Friday, December 31, 2004

New Year's Quickie 

OK, I've been off the blogging bandwagon the past couple days, but I was at least productive with my time. End of the Year Cleaning: I was able to consolidate the junk in several drawers.

Since everyone and their brother will be on a self-improvement kick, here is my contribution: US News lists 50 Ways to Fix Your Life. Some suggestions are predictable: learn to meditate, grow a plant, exercise a little. Others are good ideas: Freeze your credit cards (literally put them into the freezer, you then have to wait until they thaw in order to splurge), use shoe bags to store supplies on the back of a door. Still others are bizarre: move to Bismarck (umm,....no, I'll keep the California rain, thank you).

I have plenty to work on in 2005, but first I'm headed down to LA for New Year's. Here's a little something before I go:





Your New Years Resolution Should Be: Wake up before noon





You've been accused of sleeping your life away
And it's a little bit true - you are really into your pillow
In fact, it may be years since you've seen a sunrise at the *start* of your day
Sleep a little less. Some sunshine would do you good.



What Should Your New Year's Resolution Be?



Have a happy and safe 2005.


Monday, December 27, 2004

I Finally Got Confirmation 

I was just crusin' around the net, and something compelled me to take this:

Dork Quiz

You're an Official DORK

Ding ding ding! We have a winner! You're a dork. You knew that. You know a lot of random stuff actually...You probably know what a male duck is called, and no, it's not a duck. I bet you tell "I'm a big dork" stories on a fairly regular basis. You're a member of Alpha Beta Needa Data. But what makes you cool (in your own sort of way) anyway is that you take all of this with a sense of humor. You know full well there's nothing wrong with being a little strange; you wouldn't have it any other way. That's pretty respectable. Even if your socks don't really match, if you look at 'em up close. But who's going to be looking that close at your socks anyway, right? So take pride in your dorkiness. You rock.




No, a nerd is not the same as a dork, or a geek for that matter. Here is a less flattering definition of a dork, along with an explination of what makes someone either a geek, nerd, or dork.

Of course I already knew I'm a dork because I spend too much time taking quizzes and posting them. Next question.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Post-Christmas Sadness 

It's such a shame to post about bad news so shortly after Christmas. I can hardly keep up with bad news: shootings, war, natural disasters. It's likely not healthy to keep up with all the bad news in the world anyway.

However, today's nasty earthquake and tsunami in Asia today stands out from the background noise. 9.0 on the Ricter Scale, about 100 times the strength of the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. As of late Sunday/early Monday, over 14,000 dead. Countries affected as far away as East Africa, 4000 miles from the epicenter.

The Command Post has an good series of links to the story. By the way, this is the one year anniversary of the earthquake in Bam, Iran that killed 30,000 people. Sadly, it looks likely that today's quake may eventually prove to be as deadly or deadlier. There will certainly be a lot said in the days to come about how to assist relief efforts.


On a completely different note, and several orders of magnitude smaller, NFL great Reggie White died early this morning, at age 43. He was arguably the greatest defensive lineman in pro football history, yet people agreed that he was a far greater man than football player. He was renowned for his work with inner-city youth and as an ordained minister.

What a sad way to come off Christmas.

Christmas Invasion 

My Christmas was pretty good, with family and plenty of food. The only bad part was coming home to find my mom's house under siege, the kitchen countertop taken over by an army of ants. After clearing the counter of odds and ends, then carefully clearing the ants and wiping away thier chemical trails.

So now I after I prepare food in the kitchen, I need to clean as if I'm back working in my work's cleanroom. My mom intends to make an official declaration of war (calling the pest control) on Monday. At least I get to flee from the battlefield, as I'll head back home sometime early next week.

The humane tnig to do would be to take then ants away. They should be left alone to face my mother. Heh heh.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Fra-gee-lay 

Ralphy
You are Ralphy! A complete dreamer and positive
thinker. You WILL get that Red Ryder bb gun!


Which A Christmas Story Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


Christmas, a time to come together with family and friends. A time to celebrate the birth and life of Jesus. A time to watch A Christmas Story as many times in 24 hours as possible.

