Friday, September 29, 2006

More-On Sherrod's Vote In Favor of Tyranny and Against the Constitution

Here is Sherrod's official statement on it:
What a bunch of crap. He is hiding behind McCain, who has twice as much to be ashamed of here.

Email I Sent to Sherrod Brown Today

I voted for Mike DeWine 6 years ago, and was leaning against returning him because we need more senators who will stand up to this out-of-control president.  But when you voted in the House yesterday for that abominable bill that suspends habeas corpus, I question whether you are the right man for the job.  We don't need Mike DeWine Lite.


Please go look at this.  This is waterboarding.  This is what the Bush administration says is not torture, and the sort of thing that Congress apparently just legalized.  And it puts us in the company of the most repressive regimes of the last century.
Note that this board is not an American waterboard.  This is one from Cambodia, used by the Khmer Rouge.     

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Someone finally said something great about all of this, and of all people, it was Hilary Clinton.

Sic Transit Habeas Corpus

An excellent blog posting over HERE regarding the horrible bill the Senate is about to pass (the House version already passed) going over all the things wrong with the bill.  And lots of stuff at Sullivan.
Congress suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War at President Lincoln's request AFTER he had already violated the constitution in the Merriman case and kept a rebel leader incarcerated for months without charges or a trial.  But I would give Lincoln a pass as we were in the middle of a rebellion.
The so-called "War on Terror" may be lots of things, but it is no Civil War.  There is no open rebellion on our soil.  
This bill has so many problems and I won't list them all here, especially when others have listed them so well.  But in short, we should fear a law that would grant the president sole discretion to determine who is an unlawful enemy combatant (meaning anyone engaged in undefined hostilities against the United States who is not a "lawful enemy combatant") and allows the president to detain such persons indefinitely without charges and without a trial.  That is so overbroad that to call it overbroad seems understated.
If the United States stands for imprisoning people indefinitely without charging them with a crime, and torturing them using techniques perfected by Stalin, then I ask: who won the Cold War?  Free societies don't do this, not to our own, and not to others.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Heavenly Coffee

This morning I am enjoying a cup of Chock full o' Nuts coffee. It is my favorite grocery store coffee. I think it tastes much better than other coffee that comes out of a can.

There are no nuts in Chock full o' Nuts. The name is from a now defunct chain of New York City cafes/restaurants. These restaurants used to sell nuts, until the Great Depression came along and made nuts an expensive luxury. So then the restaurants would sell a sandwich and cup of coffee for a nickel. Or so I've read here and here.

Amazon actually sells this stuff for $8.99 a can. I pay much less at Marc's -- just $5.49 for my most recent can.

I don't work for the company or anything. I am just enjoying a good cup of coffee this morning, and I wanted to share.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tuesday Talkback, Gangster Edition

Yes, it is Tuesday, so I'm talking back to the Monday Moaners, but don't overlook my post about the exciting mail I received yesterday.

"Strickland and Blackwell and everyone else can argue what they want about schools and education, but it's not going to do any good if the little gangsters don't want to learn." - Cleveland

Oh sure, a few little gangsters, so let's forget the whole thing. Let's just give up, shut it all down and forget it.

"There's something inherently wrong with the Channel 5 Athlete of the Week being sponsored by McDonald's." - Streetsboro

Or how about this sad "Make Me Famous, Make Me Rich" by the Ohio Lottery? How about Little Gangster of the Week sponsored by Little Debbie? And in retrospect, those old Hertz ads featuring OJ running away turned out to be pretty wrong.

"If Hillary Clinton gets to be president, we automatically get her husband on the same ticket. One's enough." - Cleveland

Should have thought of that with Bush in 2000... before all these little gangsters flunked civics and voted for Buchanan and Nader.

"If you watch the movie, 'Tora Tora Tora' and see the plight that Ford Motor is in, I would hope these so-called Americans would stop buying those Japanese cars." - Middleburg Heights

Oh sure, we have a patriotic duty to buy inferior product -- manufactured by little gangsters all growed up now.

