Browse Month: March 2007

03/29/2007

“We expect the Congress to be wise about how they spend the people’s money.”

— President George W. Bush

Hah hah! That George is such a kidder. He says this just as Congress approved a $122 billion-with-a-B request for additional funding for the Iraqi civil war. When has Congress ever been wise about spending money?

03/29/2007

Not satisfied with the usual docket of issues and problems facing the Minnesota state legislature, Representative Patti Fritz is leading the charge to make a major impact on the world.

She wants to make the Tilt-a-Whirl the official state ride.

Whee! That’s taxpayer money well spent. And it’ll work out nicely with Minnesota’s official state muffin (blueberry). No, I’m not kidding.

03/26/2007

Durango : 1
Saturn : 0

I was parked at a light and this woman in a big Durango (also parked at the light) backed into me. Of course since she was driving a huge SUV, the bumper basically rode right over the top of my hood, crumpling it. The car still runs, although I can’t tell if anything is damaged because I can’t open the dang hood.

Now begins the excitement of getting it repaired, dealing with the insurance company, yada yada. Argh.

03/24/2007

Last November, voters in Missoula, Montana passed a ballot initiative to give marijuana-related crimes the lowest priority in police work. Police, as we all know, are often overburdened with caseloads and struggle to keep up with the crimes and situations they’re asked to investigate. The voters thought that making pot lower on the list would help the police deal with more “important” crimes.

I don’t have a problem with that– it makes some sense. But this week, two of the three city council members in Missoula decided that the voters didn’t really understand what they’d voted for, so they took the liberty of amending the new rule.

That’s right– several months after the vote was cast, the council changed the wording. They adjusted the law so that only “small” marijuana crimes (those that aren’t felonies) would be pushed to the bottom of the police to-do list.

When asked about why they thought it’s okay in a democratic society to retroactively change laws voted upon by the people, council member Fed Van Valkenburg said:

It’s a gut feeling. I’m very sensitive to what voters in the community believe.

Wow.

So this is a guy entrusted by the public to manage the laws, and he thinks he gets to change them on a whim because he has “a gut feeling”.

Chalk up another KO against democracy.

03/24/2007

A quote from madpainter on Digg, regarding the ongoing furor over Gonzales’ dismissal of federal attorneys:

Just goes to show you something about the Bush administration.

You can start a war based on lies, and there will be no protests.
You can unilaterally remove the head of a sovereign nation because you didn’t like him, and the world will look the other way.
You can mismanage the biggest natural disaster in this country’s history.
You can usurp the Constitutional rights of millions of people and get away with it.
You can let your VP and all his friends make billions in a war about oil and nobody will care.

But if you screw around with a couple of lawyers, then you are going down.

03/16/2007

I just logged into my Discover credit card account, and I saw this lovely ad on the page:

While I applaud them for implementing enhanced security, and I realize they need to have some kind of stock photography to go with the little ad box, I’m curious about their choice of a little girl hugging her dad. What does this mean?

“Oh, Daddy, I’m so thrilled that you’re using enhanced security now!”

03/16/2007

When I was up visiting Tom we were talking about the book Into Thin Air, where the author talks about the point where he was just about to die, and lamented the fact that he had a song stuck in his head and realized that he didn’t want to die to that song. It turns out the song was by the band Boney M, and Tom had cranked it in his car as we drove through the mountain passes of Washington.

The song, with the mysterious title “Brown Girl in the Ring”, includes such spellbinding lyrics as

Brown girl in the ring,
Tra la la la la,
There’s a brown girl in the ring,
Tra ah la la la la,
She looks like a sugar in the plum.

And of course

Old head water run dry,
No way to wash my clothes.
I remember once at the midnight
We had fried fish and Johnny cakes.

But heck, I can’t make out the words that closely, so maybe I’m hearing them wrong. In any case, despite the horrible lyrics, it’s actually a very catchy song and sure enough, that refrain (“tra la la la la”) really gets stuck in your head.

