Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Victor Davis Hanson on NRO

New VDH article on National Review Online. Multilaterism vs Unilateralism.
Please read it.
Back to the salt mines.
"The Bush administration imposes new rules that require labor unions to report their expenditures in detail. The White House says the new rules will cut down fraud and shed light on union finances. But unions contend the rules are time-consuming and designed to cripple their operations. " - from

There's an audio link to this on the NPR website. I found this article interesting in that at the current time, we're taking to task the Enrons, the Tycos, the WorldComs for fraud, financial improprieties. Currently in Massachusetts, the mutual fund companies are being investigated for illegal practices, as well. These things should be covered and whoever is commiting a crime should be punished.

What I don't understand is the lack of coverage of issues like this outside the Corporate world. The NEA recently was investigated for fraud - turns out four union leaders were convicted so far of embezzlement. One Labor department investigator said that there are an average of 11 convictions a month for fraud in unions. These are groups that are supposed to be working *for* the worker. I'd think that the media would be all over this sort of injustice.

As we are moving towards more accountability and transparency in the corporate world, shouldn't the Unions, the Universities and the companies in the nonprofit sector be held to the same standards (if not higher)?
Surely, as I heard this morning, they are not all naturally above greed and impropriety.

I am so out of here...and I've like 1/2 a day to go...
Please go to Strong Bad's email section on
Homestar Runner.
In particular, take a look at the 'local news' email. Strong Bad takes on one of my biggest pet peeves. Misuse of the posessive.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

For all you green power folks who thought you invented the concept:

Robert Moses Project

"We were through with it before you knew what to do with it."

At the moment, the authority is working (ahead of schedule) on refitting/replacing turbines in order to increase output.

On a similar note, folks here seem to be amazed that the village I come from (nestled between Buffalo and Tonawanda, NY) has had a formal recycling program at least since I was a child. Some of my earliest memories were of the 'can can.'

Recycling, clean power, etc. Not just Yankee Frugality or Green Liberal Values. Just good sense, really.
Heard a snippet on NPR this morning about Cambridge looking to start giving out gay marriage licenses. You know my feeling about gay partnership, but I can't help but get a dig in on Cambridge. They are so on the forefront of everything: first the nuclear free zone. Next, the domestic violence free zone. Now the alternative partnership friendly zone. Cambridge, the People who can afford it's Republic.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Trying to decide whether or not I want to get a cable modem, one of those souped-up dedicated phone lines, or to keep my current pokey slow service. I'm also trying to decide whether or not I want to cut down on my cell phone plan or to even get rid of the blessed thing altogether. While I'm at it, maybe I should balance my retirement plan 'portfolio,' as well. All this stuff that needs tinkering with!

Had a decent weekend. Was outside a fair bit on Saturday. Got to take a nice walk on Sunday. Discovered Trader Joe's Creme Brulees. My word, they are heavenly! And you get to keep the ceramic crocks they come in, as well.

Now, just tired, dealing with the in between pre and post menstrual syndrome. Want to go home but don't feel like wandering in the dark. Sigh.

Thursday, November 20, 2003


Aller en marchandise aux Indes précieuses,
Sans acheter ni or ni parfum ni joyaux,
Hanter sans avoir soif les sources et les eaux,
Fréquenter sans bouquets les fleurs délicieuses,
Courtiser et chercher les Dames amoureuses,
Etre toujours assise au milieu des plus beaux,
Et ne sentir d'Amour ni flèches ni flambeaux,
Ma Dame, croyez-moi, sont choses monstrueuses.
C'est se tromper soi-même; aussi toujours j'ai cru
Qu'on pouvait s'échauffer en s'approchant du feu,
Et qu'en prenant la glace et la neige on se gèle.
Puil il est impossible, étant si jeune et belle,
Que votre coeur gentil d'Amour ne soit ému,
Sinon d'un grand brasier, au moins d'une étincelle.

-Pierre de Ronsard, des "Sonnets pour Hélène"
My little rage bunny in London had a fit yesterday. I wonder if he was more annoyed by having to read a manual for the upgrade he has to install of an OS he hates or by the prospect of having to protest in the rain.

Poor duck, either way.
It's very difficult to deliberately spell words wrong.
Certainly more difficult when you used to be spelling queen in school.
Fun, almost like writing poetry, once you get the hang of it.
What a pain in the neck! Literally!
Well, and figuratively speaking, too.
Okay. I've been living in my apartment for about 21/2 years now. Before then, I was someplace else for a year and a half. That makes roughly four years that I've not turned the TV on to sack out in front of after work. Just ain't my thing, normally. Tonight: cold, rainy. I'm completely beat. All I wanted to do was to sit in front of the boob with my "Pride and Prejudice" videos for a couple hours while knitting. I get through the first tape just dandy like. The second one goes in and all hell breaks loose.

