Thursday, August 30, 2007

This About Sums It Up

Big Brudder Is Changin' My Wiki

According to the Huffington Post:
Wiki Scanner, a tool that tracks changes to Wikipedia and identifies the server used to make them, tells us that someone in the Pentagon changed the definition of terrorism. Someone in the CIA cast doubts on Iraq casualty figures. And someone in the Department of Homeland Security altered entries for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, deleting all references to their histories of problem drinking.
The terrorist definition was broadened, adding legitimacy to our government's deciding to add the Iranian Revolutionary Army to the list of "terrorist organizations"--the first time a government military group has been labelled such. And, of course, the war in Iraq can't be THAT bad if the casualty figures are incorrect. And finally, Bush and Cheney, our esteemed leaders, can't have EVER overimbibed! They're too godly.

So Orwellian.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Total Eclipse of the .... Moon

If you were sleeping and missed the lunar eclipse, here is what we missed. I, too, was snoozing the night away. Lately it seems I've been talking in my sleep. Maybe it's 'cause the moon's been doing weird things.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Republican Larry Craig: Oops! Busted.

Yet another Republican Congressman who is anti- equal rights for gay people turns out to enjoy sex with men on occasion, apparently in public restrooms. Hey, dude! Just because your sexual encounters with men aren't serious doesn't mean all sexual encounters between gay people aren't serious. Some of us love each other and are committed to each other. Stop judging us by your own immorality and guilt. Oh...and you plead guilty because you overreacted? Hunh? Um, I suspect that police officer's report was accurate, and you knew you were caught. Stop backtracking. It makes you look even more foolish. Blaming the newspaper is even funnier.

Whew, Am I Exhausted (Part Two)

We've been back in the Bay Area for exactly one week. Have we finished unpacking? Hell, no. Let's see ... my job started up on Wednesday, when the semester commenced at College of San Mateo, and my partner's on Thursday. Hence we really had only one full day to unpack (Tuesday). We did make a big dent in the project. We continue to make dents. (Hmm. Maybe the word should be "dings.") Anyway. We hope to finish the job this weekend and hang pictures, which to me is that final touch of perfection, like putting icing on the cake.

We finally got cable TV and Internet when Comcast came by on Thursday (late, of course. They were supposed to be here by 3:00, but the guy didn't show up until my S.O. was home from work. But they promise we'll get a break on our bill for their tardiness. We'll see.) The Comcast guy was very cute and kept having to run down four flights of steps to his truck because various pieces of equipment weren't working. Finally my girl handed him a beer. That's her solution to all things stressful. (That, and bourbon, but that's another story.)

All worked well until yesterday. I'd just flicked on "Ellen" (which, interestingly, comes on at 10am in Spokane but 4pm in San Francisco) when suddenly I heard a crackle, and all went dead. No cable TV. No Internet. I called Comcast and got a recorded message telling me there were outages in my area, and technicians were working on it.

At around 6:30ish, I tried Comcast again because still nothing was working, and seriously, there hadn't been any earthquakes, thunderstorms, landslides, or major accidents nearby. This time I was routed to a real human being. He tried fixing the problem on his end to no avail. So lucky me! We were scheduled for a service call for today, anywhere between 10am and 2pm. (It was either that, or wait three hundred years for the next available slot.) This was a matter of concern to me since I teach from 8am until 10am, and it takes 20 mins to get home. But I went for it, figuring, "What are the chances they'll show up at 10?"

They didn't. Finally I heard a knock on my door at 1:30, and two fellas with enormous tool bags strapped around their waists were standing there grinning at me. "Comcast!" one says. I let them swagger on in, and he continued, "Go ahead and try your TV and computer. They should work now."

I did so, and they did!

"What was the problem?" I asked, as I leaned over their paperwork and signed off on the job. Obviously they'd been tinkering with connections outside.

"Human error."

"Ah." I stood up and handed them their papers, keeping my copy. "Well, thank you."

They left, and so I am leaving a note on the refrigerator for my sweetheart tonight with the moral of the story:


Monday, August 27, 2007

Buh-Bye, Gonzo!

First Karl "Turd Blossom" Rove, and now Alberto "Shill for Bush" Gonzales! According to the New York Times:
WACO, Tex., Aug. 27 — Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, whose tenure has been marred by controversy and accusations of perjury before Congress, announced his resignation in Washington today.

Now, the Solicitor General will be Gonzo's temporary replacement, but let's hope the next Attorney General will actually do his job as head of the Justice Dept. This means (take notes, people like Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly) that he's not just blindly to go along with whatever the president says. If El Presidente wants to do something illegal, to have the cajones to put his foot down and tell him, "No sir, you're not a dictator; that flies in the face of the Constitution." As we've all learned from Alberto, political cronies in the Justice Dept. leads to corruption.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My Home Away From Home

I'm sure no one can possibly imagine what's on the agenda for me today.

Ah, to sit in our box across from the finish line with a cold beer and a 'dog, soaking in the rays and cheering on the ponies. Sigh. Contentment reigns.

In the third race, Somethingaboutlaura is taking on a field full of boys. (Well, geldings.) She's not the favorite, but I'm putting my money on her. Wish me luck!

UPDATE: Somethinaboutlaura was scratched by the track vet at the last moment. Huh. A Southern Cali shipper ended up winning the race.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Whew, Am I Exhausted (Part One)

What a crazy couple of weeks. My partner and I left Spokane at the crack of dawn Saturday morning and drove to Bend, Oregon. I was behind her in her Explorer with my heart in my throat, just waiting for my beautiful 40-year anniversary Mustang convertible to roll off the trailer she was towing behind the U-Haul. Amazingly, it stayed put, and the bumper didn't smash through my windshield and hit me in the face after all. The one thing that wouldn't remain stable was the U-Haul's left front tire. It had a slow leak. Mind you, this is a 26-foot truck that needed a minimum of 9 feet of clearance, and it's got a trailer attached as I said, so finding a service station that she could manuever the truck in so she could refill the tire every day to 100psi proved a challenge. It is a true pain in the ass to back a car off a trailer, unhook the trailer, get back in the truck to make a turn, hook the trailer back on, and drive the car back onto the trailer. Anyway....

