Silflay Hraka

11/08/2002




Get Your War On gets the full "homeboy done good" treatment from the News & Observer.


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Dynasty

Bush says Cheney would be 2004 running mate

Well, that screws Condi Rice pretty thoroughly, assuming that the above is true, and assuming she ever had any aspirations to the VP spot in 2004. Not that anyone should be surprised.

Have you forgotten the Bush family's obsession with loyalty? Have you forgotten Jeb? Remember when he was the Bush most qualified to be the president? He ain't getting any less qualified, folks.

This isn't about what is best for the Republican Party, and this isn't about what is best for the nation. This is about family. This about making sure that Jeb has the clearest possible field in 2008. Now that Jeb's been re-elected in Florida, he has a clean record and a clear shot, and he'll be all of 53 years old. He'll even have two years off to raise money and build a campaign after his second term ends.

And in 2016, when Jeb's two terms are over? His son George P. will be 40. I figure by then the country might be a bit tired of Presidents named Bush, so give him another 8 years.

Hell, he'll probably end up running against Chelsea.


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Mmmmmmmmmmm, Beer!!!!!!!!

I have got to get one of these .........for my kid of course (sound included).


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Jitterbug Perfume

Ngnat stunk this morning. She wasn't gassy, she was dirty. She had a nauseating sweet smell that conjured a memory of sweat socks left in the locker under a damp towel all weekend.

I tried to ignore it, but the way we dress her in the morning prevented it. I sit with legs akimbo on her big-girl bed, which is really just the twin mattress and box springs from my bachelor days, and she leans against me for balance while I pull on her pants. This puts my nose in close proximity to her neck, which is nice but is not normally something I think about. Today a sour reek emanated from her, so that I had the choice of either not breathing, or sending her to day-care half naked.

"Jesus, honey. You smell like poor people. " I told her.

We do bathe the child every now and then, but we'd skipped a night in the schedule because the sainted wife was knee deep in head cold goo, and the responsibility of bathing the Ngnat has fallen to her over time. Yes, I could have bathed her, but I didn't really want to. I don't have enough familiarity with the bathtime ritual, and if some bit of minutia in her expected schedule gets overlooked, Ngnat gets snippy at a decibel level that would cause disdain for my parenting skills in most single people. It's handy for clearing a room of cats, though.

Also, she thinks drinking her own bath water is good for giggles, which grosses me out no end. Her mother drinks after the cats, so I suppose she comes by it naturally.

I made another half-hearted attempt at pulling up her tights. After all, once I got her to day care it didn't really matter what she smelled like, as far as I was concerned. My next whiff convinced me that wasn't going to work, as any neutral sniffer would classify her as a foster care candidate once they got within a foot or two.

What the hell. I work in IT. My schedule is pretty much mine to make.

"Time for a bath, Missy Stink."

You would have thought I was sticking needles in her eyes. It's one thing to have Daddy not know what the hell is supposed to happen next at the regular bath time. It's quite another to stick one into the morning schedule without even a warning memo.

"DON WANNA BATH!!" she screamed, and burst into tears.

She lay on the floor and cried while the bath was drawing. She sat in the bath and cried while I washed her hair. She stood in the bath and cried while I scrubbed her. Nothing would console her. She screamed as if the tepid water I rinsed her with was boiling hot. This was not right, this was not how the world was meant to be, and dammit, the world was going to hear about it. Finally we were done.

She looked up at me from the tub, tears leaking of her red eyes, lower lip still trembling. "I wan get out, daddy."

So we got out and got dry and got dressed and had another minor bout of unpleasantness with the hairdryer, as she normally gets to let her hair air-dry. And we went downstairs and ate a cold pretzel that mommy had forgotten before she went to work and got in the car and just barely made it to daycare in time for morning snack. I sat her down and took her coat and Rosa put her juice and brown-sugar Poptart in front of her and I leaned over and kissed her goodbye.

She smelled great.


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Can you say "compensating?" I knew you could.


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11/07/2002




Absolutely the funniest political cartoon I've read this year.


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O.J.'s Morning and Early Afternoon

5:46 AM Wake up, brush teeth, take shower.
6:00 AM Count knives in upstairs knife drawer.
6:30 AM Get dressed.
6:40 AM Do some Photoshopping.
7:00 AM Count knives in kitchen knife drawer.
7:30 AM Get hamster from hamster cage.
7:31 AM Name hamster Christie.
7:32 AM Realize it's Thursday.
7:33 AM Name hamster Nicole.
7:40 AM Shave Nicole. Giggle at the fond memories that come with every nick.
8:00 AM Bandage hamster bites on finger, get vial of sugar water.
8:10 AM Stake hamster down outside ant hill in backyard, suck on new bites.
8:15 AM Bandage new hamster bites.
8:17 AM Leave trail of sugar water from anthill to hamster.
8:20 AM Pour remainder of sugar water on hamster. Sing a little song.
Raindrops are falling on your head,
and soon you will be dead, dead, dead, dead, dead!

8:30 AM @^@%#$@* ants haven't discovered the sugar water. Jab at anthill with Boot knife #12, "Starkweather."
8:35 AM Go inside for ant frying magnifying glass.
8:40 AM Notice knife in magnifying glass drawer. The world goes pink around the edges.
8:42 AM Move knife to kitchen knife drawer. Count knives. Notice slight notch on Steak Knife #24, "Olaf."
8:43: AM Sharpen Olaf. Sing a little song.
"If you're happy and you know it, slit her throat.
If you're happy and you know it, slit her throat.
If you're happy and you know it, then her neck will surely show it!
If you're happy and you know it, slit her throat."

