Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Last week I came home from work and found the milkdoor wide open. We've asked the mail carrier to put our mail in the milkdoor because it fits much better there than in the mail slot by the front door. The only problem is that the inside door doesn't latch well. MJ started tying it with a twist-tie and that kept the door shut most of the time.

But last week I came home and found Minerva aka Minicat poking her head out the milkdoor, and our mail was soaked from the rain. And once I was in the house for an hour or so, I realized that Kerrey was nowhere to be found.

But it was raining outside, and when I went back to the sidedoor and called her name, she came darting in from the darkness. I towel-dried her best I could, despite her resistance.

Kerrey's been with me since late October 1994. I named her after Senator Bob Kerrey. I thought he was a couragous politician of the day, and I admired him. Just a few days later, the GOP would take over the House of Representatives. I did not rename my cat Speaker Newt.

When the ex and I rescued her from the Berea pound, she was small and sick. She was so tiny, she could stand on all fours in my hand. I had to administer liquid antibotics those first few days. We weren't sure she would make it. When she started to fight me when I'd come at her with the medicine, I knew she was going to be ok.

Over the years Kerrey has been with me through thick and thin. One live-in girlfriend turned wife, and two more live-in girlfriends later, the cat remained the same. She was my kitty at the apartment in Lakewood, the first house in University Heights, the apartment at Shaker Square, the condo in Brecksville, the highrise in Mayfield Heights, the duplex near Coventry and finally, the second house in University Heights. She's been with me every step of the way.

Tonight I have no idea where she is.

I came home and found the milkdoor open again. The twist-tie was on the steps next to the milkdoor. Did the kitties pull it off? Quite possibly, as it is within their reach. I came home and again, Minicat was peaking her head out the door. Immediately I searched the house for Kerrey. Nothing. I walked around outside. No sign of her.

Granted, she is not unused to the outdoors. When I first lived in University Heights, I'd let her run around the yard. I kept a close eye and would yell for her if she went near the road. Eventually she stayed away from the road and stayed in the yard, except to go taunt the neighbor's dog.

A couple days before I was married, Kerrey ran off. She was missing overnight. I knew that if she did not turn up that not only would be very distracted for my wedding, but that I would not want to leave town for the honeymoon. Luckily, she turned up, mere hours before the ceremony.

I just went to look for her again outside. I didn't see her. I turned on the outside lights, and I'll leave them on. I am putting a bowl of water out on the steps. I am reasonably confident that she'll be back soon, even though she has never been out overnight since that hot July night back in 1998 on the eve of my wedding.

I did walk down to the road and looked both ways to make sure there was nothing in the street that I needed to tend to.

She is older, and a bit difficult in her old age. But she is still my kitty. I love her, and will be very sad if she is not ok, very sad if she does not return. I will have a hard time pretending that if she doesn't turn up that she has been adopted by someone else who just happens upon her.

I hope I am just worrying for nothing. That she'll be home soon. The light is on. She likes to hide in the bushes, and we have lots of landscaping for her to hide in.

But she is older now. And while she once may have been savvy outdoors, that was long ago.

But they have some instincts right? Cats have one paw still in the wild, not like dogs. She should be able to fend for herself for one night, right?

Please come home.

Wednesday morning 5:00am update:

I woke up, and felt guilty for being able to sleep as much as I did.

I got up. Minicat was sleeping on floor near the door. By herself. Usually they are both there.

She'll come home when she is hungry, right?

I put on my robe and went outside. Nothing.

I am making signs with her picture and my phone number.

Tuesday Talkback

The Monday Moaners take no holiday, and neither does Tuesday Talkback.

"How can Tops Supermarkets still sponsor the Great American Rib Cook-Off when they have no meat cutters in their stores?" - Mentor

I'll give you this: I pass on the meat at Tops. There is better quality and flavored meat to be had elsewhere. The last time I tried the meat there, I went with some boneless porkchops that looked really good and had a great date on them, but when I got them home, they didn't smell very good and sure enough, they didn't taste very good either. I would be astonished if any of the ribbers at the cookoff got their ribs at Tops -- because even if you have a great sauce, a great dry rub, the right mix of charcoal and hardwoods, you still have to start out with good meat. But when it comes to mere sponsorship of the event, I figure that if Tide can reach out to the great unwashed and sponsor NASCAR, then Tops can sponsor a rib cookoff. Tops and good meat are just as disassociated as NASCAR fans and soap.

"I 'm upset because I have answered your 'question of the day' about a dozen times in the last year and not once has my answer been printed. And I don't expect to see this one either." -Brunswick

My first response is to say that you must be lame. But lots of lame comments get published. I think the PD actually likes lame comments, given the number of lame comments published. So you must be more than lame. You must also be dull. Dull and lame. You're lucky you got published this time, lame-o.

"The women and young girls who try on shoes barefooted - so gross. The salesman says he offers them peds but, if they don't accept, he can't do anything about it. What a filthy habit." - Rocky River

What do you mean, he can't do anything about it? Oh dear, you won't put on the stocking. Oh well, here is the box of shoes. Please. Even if stores leaves shoes out on a rack, of course they can tell a customer to cease certain conduct or leave the store. What we have here is a foot fetishist. This salesman WANTS women and young girls to try the shoes on barefooted. You don't want to know what he does with the shoes they don't buy.

"I think it's a joke that English is the official language. Why not go all the way; change all the cities and states with Spanish names. To name a few, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco. And Colorado means red, Montana means mountain, etc." - Cleveland

Just think: if English does become the official language, maybe we can force the president to speak it. And Colorado means "reddish colored," not red.

"How 'bout them Parma police? The crime fighters of the coffee shops. What's next?" -Parma

Police officers, stopping for coffee. You don't say! Actually, I find it reassuring to know that if I stop for coffee anywhere in Parma, no harm will befall me. Parma's finest are stationed next to every Bunn machine. Could there be a safer place to enjoy America's favorite legal upper?

"What does The Plain Dealer gain by publishing the names of conceal-carry permit holders? These people are law-abiding Americans. Instead, let's get the names of all child molesters, rapists, etc., that live amongst us. That would be of real value." - Sagamore Hills

You want it? You got it!

"I've been annoyed by 'American Idol.' To me, it's a takeoff of the 'Gong Show,' which actually was more entertaining." - Twinsburg

No silly, it is more like Star Search. Though I would enjoy watching Simon and Paula wrestle for the striker. In pudding. Well, maybe two Paulas and no Simon.

"Please keep your sports in the sports section and keep the front page for current events." - Broadview Heights

Sorry, but no. When sports spills over into hard news, it belongs on the front page. The Martha Stewart trial didn't get left in the home section. The fall of Enron didn't get left in the business section. And when a city is captivated by a playoff run, having some front page coverage is wholly appropriate. And if gator attacks can make the front page, ANYTHING can make the front page.

