Julie with a B

Monday, February 28, 2005
Just a story from the pages of my notebook....

I walked into Lisa’s office and flopped into the visitor’s chair. Leaning my head on the back of the chair, I skewed my eyes around to look at her. Head bent over the document on her desk, her fingers twined in her long disheveled hair, she said, “What?” She hadn’t looked up. I knew she didn’t want to acknowledge my presence. “The budget on the new book cover and interior…what are you going to need?”

Now she looked up with a wry grin and opened her mouth. Before she could say it, I blurted out, “There’s not enough time, Lisa, Editorial is 3 weeks behind, it went back to the copy editor after the last revision, and the layout is already thousands over budget…” my voice quieted at the look on her face.

“Calm down. He doesn’t want the big image cover. He’s decided he wants this.” At “this” she tossed a magazine face down into my lap. I looked down. The back cover was black with little fluorescent… things floating on it. What was it? The items looked like little neon candies or, well, actually they looked like little squishy gnomes. I raised my eyebrows and looked up at her. “He wants little gnomes on it?” The new on-line dating guide would have little fluorescent gnome girls and boys on it? I giggled and then laughed, but the laughter sounded more hysterical than funny. The lot of us had tried and failed to talk him out of doing this book. The more we worked on it the more it looked like a $50,000 sink hole. I picked up the magazine and tossed it onto the table, the back cover flying open as it landed. There in all her lurid glory was a very buxom naked woman, suggestively posed with the words, “Just talk to me!” emblazoned across the picture.

As I looked at the picture I said, “You know. We’re in the wrong business..... (to be continued)

Today's pun..
At Scotland's Glasgow University, the following note was seen hanging on a lecturer's door: "Today's tutorial is canceled because Dr. N. is il." After the misspelled final word, a student had penciled in: "(sic)".


The webcam invades the top of the cat tree Posted by Hello


Looks away out the window trying to look unconcerned Posted by Hello


webcam takes a hit, but still on its feet Posted by Hello


what the mouse sees just before... Posted by Hello


Camera goes to the floor Posted by Hello

Sunday, February 27, 2005
Travis not home?
It appears that Travis over at Rain Storm has taken off to do some traveling. He did, however, leave his back door unlocked. So anyone inclined for a little partying..... should wander over there.

The Left prejudiced against the South?
I have argued several times with a certain Flower Child that it just isn't so. However, this morning Digby has a great response:
"Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Jimmy Carter were all southern white males, and we blue staters voted for them without a second thought. Before that, Lyndon Johnson won the blue states in a landslide. As I recall, we rather rather liked their southern roots. Let's just get this one thing straight. The theory that non-southerners are intolerant of "his kind" is undisputably wrong. We have happily voted for southern white males many times. It's southerners who refuse to vote for anyone who comes from anywhere else."
Read the rest

The pun
I have not found, heard, acquired any good puns lately... maybe it's the rain, I dunno. This morning I ran across "The History of the Pun"..... and nabbed a couple quotes about punning just for the pun of it.

Fred Allen:"Hanging is too good for a man who makes puns; he should be drawn and quoted."

Dave Barry: "Puns are little 'plays on words' that a certain breed of person loves to spring on you and then look at you in a certain self-satisfied way to indicate that he thinks that you must think that his is by far the cleverest person on Earth now that Benjamin Franklin is dead, when in fact what you are thinking is that if this person ever ends up in a lifeboat, the other passengers will hurl him overboard by the end of the first day even if they have plenty of food and water."

James Boswell:" . . . a good pun may be admitted among the smaller excellencies of lively conversation."

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Your Seduction Style: The Natural

You don't really try to seduce people... it just seems to happen.
Fun loving and free spirited, you bring out the inner child in people.
You are spontaneous, sincere, and unpretentious - a hard combo to find!
People drop their guard around you, and find themselves falling fast.

The cat stories
Three years ago my dog brought me a kitten. Sort of. I used to work on a farm and up the road there was a horse barn. One day on my lunch hour I was walking up there with my dog, Rosie. I was patting noses and feeding carrots to the residents, when Rosie came up and nudged me with her nose, and then walked away from me looking over her shoulder. I paid no attention. She came back and repeated the procedure. Hmm. The third time (human's are so slow) I walked back with her. There in the aisle was a tiny orange kitten. He was yelling for help about as loud as two week old kitten can yell. Rosie nudged him with her nose and laid down with her head next to him. I leaned down and patted her and told her, "No Rosie, his mom will be back to get him." And took her with me back to the office. After work, I let her out and she was off up the road to the barn. Where she found the kitten, still calling for help, and laid down next to him. OK. OK. I have "sucker" in neon on my forehead. So I scooped up the tiny kitty and walked back down the road. I opened the car door and plunked him down on the car seat. Rosie carefully got in the car, sitting with him between her front paws. We stopped at the feed store on the way home and bought kitten formula.
His name is Wendell.


Wendell trying to get out of the box Posted by Hello


The first one Wendell 3 weeks old Posted by Hello

The "De-certification" of the press
Like it or not, part of the American "check and balance" system has always been a free press. There is more than one way of short-circuiting the press. PressThink has a thoughtful discussion of what is happening to us. This is a warning about an administration that sets up carefully choreographed appearances before a closed circuit of "press" and "people". The questions are "which press?" and "which people?"

"Before the certification of "Jeff Gannon" as a White House reporter there was the Bush Administration's de-certification move against the Washington press. These two things are deeply related."
In this view, there is no such thing as journalism; there is only raw politics. According to Media Matters, Gannon said on a Webcast radio show January 27th that the White House press corps "deserves to be gone around because they're not telling the truth about Social Security reform." "The key word is deserves. An illegitimate press demands not only national scorn but practical replacement. It is in this sense that "Jeff Gannon" deserved his press pass, Armstrong Williams deserved his $240,000, and Ketchum public relations deserved $97 million of taxpayer money to help the Bush Administration communicate the message."

