October 31, 2008

Hammer Shotgun

"Stand back, everyone. Nothing here to see.
just imminent danger, 'n in the middle of it me
Yes, Captain Hammer's here, hair blowing in the breeze.
The day needs my saving expertise!" - Captain Hammer, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Captain Hammer

My best Captain Hammer impression

*****BONUS MYSTERY LINK!!!!!*****

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Posted by James at 11:16 AM | Comments (3)

Happy Halloween

Jack w/ Wings

Happy Hallowe'en!

Posted by James at 8:29 AM | Comments (5)

October 30, 2008

I should probably mention

Out the Window on My Birthday

Today is my birthday. It's been a fairly decent day so far. My younger daughter gave me a nifty haunted house door-hanger that she made all by herself. (It's like a little pillow, and it hangs from your doorknob as a decoration). Yesterday I got to see Sharon and she gave me this cool wallet that looks like a folded piece of notebook paper.

Some of us went to Riccardi's for lunch.

Right now I'm working on writing some instructions for people helping us add art to our software. Tonight I'm hoping to carve a pumpkin with the kids, maybe watch the Season 2 Doctor Who finale with the girls, then pop over to Cousin Bob's house where we'll share a doppelbock I found the other day.

And it's a positively beautiful fall day from the window of my office. The leaves are mostly off the trees now, so the colorful foliage is nearly gone. But the sky is as blue as I've ever seen it.

Posted by James at 3:56 PM | Comments (7)

October 29, 2008

Talk Me Down -- Venn Diagrams

(I like the idea of the "Talk Me Down" segment on Rachel Maddow's show, where she has guests come in and try to talk her down about various worrying subjects. Since this blog is basically my stress therapy, I am going to start borrowing that idea, and ask you, my readers to talk me down.)

My head exploded last night when I saw my daughter's study guide for social studies. She's got a test today.

For the sake of argument, let's say it's about natural resources in WallyWorld and Dizzyland. Here is what the workbook gave her for the Venn diagram for resources in the two areas of WallyWorld and Dizzyland:


it isn't called a Venn diagram in the book, but it certainly uses the form. This is not how Venn diagrams (aka. set diagrams) are supposed to work!!!

The overlap area is supposed to contain things present in both sets. But the non-overlap areas are supposed to contain things that are not shared.

So if I see "iron ore" under WallyWorld, I shouldn't also see it in the overlap area and in Dizzyland. In fact, a proper Venn diagram, as I understand it, should only have elements appearing once anywhere on the graph. The location tells you what sets that element is a member of.

This diagram is useless if I want to quickly know what is only in WallyWorld. My daughter is confused by this diagram. I was confused when I first tried to quiz her on it. I had to read the entire diagram and think about it before I could form a question. One mark of a very bad diagram is that you have to take in the whole diagram before coming to any sort of conclusions. Among other things, diagrams are supposed to help you understand information by breaking it down, not force you to consume it all in one bite.

The only thing I can think of is that this diagram makes it easy to ask the questions: "What does WallyWorld have?" and "What does Dizzyland have?" and "What do they both have?" because if you're only going to ask those questions, you can just read the answers off the sections. Try answering "What does WallyWorld have that Dizzyland doesn't?"

But I still object to my daughter being taught incorrect math diagramming by her social studies book!

Before I flip my lid, will somebody please talk me down?

Posted by James at 9:37 AM | Comments (7)

That Song Must Die 8

Today, I want to give it all to you. In the music, there's so much I wanna do. But you're gettin' that look in your eyes, and it's startin' to worry me.


But which will it be?

We have Kiss vs. Mac Davis.

Kiss presents us with the "unintelligent design" argument of romance. I Was Made For Loving You

Mac Davis is concerned that your addiction to him is out of control. Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me

Who can't love a song with a line in it like "Girl, you're a hot-blooded woman-child?"

Have at it, my hot-blooded man/woman-child-friends.

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Posted by James at 8:42 AM | Comments (11)

October 28, 2008

Republican Party United

A party united got us into this mess.

After trying to associate Obama with the word "terrorist," John McCain found out that "socialist" might be lower on the "scare word" scale. Funny, that.

Now he's switched to the message that assumes Democrats are winning big in congress, and McCain is offering himself not as a kind of obstacle. At the heart of it, this is a strange argument for a country that needs a leader to help pull it out of a mess.