"As far as the seat belt law goes, it seems to me the No. 1 priority should be to get everybody off their cell phones first because if somebody isn't paying attention and slams into me, it won't matter if we had seat belts on." - Cleveland

We get it, you don't like wearing your seatbelt. And you'd rather be rearended by someone who isn't yammering away on the telephone. And you think that wearing a seatbelt doesn't matter, because if someone is talking on the phone, you'll still be making a spiderweb on your windshield with your forehead -- because somehow the presence of the phone nullifies the existence of the seatbelt.

I'm going to say this one more time: cell phone usage and driving is like drinking and driving. Some of us can do it, some of us can't. And those of us who can't but insist on doing it are going to ruin it for the rest of us who can do it. I've learned how to hold a phone in one hand, a Tito's and 50/50 in the other... and still shift. Just another example of the masses bringing down the rest of us who have talent.

"I hate to see models who pose with their legs spread apart. That certainly is not ladylike." - Old Brooklyn

Old Brooklyn? More like old biddy!

But here's what kills me. A pretty woman parts her legs a little, and all some people can think about is her vagina. I think it says something about the people who complain – because what they are saying is: close those legs, or else I am not going to be able to think about anything but that vagina. And really, I think that says far more about the people doing the complaining. They have no appreciation for the human form. They cannot control their hormones or keep from gawking down below, so everybody else must modify their behavior so they themselves can remain decent.

I, on the other hand, see a model with her legs parted and I wonder about her views on the rising prices in the precious metals market and the effect it may have on the value of the dollar, her position on the genocide in Darfur, and what her favorite flavor of ice cream might be. And because I think it is important to think about those things, I look at these sorts of photos a lot. It is all about being a responsible and well informed citizen.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

But, I Can't Drive 55!

It was only a matter of time before someone suggested THIS, and who else jumped in front of this speeding train but Illinois' Arkansas' New York's own Senator Hillary  Rodham Clinton.

Here's an idea, Hillary ... why don't you promise to raise taxes too? 

Eddie's Grill

Mel reports on her blog that she and the fam have already made their first run to Geneva-on-the-Lake's leading dining attraction.  Wish I were there!

Go ahead and ax, arrr!

For all those questions you wanted to ax, Ax a Pirate!

Bang Your Windsor Knot and Shake Your Coffers

For your amusement and consideration: the Top 50 Conservative Rock Songs.

And Ted Nugent didn't make the list.  But Rush did at 11 and 22 with The Trees and Red Barchetta.  And of course Taxman by The Beatles made the cut.  But there are a few surprises that I hadn't thought of. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I Did Not Know Him, But...

I did not know him, but someone I work with knew him well.  They grew up together.  She was crying today in the coffee room.  I told her I was sorry. 
What more can I say?
The news story explains how this young man enlisted in response to the 9/11 attacks.  Some of us gave a pint of blood.  He gave all. 
And for what?  There is a disconnect between what we are doing in Iraq and how we are doing it, and what we need to be doing to protect our country. 

When you enlist, you do not get to pick and choose your battles.  You are giving your life to your country.  You trust that your country will put you to the highest and best use.  And you may die.  But if you die, you want it to have been for a just and purposeful cause.  You want it to have been meaningful.  You want it to have been to help make a difference.  You don't want to have to question it.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Snaab Appeal

It was only a matter of time that someone type "sNaab" in reaction to the acquisition of TK421.  Sure enough, it was someone who didn't have the nerve to sign their name to it

It is funny to me, though, that people say that.  It doesn't comport with my own experience of Saab drivers at all. 

First of all, my grandpa had a Saab when I was kid.  A late 60s model.  He was a salesman, and it was his work car.  His Saab was loaded with cartons of ciggies, Wise potato chips, Slim Jims and bubblegum.  To me, Saabs remind me of him, and while he was lots of things, my bupa was never a snob. 

And then there there are the Beebs.  Mr. B had a Saab for awhile, and Mrs. B has one now.  I don't think I know anyone more pleasant, down to earth and unsnobby as Mrs. B, but perhaps she has me snowed.

And finally, I was a snob long before I bought this car.  But you knew that.

Tuesday Talkback

They Moan. I Talkback. You decide.

"Why are so many people, in cluding clergy, raising a fuss about 'The Da Vinci Code' movie? Hello? It's based on a novel, which means it's fiction." - Bay Village

Because successful historical fiction has a tendency of changing the way history is taught. Take "The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus" by Washington Irving. Thanks to that work of fiction, schoolchildren are taught that when Columbus proposed the voyage to Queen Isabella of Spain, one of his goals was to prove that the world really was round and not flat. Sound familiar? Longfellow's poem "Paul Revere's Ride," did the same thing, as it plucked Revere out of obscurity and constructed a myth that is taught as history. Robert Wuhl covers all of this in Assume the Position. That said, the "danger" should be a little bit more evident. I mean, ever since I saw Dogma, my vision of God looks just like Alanis Morissette.

"In the dictionary the first and sec ond definition for the word 'comic' is 1) 'pertaining to comedy' and 2) 'funny'. Why are we dealing with incurable cancer in this section of The Plain Dealer? There's enough bad news in the rest of the paper." - Moreland Hills

Try the definition of comic strip. They need not be funny. Some strips present a serious story now and then, like Funky Winkerbean is right now with the cancer storyline. And other strips simply aren't funny at all, even when they try to be. Right, Josh?

"I see Barbara Byrd Bennett moved to Solon, so she won't be paying any property tax for the Cleveland school system." - Seven Hills

She now pays just as much to the Cleveland schools as you do, Mr. Seven Hills. How astute of you!

"People who have a front license plate on their car that doesn't match the back plate. It is the law." - Strongsville

What, are you serious? Of all the things you have to moan about, its that some neighborhood bubba put an Elvis vanity plate on the front of his pink Cadillac instead of standard Ohio tags? You sound like just the kind of fellow who eventually flips out, acquires a police uniform, and then starts issuing citations to the neighborhood children and squirrels. Or worse.

"I hate callers who leave telephone numbers on an answering machine so fast that you can't possibly copy the number so, as a result, you never return the call." - Garfield Heights

If people who leave phone messages can't speak clearly, then to hell with them. They don't deserve a return call. If they really want to talk with you, they'll call back.

"Why are hospitals allowed to endlessly drag out their billing process? We are still receiving new bills 14 months after a family member was released from Fairview Hospital." - Parma

There is simply not enough here to know what you're talking about. New bills after 14 months sounds strange to me... could this be for real? Probably. I don't favor nationalized health care, but every day the hospitals, the insurance companies, the HMOs -- are all digging their own graves. And it will happen, because people will get so fed up that they will figure the government cannot possibly do any worse.

"Most 16-year-old drivers should not be on the road. They want to impress their friends at all costs." - Parma

Gee, this problem is only as old as the automobile itself. Yet, kids have to learn to drive sometime. There is a much bigger problem on the roads today, and that is everybody who drives a Buick. Most Buick drivers aren't trying to impress their friends, because they've all died of old age. In fact, I figure the only reason why most Buick drivers are still with us is because they are all so slow, they simply haven't gotten around to dying yet. What could be a deadly combo is a 16-year-old borrowing grandma's Roadmaster to go to the mall. There is actually a real engine under that hood -- and a 16-year-old knows how to find it!