In the press room of the White House that thinks itself post-press, many of the people who have been de-certified still show up for their jobs each day, expecting some kind of briefing, as if they were, still, the Fourth Estate, as if they yet had some role in national politics. It probably galls the Administration that the ritual with real journalists has to go on, since "they don’t represent the public any more than other people do."


Olllie Posted by Hello

Friday, February 25, 2005
Ambrose Bierce quote...
Cat - A soft indestructible automaton provided by Nature to be kicked when things go wrong in the domestic circle.

Photos taken on Monday
Last Monday we actually had a few moments of sun. As you can see, they were very brief moments. But during that time I went over to the barn to work the horse. Training involves working him on a long line in side reins. Lets just say that in the lower picture he is galloping in a 10 meter circle around me. I have the camera in one hand and the line and whip in the other hand. Note that he has one ear tipped toward me, listening for voice commands.
The top picture is the lake that we ride around. Makes a nice picture on a stormy day.


Lake picture Posted by Hello


cantering on the long line Posted by Hello


Quick Sketch of the illusive "Catfish" Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 24, 2005
Helicopter ride into Mt St Helens
About 5 years ago I went to visit Mt St Helens. It's a bit of a drive out to it and the visitors center there. It's pretty clear from the view the devastation of the explosion. I wandered about a bit and was intrigued that there were helicopter rides up close to the crater. The helicopter was large (held a dozen people), expensive, and booked up until the next day. I thought it would have been fun. On the way back down the road, I saw another sign that said, "Helicopter Rides to the Crater". So I stopped to see what the deal was. Now I am not fond of heights, actually, it makes me hysterical. But the helicopter was small - 3 people plus the pilot - and seemed "OK" to my psycho brain, so I laid the plastic on the counter and signed up for the next trip. It was a two hour ride. We were well down the Tootle River Valley, so we flew following the river and up the valley. Then up the mountain, into the crater, down between the side of the crater and the lava plug in the center, around it twice, and then back up and out. From there over to a lake and to see all the trees laid flat over by the blast, then back down the river valley. Far below us there were elk racing along away from the helicopter. It was pretty stunning and well worth it. These are just a few of the many pictures I took.


St Helens from the Visitor Center Posted by Hello


exit and looking back Posted by Hello


down into the trough Posted by Hello


the plug in the center of the crater Posted by Hello


Approach to St Helens with Ranier in distance Posted by Hello


From inside helicopter Posted by Hello

This is in the "Oh Puleeeezz!" category
Well, thank goodness for small favors! The wedding is legal.....we can't have Charles and Camilla living in SIN now can we?

From todays NY Times:
"His parents are boycotting the wedding ceremony; he can't get married at his family castle; and his mother has ordered him to tone down the reception.

But at least one thing has gone right for the Prince of Wales in the unusually tense preparations for his marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles. On Wednesday, Britain's top legal authority, Lord Falconer, declared that the wedding, planned for April 8 at the Guildhall in Windsor, was not, in fact, illegal."

Gosh and I was soooooo stressing over that!!

The dollar is falling....

It is time to be worried about the budget deficit. There are consequences to spending more than you bring in. The administration needs to wake up from it's "we can do anything we want to" stance.
Excerpts from Bloomberg:

" 'People are going to have to be paid more to hold the U.S. dollar,'' said Tony Norfield, head of currency strategy at ABN Amro Holding NV in London. ``It's not looking very attractive and that spread will have to widen.''

<> Against the euro, the dollar fell to $1.3250 at 10:18 a.m. in London, from $1.3216 in New York late yesterday, when it fell as low as $1.3274, the weakest since Jan. 12, according to electronic currency-trading system EBS. It was also at 104.93 yen, from 104.83. ABN forecasts the dollar will fall to a record $1.40 and to a decade-low 98 yen in six months."

"China has kept its currency pegged to the dollar since 1995. Japan in the first quarter of last year sold a record amount of yen to help stem its appreciation. The countries' dollar purchases helped them become the two biggest foreign holders of marketable Treasury debt, according to the U.S. Treasury.

Policy makers from Japan, China, South Korea and Southeast Asian nations met in Thailand this week to discuss the dollar's slide, according to officials from China's central bank and the Thai finance ministry. The People's Bank of China sent a representative, Xu Bing, director of the bank's international department said today.

`Reason to Be Worried'

``They've got every reason to be worried,'' said Norfield at ABN Amro. ``The idea that they can all come together to save the dollar is pretty implausible but it does show the degree to which they are worried about the dollar decline.''

Japanese Vice Finance Minister for International Affairs Hiroshi Watanabe took part in the meeting, another vice minister, Koichi Hosokawa, said at a press conference in Tokyo today. Hosokawa said there had been no discussion of measures to stop the dollar's decline.

The U.S. currency dropped 34 percent against the euro and 22 percent versus the yen in the three years through 2004, as the current-account deficit widened to a record.

We simply cannot keep our heads in the sand this way.

"Honey I shrunk the dollar"
From Thomas Friedman's column:
"And the foreign holders of all those bonds are listening to our debate. They are listening to a country that is refusing to raise taxes, and an administration talking about borrowing an additional $2 trillion so Americans can invest some of their Social Security money in stocks. If that happened, it would almost certainly weaken the dollar, further depreciating the U.S. Treasury bonds held by all those foreigners."

