Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Joe Biden -- Debate Winner?

I watched much of the Democratic Presidential debate last night on MSNBC.

I am surprised -- a little surprised -- by how much I enjoyed Joe Biden last night.

Obama -- I expected more. Hillary looked dodgy. Edwards looked alright. Dennis had to deal with that flippin' UFO question. But Biden was loose, having fun, tooks some shots at Guiliani, and at times seemed like the only adult up there.

I am putting him back on my list.

Also, be sure to take a look at the way Guiliani's campaign reacted to Biden calling him out, as reported HERE in the times. Rudy's communications director's response was so juvenile, I'm surprised she didn't cite to the case of Rubber v. Glue.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Having Your Social Security and Eating It Too

This story about Hillary Clinton refusing to answer a question about social security from the podium, but then changing her answer when she met with the questioner privately, reminded me of something I witnessed back in early 1994 when Joel Hyatt ran U.S. Senator in Ohio.
A friend of mine who was a recent grad of John Carroll University got me into a luncheon with candidate Hyatt.  There were maybe only about 20 of us, and except for my friend and me (and Hyatt), I think the people in attendance were all senior JCU faculty and administration. 
Before that luncheon there was a speech followed by Q&A for the students.  One of the students asked Hyatt about gun control.  From the podium, Hyatt gave a fairly middle of the road answer, noncommital to any additional regulations or restrictions on gun ownership.  Afterwards, that same student approached him, while a few students and I listened in.  He sharpened his answer, favoring exploring additional retrictions while respecting the second amendment.  But at the luncheon, behind closed doors, while talking to one of the Jesuits, I heard him say that we had to find a way to get rid of all the guns. 
The other thing I noticed about Mr. Hyatt was that he only picked at his grilled chicken caesar salad, but he ate every bite of his chocolate cake.  
I knew then that he would not be our senator.  I know that moderating and finessing ones postions is hardly new among politicians running for office.  But you can't be so sloppy as to take three different positions within one hour in front of the likes of me. 
And now Hillary is being sloppy and doing it. 
Chocolate cake, anyone?   

Tuesday Talkback

The won't stop moaning! Spooky!

"Whenever my wife and I go to the store or restaurant, we always are greeted by 'Hi, guys.' When did it be come OK to call a woman 'guy'?" - North Olmsted

You should just be glad that they don't stare at your wife's beard or throw Bic shavers at her.

"Attention all drivers: Please use your turn signals so that those behind, next to, in front of and to the side know what you plan on doing. Let's get back to being courteous. And now that it gets lighter later and dark earlier, turn on those car lights until after sunrise and before sundown. Thank you to those that try their best to be safe on the road." - Cleveland Heights

I did what you suggested and last night I turned on my lights. This morning my battery is dead. Thanks for nothing.

"Those people who see baseball as a metaphor for everything good about America along with Mom and apple pie - all baseball is is the apotheosis of American greed and the American love of tawdry spectacle. If Thomas Jefferson were alive today, do you really think he'd be sitting in a bleacher seat that he paid some Internet scalper $700 for, eating overpriced hot dogs and drinking warm beer?" - Parma

Not at all. He'd be up in a loge.

"Why do some clerks fail to look at you when you're paying for your groceries? Eye contact, people!" - Mayfield

That wandering eye of yours -- it is easier to look away. Less revolting.

"Mayor Jackson should contact the Amish to coach the inner-city families on family values: being self-sufficient and contributing to the betterment of their community. Nothing else seems to work with the dire situation." - North Ridgeville

Maybe he could use them to solve the foreclosure crisis too, with a good old fashioned barn raising! Whatev.

"They build this shopping center in Cleveland, for the Cleveland residents. What about the Cleveland residents who don't have the vehicles? There is no public transportation, except for one circulator that goes there. So it's going to be the suburbanites, basically, going to avoid the rush out there." - Cleveland

No vehicle, huh? Well, what about the Cleveland residents who don't have any money? What are they supposed to do with a shopping center? Seriously, I am not sure who Steelyard Commons is for, either. You can barely see it from the highway. It is hard to figure out how to get to it. It isn't in a neighborhood -- unless you live in a steel mill. I've got a bad feeling that if you want to know what that place is going to look like in ten years -- take a ride out today to the Euclid Square Mall.

"When is Time Warner Cable going to get the actors' lips and words to match? It's been like this for a few weeks now." - Brooklyn

Try not drinking a 40 to take your meds.

"Why do perfectly nice restaurants, such as Lemon Grass, install televisions in the dining room and completely ruin everybody's chances at having good conversations?" - Shaker Heights

Perhaps whoever is taking you there to eat is telling you something about the quality of your conversation.

