Sunday, July 30, 2006

Nerdiness Runs In Family

Remember my neighbor Bob?

Seen today at the Mall of America: Bob's wife Sarah pushing a stroller. A stroller containing an iMac.

I almost bought Emma a digicam on the spot, just so I could take a picture of this.

"Good Night, And Good Luck"

It sat in the Netflix envelope for a week, because who has time? But we watched it last night. Kristi expected to be bored ("another one of your movies"), but enjoyed it. While it wasn't something Emma was going to watch or understand, it could be watched in her presence without concern (PG rated). The parallels to, and messages for, today were nicely drawn, clear without being overstated. I particularly thought the "hidden" marriage between Robert Downey Jr. and Patricia Clarkson was a nice metaphor for the problems often faced by gays in today's workplace. And Ray Wise as Don Hollenbeck was brilliant; I can't remember seeing him since "Twin Peaks". Probably because I don't watch TV anymore -- but man, what a great actor.

This film should be required viewing in every news room in the country. With a round-table discussion afterwards.


Friday, July 28, 2006


Thanks to those who asked. My ankle is improving steadily. My jammed finger makes getting wallet and keys out of pockets a painful experience, but it's not going to kill me. Honestly, the worst thing at this point is the scraped-up knee; after a day spend rubbing up against denim it feels like it's on fire.

Friday Cat Blogging

It's hot in Minnesota.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tumblin' Dice

As I was going to pick up Emma from her summer program just now, I tripped going down a set of concrete steps and ended up rolling down about a half dozen of them. Twisted ankle, bloody knuckles, skinned elbow and knee, jammed finger, bruised chin.

None of this is going to keep me out of the St. Paul Classic this year.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Christopher Moore, Leper

Over at Worth, icepigs linked to Literature-Map, a website that groups authors by similarity. Or something; I'm not quite clear on the algorithm. Maybe it groups them by who they go out drinking with.

So why don't the other authors like Christopher Moore?


Thursday, July 20, 2006


Yesterday morning I was waiting for Scooter to join me in our in-house Caribou Coffee outlet.

(Yes, we have our own, private Caribou Coffee store just a short elevator ride away from my desk. Sweet.)

Anyway, Caribou is slightly farther from Scott's cube than from mine, so I'm standing there with nothing to do but wait. CNN is on the flat-panel TV, and I'm watching some reporter do a stand-up from Lebanon about an Israeli bombing of a presumed Hezbollah target. The sound is off, so someone has considerately turned on the closed-captioning.

The reporter is talking, and the closed-captioning says something very much like:
... approximately 20 to 40 "people" were killed in the attack ...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Much Better, Thanks

We still don't know what the problem was. His red blood cell count was high, he had a fever, he was serially vomiting and losing bowel control. Kristi was seriously thinking we'd never see him alive again when she left him at the vet yesterday.

Since last night he's home, and today acting perfectly normally (though hiding under the bed a lot, a natural reaction to veterinary trauma).

Of course, the total cost (oxygen, catheterization, fluids, x-rays, blood work, etc.) will probably cost Emma a semester of college. I'll point that out to her in about 10 years.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Since Ram died last year, we have two cats -- Izzy, 15 years old this year, and Smudge, not yet 2. I've been dreading Izzy's inevitable decline, so imagine my surprise when Smudge ended up at the vet on fluids and oxygen today.

We think he's going to be okay, but we have no idea what's wrong with him. More on this later.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Credit Where Credit Is Due

"Rambo IV", due to be gracing your local cineplex next year, is co-written by Kevin Lund. According to IMDB, Kevin Lund also wrote for the classic TV series Cleopatra 2525.

I could explain why this makes me snicker, but why bother?

Friday, July 07, 2006


Kristi and I ducked out and saw the 1:00 matinee of the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie. Great fun, incredible stunts, even better makeup, and a surprise "ending" that makes me want movie #3 a whole lot. Because the one big thing this one was lacking was ...

Eh. Go see it yourself.

Of course, it wouldn't be me if I didn't nitpick -- even a popcorn movie like this one. Will plays liar's dice with Davy Jones. The stakes are clear, but at the end of the game, Will neither gets what he would have gotten had he won, nor does he surrender what he would have had to give had he lost. Can you tie at liar's dice?

Monday, July 03, 2006


The French camp we were going to send Emma to for part of the summer was cancelled. Kristi was telling me about a possible replacement, this cool swim camp she'd read about, where they teach swimming and sailing and waterboarding ...

I nearly spit out my coffee.

Seems she meant sailboarding. In any event, Emma is currently in an "afraid of nature" phase, running from worms, and is deathly terrified of Minnesota's fish population. So she's not going regardless. But if they're teaching waterboarding, it's just as well.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

LaBatt's All, Folks

Yeah, that's the best Canada title I could come up with. Sorry, gang.

Sean is tough to please. Millions of Americans (including me, my wife and our daughter) have protested this administration and the war in Iraq. Roughly 60,000,000 Americans voted (unsuccessfully) to remove George Bush from office in 2004. But that, apparently, isn't enough to convince Sean that we shouldn't all be tarred with the same brush.