Not so punny
Have not seen any decent puns.... not eve indecent ones lately. So I decided to pull one from one my favorite plays. From Romeo and Juliet:
Mercutio has just been stabbed and knows he is dying and says, "Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man."

looking for a little humor
Last night in writing class the instructor was talking about poetry forms, devices, etc. One category was "Figures of ambiguity"... and in there is the enigma or riddle. I'm sure his example is fairly well known, comes from.. Plato, I think. What surprised was that I figured it out and none of the others did. By now we're a small class... maybe 20 in all. We're all still speaking to each other, but I suspect that will change since next week he will start reading and critiquing the pieces we have sent to him. Anyway the riddle:
What we find, we leave behind.
What we do not find,
that we take with us.
If you know the answer because you read it somewhere, just comment that you know it. Otherwise leave your guesses.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005
States vs Federal control
"Oregon's Death With Dignity Act, the administration's target, was approved twice by the state's voters and took effect in November 1997."

Seems to me that the Republican view of less Federal control, and devolution to state control is at odds with itself here.

Quoted from the NY Times:
"According to the state, in a brief filed last month, 171 patients have used the law to administer lethal doses of federally regulated drugs that their doctors prescribed for them.

In the administration's view, suicide is not a "legitimate medical purpose" under regulations that carry out the federal Controlled Substances Act. Consequently, the administration will argue before the Supreme Court, as it did unsuccessfully in the lower federal courts, that doctors who prescribe drugs for committing suicide violate the federal law and are subject to revocation of their federal prescription license. The license applies to broad categories of medications and is necessary, as a practical matter, for a doctor to remain in practice.

The 10th Amendment from Wickepedia:

Amendment X (the Tenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The Tenth Amendment is generally recognized to be a truism. In United States v. Sprague1931) the Supreme Court noted that the amendment "added nothing to the [Constitution] as originally ratified". That said, it makes explicit the idea that the federal government is limited only to the powers it is granted in the Constitution. However, this amendment is very liberally interpreted, so that a law will generally not be overturned if there is even a remote connection to a constitutionally-given power, usually the power to regulate interstate commerce.

The Federal government has found clever ways to circumvent this amendment. One common way is liberally interpret the interstate commerce clause so that acts which have even the slightest potential effect on interstate commerce can be regulated by the federal government. Federal drug laws and gun laws use this justification. Another way is to deny states federal funding if certain state laws do not conform to Federal guidelines. The national 55 mph speed limit and the national 21 year drinking age were imposed through this method; the states would lose highway funding if they refused to pass such laws.

In United States v. Lopez, {{514|549|1995}}, a federal law mandating a "gun-free zone" around and on public school campuses was struck down because there was no clause in the Constitution authorizing it. The opinion did not mention the Tenth Amendment."

I think Big Brother is trying shoulder in on us again...

USA Next and the AARP debacle
This is the AARP Mission and Vision
'The AARP Foundation is the Association’s affiliated charity. Foundation programs provide security, protection and empowerment for older persons in need. Among the programs the Foundation administers are: Tax-Aide, Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) and Money Management Program. The Foundation’s litigation staff protects the legal rights of older Americans in critical health, long-term care, and consumer and employment situations. Additional programs provide information, education and services to ensure that people over 50 lead lives with independence, dignity and purpose. Foundation programs and litigation work are funded by grants, tax deductible contributions and AARP."

What USA Next is attempting to do with a smear campaign is just dirty work. Link to article by Kevin Drum, via Dead Parrot Society

Newspapers warning bloggers about excerpting...
From Nerf-Coated World via Dead Parrot Society:

Do they have a case? Well:
Section 107 of the Copyright Law outlines the general principles of the fair use provision:
The fair use of a copyrighted work … for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, … scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use, the factors to be considered … include:
the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
the nature of the copyrighted work;
the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
the effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work.
So basically, bloggers, this boils down to a few simple principles:
Excerpt. Don’t cut-and-paste. We’re in the business of commenting and criticizing – we’ve got to post part of the original work in order to do what we do. But posting six or seven parpagraphs at a time is pushing it. If you’re “excerpting” half the article, that’s not really excerpting. And it might be copyright infringement.
The more of your own original material, the better. The law says that courts have to consider the “amount and substantiality” of the copyrighted work in relation to your work – which basically means that they’re going to look at how much of your work is comprised of other copyrighted material. There’s no set rule-of-thumb for how much is too much, but you don’t want to leave yourself open to the charge that you’re ripping anyone off without contributing anything of your own. Look at your blog – how much is your own work, and how much have you cut-and-paste from articles? Is it 80/20? 50/50? 5/95? The more of your own work, the better.
Always link to the original article. When hearing a case, courts will consider the economic damage you’ve presumably done. Well, not only is it good etiquette to link back to the original article, but it also shields you from the charge that you’re depriving a newspaper of its just revenue. If you link to the article (and drive visitors to their site), it weakens their claim of economic damage. It costs you nothing, so you might as well.
Oh, and that “you can’t link to our site without our permission” business? As far as I understand copyright law, that’s utter nonsense and a total stretch. They cannot tell you what you can and cannot link to on your own website. If they really wanted you to stop linking to their site, they could always set up their servers – which are under their control – to deny traffic coming from your site, or any particular site. It is ridiculously easy to do so, from a technical standpoint. But you won’t see them doing that. They know that traffic is good for business. This is just a case of the big media guys trying to strongarm their critics into submission and getting them to do the dirty work. It’s rotten, and it stinks.
To sum up: there is nothing wrong with excerpting articles for commentary or criticism under current copyright law. Just don’t be a parasite.
I want to stress that this is not legal advice, and that if you have any specific legal questions – especially if you’re, say, being sued right now – talk to your IP attorney.
Posted by Matt at February 15, 2005 03:41 AM

OK, so I figured I could "excerpt" the important parts of that but I couldn't break out the important parts... I should probably go back and see if there is some kind of copyright wording in there someplace....