This week's Talkback is brought to you by Kerrey Cat, who insisted on equal time.


Monday, May 22, 2006

The Ten Commandments, Recut

A little Monday movie trailer diversion.
At Pharaoh High, Ramses was the biggest playa around...

Friday, May 19, 2006

TK421: The Summer Car

I don't have kids. I don't have a boat or a motorcycle or a coke habit.

So, I bought a summer car today. Nothing too crazy.

A 1998 Saab 900 S Convertible.

Color: White with black leather.

Transmission: 5 speed manual.

Name: TK421.

Grand Bay

I've always liked this photo of Kristen and Ray. Its seems like only yesterday that I took it. But I took it on the balcony of my old place in Brecksville. This dates the photo around 2002.

I don't exactly miss Brecksville. I liked being halfway between Cleveland and Akron, and I loved the deer and the trees and the parks. But it wasn't terribly close to anything either.

The place at Grand Bay was nice, but overpriced. The second floor suites had cathedral ceilings, and gave the place a great, open feel. The gas fireplace was wonderful. The attached two car garage made it feel like a house. But, the apartment leaked heat like the Titanic took on water. The heating bills were high then, I can only imagine what the gas bill would be like these days. And they weren't great about snow removal -- and it was a dispute over that which led to Grand Bay letting us out of the lease.

And it was far enough away that getting people to come visit had to planned out well in advance. That cuts both ways. Sometimes you don't want to be dropped in on too easily. But I did feel like I had fallen out of contact, and was too far away from my friends, even though this photo is proof that we did get a few visitors!

Rita and I moved here in mid-Sept 2001. I will never forget that because of 9/11. Going home from work midday to my apartment at Shaker Square, I tried to take my mind off what was going on by focusing on my packing. This was hard to do with my eyes glued to the TV.

The WTC made an early impression on me. I first went to New York City when I was seven years old. My mom and my Uncle David took me to there. While my Uncle David thought the towers were hideous (they were still relatively new), they were undeniably striking. And my seven year old eyes couldn't stop look at them. My uncle laughed when I tried to count the stories from down below. My mom and I went to the observation deck and the roof. I have pics somewhere -- not scanned in or anything though. It was the first of many trips to the New York and to the WTC.

It still seems unreal to me that this place is gone. I did not know the 3000 souls that perished. But I knew the towers. I remember the lobby. I remember the elevators, the mall underneath. I remember buying half price theater tickets there. I remember standing on top of the world on a clear day and looking into infinity. A view I can relive only in my mind.

The view from the balcony in Brecksville was not so impressive, but it did provide a convenient place to have a cigarette, which is why I think Ray and Kristen were out on the balcony at the moment I snapped this picture.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


My counterpart, my foolish heart
A man must learn to rule his tender part

A warming trend, a gentle friend
A man must build a fortress to defend

A secret face, a touch of grace
A man must learn to give a little space

A peaceful state, a submissive trait
A man must learn to gently dominate
-- Neil Peart

I Believe

Because I am a Cleveland sports fan, I expect defeat to be snatched from the jaws of victory. I saw Jose Mesa throw away the lead in Game Seven of The 1997 World Series. Red Right 88 was the first Browns game I ever watched beginning to end. I saw The Drive. I saw The Fumble. I was at The Bottle Game and I was at The Helmet Game. And I remember Michael Jordan and the Bulls beating the Cavs over and over again in the playoffs. Lest Nike forget, we were all witnesses to all of that carnage as well.

Just a few days ago, all I hoped was that the Cavs would win at least one so that they wouldn't be swept by the Pistons. I thought it would be detrimental to the progress of the Cavs for them to be swept, that if they could win just one, they could at least have that to take with them into the off season, and they could learn from that to make a run next year. Surely the Pistons were the superior team. And that horrible Game One blowout made it seem like even one Cavs win could be too much to hope for.

But the legend that is LeBron James continues. He is the greatest athlete and playmaker Cleveland has seen since Jim Brown. And whether he scores the points himself, or works the court to put the ball into the hands of his teammates, he is nothing short of amazing. And I don't even like basketball.

For years I've said that I'd gladly trade the Cavs for an NHL franchise in Cleveland. Mind you, it will never happen. As long as the Blue Jackets are in Columbus, there will never be NHL in Cleveland. But for the first time I can ever remember, I don't mind, and in fact, I take it back. I wouldn't trade these Cavs for any other team right now.

The Detroit Red Wings choked at the hands of the Edmunton Oilers. And the Detroit Pistons are one game away from elimination at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Game Six is this Friday at the Q. Win or lose, this series will be one for the ages. This may be the finest playoff series Cleveland has seen since the Cleveland Indians overcame Randy Johnson and the Seattle Mariners in 1995. It may be even better than that.

We are all witnesses. Witnesses to a sports legend in the making.

And I believe the Cavs will finish this series on Friday and advance.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Year One

I created the first posts on this blog one year ago today.  I had forgotten to mention it until just now.  I will skip doing some sort of "year in review" retrospective thing.  Feel free to do your own by browsing the archives on the left side of the page.

The first year anniversary calls for a paper gift.  However, no paper is used in the creation of The Audient Files.  Unless you count The Plain Dealer, and even then, I use the online version at Cleveland.com for Monday Moaning in order to write Tuesday Talkback.

I had no idea when I started blogging whether it would become something I did on any regular basis or even whether I'd do it for more than a few days. 

So, thanks for reading.  I'll keep doing this as long as I am still having fun with it.  And for now, I am.


Fakin' It

When she goes, she's gone.
If she stays, she stays here.
The girl does what she wants to do.
She knows what she wants to do.
And I know I'm fakin' it,
I'm not really makin' it.

I'm such a dubious soul,
And a walk in the garden
Wears me down.
Tangled in the fallen vines,
Pickin' up the punch lines,
I've just been fakin' it,
Not really makin' it.

Is there any danger?
No, no, not really.
Just lean on me.
Takin' time to treat
Your friendly neighbors honestly.
I've just been fakin' it,
I'm not really makin' it.
This feeling of fakin' it--
I still haven't shaken it.

Prior to this lifetime
I surely was a tailor.
("Good morning, Mr. Leitch.
Have you had a busy day?")
I own the tailor's face and hands.
I am the tailor's face and hands and
I know I'm fakin' it,
I'm not really makin' it.
This feeling of fakin' it--
I still haven't shaken it.
-- Paul Simon

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tuesday Talkback

As the Monday Moaners congregate at the borders, Tuesday Talkback stands guard.

