Tuesday, October 31, 2006

McCain's an Opportunist

If John McCain is so utterly pissed at Kerry for his comments about the troops, why the hell does he need to READ it off a piece of paper? You'd think he could open that giant mouth of his and let it fly spontaneously. Duh.

Talk about desperate. The GOP is gonna go down and they are grasping at straws. It's pretty bad if they have to take on an off-the-cuff remark by a former presidential candidate at this late date.

Gimme a break. God help us if McCain runs for President.

Who Gives a Fig?

:: Rant alert :: Rant alert :: Rant alert ::

  • Why in God's name does anyone give two hoots whether Madonna adopts a child?

  • Who gives a care whether Britney Spears has another child and what she names it?

  • Does anyone think about when or where Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes get married? Or even IF they get married?

Arrrrrrghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Enough already.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Clarke and O'Leary Go Batshit

One night last summer, the all-time funniest riff occurred during a Red Sox game, when Lenny Clarke and Dennis Leary visited the broadcast booth. It occurred a few days after Mel Gibson's infamous meltdown. Well, long story short, hilarity ensued.

Our local announcers were laughing so hard, I wasn't sure they'd be able to carry on...Same sort of thing was happening at our house! I wanted to post this clip as we face a long, cold lonely winter without Red Sox baseball. For those of you who are a little more PC than me, beware!

Congratulations to the Cardinals (I guess), but it's interesting to note that they ONLY won 83 games this year. Even the Red Sox won 86 games. Sheesh.


Friday, October 27, 2006

I Hate Halloween

I do hate it. Not the scary, semi-religious, eerie children's homemade-costume Halloween, but the commerialized, plastic orange pumpkin, store-bought costume, mall-decorated marketing event that it has become.

The worst part of all is the crap being sold in every store, that is rapidly being superceded by Christmas decorations, with an occasional Thanksgiving turkey rearing its head.

At this time of year, all I can do is dread the Christmas holidays, and long for the bleakness of January...that is, until someone promotes the idea of Martin Luther King decorations. Ooooops, I forgot, before the Christmas decorations are stripped from the grocery stores and malls, we'll be planning our Valentine's Day extravaganzas.

I think my fondest wish would be to experience a season in the present, without feeling rushed on to the next one.

Oh, well....Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 23, 2006


Hmmmm....Barak Obama says he's thinking of running for President. Now there's an idea I can support. He's been everywhere in the past week promoting his book, and it's simply a pleasure to watch the man.

As a side note...it's even funnier when a reporter slips and refers to him as Osama, which I've heard several times.

Oh God.

I just realized that if Barak Obama becomes president at 47 (in 2008), he'll be the first president YOUNGER than me. Perhaps I should rethink my excitement.

Nah. Go Barak!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Another Favorite Photo

A photo that could be a jigsaw puzzle picture, but I swear I took it my very self:

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Laura Nyro - Poverty Train

Another classic, dedicated to my girl, Jenni.
Bob Dylan & Bruce Springsteen - Forever Young

Oh man! Two of my personal favorites in one video. Hot damn.

The Departed

Last night, three friends and I saw a movie filmed in Boston about Boston mobsters ("The Departed"), in a Downtown Boston theatre, making for an interesting phenomenon. Since it was Friday night, the theatre was packed to the rafters so my pals and I couldn't sit together. I ended up using the stand-alone seat next to the handicapped space up front, allowing an unfamiliar freedom, meaning I could fidget as much as I wanted, plus cross and uncross my legs without fear of annoying anyone.

But the most interesting part was that I was sitting in front of a row of young black women who kept up a running commentary during the movie. Normally I hate it when people talk, but these women were saying exactly what my inner voice was saying: "Oh, watch out, boy!" "Girl, you're crazy!", "Sheeeeeeiiiiiiiit!" A steady rumble of disapproval could be heard when a main character told yet another lie.
Unfortunately, the women also laughed out loud at all the wrong parts of the movie. Every time somebody was shot, they'd hoot -- and being a Scorsese movie, there was plenty of violence).

As an aside: the picture above was taken just a block or two from where I work in South Boston, and you'll note the city skyline in the background. Like "Mystic River," this movie showed a Boston that felt real and very, very seedy. And for my money, this is the best movie Leonardo DiCaprio's done in a long, long time. Two thumbs up!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Interesting Factoid

When Bill Clinton was impeached, he had an approval rating of 72%. Seventy-two percent. The dingbat in the Oval Office has an approval rating of less than half of that right now.

