December 31, 2006
But if you follow the link in this post you can watch it if you want. The choice is yours.
December 30, 2006
I hope this brings some measure of peace to the tortured memories of the Iraqi people.
December 29, 2006
1. Was 2006 a good year for you?
2006 was a roller coaster of year. A roller coaster with lots of twists and turns and many loops.
2. What was your favorite moment(s) of the year?
Riding the Ferris Wheel at Ocean City with my kids.
3. What was your least favorite moment(s) of the year?
My wife's fifth spinal surgery in seven years - a cervical fusion.
4. What did you do in 2006 that you’d never done before?
Seriously considered a career change.
5. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
If I made one I don't remember it - so I probably didn't keep it. (I just checked my archives and if I made a resolution I didn't blog it either.)
6. Where were you when 2006 began?
7. Who were you with?
8. Where will you be when 2006 ends?
9. Who will you be with when 2006 ends?
10. Did anyone close to you give birth?
11. Did you lose anybody close to you in 2006?
My best childhood friend died of a heart attack at the age of 43.
12. Who did you miss?
13. Who was the best new person you met in 2006?
No one stands out.
14. What was your favorite month of 2006?
August - I took a real vacation.
15. Did you travel outside of the US in 2006?
16. How many different states did you travel to in 2006?
New York and Rhode Island - but I live in Connecticut so it's not saying much.
17. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
A chance to sail - and perhaps race.
18. What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Nothing leaps out.
19. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Making it to the end.
20. What was your biggest failure?
An overwhelming lack of personal progress.
21. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A couple of bad food related experiences I hope to never repeat.
22. What was the best thing you bought?
A massaging recliner for my wife.
23. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My son's when he seemed to grasp that the rules apply to him and other people sometimes get to win.
24. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
A list far to vast and anonymous to begin to contemplate so I'll just say a frighteningly large percentage of the human race.
25. Where did most of your money go?
26. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The possibility of new career opportunities.
27. Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2006?
I think I had about six beers, two cocktails and glass of wine.
28. Did you do a lot of drugs in 2006?
Does Tylenol count?
29. Did you treat somebody badly in 2006?
I've probably had my moments.
30. Did somebody treat you badly in 2006?
Yes. See #24.
31. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? - About the same.
ii. thinner or fatter? - Very slightly thinner.
iii. richer or poorer? - Still house poor. But getting by.
32. What do you wish you’d done more of in 2006?
33. What do you wish you’d done less of?
34. Did you fall in love in 2006?
I'm still very much in love with my wife if that counts.
35. What was your favorite TV program(s)?
36. What song will always remind you of 2006?
Free Will, Rush.
37. How many concerts did you see in 2006?
Four performances of the Fairfield County Children's Choir. Two performances of the Holland Hill Elementary School Orchestra. One Performance of the Holland Hill Fifth Grad Chorus
38. Did you have a favorite concert in 2006?
I loved every one I saw.
39. What was your greatest musical discovery?
iLike. A plug in for iTunes that recommends similar music to what you are listening to - including some you can download for free.
40. What was the best book you read?
I mostly read business related books, none of them really stand out
41. What was your favorite film of this year?
I really only saw movies with the kids this year. My favorite was probably Pirates of the Caribbean.
42. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Went grocery shopping and did laundry - no one had the capacity to do any sort of celebration so we decided to delay it a month. 44.
43. What did you want and get?
44. What did you want and not get?
45. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
46. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
Whatever managed to satisfy the minimum company standard.
47. What kept you sane?
Sheer force of will.
48. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
49. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.
If appropriate recognition of hard work and dedication requires that a decision be made that is contrary to corporate policy - you're screwed.
50. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
They can't tell me who to be
Cause I'm not what they see
Yeah, the world is still sleepin while I keep on dreaming for me
And their words are just whispers and lies that I'll never believe
And I want a moment to be real
Wanna touch things I don't feel
Wanna hold on and feel I belong
And how can the world want me to change?