"What's up with all the people walking pit bulls now? It seems like a fad! Is that the coward's dog of choice?" - Cleveland

Pit Bulls as a fad... What year is this? 1987? Wait, I see people flipping up their polo shirt collars... why yes, it must be. Sa-weet! I am so glad I kept all those skinny ties! Where are my Bugle Boys? My Shah Safari? My Members Only? My Air Jordans? My Ocean Pacific? My Sperry Topsiders?

"They should keep track of those idiots who vote to raise taxes, and those who vote 'yes' should have to pay and those who vote 'no' should not have to pay." - Avon

Hmmmm, I think you need a lesson in civics and democracy. Because what you propose seems like a nice idea (in a cranky kooky sort of way), but we can't work it across the board. For instance, wouldn't it be nice to say if all of us who didn't vote for George W. Bush didn't have to deal with his failure in Iraq? His failure at controlling spending? His failure in New Orleans? Yeah, I'd like that. Figure out a way to make that happen, and maybe I'll sign on to your wing-nut proposal.

"If I'm gonna spend all night sitting in a bar drinking, and worry about the second-hand smoke, it's kind of like if I'm gonna eat rat poison and then worry about the cholesterol in it. Maybe we need to pick our battles." - Lakewood

No, it is a matter of picking our poisons. Nobody makes me drink. Well, Kristen, maybe. And MJ, sometimes. And Ray and Mr. B all provide encouragement from time to time. But I still can say no! I can't hold my breath while you smoke. Well, maybe David Blaine can. Next time, instead of a fishbowl, I'd like to see him hold his breath while swimming around in bong water. Or maybe he can just go feed himself to an alligator. I'd watch that. Especially if you put him and the gator in a clear box over the Thames.

"Women who call themselves pro life, and even feminists, but don't value the life already established in the mother. (Pro life feminist is an oxymoron.)" - North Royalton

Oh, do we really have to go there? I mean, have you ever heard two people argue about abortion, and then when it was over, have one say to the other, "oh, when you put it that way, you're right. You've convinced me." It is the "Tastes Great -- Less Filling" argument of public policy.

"The secretary of state, Ken Blackwell, is against a minimum wage increase. Could he live on $6.85 an hour, like some of us have to?" - Amherst

I've said it once, and I'll say it again, and then some. Ken Blackwell is a dangerous man. He's a gay-baiting, intolerant bigot whose tax plan would permanently disable this state. He is uniquely qualified to make Bob Taft look like a competent governor in comparison. And if somebody lobotomized Ted Strickland with an icepick, I still wouldn't vote for a witless bastard like Ken Blackwell.

But if you're making only minimum wage, and you're not in school trying to better yourself, I have a hard time finding any sympathy for you. Somewhere along the way, you made a choice to be barely employable, or perhaps you are lazy, or maybe you really really like flipping burgers, cleaning toilets and running a cash register? Because I've done those things, but I never tried to make a career out of them.

"What is the matter with the fast- food restaurants? They are all cutting back. At Wendy's, the chili hardly has any beans in it, and Kentucky Fried Chicken barely puts enough gravy on the mashed potatoes." - No city

OK, this required some special research. I went on special assignment to the Cleveland Heights Wendy's on Cedar. Also, I was hungry.

I ordered the combo 2, a double cheese burger, with chili instead of fries, and a Frosty instead of a Coke. First of all, the counter girl tried to put fries in my bag instead of chili. Fortunately, I caught her, or else the whole trip to Wendy's would have been pointless. Happily, once I corrected her, she smiled, apologized for the mixup, and then asked me if I wanted crackers. I said no thanks, but that I'd like four hot chili seasoning packets, please. And four packets of hot seasoning is what I got.

I took the bag of goodies home and got started. It looked like regular Wendy's chili to me. Nothing seemed to have changed. This is how I remember it. Rich chili goodness for 99 cents a shot. I used two packets in my chili (and two on my burger.)

Looks like plenty of beans to me!

Minicat agrees!

Now, I didn't actually COUNT the beans. Who do you think I am, Rob Cockerham? Besides, I was hungry! And if I didn't eat that chili fast, Minicat would have fought me for it.

I love how the straw sticks right up in a Frosty. There is no sucking a Frosty through a straw. Can't be done! And if you can do it, well, let me just say that is talent I can admire.

Minicat loves straws!

As for KFC mashed potatoes and gravy -- don't tell me you have standards if you are willing to eat instant mashers topped with a dab of meat-flavored paste. Ew. But quit picking on Wendy's -- a great Ohio institution!


Monday, May 15, 2006

On the Sunday of Life

Sunday was Mothers Day. However, MJ's mom and mine live far away, and SKS was at the sailboat races. So we went on a bike ride instead.

One of the remarkable things about the Cleveland area is the amount of green space. The "emerald necklace" of metroparks makes for a nice ride. And while we've made that ride before, this time we took a ride around the Shaker Lakes in Shaker Heights.

I understand that back in the 50s, the county engineer called this area a "glorified duck pond" and proposed that it be drained so that the "Heights Highway" could be built through here. Well, there is no Heights Highway, and the Shaker Lakes are still here.

While these pictures may look serene, we were not alone. There were lots of other bikers, joggers, walkers, and bird watchers out.

We took a break from riding as we got this view of the lake. That's when we decided to call our mothers. And it was while I was talking with my mom that it started to rain. Fortunately, it was only a light sprinkle and we managed to get home before the afternoon downpours hit.

We watched the West Wing series finale last night. Did anyone really think he wasn't going to pardon Toby? I was disappointed though at the fact checking. Right at the beginning of the episode, Jed and Abby were having a conversation about having the inauguration in January, and whose bright idea that was. Jed attributed it Jefferson, Adams, etc. But this answer is wrong on several levels. First off, Jefferson had nothing to do with the writing of the constitution -- he was ambassador to France at that time. Secondly, and more to the point, originally the inauguration was in March. FDR was the first president sworn in in January -- and not until his second term.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Our Corporate Masters, Part Two

So I called 800-291-4952. The automated message welcomed me to "the new AT&T" and advised that this was the subpoena department. The message further advised that if I was looking for the legal department, to call back customer service and ask for the correct phone number. (Mind you -- they could have just provided the phone number instead, but why make this easy?)

So I called back customer service. This time I got Sebastian. I advised that I had called a few moments ago asking for the phone number for the legal department and instead was provided the number for the subpeona department. And that the automated message advised to call back customer service to get the correct number.

He provided me 800-291-4952. I told him, no, that is the number for the subpoena department. I told him to look again. He put me on hold.

I type the above three paragraphs, and then he gets back to me.
That number I gave you is the only number I have for the legal department.

I ask for his supervisor.

And I am waiting on hold...

And I get transferred to Miss Prentice. (it sounded like she said "misprinted.") She says that the number for the subpeona department is the only one I have. I ask is there an address instead. She is looking...

I mention that if only the subpoena dept would have provided the phone number for legal, instead of referring me back to customer service, I wouldn't be bothering you. (Not that they would want to make it easy to contact the legal department.) That in fact, all I really want to know is whether my records have been turned over to the federal government . She says, oh we've been getting lots of calls about that here. There is a statement we are suppose to read -- I said I've already heard it.