Today, Bill preached about the "common good." Check it out.

Injustice is a Bitch

From the Center for American Progress:

CIVIL RIGHTS -- HUSBAND OF DECEASED FIRST OPENLY GAY CONGRESSMAN DENIED PENSION BENEFITS: "Gerry Studds, the nation's first openly gay congressman, pushed the country to another landmark development when he died Saturday," the Lowell Sun reports. The federal government "for the first time will deny death benefits to a congressman's gay spouse." Studds and husband Dean Hara were partnered for 15 years and married in Massachusetts in 2004. "Wives and husbands of deceased lawmakers have for years found financial comfort in their ability to collect more than half of the generous congressional pension earned by their late spouse"; Hara would have received $62,000 a year from Studds' pension program. But under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, the federal government does not recognize state gay marriage laws like the one in Massachusetts, and federal benefits normally passed along to surviving spouses are specifically limited to "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife." Meanwhile, criminal former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA) and Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), who just pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges, will continue to collect their congressional pensions while they serve their time in prison."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sweet Home Ohio

Here's the latest from my home state:
"The bellwether state of Ohio appears to have become hostile terrain for Republicans this year, with voters there overwhelmingly saying Democrats are more likely to help create jobs and concluding by a wide margin that Republicans in the state are more prone to political corruption than are Democrats, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Ohio is home this year to closely watched races for governor, the United States Senate and a growing roster of competitive House seats, and the state has become one of the most contested battlegrounds of 2006 and one in which voters at this point are strongly favoring Democrats on many issues."
I'm so proud. Now don't make me kick your collective asses, ya hear?

Today's Word: Schadenfreude

"Schadenfreude"[n. SHAW-den-froy-duh] Taking malicious satisfaction in another person's troubles is schadenfreude. Even though there may be some guilt involved, this noun comes in handy when someone feels glee or gloats over another person's suffering. Example: "She had a feeling of schadenfreude when the boy who dumped her was unable to find a date for the prom." Sometimes capitalized, schadenfreude is a compound of two German words: schaden (damage) and freude (joy).

In recent days, I've been struggling with Schadenfreude. First, it was watching the MF Yankees lose to Detroit in the baseball playoffs. Somehow, watching a team of All Stars lose to a team that is young, hungry, and on the rise (and who will probably win the World Series) gave me the most satisfaction since 2004 (when we know what happened for the first time in 86 years).

Now, tonight, I am reading story after story (after freakin' STORY) showing the Democrats leading the GOoPers by wide margins:

"A bi-partisan poll of 48 congressional races believed to be competitive shows an even more uphill battle for Republicans in coming weeks than previously thought, RAW STORY has learned.

NPR commissioned the poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Public Opinion Strategies.

With just three weeks until election day, the survey found Democrats running with a commanding lead in districts currently held by Republicans, and just 44% of voters planning to support the GOP.

In races for 38 seats currently held by Republicans, Democrats held a 4 point edge in named ballots. On a generic ballot, Democrats' lead increased to 11 points. Independents say they plan to vote for Democrats by a 20 point margin."
This news makes me do the happy dance, but I want to be cautious about over-confidence. We felt like this in 2004 also and we know how that turned out, right?

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight. ;-)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

aka Jetison

Several weeks ago, I recommended a new blog, called "aka jetison." At the time, I was being rather coy about the author, but it is none other than our dear Bobbers. Check it out when you have a chance. You'll thank me later.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Plea from the President

I urge all of you to listen to the man (for a change):

WASHINGTON, DC—In a nationally televised address Monday, President Bush urged all citizens, regardless of race, creed, color, or political affiliation, "to quiet down for just one minute" so he could have "a chance to think."

In a televised address to the nation, Bush called for "a little peace and quiet."

"Every American has an inalienable right to free speech and self-expression," Bush said. "Nonetheless, I call upon the American people to hold off on it for, say, 60 seconds. Just long enough for me to get this all sorted out in my head."


"Bush then closed his speech by exhaling sharply, tightly closing his eyes, and massaging his temples. "I just—Christ, I just need a goddamn minute, you know?" he said."

For the rest of the story go to the Onion.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Today's Word: Hypocrisy

How come when gas prices were very high, many GOoP pundits (and the Chimp himself) said they couldn't be blamed, and now that prices have come down they go around taking credit for it? Just wonderin'.