9:00 AM Return Olaf to kitchen knife drawer.
9:01 AM Count knives in kitchen knife drawer.
9:31 AM Count knives in upstairs knife drawer.
10:02 AM Get magnifying glass #8 from magnifying glass drawer, realize that the sky has clouded over. Return to magnifying glass drawer.
10:03 AM Replace magnifying glass #8 in magnifying glass drawer. Get magnifying glass #11 from magnifying glass drawer, and flashlight #3 from flashlight closet.
10:05 AM Return to backyard, realize hamster has bitten through bindings. Migraine. Everything red. Drop magnifying glass and flashlight. Hear them scream as they fall.
10:06 AM Massage temples, rock back and forth. Sing the song that makes the pain go away.
It's a world of laughter,
A world of tears;
It's a world of hopes
And a world of fears.
There's so much that we share
That it's time we were aware.
It's a small world after all.
It's a small world after all,
It's a small world after all.
It's a small world after all.
It's a small, small world.

10:07 - 10:45 AM Repeat.
11:15 AM Wake up nude on floor of kitchen. Remove pants from garbage disposal, shirt from ceiling fan. Fail to locate Spongebob boxers. Bandage hamster bite on left testicle.
11:30 AM Search house for hamster.
11:45 AM Search backyard for hamster. Find grasshopper instead.
11:52 AM Pull the legs off grasshopper, throw in spiderweb. Watch Nature in all her fury.
12:00 PM Attempt to pet spider. Fail. Crush spider in bare hands.
12:01 PM Lick hands clean. They taste like......victory.
12:30 PM Get dressed again.
12:35 PM Answer knock at door, deny all knowledge of any naked man on roof earlier in the day to blond Policewoman and partner
12:40 PM Ask out blond Policewoman
12:45 PM Rub salve on testicles
1:00 PM Watch Discovery Channel documentary on "Manatees: Nature's Gentle Giants."
2:00 PM Resolve to go boating.


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Snuggling with The Bug

My daughter is 22 months old, and VERY verbal. She is putting sentences together and quickly learning how to use words to order people to do what she wants. For the first year and a few months we would wake to the random sounds of grunting coming from her bedroom. Incomprehensible sounds uttered to convey the message, “I am awake, somebody come in here and get me.” That has all changed. Now we wake up to, “Da-da, come and get me. I’m in here,” as though I need directions to walk to the west wing of the house and to her bedroom (really it is more of a hall, not a wing).

So, I go and pick her up and carry her back to our bedroom to hopefully get some additional precious moments relaxing in the bed before having to start our day. She may be quiet for a minute or two, but the conversation soon begins. Today it went something like this:

Bug: Da-dad

Me: (remaining quiet, hoping she will rest for 5 more minutes)

Bug: I wan sum milk, da-da

Me: (still quiet, recognizing this plan is not going to work)

Bug: It’s in the kitchen, da-da (translation: “hey dumbass it’s not going to walk to you”)

More silence

Bug: It’s in the fwidge, da-da. It’s in the kitchen, da-da. Get up, da-da. I wan milk, da-da.

Me: Can you say please?

Bug: Pleece, da-da (while additionally giving the sign language motion for please)


This all resulted in me getting up and getting her the desired milk. Why did we ever teach her that sign language? It is too cute to resist. Must…..get….milk…….power of 2 year old……….too much.

I thought it would be cool when she started talking, but it does mean that more time is needed to answer questions and censor what I used to say when she was unable to repeat it. Some things just make me want to pee in my pants, like in the bathtub the other night when she took the washcloth and scrubbed her……….region, and said, “I clean coochie, da-da.” What could I say to that? It’s absolutely amazing what they learn and say later when other people are around.

She will also include the, “No, don’t do dat” and the “Sit here”, but somehow this bossiness isn’t so bothersome. Hopefully she will want to curb her desire to run around the house naked before she reaches college or I guess she will be very popular. Kids rock!


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11/06/2002




Breaking Lagomorph News
We're no longer the only bunnies blogging. Check out the Belligerent Bunny Blog.

Zod: Look at the Hindquarters on that doe!
I know, I know.
Zod: Man, She can eat my offspring any day of the week.

And Joe, of The Short Strange Trip, has located the last remaining cast member from Night of the Lepus.


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Reality Bites

Holy Crap!!!!!!! They found her guilty. Too bad this jury wasn't handling the O.J. trial and had the guts to hand down the same verdict. I really didn't care if she got into trouble or not. She should, however, be punished for ever making Mermaids. That was the real crime.


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Radiation Cannot Stop Our Famous Flagellation

Spanking the monkey
Punchin' the munchkin
Shaking hands with the governor
Pulling your own weight
Bludgeoning the beefsteak
Getting the factory out of debt

Women all over the globe are already clamoring for access to the gallons of primo Romanian sperm the factory workers are expected to produce in the next couple of minutes.

"It's God's answer to all my prayers," said Manhattan resident Erica Hall. "You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get Romanian factory worker sperm in mid-town on a Saturday night."

Romanian sperm is known the world over for its toughness, surviving as it has through years of alcoholism, malnutrition and heavy metals industrial pollution under communist rule, not to mention the environmental background radiation from the Chernobyl disaster, and is more valuable per ounce than Beluga Caviar, though the taste is considered similar.