"Why can't sex offenders have a colored license, perhaps pink and blue, as the drunken drivers have. Then we can find them, see them and stay away from them." - North Olmsted

Do we really "stay away from" people with "party plates"? Besides, if you want to stay away from sex offenders' vehicles, just avoid plain white cargo vans. That'll take care of most of them. And besides, the drivers of those plain white vans are just looking for little gangsters.

"I plead to the local female newscasters to go to a reputable beauty salon for an updated hairdo, one that will be in proportion with the shapes of their faces." - Beachwood

This little gangster thinks the plastic girls on TV aren't pretty enough -- perhaps this Beachwood moaner knows a good plastic surgeon, too.

"It was outrageous for CNN to run distracting news crawlers across the screen all during Larry King's outstanding interview with Jimmy Carter." - Berea

More outrageous than the crawlers is that those little gangsters still give that softball-tossing fossil Larry King a show.

"What is with all these white signs that say 'hot tub for sale.' It's the same price, the same sign, year after year. Is it the same person selling the same hot tub and claiming it's never been used?" - Medina

I guess they don't clean off the utility poles very often in Medina. Perhaps we could pay the little gangsters 25 cents for each sign they take down.

"Shame on the city of Cleveland for its failure to adequately maintain the Convention Center. Far better to close the center than embarrass the city with its subpar facility." - Lakewood

Seriously? This little gangster for real? Sounds like this little gangster is trying to embarrass us into supporting a new convention center.

"When I called the gas company, I was able to put myself on a call back and they called me back within four minutes. And then I spent the next five minutes on hold." - Cleveland

Your first mistake: you CALLED the gas company. I never talk to those little gangsters. We have nothing to say.

"All we hear is that more people should vote, but I'm on the verge of never voting again to get my name off their call list. Why are political calls exempt from the Do Not Call list?" - Parma

Um... it is called the First Amendment. I guess little gangsters in Parma don't want to learn either.

"Whoever designed the new yellow pages, how many beers did you have?" - Cleveland

Not too many -- the pages are still yellow. Every little gangster knows that if you drink more beer, the yellow turns clear.

"When the United States Supreme Court makes a ruling, it is enforced. When the Ohio Supreme Court makes a ruling about school funding, why isn't that enforced?" - Lyndhurst

The US Supreme Court rulings are "enforced" only by respect for the court as an institution. It has no army, no police department to "enforce" its rulings. And neither does the Ohio Supreme Court. But here in Ohio we know that "with little gangsters, all things are possible."

"Shame. There is a picture of the leaders of Israel and Palestine communicating about peace, and the leader of our country shuns Iran's leaders. He's just pandering to the Christian right without actually showing a Christian spirit." - Shaker Heights

Israel and Palestine leaders communicating about peace? What history book are you looking at? Iran's "leader" is an anti-semite of the worst kind, and deserves no respect from us. He is a short little gangster. And speaking of Christian spirit, let's not forget about what the Pope said.

"I'm sick of hearing about kids shooting people and then they ask if they should try them as an adult. What a bunch of pinheads." - No city

Uhhhh, you'd rather send the little gangsters to their rooms without supper? This moaner seems to think that the discussion is not worthy of having, but then what? Try them as kids, or try them as adults? It is a legitimate question.

"Where do the Muslim clerics get off demanding that the pope step down? Who do they think they are?" - Parma Heights

Ummmm, little gangsters? Watching the reaction to what the Pope said has been fascinating. So has watching the Pope allow himself to be bullied into apologizing. What the Pope said the first time was clumsy and inartful. If he wanted to criticize Islamic extremists there were better ways to do it. Maybe the idea of getting assassinated by a terrorist got to him. Whatever said or whatever he meant to say, I thought the Pope would have had bigger stones to stick by it.


Monday, September 25, 2006

I Have Waited My Whole Life for This Moment

Today was like any other Monday -- till I got home and opened up my mailbox...

I looked at the return address and did a double-take...

Then I flipped it over...

I have been chosen... to be a Nielsen family! They want to know what I watch on TV! For one week, what my set is tuned to will affect EVERYTHING, to what shows are hits, to what shows get saved, to what shows gets the ax!

When I was child, I cried when they canceled my favorite shows, when they dropped such fine programming as Tales of the Gold Monkey, The Quest, and The Greatest American Hero. I'd ask my mom, why did they take away my favorite show, and she'd say, it just didn't get the ratings. Who decides these ratings, I asked then?