"Some people at the office think it's OK to comment about what I am, or am not, eating. MYOB!" - Hinckley

Chewing cud in your cubicle will do that.

"The city of Cleveland can't afford to hire enough police to fight crime, but there always seems to be enough money to pitch in for flashy mega buildings that will be good for 'tourism.' " - Cleveland

If you can't beat the crime, join it. Pick our pockets to build the convention center, and then bring on the tourists so our street criminals can mug them.

"President Bush says the health insurance for children was too expensive, but he doesn't mind spending millions a day for private contractors in Iraq." - Olmsted Falls

If Bush could find a way to line the pockets of his buddies with SCHIP, we'd get an SCHIP that would make the Medicare expansion look like a drop in the bucket. Follow the money.

"The new Lake Erie Monsters hockey team bills itself as a Cleveland sports team. Why doesn't it do outreach in urban Cleveland neighborhoods? It would be a great opportunity to reach a new fan base and diversify hockey's image." - Cleveland

The Monsters have been around about 5 minutes now? And we're already picking on them? Look, there is a simple reason why poor kids don't follow hockey, and it isn't a lack of outreach -- the equipment is expensive. Kids want to watch what they too can play. To play basketball, you need a ball. To play football, you need a ball. To play baseball, you can share gloves and bats -- if you didn't have your own glove, you could share with a kid on the other team. But to play hockey, everyone needs a stick, and everybody need skates (or roller blades). You can play outfield with your older brother's old beaten up glove. But old skates with dull blades or worn out wheels don't cut it. And on top of that, you need a place to play. As a kid, I played baseball in the park or in the street, football in the yard or in the street, and basketball anywhere you could hang a hoop. And a hoop, being ten feet off the ground, can be left outside all the time. It isn't underfoot or in the way when it isn't being used. Even when the city doesn't plow or salt your neighborhood till day three after the storm, you can't have pickup ice hockey in the street.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

NFL Trivia - European Edition

On October 28, 2007, the first regular season NFL game played outside of North America occurred when the New York Giants faced the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium in London.  Miami was the home team, and wore their home uniforms.  New York won, 13-10.
So, remember the following trivia:
Q: What were the first ever NFL regular season points scored outside of North America?
A: Field Goal by Lawrence Tynes, K, Giants.
Q: Who scored the first NFL regular season touchdown (and first NFL regular season rushing touchdown) outside of North America?
A: Giants QB Eli Manning.
Q: Who threw the first NFL regular season touchdown pass outside of North America?
A: Miami QB Cleo Lemon.
Q: What player was the first to catch a NFL regular season touchdown pass outside of North America?
A: Miami WR Ted Ginn, Jr.
And while we're at it:
Q: Where did Ted Ginn, Jr. score his first NFL touchdown?
A: Wembley Stadium, London, UK
* * *
In other news, Boston won the World Series in four.  *yawn*  At least Cleveland put up a fight in the ALCS.  

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Low Def and Dum

The Browns versus the Rams is on TV. And while I've been coveting an HD TV to replace the once fancy Sony Wega in my living room, the game is NOT in HD. Again. This is at least the third Browns game that CBS has not broadcast in High Def this season. The third that I've noticed, even though I don't have HDTV, so it probably isn't the third, but a number higher than that.

It is pathetic that CBS is showing any NFL games in anything other than HD. It is pathetic that the NFL is allowing it. And I think it is a bit insulting that the Browns don't merit HD coverage.

At the same time, I'm glad I didn't bother buying an HDTV just yet. One of the biggest reasons I want HDTV is for watching sports and the Browns in particular. If they aren't going to show all the Browns games in High Def, then I might as well wait to buy my HDTV until they do.

Besides, a better picture does NOT improve the play. Letting the Rams score two touchdowns in the first two drives -- while the Browns go three-and-out in between -- looks awful in any resolution.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

feel like I could run away
looking at a darker day
Oh...pulling the shades away from my eyes

It's true
the moody manners come and go
and it's better that you never know

Some things
are better left unsaid
some strings
are better left undone
some hearts
are better left unbroken
Some lives
are better left untouched
some lies
are better off believed
some words
are better left unspoken

ideas seem to frighten you
are you really that afraid to move?
Oh...guess that it's your right to reason.

I'm still
dealing with a force that's so strong.
The forces string us along

Some things
are better left unsaid
some strings
are better left undone
some hearts
are better left unbroken
Some lives
are better left untouched
some lies
are better off believed
some words
are better left unspoken

-- Daryl Hall & John Oates

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesday Talkback

Oh, those moaners.