The Republican party, united, got us into this mess, and it's going to take, at the very least, a party united to get us out of it. The last thing we need is an obstructionist, or an unsteady leader who will flail from proposal to proposal while "sharing the same core Republican ideals as Bush" (to paraphrase what McCain himself said on Meet the Press over the weekend). The only place a leader like that will take you is over a cliff.

It's going to take a country united to choose a better way.

In more lighthearted news, McCain is getting slammed on late night television.

When you're erratic and angry, you do become a particular target of humorists.

"Critics are wondering, what happened to the old John McCain?" Colbert said. "Wait a minute. There's an older John McCain?"

Posted by James at 7:35 AM | Comments (1)

October 27, 2008

Help Voters Be Ready For Next Week

Whether you want to believe it or not, there is a lot of evidence that vote suppression has happened at polling places all over the country. Voter caging has been used to keep people off voter rolls, so that they are turned away from the polls on election day, even though they ought to have been registered.

The Help America Vote Act, which was offered to Americans as a solution to incompetent and corrupt voting practices has only made matters more complicated. In some states, first time voters are asked to show a picture ID before they can vote. Some mail-in ballots will be rejected because they won't conform to some complicated local rules for including a copy of your photo ID.

The Help America Vote Act forces some people off to provisional balloting, but incompetence leads some polling places to improperly implement the provisional ballots, causing some votes to become invalid.

At the polls, lawyers will be on hand in poor and minority-heavy areas to challenge as many voters as possible. If they can slow down the vote and create long lines at the polls, they know there are people who will not wait the 13 hours we saw at some polling places in 2004.

You can help.

Make sure everyone you know knows just what to do in the case of difficulty at the polls.

Here's an abbreviated list of some of your important voting rights:

It is your right to

  • Inspect a sample ballot
  • Ask a poll worker for a demonstration/further instruction of the voting mechanism
  • Receive voting assistance at the polls
  • Ask to cast a provisional ballot if your status as a qualified voter is in question
  • Request a replacement ballot if you make a mistake or if your ballot is damaged
  • Vote if you are in line by the time the polls close

If you know all this stuff, then pass it along to people you know. Especially if they are in a state in close contention.

The most important is probably that people know: if they're in line before the polls close, they have to be allowed to vote. Pass the info on, including the phone number.

Posted by James at 3:40 PM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2008

911 Is For Emergencies, Not Whining

What do you do when you're stuck in traffic? I bet you don't call 911 and curse at them, and follow it up with a similar call to the local police.

This is the route that Joe McCain (John's younger brother) chose to metaphorically travel when he was stuck in traffic on the way back from a campaign event.

Joe McCain called 911 to find out what was going on. The operator asked him to "state your emergency."

"Well, it's not an emergency, but do you know why on one side at the damn drawbridge of 95 traffic is stopped for 15 minutes and yet traffic's coming the other way?" Joe McCain said.

The operator asked him if he was calling 911 to complain about traffic. McCain then uttered an expletive and hung up the phone.

People, if you're not in an emergency, don't harass the 911 operators. And the local police don't appreciate profanity, either.

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Posted by James at 12:42 PM | Comments (4)

October 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Chuck!

Today's my buddy Chuck's birthday! I won't tell you how old he is, but simply wish him well.

And while we're talking Chuck and numbers, that reminds me that I wanted to post some links to election and poll info. Here are the sites I'm going to most often to get the latest info on the state of the election:

Chuck, I hope you have an enjoyable Birthday! We have to get together sometime soon! It's been too long.

Posted by James at 10:12 AM | Comments (4)

Palin: Careful! Don't Offend The Terrorists

Was this a "Some people call you terrorists. I call you 'my base.'" 1 moment for Sarah Palin?

You want to be careful not to offend certain kinds of terrorists, if you're Governor Palin. Palin wouldn't use the "T" word to describe people who try to kill American doctors over political differences. Why the sudden shyness? Are abortion clinic terrorists really that popular with the base?

Palin resisted the suggestion that if Ayers was a "domestic terrorist" - a standard line in her campaign addresses - then so were conservative religious activists who bombed abortion clinics.

"I don't know if you're going to use the word 'terrorist' there," she said. "It's unacceptable, and it would not be condoned, of course, on our watch. But if what you're asking is if I regret referring to Bill Ayers as an unrepenting domestic terrorist, I don't regret characterizing him as that."

