Sunday, October 31, 2004

Living-Dead Voter 

On this Halloween Day, it only figures that votes from the dead are going to be in play in the election.


...In Florida alone, more than 1.8 million people, many of them elderly and sick retirees, have cast absentee ballots or voted early in person in the past two weeks.

How many of those voters won't be alive on Election Day? Considering that an average of 455 voting-age people die in Florida every day, and that the 2000 presidential election was decided by a mere 537 votes, dead votes that slip through the cracks could become a meaningful bloc.




All jokes aside, there is a serious side to this story. Because of quirks in the new election laws, if an overseas soldier votes absentee then dies, his vote may or may not be counted depending on which state he was stationed in:



Take the hypothetical of two Fort Campbell soldiers who cast absentee ballots and were killed in the same incident overseas. The vote of the soldier who lived on the Tennessee side of the base would be counted. The vote from the soldier who lived on the Kentucky side should be pulled because an attorney general's opinion in that state says those ballots should be tossed.

But such opinions are not legally binding — allowing the Christian County, Ky., clerk to count them with impunity.

"As far as I'm concerned, Christian County will count their vote," says Clerk Mike Kem, who is also chairman of that Kentucky county's election board. "I think if somebody votes, their vote ought to count."




Amen. The 26th Amendment (changing the minimum voting age to 18) was put in place under the argument that anyone old enough to serve in the armed forces should get a vote. Any soldiers who happen to die after an absentee vote should have their voice heard even in death.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Death Awaits You All 

...with big nasty pointy teeth.

You are Tim the Enchanter! Sure you can blow up small objects, but no-one really respects you. But you'll have the last laugh...MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Which Monty Python & the Holy Grail Character are you REALLY?
brought to you by Quizilla


Anybody who doesn't bring me a shrubbery gets a fireball and a visit from my Killer Rabbit.



Happy Halloween!



Retooling 

With my sudden abundance of free time, I've begun the long-procrastinated Blog Tweakfest.

For the remainder of the campaign (when the lawyers and courts are done litigating the election results) I'll have the Politics section near the top. There are more Election Return sites for the swing states plus others. I'll be happy to add more states per request, and I just might do so anyway.

Finally, the blog world just got a bit smarter. Long time friend and all-around Evil Genius Caltechgirl has succomed to gravity and been pulled into the Blogosphere. Her blog is entitled Not Exactly Rocket Science, although I think Brain Surgery is more apt for a Neurobiology PhD candidate. There's a new Friends' Blogs section with her blog, Helen's blog, Bill's blog, and Sandro's Peruvian soccer page.



Thursday, October 28, 2004

Rawhide 

OK, this is just too funny. Do you prefer steak or tofu? (Dial-up Warning: Possible long download time.)


Pizza for me, thanks.


Via Michele.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Astronomical 

It seems only appropriate that an astronomical event occurs the same night as the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series.

from Boston.com:

AT LAST!

Pigs can fly, hell is frozen, the slipper finally fits,
and Impossible Dreams really can come true.

The Red Sox have won the World Series


Congrats to all New England. Enjoy it while you can because the End of Days must surely be near.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Election Results and The Curse 

I added a new category to the Politics section of the sidebar: Links to state election returns. So far I have California (it's home) and Florida & Ohio (the two biggest Swing States). I'll add a few more before Nov 2. On election night, you can click on the links to see the state numbers that will likely be recounted and argued over in the courts.

Also, I have Game 3 of the World Series on. Can it actually be that all the breaks are going the Red Soxs' way? Someone in Massachusetts finally must have come up with a Curse Antidote that works.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Living In A Ditch 

For the fourth time in less than a year, I am leaving my job. Unlike the previous job, this one is leaving me, officially on Friday. At least other jobs are also leaving a lot of other people there, misery (downsizing) loves company.

I was asking for it, big time. After enduring the havoc the last job wrecked on my life, I had recently got caught up on my affairs, and I was comfortable in this job. How ironic is it that I'm back where I was in February? Not very, considering the twists and turns that make up my life.

It's too early for me to have a plan. I think I will turn in my updated resume to my job recruiter, but I won't actively look to work for awhile.


Vacation? Maybe. Opportunity to plan for the future? Definitely.

One thing I am certain of: I'm less stressed than the first time I cleaned out my workspace. The first time I was laid off, I feared I would end up living in a ditch. Now I feel more confident about my job prospects, and I can enjoy the free time and chance to re-evaluate what I want to do with my life.