And she keeps typing away and says, I think I've found it: SBC Services Center, Room 1330, 201 Akard St, Dallas, TX 75202 . And I ask, is that still a good address? I thought SBC was bought out by AT&T. She says, actually we bought AT&T . You did? Yes. Oh. So the address should be good. Then she adds: Wow I really I had to dig to find that.
I thanked her. She said, I apologize for any inconvenience. Oh, don't mention it.

Our Corporate Masters

I have my local phone service through AT&T. It was once SBC. And back in the 70s, that would have been AT&T as well, but monopolies were made to be broken and then put back together again, it would seem.

So I called customer service at 1-800-660-1000 and spoke with Anthony, operator #0375. I asked him:

Were my phone records turned over to the federal government?

He pleasantly stated, one moment please, and after moment said:
I do not have access to that information. AT&T does not comment on matters of national security. AT&T does follow all laws with regard to requests by legal authorties.

So I asked, you cannot deny that my phone records have been turned over to the federal government?

He said: I can neither confirm or deny.

He did confirm that he was reading off prepared text. He admitted this was only the third call of this nature that he had fielded in the last two days.

I asked him for the address of AT&T's legal department. He said he did not have an address, but did provide me with another telephone number: 800-291-4952.

And of course, he thanked me for using AT&T, and being a loyal customer.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Thomas Dolby House of Blues Cleveland 5/10/06

Last night I went to see Thomas Dolby at House of Blues Cleveland. I had never seen Dolby before, and I understand he has not been to Cleveland since either 1983 or 1984. I went with HDB and some of his friends. We had a nice dinner around the corner at Fat Fish Blue. The doors opened at 6:30. We casually arrived at HoB around 7.

One of the amusing things about seeing older acts is the attitude of the audience. While this is Dolby's first show in Cleveland in many years, it isn't as if he is touring a hot new album (or any new album). So while we arrived a half hour after the doors had already opened, we found that most of the crowd had taken all of the seating around the periphery of venue, and that very few people were down front. So, we ended up standing right at the apron of the stage, roughly between center and stage right (pretty much where I stood for the Porcupine Tree shows).

So, why is Dolby touring? He says its only because he wanted to. It doesn't seem that he needs the money. He is reported to have made a fortune in cell phone technology (he got into ringtones early) so presumably he's not doing this for the money.

His gear consisted of keyboards, touchpads and sequencers, and was a mix of vintage and modern equipment. Mounted on his head was a borg-like hodgepodge of microphone, earpieces and military grade video cameras. Throughout the night, the big screen would switch over to the camera mounted on his head, so you could see exactly which keys and pads he was looking at and playing at any given moment. This added a lot to this one-man show.

With all of this technology, there is a lot that could go wrong, be missequenced, etc. There is only one moment in the show where it appeared Dolby was fighting his gear -- and he handled it gracefully. The drumloop just looped for an extra 16 beats or so while he adjusted his settings and resumed. I might not have realized it, but for the fact that his head cam put the whole thing up on the screen for us to see. But I'm glad that we saw that, because I actually enjoyed watching him fix the problem!

Dolby himself was very personable with the audience and was obviously enjoying himself. He would take the time to explain briefly a little background about some of the songs. How "One of Our Submarines" was inspired by an uncle he never met who served on a submarine. How he came up with the keyboard riff to "I Live in a Suitcase" while looking out over Los Angeles just as half the city suffered a power failure -- and also how that same song was inspired by his wife.

Dolby's show was roughly 75 minutes long, which seemed just about the right length. I particularly enjoyed "Flying North," "Europa," and "Wind Power." And of course he played "Hyperactive" and "She Blinded Me with Science."

The crowd was an interesting mix, and mostly a more mature crowd. But there was a healthy number of younger audients who obviously were too young (or not yet born) the last time Dolby would have been in town. I noticed a couple of pretty young ladies not far from where I was standing who seemed familiar, but I assumed it was merely wishful thinking on my part that I could possibly know them. Finally, one of them comes up to me and starts yelling my name, and yelling, is that really you? And she's hugging me and asking me, how've you been? It's been so long? And the guys are all -- wow, how do you know her? Well, it was Haven! She was there with her sister Ashley, and I haven't seen either of them in years, and they both looked great. I didn't even recognize Haven at first. She mentioned they were going to The Boneyard after the show. Alas, I did not join them, instead getting a ride home with HDB back to the east side.

Overall, I had a great time, Dolby played just about everything I wanted to hear (he did not play "I Love You Goodbye"). Even as a one man show, he commanded the room with his presence.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Frankly My Dear...

As bad as anything that can happen to a relationship is where one or both of you no longer gives a damn.  It is a sad thing to see.  It is probably sadder when only one of the two no longer gives a damn.  Because if you both don't give a damn, then you can part ways and leave it at that.  But when it is just one of you, and the other is still furiously clinging on -- that's tough. 

What can you tell a couple when you see that?  Nothing.  You just let them be.  They'll figure it out, and then fix it or move on.  Or they'll just keep limping along.  The bridge may be out, and the train may be headed into the chasm.  Jumping in front of it won't stop it.

The tragedy of love is indifference.
-- William Somerset Maugham

Beat the Seat

Or, How a Ten Minute Job Became a Two Hour Job.

I cracked my toilet seat a few weeks ago.  It was still usable in the short term, but naturally I wanted to replace it.  I bought a new toilet seat at Home Depot.

There were so many toilet seats to choose from.  Sort of.  Most of them were white, and most of them looked more or less the same.  Some were vinyl and padded.  Most were hard.  Some were wood covered in enamel.  Some were just plastic.  A few are identical except have different hardware -- brushed nickel, brass, whatever you want.  And some seats are elongated if you have a larger throne.  I selected the right sized seat, white, wood covered with enamel, with brushed nickel hardware.

I got it home and discovered that the wing nuts holding the seat in place were corroded and wouldn't budge.  So I put the seat aside for a couple of weeks.  Till last Sunday.

I went back to Home Depot and got some lubricating/penetrating spray.  I sprayed it all over the corroded hardware.  Nothing.  Still wouldn't budge.  I tried to grab onto the wing nuts with a set of pliers -- but all I managed to accomplish was to break the wings off the plastic nuts. 

I looked at the assembly and realized that there were little rubber washers between the metal of the seat and the porcelain of the bowl.  I went down to the garage and got my hacksaw.  I sprayed lubricant all over the blade.  And I began sawing through the washers and into the metal posts holding the seat in place -- forcefully, but conscientious of the possibility that if I wasn't careful I could crack the toilet. 


I removed the old seat, cleaned the holes where the new seat would be mounted, and then turned to the box containing the new seat.

I opened the box, and pulled out the seat.  I looked at the hardware, and it looked good.  I looked at the seat itself and... the finished was all marred.  It never should have left the factory like that. 

