January 31, 2003
more bloggy fun thangs from wander-lust

WANDER-LUST.COM added a directory feature, where one can search for blogs of interest by category. Hmm, where to list neurotwitch ... ?

I also finally decided to add the "syndicate" code feature--this will be the first test of it. I liked the MT instructions from kadyellebee--I THINK I followed the directions properly. If not, the fault is mine.

Posted by Lee at 05:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 30, 2003
odds and ends

PopCult Magazine: find out what REALLY happened to Hank Williams. And many other things.

Do you want to know the history of A&P? How about Kroger? Find out at Groceteria.

But I wonder what the lyrics are? Listen to whales singing at Whalesong.

Have a hankering to hear your favorite videogame tune> Go to the Video Game Music Archive. Truly the National Gallery of videogame music. Well maybe not.

And that's enough for now.

Posted by Lee at 11:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 28, 2003
war drums

Case for attacking Iraq still short on critical details (USA Today)

"The fact that Bush spent more than half his speech detailing his domestic agenda is hardly surprising. Traditionally, presidents use the State of the Union address to present a political wish list to deal with the nation's most pressing problems. Bush's included a $670 billion tax cut over a decade that would offer little immediate stimulus while boosting the federal deficit. More promising was a proposal to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil by investing $1.2 billion for research on hydrogen-powered cars.
Both ideas focus on economic vulnerabilities. But dealing effectively with Saddam is the best stimulus Bush can offer now. The state of the union is tied closely to the president's plans for Iraq. He needs to share them more completely with the American public."

Did anyone else notice Bush's reference to killing suspected terrorists? ("We 'dealt with' ... ").

Why didn't Bush present all his evidence to us while he had the forum? Why must we get it filtered through Powell & the UN Security Council?

Posted by Lee at 11:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 26, 2003
What's YOUR political compass heading?

"On the standard left-right scale, how do you distinguish leftists like Stalin and Gandhi? It's not sufficient to say that Stalin was simply more left than Gandhi. There are fundamental political differences between them that the old categories on their own can't explain. Similarly, we generally describe social reactionaries as 'right-wingers', yet that leaves left-wing reactionaries like Robert Mugabe and Pol Pot off the hook." So the introduction to Political Compass goes. The old left-right continuum you learned in high school (or should have) is not enough, according to the creators of Political Compass (Pace News Limited, about which Google turns up nothing, pity). It's more accurate to place political positions on a quadrant: the x-axis is the old left-right continuum and the y-axis is authoritarian at the top and libertarian at the bottom. Like so:


The authors have this to say about the chart above:

"Both an economic dimension and a social dimension are important factors for a proper poltical analysis. By adding the social dimension you can show that Stalin was an authoritarian leftiist (ie the state is more important than the individual) and that Gandhi, believing in the supreme value of each individual, is a liberal leftist. You can also put Pinochet, who was prepared to sanction mass killing for the sake of the free market, on the far right as well as in a hardcore authoritarian position. On the non-socialist side you can distinguish someone like Milton Friedman, who is anti-state for fiscal rather than social reasons, from Hitler, who wanted to make the state stronger, even if he wiped out half of humanity in the process.

"The chart also makes clear that, despite popular perceptions, the opposite of fascism is not communism but anarchism (ie liberal socialism), and that the opposite of communism ( i.e. an entirely state-planned economy) is neo-liberalism (i.e. extreme deregulated economy)"

To determine where YOU fit, they offer a test. A very crude, flawed test, but I suppose it puts you in the right quadrant? Or maybe not. At any rate, the problem with the test is that many of the terms are ambiguous. You answer the questions from "Strongly Agree" to "Strongly Disagree," with no qualifying available. There is one question, for example, "Education should involve enabling children to develop their own personality." What does this mean? It reads like a good thing at first glance, but think about it: does this means schools should focus on things like self esteem or psychological development, or does it mean NOT focusing on these things? A huge difference.

Or how about this one: "The most important lesson for all children is discipline and respect for authority." What is meant by "discipline" and what is meant by "authority?" Does discipline mean self discipline, or the discipline needed to learn, or does it mean following all the rules? Does authority mean parental and governmental authority, or does it mean respect for facts, such as authority imposed by the laws of physics or, if you're inclined this way, authority imposed by god or the gods?

One more example, then you should go take the test for yourself. "No broadcasting institutions should receive public funding." Well, what KIND of public funding? Contributions? Taxpayer dollars? Are there conditions attached to the funding and if so, could they compromise the broadcaster's independence?

While the test, and the results, are extremely interesting, the real world involves way, way too many conditions for this test to lead to a truly accurate representation of one's political compass bearing.

The other thing that bothers me about this is the lack of information about the test developers. It's a pity, since it has a LOT of potential.

By the way, I was so not surprised to find myself in the Libertarian Left quadrant. Less left than Stanley (who led me to this test), but more libertarian.

Posted by Lee at 01:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 25, 2003
P&T get it right & then my stream of conscious from there

We managed to remember to what the premiere of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! tonight. Loved it. Tonight's episode was debunking psychics who talk to the dead. I thought it was dead on (ouch), but then, it's kinda like preaching to the choir for me. I can't even believe there's this entity "out there" watching over us, let alone that there's anything but dust or ashes when we die.