1. Paraphrasing George W. Bush, talking to the "elite" back in October of 2000 at the Alfred E. Smith dinner.

Posted by James at 9:44 AM | Comments (5)

Market Fail Greenspan; McCain Fail Health Care?

I don't know if you've read John McCain's health care plan. He was so enamored of banking deregulation, he wants to transfer that "success" over to health care and put your coverage in the hands of the market.

Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.

That's from an article McCain authored in which he gives his argument for his vision of a health care plan that relies on the market to self-regulate a health care plan right into your lap1.

You may have caught this I'm-certain-it's-completely-unrelated story yesterday in which Alan Greenspan concedes a flaw in an ideology which placed too much faith in markets driven by greed:

Greenspan Concedes Error on Regulation

But on Thursday, almost three years after stepping down as chairman of the Federal Reserve, a humbled Mr. Greenspan admitted that he had put too much faith in the self-correcting power of free markets and had failed to anticipate the self-destructive power of wanton mortgage lending.

"Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders' equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief," he told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

If we're lucky enough to have McCain presidency, maybe we can get an admission like this from future McCain campaign officials. But not before a bunch of CEOs get rich and a bunch of Americans go without the health care they need.

1. Thanks to Brian Igo for pointing this out on EAForums.

Posted by James at 8:38 AM | Comments (1)

October 23, 2008

That Fan-Made Candidate Video Must Die!

I give them all an "A" for enthusiasm. Fan-made candidate songs and videos are all over the Internets these days. And some of them will make you wish you lived in a monarchy.

"It's Raining McCain" uses "It's Raining Men" as its template. But it's sufficiently atonal that it will get behind your eyes and make your brain hurt.

On the other side of the political equation, we've got the "The Fresh Prince of Repair." Yes, it's a take on the theme from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I thought I wouldn't find a video to rival "It's Raining McCain" but quickly changed that opinion after I got a taste of the absolute lack of timing and rhythm within this video.

Try not to let your political leanings sway you. These are both bad videos. But only you can choose one of them to tie in a burlap sack and drop off the side of a bridge.

Posted by James at 8:19 AM | Comments (9)

October 22, 2008

If McCain Loses

  • Choose Sarah Palin
  • Hit Obama harder!
  • Focus on Bill Ayers!
  • Don't Forget ACORN!

Every one of these ideas was a popular idea offered to McCain from overheated right-wing blogs. Way to go grassroots!

If McCain loses, post-game analysis will show that McCain failed because his campaign thought it needed to pay attention to the right wingnut faction, losing touch with pretty much everyone else in the country. They've already said that they found Palin by making a list of available Republican women and her name came up a lot in the blogs (I wonder if they saw Regime Turnover! That was me back in August telling the world that Sarah Palin was a longshot for VP pick).

If McCain wins, it'll probably be because he somehow does a complete 180 and runs screaming away from the wingnuts. As Bill Kristol suggested (one week after Kristol was on board with the wingnut strategy) fire your whole campaign, McCain! They're not just listening to the wingnuts anymore. They've transformed themselves.

As Obama goes off to visit his ailing grandmother, it would probably be wise for McCain to take a moment to do some self-examination, and campaign examination. But I don't really expect it. his campaign folks are going to be telling him every day: "stick to the plan (that we got from the blogs)!"

Posted by James at 9:51 AM | Comments (3)

Goofy Election Season Sh*t

Just having some fun with the opposition.

You may have heard that Congressman Murtha came under criticism for talking about what he characterized as racism in parts of his state. He later refereed to constituents as "rednecks," which may sound like a slur to you, but I am assured by a number of people who consider themselves rednecks that they don't consider it that way.

McCain wanted to comment on Murtha's "racism" as he fights back in Pennsylvania. But I think he's having trouble

For Murtha's part, he explained himself thusly:

"What I mean is there's still folks that have a problem voting for someone because they are black"

Maybe McCain is tripping on his words because he "gets" what Murtha meant. Distortion is an additional "cognitive load."

Look here. Someone thinks Sarah Palin's voice is a sweet, sweet song:

I think she should end all her interviews with jazz hands.

Here's an interesting story from Detroit.

A pizzeria is offering a free pizza if you bring in your unwanted McCain/Palin sign. They started this drive when McCain pulled his operation from Michigan. The idea was that if McCain was abandoning Michigan, perhaps you could at least trade you unwanted yard sign for pizza. Michelle Malkin and other indisputably reasonable and not at all shrill individuals are calling this "steal a sign, get a pizza."