Monday, February 21, 2005
The Gender Genie
This is shamelessly ripped off from Pirates Cove who got it from Cassandra (who seems to write like a male person as well) at Villianous Company who got it from Tigerhawk.
Now Teach manages to write true to his gender, well, assuming he's not fibbing to keep up his image.... arrrggg! But, alas, I do not! After submitting 4 entries comprising over 600 words, from blogs and non-fiction that I have written, I am ... male? WTF?

Try it out for yourself: The Gender Genie

Drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Article today in the NY Times about drilling in Alaska. I am glad to see that the oil industry is no longer interested in drilling there. There are many environmental reasons not to do this. There are also economic reasons, beyond the expense of working in that area. Something that is often difficult to do is take a long view on energy resources. The long view is this: use everyone else's oil first. Now I can hear the hue and cry over the trade deficit, the oil/gas prices hurting individuals, the oil industry here. But think of this. The value of resources is mainly in their scarcity. Crude oil is a finite product. Just like social security ;-) there are many estimates of how many years we have left of petroleum and the products made from petroleum. How about this scenario: we use everyone else's oil first. Then we are the last man standing. We can charge whatever the market will bear for that oil. That price could be astronomical. The trade deficit would reverse. Meanwhile, we develop alternate sources of energy - solar, hydrogen, etc. I don't know anything about the science of this, I do know economics. We should be in the "burn the others oil first", not the "burn America first" camp.

Sunday, February 20, 2005
Reduced to....
Posting bad e-mail jokes. This one came to me from my friend Ondina.... still it made me laugh and that's what we need here. (It's still pouring rain. The horse is ankle deep in mud and I'm home doing the rainy stuff... like cleaning closets..... shoeboxes of photos... who are these people?? What year was that?)

Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning
submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked
to supply alternate meanings for common words.
And the winners are:
1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3.Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly
answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are
run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by
13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), The belief that, you die, and your
Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front boxer shorts
worn by Jewish men.

More on Bloggers and the MSM
Jay Rosen has a fairly consistent un-biased discussion about Bloggers and the MSM that was spun off of the Eason Jordan situation. I find it interesting in that he talks about both the positive and the negative of the blogging world. Here is the lead in to his article, but be sure to go to his place and read the whole thing.

Will Collier E-Mails With a Question

And I ask one back: Is the point to have a dialogue with the MSM or cause its destruction? Please advise.

Will Collier from VodkaPundit e-mails:

Jay, a serious question. When a former Philadelphia Inquirer managing editor and current managing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review's website refers to presumably-conservative critics of Eason Jordan as "salivating morons" constituting a "lynch mob" of "Liliputians," doesn't that suggest that the "hate" between conservatives and the MSM at the very least runs both ways?

--Will Collier (see his reply to Lovelady.)

If your point is "this is not a one-sided transaction," yes. Runs both ways, but not in a tit for tat manner. Steve was definitely saying: I have contempt for... He would tell you that, I think.

Here's another read. Lovelady was acting like bloggers do-- but also letter writers to Romenesko. He e-mailed his reaction, which was one part emotion, one part attitude, and one part argument.

Did he follow it up by engaging in dialogue at your blog? (He did, with the same "attitude" but not only that.) Did he cause reaction, get people to talk back? (It's good blogging.)

Read the rest...

"Bloggers and MSM trade blows"
American media vs the blogs
By Kevin Anderson
BBC News, Washington

Bloggers. Truth-tellers or vigilantes? Trophy-hunters or watchdogs?
With the abrupt resignation of CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan, the American media are struggling with how to respond to bloggers.
Some see the bloggers as an explosion of free speech, a democratic counterbalance to media arrogance and a much needed call for greater transparency in the media, while others see bloggers as vigilante partisans bent on discrediting and destroying the media.

<> The furore was touched off after bloggers questioned comments Mr Jordan made at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland about journalists killed in Iraq.
At the forum, he said that he believed that several journalists had been targeted by the military.He was quickly challenged by many at the forum who thought he was implying that it was official US policy to target journalists.Mr Jordan qualified his statements saying that he was trying to differentiate between journalists who died as a result of being at the wrong place at the wrong time and those who were mistaken for the enemy.

The salivating morons who make up the lynch mob prevail.
Steve Lovelady, managing editor, Columbia Journalism Review
World Economic Forum policy is that all sessions are off the record, but blogger Rony Abovitz posted Mr Jordan's comments on a forum sanctioned website.Bloggers quickly set up a site calling for a release a transcript of the session, and Mr Jordan found himself in the middle of a blogswarm as the online pressure intensified.Mr Jordan attempted to qualify his comments publicly, but it was too late, and Mr Jordan abruptly resigned.

Bloggers and MSM trade blows

<> But the mainstream media -the MSM in blog shorthand - fired back at the bloggers calling them "trophy hunters" and a "pseudo-journalist lynch mob".
In a segment called "Old Media Lost in Blogosphere" on MSNBC, left-leaning commentator Bill Press condemned bloggers as people "with no credentials, no sources, no rules, no editors and no accountability."Steve Lovelady, managing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review wrote: "The salivating morons who make up the lynch mob prevail.""This convinces me more than ever that Eason Jordan is guilty of one thing, and one thing only - caring for the reporters he sent into battle, and haunted by the fact that not all of them came back," he added.Will Collier of the Vodkapundit was just one of many bloggers who fired back.