Tonight they debunked Rosemary Altea--a total bullshit artist surpassed only by John Edward, with hits at James Von Praagh as well.

Too bad it's only a 30-minute show because I would've loved to have seen them go after Sonya Fitzpatrick, Pet Psychotic, I mena Psychic. What a bullshit artist she is.

Penn & Teller have a new website, SinCity.com, which some day I'd love to see but it keeps crashing my browser. At any rate, next week they go after alternative medicine quackology, like magnets and healing touch and, I think, reflexology. If you don't want to wait for the show, check out Quackwatch. In fact, you should check out Quackwatch any time you're thinking about trying some alternative therapy--might save you a lot of grief and/or dollars, or you might find out what you're thinking about is actually okay. Not that Stephen Barrett is always right--he blows it big time in some respects mainly because he's so medical establishmentarian (if that isn't a word, it ought to be) it narrows his vision too much. But at least you'll get the non-infomercial view to lend some balance. Then you can do join the elite by doing what so few do--yes I mean think--and draw your own conclusions.

Posted by Lee at 12:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 24, 2003
Cop/Car Situation Update

We got the car back today! Hurray! (the back story is here and here)

We got the call at 4:30, come and get it ... frantic scramble to get out the door and make it before 5:30, when they close for the day. We had 10 miles to get through before we could get to Traynor Auto Body which seems trivial to you, maybe. Unless you commute on I-95 in Fairfield County, CT -- then you know that going from Norwalk to Fairfield (the town of) at 4:30 in the afternoon could be anywhere from a 30- to 90-minute drive (remember, I said TEN MILES!!). We made it in 40 minutes (whew!)

We signed over our first-born to ransom the car. Well, we really just paid the deductible of $500. We got a look at the total bill for this cop-couldn't-be-bothered-with-it fender bender. $1,832.67. Yep. Nearly two grand because the lying incompentent driver Damon Grant drives with his head up his ass.

When we got outside, we looked around, oh my! Is that shiny, beautiful thing OUR CAR? We had it washed before we took it in, just to get the road salt or whatever crap they use on the roads around her off. But this, this--it looked like a $50 car wash, by hand. And they even cleaned the entire inside!! Including arranging things neatly in that little storage doodad between the seats. It looked better than it did on the day we drove it home from McMahon Ford! Already I'm thinking about the thank-you letter we're gonna send Traynor (109 Thorpe Street, Fairfield, CT 06430 203-254-2106) if I made it back home in one piece.

I was concerned about how well the steering could be fixed--I was bummed out because for all the Ford Focus's shortcomings (and there are many, many shortcomings), the handling has always been superb. But outside of a little tightness (which Stanley says will work out pretty fast), it's like nothing was broken! I'm so pleased.

Now all that remains is to call the insurance company again next week (so far, we're pretty pleased with Travelers) and get our deductible back from the incompetent driver Grant's insurance policy. And I hope his rates go through the ceiling, or he gets dropped, or that his repairs cost a lot of money and he has a $2,000 deductible ... if he hadn't lied, I wouldn't be inviting the wrath of the gods to descend upon his miserable lying head.

THE NORWALK POLICE DEPARTMENT CALLED the other day to let me know about the progress of their investigation into my complaint that the cop who handled the accident was rude and did not do his job. I spoke with the Puzzled Lieutenant (I still don't know his name--he told me, but it just won't stick in my weak brain until I see it in writing). The PL told me the investigation is complete, that they determined that the lying incompetent driver asswipe was the one completely at fault as he was making an illegal pass on the right and that they will be issuing him a violation notice (what that means, I have no idea). He said he'd let me know when the accident report is ready for me (and my insurance company) to pick up.

About the complaint of rudeness, Officer Page admitted he said stuff he shouldn't have said and, PL said, has been chewed out (undergone "training" was more how he put it) about how to handle civilians ( for "civilians" read "pain-in-the-ass 40-something women who pay taxes, vote, and are good citizens and sure as hell can cause you a world of trouble") and how to investigate an accident, and what are my expectations, blah blah blah. I told the PL that I expected an apology, in writing in a letter than Officer Page has to type up himself (none of this boilerplate stuff they can spit out of the computer) plus I wanted to make sure the incompetent asswipe driver is told he did something wrong (mainly so the idiot doesn't plow into anyone else, or kill a kid, because he's too stupid to pay attention).

I figure a few more days, and I'll have both the apology and the accident report showing that the accident was in no way my fault. And I believed the Lieutenant when he said Officer Page's rudeness was an aberration--that it's not permissable behavior by any cop, mainly because this is the first time a cop had ever been rude to me or to anyone I know. When I get both, I'll write to the mayor again to tell him all's well in Blueland. (Although I never heard anything from the mayor and I should have--but that's another bone to pick once this one is cleaned off). If I actually do get the apology from Page, I think I'll scan it and post it here.

Posted by Lee at 07:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 23, 2003
Missed this last month ... Dubya's song

If You're Happy And You Know It Bomb Iraq by John Robbins

If you cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.
If the markets are a drama, bomb Iraq.
If the terrorists are Saudi,
And your alibi is shoddy,
And your tastes remain quite gaudy,
Bomb Iraq.

If you never were elected, bomb Iraq.
If your mood is quite dejected, bomb Iraq.
If you think that SUVs,
Are the best thing since sliced cheese,
And your father you must please,
Bomb Iraq.