UPDATE: Here's the story from Bob Woodward's new book about the Saudi agreement to ensure oil prices were low before the election.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Olbermann on the Murder of Habeus Corpus

Good Lord, now that I've figured out You Tube, get ready for a bunch of video links!

(This is way too easy.)
Had Enough of Mean Jean Schmidt? Vote Victoria Wulsin!

This is for my friends and family in Ohio's Second District!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Nuns Everywhere Are Crying

Remember learning to write "cursive?" When I went to Catholic school, we didn't call it that, of course, we called it "penmanship," or "handwriting." All we knew is that learning to write these magic letters on the lined tablets was a huge step forward in parochial education. Maybe this was a girl thing, but I never minded penmanship and got fairly good grades in it.

Well, apparently cursive is dying, thanks to computers and other electronic devices. Perhaps those younger than me don't hate the idea of cursive going the way of the rotary telephone and black and white televisions. But it's another reminder of just how freakin' old I am.

Here's an excerpt of the story:

"The loss of handwriting also may be a cognitive opportunity missed. The neurological process that directs thought, through fingers, into written symbols is a highly sophisticated one. Several academic studies have found that good handwriting skills at a young age can help children express their thoughts better -- a lifelong benefit. Children who don't learn correct technique find it harder to write by hand, so they avoid it. Schools that do teach handwriting often stop after third grade -- right after kids learn cursive. By the time computers are more widely used in classrooms for writing, perhaps in fourth or fifth grade, many children already have decided they don't like to write.

In one of the studies, Vanderbilt University professor Steve Graham, who studies the acquisition of writing, experimented with a group of first-graders in Prince George's County who could write only 10 to 12 letters per minute. The kids were given 15 minutes of handwriting instruction three times a week. After nine weeks, they had doubled their writing speed and their expressed thoughts were more complex. He also found corresponding increases in their sentence construction skills.

But Graham worries that students who remain printers, rather than writing in cursive, need more time to take notes or write essays for the SAT. Teachers may say they don't deduct for bad handwriting in class, but research tells another story, he said."

The other thing that disappears along with penmanship lessons is the individuality that it presents - I remember my Mom's neat, even handwriting, always perfectly spaced. And her sister's rather odd, but equally even, distinctive backhand.

I think about generations that come after us...Will they use emoticons to express themselves, rather than their own hand? Kind of sad to think of the Declaration of Independence typed by a machine, eh?

Time marches on.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Let's Go for the Twenties!

Well, a new record low for Bush...33% approval rating from today's Newsweek:

"Meanwhile, the president’s approval rating has fallen to a new all-time low for the Newsweek poll: 33 percent, down from an already anemic 36 percent in August. Only 25 percent of Americans are satisfied with the direction of the country, while 67 percent say they are not. Foley’s disgrace certainly plays a role in Republican unpopularity: 27 percent of registered voters say the scandal and how the Republican leadership in the House handled it makes them less likely to vote for a Republican Congressional candidate; but 65 percent say it won’t make much difference in determining how they vote. And Americans are equally divided over whether or not Speaker Hastert should resign over mishandling the situation (43 percent say he should, but 36 percent say he shouldn’t)."

Oh, What a Beautiful Day!

At the close of each sunny 70-plus degree day, we say goodbye once again to summer, thinking it certainly must be the last such gorgeous day. During the last month, we've enjoyed several of these days, with today being another beauty. In celebration, we traveled to Newport, Rhode Island, to soak in the sun and fly a few kites.

Here's some great photos of our day...enjoy! (Come February, we'll look back on this day fondly.)

The view at Breton Point State Park:

A beautiful kite (not ours):

Bobbers does his thing:

Two of our many kites:

Newport Harbor:

Again...Newport Harbor:

Bobbers (love this photo):

An early-closing diner:

A beautiful garden along Thames Street:

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Susan Better Get Native

I have more than six million Susans in my life, or so it feels. But this post is for one special bird-lovin' Susan, who has a great blog at Susan Gets Native. For those of you who haven't visited my cousin's blog, she is rapidly becomig an expert at caring for and teaching others about birds of prey.

Today, we went to the Topsfield Fair, the oldest fair in the country, which had a display on Susan's favorite birds. I thought I'd make this post a test of her skills (and I think this is an easy one). Susan, tell us about these birds...

My favorite other photo from today's journey into New England agriculture. I like the looks of the nuzzling cows, but something tells me I'll leave the animal husbandry to Susan after this post!