Since there is no proof of where a sign came from, people could be stealing McCain signs and turning them in for pizzas. That's true. I think the idea behind this pizza joint's offer is a fine one, but they should probably make an attempt at deterring people from stealing signs to redeem the offer. I would suggest that they offer only be valid for adults, and that an ID be required. Perhaps limit it to one per person. Or ask people to have their picture taken with the sign.

Posted by James at 9:26 AM | Comments (3)

The Soda Snatcher

So, I found and confronted someone who is taking my cans of soda out of the office fridge.

For over a year now, people in my office have noticed that things disappear from our office fridge. Not constantly, but often. Possibly the worst theft was that Sharon had some frozen meals go missing (something like a healthy pocket sandwich). Stealing a student's food? That's low. I may have had some frozen dinners stolen, too.

Ryan actually had slices of ham stolen from his lunch. Slices of ham. He knew how many slices he had, and someone came in over night and stole slices of ham.

Who are the thieves? We suspected it was people who come in for classes. These are usually teachers at area schools. We've contacted the other centers that share our building, and they were appalled that there were thefts going on. Since they're here when we're here, we figured it wasn't them.

My cans of soda in the fridge have been a frequent topic. When you are rich enough to afford a 12-pack, people figure you can spare a soda or two. but that hasn't stopped people from taking the last can of soda, if you give them the chance.

A foot away from the fridge is a soda machine. So it's not like there aren't alternatives available.

Last week, I was at work late, and the teachers were out of their class. I went to the kitchenette to clean my coffee cup and there was a guy sitting at the table with a young woman, and he had one of my cans of soda on the table in front of him.

I walked over to him and said "Excuse me, but did you get that soda from the refrigerator."

To my half-surprise, he said he did. I guess I was surprised he would be so unembarrassed about it, or that he would freely admit it.

When I told him it was mine, he launched into excuses like "I was dyin'." I indicated that there was a soda machine right next to him. He said he didn't have any change.

I asked him "Don't you think it's strange to go into someone else's refrigerator and take their stuff?" He claimed that he replaces what he takes. This guy was a serial soda snatcher! I knew this wasn't the first time a can went missing from this 12-pack. The details are boring, but I could tell that the same person had tampered with the 12-pack, and learned from previous experience.

I asked him "How do you replace them?" I was incredulous. It's not as though it's easy to buy individual cans of Coke Zero Cherry. I have to get them in a 12-pack. He told me that after class he buys one and brings it with him to the next class. I call "Bullshit." I probably should have said that to him, but I was somewhat flabbergasted at his answers.

He told me that he didn't realize it would upset anyone. I told him that people ask permission before taking other people's things. He reiterated that he was "dyin'." The young woman he was with just sat there through this whole thing. i wonder if she was embarrassed for him.

I was a bit angry at this point, and I don't like to continue conversations when I'm feeling angry, so I walked off to tell Sara and Ryan the story and cool down. When I came back, he was gone. I kinda wish I'd gotten his name, or his picture for the blog. Or even told him to keep his grubby paws off our office fridge. But I was basically gob-smacked.

Word got back to this fellow's instructor, and she told me that it's a Tuesday/Thursday class. She wants me to identify him when he comes into class on Thursday. I wasn't at the office last night, so I couldn't do it then.

Can you believe the nerve of some people? You probably sense that I do not believe his "I replace the sodas" claim. We've seen many cans and bottles go missing and never seen them spontaneously reappear. The times people have been caught, they've either given someone a dollar, or an excuse. I think this guy gave an excuse so he wouldn't look like a complete jerk in front of the girl he was with, but he has definitely not replaced anything in the past. Perhaps he will now that he's been caught.

As for me, I don't know if I'm going to keep anything in that fridge without putting it in a locked box first. I'm not keeping soda in there anymore. He (and others like him) will have to steal someone else's stuff from now on.

Posted by James at 8:41 AM | Comments (7)

October 20, 2008

Steal Back Your Vote?

There's no evidence any fictional voters ever cast a ballot. Yet the Republicans are hammering on ACORN, saying that the voter fraud which was perpetrated on ACORN by people who they hired to get registrations is systematic. It strains credulity, considering that ACORN flags suspicious registrations.