If the globe is quickly warming, bomb Iraq.
If the poor will soon be storming, bomb Iraq.
We assert that might makes right,
Burning oil is a delight,
For the empire we will fight,
Bomb Iraq.

If we have no allies with us, bomb Iraq.
If we think that someone's dissed us, bomb Iraq.
So to hell with the inspections,
Let's look tough for the elections,
Close your mind and take directions,
Bomb Iraq.

If corporate fraud is growin', bomb Iraq.
If your ties to it are showin', bomb Iraq.
If your politics are sleazy,
And hiding that ain’t easy,
And your manhood’s getting queasy,
Bomb Iraq.

Fall in line and follow orders, bomb Iraq.
For our might now knows no borders, bomb Iraq.
Disagree? We’ll call it treason,
It's the make war not love season,
Even if we have no reason,
Bomb Iraq.

(Spotted in the comments on WebWord)

Posted by Lee at 11:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 21, 2003
what, do we live in New England or something?

Weather Underground is my favorite weather service--especially since for a measly $5 per year, you can turn off all the ads and they send off alerts for things such as nasty storms headed my way.

It provides a list, too, of weather info from the people in this area who have hooked up their own weather stations. Pretty neat. Only tonight, I just don't like what there is to see: Norwalk, Connecticut Forecast. I know--whine whine whine.

My parents are off wintering on the Redneck Riviera (why they call the Florida panhandle that, I dunno, since I think the majority of people there in the winter are, like my parents, retired teachers from the Upper Midwest and Canada). Here, it's 11 degrees as I write this. In the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, where their house is, it's 7 degrees and snowing. Where they are now, it's 64 degrees!!

If I ever get my car back from the auto repair shop, we might just think about escaping ... let's see, a two-day drive ...

Speaking of my car, nary a word yet from where it's being fixed, though according to last week's progress report, we might get it back tomorrow.

And nary a word yet from the Norwalk Police Department, even though the Captain promised me last Thursday that he would have the Lieutenant contact me to get a formal statement. It's been more than ten days since the accident, and nothing. I wonder if this is the way they treat all complaints by civilians against the police department--or just the complaints of women. Maybe they think I'll just go away, or that I was PMSing the day of the accident or something. I'm still angry about the whole incident, and the delay is pissing me off even more. Especially since it's going to cost us $500 just to get out car back, whenever it's ready, since that's our deductible. I was going to call the Captain today and ask what the hell is going on, but got way too busy. Tomorrow--that'll be item three on my To-Do list.

The Shield was good tonight. Poor Dutch.

Enough babbling.

Posted by Lee at 11:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 19, 2003
Tony's Booksigning

Tony Anthony's Booksigning is today! I've never been to a booksigning before, and I really like Tony and LOVED his book, so I'm looking forward to it. It starts at 2:00 at the Barnes & Noble in Westport, CT. Go if you can!

Posted by Lee at 01:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
the two towers

Stanley and I finally got around to going to see LOTR: The Two Towers Friday evening. Although I can say I liked it, the 179 minutes did not fly by--if anything, it dragged longer than the first part. Now I can see how Jackson would want to drag out the scenes of the battle and of those tree things attacking Saruman's tower since the money spent on the special effects must've been astronomical (Stanley said the movie probably employed most of, if not the entire, population of New Zealand) and I would want to milk it out as much as possible. But stuff like the looooong goodbye scene between Aragorn and Arwen and the speeches by Agent Smith, er, Elrond could've been cut or at least shortened considerably with harming the movie one bit.

idiotsstealbandwidth.jpg The parts of the movie I liked the best were the ghosts in the Dismal Swamp, scenes where Smeagol was talking to himself, and Brego "rescuing" Aragorn. I liked the scene with Brego because the horse was behaving the same my my dog behaves, so it made me think of Ginger who by that time I longed to see since it had been sooo loooong since we'd left the house. It felt like the entire movie was going in slow motion and I couldn't believe it when the scene introducing Shadowfax really was in slo mo.

Though the battle scene was fascinating, it wasn't nearly bloody enough for what war was really like way back when, no festering wounds, no amputated limbs, such remarkable accuracy by Our Heroes. That death scene by the boss of the elves was something else again, I was thinking, "So die already!"

gollum.jpgDid I like The Two Towers? Yes. Would I watch it again? Only at home or at the movie theater in Wilton that at least has the benefit of comfortable seats and good popcorn. We saw it at the Crown Royale 6 in Norwalk, paid $5 for a small bag of bad popcorn (significantly smaller than the last time we bought it at this theater), and endured about ten minutes of commercials before the three-hour movie even began. I don't mind previews--I even enjoy them, but please, why do I have to watch Coke ads when I've just paid $8.50 for my ticket? And the seats there must've been designed by the same idiots that designed airline seats.

I wish part three were coming out sooner, though. While watching the first 45 minutes or so of Two Towers, I was very confused since there is NO recap--you either remember it, sort of know what's going on from the book, or sorta catch up sooner or later. So I know it'll mean confusion during the first 45 minutes of the next movie since my memory for plot details isn't what it used to be. Or ever was.

Posted by Lee at 02:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 18, 2003
shopping discount codes

Naughtycodes.com has a list of discount codes for a LOT of stores. Handy. It only has discount codes -- if you're looking for more deals, go to DealHunting.com.