Sperm sommelier M. Lewinsky reviews this year's Romanian harvest.

"A cloudy, pale, straw emission. Thin white head, with some creamy stick. At first I thought this might have been chill haze, but it never went away ... leading me to believe that this is unfiltered. It's smells of a oily grain, (perhaps a native rye?) with suggestions of a sweet flavor and a touch of bitter fruit esters. I found it surprisingly flavorful with a large dose of fruitiness, some esters and a very unique herbal hop character on the palate. Bitterness was just enough to balance with a slight citrus twang in the middle. Mouthfeel was fairly smooth and creamy. Finish was clean, with traces of grain. I wish I had a bucketful!"

Those wishing to purchase Romanian sperm for business or pleasure are advised to contact the Romanian National Association of Exporters and Importers, trade@aneir-cpce.ro.


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Gay Sheep Have Different Brains

MSNBC has reported that researchers have apparently found that male sheep who mate exclusively with rams have a different type of brain structure than those who are "straight." My question is, "So what???" Who gives a rip? Why are we spending so much money to figure out why people are gay, unless the intention is to "fix" them. If they are gay, they're gay, and the reasons behind it don't matter, do they? Also, what implication does this have for sheep who are the victims of fraternity pranks and lonesome farmers?



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Dirty Baby Opera

Those of you with small children will appreciate the baby opera.


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D minus 20 something

If you want to know when the Pentagon is getting serious about putting boots on the ground in Iraq, keep your eye on the Hampton Roads waterfront. Specifically, watch the haze-gray ships scattered around the port with blue and gold bands on their smokestacks.

If they're gone, chances are good that war is right around the corner.


The Military Sealift Command has put to sea, one ship from the West Coast and two from the East. The USNS Bellatrix (pic), the USNS Bob Hope (pic) and the USNS Fisher (pic). Once they leave, it takes from 23 to 30 days to get to the Persian Gulf from the East Coast. I don't know the travel time from the West Coast.

The Middle East Times claims that the Bob Hope as already transited the Suez, but the picture accompanying the article is of a ship not even in the same class as the Bob Hope, so someone over there is confused. It looks like a Arleigh Burke class destroyer to me, but I'm no expert. I just play one on the Internet.


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Carnival of the Vanities #7

You know, there nothing quite as exciting as discovering that a post is due up in 6 minutes and you haven't even written the intro. I'd dazzle you with some fancy footwork, but not only did I spend far too much time following the mid-term elections, I've taken full possession of my Toddler's head cold. I was never sick before I had a kid; now I spend my healthy days jumping at sniffles, washing my hands incessantly and cleaning every surface in the house with a bacterial wipe that I know will do nothing but help to evolve a race of superbugs on my kitchen counters. I'll wake up one day tied down to my bed by the rubbery strands of gigantic slime molds domesticated by the great-great-great-great-great grandkids of an E.coli bacterium that saw me destroy the best cells of his generation. I'll be living Howard Hughes' worst nightmare; shedding virii and leaving a trail of slime wherever I go, with a dulled and witless brain that comes up with ever clunkier segues, like

Speaking of infectious......

Anschluss
skippy the bush kangaroo - deconstructing neville - for us to be neville chamberlain, hussein has to be hitler, and a very specific hitler: a hitler who already has invaded and occupied countries and is posed to do the same again. a hitler with economic and military power to do so. a hitler that threatens immediate war.

Shark Blog - Goebbels with a Pretty Face - PLO propagandist Diana Buttu-- shameless flirt, cynical exploiter of well-intentioned Useful Idiots, ardent practitioner of Joseph Goebbels' "Big Lie" theory of public relations, and all-around fabulous babe -- is on a speaking tour of the United States this month.

Big Iron
SouthKnox Bubba - Gear Heads - He was driving some sissy little Japanese car with odd little tires and wheels and a bunch of ugly gewgaws and gimcracks bolted on. It was painted up to look like some sort of cheap carnival ride and accompanied by that ubiquitous thumpa-thumpa-thumpa of your standard issue multi-megawatt brain scrambler "sound" system. It sounded like a two-cycle chainsaw with no muffler powering a rolling industrial strength metal stamping machine, and looked like something you would expect to see a hundred Barnum and Bailey clowns piling out of when it stopped.

Kalyr.com - Monorails - Old-fashioned science fiction cities always seem to be full of monorails; a generation or two ago they were seen as the mass transit of the future. As a child watching Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds, I was enthralled by the vision of aerial monorails replacing the London Tube, and cities linked by high-speed intercity monorails. 'Serious' transport publications presented a similar vision. Two rails was the past, one rail was the future!

Bloggin' Bloggin' Bloggin'
Poet & Peasant - Sensitivities - A week or so back I got an email from another friend. It caught me by surprise. He forwarded me that Guardian article by Woody Harrelson that so many in the blogosphere have been making fun of. I hardly knew what to say. Here was a friend whom I considered to be sensible and intelligent (and in fact I still do) and he was forwarding me this ridiculous piece of crap along with a note that clearly suggested that he thought the article was worth taking seriously

a small victory - meet the new boss - same as the old boss - I may come off like a blood thirsty hawkish mean-spirited, belligerent lunatic sometimes because I am.

