Week of August 15, 2004

August 15, 2004 16:27 – 16:27

Saturday, August 21, 2004

5:50 PM

What a pain… the new DVD recorder might have to be returned. It can’t read our Outfoxed DVD.

Tonight, we watched & enjoyed the remake of The Goodbye Girl. Great movie… although, as usual, it completely dissolved me at several points. Actually, I was probably sobbing because I have six weeks to write a legislative history about one of the most boring topics ever conceived. The phrase “legislative history” makes me want to crawl into a cave and commune with bats. Whoa! Check your shoes!

Now… we need to assemble a rescue team. Monkeygrl88 has been captured by terrorist republicans (now… there’s a redundant phrase) and is being brainwashed. I sure hope Sidney and Jack and the rest of the crew can save her before it’s too late.

Friday, August 20, 2004

11:22 PM

There’s an excellent reason pie crust is not typically made using 100% whole wheat flour. Once every three or four decades, however, I feel compelled to try it, I suppose, just to see if perhaps the laws of physics might’ve changed in the intervening years. They haven’t. Whole wheat pie crust sucked 40 years ago, and it continues to suck now.

The peach pie filling, however, turned out quite good… as usual. There’s no end to the kind of magic one can accomplish armed with mediocre peaches, half a lime, brown sugar, cornstarch, and a ton of butter. I salvaged the filling. So, either we now have some very nice peach un-pie, or perhaps tomorrow I’ll make a small crust for it so it can be properly enjoyed. Or… just the filling with some fresh whipped cream has some appeal.

6:15 PM

We went to CostCo–yes, again–to trade the Toshiba DVD recorder we bought previously for a GO! DVD recorder. The new device also has a built-in VCR, which should make archiving old tapes simpler. The other recorder, I thought, was needlessly overcomplicated. We’ll see if this one’s any better.

I also invested in a new duvet. After all, winter’s a’comin’. The previous one I had didn’t cover enough real estate. This one is plenty big enough, although it needs a cover of some kind.

The magnetic dart board I bought yesterday has induced dartboard-envy on the part of my daughter. Last week, Microsoft sent me a mini-magnetic dartboard set which Katie promptly appropriated (with permission, of course). So, at CostCo yesterday, I found a big magnetic dartboard set, for only $9.99 (plus taxes, of course), whose magnets really stick! It’s exceedingly cool. Katie says we need one for the family room (this one’s in my office), but wasn’t willing to invest her own $10.

So… what did I do today? I woke up, and realized that my Working Smarter issues were due (now, I’m a man with issues!). I had done the Outlook update on Monday, but was putting off the Word issue since it had problems. But, I buckled down, and 5 hours later… Tada! And, I fired it off to the One On One folks.

Then we went to CostCo (no good free samples today), came home, set up the new DVD recorder, and watched the 10K Olympic race. It was very exciting. I sure wish I could run that fast. Maybe 30 years ago, with tons of practice, pain killer, and training… but not now. And, now I sit here contemplating setting fire to the deck so I can roast some dead meat for dinner. Yum. And, maybe Katie and/or Karen will go to BB & get us a movie to watch later tonight.

11:29 AM

My reply this morning to a friend’s email…

And, of course, there’s Kerry to worry about. Sometimes he seems bent on self-destruction, a la Al Gore. He seems determined to shoot himself in the foot… perhaps not such a bad idea given that his foot keeps ending up in his mouth (that’d make a great cartoon… god, I miss Herblock).

At this point he shouldn’t say anything that gives wings to the flip-flop paradigm. The dems need some similar imagery for Bush. Perhaps we need a campaign poster with a cartoon showing Bush glued to some icon symbolizing Cheney-Ashcroft-Rumsfeld (maybe an oil-thirsty CAR). Bush’s solution, of course, is to keep pumping on more glue, saying “Maybe this’ll loosen it!”