Now you know the answer: I do, bitches!

Studio 60, your hit status is assured. Mad Money, welcome to prime time!

Watch for a big jump in the ratings of NFL Football and Star Trek reruns.

Reality TV? I watch C-SPAN's Washington Journal -- there's your reality TV!

A year from now, all TV programming will consist of Aaron Sorkin-style panning-down-the-hallway camera shots of Jim Cramer yelling "Boo-yah' at grunting steroid-raging jocks facing off against Klingons and the Borg -- all while unscreened cranks from across the nation phone in to complain about godless liberals and the vast right wing conspiracy. That, and The Colbert Report.

Oh, if only they'd have picked me last year, so I could have saved Arrested Development. Posted by Picasa

Politics and the English Language

To all my friends who write and to all my friends who follow politics, here is a short essay by George Orwell that I like to reread now and then.

The Chock Full Weekend

Friday night I caught up on some much needed sleep.
Saturday I got my hair cut, did a few things around the house.  Had an impromptu game night -- played a little Trivial Pursuit.  My team lost two games, but won the last one.
Sunday I saw my cousin Jim and his wife, Beth.  They live near Charlotte, NC.  They were in Erie for a wedding.  They were taking the scenic route home, stopping to see Gina and me, Pat and Kat at Starbucks for coffee, before heading to Independence to see Beth's grandma, and then ultimately down I-77 to North Carolina.  We had a good visit, and it was fun to catch up, even if for just a couple of hours.
Sunday I also took Gina to her first Browns game.  It was the first Browns game I actually made it to this season, even though I'd made it down to the Muni lot to tailgate during the preseason.  And we did stop down to see Chad and Chris and Jerry and the rest in the Muni lot.  Chad had been there since 6:00 in the morning or some ungodly time.  We had a little Champagne (of beers) and an excellent grilled pork chop a la Nappi.
Beyond the old "on any given Sunday" platitude, I didn't really think the Browns had a shot.  But the Browns were in that game.  It was exciting.  No team had scored a TD on the Ravens this year, and the Browns scored two.  The Ravens may have won that game, they may have sacked Frye seven times, but beyond that they have nothing to be proud of.  While it was hard to see that end zone from my seats, it is hard to blame Frye for that late interception when he got caught in a blindside blitz -- I put that on the offensive line, not the QB.  Frye played exceptionally well for having little protection, though there were a couple of times he held the ball a little too long. 
Gina really got into the game.  She was wearing a new Browns shirt, and had borrowed one of my ballcaps.  She cheered a lot, not just at the end of plays, but was yelling and clapping during the Ravens third down plays.  She had fun.  And I did too.  There are times when I wonder why, as a season ticket holder, I've spent all this money to watch all this bad football.  But yesterday wasn't bad football.  It was a loss, but it was a good game.  We were in it, even when I didn't expect the team to be in it.  And then when they lost, it was a real disappointment.  Not because I was surprised that they lost, but because they almost did win this game, and only one play could have made all the difference.  The Browns are 0-3 but it isn't a hopeless 0-3.  In Frye, Edwards, K2, Wimbley, Jackson and others, we caught a glimpse of what this team could soon be.
Besides, the Browns are just one game back from the defending champion Steelers!   How screwed up is that?  Hats off to the Bengals for taking care of business in Pittsburgh.  The King is dead, long live the King -- as the Bengals continue their march to the Super Bowl.
(I have pictures from the weekend -- I'll have to post them later...)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Piano Lessons

I remember piano lessons
The hours in freezing rooms
Cruel ears and tiny hands
Destroying timeless tunes

She said there's too much out there
Too much already said
You'd better give up hoping
You're better off in bed

You don't need much to speak of
No class, no wit, no soul
Forget you own agenda
Get ready to be sold

I feel now like Christine Keeler
Sleepwaking in the rain
I didn't mean to lose direction
I didn't want that kind of fame

(Take your hands off my land)

Credit me with some intelligence
(if not just credit me)
I come in value packs of ten
(in five varieties)

And even though I got it all now
My only stupid dream
I see you and me together
And how it should have been

