Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Marcia Pappas, the New York state NOW president, responded to Teddy's endorsement of Obama this way:

"This latest move by Kennedy, is so telling about the status of and respect for women's rights, women's voices, women's equality, women's authority and our ability – indeed, our obligation - to promote and earn and deserve and elect, unabashedly, a President that is the first woman after centuries of men who 'know what's best for us,'" - Marcia Pappas, president of New York State's chapter of NOW.

Earlier in the month, she called Obama and Edwards attacking Hillary in a debate as a "Psychological Gang Bang."


I heard yesterday that Teddy felt compelled to endorse Obama, or at least go about it the way he did, after the Hillary campaign turned nasty, and especially after Bill got involved the way he did, and especially after he urged Bill to cool it.  I don't think it is unfair to have your spouse campaign for you, even if your spouse is a former president.  But who uses their spouse as a hatchet man?  If Bill were out there making appearances and sticking to a positive message, and deferring to his candidate, that would be ok.  But having your husband go out there to attack your opponents for you, defending your honor in some twisted form of chivalry -- isn't this actually anti-feminist? 
In fact, isn't it anti-feminist to run on your husband's experience?  When Hillary talks about her decades of experience, she's really talking about her time as first lady of the country and the state of Arkansas, as well as her seven years in the Senate.  What kind of feminism stands on your husband's shoulders as if you are standing for yourself? 
Sure, down on the farm, the wife can run the farm as well as the husband.  And if Tom Brady's ankle is still acting up this Sunday, I'm sure Gisele Bundchen can step right in there and lead the Pats.   In fairness, Hillary's experience is probably somewhere in between.  But her experience gained from the opportunity to botch health care reform in early 1990s is an opportunity she gained because she was married to the president, and more to the point, health care is in worse shape now than it was before her efforts.   

Tuesday Talkback

The PD didn't upload the moans, so no talkback this week either.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Life After People

I watched Life After People on the History Channel.  It was very interesting, the idea that so much of our civilization would be swallowed up by nature should humans suddenly disappear, and the processes of it.  The computer simulations of buildings and bridges falling were entertaining and eerie.  Watching the Empire State Building, the Sears Tower, the Space Needle all fall was eerily reminiscent of watching the WTC fall.  They did not account much for the rising sea level, except to offer as a preliminary detail to the Empire State Building falling, that it had started to lean due to rising water damaging its pilings.
It seemed that no matter what we may be doing to destroy or affect the Earth, that it is small compared to what the Earth would do back to us. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tuesday Talkback

No talkback today.  Too busy. 

Monday, January 21, 2008


IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

-- Rudyard Kipling

Thanks to R.A.M. for sharing this with me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Jo-Ann to Close at City View

Jo-Ann to close at City View, less then two years after opening.
This commenter beat me to the punch, as this was the first thought that crossed my mind too:
"I wonder if the fact that city view sits on a toxic waste dump have anything to do with Jo-Ann's pull out."
Of course they would never state that.  But I can't believe it didn't play a factor.  I won't shop over there, and I certainly wouldn't work over there.

Tuesday Talkback

You know the drill.
"I want to know why they have women's and men's shoes dress shoes with just rubber soles lately, no leather soles at all. You can't even dance in the shoes." - Broadview Heights
Why are the stores selling rubber soled shoes lately? Oh, I don't know.  Could it be because it is the middle of winter?  And you will ruin leather soled shoes if you wear them in the snow?  No, it couldn't be that!  You want to see some dancing -- just try walking across an icy parking lot in new leather soled shoes!
"If Hillary Clinton gets emotional with a simple question, what will she do when something similar to the Cuba JFK crisis comes about again."
One thing she won't do: ask current White House press secretary Dana Perino about the Cuban Missile Crisis .
I hardly want to defend Hillary, but ... there is a difference between tearing up a little and becoming emotionally immoblized.  No matter what you think of Hillary's crying moment in New Hampshire, it isn't like she fell to pieces and her staffers had to end the appearance early as they led her away sobbing. 