They're the ones that stay the same
I'm the one now
Cause I'm still here
I'm the one
Cause I'm still here
I'm still here
There were no surprises as the tiles were stripped from the walls and the shower surround the plaster and a to be determined portion of the framing are shot. These are not new problems. There is ample evidence of attempted repairs some time in the home's past. Repairs that left my contractors shaking their heads in disbelief. I don't know why they are surprised. This is the fourth of fifth project they have done done for us and have his this moment at least once in each and every one. There is nothing to do but take the whole room down to the studs, repair or replace any damaged framing and proceed from there.
I just want to say that I love my home. But at times like these, I really hate my house.
December 28, 2006
We were planning to pull up the really ugly and falling apart tile floor and replace it with a not ugly new tile floor. The ugly tile on the walls and the shower surround were going to painted white with really good epoxy paint. A new commode and a new vanity and bit of new trim would give us a new bathroom for a few thousand dollars.
When that was done we planned to tackle the upstairs bathroom. The upstairs bathroom is really a big closet into which they stuffed a stall shower a toilet and small vanity. I'm not a claustrophobic person but I really can't spend too much time in there. So by virtue of it's size we weren't going to be spending too much money there. A new vanity and toilet. Paint the non tiled parts of the walls, a new inexpensive floor. Two grand tops - probably less if we didn't go crazy on the fixtures.
Like war, any renovation plan does not survive first contact with the enemy. Particularly if the enemy is a 50 year old house. Two minutes into removing the tile floor in the downstairs bathroom and it became apparent that the sub-floor was rotted and would need to be replaced. This means we need to remove the porcelain bathtub. This can only be accomplished by taking it out in pieces. Pieces created with a very heavy hammer. This also means that the tile of the surround - and the lower half of the rest of the walls - will get ripped out as well. We've gone from a relatively inexpensive cosmetic upgrade to a full gut of the downstairs bathroom.
I'm not going to be placing any bets on what we're going to find out about the walls behind the tiles when they come down.
December 23, 2006
UNITED NATIONS — Documents from the oil-for-food corruption investigation will be legally transferred to theUnited Nations on Jan. 1 and made available to governments trying to prosecute alleged wrongdoers, the U.N. said Friday.
December 22, 2006
In the song, grandma wanders out into the snow suffering the effects of drinking too much egg nog - in other words too much rum. In the cartoon grandma has some sort of egg allergy and after a couple of nogs, heads out into the snow to go get her allergy medicine. Which is when she gets run over by an overweight guy in sled.
But that's not the worst of it. The whole focus of the plot is that grandma runs a bakery famous for its fruit cake and some evil businessman who is trying to completely take over and corporatize Christmas needs only the piece of property occupied by grandma's little shop to succeed. Grandma is saved and the corporate takeover of Christmas is thwarted by the eight-year-old grandson.
It's enough to make guy say Bah Humbug. And mean it.
When it first became known that Berger removed and destroyed classified documents from the national archive, I never bought into the whole absent minded professor excuse that came from the Clinton camp - and Bill Clinton himself. However when Berger received his slap on the wrist, the story of him just being careless is the only thing that made sense. At least it was the only thing that made the sentence he received make sense.
And like most people, I like when things make sense. Particularly when it comes to crime and punishment. Now we learn that Berger's theft was not a careless accident, but a deliberate act. He deliberately took documents out of the archive, hid them under a trailer at a nearby construction site, retrieved them later, cut some of them into little pieces and threw them away.
Berger was in the archives preparing for testimony before the 9/11 Commission. He was reviewing documents detailing Clinton administration activity regarding terrorism. Quite clearly, there was something in those documents that Berger, and likely Clinton, did not want to be made public. We will probably never know for sure what Berger was trying to hide, but we can rather safely assume that it doesn't cast a good light on the Clinton anti-terrorism legacy.
December 17, 2006
Our military has been in Iraq longer than in World War II, World War I, longer than the Vietnam War. [emphasis added]Sorry Ted, we've got a ways to go go before the Iraq war catches up to the war your party got us into.
No thank you. I don't want it.
Anyone who wants mine can claim it in the comments. I thought of selling it on eBay, but it's worthless.