I remember piano lessons
Now everything seems clear
You waiting under streetlights
For dreams to disappear

--Steven Wilson

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I say Cuyahoga, you say Tomato

It came up last week: what is the proper pronunciation of our county's name? 
A local "authority" on the subject claimed that was "Cuy" like "guy", and for "hoga," "hog" like "dog."
I agree totally with the "Cuy" part.  REM says "coy" when they sing it, but they are from Georgia.
But the "Hog" part... I don't say that.  I say "ho-ga" with a long "o."  I still put a stress on "ho."
But I didn't grow up here.  I grew up in Ashtabula County with parents who were born and raised in Erie County, Pennsylvania. 
The other day I heard a radio ad with Jimmy Dimora.  He said CuyaHOGa. 
It has me all self-concious.  Am I saying it wrong?  Should I be saying CuyaHOGa?  Am I giving away that I am a transplant, someone who moved here, someone who adopted this place as his own?
Granted, I actually like this place -- and people from here tend to dis it.  I do not.  If I didn't like Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, I wouldn't live here.  That's that.
So, how do YOU say it?   

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Old Friends

Got a call over the weekend from an old friend from college.  He had resurfaced once three years ago, a week before his wedding, and so I went to his wedding.  Then we sort of went our separate ways again, lost touch for no good reason.  I just don't keep up very much or very well with people from college.
So, MS calls me to see if I'd be interested in going to see Tim Russert at Playhouse Square -- the CSU Townhall series.  I'm game, so we meet up last night at the theater. 
It was a good time.  I enjoy Meet the Press, though I don't watch it every week.  It really just depends on the guests.  Russert mentioned that he is scheduled to have Mike DeWine and Sherrod Brown on -- I think he said October 1.  And Russert shared a lot of good stories.  Lots of high school students there, so much of what he had to say was directed to them.
Afterwards, MS and I went out to the Winking Lizard at Gateway.  Had some wings and beers, and we caught up.  He and his wife and son live in the Heights, just a few streets from me, so really, now that we're back in touch there is really no excuse to allow this to happen again.  They moved into the neighborhood maybe 3 months before I did.  Come to think of it, I think he lives closer to me now than when we were both at BG. 
As we were both in student government, he was amused when I told him that my "Senator of the Year" plaque is hanging in my rec room. 
Anyway, I'm glad he found me.  I'd looked for his address for the Halfway to Dead party last month and had no luck.  Apparently he just looked me up in the phone book.  How about that.

Tuesday Talkback

I'm not going to talk about specific techniques, except to say that when they moan, I talkback.

"We're paying over $100 a month for cable and all we get is a bunch of junk!" - Solon

Yet you keep buying it. So you get no pity from me.

"I wish the cleaning people would do a better job at our town hall." - Cuyahoga Heights

I am sure there is a lovely story behind this. After all, Cuyahoga Heights is a small community, and chances are that whoever phoned this in knows the people who clean city hall, and vice versa.

"Why can't the TV stations show a phone number so that those of us who do not have a computer for can participate in different polls and questions that they have? We would really appreciate it." - Brook Park

Here is a phone number for you: 1-800-915-3355. Dell is offering $150 off desktop computers and $300 off notebooks.

"When one company takes over another, why do newspapers and TV always pass along the lie that there will be no job cuts? That has never happened, so please stop reporting it." - Bay Village

There is a difference between reporting that there will be no job cuts, and reporting that officials from both companies state that there will be no job cuts. Surely you can see the distinction by now.

"Bay Village is full of barking dogs. People seem to buy dogs and let them outside to bark and annoy the neighbors." - Bay Village (the city of barking dogs)

Perhaps they bark because they have no computers with which to express their opinions in meaningless television polls. Or perhaps they are barking over job cuts. I know not for whom the dog barks; perhaps it barks for thee.

"My moan is to all the idiots who misuse their cell phones - in church, in restaurants, in movie theaters, even in restrooms, but mostly on the road when they're supposed to be driving their cars." - Lakewood

"Misuse" their cell phones? Cell phones have so many uses these days, about the only misuse I can think of it setting it on vibrate and using it as a personal massager. That might help one get through church if the sermon is getting a bit long.