You, and Eason Jordan, and Dan Rather, and anybody else in print or on television don't get free passes because you call yourself 'journalists'
Will Collier, Vodkapundit blogger
"We see you behind the curtain, Lovelady and company, and we're not impressed by either your bluster or your insults," he wrote."You, and Eason Jordan, and Dan Rather, and anybody else in print or on television don't get free passes because you call yourself 'journalists'," he added.Dan Rather, long a target of conservatives, is resigning as the anchor of the CBS nightly news after the network could not vouch for the authenticity of documents he used as the basis for a story questioning President Bush's military service.Minutes after the segment aired, conservative bloggers were calling the documents forgeries and had reproduced convincing copies of the reportedly more than 30-year-old documents using word processing software.But amid the bluster, Jeff Jarvis, a media executive and the blogger behind Buzzmachine, said most bloggers just wanted more transparency not another big media scalp."Bloggers didn't want his head, most of us didn't. We wanted the truth. We wanted to see that transcript from Davos," he said on CNN.
Media for the masses

<> One thing both bloggers and some journalists can agree on is that business as usual is over in the American media.
"The MSM isn't over. It just can no longer pose as if it is The Guardian of Established Truth," wrote commentator Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal.Weblogs are just a part of the digital, internet-driven revolution that is sweeping over journalism, Jay Rosen, New York University journalism professor and the blogger behind PressThink, told the BBC. <> Suddenly, the tools of mass media are in the hands of the public, he said.
"There is a change in the balance of power," he said. "The ideas and assumptions that journalists held for a long time are up for grabs, open to questions, falling by the wayside."He suggested that Eason Jordan could have saved his job if he had responded better to calls for more transparency. He should have granted interviews to bloggers, Mr Rosen said.
And some of the failures are simply down to journalists' lack of understanding of the web, he added.
"If (CBS and Eason Jordan) had been literate at all in the internet, they would have saved themselves a lot of trouble," he said.

Saturday, February 19, 2005
Gardener guy...
where is the phone number for the gardener guy.... help me....


Backyard again... Posted by Hello


Backyard... Posted by Hello

Friday, February 18, 2005
Back at the University... some higher learning
Also from P.H. who is attending said University. I think this somehow ties into the "language" post below:

"So, today in Paleontology class we were looking at a new set of fossils that we have to be able to identify on sight, remember the phylum, class, order (latin of course) and lastly, tell how old it is. It’s kind of a pain in the behind as you might imagine. As we were going through our new list for this week, we came to a couple sub-phylums with these names, Ctenophora and, Cnidaria. Our professor explained that these are pronounced the same way that they look, but the “C” is silent. The student sitting next to me said something like “Silent “C”, only in Latin.” Grumble grumble. To this our professor said “Actually, silent “C’s” are common in english also.” “For instance look at this name for a musical genre.” Then he wrote this on the board “CRAP”.

You mean like octopi??? No not like that....
JR over at Texican Tattler's had a provocotive little snippet about actor Tom Sizemore and his use of a fake penis. JR opined "In other news, they make prosthetic penises (peni?) ."
Nope, that's not the correct Latin spelling.
"Guessing the plural of a Latin word is one of those things where a little learning is a dangerous thing (but that's still "not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance," to quote Terry Pratchett). Those with entirely too much learning know that Latin nouns are divided into five categories, called declensions. To figure out the plural of a Latin noun without cheating (i.e., looking it up), it is necessary, and often sufficient, to know which of the five declensions it belongs to. (There are a few nouns, like virus, that don't fit neatly into any of the declensions, but more on that later). For example, you mention peni as a possible plural of penis. The -i ending is valid for forming the plural of second-declension Latin nouns ending in -us, but of course that doesn't apply to penis. Part of the problem is that when unaccented, the singular endings -us and -is tend to be pronounced the same in English. Those with a little learning know that penus, if it were a second declension noun like most -us nouns in Latin, would be expected to have the plural form peni. Since penus would be pronounced the same--or almost the same--as penis in English, the temptation is strong to use the incorrect peni as the plural. Peni is an example of what is called pseudo-Latin, something that looks like Latin but isn't. A similar mistake is using porpi as the plural of porpoise, but in that case the singular was long spelled porpus under the mistaken impression that it was a Latin word.
Penis is a third declension noun, not second declension. These nouns often end in -is in the singular and -es in the plural. The English style -ises is sometimes preferred. Hence, we have penises (half of us do, anyway), and mantises and pelvises, but only more rarely do you see penes, mantes, and pelves, though they are not incorrect. In many cases, only the Latin form is acceptable: We have testes (some more than others) and crises and psychoses, but never testises, crisises, or pyschosises. "

The article goes on at some length.... but I'm sure you get the point?

That's it! I need a new job!
The coffee here is really atrocious and now they have run out of those little chocolates over in supply! I'm done! I'm outta here..................

Everything is pre-determined in life, right?
Uh, I dunno, but Ken over at "Ken is a Verb" has a great discussion going on that covers everything from whether the sun should rise, or if you should, or if "higher grace" is really just a very good pint of ale.

Another just hmmmmmm...
From Slate re: Negroponte

As hammered out by the White House and Congress last year, the new position has at best ambiguous authority. One former CIA lawyer told the Los Angeles Times, "The bill has given the [new czar] a lot of authorities, but it has not taken authority away from existing Cabinet officers." The Washington Post notes that Negroponte will be in direct control of only a few hundred employees. And as Slate's Fred Kaplan explains, he won't have pink-slip powers over agencies nor control of their budgets. The biggest barrier to centralized control—besides the law itself—is the Pentagon, which controls about 80 percent of the intel budget.
Given the lack of concrete power for the new position, the papers look to Bush's comments for hints about whether Negroponte will get the next best thing: the president's ear. "When the intelligence briefings start in the morning, John will be there," promised Bush. One "administration official" told the LAT that won't be good enough, "Where's his political backing? In Congress? No. From the Republican Party? No. He's not in the Cabinet.
Are Cabinet officers really going to report to him on anything?"