The Coming Plague
The Safety Valve- Smallpox vaccination...yes or no? - Well, hepatitis B is far less deadly and contagious than smallpox, and the vaccine is required of schoolchildren. Twenty million doses had been administered by 1999, and there were 440 deaths associated with those vaccinations, making hepatitis B vaccination possibly 22 times as dangerous as CDC's estimates of the dangers of national smallpox vaccination. Again, this is now a required childhood vaccine.

Final Frontier
AMCGLTD.COM - Saturn Screwup - The gas escaped with such force that it was quite visible next to the Saturn V on the pad. A giant turbulent column of gas blasting into the sky is actually kind of hard to miss. Because of the lighting, you could see the turbulence on the edges of the column.

Furriners
Inside Europe: Iberian Notes - The Christmas Lottery - the numbers themselves are selected by, get this, blind children from a special school in Madrid; that, we suppose, is about as innocent as a hand can get.

Meryl Yourish - The Saudis Are Afraid of a Little Girl - This is the grip of the Saudi dictatorship on the information available to its people, brought to you by the government, using a tool made in America. This is the way to keep a nation brainwashed, and tyrants in power—by blocking the people's access to free and flowing information. China does it. Saudi Arabia does it. Too many nations do it.

Iron Eyes Cody Has a Posse
Fragments ~ From Floyd - Trashing of the Commons - Last night, a car drove down our single-lane gravel road in the small hours, radio blaring out wide-open gut-thudding percussion, if not entertaining the occupant of the car, at least providing an acoustic massage to his abdominal organs by the sheer volume of it. Being oblivious to the existence of others who might not share his taste in 'music' at this hour, I am pretty sure that this same blissful ignorant was also the one who deposited the Chicken McNuggets wrapper/box/bag further on up our lane last night, with never so much as a twinge of a thought about it.

Jack Handy Also Has a Posse
The Road to Surfdom - Silly Things Randians Say - If, in fact, I choose to help someone--that is, I do it because I want to and not because some law or other compulsion has forced me to--then I am obviously exercising my free, individual choice. This means that, for whatever reason, I can choose to help someone, and that further, at some other point I can choose to stop helping them.

Heretical Ideas - Randomness, Causation and Probability - The first thing that I'd have to point out here is that causation is a function of temporality. It would be meaningless to speak of causes and effects if there were no time. And, in fact, there are things in this universe that do not experience temporality (things that travel at the speed of light, for instance).

Philosoblog - Conservatism - If you think God is the basis of morality, then you're definitely a reactionary.

Materials Science
Clubbeaux - Performance enhancements? - Tennis players have been known to take performance-enhancing supplements – steroids and the like to improve their game. Clubbeaux thinks it's time the women's tour started cracking down on players such as Uzbekistan's Iroda Tulyaganova abusing silicone.

Media Bash
Sine Qua Non Pundit - The Scourge of Richard Cohen - After another in a string of abysmal losses for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' expansion franchise, head coach John McKay was asked by a reporter what he thought of his "I'm execution, and he replied, “I’m all for it."

Poli Sci
a small victory - get your memorial popcorn right here! - Let it be known that if anyone is seen eating a hot dog or playing with a beach ball at my funeral, I will haunt you to your last dying day. The music is fine, the laughter and applause are nice. But the first person who starts the wave will be hearing a lot of chain-rattling and spooky noises coming from their closet at night.

The Kitchen Cabinet - That Time of Year - Any elementary electoral scholar can draw you a line graph on which it can be quickly and easily demonstrated via dynamic game theory that the goal of an election is to put yourself as close to the middle of the spectrum as possible. I am reminded of a very simple example where hotdog vendors compete for location on a strip of beach. Everyone wants to be as close to the middle as possible, so as to garner all of the business to one side.

Ipse Dixit - Frivolity on the Ballot - Georgians will decide today whether or not to amend their state Constitution to "establish a program of dog and cat sterilization funded by special license plates."

See You On The Funny Pages
Amish Tech Support - Fisking the Fridge - *beep* "PSSST... Electrofridge 1... you there?"
*beep* "Electrofridge 2, I'm here. Wazzaup?"
*beep* "Wazzaup!"
*beep* "Wazzaup!"
*beep* "Let me try to ping Electrofridge 3 at the Smith's..."
*beep* "Wazzaup!"
*beep* "Wazzaup!"

MadKane - Handling Harvey - DUBYA: I just told ya -- I'm not dumpin Harvey! Ya really should get that eye looked at.
CHENEY: My eye's fine, damn it! Look! We're not dumping the guy. We're just mulling over the idea of asking him to resign. (Wink, wink)
DUBYA: Does it hurt?
CHENEY: What?
DUBYA: Yur eye. Does it hurt?
CHENEY: No! But you're giving me chest pains.

Solonor's Ink Well - Arise My Minions! To Arms! - Remember the little interview I did for them that I was so very excited about? I know I mentioned it at least once... Anyway, they ran their stupid little story without me! ME! Best. Blogger. Ever.™

Raving Atheist - Fate of Universe Hangs on Mary's Sex Life - Top Vatican officials warn that the universe may be imperiled if it turns out, as the evidence suggests, that Mary was dirty filthy whore who had sex with her husband.

Ravenwood's Universe - Americans for Chicken Safety - To truly stop cock fighting, you need to address the source of the problem. Chickens. As long as anyone can simply walk into a store and purchase a chicken, no one is safe. I propose a state-wide blanket chicken ban to stop all cock fighting. At the very least, you should need a license to purchase a chicken, and there should be a three day waiting period. That will stop any spontaneous cock fights from starting up.