Another thing I'm certain of: I will blog better and more frequently! OK, maybe not better. And any of you out there are welcome to visit me in my new ditch.


Dirtbags 

Slime. Trying to make a little money by stealing from the sick and elderly is pathetic.

Flu Vaccines Stolen From Clinic

Hundreds of doses of the flu vaccine were stolen from a Merced [north of Fresno, CA] clinic.

90 vaccine vials were stolen from a refrigerator at the Merced Faculty Associates Medical Group.

Authorities believe the vials were stolen last weekend, but the theft was not discovered until Thursday.

Police think the heist was an inside job.



Good people will make the best out of any situation. Unfortunately, evil people will make the worst out of any situation and increase peoples' suffering. I hope the get stuck with the vaccine because nobody will buy from them.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Blogweeding 

I'm back from my Undisclosed Location. The past few days, I've been cleaning out my e-mail box and my apartment, and when I take on a chore, I usually let it posses me. Next up is a Blog Overhaul, which I started with a few small steps (I changed my rotating blogs to Blogs of the Month, who was I kidding?). With the World Series (to Curse or not to Curse) and the election wrapping up, I should be more verbose in the coming days.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

A Long Way From Candlestick 

Jerry Rice is now a Seattle Seahawk, having been traded for a seventh round conditional draft pick. It's sad to see the greatest wide receiver ever (and my all-time favorite 49er) traded for the NFL equivalent of pocket change. I guess age really does catch up with everyone.

Monday, October 18, 2004

It's Always the Monkeys 

You are a RAGE ZOMBIE
You are a Rage Zombie. Infected monkeys attacked
some PETA zealots, and 28 days later, you're a
mindless raging living zombie. You never died,
but in the 20 seconds between your infection
and zombification, you wish you had. You can be
killed with surprising ease.


What kind of Zombie are you?
brought to you by Quizilla


Mmmmmm, PETA zealots. Yummy.

Election Ranting 

OK, consider yourselves warned, I am in a bad mood. I tried to wait to blog, to outlast it, but I can't. I shouldn't be in a bad mood, I'm all caught up on email and housework and tons of other stuff I neglected when my old job took all my time and happiness. I was in a great mood last night, but not now.

It's time to dust off my soapbox and megaphone. I've got some shouting to do:



For the first time today, I didn't feel engaged and/or amused by the 2004 Presidential Election. I was (and am) pissed off. I have reached my limit of stupidity, arrogance, bullheadedness, et cetera. Where to begin?.....

First, I am pissed off about this: The UK Guardian newspaper is enlisting readers to write letters to voters in Clark County, Ohio, which is considered a swing county in one of the Big Three swing states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida). Stupid, imbecilic, retarded, and beyond arrogant. Not to mention a great recruiting tool for the Bush Campaign (the Guardian being decidedly left and pro-Kerry). Yes, I guess people are stupid enough to think some anti-Bush tirade from a foreigner will impress the good people of Clark County. Karl Rove is laughing his ass off.


Second, Florida started voting today, and problems showed up faster than a Category Five hurricane.

State Rep. Shelley Vana was not so happy. She said the paper absentee ballot she was given at a Palm Beach County site was missing one of its two pages, including the proposed amendments to the state constitution. She said election workers were indifferent when she pointed out the oversight.

"There was absolutely no concern on the part of the folks at the Supervisor of Elections Office that this page was missing. This is not a good start. If there are incomplete ballots out there, I can't imagine I would be the only one getting it," she said.




Oh joy. It was so much fun the last time things went screwy in Florida. This is not a good sign. Ohio seems to lean slightly to Bush, Pennsylvania slightly to Kerry, so that means Florida is a good bet to decide the whole thing again. Wake me when it's over.


Finally, I think the thing that irks me the most is the scorn being heaped on both Bush and Kerry supporters. Allow me to take a crack at the scenarios that would unfold, depending on the winner:


A vote for Bush: "How DARE you!" (this from the rest of the world, and many on the left). "How could you vote to re-elect that bloodthirsty warmonger oil baron! The entire world will join forces to oppose the evil US Imperialism. We must join together now to stop the evil American people from further oppressing the hapless world."

The US is left alone as a pariah state to fend against the emboldened terrorists, and it is a much less safer place.


A vote for Kerry: "You terrorist sympathizer!" (from many on the right). "A vote for Kerry means you must be un-American! Anyone who disagrees with the Commander in Chief should have their citizenship stripped. It's obvious you side with the plot to dissolve US sovereignty, make the UN a World Government, and intstitute the worship of Satan. Terrorists who would otherwise be too afraid to attack will unleash themselves upon us, Kerry will stand there and applaud."