"My husband and I cannot watch a baseball game on Channel 8 with our grandchildren without being bombarded with ads on erectile dysfunction. It's not the time for that during a baseball game." - Cleveland

Wrong. There really is no better time than during a baseball game. You can't hit a home run if you have ED -- the best you can do is slide into third. In their last series, the Indians' bats were limp and could have used a little help, and I don't think MLB had banned that set of drugs yet.

"If the Indians baseball team would like to change its name to the Irish, I am sure that none of us will be offended. They can even recycle the 'I.' We won't even mind if they use a caricature of an Irishman with a bowler hat, clay pipe and a mug of beer. Get over it. Enjoy the honor." - Bay Village

To be clear, I don't get worked up over this issue. But there is a difference between calling the team the Indians and calling the team the Irish. We didn't commit genocide against the Irish. We didn't defeat and displace the Irish. We didn't rape their women, steal their land, and stick the last few of them on a reservation. And if we caricatured a red nosed Irishman, that actually describes many of us much more than the grinning Chief Wahoo. You don't see Scandinavian people getting worked up over the Minnesota Vikings -- because we didn't invade their lands, defeat them, and keep them down to this very day.

The idea that calling the team the Indians is some sort of honor is nonsense. Let's be honest about it. We have earned the right to call the team the Indians because we defeated the Native Americans, and as the victors, we have the right to humiliate them on an ongoing basis. Whether or not we should be doing that is another matter entirely. So let us not kid ourselves -- what we are doing is not to honor them. We are doing it because we can and because we want to. And that might be enough -- but let's not dress it up to be more.

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Porcupine Tree: Cleveland 10/22/07 Set List

Gina stuck around an extra day and we went to the Porcupine Tree show at Cleveland's House of Blues. MDC met us there, and he brought Andy along for his first show. The usual gang of Haves, George, Annette and Joe were there. I met Pete from Joyrides for Shut Ins, sporting a tshirt. And we were in for an extra special show -- especially for the encore.

What Happens Now?
Fear of a Blank Planet
Sound of Muzak
Nil Recurring
Open Car
Dark Matter
Cheating the Polygraph
A Smart Kid
Way Out of Here
Sleep Together

The Sky Moves Sideways (!!!!!!)
Even Less

I was stunned by the encore. The Sky Moves Sideways -- if they played it any of the previous gigs, it escaped my attention. Indeed, Steven Wilson came out by himself and said "we have something really special for you" -- and he played much of it by himself -- the rest of the band (less Wes) walked out partway through, and then jammed along for the rest of the song. When they finished, Steven Wilson said "thank you -- we got through it." Wes came out then for the rest of the encore.

The show was energetic and nearly flawless. Even Less was a bit rough. Wilson struck a wrong note in the guitar intro. And in the quiet part right before the verse starts, there were a couple of extra beats. Gina and MDC saw Gavin Harrison look up from the drums, nod to signal a new downbeat, and they were all back on -- just like that. MDC said later that the way they all jumped right back together and saved the song was even more impressive to him than the otherwise flawless play in the other pieces. I have to agree.

3 opened for them again. I really didn't like 3 the first time I heard them, but they weren't so bad this time. They turned down the volume a little so it wasn't quite the aural bludgeoning it was last time. Their songs have all these interesting little bits to them, but it seemed like every song was a patchwork of interesting bits that might not actually constitute coherent pieces of music. I did admire their energy and the enthusiasm with which they played.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Season's End

After watching the better part of the last seven games, I have one simple and obvious explanation.  The team that played better, won.  The Indians' pitching went soft, and the bats went silent. I am no expert on the game, but the Red Sox just played better.  So the Red Sox advance.  And we turn out attention to other things.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Money Talks

For the most part, there is no public financing of presidential campaigns in this country. While there are some compelling reasons in favor of public financing, one compelling reason against it is the virtue of the marketplace itself. The people help determine which candidates succeed by donating money to their campaigns. A "good" candidate, one who has popular ideas, should be able to raise money from the people who agree with those ideas.

When you donate to a political campaign, you are supposed to list your occupation. You don't submit a full resume, a background check isn't done. If you donate $100 to a campaign and decribe yourself as an attorney, a homemaker, a venture capitalist, or a veteran -- as a practical matter, who really has time to check? And these things get written down on reports. It is a bit haphazard. And if you mail in a check without disclosing your occupation, do you really think they don't cash it?

Still, someone can look through the lists of donors and look for trends. Do people who report certain occupations and affiliations tend to donate to certain candidates? And while it isn't entirely scientific, there can, and have been, some interesting observations made. Including this one.