I sure wish I could draw…

I also wish I had a candidate I could support, rather than being ABBish (anybody but Bush). Alas, the ones I liked either didn’t run or were knocked out in early rounds.

(On the prospects of a repeat of the 2000 election…)

I’m not sure it requires an actual narrow margin… just the perception of one. I’d be willing to bet that the Bush team has lotsa Katherine Harris clones waiting in the wings. And, have you heard what the registrars are doing to discourage black voters in Florida? Egad!

Ironically, about a month ago, Microsoft sent out a “critical” Windows XP update. The update? A new Bookshelf7 font, because the old one had a swastika as one of the characters. I suppose this is going to make it harder for Bush supporters to print up all those fliers announcing their REAL agenda.

[This email conversation began when I sent him the following FAKE news story from rec.humor.funny, which demonstrates how blurry the line is becoming between reality and sattire.]

WASHINGTON – Al-Qaida may attempt to launch attacks in U.S. cities using Democratic Party campaign trains, airplanes, or buses packed with explosives as weapons, the FBI said in a new nationwide bulletin.

Terror operatives could attempt to hijack Democratic party campaign vehicles and use them in suicide attacks against buildings, parades, sporting events, or political rallies, said the intelligence bulletin.

The Democratic banners could both help terrorists get closer to targeted buildings, the FBI warning said. The warning was sent Monday night by the FBI and the Homeland Security Department to 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies, other government officials and private groups.

“Democratic Party activities are excellent cover for people with colored skin or heads covered in rags,” the FBI bulletin said. “Those sorts of people would obviously stick out driving a Republican Party vehicle. We realize the Democratic Party is legal and allowed to use vehicles, but we want people to be cautions around them. Billboards with Democratic Party political ads could also be used by terrorists as shields to hide behind.”

A Democratic Party spokesperson responded to the warning, saying “Someone carrying a gun would be out of place next to a Democratic Party vehicle, but a person with an assault rifle would seem natural next to a Republican Party banner. The Democratic Party does, however, support the hard-working FBI agents in the fight against global terror.”

In response to questions on whether the FBI announcement was political White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan denied any political motive.

“There is nothing political in this announcement. This is also not a personal attack on waffle-man and his best boy — this announcement applies equally to all local, state, and national Democratic candidates.”

Wednesday, August 18, 2oo4

7:44 PM

Weird Wednesday. Where did today go? I went for a 12 mile bike ride… down to Stratford Landing and back, via Ft. Hunt Park. As I was riding up Collingwood, I saw two police cruisers zooming east at a high rate of speed. Shortly thereafter, I heard and saw a chopper, apparently there to assist in the chase/search. Too bad I didn’t have the scanner with me. Now I’ll just have to wait and see if the Voice reports what it was about. Make a note of this date for later reference: it happened at about 3:30 pm on August 18th.

Also, today, I notice that some leaves on the Bradford pear tree are starting to change! Whoa! Could this be an early fall? I don’t know. I’ll make a note of it this year, then watch next year to see if it happens about the same date.

And by the way… CostCo is starting to test market caskets in the Chicago area. A great marketing concept occurs to me for people who want to BTOC (buy their own coffin), but who might not know what to do with it in the meantime.

Want to buy-now-die-later? But, “where shall I keep it?” you might be asking yourself. Easy: Introducing the new Coffin Table. Why decorate, when you can dead-corate? While you’re waiting for the grim reaper, use your coffin as a coffee table. It’s chock full of extra padded storage space for knick-knacks, magazines, newspapers, and those books you just don’t have room for. Yes! Who says “you can’t take it with you?” Now, you can! With CostCo’s new Coffin Tables! The living room accessory that’s to die for!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

4:46 PM

Grrrr… why is it that I can get out there with a relatively quiet mower, and in 30 minutes, my lawn is all cut — front and back — and the mower is turned off and returned to the garage… yet one of these goshdarn mower-from-hell Olympic mowing teams shows up, and takes an hour to cut a lawn that’s smaller than mine? And… they’ve got three people using those giant mowers-on-steroids?