"What makes me mad is, every time I say something to my wife, she says, 'Whatever!' " - Cleveland


"This is for the teenage boys and young men who wear their pants below their waistline: From the back, you look like your grandpa with baggy pants on. And then when you have to hold them up when you walk or run, you look like a girl holding up her skirt. You're not cool." - Cleveland

The arbiter of cool has spoken. Right. Listen, nobody's grandpa wears their pants like that -- grandpas usually do the exact opposite and wear them extra high. And I don't think I've ever seen a girl hold up her skirt while running. So pretty much the best you can do to argue against this admittedly misguided fashion statement is to tell these boys that they look like old men and skirts, even though they don't.

"When police pull cars over for whatever reason, why don't they move their cars close to the side, instead of hanging out half on the street where it causes more problems?" - Parma

I can't believe that you don't know the reason why police do this! But here it goes: it is to protect themselves when they walk up to the side of the car they've pulled over -- they leave the car out far enough so they don't get nailed by passing traffic. If you think a cop car three feet into the lane of traffic "causes more problems" -- you should see traffic stop when an officer gets hit by a car.

"Does the telephone company know how much business they are losing and why people are cutting out their landlines and going to cell phones? Because we have to go through all of this nonsense like 'give us your access code' and then give us this and that until you're sick of it all." - Rocky River

Be it the phone company or the Catholic Church or AOL, just keep turning people off, and watch people walk with their feet. Now if only the first moaner would do that with the cable company...

"Regarding smoking: On the flip side of smoking, 20 percent of Ohioans pay $4 million a day - $1.5 billion a year - for the privilege of smoking in secluded areas. Eighty percent pay nothing. Is this fair? What's wrong with this picture?" - Macedonia

In general, taxing a product heavily will discourage its consumption. So taxing cigarettes to decrease their consumption sounds good. But cigarettes are not like other products. Cigarettes are addictive. And the money raised by taxing cigarettes isn't used to get people to stop smoking. It is used for anything from buidling stadiums to now supporting the arts. And because politicians know that the smokers will just keep smoking, they are an easy target. The last thing they want is for the smokers to stop smoking, because if they did, they'd have to find other (and more politically perilous) sources of revenue. Politicians are addicted to cigarette taxes as surely as smokers are addicted to nicotine. And they count on smokers to stay addicted in order to fund their pet projects.

"Does Frank Jackson understand that legalized gambling has plunged Detroit into a huge fiscal mess? The city of Cleveland, like its schools, cannot be saved by more money. The root of the problem is society, our lack of values and the accountability of our parents. - Cleveland

Oh yeah, Detroit was just short of paradise when those casinos came along and ruined it all! Casinos are no panacea, no quick fix solution, and like pretty much everything else the politicians promise, they'll fall short of all of the rose-colored vision being pitched. Perhaps cigarette taxes are merely a gateway drug, and the mayor wants to move on to the harder stuff. That said, Cleveland should have had casinos long ago. I have long maintained that if Cleveland really wants to be a destination city, it has to go all out: build a convention center, expand the airport, build casinos, and encourage even more adult entertainment. Take any of those things out of the equation, and the plummers will meet in Detroit instead.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Matt Lauer questioned Bush on torture -- watch Bush's response and body language!

Money Quote, on waterboarding:

"I'm not going to talk about techniques that we use on people. One reason why is that we don't want the enemy to adjust."

Suppose the president were to admit that we waterboard detainees -- what pray tell could the enemy do to adjust to that?

Bush says it TWICE. Listen to this.

I have to give credit to Lauer for sticking it to him as long as he did.

If this government thinks that it is ok to torture people to "protect families," then let's have an open and honest debate about that. The fact that they won't fess up to what they're obviously doing only demonstrates that they really do know that what they are doing is very wrong.

Tuesday Talkback

The PD readers moan, and I Talkback.

"I wish umbrella companies would make umbrellas much stronger. Every time it rains, we get wet and the wind tears apart the umbrellas. That really annoys me." - Cleveland

You need to buy a better umbrella. They do make stronger umbrellas, but they cost a lot more. So you can buy 3 or 4 of the cheapies, or buy a really nice one. I bought a beautiful Totes umbrella with a vent to allow the air to pass through it and with carbon fiber reinforcement. Granted, I left it a restaurant somewhere -- but some member of the waitstaff now has a mighty fine umbrella.