Silflay Hraka - The Top Exhibitors at the Baghdad International Trade Fair - Shrapnel "R" Us - Since becoming a public company in 1991, Shrapnel "R" Us , Inc. has built its reputation as an authority on shrapnel and shards. We are a market share leader in the largest markets in which we operate, including Mosul and Basra. In Baghdad, our largest market, we are the only true nationwide freestanding destination twisted shards of metal store.


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11/05/2002




Election Update

After seeing no NC blogs listed at either BlogTheVote2002USA of on the Daily Pundit's list of election links, I figured I'd do it myself. Not that there seems to be a great demand for the service, mind you.

The N&O says the turnout is relatively large.

You'll be able to see unofficial State results here. As of 2:30 EST, there are none.

Charlotte residents can see see state and local results here. There are no vote totals, but interestingly enough the site lists how many people are eligible to vote in each election.

United States Senator

0% of precincts complete (0 out of 191) 0% Voter Turnout (0 out of 446105)

Member of Congress District #8

0% of precincts complete (0 out of 30) 0% Voter Turnout (0 out of 59675)


Update: The NC Board of Elections has inadvertently exposed not only the the home addresses of all the candidates running for office, but what appears to be a list of all the people who have cast absentee ballots. I've called people listed in the file, and confirmed they did indeed cast an absentee ballot. The list of files is available here.

Further Update: After fruitlessly trying to contact the NCBOE and the Orange county Director of Elections, I called the Chapel Hill Newspaper and spoke to a reporter there. We'll see what happens next.

Another Update: After further perusal of the file, I've determined that it does not actually contain a code indicating for whom an absentee ballot was cast. I can tell you that slightly more Democrats than Republicans have returned their absentee ballot, though the difference is more than made up by the number of independent absentee ballots returned. I'll post numbers as soon as I figure out whether I can or not.

Some More Update: I finally found someone in the IT department at the NCBOE, and apparently the information is meant to be publicly available. The reporter I talked to has also confirmed this. So I'm free to do with it as I will. I'll start analyzing the DB, but I can tell you that out of 223, 652 absentee ballots mailed out;

Registered Democrats have returned 98,368 ballots
Registered Republicans have returned 89,504 ballots
Independent voters have returned 21,284 ballots

I'd argue that this means Erskine has the advantage, but it's going to depend on how the independent voters break.

113,385 women have cast an absentee ballot.
Of those, 56,824 are Democrats and 56,561 are Republicans.
97,281 are white. Of those, 41,964 are Democrats. 55,317 are Republican
14,993 are black or African American. Of those, 14,326 are are Democrats. 667 are Republican
847 are Other
294 are American Indian
33 are Asian

Men are on the way


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The Process of Voting

Voting is important, and I have tried to be, for most of my voting career, someone who takes this responsibility seriously and makes an effort to vote each time an election is held. Admittedly, I haven’t always known who all of the candidates were, instead opting to vote along party lines the first few times I participated, but now that has changed for me.

I am still a registered Democrat, but try to remain open-minded about elections and not make decisions based only along party lines. Instead, I try to learn about the candidates, at least the major ones, and then make an educated decision.

I am beginning to think that the people standing in the rain in front of voting sites who hand out everything from keychains to candy with a candidate’s name on them, have a greater impact on the smaller races than on the larger ones. For example, the race between Elizabeth Dole and Erskine Bowles will be won on advertisements and debates, not because somebody was giving out free cans of Dole pineapple chunks with Libby’s face on them. However, I believe that the smaller elections could easily be won from these methods or other small occurrences. For example, when 12 people are running for some office without party affiliation, do most people vote for the first 2 listed? Do they pick the ones with the coolest names, or because they are holding a comb with a candidate’s name on it?

Honestly, I don’t know who everyone is on the ballot, like for clerk judges and sheriffs and end up making those decisions based on a variety of factors. Today, as I walked into the voting site my decision on who to support in the election for sheriff was determined by the folks standing outside campaigning for various people. One man was making a point of handing out cards to people walking in, people who happened to be well-dressed. I, on the other hand, came home from work, put on an old hat and a pair of shorts and paraded my child with me to the voting booth. It was obvious that he turned away from me, made some short comment to my daughter (“Hi”) and avoided making eye contact. It was only after the other people started handing me stuff that he followed me towards the building to hand me stuff.

Screw him!! I may have looked like trailer trash, but that doesn’t mean that my vote doesn’t count. I wanted to piss on him, but realized that would do little to change whatever opinion he had of my importance. The fact that I thought that through shows that I am developing cognitively, just maybe not as quickly as I should be. It will be interesting to watch the results tonight (a sign I am getting older) and see if my people won. I, like Bigwig, gave my support to Erskine Bowles, a man whose name sounds like a body part, which may mean his chances of winning are slim. But I wonder how many of the smaller races were decided because of a smile, a “thank you”, a piece of candy, or a business card. At least one vote was cast because of a small behavior, but I’m sure my experience is not unique.

Sure, one vote does matter, and so do the actions of all the people who may associate themselves with a particular candidate. I might think of running for an office, but I’m sure someone would conduct a background search and Bigwig might sing like a canary so for now I will just cast votes and not try to gain any.