Monday, January 14, 2008

More Melt-y

Good news!  Melt is expanding.
I haven't been over there in awhile, mostly because I got tired of waiting so long for a table.  So, yay for more tables.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Farm Fresh Spam

I have a gmail account. I love it. Best email account I've ever had.

I have a spam folder for my spam emails. Gmail is very good about sending most spam to the spam folder. I don't usually even look inside that folder, but just now, I did.

The spam folder was full of emails touting the usual male enhancers -- the pills, the creams, the surgeries, the prosthetics. There were also software offers, survey offers, the usual fare.

But I was surprised to see that more than a couple of the spam emails were intended to entice -- not the ordinary viewer of adult entertainment -- but the ones whose fetish is farm and barnyard situations.

Now, I may have grown up in the country. I've been in a few barns and a few barnyards, even though I have never been a farmer myself. But how it is I've been pegged to find something intriguing about these solicitations is beyond me. I have no inclination to click on emails titled "Farm babes take care of horny animals," or "Crazy chicks cum among crops and cattle," though I am amused by the alliteration in the second title, even if it is rhythmically awkward. Or even "Watch lipstick lesbians from Battle Creek, Michigan trapped inside silo of Post Super Golden Crisp eat their way to freedom" -- ok, I made that last one up. I wonder how much money you could make with that silo-cam?

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

President Hillary Clinton. For Real? Ain't Gonna Happen.

She was, for a long time, what, 20 points ahead in NH?  She ended up winning by 3.  This is an "upset victory"?
I am just revolted by the idea of the Clintons back in the White House.  If she is a candidate, this won't be a "change election" -- it will be the referendum on Bill Clinton that the Republicans always wanted to have.  All we will hear about is Cattle Futures, Travelgate, Vince Foster, the Rose Law Firm, Monica, Perjury, Impeachment, what Bill "failed" to do (in hindsight) to take out Osama bin Laden in the 90s, and let's not forget WHITEWATER.  Hillary's botched attempt at National Healthcare while First Lady is the LEAST of it.
If Hillary is the Democratic nominee, McCain had better be the GOP nominee, or Mike Bloomberg better get ready to make a little history, because Hillary won't win.  Not because she is a woman, but because she can't claim the experience of the Clinton White House without being married to all of its scandals too.  I laugh when she says she's vetted.  Oh, please.  Americans forget quickly, but I can see the ads now.  If you have seen Olbermann's feature on Bush scandals you may have forgotten about, this will be the 30 second version of all the things listed above.
All Hillary does is grease the skids to elect whoever wins the GOP nomination.  She is the machine candidate, just like Bob Dole was in 1996.  Watching Dole win the primaries in 1996 and lose the general was like watching a year-long trainwreck.  You knew he wasn't going to win in November, but he kept winning primaries because he had the years of connections behind him that owed him.  Obama is making a dent into that machine, Edwards still could.  But machines win primaries, not general elections.
Hillary ain't Bill.  Hillary is Bob Dole.
And Obama is Ronald Reagan... You just better hope it is 1980 and not 1976.

Want to Be Neighbors?

I was shocked to see that the asking price on this house on our street is so cheap!

I understand the bank owns it.  Presumably it was a foreclosure -- who knows what condition it is.  Sometimes the foreclosed upon owners strip or trash a house upon moving out.  Looks nice enough from the curb.

What a Deal: hhgregg delivery ripoff

I had dinner with Kat the other night, then on a whim went to hhgregg at Ridge and Brookpark to look at dishwashers.  I saw one I liked.  It was originally $499, but was on sale for $469.  I asked how much it would cost to have it delivered, and the salesman said $39.99.  
I was walking out of the store, contemplating whether to purchase when I saw the sign that said "free delivery -- on purchases $499 and up."  So, the dishwasher was originally $499 with free delivery, and now it was on sale for $30 less, but with a delivery charge of $39.99.
Now, if I had I turned around and pointed this out, I might have been able to get the salesman to knock the price down a little bit so that the sale price delivered didn't actually cost more than the regular price delivered.  But some people wouldn't catch this, and even if they did, wouldn't have the fortitude to insist on a reduction.  Regardless, it is deceptive. 