So, back to Home Depot once more.  Exchanges the seat.  Same kind was fortunately still in stock.  They didn't make a fuss about my not having the receipt.

I came home -- with new seat in hand.  Returned upstairs.  The seat went right on.  Beautiful!  And wasn't that easy?  Shit.

Dolby Tix

Get tix here.

I Love You Goodbye

I would never normally go bowling
On a friday morning in New Orleans
But I like to come here to remember
The kind of places you took me
Like the time we stole a Datsun
And drove all night to the everglades
Until we crashed it in a big electric storm
And stood there listening to the bayou rain

The county sheriff had a hair - lip
Louisiana's pride and joy
He said politley as he cuffed me
"I never busted an English boy ...
But I will accept a contribution
To the Opelousas' Charity Ball
But you better drive this dirty Datsun
Into the Gulf of Mexico"

Under a Cajun moon I lay me open
There is a spirit here that won't be broken
Some words are sad to sing
Some leave me tongue-tied
(But the hardest thing to tell you )
But the hardest words I know
Are I love you goodbye
I love you goodbye

Typhoon Pierre delayed my plane till morning
(Jusqu'au matin)
Let the bontemps rouler from your accordion
Under a cajun moon I lay me open
(Y a un esprit partout)
There is a spirit here that won't be broken
(Simple words are sad to sing
Some words are sad to sing
(They leave me tongue-tied)
Some leave you tongue-tied
(But the hardest thing to tell you my friend)
But the hardest words I know
(Is I love you goodbye)
Are I love you goodbye
(Je t'aime, au revoir)
I love you goodbye
(Je t'aime, toujours)
I love you, goodbye

- Thomas Dolby

Thomas Dolby Tonight at House of Blues Cleveland

His set is really more than just "She Blinded Me with Science."  And I'll be there tonight.  Tickets are still available.  Doors open at 6:30, showtime is 7:30, House of Blues Cleveland.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Oh, say, you CAN'T sing!

The Senate takes up the important issues of the day, such as a resolution that the national anthem is to be sung only in English.
I move for an amendment.
It should be sung only in proper English.  None of this hillbilly country twang either.  Man, I can't stand that. 

Tuesday Talkback

Don't they have anything better to moan about?

"A big boo and a hiss to KeyBank for raising small-business banking fees so they can contribute to charity and pat themselves on the back in commercials." - Strongsville

I seem to recall that there is at least one, maybe two, other banks in this one traffic light town of ours?

"I received a threatening bill from the Cleveland Clinic for a bill under $10, but they, as I understand, have not paid their taxes. How about that? I don't know whether to laugh or cry." - Cleveland

Cry. Shit rolls downhill.

"From the same people who advised us to stockpile duct tape to combat possible poison gas attacks, we are now advised to stockpile drinking water in case of an avian flu epidemic. OK, and just where are we to stock hundreds of gallons of water to flush our toilet, or simply to wash for hygienic purposes? Yeah, this is gonna work." - Strongsville

Uh, the Ohio Health Department is urging the storage of one gallon of water per person per day for a week. See page six of this article. Ever been south of the border? It is ok to shower and flush the toilet, just make sure your drink and brush your teeth with bottled water. And don't forget that you can treat water if necessary. Finally, you can do what I suggested for Y2K -- stockpile weapons and ammunition, and then take by force whatever you need to survive.

"To the refugees in Darfur whose food rations have been cut in half. They have suffered enough already. It's an embarrassment to the world." - Moreland Hills

Who? Where? Is Darfur near Tikrit? What is this Darfur place you are talking about? I thought Darfur was a cartoonist? Is this al-Qaeda's doing? Seriously, if this were happening in Europe, don't you all think we'd be doing more? And while the UN has long promoted regionalism in such crises, of the 22 countries in the Arab League, only Libya has come to Sudan's aid while its displaced people starve. Colin Powell declared the situation in Darfur as genocide in September of 2004 -- and he was considered by many to be late to the game then. But what has the world done? It seems that the world has still not learned the lessons of the 20th century regarding genocide -- that it cannot be tolerated, that it must be stopped. Clinton blew it in Rwanda (though he got it right in Kosovo) -- and the world has blown it once again in another African country. And I do hang it on the rest of the world, because the big bad USA has coughed up most of the money that is available for food aid.

"I'm tired of the selfishness of the voters in North Olmsted who voted against the schools. For $7 a month, why risk children getting hurt in the middle school? You should feel ashamed." - North Olmsted

Well, I don't know where or how this person came up with $7/month somehow minimizing "risk" in the middle school. But there is a much larger issue here. I can't blame the voters for their fatigue over property taxes, especially when the state legislature has failed to do anything to fix the system for funding our public schools, even in light of the Ohio Supreme court decisions finding the present system to be unconstitutional. And while the legislature acted cowardly by doing nothing except waiting for the court's composition to change in order to obtain a more favorable ruling, many of the rest of us looked at the present system and agreed that it needed to change, and still needs to change. And the only thing the voters can do till then is vote down every levy that appears on their ballot. It is a sad outcome, one that is detrimental to the students. But if you want to hang someone over this, hang the do-nothing Ohio legislature first.

"I can't stand intolerant people." - Elyria

I suppose you hate hate too? Dumbass.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Christianist and Christianism Defined and Explained

Andrew Sullivan provides the explanation of the terms Christianist and Christianism.  Compare it to Islamist, or Marxist.  Contrast it against Christianity, which is a religion, and not a political movement loosely based on the Christian religion (that would be Christianism).
Enough of calling these people "people of faith" or the Christian base.  They do not speak for all Christians, as surely as so many Islamist groups do not speak for all Muslims.
Sullivan says it better than me ... read it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Dear Jon

Thinking of you, Haves. 
My best to you and your family.

Dear Spammers

Thank you very much for spamming me all week with your investment advice regarding certain stock offerings.  As a busy professional, I simply do not have the time to make informed investing decisions based upon my own review of the prospectus, or by reading the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Investors Business Daily, Money or The Motley Fool.  No, thanks to your spam, I simply call my broker and place my order.  Thanks again!  Keep up the good work.  And one more thing, the weekend is coming up -- if you could drop off that Cialis prescription, that would be so helpful. 