No Satisfaction.

Hal says that I need to probably get a new VCR. I've only had the thing for maybe 9-10 years. Come on! My pots and pans are close to fifty years old, my mixer is around forty. My darn piano was born before and has outlived both my grandmothers. And the blessed VCR decides to give up the freaking ghost after so short a time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I've started knitting what I think will be a lovely modified guernsey for someone for Christmas. I have some nice wine-colored yarn with multi colored flecks. There's enough of it to double up and make a thick-gauged, quick and pretty (at least in the picture anyways) sweater.

Maybe the work on this will be the deciding factor in getting pictures taken and posting them.
We'll see.
Enough on the war and politics.
I'm tired of that all. Nothing to convince anyone of on the other side, as they're completely right no matter what. To anyone else, I guess I'm just preaching to the choir.

The dreams of reason produce monsters:

Face Transplants

How horrible a prospect, both from a health perspective and a psychological/social one.
Why would anyone conceive of this?

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Glenn Reynolds has some interesting insight on the nature of the 'peace' protesters in Europe along with the nature of the 'establishment media's' reporting on what is actually going on in Iraq.

War, Politics and Protest

I highly recommend reading the blogs of non media people in Iraq - both the soldiers' accounts and the increasing number of Iraqi bloggers.

The BBC has repeatedly been shown to misreport, as has NPR, the NYT, etc. They all have their own agendas, and I don't believe them to be necessarily tied to the well being of Iraq, the US or the west in general.

Please keep this in mind, too, with regards to the 'peace' protesters:

"You owe us an apology."
Nini brought in doughnuts. I had one french crueller.
Bad Be, bad bad Be.
I am really pleased to hear about this bit:

MA Court Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban

If one holds out and allows this to be a states' rights issue, then it stands a greater chance than trying to push it on the federal level. Pragmatism on a more grass roots level winning out over trying to 'win the hearts and minds' of whomever the folks on the federal level have as bedfellows in order to be where they are.

On the ideals front: I am a very strong proponent of what you could call "family values." I know that this flies in the face of the post modern/statist 'truism' that the family is the root of societal problems and that it should be abandoned as a relic of the nostalgic past:

Left Realist Criminology (last paragraph)

My view is that what defines a family should be and is evolving. Slowly, of course, but surely. Some of the stonger, more stable, loving relationships I've seen have been between gay partners. I cannot understand why anyone would logically punish them for this love, and give priority to breeders who marry, divorce and marry agaion. Or to those who feel free to serially get 'into trouble' and end up breeding on the state's dollar.
But that's me. I have other funny views, as well. You may have figured that out.
More proof that BUSH = HITLER!!!

Code Name First Used by Nazis

Brought to you, of course, by Reuters.
Liberal bias in the Media? Pshaw.

Further discussion of this will result in a halving of my choco-rations, I'm sure.
Check out Mark Steyn today for his latest:

Pepsi or Death
Left arm killing me.
Head hurts again. The muscles are starting to contract again, I think.
Was going to see Richard Dawkins this week, but I think I might have changed my mind on that:

�After you and Jeb stole the election (by a smaller margin than the number of folks you executed in Texas), you were rightly written off as a one-term president: a fair advertisement for Drunks for Jesus but otherwise an idle nonentity; inarticulate, unintelligent, an ignorant hick.�

I can�t forebear pointing out that that the author of that last letter - the one that called Bush "idle" but who himself could not be bothered to open up Google and check the number of convicted murderers executed in Texas between 1995 and 2000 (156 in total) - is Richard Dawkins, a prominent British scientist. Dawkins has written that �among the gifts that science has to offer is a baloney-detection kit.� Alas, if Dawkins was ever issued such a kit, he lost it when he started writing about politics.

-from David Frum's Diary

I've enjoyed very much the bit that I've read of Dawkins's work and I think he's a wonderful speaker. If he's going to go the way of, say, Noam Chomsky, who considers himself an expert on American Foreign Policy based on his position at MIT, well, that loses points. What can I say. What is so infuriating to me is the assumption that we should take him seriously when he makes these sort of statements. That seems to be the trend nowadays, though. We are to assume you are an expert on American Government/American Foreign Policy regardless of your specialty.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Okay, Pablo, I'll see your "gather your rosebuds" and raise it to French with some Ronsard!

From his second book of Sonnets for Hélène:


Quand vous serez bien vielle, au soir à la chandelle,
Assise auprès du feu, dévidant et filant,
Direz chantant mes vers, en vous émerveillant:
"Ronsard me célébrait du temps que j'étais belle."
Lors vous n'aurez servante oyant telle nouvelle,
Déjà sous le labeur à demi sommeillant,
Qui au bruit de mon nom ne s'aille réveillant,
Bénissant votre nom de louange immortelle.
Je serai sous la terre, et fantôme sans os
Par les ombres myrteux je prendrai mon repos;
Vous serez au foyer une vieille accroupie,
Regrettant mon amour et votre fier dédain.
Vivez, si m'en croyez, n'attendez à demain:
Cueillez dès aujourd'hui les roses de la vie.