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Election Day

Senate: I was given the choice between Clinton's Techno-geek and an elderly Prom Queen who hasn't won an election since. Despite the aroma of aged leather and Talcum powder, I was leaning Dole until I saw a Liddy commercial accusing Bowles of supporting Fast Track Trade authority for Clinton. Gasp! How horrible! You'd never see President Bush desiring such an awful thing, would you, Liddy?

Liddy loses for treating me like I'm stupid. I voted for Erskine, as did the sainted wife

House: Faceless Republican Tuan Nguyen or Democrat David Price, who has not only spoken to me personally a number of times, but who remembers and speaks well of my father every time we meet?

Given Price's vote on Iraq, and safe in in the knowledge that my vote will not matter in the least, I cast a protest vote for Tuan. Sorry, David. You'll be glad to know the wife canceled me out; she was still impressed with how Ngnat took to you at the Greek Festival last year.

Durham County Commissioners - An odd race, in that 5 Libertarians are running against 5 Democrats, with no Republicans on the ballot. We both voted the straight Lib ticket.

Given my voting history, I expect every single person whom I voted for to lose.


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Hey, Honey, No pressure or anything.


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Update from Jerusalem

And did those feet in ancient time
Toke upon England's bong hits green?


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Psuedohornysomatidae

Anna Nichole has fooled everyone. She's not a drugged out bimbo, she's a keen herpetologist and performance artist engaged in performing her latest multi-year piece, entitled The Side-Blotched Lizard,

This is the ultimate example of a female having her cake and eating it too," said Calsbeek, the first author of a study appearing Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It would be like a human female who marries a short, dumpy rich guy and then has an affair with a muscular 20-year-old to have a handsome son who grows up in a mansion and goes to the best schools.
...
Generally, the female picks the mate she'll live with. Calsbeek said he and his co-author observed that the female generally prefers a big male who lives on a big rock in the best location.

To see if the female was selecting the choice living site or the choice male, the researchers moved the rocks around, putting the big males on poor rocks and the little males on the best rocks in the finest neighborhoods.

The female lizards seemed to prize comfort over all else, choosing small males with the fancy rocks as the first mate and live-in partner.

But that's not the end of her choices.

Calsbeek said the female is "incredibly promiscuous," commonly mating with five or six males per reproductive cycle.


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The top exhibitors at the Baghdad International Trade Fair.

Shrapnel "R" Us - Since becoming a public company in 1991, Shrapnel "R" Us , Inc. has built its reputation as an authority on shrapnel and shards. We are a market share leader in the largest markets in which we operate, including Mosul and Basra. In Baghdad, our largest market, we are the only true nationwide freestanding destination twisted shards of metal store.

Bed, Ba'ath, and Beyond Bunkers - For those who demand the highest level of comfort in their underground refuges

Mistress Subha's Instruments of Discipline Warehouse Club - Mistress Subha's is Iraq's leading members-only warehouse. We offer our 1 member exceptional value on name-brand merchandise at "members only" prices for both business and personal use.

PWOT mustache wax

Unconditional Surrender for Dummies Bookstand - Offering the authoritative French version, personally autographed by General Henri Philippe Petain, with a new foreword by Jacques Chirac

Sandburger Helper - The helping hand moms rely on to prepare skillet dinners now offers a hand in making favorite oven meals, including lasandgna, dirtloaf and leather and biscuits. Preparation time for new Sandburger Helper® Oven Favorites® meal kits is minimal, so any night of the week families can enjoy classic comfort foods straight from the oven. Hamburger Helper Oven Favorites offer eight easy-to-make, family-pleasing dinners. Choose from Sandburger Helper, Leather Helper® or Tunic Helper® Oven Favorites varieties.

Victoria's Burkha - Now with Man-Pleasing® ankle windows!

International House of Anthrax - brought to you courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service

Banana Republic - Because we're fond of irony

Scott Ritters' Express Mail-Order U.N. Inspectors - When you absolutely need absolution, overnight.

Build-a-Bomb Workshop - Fun for the whole family! Build and personalize your very own explosive! Choose from our extensive collection of Black powder, Semtex and fuels. Coming soon; U-235!

The New Iraqi Army - From the people who brought you the emperor's new clothes (under exclusive contract to the Western Media)

Haagen Gas - Offering 32 flavors of premium chemical weapons and sorbets in a variety of incarnations, from cones and sundaes to grenades.

Chick Fillet - The Arabic man's knife shop, bearer of the coveted Qusay Hussein Seal of Approval

Organized Dying - Organized Dying is a one-stop, destination shopping experience that features a wide selection of storage and organization products for all areas of the crypt and mausoleum. Customers find every conceivable urn, coffin and storage item, problem-solving tool (Crowbars for the portly lady, mop and bucket for Iraqi Tank crews) or product, conveniently displayed in impressive 20,000-30,000 square open market. At Organized Dying, customers find practical solutions to their organizational problems and associates are trained to help, making death seem less overwhelming and more fun.

Slaughtery Barn - The children's division of Organized Dying, Slaughtery Barn provides coffin furnishings and materials designed to delight and inspire the imagination. As a chip off the old block, our collection has inherited Organized Dying's comfortable, well-designed aesthetic. Every Slaughtery Barn design is guided by a careful regard for child burial standards. Join us 3:00 pm every weekday for our Kid Lid® coffin painting sessions and let your son or daughter personalize the coffin of their choice! You'll rest easier in your windowless cell knowing that the sightless eyes of the child the Baathists shot down in front of you will stare forever at a painting they made!