Great Moments in Cinema: Network

Network anchor Howard Beale (Peter Finch in an academy award winning performance) melts down on national television:

I don't have to tell you things
are bad. Everybody knows things
are bad. It's a depression.
Everybody's out of work or scared
of losing their job, the dollar
buys a nickel's worth, banks are
going bust, shopkeepers keep a
gun under the counter, punks
are running wild in the streets,
and there's nobody anywhere who
seems to know what to do, and
there's no end to it. We know
the air's unfit to breathe and
our food is unfit to eat, and
we sit and watch our tee-vees
while some local newscaster
tells us today we had fifteen
homicides and sixty-three
violent crimes, as if that's
the way it's supposed to be.
We all know things are bad.
Worse than bad. They're crazy.
It's like everything's going
crazy. So we don't go out any
more. We sit in the house, and
slowly the world we live in
gets smaller, and all we ask is
please, at least leave us alone
in our own living rooms. Let me
have my toaster and my tee-vee
and my hair-dryer and my steel-
belted radials, and I won't say
anything, just leave us alone.
Well, I'm not going to leave you
alone. I want you to get mad --
I don't want you to riot. I
don't want you to protest. I
don't want you to write your
congressmen. Because I wouldn't
know what to tell you to write.
I don't know what to do about the
depression and the inflation and
the defense budget and the Russians
and crime in the street. All
I know is first you got to get
mad. You've got to say: "I'm
mad as hell and I'm not going
to take this any more. I'm a
human being, goddammit. My life
has value." So I want you to
get up now. I want you to get
out of your chairs and go to
the window. Right now. I want
you to go to the window, open
it, and stick your head out
and yell. I want you to yell:
"I'm mad as hell and I'm not
going to take this any more!"

Get up from your chairs.
Go to the window. Open it.
Stick your head out and yell
and keep yelling.

First, you have to get mad.
When you're mad enough --

-- we'll figure out what to do
about the depression and

the inflation and the oil crisis.
Things have got to change.
But you can't change them unless
you're mad. You have to get mad.
Go to the window,
Stick your head out and yell.
I want you to yell: "I'm mad
as hell and I'm not going to
take this any more!"

Right now. Get up. Go to
your window, open your window...

(And across America, people got up and got mad.)

Discipline (Friday Fretting?)

My grandfather once bought me a guitar.  I used to play my aunt's guitar a lot, even though it was usually missing half its strings.  So I guess he figured out that a guitar of my own would make a fine gift.  But once I had my own guitar, for some reason, I never learned to play it all that well.  Was it a lack of discipline?  A lack of interest?  A lack of talent?  Probably a lack of discipline.    I don't like doing things that don't come easy to me.  Most of us are probably like that to some degree.  But sometimes it is hard to work hard at something, even if you think you care about it.  Is this a defect in character?  Simply a lack of motivation?  Both? 
I wonder if my whole life isn't like that guitar.  Opportunities taken to one degree or another, but little if anything maximized to their full potential. 
I guess it is something missing from my life right now -- that I have not really done anything, lately anyway, that I am really proud of, some significant achievement.  I have my moments.  But I am getting this sense that my life is half over and that I really haven't begun to do anything of any significance.
I've often thought that if I could succeed in just one sphere of my life, this would compensate for any deficiencies in the other spheres.  If I had a great career, this would ameliorate a lousy family life, or personal life, or love life.  Or vice versa.  But lately, none of it is cracking up to what I would hope it would be.  And with some things, I wonder, if I have to work so hard at it, why force it?  Shouldn't some things just happen because they are supposed to happen?  But no, it doesn't work that way.  I know, rationally, that you create your own opportunity, that you make your own luck, that good work is the key to good fortune.  I know it, but I hesitate, I procrastinate, I false start.  I delay, then have to catch up. 
I can jump into a situation that is on fire and put out the flames.  I can handle a crisis I encounter.  As long as I didn't create it.  If I create the crisis, it seems like I am often paralyzed to do anything about it. 
I can give objective advice, but have difficulty applying it to myself.  I can argue passionately about things I don't care about -- but I choke up on the things that I do care about. 
I can play the guitar to amuse myself, but not well enough to play in front of other people.  I have standards.  I don't like looking like a hack, even if I am a hack.
And I can self-analyze, obsess and brood over what I haven't done, and if I change nothing, it is wasted effort and a fruitless exercise.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Where We Would Be

Tied - tied to a time
When we knew that the sun would shine
And you were all smiles
And we could just talk for a while...

Of where we would be when the future comes
And how you would paint while I wrote my songs

If I could find you
And tell you about my life
Or maybe just write
And remind you of when we would dream...

Of where we would be when the future comes
And how you would paint while I wrote my songs

Strange how you never become
The person you see when you're young
-- Steven Wilson

Illegal/Undocumented Ingredients

I ate Mexican for lunch from the foodcourt today.  It was the shortest line.  I don't have to wonder why the line was so short.   

I had the taco salad with beans added, chicken instead of ground beef.  No onion.  I wonder if they wash the lettuce in authentic Mexican water?

Still Counting

WKYC reports this morning that the counting of ballots in Cuyahoga is about 90% done, but the 70 missing memory cards still haven't turned up.  Fortunately, the touchscreen machines have a paper backup -- remember the arguments from those who said that a paper backup was unnecessary?
Still, this is embarassingly bad.  Some heads need to roll for this.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

So Go the Elections, So Go Ohio?

While MJ's own experience at the polls with the new voting machines was smooth and without incident, there are plenty of reports around the county of problems with the new voting machines.  And while some of those reports may be anecdotal, this sure isn't: with over 17,000 absentee ballots cast, the new optical scan machines that were to count them aren't working, and all of those ballots will have to be counted BY HAND.  Suffice it to say, it will be awhile before we know who won many of the races here in Cuyahoga County.
I'm going to go out on a limb here, and at risk of jumping to a conclusion before we have all the facts, I blame Ken Blackwell for this.  He is the Secretary of State, and he's been actively involved in the changover of polling machines in conjunction with his oversight duties regarding elections.  In 2004, Ohio had election irregularities that made national news and jeopardized the integrity of the results of the presidential election.  This too was on Ken Blackwell's watch.  With this election, Cuyahoga County gets touchscreens for the polling places and an optical scan system for the absentee ballots, and what happens?  Numerous instances of malfunctioning touch screens, and the complete systemic failure of the optical scan system.  Given Blackwell's micromanagement in this process, his fingerprints are all over this failure, just like they were in the 2004 election.
With this election, Ken Blackwell won the GOP nomination for Governor of Ohio, soundly defeating Jim Petro.  I already have lots of issues with Blackwell, and now I've got one more.  If I were Secretary of State, after the 2004 election irregularities, I'd have make damn sure that this low turnout primary election went smoothly and without incident -- at least I'd have made sure that all of the new machines and systems were working.  But no, not Ken Blackwell.  
Now Ken Blackwell wants a chance to bring his expertise to the governorship?  No, thanks.  Blackwell should not get the chance to screw up the rest of the state the way he has screwed up our elections.  If Blackwell were to win, the only thing I am certain that he would uniquely accomplish is that he'd make Bob Taft look good, if only in comparison. 

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Tuesday Talkback

It is primary election day, and I vote to talk back to those Monday Moaners.

"Another slap in the face for Cleveland. "Spider-man 3" is filmed here because New York is too costly to shut down. And the Rock Hall ceremony is in New York." - Brook Park

Do you think that Spiderman 3 is the first project or business that came to Cleveland because the cost of doing business here was cheaper than it is elsewhere? Leave it to a bonehead like you to take an advantage that Cleveland has over New York and make it sound like a disadvantage. By the way, do you own a home in Brook Park? What did it cost you? Do you know what that would buy you in Manhattan? A pastrami sandwich with a seltzer, that's what.