Pablo's starting a new regimen: he's going to memorize all of Shakespeare's sonnets.
Yes, there are around 160 of them. Yes, he can do it. You should see the stuff his brain can retain if he puts some effort into learning it.

Was thinking on how I used to memorize poetry for mental exercise. How I would commit to memory pieces of music that Miriam would give me to learn. I am sooo soft now. Only bits and pieces of things come back to me now.

Maybe I should retrousser les manches, roll up my sleeves, get to work. Memorize a bit of something if only to stave off the flab, push back the laziness that is taking over my brain.
Bad day, bad day.
Cold, unhappy, b!tchy, bloated.
I know it's that time of the month.
For dinner tonight, I had a bagel, some potatoes and a bowl of cereal.
How's that for balanced?

I'm looking forward to the upcoming visit by Bush to London to see what sort of shenanigans the Anti War (pro Saddam?) protesters get into. If it weren't so sad, I guess I'd just laugh off the combination of virulent anti Americanism and moral impairment.

Ampersand snores.
No itty bitty kitty snort snoring, either.
She sounds like a fat, old guy. (Sorry, fat old guys.)
I could hear her over my playing tonight.

Did something funny over the weekend. I got the animals all stoned on Kitty Blow and Hal made movies of them wigging out. Funnier than most of the SNLs that have been on this season.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Really rough day ahead. I'd much rather be home.
Friday's Bleat

Just like Lileks, I'm sick of the lot of them.

In Andrew today, I read that Aaron McGruder, you know, the Unfunny 30 something Identity "cartoonist" who's been pushing his notion that Condoleeza Rice is ordering carpet bombs because she's an old spinster who just needs to get laid, has unequivocally called her a Murderer. And an NAACP spokesperson has seconded that.
Pathetic. Let's see, can't get her on not being BLACK, so let's get her on being an older, unmarried woman. Let's see what stereotypes we can use because We're a Minority and We're exempt from any criticism.

Let me go on record as saying that being an ignorant prick knows no racial bounds.

Thursday, November 13, 2003


Okay, fellow Bostonians, take a look out your window right now. Get a load of that sky!
Nature in action. Amazing.
okay: if people from Buffalo are called "Buffalonians" and People from NYC are called "New Yorkers," what does one call a denizen of Albany?
Last week, I heard talk about a bad poll in a local newspaper. The reader was outraged by what she perceived to be 'conservative bias by corporate media.' I guess if you are living off a daily diet of NPR, Democracy Today and the BBC, that would be your view. I think it should be said, though, what is being called 'truth' is only a preferred media product.
Anyhow, she was going on about how the 'truth' is being kept with us, that things are much worse than the 'corporate media' would lead us to believe. I don't know about that.

I bring this up because there is a great article in the Spectator (British Paper) regarding the origins of 'fact checking' an obviously biased and incorrect article. This is called "Fisking" after the Independent's Robert Fisk:

"The Dangers of Fisking"

Truth is in the eye of the beholder, no matter how blinded by irrational emotion he or she may be. It's just frightening to see this sort of stuff under the guise of 'fair and unbiased' news gathering.
Two excellent articles in opinionjournal today. One is Shelby Steele talking about Identity Politics, its use by liberals nowadays, and how Howard Dean crossed a line invoking it recently:

Shelby Steele

The other is on the degradation of the liturgy brought about by 'feel good,' therapeutic culture in the 1960s and 1970s. The author talks specifically about the change in liturgical music in the Catholic Church. I've been harping on this subject for years. If and when I go to mass (not that often anymore), I choose someplace where I can hear the music of Palestrina, de Morales, etc. To me, these composers, 'vulgar' as their music had seemed to those who formed the Council of Trent, truly communed with angels.

"Palestrina Was Not In Vogue"

What has the previous generation wrought?

I'm afraid to get branded as a racist for discussing the first article, as I am not black as Mr. Steele is. For the second article, I have many things to say about 'elitist' music and how I think that that argument, largely by white, priviliged 'folkies', is crap. When I was doing my 'community service' for confirmation, I had to play in a folk mass group. Two years of Cat Stevens, of Andrew Lloyd Webber, of Michael Joncas. It drove me away.

I find it amazing that music that was considered too 'vulgar' 600 years ago is now considered too elite, too inaccessable. I guess, though, if you were raised with the notion that you should not have to aspire to something, that everything should be brought to the lowest common denominator, then this might be the case. But you are cheating yourself out of perhaps a glimpse at something higher than you. When you make it a policy to cut out what might be considered 'difficult', you cheat others out of that experience. A much bigger crime, I think, than having to work for things rather than being provided with them.