December 15, 2006
This doesn't mean blogging will be any less lacking than usual. It just means that I have to do it on the Cube. Which also means that after a couple of years of poorly typing on a powerbook, I now have to try it on a full size keyboard. This will make typing slower and less accurate than normal. Also I have never installed Ecto on this system so I'm going to have to use the mu.nu Moveable Type interface and do things like manually enter links and other html type stuff. (So don't expect anything fancy this weekend.) (Hold that thought. I don't know if it was an OS X update, a Safari update, or the tireless magic of Pixy Misa, but the little formatting buttons on the web interface that never worked before are working now! So I can easily - read lazily - do links, bold, italics, and even underlines. I guess if you try hard enough there is a silver lining to be found.
Still, all of my bookmarks are on the laptop. I never did get around to syncing them to the Cube.
One of these days I'll get it together.
But then again one of these days it might not be necessary. Things are happening. Wheels are turning. There is the slightest hint of a new wind blowing. But who knows. It all has to be kept hush hush and Top Secret.
December 13, 2006
I used to think it meant that everyone had a voice. That if you had an opinion, however wrong headed, however obnoxious or offensive, that you could express that opinion. That you could do so without having to ask permission or fear that the government would punish you. I used to think it meant that if you did not like what the government was doing you could say so without fear. I used to think that it meant that if you wanted to comment on people running for office you were free to do so.
I used to be right. Now, sadly, I am wrong.
I understand the need for some of the practical limitations we are forced to put on this process. If you are going to have a large rally or march you need to get permission. Not permission for what you want to say but for where and how. There are issues of safety and security for the participants and everyone else that need to be taken into consideration. I understand and accept that if I stand outside your house at 3:00 a.m. with a loud speaker expressing my political views I will probably be taken in by the police. Arrested not for what I was saying but for where when and how.
What I don't understand is how is it possible that in America you can now be fined for what you say.
The FEC's unanimous decision to approve the agreements goes to the heart of campaign tactics that reached full bloom in the 2004 campaign. At issue was the emergence of nonprofit political groups, called 527s based on the section of the Internal Revenue Service code that governs their activities, operating as independent campaigns attacking Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry or President Bush.
The group listed as Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth will pay $299,500. In the 2004 campaign, the group spent $20.4 million criticizing Kerry's military record in Vietnam. Much of the group's claims about Kerry's service were never substantiated.
MoveOn.org Voter Fund will pay $150,000. The liberal organization challenged President Bush on various issues in the campaign. The group spent $14.6 million on television ads attacking Bush's record.
The League of Conservation Voters will pay $180,000. The group ran ads against Bush and other federal candidates, criticizing their stands on environmental issues.
The civil penalties were the first of this magnitude since the Supreme Court upheld most of the campaign finance law passed by Congress in 2002 that barred political parties from raising unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions and wealthy individuals.
The FEC concluded that the three 527 organizations violated campaign finance laws because they expressly stated their desire to influence the presidential election in their fundraising, their public statements or their advertisements. Such activity, the FEC said, could only be conducted by political committee registered with the FEC that abide by contribution limits and public disclosure requirements.[emphasis added]The were punished for what they said.
I do not understand how the law they "violated" was not struck down by the simple phrase "Congress shall make no law."
I do understand that this does not bode well for the future of freedom in this country. I understand this from the pride taken by the government in obliterating the First Amendment.
Commission Chairman Michael Toner said the penalties send a ''strong message'' and set "important touchstones for the future."
"This will have significant implications for the 2008 presidential race," he said.Toner is no doubt right in his assessment. There will likely be significantly less speech in 2008.
December 08, 2006
1) How old do you wish you were? 43. The good thing is i only have to wait a couple of weeks and my wish come true!
2) Where were you when 9-11 happened? In a meeting at work to discuss the design of a new trade show booth.
3) What do you do when vending machines steal your money? The Skittles always get stuck in the candy machine at work. Some times you have to shake the hell out of it to get them to fall. Sometimes you just have buy a second bag. (The second bag never sticks.)
4) Do you consider yourself kind? I think so. At least I don't think of myself as mean.
5) If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be? If I "had to" I suppose the person holding me at gunpoint would be making that decision.