People who are affiliated with the military, a small fraction of the number of donors these campaigns have, have donated the most money -- not to John McCain, a vet and former POW who would stay the course in Iraq; not to Rudy or Hillary, either of whom would seem likely keep us in Iraq indefinitely -- but to anti-war candidates Ron Paul and Barack Obama.

I don't imagine most active duty soliders have much cash to spare. I think it is safe to say that many of our vets don't either. The amount of actual dollars discussed in the article is rather small. But still, when our soldiers and vets are donating the most money to the anti-war candidates, I think it is worthy of note.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Do It. Feel It.

If you haven't seen this All Bran ad, you really should give it a watch.

When I first saw it on TV, I backed up the TiVo and watched it over and over again!
I didn't run right out and buy a box of All Bran, but it does make think of it, er, regularly.

Tuesday Talkback

They don't stop moaning, and I don't stop talking back.

“Note to Cleveland media: LeBron was wearing that Yankees cap during the NBA Finals. I guess it wasn’t cool to defend the Indians back in May, huh? You’re the same front-runner followers you accuse LeBron to be.” — no city

Actually, the PD has reported on LeBron and his Yankees cap wearing ways before this postseason run. Only now is it getting so much attention. Wearing his cap to Jacobs Field seems to be a first for him, too. Dumb PR move on his part. So much of the success of sports as a business hinges on goodwill. LeBron has burned needlessly a lot of goodwill.

“An old junker parked in the driveway, a big dog doing its business in the front yard, a child racing around the yard on a motor bike, a fire pit stinking up the air. Looks like the Clampetts have moved into Parma.” — Parma

That smell is not just the fire pit, but the noxious fumes of burning plastic pink flamingo lawn ornaments, gathered up from around the neighborhood by the Clampett kid on that bike. Turns out there is an upside to everything.

“I am a native New Yorker misplaced in Cleveland by way of marriage. I must say the ‘hatred’ and dislike by Cleveland towards the Yankees is one-sided. No one in New York cares about Cleveland. It seems to me Cleveland has a problem with every other city with a winning team. Maybe what Cleveland needs to refocus on is its terrible racial divisions, horrible job market and struggling economy!” — Cleveland

Oh, so sorry you married beneath you! And it is you who doesn't understand Yankee hatred. Every baseball fan who isn't a Yankees fan hates the Yankees. It isn't a Cleveland thing, anymore than it is a Boston thing or a Baltimore thing or a Detroit thing. Steinbrenner can field the best team that money can buy, so any year that the Yankees don't win it all, they have no excuse. The Yankees treat the rest of the majors as an extension of their own farm system, luring away all the developed talent that the smaller market teams can't afford to keep. Now, should some of the competitive energy of the Cleveland fans be directed outside of sports? Certainly. And an Indians World Series win go a long way toward uplifting this town.

“My Monday Moan goes out to LeBron James! Shame on you for wearing your Yankees hat to the first playoff game. We know that you like the Yankees, but with all the media attention, it looks really bad. All those Indians players came out supporting you, and I am pretty sure they weren’t wearing Detroit hats. Poor choice. Next time, just wear your Cavs hat.” — Westlake

Here we are again. LeBron -- I am not going to tell him he cannot be a Yankees fan, but we shouldn't know about it.

“Why do the comic pages have to assault us with such idiotic creations as ‘Doonesbury’ and ‘Prickly City’? When I come to the comics, I want to relax, not have the liberal viewpoint shoved down my throat. If you absolutely must print them, put them in the classifieds and bring back ‘Spider-Man’” — Amherst

Does the PD run "Prickly City"? Never heard of it. And that's my point -- you don't have to read it just because its there.

“What’s happening that we don’t see them singing the national anthem at baseball or football games anymore on TV? Also, when are the men going to stop shaving their heads? Bald is not beautiful. It is ugly.” — West Salem

The anthem performance is shown on TV usually just for championship games. I am guessing that you don't watch a lot of regular season games, or you'd know that. As for your anti-bald campaign, a bald head looks better than a toupee pretty much every time.

“Jackson has a lot of nerve raising cab fares from the airport almost double. I’ll take a bus myself now!” — no city

Exactly. As Justice John Marshall wrote long ago, the power to tax is the power to destroy. I predict there are going to be a lot of taxi drivers out of work because of this.

“Raising sales taxes without voter approval to build a convention center that will never be used or pay for itself: I guarantee it won’t work and just wait till you see the demonstrations when that fizzles out. It will just be another empty building in this ghost town.”— no city

You overestimate the complacent public. The referendum campaign to put the sales tax hike on the ballot fizzled out due to a lack of signatures. That isn't the sign of a people ready to take to the streets.