Note: on each of these sites, I had problems linking to the sites listed. I'm not sure if it was at my end or if the PHP code these sites use is somehow screwed up.

Posted by Lee at 04:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 16, 2003
A nice review on Bloggy Opinions!

Bloggy Opinions v4 - Blog [Weblog, Diary, Journal] Review Service gave neurotwitch a very nice review. Here is the archive page if it's rolled off the front page already. I'd be dishonest if I said I didn't care about the review, or any review, for that matter. I do care!

Bloggy Opnions needs more reviewers--they've got a backlog to get through before they start taking on any more blogs to review.

About the background graphics on this page: they are images of Fresnel lenses -- lighthouse lights -- that I took at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum a couple of summers ago. This museum is one of my favorite places. I love Great Lakes lighthouses, and have a goal of seeing all of the lighthouses on all of the coasts of Michigan. I've made some good progress, but have a lot to go. Stanley doesn't seem to mind this obsession since he likes to see new places anyway and doesn't object when I drag him to the remote corners of Michigan. One of these days I'll put up a page or two with the photos we've taken of the beautiful places in Michigan.

Posted by Lee at 12:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 15, 2003
Find out why so many SUV drivers seem to be such jerkoffs

Are Hummer Owners Idiots? / More delightful proof positive that most SUVs are, in fact, morally repugnant. Go, America! by Mark Morford, SF Gate.com (San Francisco Chronicle)

There are so many things about SUVs that are just so wrong. Now there's some proof.

SUVs are owned, by and large (but not, of course, exclusively), by complete assholes.

You know it's true. SUV drivers tend, more than any others on the road, to be aggressive jerks. And New York Times reporter Keith Bradsher's new book, "High and Mighty: SUVs -- The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way," proves it.

As reported in a superlative Washington Monthly article that quotes extensively from Bradsher's book, SUV owners tend to be, in part, more selfish, self-centered, narcissistic, insecure and vain than their car-driving brethren. Oh yes they do. And the research backs it up.

They are frequently "nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors and communities. They are more restless, more sybaritic and less social than most Americans are."

Oh but it doesn't stop there. Only a small fraction of SUVs are ever used for actual work, or for their off-road capabilities, or by people who actually need them for incliment weather or for their hauling utility. And SUVs are, as Bradsher points out, intentionally designed to appear more reptilian and threatening, in an attempt to instill a false sense of ruggedness and menace and a get-outta-my-way machismo. And, of course, they succeed. Sort of.

Furthermore, SUVs are marketed, and widely accepted, as more safe, more solid and protective, which is of course one of the industry's biggest and most contemptible lies.

In truth, SUVs kill a great many more passengers than they save. They crush other cars, and study after study proves they themselves have shockingly high fatal rollover rates and lethal side-impact dangers. And, given the horrible visibility from SUVs, their drivers have a rather unfortunate habit of running over their own children in the driveway. True.

This, combined with how their false sense of ruggedness encourages their owners to drive them like maniacs, makes for one of the biggest and most dangerous mass delusions in modern American culture.

In fact, the "kill rate" for SUVs is truly appalling. To paraphrase the Washington Monthly article, for every one life saved by driving an SUV, five others will be taken. And research has proved that a tank like the four-ton Chevy Tahoe kills 122 people for every 1 million models on the road; by comparison, the Honda Accord kills only 21 per 1 million such vehicles.

In other words, SUVs aren't the slightest bit safe for you, or your children or other drivers -- especially other drivers. And to own an SUV, Bradsher asserts, essentially places the driver's own ego above the health and safety of those around him, not to mention the health of the environment.

But read the whole thing. And the article it mentions. And if you drive an SUV, get rid of it and buy a station wagon.

Posted by Lee at 02:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
maybe they'll add google

I checked out ZapMeta.com - All Results, One Engine just because it was named Cool Site of the Day (I don't know why I still go to CSOTD -- it has so many annoying popups, popunders, and backdoor popups that the site displayed is rarely worth the aggravation. Habit, I guess.)

At any rate, zapMeta is a pretty interesting search engine. It doesn't (yet?) include Google, but it does Yahoo. You can set your preferences, such as how many listings per page, whether you want a preview, open in new window, etc. Speaking of preview, that's a feature I kinda like as it opens up the page in an iframe (it looks like it's an iframe, anyway) very quickly, so it's faster to scan than opening it up with the hyperlink. You can also maximize the iframe to see the entire page. What else is cool is that you can click "bookmark" to add it to your favorites list right from the zapMeta -- that's a great touch. Also, ZapMeta is pretty fast.

What I'd like to see is for Google to acquire ZapMeta and incorporate these features into Google to make it even better than I think it already is.

ZapMeta has ambitions: in addition to searching for websites and mp3s, it also list the Open Directory Project directories and has currently grayed-out buttons for the following: jobs, videos, images, news, and shopping.

The one thing that bothers me, though, is there is no "about us" to be found. Nothing about the founder(s), developers, etc. The domain is registered in Stafford, Texas. I would be more inclined to follow the progress of the venture if I at least knew a little about the people behind ZapMeta. As it stands right now, it's so anonymous I just don't really care. The interface is pretty cold, too -- I would design something warmer, more welcoming and friendly. If there's no real reason to use it, the developers better think about inducing people to WANT to use it "just because."