And now, the mower-as-phallic-symbol dork over on Windmill Lane is out mowing his lawn using a bloody TRACTOR, for crying out loud… and he’s been at it for at least a bloody hour so far, and he’s barely made a dent in his damn lawn… yet his bloody tractor drones ON AND ON several decibels louder than the average 747 when it’s 5 feet away from you.

Mind you… we’re talking about less than a quarter of an acre of grass, for crying out loud! And for this, he needs a tractor????

Give our ears a break! The point is to mow your bloody lawn ASAP, not spend a freaking week doing it. Sheeze.

Our plan… to gradually convert our grass into “ground cover” that doesn’t need mowing. Would that everyone else aspired to the same lofty goals…

Hmmm… maybe I could acquire a herd of sheep and train them to forage through the neighborhood at night…

It’s now 5:47 pm, and Mr. Dimwit Tractor is still out there!!!! And people ask me why I hate summer…

3:04 PM

I cut the grass… front & back. We definitely need to do something in the landscaping department. The bark I put on the hillside to create a walking surface is now part of the front lawn. <sigh>

Called Garmin… an update for my unit is due out in about a month. They’ll send it out on DVD, but they haven’t decided about pricing yet. Since CostCo doesn’t have a deadline on when I can return it, I guess I’ll hang in there until the update becomes available. If I can get it for a nominal charge or free… great. Otherwise, I’ll take it back to CostCo for a refund, and buy a “fresh” one.

Monday, August 16, 2004

10:42 AM

Hooray! I finally scored 100% as a UU. How? For one thing, I left all of the “importance” items set at medium. For another, I said “not applicable” to several questions to which I previously said “fundamental”, since I decided I really wasn’t being honest with myself. Since I drive a car, I guess I don’t really “revere” nature in any kind of all-out sense, although I do prefer parks and trees over cities and buildings. I also decided that I don’t believe in 100% all-out pacifism. For one thing, if the totalitarian right-wing [so-called] Xtian nutcases turn the U.S. into a neo-NAZI dictatorship… well, you know the drill (see Revere, Paul). In any case… my new results are:

1. Unitarian Universalism
(100%)

2. Secular Humanism
(98%)

3. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants
(87%)

4. Liberal Quakers
(86%)

5. Nontheist
(77%)

6. Theravada Buddhism
(69%)

7. Neo-Pagan
(62%)

8. Bahá’í Faith
(56%)

9. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist)
(53%)

10. Taoism
(53%)

11. Reform Judaism
(52%)

12. New Age
(51%)

13. New Thought
(44%)

14. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons)
(40%)

15. Mahayana Buddhism
(39%)

16. Scientology
(39%)

17. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant
(36%)

18. Orthodox Quaker
(34%)

19. Sikhism
(32%)

20. Jainism
(25%)

21. Jehovah’s Witness
(22%)

22. Islam
(19%)

23. Orthodox Judaism
(19%)

24. Seventh Day Adventist
(14%)

25. Hinduism
(12%)

26. Eastern Orthodox
(9%)

27. Roman Catholic
(9%)

Still can’t seem to shake that tiny bit of #27. I suspect that there’s some basic value that I share with them, although it’s not in any way protheistic.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

10:30 PM

Just got through watching Thirteen Going on Thirty (ha! take that, you Number Nazis!). Good movie. Very touching. Sometime soon, however, I need to see if I can actually sit through ANY movie without getting weepy. I’m beginning to think that just about any movie can send me over a cliff. Or, maybe it’s just that I’m tired. Yeah… that’s the ticket… I’m tired.

Note to self: don’t order the #9 combo at El Puerto again. It was okay, but they do something really weird with their beef.

Listening to beautiful piano music coming from the Steinway in our living room… that girl can play!

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