The USA is reduced to a cowering shell of itself against the emboldened terrorists, and it is a much safer place.



It was easier last time around. I was unhappy with Al Gore because...well, he was Al Gore. I was unhappy with Bush because I didn't like the way he battled with John McCain, and I wish he carried himself with more humility. I ignored the vast majority of the campaign. Didn't watch the conventions or the debates. I voted for Nader, and was glad I did when all was said and done.

This time around is different. Yes, Nader is running again, but his 2004 campaign seems to be all about his ego, and trying in vain to stay in the public spotlight. Voting for him isn't an option for me this time around. Bush is out too, I just can't put aside the policy differences I have with him, and excess swagger he carries. If only I could vote for the Bush who led us through 9/11 and Afghanistan, oh well. That leaves Kerry or Someone Else.

I'm leaning toward Someone Else. All Kerry had to do to win me was say that the war in did Iraq serve some good, and he could do a better job fighting it. He might have said that, as one of his 8 or 9 positions on the issue.

I read somewhere that a Tony Blair-style Democrat would be mopping the floor with Bush, and I have to agree. I need a leader who gets the mortal threat the US is under. He also must understand that the evidence and planning needed to take the US to a pre-emptive war should be as convincing as a DA's when prosecuting a murder trial.

I know I will still be entertained and engrossed by it all, but now a large part of me just wants the election to be done with. All the campaigning, counts, lawsuits, protests, cries of anger at home and abroad. Whoever gets sworn in this January has a lot to deal with. Let's get on with it.

At least the election will always be funny on JibJab.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Nearly Unstopable 

Enzyme
You are an enzyme. You are powerful, dark,
variable, and can change many things at your
whim...even when they're not supposed to be
changed. Bad you. You can be dangerous or
wonderful; it's your choice.


Which Biological Molecule Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I always liked enzymes. They're hard-working, fast, and they remain the same even after they perform their necessary reactions. And a little of me goes a long way :)

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Storming the Gates 

I was saddened when my friend (and frequent giver-of-ideas) Caltechgirl sent an email saying another person had taken caltechgirl.blogspot.com, and was hardly using the blog at that. Being more informed than I am, and an all-around smarty pants, people have been gently nudging her toward starting a blog.

It's use pushing someone to hard to blog. I was a blog-reader since 2002, but I wasn't read to have my own until recently. When she does get officially bit by the blogging bug, I'll gladly put together a pitchfork and torch-wielding mob to storm the gates of the Caltechgirl blog and reclaim it in the name of Divine Right.

I would say to her, no use in rushing as you know when and if you will be ready to begin posting. I doubt anyone else will be ready for your blog, but you will be.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Fight For Old DC 

Here's an interesting tidbit unearthed from a former college friend: apparently the Washington Redskins have decided the last 17 Presidential elections. If the 'Skins win their last home game before the election, the incumbent party stays in power. If not, the other party moves into the White House. This time around, that game is October 31 vs. Green Bay. I wonder which plays Karl Rove will give coach Joe Gibbs in order to win the game?

Reheated Spam 

Smart people can get humor from even the most obnoxious of things in life. Here is a site that take actual subject lines from spam e-mail, and puts them to amusing cartoons. Via Katie.

Liveblogging III: One More Time 

OK, this is the last Presidential debate. Last chance for each candidate to talk to a big audience. It will be interesting to see if there is any new ground covered.

5:57 PM PDT FoxNews reminds us that this is supposed to be a Domestic Agenda debate. Any bets on how soon someone mentions Iraq or the War on Terror? I say less than 60 seconds.

6:03 LMAO! Bush and Kerry are dressed like twins!

6:05 Bush to young people: "Don't get a flu shot this year?" Factually correct, but the wording was kind of harsh.

6:14 I personally like the last debate's format. The format with both men stuck behind a podium is too dry.

6:20 Kerry makes a very lame Sopranos reference.

6:26 Homesexuality a choice or not? What an odd question. Both candidates get to ride the fence now.

6:39 Kerry and Bush are arguing over whether Kerry can pay for his health plan. People with more time and brains than me can fact-check it and settle it.

6:45 Bush sounds sincere about wanting to tackle Social Security. Personally, I'm not counting on it being there by the time I qualify.