Once the relatives' antics get tired, I'm always glad to have the continuous airings of the movie as an escape. Like everyone else in America, I naturally have the whole movie memorized by now. Here is something to possibly make the viewing a little different, a partial list of movie goofs taken from the film's IMDB page. When watching this year (you know you'll watch at least one showing), see if you can catch these goofs:



* Anachronisms: 1980s cars can be seen passing by the school at the flagpole scene.

* Plot holes: After nearly shooting his eye out, Ralphie comes back into the house through the back door. In the next scene, the Bumpus hounds are shown coming through the living room from left to right and moving on to the kitchen. The dogs would need to open the front door for this to be possible.

* Anachronisms: A kid in a classroom scene forgot to take off his Dukes of Hazzard digital watch.

* Crew or equipment visible: Shadows of crew on kitchen chair when Randy is in the cabinet, worrying about Ralph getting killed by their father (for fighting) when he comes home.

* Continuity: The mashed potatoes disappear and reappear on Randy's face between shots during the dinner scene ("show mommy how the piggies eat").

* Continuity: When Ralphie is decoding Annie's secret message in the bathroom, the text's case on his writing changes from lower case to upper case between shots (watch the "E/e" in "Be"... (Be sure to drink your Ovaltine)).

* Continuity: When we see the Chinese restaurant from the street, the shop owner is standing in front of the table conducting the singing waiters. When we move into the restaurant the song (Faa-Raa-Raa-Raa) has not missed a beat, yet the owner is now standing behind the table.


There are many more of these goofs on the IMBD page if you're interested. With that I'll leave you and hope you all have a Merry Christmas. Remember, if you're stuck without something to say in any Christmas arguement, finish with "Notafinga!"

ps: For those Central Valley types like me, Darren McGavin (aka The Old Man) was born in the nearby town of San Joaquin, according to IMDB. Long before his A Christmas Story gig, he apparently "wove a tapestry of obscenity" through the Valley fog. Who-hoo!

A Kinder, Gentler Borg 


Image from Section31.comPosted by Hello

Back on Star Trek, the Borg were a race that were all tied together into a collective, blasting things and forcefully assimilating all who they could.

For those of you in a do-gooder mood this Christmas, there is a chance to become part of a kinder, gentler Borg. IBM is leading a partnership to create a gigantic volunteer effort to link potentially millions of home computers to tackle some of the world's more pressing problems. Each computer that is part of the program receives data to process, the processed data are sent back to the server and the program repeats the process.

Since the amounts of data can be process simultaneously, the process if far more efficient than any supercomputer. The current effort is the Human Proteome Folding project, an attempt to discover links between the configuration of specific proteins and certain diseases.

The program is called World Community Grid, which can be downloaded from their website. Once installed, it runs when the computer is on, during the computer's idle time. I gave it a try: it does eat up a bit of power, but the program can be configured to run as only a screen saver or only at a certain time during the day. Check the website, and decide for yourself if it's something you would be interested in.

Now go get assimilated.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Links By the Bushel 

After devoting half of yesterday to buying and assembling a shelving unit (my name is Ben, I am an IKEA whore), I caught up on my blogsurfing today. Here are the highlights:


* The Command Post links to a summary of a conference regarding recent intelligence on al-Qaeda. Know thy enemy.

* Bill at Ramblings and Travels tells the story of the Marine versus the NPR Interviewer over gun control. Doesn't seem like a fair fight.

* A Politically Correct Christmas (oops, Holiday) Carol, presented by The Moderate Voice.

* Rebecca's Pocket has a plethora of links herself, all conveniently bunched together. Among the highlights: A power plant running on turkey dung, and an article saying the US is becoming a Nation of Wimps.

* Michele makes the argument that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer needs an alternate ending.

* Jeff Jarvis speaks about how religious conservatives are becoming the new bleeding hearts, while liberals' hearts are hardening.

* Bake Town has several good posts. Abandonded dogs taking over a neighborhood in the town of Mojave, a guy faking an image of Elvis on a tortilla in an attempt to make money, and her discovery of neighborhood sex offenders thanks to the Megan's Law website (ewww!).