Posted by Lee at 11:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 13, 2003
more accident stuff

This evening, a Norwalk PD lieutenant (I didn't get his name -- he said he's Sgt. Couture's boss) stopped in front of our house to examine the scene of the accident. He stopped twice -- once around 5ish and then again shortly after 7 p.m. The second time there were two cop cars and flashing lights, so I was curious and decided the dog needed to go out. I mean, really, it's not that complicated of an accident -- the lying jerkoff's tire tracks are still visible along with the broken hedge branches.

When I got outside, this lieutenant asked me what I wanted. I said I wanted to see what's going on and that I was the one who was hit last Friday.

He said he was there trying to determine the cause of the accident and the responsibility of each of the parties involved in the accident.

He also said he was trying to figure out the purpose of the white line that is painted on Strawberry Hill Avenue -- a line, he said, that means you cannot cross it and if you can't cross it, he wondered, how do you get into your driveway? (This took my breath away.)

He said that there are circumstances in which it's legal to pass on the right but refused to specify whether they apply in front of our house. He asked where my car was as I was turning (I told him in the traffic lane, between the double yellow line and the solid white line). He asked this, but when I also told him my right-turn indicator was on, he said he didn't want to hear it because that has no bearing on the accident. Why one "fact" has bearing and the other doesn't, I have no idea.

I asked him what I should have done differently to avoid the accident -- trying to figure out how they're going to try to pin this one on me (I hope I'm being overly cynical) -- but he didn't say anything in response to this other than he's trying to determine the cause of the accident.

He said Officer Page admitted he said something he shouldn't have.

As far as I know, the lieutenant didn't look at my car to see what happened to it.

The second time the lieutenant arrived, he was accompanied by two other officers and another patrol car, with one of the other officers directing traffic around the police car parked in the traffic lane.

I am happy that they seem to be taking my complaint seriously but wonder about the confusion regarding passing on the right and what the white line means on my street -- if the cops don't know the law/reason, how are WE supposed to know what to do?

I'm also wondering why it's taking so much manpower to do the follow-up. Just imagine how much money this investigation is costing the city (and me, ultimately) which could've been avoided if Officer Page had just done his job to begin with. The lieutenant told me the accident report is nowhere near being ready. Because I filed a complaint.

I do know that if they somehow figure out how to hang the fault, or any part of the responsibility, of this accident around my neck they'd better be damned clear in explaining precisely what I did wrong and why it was wrong as well as giving me precise instructions on how to make a right turn into my driveway without breaking the law or getting creamed by another idiot.

It would be really nice if they did something about the dangerous traffic on Strawberry Hill Avenue BEFORE a child is murdered by a speeding driver or another pet is killed by some asshole going 50mph on a 25mph street.

Meanwhile, my car is seriously out of whack. It's not so much that it travels down the road like a crab, but that turning, in either direction, is now an adventure. If I turn left, such as into a parking spot, the tire scrapes and the front end dips. If I turn right, the car does an interesting balancing act -- it feels like it's going to keel over.

Tomorrow I take it to the insurance company's auto repair place to get an estimate on repairing the damage and have them determine liability. How they can determine that, I don't know, except maybe they look at the scrapes or something. Didn't see anything about this on CSI ...

It's pretty amazing, the extent of the damage that was done by a car supposedly legally passing me on the right going 25mph while the driver was leaning on his horn. Yeah, sure it was.

The letter to the Mayor should arrive tomorrw, as I'm sending it via email tonight. I wonder what Mayor Knopp will have to say. I wonder if he'll have anything to say.

Posted by Lee at 08:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Liebermouth set to waste more taxpayer dollars

Optimum Online - News - Lieberman to Seek White House in 2004

Lieberman told the crowd at Stamford High - where he graduated in 1960 - that he intends "to talk straight to the American people and to show them that I am a different kind of Democrat."

Yeah -- it's called a REPUBLICAN in ass's clothing.

So once again we lose 50% of our representation in the Senate.

Posted by Lee at 04:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 12, 2003
when are we going to care about real threats?

AIDS Hasn't Peaked Yet -- and That's Not The Worst of It (washingtonpost.com)

Tuberculosis and malaria kill more than 3 million people per year, and AIDS kills another 3 million. These numbers are growing rapidly, dwarfing the number of people who could conceivably die from terrorism or conventional warfare. These three diseases are taking many countries backward, back to life expectancies and mortality rates the world hasn't seen since the early 1900s. Each of them can be prevented, if not cured. Yet we spend billions trying to prevent terrorism and pennies on fighting these much bigger killers. In 2001, for every person who died of war and violence, seven people died of one of these three diseases, nearly all of them children or young adults.

There is a lot more information in this column -- very troubling information -- about threats to you and to me that are real threats more urgent, and affecting more people, than terroristism of any stripe.

Posted by Lee at 01:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 11, 2003
incompetent driver + incompetent cop = lousy friday evening

Strawberry Hill Avenue in Norwalk, CT is a one-lane residential street posted 25mph. This street is about 1.5 lanes wide in each direction, but it is still a one-lane street. There are three schools on this street (we live right next door to one of them). The time was between 6:45 and 7:00 pm. Traffic was heavy in both directions. I was making a right turn into our driveway. Or trying to. It was not to be.