"Can any Cleveland TV station ever have both news anchors work every day for one week?" - Lakewood

Do you work seven days a week? I often do, and I'm a madman with a poor attitude. Nobody wants to see Romona or Denise pissed off. Well, maybe I do, but only if there is pudding wrestling involved.

"Try getting help from the so-called concerned cat shelters when you have a problem. Good luck." - Cleveland

Maybe you should stop calling them and asking, "Do you want my wild pussy?" It wasn't funny the first time, and it still isn't funny.

"Regarding the gas situation: Why not revert to President Nixon's 1973 idea of closing service stations on Sunday, lowering the speed limit to 55 and rationing gas? Good for history." - No City

Hey, why not? We already have an unpopular war and White House indictments -- why not go for the Nixonian trifecta and bring back the 55 mph speed limit? Too bad we can't go off the gold standard again. That was a hoot.

"My lawyer. I was hit by a drunken driver in November 2004. During our first phone call, I asked him if the total amount of the lawsuit included two months of my salary, which I had not been paid. He said he wouldn't take a third of my lost wages. Well, he did. I hope he can sleep better knowing that he took advantage of a single mother." - Cleveland

Did you enter into a written agreement for legal fees? This prevents misunderstandings later. That said, are you sure you understood this attorney? If he wasn't going to take a cut, how were you intending to pay him? I love it when people think that attorneys are supposed to work for free.

"People who use the handicapped bathroom with all their children when handicapped people have to wait." - Cleveland

You already have the best parking spaces and special seating at the ballgame -- and now you think you should have a child free zone to do your personal business -- oh, if only I could live in that world, one without sticky kids touching everything and spreading their cooties.

"Nobody uses turn signals. Are they just decorations on your steering column?"- Highland Heights

Yeah, and if you drive a Buick, that tall pedal to the right is pure decoration too.

"The shenanigans of the oil companies are being investigated by congressional committees. Isn't that sort of like foxes investigating the disappearance of a few chickens?" - Maple Heights

No, its more like chicken shit pretending to be chicken salad.

"When I went to the I-X Center with my 1-year-old son, I was allowed to bring in his bottles, but couldn't bring in Cheerios and Fruit Loops. They don't sell anything for a 1-year-old to eat, so I thought it was ridiculous, especially after paying $20 for admission and $5 for parking." - Kirtland

Give the kid a hot dog and a Coors already. Jeez, the kid's gotta grow up sometime.

"Congress recently passed a do-not-call law and conveniently exempted all political telephone calls. I, for one, will never vote for anyone who clutters up my answering machine with political messages - federal or state." - Rocky River

Single issue voter, I see. Bah.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Abstention Strategery

A-ha! I have found satisfactory justification to stay away from the polls this Tuesday...

§ 3513.191. Disqualification by having voted in different party primary; exceptions.

(A) No person shall be a candidate for nomination or election at a party primary if the person voted as a member of a different political party at any primary election within the current year and the immediately preceding two calendar years.

If I don't pull a ballot tomorrow, then I am free to run as a nominee of any party after that. If I want to run for dog catcher some time, I can declare a party then. But if I vote in the primary, I'm committed to having to run as whatever party whose ballot I took for the next two years.

Audient for Dog Catcher. He'll clean up the streets. If you don't vote for him, that means you like to step in poo.

A Day Without Immigrants

CNN reports todays protests, called A Day Without Immigrants.  I'd be happy to oblige them -- by having a country without illegal immigrants, today and every day. 

We are all immigrants.  Absolutely.  Some of us got here more recently than others, and yes, some of us have darker skin than others.  And while we may sterotypically think of illegals as being Mexican or Latino, there are plenty of illegals here who are not.  (Alert: Anecdotal Evidence Ahead)  When MJ and I were in NYC for Thanksgiving, we met an Irishman who confessed over whiskies that he indeed was undocumented and here illegally. 

I don't dispute that many immigrants, including illegal immigrants, work very hard for little pay.  In fact, that is part of the problem.  It has been said repeatedly that these people are "doing the jobs that no one else wants to do."  And why is that?  Because certain jobs aren't worth what these employers are paying to the illegals to work them.  If they weren't here, they'd have to pay more to get people to work these jobs.  It is pro-worker to be anti-illegal immigrant.   The influx of illegal labor keeps wages down.  And if the price of oranges goes up, so be it.

I am astounded that law enforcement doesn't take the opportunity at these rallies to round up everyone and make them produce their papers.  And if they have none, put them on a bus back to wherever they came from.  MJ screams at me "freedom of assembly" -- well yeah, if you are legally here.  Otherwise, no, I disagree that the exercise of first amendment rights shields one from enforcement of immigration laws.

Many Mexicans believe that the southwest United States rightfully belongs to them -- after all, it was once theirs, until we took it from them in the Mexican-American War in the 1840s.  American troops marched all the way to Mexico City, and if memory serves, we forced the Mexicans to accept $18,250,000 or so in exchange for the land we took.  Right or wrong, we did it.  I'm not going to apologize for it.  And California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas are ours. 

I have no problem with legal immigrants whatsoever.  Immigration made this country what it is today.  Just ask the Native Americans how they feel about illegals coming into their country!  But seriously, one of the basic elements of what constitutes a soverign country is the ability to secure and control ones borders.  We aren't doing that.  And we should.  And that is a separate issue from revisiting whether our quotas for legal immigrants are too low. 

Another Plan, Subverting the Process

I had lunch today with a fellow registered Republican who is also dissatisfied with the choices of Petro and Blackwell for governor.  We discussed the possibility of voting for Blackwell, if only because he might be easier for Strickland to beat in the general election.  On the other hand, Blackwell could still win the general.  Strickland could tumble, or Blackwell could always become as convincing to the general voting public as he has been thus far in the primary campaign.  It seems unlikely, but still possible.  I don't know if I could pull the lever (or touch the screen) in favor of Blackwell even at the primary level -- because then I am affirmatively putting him one race closer to the governorship.  I stand by my position that a Blackwell governorship would be exceedingly detrimental to the future of Ohio.  I stand by my statement that he is a gay-baiting bigot.  In which case, ought I not vote for Petro, in an effort to keep Blackwell out? 
I already see my ballot in November filling in: Strickland for governor, DeWine for senator, Montgomery for AG unless Chandra pulls it off on the D side (in which case, AG is a toss-up for me.)

It Don't Mean a Thing if You Ain't Got That...

Maybe what I've become is a swing voter.  Over the last few years I've gotten away from voting a straight ticket.  But the label "moderate" doesn't really fit me either.  It would be a whole lot simpler to be a "true believer."   Unfortunately, critical thinking prevents me from just mindlessly voting a straight ticket.  And it is in this vein that participating in primaires doesn't seem right for me now.  Let the parties nominate who they will, and I'll vote a split ballot this November.