"I thought someone from the county auditor's office was supposed to inspect my property every few years. Checking my property on the auditor's Web site, they list two few bedrooms and baths and no central air. Guess the inspector missed the big A.C. unit installed in my yard eight years ago. I won't tell, because it will only raise my taxes. I wonder how many more are like me?" -Cleveland

Yeah, you're funny. Too bad you didn't list your address. Me? I bought a house last summer -- and the auditor has now assumed that the price I paid for the house is now, exactly and coincidentally, the taxable value of the house. Imagine that. I'm sure the only "inspection" they conducted was a look at the recorded documents listing the sale price of the house.

"Ohio State has a great football team, but they also have the best marching band in the country. And when you watch an Ohio State football game on television and get to halftime, do you get to see the band? Of course not. They have to go to the studio for a bunch of inane babbling!" - Cleveland Heights

Ummm, how do you know whether OSU has the "best marching band in the country" when none of the halftime performances are broadcasted for any of the college games? It isn't like OSU games are unique that way. Now, I agree that OSU has a fine marching band, and I am looking forward to seeing them do the halftime at the next Browns game. But I think you are assuming a lot based upon your own pro-OSU opinion with no data to back it up. There is no NCAA or coaches (directors?) poll or BCS for marching bands, and thank God for that too -- because most of those band geeks would never pass the drug tests.

"Why should the suburbs pay more for the proposed water and sewer rate increase? It's the city of Cleveland that has the oldest water and sewer lines that require the most maintenance?" - Middleburg Heights

We're all part of the same system. Don't like it? Go dig a well.

"Why can't the auto companies put their gas caps on the same side? It would be a lot easier pulling in to get gas." - Maple Heights

So which side would be the correct side? And even if all the auto makers changed it, it wouldn't change all the vehicles already on the road. Here is a better moan: when will the auto companies finally make and mass produce an affordable car that doesn't use gasoline or diesel? You lack vision, complaining about mere gas caps.

"I don't understand why ladies get their hair all fixed up, put pretty dresses on, but they insist on wearing shoes that show their ugly toes. Don't they sell pantyhose or knee-highs anymore?" - Mayfield Heights

Another resentful grandma who had to cover up in her day... *yawn*.

"I'm getting a little sick of the politicians - Mr. DeWine, Mr. Brown, Mr. Blackwell, Mr. Strickland - all pointing the finger at each other, at what they did three, five, seven years ago. The issue is now. Why do you want the position and what can you do for me? Represent me and I will vote for you." - Garfield Heights

Negative campaigning works. Period. As for "what can you do for me" ... if only JFK were here to give you a kick in the pants.

"After spending almost $50 at Babies R Us, I was told I would have to buy a gift box. I told them to forget it." - Avon

Forget what? The whole purchase? Or just the box? Please tell me you shitcanned the whole sale!

"The 'Wizard of Oz' and the orchestra at the Blossom Music Center: Although the evening was wonderful and it's a great idea to have something like that you could take the kids to, the food prices were ridiculous! Cheeseburgers and hot dogs for $5.75 apiece, and we're bringing a family of four?" - Parma

Here's a thought: feed your family of four Parmites AT HOME. And I don't know if this show was an exception, but at the other Blossom orchestra shows you are permitted to bring a picnic dinner. I might be with you if you were talking the stadium or the ballpark (or even the I-X Center), but this was totally avoidable.

"Why must each and every newscast on Fox 8 have a segment about 'American Idol'? Shoving a bunch of untalented people screaming off key down our throats is not news." - North Olmsted

I agree that it isn't. However, there are three other channels in town offering local news. Change the channel.

"The Northeast Ohio Sewer District wants a rate hike. Their rates are based on the water bill. If they would just combine the sewer district with the water department, it would save money on manpower, computers and postage. It's an unnecessary entity. It would negate their need for a rate increase." - Parma

Leave it to a Parmite to decide that the sewer district is unnecessary. Way to go, Stanley Stinky.