6) If you could be fluent in any other language what would it be? Chinese.
7) Do you know your neighbors? Not really.
8) What do you consider a vacation? Some place special enough to overcome my compulsion to check my email.
9) Do you follow your horoscope? No.
10) Would you move for the person you loved? I'd even pack.
11) Are you touchy feely? Not really - the restraining orders are too much of a hassle.
12) Do you believe that opposites attract? In certain magnetically charged metals, yes.
13) Dream job? Designing graphic treatments for high end racing sailboats.
14) Favorite channel(s)? Whatever channel it is that shows House.
15) Favorite place to go on weekends? The living room.
16) Showers or Baths? Shower. Don't have the patience for a bath.
17) Do you paint your nails? No.
18) Do you trust people easily? I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt until they prove me wrong.
19) What are your phobias? Bugs. I don't like bugs.
20) Do you want kids? I have two. Most of the time I want them.
21) Do you keep a handwritten journal? No. My handwriting is so bad even I wouldn't be able to read it so what would be the point.
22) Where would you rather be right now? Sleeping.
23) What makes you feel warm and safe? Coming home.
24) Heavy or light sleeper? Very. Very. Heavy.
25) Are you paranoid? What do you mean? Why are you asking all these questions?
26) Are you impatient? I seem to be less patient than I used to be.
27) Who can you relate to? I have a lot of relatives. I'm not going to list them all.
28) How do you feel about interracial couples? Whatever.
29) Have you been burned by love? No.
30) What's your life motto? I didn't know I had to have one. How about leave me alone and get out of my way.
31) What's your main ringtone on your mobile? I went through the ones on the phone and picked one that sounds sort of like an old fashion bell phone.
32) What were you doing at midnight last night? Sleeping.
33) Who was your last text message from? American Express.
34) Whose bed did you sleep in last night? Mine.
35) What color shirt are you wearing? blue
36) What are you listening to right now? Whatever is on the TV in the other room.
37) Name three things you have on you at all times? Watch. Wallet. Glasses.
38) What color are your bed sheets? The set on the bed at the moment are blue.
39) How much cash do you have on you right now? $18.
40) What is your favorite part of the chicken? The skin.
41) What's your fav city/place? New Port RI
42) I can't wait till . . . my next raise.
43) Who got you to set up a blog? I had read a few blogs by professional writers then followed a link to a blog by a regular guy with a real job. I had my own blog the next day.
44) What did you have for dinner last night? A toasted bagel with butter (I had a big lunch and wasn't very hungry).
46) Have you ever smoked? long ago.
47) Do you own a gun? no.
48) Tea or Coffee? Love them both but drink much more coffee.
49) What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex? I don't have one.
50) Do you have A.D.D.? No. Though I sometimes forget what...
51) What time did you wake up today? 6:00.
52) Current worry? Money.
53) Current want? See #52.
54) Favorite place to be? at home
55) Where would you like to travel in the future? Anywhere in the US
56) Where do you think you'll be in 10 yrs? Sitting at the dining room table blogging lists of questions.
57) Last thing you ate? Pizza
58) What songs do you sing in the shower? I don't.
59) Last person that made you laugh? My son.
60) Worst injury you've ever had? Broken Ribs.
61) Does someone have a crush on you? Not that I know of.
62) What is your favorite candy? Skittles
63) What song do you want played at your funeral? Fanfare for the Common Man.
December 07, 2006
I was most struck by the group's conclusion that convincing Iran and Syria to become forces for stability in Iraq is one of the keys to success. Success being defined as the removal of US Troops from Iraq - victory in Iraq is apparently not a consideration.
Syria and Iran are currently the primary forces for instability in Iraq. They are supplying weapons, training and probably personnel to the terrorist forces in Iraq. They do not want Iraq to become a stable, secure and successful democracy, and they are working hard to prevent that. A stable, secure and successful democracy in Iraq would be a very bad influence on the citizens of Iran and Syria. They might decide they want that for themselves. Once they see freedom, oppressing them will be that much harder. And wasn't that one of the reasons for invading Iraq in the first place. Eliminate Saddam and his terror supporting oppressive regime, deal with the WMD issue once and for all, establish a democratic Iraq as an example to the rest of Middle East. That was the plan. Now we're supposed to convince the regimes that according to the plan would be taken out by their own people to help us?