Behind me, in a reddish (I think -- it was dark) Grand Am, was Damon Grant, Incompetent Driver and Drummer. Also in this car was Blond Stupid Man (BSM).

Grant, for whatever reason, decides to pass me on the right. Stanley thinks it was because he was following too close, too fast and wasn't paying attention and tried to swerve around me. At any rate, this incompetent driver struck my right front fender as I was turning into my driveway. Grant's car ended up on top of the sidewalk, two piles of ice, and our hedge. I am really glad there were no pedestrians on the sidewalk there or this would have been a tragedy instead of just an extreme annoyance.

So, cursing and shaking, I pulled up alongside Incompetent Driver Grant's car, and turned on the hazard lights. When I could, I got out of the car and asked Grant what the hell was thinking, what kind of a dumbass move was that, etc.

ID Grant: I didn't know what you were doing. You just stopped.
Me: well of course I stopped -- I was turning into my driveway.
SBM: we didn't know what you were doing.
Me: (wondering why SBM needed to know what I was doing as he was not driving) I had my turn indicator on, I was turning ...

More conversation ... I forget it all.

ID Grant and SBM climb out of Grant's car.
ID Grant: What do you want to do?
Me: Call the cops. Do you have a phone, or should I go into my house and call (while writing down the license plate number lest they decide to be totally stupid and bolt -- which ID Grant did not do). SBM digs out a cellphone.
SBM: What's the phone number for the police?
Me: (amazed, then speaking slowly and carefully) 9 - 1 - 1
SBM: But that's the number for emergencies, I can't use that number, blah blah blah
Me: Give me the phone, I'll make the call
SBM finally dialed 911, giving them our address.

We're waiting for one of Norwalk's Finest to show up.
Me: why were you passing me on the right?
ID Grant and SBM: We didn't know what you were doing -- you had your left turn indicator on and pulled over and stopped.
Me: What the hell are you talking about? I had my right turn indicator on and, at any rate, even if I had no turn indicator on, it's still illegal to pass on the right. And I didn't pull over anywhere -- there's nowhere TO pull.
ID Grant the liar: No, you had your left turn indicator on, and we didn't pass you on the right.

And so this non-conversation went. It was clear Grant wasn't enough of an adult to admit that he made a mistake and decided, abetted by SBM, that he would take the dishonorable route of lying and blaming me.

I concluded that he was too childish to deal with further, decided to wait for the cop, and then went to get Stanley -- and asked him to bring the camera for pictures.

Finally, a cop, one Officer Page, shows up. He asked for the story. I tell him my side. Liar Grant tells him his story. Cop doesn't ask any questions, just gets our papers, goes back to his car and begins writing and whatever. Stanley took some pictures, but there was really nothing to see -- my car was knocked out of alignment but no visible damage.

Page finally finishes whatever he needed to do, comes back to us, hands us our papers and says, "You both have the same insurance, so it'll be a wash." That's it? I said something like, "What's the story here? You're not issuing a ticket?" Page said there are conflicting stories, so no ticket. I said "whatever the stories are, it's illegal to pass on the right, so he was wrong." Page said to me: "How many years did you spend in the police academy?"

I was shocked. I gave a lame reply, like "I went to driver's ed." But I was profoundly shocked. Mostly by his rudeness, but also by his incompetence. If I were wrong about the law, he could've just pointed it out. Or he could've just said nothing. But what he did was insult me and, even worse, let this incompetent, lying driver Grant get away without even knowing he did something wrong.

Officer Page did not do his job. He failed in two areas: investigation and prevention. ID Liar Grant lives in my neighborhood, on Lockwood Lane, and will likely be driving on Strawberry Hill Avenue again, and will think it's okay to try to pass on the right. And a couple of minutes of actual investigation by Page would have turned up the fact that MY RIGHT-TURN INDICATOR WAS STILL ON.

I did nothing wrong. But I was the one insulted by a person whose salary I pay.

When I got back in to the house, I called the Norwalk Police Department and asked how I could file a complaint against a police officer. The guy who answered the phone said I needed to speak with a supervisor, and transferred me to the front desk, where Officer Front Desk told me the supervisor would call me back because they were all busy doing something or other. She took my name and number.

I expected to have to call back, but I was wrong: a supervisor, Sgt. Stephen Couture, called me back within the hour. I asked him how to file a formal complaint, and he told me I should come down to the police station before 11:00pm while he and Page were still on duty.

If he hoped that asking me to show up at the police station instead of filing over the phone would somehow avoid the whole thing, he was wrong. Maybe I'm being overly cynical about it, but I doubt it.

Stanley drove me over to the police station. We waited for about ten minutes, and then Sgt. Couture met us and escorted us back to a report room, where I told him my story and my concerns. He said he understood that I feel reprimanded even though I was not at fault, that I was indeed right about it being illegal to pass on the right (and explained the circumstances where it is legal, though on most of Strawberry Hill Avenue, there are no circumstances where it is legal), and that Officer Page was wrong to have said what he said.

Couture said he hadn't seen the accident report yet, but based on what we'd told him, it should've been fairly obvious what had happened. He gave me a copy of the statute regarding passing on the right. He talked to us for a bit about our concerns about the traffic on Strawberry Hill Avenue and my observation that I rarely see the police doing anything about it, and that I didn't think anything will be done until a child is killed on the way to school.