"No wonder so many people are shutting off their land lines and going to cell phones. All the phone company does is say, 'Push this, push that,' 'Do this, do that' or 'We're sorry, we can't get your number. What's your carrier's access code?' I'm very disgusted with the telephone menus." - Rocky River

Uhhhhhh, cell phones are not a magic tool that get around telephone menus. Good luck with that.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Mint Cafe and Mac's, and a Con

While I was busy at the office all weekend, I did take time to have dinner. I like to think that since I have to eat anyway, I ought to at least enjoy that even when I am busy. Gina suggested the Mint Cafe at Coventry. It was my first time there, and it was pretty good. We both ordered Thai basil dishes; she had the pasta, I had the beef. Overall, my dinner was tasty, but I might have liked a little more basil and a little less onion. The beef was not overcooked. And we had the "golden bags" appetizer and jasmine & lime to drink. We got out of there for $29 plus tip, which I think is a very nice price any night, but especially Saturday.

We walked up the street to Mac's Paperbacks to work off a little of the food. We walked in, and went to the magazine rack on the left wall just inside past the steps. We were standing there browsing through magazines when a man walked in the front door, approached us, and started talking to us.

"'Scuse me, but I was wondering if you could help me." I didn't really look at him, but he was holding a roll of money in his hand. "My wife and I got a flat tire, and I was wondering if you could help..." Not wanting to be bothered, and looking into the magazine I was holding, I said what I always say, "I have nothing for you." And he moved along to some other customers standing about six steps away, to make the same pitch.

That's when Gina said to me that it was the same guy as last time. What? Oh yeah, last weekend, at Borders at Severence.

* * *

Labor Day weekend, Gina and I went to Borders at Severance. We had just parked the car and were walking toward Borders when this grubby looking man, holding a roll of money in hand, starting walking toward us in the parking lot.

"Sir! Sir! Can I ask you something?"

"I have nothing for you."

"Hey, what makes you think I was going to ask you for money?"

"I have nothing for you, now move along."

By now he was chasing us, and getting into our personal space.

"Hey all I was going to do was ask you what time it is. But you white people don't have the time for a black man like me."

That really pissed me off. We went into Borders, and he didn't follow us. Once we were inside, I analyzed out loud whether I had jumped to a conclusion or not, and whether race was a part of it. Gina and I agreed that if all he wanted was the time, then all he had to do was ask, not ask whether he could ask us something -- you don't say that if all you want is the time. As for him being black, I treated him no differently than any other stranger who approaches me in a parking lot, wanting money. Still, the whole thing bugged me, but after a day or so, I forgot about it.

* * *
From the magazine rack I look over at the three women listening to his story. I looked his way and said, "Didn't I hear you telling that same story over at Borders last week? Yeah, seems like you are really unlucky."

The woman, who did appear skeptical, now dismissed his pleas. And then he walked up behind me.

"Why don't you mind your own fuckin' business? Why don't you and your wife here mind your fucking business and let me--"

Turning around to face him, I said, "You made it my business when you came in here and started harassing me and the other customers. And don't you use that language in front of her. This place is a business, and you have no business coming in here--"

"Oh fuck that, you should just mind your own fuckin' business," and he started to turn and head for the door.

I grabbed his shoulder and pulled him right back. I looked him in the eyes. He didn't seem used to being confronted this way. I said to him "You remember my face? I saw you last week doing the same thing. And here you are again. So remember my face. Don't you ever approach me again asking for anything. And don't let me catch you in here again. Now get out of here."

He said "What the fuck are you doing touching me? Touch me again! Yeah, you touch me again and you see what happens."

Without breaking eye contact, I tap him on the same shoulder. "Get out now."

He glared at me, then he turned and walked out.

The man behind the counter at Mac's -- he didn't say a word. He didn't even look up. I know he's got a voice on him because he told that King Arthur story at that reading we all went to a few weeks ago.