“There are kids being killed in our city and Cleveland and the media are so outraged about LeBron’s Yanks cap. If Cleveland’s media showed the same outrage toward kids being killed things might change. Wake up, Cleveland!” — Cleveland

Was there not outrage and sadness when Cookie was killed? Was there not outrage and sadness over Asa Coon shooting four at SuccessTech and turning the gun on himself? Reporting these things and then beating their chests changes things how? It is something we all must do, and it is cheap and easy to leave this problem on the media's doorstep.

“By God, they are going to raise taxi fares that high from the airport. Those guys better not look for any tip whatsoever. Pay the fare and that’s it. I myself will take a bus or rapid.” — Parma

Yeah, I am pretty sure that $3 surcharge is going to the airport and not the driver. Again, this is going to hurt the drivers. Give this plan about a year, and then look for the article about how we lost over half of our taxi service in this county. How we ran four cab companies out of business because they are now prohibited from queuing at the airport even though they are licensed taxi services. And how the other three companies who now have the exclusive on the airport have lost much of their ridership. Even before the price hike, if I was flying out for the weekend it was cheaper for me to leave my car at the airport than it was to take a cab. The long term garage is just $10 per day, and the shuttle service for the onsite economy parking is $7 day. A cab ride to my home was around $30, each way, before the price hike. The only way this is not going to hurt the cab drivers is if they raise the parking rates. And if they do that, look for a lot more people to fly out of CAK.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Presidential Lies - a recap

"I'm not a crook."
"I did not have sexual relations with that woman."
"We do not torture."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

SuccessTech Shootings

So, now the shooter's brother has been arrested. We don't know why, just yet. My guess is that he was involved in getting the shooter the firearm(s) he used.

From the report:

Coon, who was white, stood out in the predominantly black school for dressing in a goth style, wearing a black trench coat, black boots, a dog collar and chains, she said.

Henderson, who is black, she said she didn't believe race played a role in the shootings.

"He's crazy. He threatened to blow up our school. He threatened to stab everybody," said Doneisha LeVert, 14. "We didn't think nothing of it."

Police believe Coon, wearing a Marilyn Manson shirt, black jeans and black nail polish, targeted the two teachers he shot Wednesday.

Great. Across the country, all disenchanted goth kids are suspects once again. I look down at myself, sitting at this keyboard. I happened to wear all black today, black shirt, black jeans. My black coat hangs behind my door. I like wearing black. I don't paint my nails. I have only one Marilyn Manson CD. And none on my iPod -- a black iPod.

Coon's troubles seemed to come to a breaking point this week. Students said Monday's fight was over God — Coon told his classmates he didn't believe in God and instead worshipped rocker Marilyn Manson.

It just keeps getting better. In a matter of minutes, the Christianists will come flying out of their batcaves, saying that godless atheism caused all this. All other reasons and factors will fall away, and it will be all because he didn't let Jesus into his blackened little heart. And in a few days it will be back to sleepy normal.

But here is the part that takes the cake:

Also Thursday, a high school student said that he and classmates had warned their principal about Asa H. Coon, the 14-year-old suspect in the shootings.

The student, Rasheem Smith, said on CBS' "Early Show" that despite their warnings about Coon, the principal, Johneita Durant, told them she was too busy.

Smith, 15, said that the shooting may have been prevented, and that it was known Coon had a gun. "He was talking about doing it last week," he said.

"I told my friends in the class that he had a gun and stuff," Smith said. "He was talking about doing it last week. I don't know why they didn't say nothing."

I went to a couple of different high schools myself, and while the principal at the second high school could be aptly described as a douche nozzle, the principals at the first school, that inner-city Youngstown school, would not have sat on their hands if a student came up to them with something like this. I suspect that this principal has a side to the story that is considerably different, but if the students' account is in fact the case, this is a serious oversight. And it should not go without careful investigation, and appropriate sanctions.

And where were the parents in all this? I tried to be one of those all black wearing kids, but my parents refused to let me dress like that. My parents weren't particularly harsh, far far from it. But I wasn't allowed to leave the house like that. And I'm not saying that the clothes make the kid. But if a parent can't even get a handle on that, what else are they failing to do?

But that's ok, it won't be the parents fault either. It will be because the little SOB didn't love Jesus. Wait for it.