We made it to Vacaville, California, on Sunday. The cats fared better the second day, having adjusted to riding in the car, and they mostly slept the whole way. Everytime I hit a bump, though, they were roused and made sure to meow a few complaints. Traffic in the Bay Area hasn't changed a bit, I was quick to discover. Imagine 8 lanes of people who are suffering from the delusion that they're Richard Petty. Having gotten used to virtually no traffic in Spokane, I was treated to a number of blaring horns and one-fingered salutes, I guess because I was putzing along at a measly 75 miles per hour. Jeeeeeeez.

We arrived at our new home on Monday and gave into reality. Two creaky old ladies in their 40's ain't unloading no big honkin' U-Haul by themselves. So, we got my partner's brother, who is fluent in Spanish, to drive the Explorer to Home Depot and find us some day laborers. He returned with 4 sturdy fellas who busted their butts, unloading the truck and getting it all to the top floor of our apartment building in four hours without breaking a thing. We gave them lots of Coronas and $60 apiece. It was a steal.

Later on, old friends came over to welcome us home, and we sat around an unopened box that served as a table, eating pizza and drinking beer. Gawd, it's good to be home.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dick Cheney '94: Invading Baghdad Would Create Quagmire

Well, well, well! Apparently Dick and Crew knew well ahead of time that invading Iraq would lead to an utter mess. So wonder why he changed his mind? (psst! Halliburton)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Adios, Spokane

Well, it's been a short, strange trip, but now the time has come for me to go. Home, that is, back to my City by the Bay. Therefore this blog will be silent for a couple of weeks until I'm settled in my new home and have my new job underway, but never fear! I'll be back with more hilarity. Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Alas, Jane Austen is Unpublishable Today

This would be funny if it weren't so sad. It seems a fellow named David Lassman, the director of the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England, got the idea to send off for publication some thinly disguised Austen manuscripts to 18 major publishing houses. The manuscripts were the initial chapters of Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and then the trump card, Pride and Prejudice. He kept the manuscripts pretty much identical to Austen's, except that he changed the names of the novels, the characters, and certain place names. He wondered in his cover letter if the publishers might find "his" work worthy of publication.

Did they send him back letters saying, "Yes, these are brilliant"? No!

Was he accused of being a fraud? No!

Only one publisher caught the plagiarism, and everybody else told him, more or less, that there was no market for his work. Read the story here.

(Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan for posting a number of interesting tidbits about the current state of the publishing industry on his blog.)

Another Reason to Hate Wal-Mart

They exploit their workers, especially women, and now they're exploiting teenagers in Mexico. According to Newsweek:
Wal-Mart is Mexico’s largest private-sector employer in the nation today, with nearly 150,000 local residents on its payroll. An additional 19,000 youngsters between the ages of 14 and 16 work after school in hundreds of Wal-Mart stores, mostly as grocery baggers, throughout Mexico—and none of them receives a red cent in wages or fringe benefits. The company doesn’t try to conceal this practice: its 62 Superama supermarkets display blue signs with white letters that tell shoppers: OUR VOLUNTEER PACKERS COLLECT NO SALARY, ONLY THE GRATUITY THAT YOU GIVE THEM. SUPERAMA THANKS YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING. The use of unsalaried youths is legal in Mexico because the kids are said to be “volunteering” their services to Wal-Mart and are therefore not subject to the requirements and regulations that would otherwise apply under the country’s labor laws. But some officials south of the U.S. border nonetheless view the practice as regrettable, if not downright exploitative.
Simply unconscionable.

Message to Myself-Melissa Etheridge

Here's Melissa's new single and video. I'm glad she's happy, but she's definitely lost her edge, and in my opinion, that's what made her good. This isn't rock; it's perky pop-pop-pop ... blow a bubble ... POP! The Partridge Family could've done this.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Russia Really Is Claiming the North Pole

I blogged about this a week or so ago, at first thinking this was some hilarity from the Onion, but it's so. Say it ain't! But here it is, fresh off the news wires:
An expedition aimed at strengthening Russia's claim to much of oil and gas wealth beneath the Arctic Ocean reached the North Pole on Wednesday, and preparations immediately began for two mini-submarines to drop a capsule containing a Russian flag to the sea floor.

Brace yourself. I'm just waiting for King George to say Russia's in cahoots with al-Qaida.

Sunnis Withdraw from Iraqi Cabinet

According to Yahoo News:
The main Sunni Arab political bloc quit the Iraqi cabinet on Wednesday, plunging the government into crisis on a day when suicide bombers killed more than 70 people with massive strikes in the capital.

The Sunni Accordance Front said its five cabinet members and deputy Prime Minister Salam al-Zobaie would resign from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government.

"This is probably the most serious political crisis we have faced since the passage of the constitution. If unresolved the implications are grave," the remaining deputy prime minister, Barhim Salih, a Kurd, told Reuters.

But hey! No worries, y'all. There's no civil war in Iraq. It's all the al-Qaida terrorists, trying to drive out the Americans and anyone friendly to the Americans. The government there is just fine. The Shiites, Kurds, and Sunnis all love each other. We just need to keep workin' on gettin' rid of them thar terrorists.

Cheney: I Don't Recall

Larry King is the Mr. Softie of interviewers, so if even he doesn't believe Dick Cheney, you know something's amiss.