Yay, Boney M!

03/14/2007

In 1995 I opened a credit union account, because it was a requirement to get a 5% discount on a car through the Hughes/GE employee purchase program. The minimum amount you could put in the account was $5.00, and since I didn’t plan to use it for anything at all beyond qualifying for the car program, I dropped in five clams and let it sit.

Now, twelve years later, I decided I’ve finally had enough of the monthly statements, so I called them and asked that my account be closed. Of course they sent me a check for the balance in the account:

Through the magic of compound interest, I’ve managed to accumulate the grand total of $7.13 on the account. Woo hoo! Now that’s putting money to work!

03/14/2007

The City of New York, in its infinite wisdom, has just passed what may be the first law of its kind in the country: it’s now illegal to use a metal bat in a high school baseball game.

Yes, indeed, there are few more pressing issues in the Big Apple than the rampant use of aluminum swat sticks at these games. It’s a good thing the city council took action, because heaven knows the devastation that would continue if they hadn’t. They cited two examples of serious injuries during high school games: one pitcher was killed and another injured (in two separate games) by baseballs hit from metal bats. But it’s not like these incidents occurred in New York at all, and they had to comb years of high-school data to come up with these examples. But clearly, they argued, it was the bats that caused these problems. Yeah.

I’m sure the next item on the docket is removing all of the playground equipment at elementary schools, since it poses a grave danger to the kids. Why, I myself was kicked in the head as a third-grader by someone on a swing*, leading me to break my collarbone! These things are simply unacceptable. Kids should never ever get hurt. Ever. Let’s take away anything that could possibly cause harm.

* Okay, so I was running under the swing at the time. But obviously it’s not my fault.

03/14/2007

Happy Pi Day!

3.14… sometimes called the “most irrational day of the year”. Bada-bing.

(Also Albert Einstein’s birthday…)

03/08/2007

I’m heading up to Seattle tonight, and in the past I’ve always been there in May or June when the weather was absolutely gorgeous.

This time, not so much.

Come on– rain every day?

03/07/2007

This describes my work life so well it made me bust up.

03/06/2007

My music player, AmaroK, has a fun feature called “50 Random Tracks” which will pick 50 songs from your entire collection at random and play them. It’s always a bit of an adventure doing it. I’m working now and listening to a crazy mix that includes things like Elvis Presley (“All Shook Up”) followed by Joe Satriani (“Summer Song”), a bit of Enya (“Book of Days”), and of course a little Weird Al (“Polkamon!”) to round out the set.

Whee!

03/05/2007

“It is impossible to travel faster than the speed of light, and certainly not desirable, as one’s hat keeps blowing off.”

— Woody Allen

03/05/2007

Yesterday we were in church, sitting behind our friends Rich and Christina and their kids. At one point during the service, their youngest son Elliott (age five) started unbuttoning his shirt. Christina leaned over to him and whispered frantically, “It’s not Muscle Time!

Curious, I asked her later what Muscle Time was. She said Elliott really enjoys stripping down to his underwear and running around the house flexing his muscles and showing everyone how strong he is. In fact, she said, he often does this for an hour or two at a time. Of course that’s not a big deal at home, but I imagine she’d be mortified if it happened at church.

On the other hand, sometimes church could really use a little incident like that…

03/02/2007

“There once was a city planner who chose land at random. ┬áIt was his lot to allot a lot of lots by lots.”

— Shane Hathaway

03/01/2007

The weather this winter has been both a blessing and a curse for skiing. Three times now I’ve had to cancel ski trips because it was bitter cold. I was all set to head up to Copper Mountain tomorrow, but NOAA says this about conditions:

Snow showers likely with areas of blowing snow. Mostly cloudy and cold, with a high near 10. Wind chill values as low as -35. Windy, with a northwest wind between 31 and 36 mph, with gusts as high as 55 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

Fresh powder is always a bonus, but a wind chill of 35 below zero? Brrr.