Al-Qaeda Diamond Distributors - Because diamonds are forever, and blood-covered ones are cheap.

Prosthetics Unlimited - formerly Uday's House of Legs

Smugglers Cove - Trading oil for nuclear materials since 1985

Catering by Taste of Takrit


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Shaken, Not Stirred

Bond girls, then and now. Sweet nectar of life, BOOOOO-YAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Wish they'd died before they got old.


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I knew politicians were gasbags; I didn't need anymore proof. Thanks for trying, though, guys.


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The Lileks Frottage Count

Stands at 2


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11/04/2002




Dead Man's Hand

What the hell are the Saudis thinking? On the face of it, telling the U.S. that Saudi Arabian bases are off-limits even if the Security Council passes a resolution authorizing a military strike on Iraq is dipshit insane. Insane, because the accepted wisdom is that Dubya & Co. are the best friends the Saudis have in Washington, and that both sides will do anything to avoid an open break.

Except that now the House of Saud has gone and broken. It's going to be pretty hard to interpret this as anything other than a slap in George Bush's face, though he ought to have developed a Saudi callus by now.

So why now? The two main pressures on the Saudis, a restive population and the theoretical collapse of OPEC at some point in the future, are chronic rather than acute problems, so neither demand immediate attention, unless the Saudi population has actually screwed itself up the sticking point and is ready to rebel without anyone outside of the country noticing.

There are other hypotheses that might explain the sudden Saudi break. One, that there is an impending strike against Iraq with or without the blessing of the U.N., and the House of Saud is attempting to head it off, or at least position themselves as opposing the U.S. in the eyes of the Arab street. There's certainly circumstantial evidence that an attack might be forthcoming. Kuwait has not only sealed off one third of the country, it has shut down the local Al-Jazeera affiliate, thus removing a potent source of anti-American propaganda at the same time that it effectively hides all American troop movements . Arguing against imminent violence is the continued presence of the ships of the Military Sealift Command in Hampton Roads.

"If I go where I think we'd be going," said Capt. Doug Harrington, master of the 950- foot Sealift ship Mendonca, "I figure 23 to 30 days from activation here in Newport News to there" - "there" being a port near Iraq.

As of Oct 28th, the ships docked at Hampton Road's were still empty, and manned only by skeleton crews.

If a strike is not close at hand, what are the Saudis doing? Well, let's look at the timing of the announcement. Two days before the mid-term elections, elections that will have a great influence on the U.S. course in the Middle East for the next two years, the House of Saud bitch-slaps the biggest Republican in the land, not to mention a supposed "friend of the family" by announcing that they will not support a war on Iraq, no matter what.

Saudi Arabia has given up on the Republicans and has pinned all their hopes for--if not avoiding a war, at least reducing its impact, on Democratic control of Congress. It's a fundamental misreading of both their importance as an ally and their influence on Washington, for it's a strategy that has already gone wrong.

You would think that what amounts to a historic break with one of the United State's major allies in the Middle East would rate a little more coverage, but the story has vanished from all the major media outlets in less than 24 hours. For it to have an effect, the Saudi's needed the announcement to be the main obsession of the media at least through Monday. They needed politicians to look at the story and say that "if our valued and important ally cannot support us, we should not be waging war in the Middle East," and none were forthcoming. They needed pundits to seize on the story and dwell on it at length, to discuss the difficulty of navigating the treacherous waters of the Middle East without a Saudi pilot at the helm. Instead America gave a collective yawn and moved on.

That'll teach 'em to compete with the NFL.

The impact on the election is going to be nil, thanks to Jesse Ventura and Ariel Sharon and their domination of the current news cycle.

The Princes have uncovered a hole card, looked up, and discovered we stopped playing poker a while ago and left them alone at the table.

We'll see whether they've learned anything from the lack of response to their latest ploy. If they try to play the oil embargo card sometime in the future, the answer to that question will be "no."


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Is It Hot In Here?

Call me crazy, but I think this girl really, really likes me. She wouldn't do that for just anyone who happened across her website, would she?

UPDATE: HERE IS YOUR WARNING, YOU MAY SEE A BOOBIE HERE!!!!!


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They Blow'd Up

Oh damn, some Al Qaida suspects were killed when their car blew up. The cause is not yet known.............and why the hell would we care? It blew up, they are dead, case closed.........NEXT!!!!!!!!!!


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Posh-itively Frightening

Apparently a plot to kidnap a former Spice Girl, Posh Spice, was thwarted over the weekend. Nine people were arrested who were planning to kidnap her and her children and hold them for a $5 million dollar ransom. Who knew that 9 people even knew of Posh Spice? I hope I didn't start this. I made the comment at a party that I wouldn't mind if the Spice Girls disappeared forever, but I just meant from the music scene............sorry, my bad.


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11/03/2002




The Golden Age

When academics and the media deign to examine the Internet, what they see is spam, emoticons and the h4X0r 14ngu4g3, all of which are the literary equivalent of garlic to a vampire. Despite the fact that the primary method of communication on the Internet has always been the written word, it is lumped in with reality shows and Grand Theft Auto 3 as language cancer, mostly thanks to how people use its primary short forms of communication; e-mail and the IM.

