and Clack. It seems obvious to me that places are as good as you choose to make them, and Mike has graciously improved the Cleveland area by leaving. Kudos!

Bye Bye Jean - Chrétien spends his last day in the House of Commons. He's been the Canadian PM for about a decade now, and has been in government for about 40 years. For being in the biz that long he's surprisingly unhypocritical, and not afraid to take some stands over the years as the article implies. I heard him speak back in the 80's when he was officially not in politics, and thought he has held a strong commitment to Canadians and their ideals throughout his life. I actually sort of met him once when a Dixieland band I was in played at a speech he was giving - he seemed genial and sharp. He liked our Straw Hats and armbands. Hey, it was a living. He was a long-term cabinet minister for the late Pierre Trudeau, who was arguably the best Canadian Prime Minister of the 20th century. But this is Mr. Chrétien’s time now, and we'll all say goodbye to the "little guy from Shawinigan".

Just a reminder that advertising crap in the comments will earn deletions and bans. But you knew that...if you see something along those lines in the comments or something that should not be seeing the light of day here let me know via email. Thanks!

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Anton is dreaming of catapults, no pun intended...

Kelley wants to know when she might expect a moments peace from her talkative offspring......ha!

Amy Sullivan has some thoughts on the whole Dean-confederate flag imbroglio
Dean's right on the big point. The Zell Miller Democrats-have-lost-the-South argument is not the way to go. Dems need to fight for the South and it would help if they didn't view the region as one big voting monolith. But commenting that he 'wants to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks' isn't necessarily a smart way for Dean to go after those votes.
I think Dean was just trying to acknowledge reality, and not pander to parts of the democratic part that have little sense of reality in terms of how to win broad support for a candidate.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Meryl Yourish finds eerie similarities between Star Trek and reality. As long as we don't end up wearing unitards, I'm not too concerned.

Redsugar muse has apparently closed up shop. She says "the people I liked to see here are long gone and I'm getting 1,000 hits a day from total strangers." She didn't even leave a link to the *archives*....ack. I'll miss her, for one.

Chas Rich wraps up the Lakewood West end project vote. The measure failed, albeit narrowly, meaning the city can't use eminent domain to take properties from those unwilling to sell in order to build condos and a shopping complex on the west side. Chas was against 47 and makes some good points. However I think cities still need to be able to use this tool to take control of private lands, even if the plan is later to develop some or all of the land privately, and not a "direct" public use. With nearly completely developed cities, they have few other options for certain projects to go forward. Could this process be abused? Yep. So can any government process, but we can't abandon anything that could be misused. In this case the voters have decided not to go forward with this particular project....we'll see if a better project and a better case can be made next time around.

Maher Ara held a press conference detailing some of the ordeal he has had for the last year. Ara is a Canadian citizen, but last year US authorities stopped him as he was flying through New York to Canada. They held him, and deported him to Syria. They did so against his wishes and without informing the Canadian consulate as required. Just from his description, it sounds like a petty and punitive deportation. The problem a lot of non-US citizens can face at borders is that of officers who arbitrarily decide their fate with little look at the law. As Arar noted:
After 'seven or eight' days of questioning, he said, they said that he would be deported and asked where he wanted to go. He says he chose Canada.
'They said they wanted to know why I did not want to go back to Syria. I told them I would be tortured there,' Mr. Arar related Tuesday. 'They told me that based on classified information, that they could not reveal to me, I would be deported to Syria. I said again that I would be tortured there.'
And surprise, surprise, he reported that over the next many months he was tortured in Syria. I don't think this reflects too well on the US immigration authorities, the Canadian authorities who may have sent them information on Arar without insisting he be sent to Canada, and needless to say, the despicable methods Syrian government. The fact that he does not seem to be connected to terrorism obviously makes this all look even worse...

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Over at Foodgoat, some interesting thoughts on something I've never heard of, alaea salt
Also known as Hawaiian sea salt to us mainlanders, it is salt rich in oceanic minerals that is harvested from the tidal pools of the island of Kauai. It is then mixed with volcanic red clay (which is high in iron oxide), resulting in a distinctive pink color.
. Ladygoat ponders when she'll have a something to cook with this unusual salt. This is a neat site, with lots of cooking related links, need to blogroll this one...

Wizbang: Bonfire of the Vanities - Week 18 - a not-to-miss collections of blogger's choice posts - check it out!

Tony at Technically Speaking collects up some posts with interesting titles...then again most of mine are so short I don't bother to give them titles. Does this mean I am opposed to entitlements?

Chief Wiggles figures prominently in a column by Margaret Wente on US and Iraqi friendships:
Yes, some people will dance in the streets of Fallujah when they shoot an American helicopter from the skies. But there are good men everywhere in Iraq — men like these, both Iraqis and Americans — and they are on the same side, and it is not the side of the people who dance in the streets of Fallujah.
Worthwhile reading it all...

Monday, November 03, 2003

Lynn takes someone gently to task for a post they made criticizing the use of the word luddite as being far too obscure. One cannot help agreeing with Lynn that expanding your vocabulary should be a learning process. Every time we encounter a new word it's a chance to look it up and perhaps find out a bit about it's etymology. So you get bonus history whilst boning up on words that are new to you.

Joy at Confessions of a G33k, um, geeks out about some maps of the internet. It's actually extremely geek worthy and I share her lust for those posters....

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Venomous Kate gathers up some of the snarkiest posts in a snark hunt. What better way to spend a Sunday than awash in a bevy of blogger's sarcastic, snarky, and often hilarious posts.

Speaking of writing, here's some writing tips from an acclaimed author. Heh.

Michele is trying to write a 50,000 word novel as part of "National Novel Writing Month". I wonder if the energy used in blogging comes from the same pool as the energy it must take to write a novel...hopefully not!

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Becoming a resident here is pretty easy and quick for us law-abiding types. I invite you to fill some of these out (if you live here, just pretend you're from Elbonia or somewhere). Just fill them out in your copious free time, knowing one wrong dash could mean starting from scratch.

  • I-485 for $255, and 7 pages, and wait 16 months

  • I-130 for $130 and 6 pages, wait 16 months

  • I-765 for $120* dollars and 11 pages, wait for 2 months

  • I-131 for $110 and 4 pages, wait for 2 months**

  • I-864 for free, 10 pages, wait 16 months

  • G-325A for free, 1 page in quadruplicate (they apparently lack photocopier tech), wait 16 months

  • I-693 for free and wait 16 months ***

* = Had to do this twice since the application took 16 months
** = This is the one that if you don't have you cannot leave the country. If you do leave, you abandon your intent to immigrate, but if you try to come back, they assume you're trying to immigrate and won't let you in...
*** = They choose a doctor you can for this. Costs vary...Mine filled it out wrong, meaning a delay of another couple of weeks in addition to the 16 months.

I can only think all the fees are going to inventing even more forms. That being said, the woman at the INS BCIS was quick, nice and very straightforward. I can only assume the wait is due to there being so few inspectors and a stack of applications that could reforest all the fire damage in California were they still in tree form. Funniest thing I kept hearing during this time "Your wife is a US citizen so aren't you automatically one too? I're Canadian!"

Lynn has some Saturday quickies to peruse - links that favourite links is to the Lego people.