So he can bring the Pres his coffee in the morning? Nice. Probably a good salary for that tho....

Friday pun

They arrested a woman for causing an accident while on her cellphone...she
was charged with driving while intalksicated.

That hip-hugger fad
I dunno. I'm all for attractive sexy clothes. Did you guess that? But, what is it about tight hip-huggers on girls? Harvey over at Bad Example has a pictorial description of why this just is not right.
Lest they boys think they are getting away with it, why do you think that baggy pants with the crotch at your knees are cool? Don't site me the source on this one.... I really don't want know. But just for the record, I find penguins very cute, but humans who walk that way just look really really dumb.

Thursday, February 17, 2005
John Negroponte... hmmmmm..
Is this really the best man for the job?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
John D. Negroponte
John Dimitri Negroponte (born July 21, 1939) (pronounced neg-row-pontee) is the current United States ambassador to Iraq and the nominee as the first U.S. Director of National Intelligence. A career diplomat who served in the United States Foreign Service from 1960 to 1997, Negroponte served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from September of 2001 until June 2004. As ambassador to Iraq, Negroponte oversees the largest American diplomatic facility in the world.
He is a controversial figure because of his involvement in covert funding of the
Contras in Nicaragua (see Iran-Contra Affair) and his alleged covering up of human rights abuses carried out by CIA-trained operatives in Honduras in the 1980s.

If you follow the link it has his entire biography and a broader view of his career. Is he really an example of the ideals of "peace and freedom" for home and abroad that the President keeps talking about?

This is an important post we are filling, yes, it takes some thought and resume sifting to find the right person. We are being rushed into discussing a string of inappropriate candidates because the administration needed someone yesterday.

Today a guest punster
My guest punster is P.H., who is involved in geology stuff. I had congratulated him on something and said, "You rock, P.H." Today's pun is from his email reply:
"If you were making a geology pun by saying that I rock, well I should warn you that you probably don’t want to get me started. You see geology humor is just notoriously bad. e.g.
What’s every geologist’s favorite mineral?------------------------------Cummingtonite.
Yes, it really is a type of mineral.

No pun yet...... but something else for fun
Here is a fun toy that I poached directly off of Nickie Goomba's site. I was instantly drawn to it since he said, "This will become a guilty pleasure. Guys only. Girls could never enjoy all the tinkering." Well. Of course JulieB could NOT leave that alone! What fun toy: SODAZOO

Wednesday, February 16, 2005
What should the Democrats be looking at?
The next two posts are things I think we should be talking about.

Not surprisingly one of those things is health care. There is a proposal in the California assembly that just might work. It's not perfect, but it does put health care within the reach of everyone. It's also, please note, a bi-partisan bill.

This point will sound odd, but it's fiscal responsibility. This administration doesn't have it. It is now a long term problem. We need to get to work on this now.

Over the next several days, I'll add to my list.

And let's talk about fiscal responsibility
Pres. Bush is on the stump selling his Social Security plan. This week's Economist has a nice article on it. This would be the February 12th issue, page 10.
I quote:
"Even so, Mr. Bush's charge forward should be greeted with two big caveats The first is that in his focus on Social Security he must not lose sight of the overall fiscal challenge - and the role his own policies have played in it. The long-term burden of Mr. Bush's first-term tax cuts and spending increases is three times bigger than the looming Social Security shortfall. Pension reform is desirable; but it will not solve America's long-term fiscal problems, and if its political price is an out of control budget, that would be a disasterous mistake." (my emphasis)

So he's focusing everyone's attention on Social Security as an issue, but in fact, the big issue is his out of control spending. Get a grip. Focus on the issues that are important to the people - the veterans, the students, those who need health care, even programs that are near and dear to the religious groups that have supported him are being drastically cut.

A good place to start would be Health Care
California Assemblyman Joe Nation, has a proposal that would make health care in California mandatory.
Read the short version in the Press Democrat news article here.
Read the long version in pdf file here. The long version is easy to read and has some nice graphs.

Some of the highlights from the bi-partisan proposal are these.
How is it going to be paid for?
""Health care is a right," Nation said. "If we can get these 6.4 million people into the system, overall costs will go down."
The plan would require individuals to purchase at least catastrophic and preventive maintenance coverage. Regional purchasing pools would be established to allow individuals and small businesses to buy policies at discounted group rates.
"We think that individuals and small businesses are going to benefit by the pools," said Richman, who is a doctor.
Part of the plan would be funded by the federal government. About one-third of the uninsured are children and their parents who have not signed up for health coverage offered through a variety of state and federal programs, Nation said. His plan would create a new program to boost enrollment, allowing the state to collect a bigger share of federal matching funds.
To pay for the rest of their plan, Nation and Richman would expand the state's 2.35 percent tax on health care premiums. The state would begin taxing premiums collected by nonprofit health insurers, such as Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield of California. Other health plans, such as Health Net and Blue Cross of California, would begin paying a tax on premiums instead of the corporate income tax.
Large employers that are self-insured, such as Microsoft, PG&E and SBC Communications, also would be required to pay a 2.35 percent tax on fees paid to companies that administer their plans.
The tax would raise about $1 billion annually to provide matching funds for government sponsored health care.
In addition, the state would cap the amount of tax write-offs for businesses that deduct a portion of their premium payments.