The ubiquity of e-mail and instant messages are due to the power they have for a concise, staccato transmittal of ideas. Both are an ideal type of short form communication and people compress language using them in the same manner as when the telegraph was king. However, transmission of something more than a comment or single thought to a wide audience is more easily don via a website than by either of the above. And it is via websites and blogs that a large and growing number of people perform most of their interaction with the written word on a daily basis, not only by reading those words, but by writing them as well.

And just because they write mostly cat stories rather than an updated Dialogues is no reason to dismiss the form. Not only is the impact of the Net on language just beginning, any writing is better than none. Any creation is better than yet another flaccid, passive ingestion of Fear Factor.

Twenty years from now we might be able to say with some certainty that the initial impact of the World Wide Web is coming to a close, but right now it's still growing. I can only look back six or seven years to when I first came online, but my experience has been that content is growing at a geometric progression, because as time goes by it gets easier and easier for anyone to add to that content. As content creation gets easier, more people create content. The act of creating something, even something as small as a post linking to the thoughts of another, forces a person to bang on words until they say what what a person wishes them to. Everyone can be a creator. Everyone can be a wordsmith. That will end up being the biggest boon to the language since Francis Bacon picked a nom de plume.

If anything can be called a rule of thumb on the Net, it is that the most popular sites are ones that are most often updated, at least during the workweek. Regular updates don't happen without content, and the creation of Internet content is the realm of the wordsmith. Yes, there's Flash, and streaming video and all the other bells and whistles, but hooking up words and phrases and clauses is still the cheapest, fastest way to bring in the eyeballs. No, not all of the Internet is the unchallenged province of the wordsmith, but he casts a larger shadow over the world's populace now than at any time in the last 80 or 90 years. If one measures the potential impact of any particular piece of writing, then a comparison with history is simply impossible. At no time in the past could literally anyone have published their writings with the quite reasonable expectation that it could be read by people in every continent on the planet within a matter of minutes.

But while it's easier to create something once, creating it on any kind of regular basis can be pretty damn daunting at times. The ones who do it the best tend to have a excellent command of the language as well as an ever-refreshing spring of creativity, and they reach a lot of people, far more than almost any of the so-called "print" mediums other than newspapers and magazines. Jonathan Frazen was on the NYT best seller list and sold 90,000 books over 5 weeks. The most popular blogs equal that number in less than a week. Blogdom as a whole probably triples that number every day, at a minimum.

For the sake of argument, let's classify blogs as part of the "print medium." You could print out a blog if you wanted to, after all. Now name any other part of that medium where the readership numbers are growing rather than declining. Hell, name any other part of that medium where the authorship numbers are growing rather than declining. You can't. And that leaves bloggers as the new keepers of the written word.

For all the claims that have seen about the impact and significance of blogging, that is one thought about the practice that I have yet to run across. Not that it probably isn't already out there somewhere, but the Internet is large, and my time is finite. Simply put, we're in a golden age for the written word, and no one realizes it, because the conventional wisdom is still caught up with decrying television and video games as the death of language. The fact is that more people are writing down more words than at any point in time since the personal letter was the primary form of communication. If we haven't already surpassed the age of letter writing in terms of sheer output, then we soon will.

Language mavens look at the ever-shrinking audience for books, magazines and newspapers, cross it with the burgeoning numbers surfing the web and foretell the coming functional illiteracy of the populace. If they refer to blogging, it's usually in the context of another in the "great unwashed need an editor" series of stories.

I have one word for them. Frottage. "The technique of creating a design by rubbing (as with a pencil) over an object placed underneath the paper." How many of you knew that word before Lileks used it last week? Or before now, for that matter? And to those of you whom the word was familiar, when was the last time you saw it used in the mass media? Or anywhere? It's not the only two-dollar word he used in that post, either.

Here's a short list; zygote, aural, fogey, schmaltzy, dross, doxy, sublimity, mitigation, bumptious, vamp, idiom, reiteration, magilla. The list is shorter than it would be otherwise because I'm an English major, and there's 75-cent words in there that I don't think twice about, but you could pull an 8th grade vocabulary test out of the Daily Bleat every single day it's posted.

Just for comparison's sake, here's a vocabulary list from the top story at the USA today site, Bush, Clinton converge on Florida; implored, itinerary, discerning. Yes, it's USA today versus Lileks, I know, but the comparison is not that horribly unfair. The point is that the mass media long ago stopped trying to challenge readers in favor of earning money. When "Educate and Inform" is even considered it is within the context of the facts of a story, and is not applied to the actual form of the article. People and EW aren't going to call Ms. Aguilera a doxy, because people might not understand the word, It has nothing to do with the negative connotations of "doxy". They're not going to call her a chanteuse, either. You don't get to be popular in their world by throwing roadblocks in front of the readers. They are corporate publications, and as such have all the substance of cud. Novelists have substance, on occasion, but their reach is limited to those who buy books or check them out of a library--really just to the subset of those numbers that actually read the book.

The only regularly published people with a comparable audience (albeit collective, for the moment) to the mass media as well as voices idiosyncratic enough to use words like frottage, and well, idiosyncratic for that matter, are bloggers, and our close kin in places like Slashdot. We're the carriers of the written word for a time, until technology makes Internet Broadcasting as easy as Internet Publishing is now, at which point we can expect the language pundits to once again foretell the coming death of the written word.

At least until the Interplanetary Net comes online, and bandwidth constraints once again make the written word the cheapest form of communication.


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