6:47 Kerry nails Bush on increasing the deficit, but really doesn't answer how he will fix Social Security.

7:12 Assault weapons, immigration, affirmative action. I'm having trouble getting into this debate. I'm interested in Iraq, the War on Teror, jobs, and since it's a personal interest, the environment. This debate is a September 10th debate.

7:23 A good light moment: A question about the role of strong women in each candidate's life. Bush turns on the folksy charm. Kerry gets a few laughs, but charm is Bush's strength.

7:31 I don't know, maybe Bush did a little better this time. I wasn't as interested as the last two. I suppose this will be considered a tie again. And I liked the format and pacing of the last debate much better.


Monday, October 11, 2004

Reunion Blogging 


Next Week I'm Expecting A Rocking ChairPosted by Hello

Ha! Some kind of cosmic joke, or an overly aggressive AARP recruitment drive? This was the one piece of junk mail that was waiting for me on my return trip to Fresno. OK, so I'm getting older, I admit it. After all, this past weekend was my ten year high school reunion.

OK, I figured I was ready. I've seen Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion. Still, it's a shock to see people who in your mind are frozen at age 18, now suddenly ten years older. Naturally, everyone being dressed in formalware didn't help. Way Surreal. Those who are younger than me and planning on going to your reunion, consider yourselves warned.

Fortunately, after a few hours, more than a few drinks, and a few people changing into causal clothes, familiarity began to return. I figure it would be nice to hear occasionally from a few of them, but I suppose the past is the past. There were the success stories, including one CEO of a anti-piracy group (heh heh, he hasn't seen my downloaded music collection), but it seemed that many people are just getting by.

It kind of makes me appreciate all I accomplished, and all without having to invent Post-Its.

Superman 

It's always sad to hear of someone's passing, but the death of Christopher Reeve came as a shock. I wouldn't have expected someone as tenacious as him to pass away, even with his physical disabilities.

He was a man who could have stayed away from the public, facing his monumental struggles in seclusion. Instead, he understood that his celebrity would be a powerful force to bring attention to the struggle of those with spinal injuries. His determination helped change attitudes about the prospects for recovery. Even if treatments weren't ready in time for him, it seems to me it is only a matter of time before those who have similiar injuries will walk again. Rest in peace.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Liveblogging II: The Presidential Debate 

OK, so I changed my mind. It's better to wait for traffic to die down before I go back to Fresno anyway.

5:53 PM PDT. This should be interesting. Conventional Wisdom says Bush needs a win tonight to halt the momentum Kerry has built up starting with the first debate. CW also says Bush will try to beat Kerry with his Senate record. Kerry is supposed to hit Bush with the latest job figures and recent bad news from Iraq. And I bet Bush won't be look more alert this time.

5:57 Fox News apparently has dirt on ABC News, the host for tonight's debate. After CBS, is anyone suprised?

6:01 Certainly enough rules. I'm suprised the Miranda Rights weren't included.

6:04 First Impression of Kerry: He sounds polished, and more confident that last time.


6:06 First Impression of Bush: He always does better away from a podium. Both men seem well prepared this time.

6:08 WMD's mentioned in the 2 first questions. No beating around the bush this time (no pun intended). And some damn good questions.

6:18 This is a great exchange on the GWOT and Iraq. Each side is rebutting the other's point.

6:21 Bush: I don't think you want a President who wants to be popular and does the wrong thing.

6:24 Kerry: It's the military that wins the war, it's the President that wins the peace.

6:25 Kerry blunder: Even mentioning the French and Germans could cost him votes.

6:27 Bush: "We're not going to have a draft, period." I don't believe he would ever do it, but the fact he has to take the time to say "no" is a Kerry strategic victory.

6:30 Fair or not, the questions tonight seem to force Bush to be on the defensive.

6:32 Bush is justifiably pissed about Kerry saying the US is going alone in Iraq.

6:35 The look on Bush's face: I can't believe Kerry is saying this.

6:36 Bush: I don't see how you win Iraq if you don't think we should be there in the first place.

6:38 Bush is much improved. Getting his points out better tonight.

6:39 Bush gets this one right. It's the US insure drugs are safe, and not just trust drugs imported from Canada.

6:42 This has been a rapid fire debate: from drug importation to Medicare to the deficit in about 2 minutes.


6:44 Could we go just one speech/debate without having to hear "JohnKerry.com"? It sounds like he's selling an ab-roller.

6:46 If I were Bush, I would have started in on Kerry's Senate record much sooner than 46 minutes in.