But there is real election fraud going on.

Digging through government records, the Kennedy-Palast team discovered that, in 2004, a GOP scheme called "caging" ultimately took away the rights of 1.1 million voters. The Rolling Stone duo predict that, this November 4, it will be far worse.

In contrast to fraudulent registrations, which result in negligible, if any, actual subversion of elections, there are many tactics which are much more effective at manipulating elections. They're more effective because it's so much easier to suppress a vote than it is to create a vote out of whole cloth. Since Republicans benefit when certain vulnerable segments of the population are underrepresented at the polls, they can engage in voter caging, and even use the chilling effect of intimidating voters at the polls by engaging in individual voter challenges.

There's a 15 minute video on http://www.stealbackyourvote.org/ that details some of the basis for believing that Democrats are going to have to work hard to avoid having the election stolen.

To win, they may not just have to have more voters prefer their candidate, but also be able to overcome the election fraud tactics.

Posted by James at 11:26 AM | Comments (5)

October 19, 2008

Powell Endorses Obama

In a move that will probably not mean much to the Democratic base, but that I find significant, Colin Powell endorses Obama, and with some detailed comments. Here's what I posted to EAForums about it:

On Meet The Press, Colin Powell gives respect to John McCain, but very low marks for [his] campaign, the judgment in choosing Sarah Palin, and the rightward shift of the Republican party. He praises Obama for his steadiness over the campaign and especially in the last few weeks, and his ability to cross lines, be an inclusive leader, and apply intellectual vigor.

He dismisses the idea that this is because he is an African American, explaining that he could have made that endorsement long ago, but needed to get to know Senator Obama better, which he did in personal meetings and by judging his actions.

He doesn't plan on campaigning for him so close to the election.

Tom Brokaw brought up that he doesn't agree with Obama on the idea of a deadline in Iraq (noting a quote of Powell's). Powell noted that a timeline is already being developed, and that the next president, whomever that is, will be working with the military to set timelines and criteria.

Powell calls what Ayers did in the past "despicable," but to keep bringing it up (in the context of this election) is also despicable.

Will this endorsement help Obama? I think the people who would dismiss this as a race-based endorsement are not votes that are "in play." This is an endorsement that adults should pay attention to.

And, personally, I'd rather have Colin Powell's endorsement than an imaginary plumber.

More than its effect on the election, the Republicans should pay attention to Powell's comments on the Republican party's narrowing.

As I said to my father-in-law yesterday, When they go to Ayers, ACORN, terrorist!, socialism, and the other distractions they've made the center of their campaign, they're hardening their core. They're thrilling the base, but lighting their hair on fire. If the Republicans want to be an opposition party, do they want to be a fringe opposition party? Are they aiming to win an election, or to radicalize their core against the possibility of a popular president?

We need to see an inclusive leader to help the nation move forward. I agree with Colin Powell that this leader is most likely to be Barak Obama.

Posted by James at 10:16 AM | Comments (19)

October 18, 2008

Delay of Shotgun

Sorry this is late. I'm off-schedule!

As we get close to the election, and on a day when Sarah Palin is on SNL, I must post a link to the original Bush State of the Union parody. Before the 2000 election.

Posted by James at 10:50 AM | Comments (1)

October 17, 2008

Wingnut Parade

If Barack Obama becomes president, all the wingiest wingnuts will come out of the woodwork. You think the yelling at McCain rallies has been crazy? My friends, this is the calm before the storm.

But still, there's always a baseline level of fluctuating right wingnut radiation.

Ed Whelan, of the National Review Online "Corner" is lamenting the fact that Roe v. Wade didn't come earlier, because if it had maybe Obama might have been aborted and McCain wouldn't have to run against him. OK, he doesn't say it like that, because he talks about how he thinks Obama should think about it, not how Ed Whelan thinks about it.

These Back To The Future what if fantasies are some of the lamest "you missed the frickin' point" arguments around abortion. Hey, I can make up a silly "what if," too! If the executives in charge of AIG had never been born, because of legal abortion, they might never have needed a bailout! By opposing legal abortion, you're enabling executives to spend ridiculous amounts of money even after getting a bailout. Why do you hate America?

There are fundamental and serious disagreements on abortion. Trivializing it with stupid "what if" scenarios just makes Ed look like he not only disagrees, but just doesn't get it. Disingenuous or doltish? We report; you decide.