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I Was [Not] a Junior High Ninja

Spending a few of my formative years in Youngtown, I was not a stranger to kids bringing weapons to school.  There never was a shooting at school anytime that I was at school, but I did know kids with guns -- mostly pellet guns.  And sometimes they would end up in lockers at school.
One of the guys next door, one who was a grade ahead of me, was into the whole ninja thing.  He never took any martial arts classes, but he'd watched a bunch of movies.  He had a black outfit that he got from a catalog, and the special shoes for walking silently.  And he had nunchaks and Chinese stars.  He'd sharpen up the stars and we'd play with them, throwing them at an old rotten garage door.  I learned how to throw a star and make it stick in the soft wood.
I borrowed a star from him for a short time.  And one day, one day when I was feeling particularly vulnerable, I wrapped up the star in a hand towel and put it in my school bag.  I got on the bus with my bag, and thought about how I had leveled the playing field somehow. 
But as I sat on the bus, I realized that there was really no way to get to it in a hurry, no way to quickly draw the star.  And would I really be prepared to use it?  Or suffer the consequences of using it? Of course not.  And when I got to school, I put the bag in my locker, and carried my books without the bag through the day.  I had heard of locker searches, but they were always done when someone was tipped off that someone had something they shouldn't have in their locker.  I knew if I just kept quiet, that no one else would have to know what I had, and that there would be no reason for the principal to look in my locker.  My playing field was no longer leveled, and indeed it had never been.  No one would have the chance to react and treat me differently.      
At the end of the day, I skipped the bus and walked home.  Walking the streets with the star concealed seemed smarter somehow than taking it back on the bus with me.  I walked with purpose, as I had learned, for that tended to avoid confrontation.  I got home and hid in my room. 
Later that evening, I returned the star to the real would-be ninja next door.  He suggested that we go out and throw it against the old door out back, and I told him I had to get home.  I never touched one again.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I can see some of this from my window...

Obama's First Times

Now that the New York Times archives are open free of charge, people have been looking for notable first mentions in the newspaper of record.
Here is Barack Obama's first appearance in the Times, in 1990.  He was the newly elected editor of the Harvard Law Review, and the first black to obtain that position.  He was 28 years old.
Here are some more -- including the first mentions of Microsoft, The Simpsons, and Jon Stewart.  (Yes, this dates back to July, but I just saw it, so it is new to me, and maybe it is new to you too.)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Tuesday Talkback

No talkback today, as the PD did not upload this week's Monday Moaning. I did read the moans in the print edition yesterday, but whenever they don't upload that feature, I refuse to retype those wretched moans.

Instead, let's cheer that our Indians beat the Yankees last night, winning the series and advancing to the ALCS versus Boston on Friday night. I'm glad we could get it done without CC having to return to the mound, because now they are set up to start CC in game one against Boston.

Other tidbits...

I purchased my very first Ohio State tshirt over the weekend. I never felt much of a connection to OSU, but now that Gina is in a graduate program there, that has changed somewhat.

We tried the Taj Mahal restaurant on High Street over the weekend, and we liked it very much. I am a fan of Cafe Tandoor here in the Heights, and Taj Mahal was at least as good as that, maybe even better.

I was disappointed to learn that West's power on Heroes was the same power as one we've already seen. I didn't mind that the 16th century hero had a power that was duplicative, because we could surmise that maybe he was an ancestor. But the other thing that surprised me was that Noah Bennett would move his family into hiding in a place in California where another young hero had powers -- granted, they accounted for it by saying that when he got the implant in his neck it was when he was living in St. Louis, but I thought those implants were part of a system to help The Company monitor where everybody is. Wouldn't he have known that West and his family moved? But as for the duplication of powers, to me it takes away from the uniqueness of the various characters. Or maybe we will learn later that West is somehow related to the Petrelli family, and he and Claire are actually cousins. Nice work pitting Claire against Noah again though.

My TiVo is crammed full of seven installments of The War. Each is 2.5 hours long. I think I will have to give up on the idea that I am going to watch it any time soon, as it is taking up a lot of space. Also, I am recording and not watching The Bionic Woman and Cane, and these are starting to build up too. I recorded last week's Back to You and did not watch it.

I did watch 30 Rock with Gina, and she was right in pointing out that the least funny parts of the show actually involved Jerry Seinfeld -- especially the final scene where he and Alec Baldwin work out the deal for Seinfeld Vision. Although I did like the scene where Tina Fey was crying and delivering her lines in Seinfeld style and Jerry accused her of making fun of him. Of course, Julia Louis-Dreyfus would often deliver her lines in that same style, and it did feel like a Jerry and Elaine moment to me. Other than the parts with Seinfeld, the rest of the show was, again, comedy gold. I especially liked the voiceover/chorus introducing "Seinfeld Vision" -- it felt very Arrested Development.