I'll be back on the road either today or tomorrow; Christmas in Fresno awaits. I'll probably blog well before then, but if I don't you have your assigned reading!

Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead! 

...Or soon will be, one can hope.

The Associated Press will remove its poll from the college football BCS formula.

The Bowl Championship Series was a "worst of both worlds" compromise between a playoff system and the older bowl arrangements. It overturned many decades of Bowl traditions without being able to produce an undisputed national champion. Last year, USC was the team on the outside looking in, this year it's Auburn. The BCS is simply unable to handle three or more teams with legitamite rights to fight for the number one spot.

Other BCS headaches and insults to college football tradition include:


1.) A title game that will be played on January 4!

In the American sporting calendar, some events are forever tied to specific dates in the minds of fans. The Indy 500 is always the Sunday before Memorial day, The US Tennis Open is played the fortnight around Labor Day. Until a few years ago, sports fans could always count on an overdose of bowl games to ring in the first day of the new year. Now, the top BCS games are scattered over four days.


2.) The bastardization of the Rose Bowl.

The Granddaddy of Them All®, the Rose Bowl was the original bowl game, named after the stadium where the game is played. It came into being as an extension of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade, itself held on New Year's morning. Thanks to the BCS, many times the Rose Bowl game is held after January 1st, cutting off the game from its creator. The BCS hasn't had the balls to suggest the Rose Parade date be moved, yet.

If that isn't enough, the BCS wrecked the old Rose Bowl format, which had the PAC-10 Conference champion play the Big 10 Conference champion. "So what?" you may ask. It is noted that Pasadena takes its traditions seriously, and there are many who aren't happy:

"It sort of turns the Rose Bowl into a consolation prize,' said Councilman Steve Haderlein, a committed BCS hater. "Personally, I think it is a flawed system and I think it stinks.'

"Anytime it is not the Pac-10 and the Big Ten it's not the same,' said Rose Bowl General Manager Darryl Dunn.


It's about dollars and cents as well as tradition. Many would be more comfortable with a Midwestern Big 10 school; for whose fans travelling to Pasadena is part of routine and tradition. Local businesses can't be as certain how boosters from non-traditional schools (this year, Texas) will affect coffers. The same scenario is playing out at other established bowls, an example being USC vs Iowa in the 2003 Orange Bowl, a game neither teams' fans had any history with; under the old system the two teams would have played each other in the Rose Bowl!


3.) Someone always gets left out.

The BCS is about television and money. There are four major bowl games, one national championship, and a lot of teams looking to get a payday and the Big Stage. In addition to the case of Auburn mentioned above, Cal isn't going to be singing the praises of the BCS anytime soon. Cal was dropped from the Rose Bowl when the Coaches' Poll moved the school from number four spot to number five, dispite Cal winning its last game (ironically, under the old system, USC would get Cal's Rose Bowl berth anyway). The change in polls allowed Texas to sneak into number four and get the Rose Bowl ticket.

When a school goes to a bowl game, all the schools in that particular conference get a cut of the bowl money. Of course, I can't say that coaches are making votes based on the incoming amount of bowl money. Howver, the coaches' poll votes aren't made public; it would assist the integrity of the process if the votes were known, as has been suggested.


The bottom line is the BCS is a bad system, and the AP pulling its poll from it may be the excuse needed to scrap it. I understand the reason for its existence: the push of retaining bowl games that are the foundation of college football, and the pull of having a clear championship that will increase television viewership and advertising revenue. Howerever, I don't see a way in which the two can co-exist: I say either go back to the old system of bowls or have a Final Four-style playoff using the existing major bowl sites.

Perhaps more knowledegable people out there can come up with a better solution. All I know is I'm not excited about waiting until January 4th to see a championship, which may or may not be disputed.


Tuesday, December 21, 2004

More Useful Than A Tie 





You Are Socks!





Cozy and warm... but easily lost.
You make a good puppet.



What Crappy Gift Are You?




There's nothing wrong with socks. They're always needed, and very versatile.

Update: Forgot to mention this lovely quiz comes via Caltechgirl. Bad blogger! (whack!)