Well, there's my two cent's worth. Read the articles, please.
Usually, when I go to the movies nowadays, I have a sinking feeling once the opening credits start. I say a little prayer that the film won't 'suck too bad.' Well, I had the customary sinking at the beginning of "Master and Commander" last night. It did not last long, however.

I cannot recommend this film enough.

I like balance. You can have a great cinematographer at the camera, but if the dialogue is weak, I will probably be very unhappy with it. The soundtrack may be divine, but if visuals are weak, I will hate the movie, most likely. Good concept? If not executed properly, I will not appreciate it.

"Master and Commander" got prettymuch everything right. Perfect soundtrack, amazing balance between action and repose, between public image and intimacy. Some of my favorite scenes were the musical ones. During the off times where the Captain and the ship's physician made music together, you could see the history between them. A bond forged perhaps since boyhood was depicted using but the subtle ways that they would joke with each other while playing and in their instinctive knowledge of what the other was in the mood for musically. I was so charmed by this conveyence of narrative using (sorry) 'non mediatized communication.' I am so unaccustomed to seeing it nowadays.

On the other end of the spectrum, the battle scenes were awesome. This is not your typical, Errol Flynn-like swashbuckling exchange of witty repartee. War is Hell. I saw in the battle scenes some of the most apt representations of this. The first few scenes in the film will blow your mind away, much as the cannons blew the quiet, the calm away on the Surprise.

A lot of research and work went into bringing us a reality so strong that it would be easy to suspend disbelief. Characters were strong and psychology was looked into. But this wasn't dwelt upon too deeply. Only enough to further the story. Actors trained intensively in order to appear to be fairly skilled at what they were doing, so that when they needed to look like they were inept, they did. Computer effects were minimal enough so as not to distract from the real action taking place on a real ship in real water.

About the last recent film that I felt this exhilarated by was "The Horseman on the Roof" based on the novel by one of my favorite storytellers: Jean Giono. I saw that film several times and reread my stock of Giono novels/stories. I will do the same with this film, and most likely will start reading the novels that inspired it.

Please go see this. It has given me faith that excellent movies *can* still be made.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Hal got a pass to see a preview of the new Russell Crowe as Seafarer movie! We're supposed to go tonight. I'm not feeling too hot, but I really want to catch this one...
Five hours' worth of work later, I can say that the yard is more or less winterized. Took out the Lilac with a minimum of injury to myself. Took out the big rosebush in the front bed. Pulled out the annuals and trimmed back the perennials. All that I need now is some mulch to put over everything.

What did this net me?

7 bundles of branches
3 trash bins of yard waste
2 chapped hands
1 set of shears with very dull blades
4 different kinds of seeds for next years plantings (marigolds, cosmos, a purple thing that looks sort of like a cattail, snapdragons in a variety of colors)
1 small loaf of banana bread from Raphaella.

Interestingly enough, I got more satisfaction from this than a normal day in the office.
Please look into this:

Binghamton House Move

I've seen the house that Andrew is trying to save. It is beautiful. From what I can see, too, Verizon is just coming up with a large figure to get him off its back.

Please consider writing a letter to the CEO. It could really help in what looks like a classic David and Goliath story.
I have a little casse-tete for you folks:

While speaking with someone regarding my being an analog chickie, I mentioned that it wasn't entirely true, that I did have some knitting patterns in a digital format. I've been wanting to get these things on the web, but I have a bit of a problem. The software I was using came with a book that my father bought me years ago.

The Needlecrafter's Computer Companion

My puzzler is this: how to get stuff off of an old TI with only a floppy drive and no network card. Or, how to find a newer program where I can reenter my current patterns.
Took yesterday off to get some at home work done and get another chiropractic tune up. I was hoping that the chiro would have helped more than it did. Don't know what the heck is the matter with me right now. 1/2 my body feels like it is raw meat. Oh well, better to feel than to have it numb. It was suggested that I get another ergonomic assessment and buy a Swedish foam pillow. I'll go for assessment #4, but I don't know about the pillow. It costs nearly $70. What all is the thing made of for it to cost that much?

Monday, November 10, 2003

Back again.
There was not much real relaxation going on, as is the usual during my vacations. It's amazing how quickly the time flew by and how much didn't seem to get done.

A few highlights:

Day of the Dead in Binghamton
Eastman House in Rochester
the Glassworks at Corning
Robert Moses Power Project in Niagara Falls
Buffalo Zoo

Quality Time with Dad, Mom and other family


Buffalo's Economic State
the exhibits at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site
The Buffalo Historical Society

More later on what I saw, heard, tasted, read
Guess I should admit that I didn't get all the reading done that I wanted to. Dad has some interesting stuff that I wanted to look at while I was there.