Porcupine Tree is coming back to town on October 22, and I am looking forward to that. I have the new EP Nil Recurring, and I understand that it will be well represented in the set list.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Socrates Cafe

Kat and I went to the Socrates Cafe. I was pleasantly surprised by the large number of insightful comments on the question "Who should reproduce?" I resisted commenting myself for the most part, mostly because I didn't want to throw a wrench into the discussion by injecting my own peculiar viewpoint. Toward the end I did raise my hand, but I did not get called on.

I would have said that a large number of people in the room were hung up on the issue of age. There seemed to be a near consensus that the idea of a woman in her 60s having a baby through in vitro fertilization was doing something horribly unfair to the child. I was going to say that none of them had really addressed head on the issues of economics and financial wherewithal of prospective parents. Anyone with the resources to pay for several rounds of in vitro fertilization would likely have the resources to ensure that that any resulting child is also going to be taken care of. (Indeed, there was one man in the room who revealed that he and his wife, in their 40s, had spent over $70,000 out of their own pocket on four rounds that were unsuccessful.) And while we are quick to condemn the 67 year old woman who may not live to see her child reach adulthood, she was most likely in a position to make sure the needs of the child were nonetheless taken care of. I would have then contrasted that with the millions of children born by parents who can't afford to take care of them. Noting that even before the implementation of The Great Society and the welfare state there were plenty of children born by parents who could not afford to take care of them (and plenty of orphanages), we now actually encourage our poor to have children by subsidizing services for them (and at the same time, we don't subsidize abortions for the poor.) While our better intentions are that we don't want poor children to suffer or any child go without nutrition, education or basic health care, we have instead created economic incentives for more children like this to be born -- while we condemn the older woman with the resources to have a baby and not be a drain on society. And those of us financially in between, those truly in the middle class, we get a tax deduction for our own kids, higher taxes to pay for everyone elses kids, and increasing less appealing choices of public schools for all kids.

Alas, my comment when unaired, but that is ok, because the economics angle did get touched on in the last ten minutes or so, though not as directly as I would have. Plus, being the son of the moderator, I didn't want to seem like a plant. Indeed, at the end of the event, Dad acknowledged that Kat and I were in the room, generally identifying us by the sling on Kat's arm (that's her story to tell.)

As the room disbursed, a woman came up to me and greeted me by name. She looked familiar but I could not place her. She spoke her first name, and paused, then said her last name. She was a girl I dated in high school. Not just dated, but we went to the prom together as seniors. I totally did not recognize her. She looked very different since the last time I saw her, a wedding in the late 90s, and even at that time, she looked considerably different than she did in high school. Her hair color was different, and she looked like a total mom, complete with bookbag with pictures of her children on it. As I realized who she was, we engaged in about 10 seconds of conversation before she declared she had to go, and in a flash she walked off. Beyond the pleasantries of "how have you been" and the fact that she is now in enrolled in classes at Kent-Ashtabula, I have no idea how or what she is doing otherwise. I felt a little bad that I did not recognize her, but she looked very different, and Kat pointed out that she might only have recognized me because we were acknowledged from the podium.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

prog rock trash talk


Fans Are Terrible


- - - -

"Hey, buddy, what does your continued existence have in common with the trees in Rush's 'The Trees'? Neither should be taken literally."

"OK, dude. You beating the crap out of me is like Peter Gabriel doing another album with Genesis: everyone keeps talking about it, but it's never gonna happen."

"When I'm done with you, you won't be able to keep track of whether it was Bruford or White that played drums on 'Heart of the Sunrise.'"

"You're gonna need so many transfusions that only King Crimson will have benefited more by the influx of new blood. Seriously, don't you think it was like a whole new band when Adrian Belew joined?"

"Your ass-kicking is gonna be just like 'Karn Evil 9': loud, fast, and perfected in one take ... except it won't go on for 29 minutes and 37 seconds, as it did in the original release."

"Don't be alarmed by the bustle in your hedgerow, Cochise. That's just a spring clean for the May queen!"

"Kickin' your ass is gonna be a lot easier than the guitar part in 'YYZ.' No joke, some of that shit's in, like, 10/8. Man, Alex Lifeson is underrated."

"Get ready to look like the lead singer of Marillion. When you walk down the street, very few people will be able to recognize you."


Plans for this evening ... Kat and I are going to Kent-Ashtabula to go hear the old guy start a thoughtful discussion, or a riot, whatever the case may be... 

The first


Socrates Cafe


of the 2007-2008 academic year


will feature


Michael Brennan


as he asks the question


"Who should reproduce?"