Dreaming of a White (Hot) Christmas 

I'm back from LA, where I visited my college buddy Yvette. I swear, at this time of year my car logs more miles than a racecar at LeMans. Later this week, I go to Fresno for Christmas festivities, then on New Year's I've committed to return to Southern California to party it up.

But I digress, ...well somewhat. I decided to drive down to LA from Fremont (LA is too close to bother with airport hassles, and I wasn't in the mood for a slower train ride). I took the fastest way down, the long stretch of highway running through no-man's land that is officially refered to as Interstate 5.

After slicing through about four hours of dense fog in the San Joaquin Valley, I was finally able to climb over the hills and Greater LA. It's pretty obvious why about 20 million people decided to make Southern California their home: The approximate temperature in Fremont was 50 degrees, in Fresno it was around 40, in LA it was well over 80 degrees.

The next day, I spent about half an hour walking around with my winter coat, stuck on autopilot, before I caught up to reality and ditched the coat for a short-sleeved shirt. Meanwhile, half of the shopping crowd milled about in shorts. Would it be that bad to live in that LA smog? It might be nice to spend Christmas Day on the beach.

On the other hand, I can see how a White Christmas would be something to dream about. Growing up in Fresno, a White Christmas meant not being able to see across the street because of the dense fog. It looks like a lot of the country will either have snow on the ground, or have a layer of frost and ice for Christmas. All I wish for is to not blindly hit the car ahead of me. Has anyone tried a Hawaiian Christmas yet? I wouldn't mind trying that one next year.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Background Noise 

OK, so I'm putting three posts up right in a row after being mute since Monday. I guess I shouldn't be suprised, I often focus on one aspect of my life to the detriment of all the others. I always have room to improve.

I can't wait until tomorrow to rant about this because: a) I'm travelling to LA tomorrow and will be incogneto, and b) becuase I think I'm self-centered enough to believe that I may be part of a fundamental, generational change in entertainment habits.


TV is boooring!!!!


Well, duh, you say. It is referred to as the Idiot Box after all. My gripe is TV just ain't what she used to be. My inspiration comes from the verbose Caltechgirl, who launches into a justifiable tirade against the beast known as Daytime TV.

I am a self-professed TV addict. TV and I go back a long way. It might be genetic: my mom always had the TV on when I was young, and when I went to relatives' homes the first offer of hospitality was use of the television. Back then, in the 80's and early 90's, I looked forward to two or three shows a night, every night of the week. Even today, one of the first acts when I get home is to turn on the television.

However, I have noticed a change in myself in the past few years.

I still leave the TV on, but now it serves a function not much different from the radio: background noise (background sight?) to my other activities during the day. During my spare time, instead of staring at the television until the next commercial comes on, I am instead staring at my computer screen and looking up occasionally to see if something on the television is worthy of my attention. More often than not, I'm barely aware what show is on the TV at any given moment.

I don't think I'm alone in this behavior. I've talked to a few people about this, and they tell similiar tales. There seems to me a growing consensus that there are fewer and fewer TV shows that are worth paying full attention to. Here are the only shows I drop everything for:

The Amazing Race.
24 (returning in January, who hoo!)
David Letterman.
Conan O'Brien.
NFL football.
NBA, NHL, other occasional sporting events.
News, at some point during the day.

That's about it. Even The Simpsons is barely a shell of its former glory, and I have most of the reruns memorized anyway. Except for those shows, the TV just exists for background noise. I know that soon, I'll just leave the TV off more and more often, moving that time into the internet and other non-TV activities.

I really do think the way people will watch TV in 10-15 years will look nothing like they do today. Forget TiVo, wait until you can get whatever TV show you want off the internet anytime, anyplace in the world. Except for major live news stories, or special evens like the Super Bowl, the push will be for on-demant TV shows. People will stop clearing their Thursday nights; Must-See TV will be When-I'm-Ready TV.

To continue the meme started by Caltechgirl, and to satisfy my own curiousity, I'll take note of what is on TV right now (12:33am PST).