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

NH primary results

OK, I am a little surprised by how well Hillary did yesterday. Especially after Iowa, and given the exit polling.

But taking it together with McCain winning -- perhaps for all the talk about change, the NH voters wanted to go with the candidates with whom they had the most familiarity.
None of the candidates put it so starkly as this, but when Hillary says she's been about change for 35 years, then his tends to show that she is no longer part of the change, but part of what we want to change from. 
Reverting to Clintonism is not change.  We've been there before.  Bush II, the sequel, was not as good as the original, even if Bush II had a longer run.  I don't expect Clinton II to be any better.
I can hardly imagine voting for Hillary Clinton for president.  If McCain is the Republican nominee, maybe I won't have to.  I had been thinking that McCain's time had come and gone, that his time was 2000.  I think we would be better off if he had been elected President in 2000.  Since then, he has become more establishment, which means he embraced all the crap that we need to put behind us.  Bah, when I put it like that, why would I vote for him either.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

How We Roll at the Brentre House

A few weeks ago, I started rinsing out the empties and placing them on top of the bookcases...


Corkscrews are lovely (and necessary) gadgets. We aren't above an occasional bottle with a twist cap, but generally our bottles have corks, or something plastic and foamy resembling a cork.

For awhile I used a cork puller instead of a corkscrew. Sara gave me my first one. I am not sure what happened to it. It was a great way to keep the cork intact. Even for the novice it usually kept the bits of cork out of the wine.

After that, I generally used to use a winged corkscrew. This one, in fact:


It also has a bottle opener built right in -- which is convenient because when I am opening wine, I am often opening bottles of beer as well. Of course, this one offers nothing in terms of a foil cutter, and I used to keep a knife or a pair of scissors handy for that task.

We also have this opener on hand:


The waiter's style opener is perfect for keeping in your pocket, should you need to open wine, um, out. Gina is actually better at using this opener than I am, as she should be, since she used to wait tables and serve wine. Presumably, its slim size is why waitstaff carry them. It works nicely, though it takes a little practice and skill. I don't like using it in front of Gina, because I don't begin to have her skills with it.

When we (me, Gina, Kat, and cousin Ray) were at Dad and Marcy's for Thanksgiving, I saw the wine-opener they had. It clamps onto the top of the bottle, drives the corkscrew into the cork with a lever, and that same lever pulls the cork right out. Once pulled, the same lever pushes the cork right off the cork screw. The whole movement of (a) removing the cork from the bottle and then (b) removing the cork from the corkscrew, takes about 1.5 to 2 seconds. Brilliant! That makes opening a bottle of wine about as easy as opening a bottle of Miller High Life.

So, I wanted one.

And after Thanksgiving, when I ordered the Blackfield DVD (one for me, one from Brent) from Amazon, I saw this knock off opener for $9.99 -- and with free shipping on my order, I took a chance.


Serviceable, but not as nice as the one at my Dad's. It is a little clumsy, the handles are a little jiggly on it, and it feels cheap. It does pull corks just fine, but it feels like it could wear out or break fairly quickly.

Christmas to the rescue!


The Delaware Pfisters gave me this lovely Brookstone wine opener. Elegant, easy, efficient. I could open every bottle of wine in the house in under a minute total with this one -- and it has a foil cutter! Very nice, indeed. Truth be told, I actually looked at this very opener at the Brookstone at South Park mall while I was Christmas shopping, and I very nearly bought it on the spot!

Also for Christmas, Kat got me the much touted Houdini opener:


You may have seen the ads for this opener over the holidays -- it looks great! And I expect it will work very well. I confess, I haven't tried it yet. But I will! On Christmas afternoon, when I went under the tree to fetch a new corkscrew, I found the Brookstone opener first. That one will stay in the kitchen while the Houdini opener will stay downstairs under the bar. A place for everything! And really, who wants to be on one floor and have to negotiate an entire flight of stairs to open a bottle of wine? It is much better to have separate corkscrews for separate floors -- not only as a matter of convenience, but as a matter of, um, safety (especially as the night goes on).