Over the wires, robots are calling your friends and neighbors on behalf of McCain. Jake Tapper notes that the stops are all out: McCain Robocalls: Obama Is a Baby-Killing, America-ignoring, Hollywood-loving, Terrorist-Loving ...

Friends of this blog have already received such calls. This must be what McCain meant about running an honorable campaign, and that he "didn't care about a washed-up terrorist." But, even more disturbing, McCain is allying with the same robots that helped Bush defeat McCain in 2000's primaries. if McCain wins, clearly he will put robots in control of the country. This is going to frighten his main demographic: old people.

By the way, stay classy, GOP ladies of the Inland Empire.

Altered Obama photo in GOP club newsletter sparks outrage

If you missed that story, it's about a newsletter with Obama's face altered and placed on food stamps with fried chicken, ribs, and watermelon. But it wasn't intended to be racist! One of the women even supported Alan Keyes some time ago! Of course not. Listen to this rock solid argument:

The use of watermelon, ribs and fried chicken was innocent, she said.

"Everyone eats those foods, it's not a racial thing."

OK, let me try that one on for size. Why not add a noose, a guy in a sheet, and a burning cross? Everyone uses rope, sheets and... well, who doesn't like to be warm?

I could go on all day, but I have work and a shotgun post later. Feel free to add links to silly wingnuttery in the comments.

Posted by James at 9:26 AM | Comments (25)

Thrown Clear Of The Accident

have you ever heard someone tell you they don't wear their seatbelt because they're hoping to be "thrown clear of the accident?" Believe it or not, I have.

Here's a story this morning from the Providence Journal:

1 killed, 1 injured in crash on Route 195, Somerset

The woman who died was a passenger. She was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the 2001 Chevrolet Impala.

The driver, who was wearing a seatbelt, was trapped in the car, extricated by emergency workers and taken to Charlton Hospital and then Rhode Island Hospital with minor injuries, according to the state police.

Wear your seatbelt.

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Posted by James at 8:04 AM | Comments (1)

October 16, 2008

That Song Must Die 7

Clearing our palates from all that angriness in the debate last night, let's trash some music!

Family Guy recently featured "Surfin' Bird" in an episode. holy cow is it annoying. But is it as annoying as the Spice Girls? As always, it's up for you to decide. The Trashmen with their surfing mojo vs. the song that launched the Spice Girls. Which Song Must Die?

Posted by James at 8:30 AM | Comments (18)

October 14, 2008

Next McCain Scandal

When this hits the news, McCain will be in serious trouble. I expect they'll take up half the debate discussing this. But you'll have heard it here first.

The Yorkshire Terrier, one of the breeds owned by John McCain, and the Poodle, voted "best breed for the Obamas" by dog lovers via the American Kennel Club's www.presidentialpup.com poll are canine candidates for the White House.

John McCain pals around with domestic terriers!

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Posted by James at 8:00 AM | Comments (9)

October 9, 2008

Tyranny of the Form

I can't stand forms. I'm probably not alone there. I'm just not a "form" kind of guy.

But years in school doing form-type tests (not to mention, my taxes) have conditioned me. When I try to fill out a form, I get nervous about misinterpreting what the form is asking for. It's not panic-attack level, but it does give me an unreasonable amount of stress.

Some forms are poorly or ambiguously constructed. Some forms ask for answers I don't have. Some ask for an unreasonable level of detail. But still I obsess and worry about whether I am correctly filling out the form.

Just entering my fifth decade, I am finally starting to have a healthier (for me) attitude about forms. A more relaxed approach is called for. Your stress level should not spike when you're filling out a form.

I bring this up because I have just been asked by someone to fill out a form. I don't want to be specific about why I am filling out this form because it is work related. Let me just say that this form is not the result of any decision I made; I'm not applying for anything. It contains information about the work I do. The information on which I am basing my responses takes up about half a page. This form on my desk is 30 pages long. It even has 2 pages with a checklist to help you keep track of how much of the form you've already completed.

Many of the questions apply to me, but not in the same way the form itself is constructed. That stresses me. In response, I'm turning nearly everything into an essay question. Enough with the tyranny of the form. I will not be corraled by a few words and boxes on a piece of paper!

Posted by James at 2:39 PM | Comments (13)

October 8, 2008

It's National Talk Like A Palin Day!