6:48 Bush gets off a good one: If you're for capping punitive damages, why didn't you show up to the Senate and vote for it?

6:50 I don't think bringing up today's job report was a good Bush move.

6:52 Bush doesn't help his arguement by shouting, IMHO.

6:54 We've been on taxes for over 5 minutes now. I want to hear more about job creation. I really don't care if rich people get tax breaks or not.

6:58 Kerry mentioned John McCain twice now. You'd think he was the running mate.


7:00 Bush talking about his environmental record. Seems to me he's starting to tire. Makes sense, because he was very animated the first hour.

7:04 Kerry rightly criticizes Bush for not trying to improve the Kyoto treaty negociations instead of walking away.

7:06 Kerry: "...energy independence in 10 years." Don't buy it, candidates have been saying that for decades.

7:08 Bush points out that many of the taxpayers over $200K are small business owners.

7:13 A great question: instead of the same tired stem-cell question, the audience member asks that since embryonic stems cells haven't been proven to have more benefit than adult stem cells, why use embryonic stem cells? Kerry doesn't have a good answer for it. Bush sticks to his guns, whether you agree or disagree.

7:20 Bush quotes the Drew (correction) Dred Scott case in a Supreme Court answer. You can almost hear his thoughts: "Now who's the intellectual, be-yotch!!"

7:24 The abortion debate finally gets brought up. Kerry tries to split the difference. Bush looks better because he sticks more solidly to his principles.

7:33 Bush clobbers Kerry by saying he can't gripe about unequiped soldiers when he voted against the $87 billion Iraq bill. Kerry sitll doesn't have a good enough response to that charge.

7:38 All in all, I bet the pundits rate this debate a draw. Bush was vastly improved, but Kerry was better too though. The only opinions that matter are voters in November.

7:40 Best Moment of the Night: Kerry says Bush has stake in a lumber company. Bush responded: "I have a lumber company? You want some wood?"

I can see it now, the new campaign slogan: Vote for Bush, he will give you wood."


New Jib Jab 

Click to see the newest cartoon from the makers of This Land, Good To Be In DC. Expect a long wait the first couple of days, even with a broadband connection. Go anyway, it's worth it.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Still Here 

A quick mini-post to break the silence: No particular reason for me not posting this week. Just a busy week at work (what's new), and the fact I haven't kept up with the news and blogosphere as much this week.

The Vice-Presidential debate wasn't as entertaining as the last presidential debate. Unfortunately, I'll be on the road during tomorrow night's debate, so no liveblogging. Still, with the race tightening up, there should be plenty to talk about over the next month.

And of course, I couldn't go without mentioning the latest UCSB Nobel Prize winner, Physics Professor David Gross.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Took Ya Long Enough 

After much justifiable nagging, I finally changed the blogs of the "week." At the top of this list is Bake Town, CA from picturesque Bakersfield.

A Nerd's Paradise 

The stories in the mainstream media the past couple of weeks have been a science geek's smorgasboard: Last week's Parkfield Earthquake, the pursuit of the X Prize for the first reusable civilian spaceship, and Mount St. Helens decides to wake up.

On that note, and since it's Monday and it's my blog, here's a nice magnification of freshwater plankton.
A Colony of Diatoms (picture taken from www.microscopy-uk.org)Posted by Hello

It's a nice change to see something other than politics and the War on Terror in the news.

More Foul Humor 

The next time someone cuts you off in traffic, don't use the same tired old curses. Expand your mind and appreciate other cultures by using Swearasauras. There are 164 different languages represented, so you can certainly find the right phrase for the right occasion. Some of the phrases that got my attention:

Yiddish:

Er zol hobn paroys makes bashotn mit oybes krets.
He should have Pharaoh’s plagues sprinkled with Job’s scabies.

Serbian:

Da Bog da te majka u cevapu prepoznala.
May your mother recognize you in a hamburger.

Polish:

Dam ci szpryce z aidsem, bo masz syfa to razem będą kurwy chodzić.
I'm going inject you with AIDS because, having syphilis already, will make those two whores dance together.

Bosnian:

Dabogda ti pas povratio na sred sobe kad imas goste!
May the dog throw-up in the middle of the dinning room while you have guests!

Irish Gaelic:

Go n-ithe an cat thú, is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat.
May the cat eat you, and may the devil eat the cat.

I believe that we are one race, many cultures. Many cultures swearing at the guy who just cut us off in traffic.

Once again, via Caltechgirl.