So we are now fully equipped to open all sorts of wine bottles with all sorts of openers, with ease and with style!

As a matter of contrast, here is the lone can-opener in the Brentre house:


You can see where our priorities lie, and I will not apologize for them. Cheers!

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Adios Luchita's on the Square

Giovanna brought to my attention the Plain Dealer's report of the closing of Luchita's on the Square.

I am sad to see it go.  I used to live at Shaker Square and I enjoyed Luchita's very much then.  Indeed, when I lived on the west side before that, I enjoyed the original Luchita's on West 117th.  Luchita's has some of the best salsa I've ever had, and I've had quite a bit (of their salsa, and others).
As for Luchita's on the Square -- when I lived at the square, I'd routinely see Jane Campbell holding court at Luchita's.  The day of my dissolution hearing back in 2001, I went to that Luchita's and drank margaritas.  A lot of them.  Andy met me there, and the two of us just knocked them back till we were silly and then stupid.  We went back to my apartment and passed out on the couches.  That's right -- on the night of my divorce, I got drunk with a gay man and took him home with me.  I didn't score though.
In more recent times, Gina and I ate there together on one of our first dates.  Not the very first date, but one of the first.  Niko's in Lakewood was also among the first, and that restaurant has closed too.  Funny that.
I'll admit, we didn't go ot Luchita's on the Square that often.  Don Tequila's in University Heights is closer and cheaper.  Gina prefers Mi Pueblo to Luchita's, and we were more apt to end up at Mi Pueblo by Case than Luchita's on the Square.  Still, I would stop by Luchita's to buy chips and salsa to go, especially if I was having people over. 
Adios, Luchita's on the Square.  Guess I'll have to visit your west side and Mentor locations for my salsa fix now. 

Said better than me, Part Two

Paulites for the Obamarama.

Another fellow said it better than me...

...today on the Daily Dish.

Post-Racial? Post-Boomer? Thoughts on Iowa.

Iowa is 93% white, and Barack Obama just won the Iowa Democratic caucuses.
He did not run as a black man.  In a way, he did not even run as a Democrat.  He ran as an American.
The phrase "happens to be" grates on me terribly, so apart from mentioning it that way, I won't use it.  
But seeing Obama come out on top, I don't want to overstate it, but he looks more and more like a transcendant figure.  Post-racial, yes.  But post-boomer as well.  And I'd be curious to see some stats on the ages of the people who voted for Obama.  
There are some who wonder whether America would elect a black man president.  I think America is willing to do that.  But I wonder if the bigger question might be, are the baby boomers ready to elect someone younger than them?  We've had two boomer presidents for a total of four terms.  
The age difference shouldn't seem so great.  We have heard that Obama is "too young," yet he is older now than Bill Clinton was in 1992.  The age difference is not as great as the transition from Ike to JFK.  
But I don't think we should underestimate the boomer sensibility -- the "me" generation.  The generation of people who seem to act that whenever anything happens to them, it is happening for the first time.  It is boomers who say 60 is the new 40 -- because they are now 60.  Just to name one example.
It is easy to look at John McCain, a Vietnam war hero, as yesterday's man.  A man whose time really came and went, whose time to be president was taken up by a lesser man who occupies the White House now. 
But when Hillary Clinton runs with a popular former president by her side in Iowa, and he campaigns for her, and she still not only loses, but takes third, a distant third, nine points behind Obama, then one conclusion would be that Bill Clinton is yesterday's man, too.  And that many Democrats, at least in Iowa, are ready to look ahead, not back.
John Mellencamp may have played at the Edwards rally last night, but I look at Barack Obama, his personal story, his roots in Kansas and Kenya, and "ain't that America."
And Biden dropped out.  I like Biden, and he made some good points at the debates, but he wasn't going anywhere.  He had the good sense not to stay on the stage too long.  But I wouldn't rule him out for VP or for the cabinet, perhaps Secretary of State. 
Looking back on the above -- I haven't hit all the candidates, and there isn't really any coherent order to this.  Glad I am not submitting this to Gina for a grade.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


Is it 2008 already?  Damn.