Yes, it's true, we haven't had millions of workers strike in protest against our government. Tell me, Sean, what good would that do, exactly? We're not a parliamentary system, we don't have the option of calling for an election at any time. Demonstrating massive public unhappiness with the administration doesn't really have an upside when said administration can only be dislodged via an election that's over two years away. And yes, it has a downside, given the large number of employers who would take a dim view of such activity, and the large number of employees lacking any sort of union to keep said employers from terminating them for such a strike.

Even impeachment (assuming the Democrats could wrest control of the House of Representatives this year and had the balls to attempt it) wouldn't really help. Oust Bush, and you've got Cheney. Oust Cheney, and you've got whoever the Democrats elect as Speaker, except no you don't because Cheney would only have to get a majority vote in both houses to inject a new Vice President into the line of succession, and he'd undoubtedly choose someone guaranteed to get enough Democratic votes to sneak past before a new set of articles of impeachment could make their way through -- say, Condoleeza Rice, because it's a lock that there are some Democrats too timid to vote against a black woman regardless of her culpability in planning and conducting an illegal war.

And the game goes on and on.

You obviously don't think the electoral process is the answer. You don't think that the Democrats are any better than the Republicans. The only thing I can reasonably derive from your post is that nothing short of a new American Revolution is going to satisfy you that there's anybody south of the 49th parallel worth spit. To which I say: yes, it's true. We're weak; we need leadership, Sean. Please come back and show us the way.

I have plenty of sympathy for your viewpoint, really I do. And I love you; you're one of the rare and few people I've met on the net whom I'd go out of my way to meet. But I refuse to be held responsible, even by you, for the inaction of others, and I refuse to feel guilty about my repeated failure to purchase a sniper rifle and climb a water tower.

Of course, I've been drinking fluoridated water my whole life. So that probably has a lot to do with it.

Tell Me How You *Really* Feel

Sean has tentatively hinted at his disappointment in his mother country.

I can't disagree with most of what he says. But I strongly disagree with his lumping of all Americans into one bucket, because that's simply not the truth.

Without getting into the argument of who actually won the last presidential election, it's clear that the popular vote (especially if you factor in the shenanigans in Ohio) was split damned close to 50/50 -- which, during a "popular war," is pretty amazing. It's clear that Americans, in increasing numbers, want Democrats in power in Congress -- presumably to put the brakes on the abuses of power Sean is justifiably angry about.

Read Sean's post in a vacuum and you'd think that we're all either pleased with the way things are going, or unwilling to do anything about it.

Well, I suppose if "doing something about it" means armed revolution, then yeah, maybe we're all wusses. But we're living in a society where two companies (ES&S and Diebold) count three-fourths of the votes cast, and control of the mass media is concentrated in a very few, very rich hands. Now there's an effort to put control of distribution of content on the Internet into those same few, rich hands. Maybe armed insurrection really is the only way to go. Of course, it'd be irresponsible to say such a thing (unless you're Ann Coulter or Michelle Malkin, in which case advocacy of violence gets you frequent appearances on news programs controlled by those very few, very rich hands).

But short of that, there are plenty of Americans who are angry at what "our" government has done in our name, both domestically and abroad, and who are making enormous efforts to effect a change. So please, Sean, don't paint us with quite so broad a brush.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Saturday Thoughts

I haven't blogged much about politics, war, etc. lately.

Partly, it's because I went through a long period of not blogging much about anything.

Partly, it's because I recognize that many people have different viewpoints than mine. And while such people are clearly idiots, I don't want to offend them.

Partly, it's because so many fine bloggers do so much better a job than I do, or ever could, of finding the nuggets of truth and/or comedy gold in this world we live in.

But mostly, it's sheer mental overload. Most of the time I'm simply so flabbergasted by the idiocy of our government, and of the media that supposedly exists to keep it in check, that I find myself at a loss for words -- at least until many other bloggers have beaten the subject to death, and then it's hard to find motivation to add my two cents for the 15 people who might actually read what I've written.

Example of what just left me unable to speak, much less blog, until the moment was long past: Republican senators stood up on the House floor on June 15th to praise the possible granting of amnesty to Iraqis who kill U.S. troops -- comparing it to the granting of amnesty to Confederate fighters and the German and Japanese armies after World War II. No attention was paid to the fact that, in those cases, hostilities were over. Talk about amnesty to the parents of Spc. Jeremiah S. Santos, who was killed by a roadside bomb on the same day that Ted Stevens, Lamar Alexander and others praised granting amnesty to those who planted the bomb. Talk about amnesty to the families of couple of dozen other U.S. soldiers who have died since.

I don't have a problem with amnesty after we're out of Iraq. But am I wrong, or is it just insane for these senators to, in essence, give a pass to people killing U.S. soldiers while those soldiers are still being killed? If they want amnesty granted, fine: withdraw our troops. But oh, no -- even suggest that, and you're Jane Fonda wearing a Mao cap and a Che Guevara t-shirt while burning a flag.

Yes, in today's America, if you served your country honorably but advocate pulling the troops out of Iraq, you're a coward, an appeasor, or a traitor (I'm not sure exactly which one Texas representative Louis Gohmert was calling John Murtha, but it doesn't really matter, does it?). If, on the other hand, you advocate amnesty for the people killing those troops on a daily basis, you're ... what? A Republican Senator?

Don't get me started on the House voting itself a pay raise while striking down an increase in the minimum wage.