A few minutes later, I went up to make my purchase. Nothing was said about the incident, nothing to even acknowledge it. And that's fine.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Arrested Development parody of Tony Hale (Buster) commercial

One more reason why this show was brilliant.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Duty Calls

I am skipping the home opener to the Browns.  I have given away my tix to someone who will appreciate them. 
I am bummed to miss the home opener, but there is a bright side:
Lee Greenwood is singing the national anthem.
And to make it worse, Lee Greenwood is none other than the fiend responsible for that especially insipid ditty, "God Bless the U.S.A." 
I love my country, but whenever I hear that song, I want to gnaw my leg off and poke out my eardrums with knitting needles.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Re: FW: This is absolutely hilarious!!!!!!!

Alright I gotta talk back to this.

On 9/7/06, ****@*******.com wrote:
Oh my goodness! These are funny! I think #1 is my favorite... although I fear my husband might now be tempted to actually say this to someone...
And I know the "something will come on your screen" thing doesn't really work...

9 Things I Hate About Everyone

1. People who point at their wrist while asking for the time.... I know where my watch is pal, where the hell is yours? Do I point at my crotch when I ask where the toilet is?

We point at the wrist, because that is where the watch is. So it is not the same thing, unless you keep your toilet next to your crotch at all times. And if you need to do that, may I suggest a box of Depends?

2 People who are willing to get off their ass to search the entire room for the T.V. remote because they refuse to walk to the T.V. and change the channel manually.

I don't know about you... but my remote has a lot more buttons and functions on it than my TV or satellite box or DVD player or VCR etc. That's why I will hunt high and low for the remote.

3 When people say "Oh you just want to have your cake and eat it too". Damn right! What good is cake if you can't eat it?

By "have your cake" it is meant that you want to continue to POSSESS your cake. Not "have your cake" like, "have a beer." Do people really not know what the distinction? Or just the asshole who wrote this?

4 When people say "it's always the last place you look". Of course it is. Why the hell would you keep looking after you've found it? Do people do this? Who and where are they? Gonna Kick their asses!

Yes, it is an odd thing to say. However, I think what people really mean when they say that is that whatever it was that they were looking for, it was someplace they didn't expect to find it. If you keep your car keys in a dish by the door, and that's where you find them, you don't say that. If you find them in the bushes out back, then you say it!

5 When people say while watching a film "did you see that?". No Loser, I paid $12 to come to the cinema and stare at the damn floor.

In the case of the crank that wrote this, I find it entirely possible that he was busy staring at the floor, at the deficiencies of the people around him, or the bottom of the popcorn bucket, looking for something else to complain about.

6 People who ask "Can I ask you a question?".... Didn't really give me a choice there, did ya sunshine?

Process versus substance -- that's all it is. Polite society isn't always efficient in conversation. If I knew who wrote this, I could treat this person as they expect to be treated: shortly, curtly and brusquely. Not one word wasted on pleasantries. Would that make you happy, sunshine?

7. When something is 'new and improved!' Which is it? If it's new, then there has never been anything before it. If it's an improvement, then there must have been something before it, couldn't be new.

Someone tell that to Microsoft -- because when I hit "New" in Word, it creates a new document -- even though there were documents before it. How new does something have to be before it is "new"? I mean, we're talking about the puffery that goes on a bag of Cheetos -- not the invention of the greatest innovations since the wheel and the zero. Or even a frontal lobotomy, which the author of this piece desparately needs.

8 When people say "life is short". What the hell?? Life is the longest damn thing anyone ever does!! What can you do that's longer?

Rot in your grave, for one. Life is finite -- death is forever. In your face.

9 When you are waiting for the bus and someone asks "Has the bus come yet?". If the bus came would I be standing here, dumbass?

Perhaps you are a whore waiting for a trick. With that disgusting mouth on you, it seems entirely possible.

*** Forward this to at least 5 people and see what comes on your screen, you will laugh your head off!!!!!!! This works. I don't know how...

No, not really, Sunshine.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tuesday Talkback

I had a busy holiday weekend, and back to work today means doing (at least) 5 days worth of work in just 4 days.  So, no new Talkback this week. 
However, take a look at last week's Talkback (if you haven't already) -- it didn't go up till Thursday because the PD didn't make Monday Moaning available online till Wednesday or so.
There probably won't be much activity on The Audient Files these next few days.  


Friday, September 01, 2006

Happy Birthday to Bebout the Younger

Happy Birthday, DPB. Stop by and we'll have beers. I mean, apple juice.