2 (FOX) Celebrity Justice.
3 (NBC) Some country singer I dont recognize on Jay.
4 (KRON) Elimidate. Yeeech!!!!!!!
5 (CBS) Dave. Just got done with some R&B act I wasn't paying attention to.
6 (Independant) Makeup infomercial.
7 (ABC) LL Cool J talking to Jimmy Kimmel about his clothing line. Get those Emmys ready!
8 (Asian Channel) News in Cantonese. Interesting, but all the Cantonese I know is "gung hay fat choy."
9 (PBS)-Charlie Rose with Martin Scorsese. Might actually be interesting.
10 (International) Deutche Welle. I can watch German news in English. Ahh, the wonders of the 21st century.
11 (TV Guide Channel) Deserving a ranting post of its own. I can waste five minutes watching this to determine nothing is on.
12 (UPN) Some UPN sitcom attempting to get its humor from tired African American stereotypes.
13 (WB) Lord save me, it's a Ronco informercial. Pork loin roast cooker with the audience saying their canned lines in unison. Pray this isn't the video future anthopologists judge American Civilization by.
14 (Univision) Generic Latino family sitcom.
15 (Discovery) What's the host of The Amazing Race doing on this bridal show?
16 (???) Mambo drums. (Don't ask me, I don't know either)
24 (???) Weight loss infomercial.
25 (???) Hair loss informercial.
33 (???) Get rich quick infomercial.
38 (ESPN) 15,816th showing of the Dale Earnhardt movie this week.
40 (Fox Sports) Best Damn Sports Show. Tom Arnold. Quickly changing channel.
41 (TBS) Dumb and Dumber. That's how I feel right now for starting this.
43 (MTV) Cribs. Considering the size of my apartment, my episode of Cribs would fit in a 30-second commercial. Sigh.
44 (VH1) Some top 40 list show. Celebrity couples or something. Never seen a top 40 list show on VH1 before. Heh, yeah right.
45 (Spike) Dumbass crooks running from cops. I do miss Southern California.
46 (Lifetime) Another ad featuring housecleaning products talking to a housewife. I guess staying at home all day could drive you to talk to the soap bottle.
50 (TLC) Comcast ad trying to convice me to buy into their phone service. As if my cable and broadband aren't enough. You will be assimilated.
51 (Animal Planet)- A dog downhill-skiiing. Awwww.
54 (Cartoon Network) Adult Swim. Manga. I can feel hip watching TV at 1am.
55 (Disney) Kim Possible. Either kids are up at 1am watching this, or adults are. I don't know which is more disturbing.
56 (CNN) Bin Laden's new tape. Just in time for those last minute Christmas shoppers.
58 (CNBC) German stock market news. If you're doing well enough to have a financial interest in the German stock market, you should pay someone to watch this this instead of being up this early.
61 (???) Infomercial for a broom called OneSweep. Of course he makes a liar out of himself by using a multiple sweeping motion. Someone write the FCC.
65 (Court TV) Some guy killed his wife. Probably to be followed by some other guy killing his wife.
66 (Hallmark Channel) Some 90's kung-fu movie. On the Hallmark channel?? I'm speechless.
71 (???) Infomercial. "Finally, there is an affordable, safe, natural solution to your problem." If you hear these works, clutch your wallet tightly.
72 (TV Land) All in the Family. Ironically, a show that wouldn't be allowed on TV today. Imagine the FCC complaints that show would get. Comparing what TV/movies got away with 20-30 years ago versus today is another great rant I'll likely take up at a future date.
73 (Oxygen) Sue Johanson. Big vibrators and dildoes; how to get rid of crabs. Now this is Good Late Night TV. Speaking of the FCC, it's a miracle some group hasn't made a big stink about boycotting Oprah for allowing Oxygen to have Sue on. That's not quite enough to redeem my faith in mankind, though.
81 (OLN) Fishing show. I would take a fishing show over a poker show any day. Could someone please explain to me why the hell poker shows became popular?
82 (Golf Channel) They took a boring Saturday afternoon in front of the TV and made a channel out of it.



OK, enough of that. I took over half an hour to channel-surf and document my findings. Why the hell someone would insist on getting a satellite and hundreds of channels completely escapes me.