Go, Tigers!

I love the Deeee-troit Tigers! Go get 'em, boys!

From the New York Times:

"Rodriguez realized the fans’ worst fears about him, folding in the very part of the season that mattered most. Since the Yankees took a three-games-to-none lead over Boston in the 2004 A.L.C.S., he has 5 hits in 46 postseason at-bats.

Rodriguez has no runs batted in over his last 12 playoff games. He was due up next when the season ended, and he watched from the on-deck circle as the Tigers celebrated. Rodriguez tapped his cleats with his bat handle and slowly descended the dugout steps."

Friday, October 06, 2006

The First 100 Hours

Oh, a breath of fresh air that very well could blow the stink out of Washington.

Picture these first 100 hours of the new kids:

"Day One: Put new rules in place to "break the link between lobbyists and legislation."

Day Two: Enact all the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Time remaining until 100 hours: Raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, maybe in one step. Cut the interest rate on student loans in half. Allow the government to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients.

Broaden the types of stem cell research allowed with federal funds _ "I hope with a veto-proof majority," she added in an Associated Press interview Thursday.

All the days after that: "Pay as you go," meaning no increasing the deficit, whether the issue is middle class tax relief, health care or some other priority.

To do that, she said, Bush-era tax cuts would have to be rolled back for those above "a certain level." She mentioned annual incomes of $250,000 or $300,000 a year and higher, and said tax rates for those individuals might revert to those of the Clinton era. Details will have to be worked out, she emphasized.

"We believe in the marketplace," Pelosi said of Democrats, then drew a contrast with Republicans. "They have only rewarded wealth, not work."

"We must share the benefits of our wealth" beyond the privileged few, she added.

I'd pay money to watch this.

A New Front of Terror

While we all may be focusing on the Foley problems in the House of Representatives, there's a much more menacing front of "terrorism" at the White House. I opened the Boston Globe's website this morning to read this article (emphasis mine):

WASHINGTON -- President Bush this week asserted that he has the executive authority to disobey a new law in which Congress has set minimum qualifications for future heads of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Congress passed the law last week as a response to FEMA's poor handling of Hurricane Katrina. The agency's slow response to flood victims exposed the fact that Michael Brown, Bush's choice to lead the agency, had been a politically connected hire with no prior experience in emergency management.

To shield FEMA from cronyism, Congress established new job qualifications for the agency's director in last week's homeland security bill. The law says the president must nominate a candidate who has ``a demonstrated ability in and knowledge of emergency management" and ``not less than five years of executive leadership."

Bush signed the homeland-security bill on Wednesday morning. Then, hours later, he issued a signing statement saying he could ignore the new restrictions. Bush maintains that under his interpretation of the Constitution, the FEMA provision interfered with his power to make personnel decisions.

This administration is terrorizing our country and the constitution. It MUST stop.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The 21

In the midst of all the b.s. surrounding the GOP and their sexcapades, it would do all of us good to stop and remember that 21 soldiers were killed in Iraq in the first four days of October.

God bless them and their families.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Clinton Was Right

Apparently Condi Rice is not only a shrill, overly-scripted, tight-ass, lightweight, but perhaps she has major cupability for killing nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. Think I'm over-reacting? Well, the Director of the CIA apparently tried to get her to take action nearly two months before 9/11, but she was probably busy elsewhere...perhaps buying shoes or something.

Here's tomorrow's New York Times article. Read it and weep. Truly.

"WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 — Members of the Sept. 11 commission said today that they were alarmed that they were told nothing about a White House meeting in July 2001 at which George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, is reported to have warned Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser, about an imminent Al Qaeda attack and failed to persuade her to take action.

Details of the previously undisclosed meeting on July 10, 2001, two months before the Sept. 11 terror attacks, were first reported last week in a new book by the journalist Bob Woodward.

The final report from the Sept. 11 commission made no mention of the meeting nor did it suggest there had been such an encounter between Mr. Tenet and Ms. Rice, now secretary of state."

and then there's this:
"The book says that Mr. Tenet hurriedly organized the meeting — calling ahead from his car as it traveled to the White House — because he wanted to “shake Rice” into persuading the president to respond to dire intelligence warnings that summer about a terrorist strike. Mr. Woodward writes that Mr. Tenet left the meeting frustrated because “they were not getting through to Rice.”

The disclosures took members of the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission by surprise last week. Some questioned whether information about the July 10 meeting was intentionally withheld from the panel."