He then told us that Page has been at a call where an old woman was stroking out and had spent a long time there trying to resuscitate her (successfully), etc. I told him that was no excuse for rudeness, that when I had to work in an emergency room if we'd been rude to anyone for any reason we would've been fired on the spot, and that despite the fact that I'd just had my new car (well, it is new to me) hit and I was upset, I was not rude to Page, and that we pay way, way too much in taxes (we pay more than $4,000 a year in property taxes -- and we don't live in a mansion on a huge plot of land, not by a long shot) to take any abuse from any Norwalk employee.

If Page didn't think before he shot off his mouth, that makes me VERY concerned. This man carries a gun -- he MUST think before he does ANYTHING.

While Sgt. Couture was very sympathetic and a pleasant man to deal with, I wasn't mollified. There needs to be consequences for bad behavior, whether it's an illegal pass or a smart-ass comment by an officer of the law. ID Liar Grant's consequence is that his pretty car has some ugly damage (including a torn-off side mirror and some dandy scratches from the hedge), and his insurance rates are likely to go up. But the only way there could be consequences for Page's bad behavior is if I filed a formal complaint.

So I did. I don't know exactly what is supposed to happen, but I have a receipt and instruction from Sgt. Couture to call him if I haven't heard anything in about a week.

Stanley wasn't so crazy about the fact that I did this -- like most people, he's afraid of repercussions by Page or by the Norwalk police in general. That innocent citizens should fear their police department offends me to my very American core. That police officers should get away with bad behavior -- whether it's a smart-ass, rude comment by a cop or even more serious offenses -- because of this fear is even more appalling. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." (Edmund Burke) It seems like a trivial matter, not worthy of all this effort. But it's a slippery slope -- where does one draw the line? If a cop is having a bad day, will that justify anything?

My next step is to write to Mayor Alex Knopp.

What I would like is a written apology from Page, with a copy of the complaint and the letter of apology placed into his personnel jacket, some more training for Page since he obviously needs it, and for the Norwalk PD to contact ID Liar Damon Grant and let him know that he really did do something wrong -- and I want proof that they did this.

Stay tuned ...

Posted by Lee at 02:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 09, 2003
Senator Liebermouth Emits more hot air

Senators McCain and Gasbag Offer Bill to Require Cuts in Gases, New York Times, By Katherine Q. Seelye

Lieberman said the administration's approach would "allow greenhouse-gas emissions to keep increasing indefinitely, presenting this country and the world with a bigger and bigger environmental crisis to tackle down the road," hurting the economy and America's stature in the world.

What Lieberjerk failed to mention is that if he were to shut the frell up rather than shoving his face in front of any available camera and/or microphone and yammering away while saying absolutely nothing, the United States's production of greenhouse gases (or gasses) would fall by 75%.

Last night our friend George referred to Liebermouth as another version of Al Sharpton. I think George is right -- though I think Liebermouth is worse because he has more money (not his -- taxpayer money) to use to fuel his flapping facetime minutes. Sharpton at least picks causes he knows something about. Not Liebermouth. Doesn't matter, as long as he gets that facetime in. He pretends he's a democrat. Yeah, right.

Let's see, next week he'll probably announce a bid for the presidency. So he'll have a chance to waste even more taxpayers dollars and waste another two years of his term not being a senator for Connecticut. He wasted two years running for vice president already. I want him to refund his salary along with two-thirds of his staff's salaries -- I figure they'll maybe work for us a grand total of two years out of his six-year term.

Funny, but despite all the time Joe Blowhard spends spouting word after word on the telly, I can't think of one single thing he's done for his consituents.

Posted by Lee at 11:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 08, 2003
your atmosphere-killer is funding terrorists. dump that suv now!

Arianna Huffington's current column, Road Outrage: How Corporate Greed And Political Corruption Paved The Way For The SUV Explosion (January 6, 2003) shines a light on the money Detroit has spent on pushing SUVs: "the auto industry spent close to $37 million on lobbying in 2000. And you can bet that money wasn't spent trying to convince Congress to designate a "Windshield Wiper Appreciation Week." Although I'm sure Congress would have been glad to oblige if its deep-pocket pals in Detroit had only asked. After all, the industry has donated over $77 million to federal candidates and the political parties since the 1990 election -- with $12.5 million doled out during the 2002 election cycle." That's for LOBBYING. How much has the Detroit auto industry spent on advertising and financing deals for these rolling obscenities?

She wrote, "How ironic that if American car buyers want to do something truly patriotic, they have to buy Japanese to do it."

In October, Arianna first wrote in Salon about what's now called The Detroit Project: 'So how about using the same shock-value tactics the administration uses in the drug war to confront the public with the ultimate -- and much more linearly linked -- consequences of their energy wastefulness? Imagine a soccer mom in a Ford Excursion (11 mpg city, 15 mpg highway) saying, "I'm building a nuclear bomb for Saddam Hussein." Or a mob of solo drivers toodling down the freeway at 75 mph shouting in unison, "We're buying weapons that will kill American soldiers, Marines and sailors! Yahoo!"'

Huffington and others put together The Detroit Project, an organization called Americans for Fuel Efficient Cars. Get involved, join them, make a donation on The Detroit Project website: http://www.americansforfuelefficientcars.org/. Get rid of your SUV -- nobody, absolutely nobody, needs an SUV.