For the handful of people who read my blog, I would love it if you continued the meme, and did a quick survey of what's on TV in your area. I would also love to read comments on what you think the is the state of television is. I have always had a love-hate relationship with TV, and will probably never give it up. How about you?




Thursday, December 16, 2004

Salt in the Wound 

Ahh, the Bay Area. As I sit on my computer minding my own business, I glance up at the local 11:00 news (on mute right now) and see that for the eight bazillionth time Bay Area housing prices have set a record for median cost. And this during a flat economy.

I so do enjoy being reminded that my odds of me buying a house here rest between slim and none. But I'd rather live in a small apartment till I die rather than have a house and commute two hours each way for work.

Merry Jib-Jab 

OK, so I've been a little slow in posting this week (although I did add pictures to the sidebar, hope you like). But I can come up for air long enought to post this: new Jib Jab, yay!

Santa Claus!

I guess even poor Santa has budget problems. And watch out for that thermometer, ouch!

Thanks Caltechgirl.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Heartbreaking 

The UCSB Mens' Soccer team played great all season. They also played a great Championship game yesterday, staying even with perennial powerhouse Indiana through two overtimes. After a round of penalty kicks, Indiana ended up walking away with the NCAA Championship Trophy. Arrrgh! Winning championships is never a certainty, even with va partisan crowd and control of the game's tempo. Losing sucks, but I don't recall IU having any Nobel prize winners this year.

So there.

We Should Always Play the Cardinals 

Speaking of the difficulty of winning, the 49ers managed to win for the second time in thirteen games this season. Both wins were 31-28 scores aganist the Arizona Cardinals, with the winning 49ers field goals coming in overtime.

Who cares if a win makes it harder to get the first pick in the draft? A win is a win, and this win felt better than all those blowout wins the 49ers piled up in years past. The best part was the telling silence of the Raider fans that live next door. They lost 35-10 yesterday.

So there.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Cubicle Shenanigans 


Posted by Hello


Posted by Hello


Posted by Hello


Posted by Hello



I got back to Cali back on Wednesday, and I've been doing cleaning and other errands the last couple of days. I'll be more serious about looking for work starting next week. Hopefully, I won't be welcomed into the my new job by any of the above methods. Thanks to college friend Yvette for sending me the pictures.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Autobots & Decepticons 

You scored as Transformers. It's a car! It's a bus! It's a McDonald's! Well, kinda. . but who wants to choose just one novelty when you can have 50 in 1?

Transformers

92%

Thundercats

67%

Heman

67%

Voltron

67%

Smurf

67%

Shera

42%

Strawberry Shortcake

33%

Which 1980's Cartoon Character are you?
created with QuizFarm.com


Appropriate, considering I still have enough Transformers from my childhood to exchange for a small country.

Via Caltechgirl.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Caught Up 

Who hoo! I finally got my rear in gear and re-shuffled my blogroll. I added three Blogs of the Month, and I'll try to remeber to change them on time in early January.

Matt Leinart, quarterback of the USC Trojans, should have some interesting things to say on the final weeks of the drive to a NCAA Championship. Neurotic Iraqi Wife has a hubby currently on vacation from a rebuilding job in Baghdad's Green Zone. 'Bred Crumbs has things like a Lifetime Movie Title Generator.

Take note of this moment, it's the most organized this blog has been yet. I intend to add more links and stuff shortly, so I hope to make it all the better.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Picture of the Day 


A view of Saturn and its moon Mimas, Courtesy of Astronomy Picture of the DayPosted by Hello


I think it's been a while since I've posted anything Astro-related, so above is a nice picture for the Cassini spacecraft of Saturn. The streaks aren't actually rings, but shadows of the rings in the planet surface. Mimas is in the upper right.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Sacre Bleu! 


The Esteemed Inspector Clouseau (photo via AnovaPosted by Hello

The past couple of days haven't given much in the way of encouragement on how the War or Terror is going.


Case Number One: LAX Officials Searching For Explosives

LOS ANGELES -- Security agents from JFK Airport in New York searched for a cargo of missing explosives, Friday night.

An Air France flight into LAX was surrounded and searched late Friday night.