While I was reading the report - and the buzz surrounding it, there was a thought in the back of my mind that I needed to try to answer the wishful thinking it was based upon, and then I remembered that the answer had already been given. It had been given before the ISG was even conceived.
Bill Whittle wrote in March 2004
We don’t need to look very far back to see the mechanism of why these things fail. Rather, all we need to spot is where the miracle needs to occur in order for it to succeed.The phrase that I kept filling in between the line of the ISG report is "and then a miracle occurs."
We will set up a society where all people work and share equally -- and then a miracle occurs. And all the laziness, deception, hoarding, cheating and stealing that marks human, primate, mammalian and lower animal behavior ceases to exist because the map says so.
We will create a system that takes from each according to his ability, and gives to each according to his needs -- and then a miracle occurs. And when the communal cow that nobody owns gets lost in the snow at 4:00 am, everybody will take their fair share to go look for it, even the liars, the cheats, the bullies and the goldbrickers.
We will devise an economic system where no matter how hard or little you work, no matter how talented or energetic you are or are not, all people will receive the same, fair, and equal reward -- and then a miracle occurs. And I will put in 40 hours of overtime a week, and deprive myself of time spent with friends and family while everyone else goes home to make sure that all 150 million of us live just a little bit better.
And our motto shall be all animals are created equal! -- and then a miracle occurs. And no longer will the ruthless, the brutal, and the savage intimidate the good, decent folk into thinking that some are more equal than others.Today he could write, We'll set up a group of neighboring countries to support a free and stable democracy in Iraq -- and then a miracle occurs. The governments of Iran and Syria decide to act against their interests and help us along.
Since this is about the answer Whittle gave, I will give him the last word.
Miracles, are, by definition, freakish occurrences. No society can long survive if it is predicated on the routine and reliable apparition of the miraculous. And neither can any honest worldview, either -– not to a person with enough integrity to see the world around them as it is, and not as they wish it to be. Some people will never reach this point. To hell with them. They do not deserve to be correct. They are cowards, bound up in ego, boxed in narcissism and wrapped in bitterness and failure.
December 03, 2006
Well it's all about to get very real because the tax man cometh.
game publishers may well in the not too distant future have to send the  forms--which individuals receive when earning nonemployee income from companies or institutions--to virtual world players engaging in transactions for valuable items like Ultima Online castles, EverQuest weapons or Second Life currency, even when those players don't convert the assets into cash.That's right the IRS is coming after your virtual income. Assuming, of course that you didn't register with completely false information, and that your listed email contact isn't anonymous.
December 01, 2006
I'll start with something from the Misc Drafts and Abandoned Ideas folder, though at this point I think they could all be safely classified as abandoned. It's one of the shortest at 8 still fan-folded pages. I'll do my best to reproduce it as written making only spelling and typing corrections and the few edits penciled on the print.
The Disappearance of Governor Higgens
The sound of my alarm clock was a sound that I hated more than any other sound produced by man. Yet despite this loathing, I reached out blindly to hit the button that would silence it for nine minutes. When it rang again I accepted the fact that I would have to open my eyes and face another day.
It had been a normally long and bleak winter that year, with a normal amount of snowfall and a normal number of days when the temperature failed to reach zero degrees fahrenheit. The days have, thankfully, grown longer and warmer and the clocks have been turned back an hour. But this was not meant to be a chronicle of the passing of the seasons, there would be no point in that. One would be wasting a considerable amount of time and energy to tell a tale which can be observed through the window of any home. The purpose here is to set down in words the truth. For, the truth be known, the story of the disappearance of William Higgens has become distorted in its many retellings. having been and acquaintance of Willie's, that is what he was called by his friends, I was the last to have seen him before he left. With which statement I have given an early hint and to the end of this tale. Nonetheless, to set the record straight I will divulge the circumstances that lead to this event as told me by Willie himself. more...
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