The discussion will take place at 7:30PM


in the Blue and Gold Room


on Thursday, October 4, 2007.


This event is free and open to the public.


Please join us for a thought-provoking discussion.

A Little Baseball

My prediction: Indians beat the Yankees in al ALDS ... in 5 games.  In doing it, each team will win its home games. 
Note to CC: today is just like any other day.  You've won 18 games this year, and tonight you're going to win one more.  Nothing more to it than that.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Obama's Speech on Foreign Policy at DePaul

Read this speech. All of it. It is worth it.

I have been skeptical, and kept looking for reasons and waiting for revelations to not support this man to be our president. But then I read this speech. I kept looking for something to scoff at, something to disagree with. I did not. Instead, tears welled up in my eyes.

Despite all my cynicism, all my distrust, all my disillusionment with the process, apparently I can still be moved. My buttons can still be pushed. Words can still resonate. And I want to believe.

I will have to read it again later and see if I still feel the same way, if it still provokes the same reaction in me.

Am I nuts? Or do you see it and feel it too? Read it.


Tuesday Talkback

The moans keep coming, and I keep talking back.

"Shut the cell towers down from 7:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. 9-1-1 calls only. Get off your phone, drivers. You can't drive." - Aurora

I understand your frustration. The idiots who can't phone and drive are ruining it for those of us who can. Whenever I get stuck behind an idiot on the phone, I make sure I honk and yell enough so that not only they can hear me, but whoever they are talking to can also hear me. I'd like to think that whoever they are talking to will tell them that maybe they should hang up and drive.

"Why do those idiots on the New York Stock Exchange applaud when the stock market is down 250 points?" - Olmsted Falls

Probably because they sold short.

"Shame on LeBron. The nerve of him to root for the Yankees after this town has given him so much support." - University Heights

As I was telling my sister-in-law the other day, rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for General Motors -- with all of their resources, they have no excuse for not finishing on top every year. Any year the Yankees don't win the World Series, they suck, because they have the resources to field the best possible team every year. As for LeBron, I respect the fact that if he's been a Yankees fan his whole (short) life, that he isn't about to change that now. Indeed, if he suddenly became an Indians fan, that would be more than a little suspect. But if he's smart, he'll put the hat away for this series.

"How the people of Hillsboro, Ore., got so upset about a flag-painted hydrant. I remember in 1976, when we were celebrating the bicentennial, my town painted every hydrant red, white and blue. Everyone is such a whiner." - Macedonia

Yeah, um, I found the article. The concern was that dogs would pee on the hydrant, and thus, they would be peeing on the flag. Which gives me an idea. Instead of naming buildings and bridges after politicians, perhaps we can just name fire hydrants after them, and then paint their faces on the hydrants. Or maybe a politically inspired line of urinal cakes would suffice. For that matter, why stop at peeing Calvin decals for pickup trucks? Why not make urinal cakes shaped like the Ford and Chevy emblems so rednecks can pee on them? Damn, I think I might be on to something!

"I wish AMC would please get some movies. We have seen these current ones so many times, we can recite the dialogue. And, please, no more John Wayne. I love the Duke, but enough is enough." - Euclid

If you have seen every movie that AMC shows, perhaps it is time to find something else to do. John Wayne isn't making any more movies, pilgrim.

"Those automobile commercials showing their cars flying down the highway. Don't you think we have enough accidents and deaths? You're not setting a good example." - Mayfield Heights

Not everyone wants to drive a Buick. And if we didn't value speed in our cars, then we would mandate that cars contain a cutoff chip that they cannot go faster than 65 mph.

"If no other airport in the country is run by a private security force, why would we want our airport to be the first? I don't agree with that." - Cleveland

This is the problem with Cleveland. We can't be first at anything. I haven't decided if Mayor Jackson's plan is a good idea or not. But regardless of the merits, here is the typical Cleveland response -- no one else is doing it, so why should we be the first? Why should we innovate, or be ahead of the curve for a change? That said, I know they wanted to increase shopping at the airport, but I doubt that bringing in mall cops will really make it feel more like a mall.

"The circus is about to come to town. Last year we took our 8-year-old grandson. We spent almost $80 for the tickets and when we got in, the noise level was so high that my grandson left after less than 20 minutes holding his ears all the way out of the arena. Is it so necessary now that loud is good? I really think the circus needs to consider that children can become deaf." - Elyria

Wow, it was a real circus in there, wasn't it? For gawdsake, get the boy some earplugs, and while you are at it, a plaid skirt and kneesocks. And a helmet to be worn at all times.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

No Progs Allowed (or Birds)