Happy National Talk Like A Palin Day

You betcha we're gonna have fun today. Pallin' around with each other and, you know, also, it's all about jobs and also...
the great Ronald Reagan.... Joe Sixpack, can get mavericky and folksy. You have to be wired not to blink and also even our neighboring
country of Afghanistan can participate along with this great American nation of ours.

I said I'd get back to ya with some Palinisms. I may not answer all the questions that you or the moderator want to hear, but
here's my list. Pew, pew, pew! *wink*

  • You betcha!
  • maverick!
  • mavericky!
  • In what respect?
  • doggone it!
  • Say it ain't so, Joe!
  • Joe Sixpack
  • pallin' around with terrorists (or just pallin' around)
  • Thanks, but no thanks!
  • also
  • I'll get right back to you on that!
  • I'll bring that to ya!
  • seek to destroy X
  • quasi-caved
  • (Mention "Dr. Henry Kissinger" as if you're old friends.)
  • peace-seeking nation
  • this great American nation
  • (Speak in run on sentences, strung together with the word "also.")
  • (mention that you read something in the New York Times)
  • You have to be wired for X.
  • You can't blink! Someone blinked! Someone didn't blink!
  • Can I call you, Joe?
  • "our neighboring country of Afghanistan" ( "http://blogs.reuters.com/trail08/2008/10/05/in-slip-up-palin-calls-afghanistan-our-neighboring-country/" target="_blank">link)
  • I may not answer all the questions that you (or the moderator) want to hear
  • I have a vast variety of sources where I get my news
  • the Palin/McCain administration
  • Putin rearin his big 'ole head
  • "nucular"
  • Absolutely! Yup, yup! (if you're asked to do anything, like be a vice presidential candidate)
  • hockey mom
  • (yell "LIPSTICK!" as the punch line to any random joke. Why did the chicken cross the road? LIPSTICK!)

Join the Facebook group. Leave comments. Above all, talk,
like a Palin, k?


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Posted by James at 9:16 AM | Comments (15)

October 7, 2008

That Song Must Die 6

Come on Barbie, let's go party!

Today we have two songs, one upbeat and the other plodding. It's "I'm a Barbie Girl" by Aqua vs. a male version of "I've Never Been To Me" performed by Ron Miller. Imagine having one of these gems in your playlist. One must die. It's up to you.

An urban legend claims that "I've Never Been To Me" was inspired by the character Quint in the movie Jaws.

While I have your attention, remember that tomorrow is Talk Like a Palin Day.

Thanks to @adarowski for creating a Facebook group for National Talk Like A Palin Day. You don't have to get a special hairdo to participate. Just pepper your speech with some of the VP candidate's vocal affectations and you're good to go.

Posted by James at 2:03 PM | Comments (15)

October 6, 2008

Wall Street Palinization

So, Wall Street apparently learned a thing or two by watching the VP debate.

It cratered around 800 points today, setting expectations for a bloodbath, but only ended up tanking at 360 points, which didn't seem so bad by the time the closing bell rang.

Wall Street partisans declared it an "up" day.

I kid, I kid!

Posted by James at 4:30 PM | Comments (0)

Obama One Of Those Risky Lenders?

It's disappointing to find out that in an environment of risky lending, the candidate I prefer might have been involved personally going back 20 years or so.

From a newspaper in Norway comes this story (via a translation on an English-language blog) of a younger Obama in 1988 who overheard an American woman who was in a bit of trouble trying to get back to her husband in Norway. She needed about a hundred bucks to bring her luggage along. Obama apparently lent her the money. Sounds risky to me!

OK, I was joking. What I like about this story is not that a presidential candidate was a nice guy. What I like about it is that whether Obama becomes president or not, this is a story that people in other countries connect with. Like it or not, our leaders represent us to the world; the perception of those leaders reflect on us. I think we benefit if people are spreading this sort of story about Americans. I would like it if "American" were synonymous with a caring, generous humanism. I think this was the case at one time, and there's no reason it shouldn't be again.

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Posted by James at 2:36 AM | Comments (8)

October 3, 2008

Help - Talk Like A Palin Day

I'd like to suggest next Wednesday (Wed, October 8) for TALK LIKE A PALIN DAY. A Google search shows that other people have suggested the idea in the past, but I think the debate gave us more fodder to work with.

I need your help.