The Fighting Moderates
Paul Krugman from Tuesday:
The Republicans know the America they want, and they are not afraid to use any means to get there," Howard Dean said in accepting the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee. "But there is something that this administration and the Republican Party are very afraid of. It is that we may actually begin fighting for what we believe."
Those words tell us what the selection of Mr. Dean means. It doesn't represent a turn to the left: Mr. Dean is squarely in the center of his party on issues like health care and national defense. Instead, Mr. Dean's political rejuvenation reflects the new ascendancy within the party of fighting moderates, the Democrats who believe that they must defend their principles aggressively against the right-wing radicals who have taken over Congress and the White House.
We'll never know whether Democrats would have done better over the past four years if they had taken a stronger stand against the right. But it's clear that the time for that sort of caution is past.
By standing firm against Mr. Bush's attempt to stampede the country into dismantling its most important social insurance program, Democrats like Mr. Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin and Barbara Boxer have, at a minimum, broken the administration's momentum, and quite possibly doomed its plan. The more time the news media spend examining the details of privatization, the worse it looks. And those Democrats have also given their party a demonstration of what it means to be an effective opposition.

I had a difficult time excerpting Krugman's article, it's worth reading the entire piece. This is not about who we like or dislike, it's standing up for the ideals that we believe in.
I'm fine here if you want to discuss what exactly it is that the Democratic Party should support. I am NOT interesting in any discussion that includes the word "hate" for anyone or anthing. So don't go there. Tell me what you believe in.

arresting pun

There was a inebriated man taking a dip in a Scotland tourist spot where
there is a law that says you can't be intoxicated while swimming in the loch
...he was charged with public drunk in Ness.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005
"Cheech and Chong Deny Smoking on Film"
h/t Basil's Blog

Article via Basil's Blog, his "Tuesday's Lunch Special".

"ASPEN, Colo. Feb 14, 2005 — Cheech and Chong may have joked about marijuana in their movies, but the comedians say they didn't touch the stuff when the cameras were rolling.
"We tried one time and we wasted so much film," said Tommy Chong, recalling a scene in "Up in Smoke." "We were in the car waiting for the cue, you know. And the camera's rolling and we're sitting there, you know, and neither one of us heard the cue."
Chong and former partner Cheech Marin appeared together for the first time in 20 years at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.

Chong said he isn't ashamed of introducing millions of Vietnam-era kids to marijuana. "When you think of how many kids died drinking alcohol, I feel I've saved millions of lives," he said.
Marin said their humor was appreciated by an unexpected group: "Cops were our biggest fans. Because they dealt in what we were dealing with everyday, but in reality… they saw the essential humor and they laughed."
Marin and Chong, who recently completed a nine-month sentence for trying to sell marijuana pipes on the Internet, said they are writing two new films, "Grumpy Old Stoners" and "Lord of the Smoke."

Bwa ha ha - almost made me choke on my organic vegetarian lunch.... ah California. Whatever, we at least have more fun... go ahead... hit me now...

How to win an argument..
This from Hispanic Pundit: (h/t American Dinosaur)

"How to Win Arguments
I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can winan argument on any topic, against any opponent. People knowthis, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign oftheir great respect, they don’t even invite me. You too canwin arguments. Simply follow these rules:
* Drink Liquor.
Suppose you’re at a party and some hotshot intellectual isexpounding on the economy of Peru, a subject you know nothingabout. If you’re drinking some health-fanatic drink likegrapefruit juice, you’ll hang back, afraid to display yourignorance, while the hotshot enthralls your date. But if youdrink several large martinis, you’ll discover you have STRONGVIEWS about the Peruvian economy. You’ll be a WEALTH ofinformation. You’ll argue forcefully, offering searinginsights and possibly upsetting furniture. People will beimpressed. Some may leave the room.
* Make things up."

And more go read very funny...I'm sure I've met him at some party or other......

Monday, February 14, 2005
On B.S.
From Monday's New York Times:
Between Truth and Lies, and Unprintable Ubiquity
"One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much [bull]. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize [bull] and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern, nor attracted much sustained inquiry."<> The essay goes on to lament that lack of inquiry, despite the universality of the phenomenon. "Even the most basic and preliminary questions about [bull] remain, after all," Mr. Frankfurt writes, "not only unanswered but unasked."
"What is [bull], after all? Mr. Frankfurt points out it is neither fish nor fowl. Those who produce it certainly aren't honest, but neither are they liars, given that the liar and the honest man are linked in their common, if not identical, regard for the truth."It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth," Mr. Frankfurt writes. "A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it."
Harry G. Frankfurt, 76, is a moral philosopher of international reputation and a professor emeritus at Princeton. He is also the author of a book recently published by the Princeton University Press that is the first in the publishing house's distinguished history to carry a title most newspapers, including this one, would find unfit to print. The work is called "On Bull - - - - ."

Tuesday Irish groaner..

An Irishman named O'Leary, who loved to sing as he worked, bought a mule to farm his garden. The mule worked well but was almost totally deaf. So, when his owner yelled, "Whoa!", the animal often continued plowing. Asked how the mule was working out, O'Leary shook his head. "There was a time," he said, "when all the neighbors could here was me singing my lilting melodies." "Lately, I'm afraid, they've heard nothing but .... my riled Irish whoa's!"