French military police said they lost track of the explosives that were being used for training at an airport in Paris.

The explosives could potentially be on one of 100 flights that left France, police said. (emphasis mine)

When the Air France jet from Paris arrived at LAX passengers said they were shuttled into busses and held for more than an hour without any explanation.

No traces of explosives were found.

No explosives were found on three other planes that were searched in New York.



I would like to be an optimist and just believe that this was just scene created for the upcoming Pink Panther remake. I can't France-bash over this, because after all explosives get stolen from law enforcement here at home as well.


Case Number Two: HHS secretary says terrorist attack
on food supply would be ‘so easy to do’

WASHINGTON - Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson resigned Friday, warning of a potential global outbreak of the flu and health-related terrorist attacks. “For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do,” he said.

Instead of being upset at him for basically telling the terrorists "Hey, you can get away with attacking our food supply," I am thankful for his candor. Hopefully people will light a fire under the butts of those responsible for keeping the food as safe as can be, and also light a fire under the collective ass of Congress to get going and get any necessary reform and/or funding approved.

I know that Homeland Security officials have to be successful 100% of the time, and the terrorists only once. It's tough, and we can't stop everything. But it would sure help to get a lot of the bureaucracy to do common sense things, like keep track of the training explosives!

Thank God for all those people we don’t know about are out there protecting us. Unfortunately, a handful of Clouseaus can screw things up.


Gotta Make Those Minimum Payments 

Aha! Now here is a better way to survival financially than doing all that pesky job search and working stuff:


California Man Owns 1,497 Credit Cards.

PISMO BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- He's a plastic millionaire.

Walter Cavanagh -- also known as "Mr. Plastic Fantastic" -- has a wallet nearly as long as a football field to carry his credit cards.

Cavanagh owns 1,497 valid credit cards (he assumes a card is valid until he hears otherwise) with a potential credit line of about $1.7 million.




OK, so obviously this is kind of a "Ha ha, how funny." story. But it is disturbing to think that I could get 1,000 credit cards if I really worked at it. It's a well known fact that we don't save enough money in this country, and that consumers are cajoled into living from one impulse buy to the next.

Believe me; I have no problem with spending $1.7 million if I could get my hands on it. It's just that comes up must come down, and I would eventually have to pay all that money back with interest.

Every day, I end up throwing away at least one credit card offer I get in the mail. I want to stay fiscally disciplined, but the banks make sure the temptation to go deep into debt is always present. Hey, if Trump can seek bankruptcy, it can be so bad, right?

Fortunately, I'm beginning to understand that useless crap won’t make me happy, and it's much better to not be enslaved by financial obligations. But a little rampant consumerism is OK, right? I could still get that 37 inch plasma TV for the NFL Playoffs. Of course, it's not like the 49ers will be anywhere near the playoffs. I guess they prove getting into debt does have its consequences. I'll just do what financially savvy people do when they want the finer things in live, convince loved ones to give me nice gifts and run up their debt instead!

Ahh, capitalism.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Thunk 

I was able to get into Raleigh-Durham Airport this evening, but the pilot didn't get extra points for artistry. It's surely a hard landing when the one of the flight attendants is overheard telling the pilot: "It sure was brave of you to come out and say goodbye to everyone after that landing."

I still have all my limbs and only slightly scrambled brains, so I will refrain from being critical myself. I don't ask for much.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Baby Oil Will Get That Off 


Symbol of North Carolina, ripped off from the UNC Web SitePosted by Hello

Tomorrow, I'll be off to the Tar Heel State to hang out for a few days with a couple old high school buddies, Caltechgirl and Darling Husband (hers, not mine, ewww!) I'll be blogging once I hack into their internet connection and/or get un-lazy.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Silent Cal 

I was reading through a book, and it included a quote about Calvin Coolidge and persistence. Old Cal was the 30th Persident of the United States, and among its least dazzling. It reminded me of a story about him I heard in a history class:


Coolidge was a some kind of party or something, and a lady walks up to him and says "I made a bet that I could get you to say more than two words here tonight.

Cal supposedly responded: "You lose." That was it from him in the conversation department.


Oh well, I thought it was funny at the time.