Add your favorite folksy Palinisms to the comments of this thread. You know -- stuff you could pepper your speech with throughout the day on Wednesday. By Wednesday we should all be able to sound sufficiently folksy as we avoid answering other people's questions, wink at people, roll our eyes in a flirty way, and such.

Don't think of it as making fun of Governor Palin. Think of it as walking a mile in her mukluks of exaggerated folksiness.

I'll start us off:

  • "You betcha!" (for "yes")
  • "Maverick" (any time)
  • "In what respect?" (any time you're confused, or need more info)

I may have missed some of her mannerisms. I wasn't watching her much, just trying to listen to what she was saying (with the occasional glance at the live undecideds response meter).

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Posted by James at 12:43 PM | Comments (25)

I Never Promised You a Shotgun

But I'm going to give you one anyway:

  • Mind the Blox (game,flash)
    • A cute twist on a familiar game idea.
  • The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks (grammar,blog)
    • Someone has a punctuation fixation. Haven't we all had a little urge to start a blog like this?
  • Cake Wrecks (cake,food,blog)
    • Bull sent along this blog of failed cakes. in other words, cakes with the same success as the Bush foreign policy (my metaphor, not his).
  • Geeky Cake Designs (food,cake,pictures)
    • More cake - It's geeky cakes. Cake for geeks. You know, food for nerds.
  • YouTube - Fly To Paradise (Al Paradise) (dancing,80's,video)
    • Our foreign video of the week is a flashback to 80's dancing. Also proves that just because you CAN dance a certain way, doesn't mean you should.
  • TMBW: The They Might Be Giants Knowledge Base (music,reference,wiki)
    • Did you ever wonder *anything* about a They Might Be Giants song? This is the place to don't let's start.

BAFAB card This week was BAFAB (Buy an Friend a Book) Week! I am a little late, but there's still time to buy a book for a friend, and I did just that this morning (Though I won't be able to give him the book until next week).

You can follow BAFAB on Twitter if you want a reminder in January to buy or give a friend a book.

I've started reading "The Singularity is Near" -- and thank you Chuck for sending me that book over the summer. It turns out they're making it into a movie, so I need to get cracking and read the book!

[Updated] Also, I had a post today on Regime Turnover declaring the basis by which we can conclude Sarah Palin does have what it takes to be VP!

[LATE ADDITION!] Kung-Fu Election - Play out the election Mortak Kombat style. Warning, violence and blood dominate this interactive game.

Finally, enjoy this Bourne Ultimatum parody that @wisekaren tweeted.

Posted by James at 11:24 AM | Comments (4)

October 1, 2008


It's the name of a drink and the Advernturer's Club's salute. A way of saying "cheers!'

According to BoingBoing, the Adventurer's Club in Pleasure Island closed its doors. For those unfamiliar, it was a place made to look like a sort of meeting place for adventurers, with masks and trophies and a library and such. And characters who would wander around and entertain with goofy rituals and stories. It was the only club worth visiting (IMHO) at Pleasure Island. Maggie and I had a lot of fun there on our honeymoon. I always wanted my own "mask room" and we sort of do have that with Maggie's mask collection, in a way. None of them talk, of course. I'd love to re-decorate the downstairs room as a library. So, yeah, the Adventurer's Club made a big impression on me, though I guess there are always much bigger fans out there.

Thanks for the memories.

The Adventurer's Club Creed

We climb the highest mountains,
just to get a better view.
We plumb the deepest oceans,
because we're daring through and through.
We cross the scorching desert,
martinis in our hand.
We ski the polar ice caps,
in tuxedos looking grand.
We are reckless, brave, and loyal,
and valiant to the end.
If you come in here a stranger,
you will exit as a friend.

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Posted by James at 9:55 AM | Comments (2)

That Song Must Die 5

Today we have songs about notably clad people. Or unclad people.

First, you are subjected to the abomination that is Sisqo's "Thong Song." The sing-songy title alone may be enough to jettison this tune. And I can't say I'm impressed with his use of "q" without a "u" in his name. Is that supposed to make you an arteest?

But next you're faced with the gimmicky "The Streak" which is arguably worse. Is it country music? This song is an insult to the elegant and classic instrument we call the "slide whistle."

But which is worse? Give a listen, won't you? It's your job to mercilessly trash one of these songs as you declare... THAT SONG MUST DIE!

Posted by James at 8:25 AM | Comments (21)