Not all roses...
Flowers for Valentines Day are not all grown in some other country. They are a major business here in Sonoma County.
"The roses at Grohe's came from Lou Neve, owner of Neve Bros., who grows 300,000 rosebushes at his Petaluma greenhouses with the help of his wife, his two sons and a crew of 25.Neve, the fourth-largest rose-grower in the nation, grows roses of every color - white, lavender, peach, hot pink, green and burgundy. But red roses are one-third of his sales."Young lovers still want red," Neve said. "Guys who have been married 10 years will go for pink or orange or lavender. Women almost never buy red."On Sunday, every red rosebush in the greenhouses was stripped bare of blossoms. Neve and 12 others were pruning the cut stems, trimming off excess leaves and packing the roses for delivery to florists' shops and the San Francisco Flower Market.Neve sold 250,000 roses last week, despite competition from cheaper imports from South America. He uses special fertilizing and pruning methods, gleaned from countries around the world, to keep the quality high. It's the only way to stay in business, he said."


For Valentine's Day Posted by Hello

For Valentine's Day.... the balcony scene

SCENE II. Capulet's orchard.

He jests at scars that never felt a wound.

JULIET appears above at a window

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
It is my lady, O, it is my love!
O, that she knew she were!
She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!
Ay me!
She speaks:
O, speak again, bright angel! for thou art
As glorious to this night, being o'er my head
As is a winged messenger of heaven
Unto the white-upturned wondering eyes
Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him
When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds
And sails upon the bosom of the air.
O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.
[Aside] Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?
'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
I take thee at thy word:
Call me but love, and I'll be new baptized;
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.
What man art thou that thus bescreen'd in night
So stumblest on my counsel?
By a name
I know not how to tell thee who I am:
My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,
Because it is an enemy to thee;
Had I it written, I would tear the word.
My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words
Of that tongue's utterance, yet I know the sound:
Art thou not Romeo and a Montague?
Neither, fair saint, if either thee dislike.
How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?
The orchard walls are high and hard to climb,
And the place death, considering who thou art,
If any of my kinsmen find thee here.
With love's light wings did I o'er-perch these walls;
For stony limits cannot hold love out,
And what love can do that dares love attempt;
Therefore thy kinsmen are no let to me.
If they do see thee, they will murder thee.
Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye
Than twenty of their swords: look thou but sweet,
And I am proof against their enmity.
I would not for the world they saw thee here.
I have night's cloak to hide me from their sight;
And but thou love me, let them find me here:
My life were better ended by their hate,
Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.
By whose direction found'st thou out this place?
By love, who first did prompt me to inquire;
He lent me counsel and I lent him eyes.
I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far
As that vast shore wash'd with the farthest sea,
I would adventure for such merchandise.
Thou know'st the mask of night is on my face,
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek
For that which thou hast heard me speak to-night
Fain would I dwell on form, fain, fain deny
What I have spoke: but farewell compliment!
Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say 'Ay,'
And I will take thy word: yet if thou swear'st,
Thou mayst prove false; at lovers' perjuries
Then say, Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully:
Or if thou think'st I am too quickly won,
I'll frown and be perverse an say thee nay,
So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.
In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,
And therefore thou mayst think my 'havior light:
But trust me, gentleman, I'll prove more true
Than those that have more cunning to be strange.
I should have been more strange, I must confess,
But that thou overheard'st, ere I was ware,
My true love's passion: therefore pardon me,
And not impute this yielding to light love,
Which the dark night hath so discovered.
Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops--
O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
What shall I swear by?
Do not swear at all;
Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
Which is the god of my idolatry,
And I'll believe thee.
If my heart's dear love--
Well, do not swear: although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract to-night:
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say 'It lightens.' Sweet, good night!
This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.
Good night, good night! as sweet repose and rest
Come to thy heart as that within my breast!
O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?
What satisfaction canst thou have to-night?
The exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine.
I gave thee mine before thou didst request it:
And yet I would it were to give again.
Wouldst thou withdraw it? for what purpose, love?
But to be frank, and give it thee again.
And yet I wish but for the thing I have:
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.

Nurse calls within

I hear some noise within; dear love, adieu!
Anon, good nurse! Sweet Montague, be true.
Stay but a little, I will come again.

Exit, above

O blessed, blessed night! I am afeard.
Being in night, all this is but a dream,
Too flattering-sweet to be substantial.

Re-enter JULIET, above

Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed.
If that thy bent of love be honourable,
Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow,
By one that I'll procure to come to thee,
Where and what time thou wilt perform the rite;
And all my fortunes at thy foot I'll lay
And follow thee my lord throughout the world.
[Within] Madam!
I come, anon.--But if thou mean'st not well,
I do beseech thee--
[Within] Madam!
By and by, I come:--
To cease thy suit, and leave me to my grief:
To-morrow will I send.
So thrive my soul--
A thousand times good night!

Exit, above

A thousand times the worse, to want thy light.
Love goes toward love, as schoolboys from
their books,
But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.


Re-enter JULIET, above

Hist! Romeo, hist! O, for a falconer's voice,
To lure this tassel-gentle back again!
Bondage is hoarse, and may not speak aloud;
Else would I tear the cave where Echo lies,
And make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine,
With repetition of my Romeo's name.
It is my soul that calls upon my name:
How silver-sweet sound lovers' tongues by night,
Like softest music to attending ears!
My dear?
At what o'clock to-morrow
Shall I send to thee?
At the hour of nine.
I will not fail: 'tis twenty years till then.
I have forgot why I did call thee back.
Let me stand here till thou remember it.
I shall forget, to have thee still stand there,
Remembering how I love thy company.
And I'll still stay, to have thee still forget,
Forgetting any other home but this.
'Tis almost morning; I would have thee gone:
And yet no further than a wanton's bird;
Who lets it hop a little from her hand,
Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,
And with a silk thread plucks it back again,
So loving-jealous of his liberty.
I would I were thy bird.
Sweet, so would I:
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! parting is such
sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

Exit above

Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast!
Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest!
Hence will I to my ghostly father's cell,
His help to crave, and my dear hap to tell.


Powered by Blogger