Posted by Lee at 11:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 07, 2003
the shield, new season

We watched the first episode of season two tonight of The Shield. It's STILL good--Vic is losing his grip ... wonder if Television Without Pity is going to start covering it?

Posted by Lee at 11:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
January 06, 2003
Dead Zone a little better, but not much

I really didn't care much that The Dead Zone started up again, but there was nothing else on and Stanley wanted to see it, so ... I pretty much gave up on the show after the vision in the cave with the shaman from long ago episode--what a pile of horse manure that was. And Stillson didn't appear until the last episode of the season.

Tonight's episode was better, sort of. It didn't explain anything, though, and wasted some good characters. Why did his visions suddenly come back after being absent for weeks? Why did the loony involve Johnnie in the kidnapping? What was his message all about? The writers for this show pretty much suck -- worse than the writing for the last two years of X-Files. Tries to be mysterious but ends up being insubstantial and just very annoying.

All in all, pretty disappointing. Next week is supposed to be about Sarah again--who cares about her? The writers try to make her seem noble, just screwing around on her husband that one time. But instead she comes off as a selfish, whiny slut. And Walter comes off as so noble he just seems dumb. Get some better scriptwriters!

Posted by Lee at 01:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 04, 2003
Banished Words—or words that should be, at any rate

Banished Words is my favorite annual "award." Lake Superior State University (in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan) publishes a list of them every year.

From the press release:
"‘Make no mistakes about it,’ Lake Superior State University issued its 28th annual ‘extreme’ List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness, which the world needs ‘now, more than ever.’

"LSSU has been compiling the list since 1976, choosing from nominations sent from around the world. This year, words and phrases were pulled from a record 3,000 nominations. Most were sent through the school’s website: www.lssu.edu/banished.

"Word-watchers pull nominations throughout the year from everyday speech, as well as from the news, fields of education, technology, advertising, politics, and more. A committee gathers the entries and chooses the best in December. The list is released on New Year’s Day."

Last year LSSU added "functionality" to the list—a non-word that indicates the user can't figure out what something really means, or is too lazy or stupid to describe, in plain English, what something does.

This year's list (read the why's on the website):

  • material breach

  • must-see tv

  • untimely death (absolutely must be banished)

  • black ice

  • on the ground

  • weapons of mass destruction

  • make no mistake about it

  • homeland security (vs. national security, I guess)

  • extreme

  • now, more than ever

  • branding (used instead of PR—is PR such a bad thing?)

  • having said that , that said

  • peel-and-eat shrimp

  • challenge (is a challenge better than a problem?)

  • it's a good thing (yep, I've used this way too much)

  • as per

  • reverse discrimination

  • there is no score (guess 0-0 doesn't mean anything)

  • got game (eeeyyyeeeewww!!)

  • mental mistake

  • ___ in color

  • frozen tundra (a Squad Squad entry)

  • undisclosed secret location (newsies using this sound like asses)

One of these days I'm going to start making my list of tv news clichés. I suspect it will take exactly two weeks to cycle through the entire collection. Submit your entries now!

Posted by Lee at 06:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 03, 2003
Israeli terrorists

A Brutal Routine (washingtonpost.com)

"THERE HAS BEEN a lull recently in Palestinian attacks against Israelis; a shooting attack that killed four in a West Bank settlement last week was the first major incident in a month. But almost every day, Palestinian civilians, including many children, are being killed by the Israeli army and police. An 18-year-old high school student named Amran Abu Hamediye was found beaten to death in the West Bank town of Hebron on Monday; family and neighbors say he had been detained by Israeli forces a few minutes before. On Sunday, an 11-year-old boy was shot and killed by troops in the town of Tulkarm. The day before, a 9-year-old girl was killed as she played outside her home in the Gaza Strip. At least four other Palestinian children under the age of 16 were killed by Israeli fire in Gaza during the past month. In one case, an 11-year-old girl was shot in the chest and killed as she leaned out her bedroom window to watch the funeral of a teenage boy who had been gunned down the previous day."

The United States should suspend all aid to Israel immediately. I wonder how arrogant that nation would be when cut off from it's $10 million PER DAY allowance from Daddy USA. Why are we funding Israeli terrorism?

Posted by Lee at 08:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 02, 2003
Way to go, Turkey!

CBS News | Army Deploys More Soldiers To Gulf | January 2, 2003 -- but Turkey is refusing to go along. At least for now.

"... refusal so far by Turkey to open its military bases to a buildup of American troops is complicating and threatening to delay U.S. plans for war against Iraq.

"There are currently 2,000 American servicemen in Turkey with the mission of patrolling the no-fly zone in northern Iraq.

"But U.S. war plans call for moving an entire army division -- 12 to 15,000 troops and all their equipment -- through Turkey into northern Iraq to secure Iraq's valuable oil fields and to prevent civil war among Kurdish factions competing for power in a post-Saddam Iraq.

"So far, Turkey has not even permitted the pentagon to survey Turkish bases to determine what improvements would be needed to handle the planned buildup.

"Turkey recently elected a conservative Islamic government and U.S. officials are worried its parliament will not permit Turkish bases to be used for a war against Iraq. As long as Turkey refuses, U.S. officials say, it will be impossible to open up a northern front and that would significantly increase the risks in any war."

Now I wonder if the appointed president is going to threaten Turkey for not going along with his criminal war plans. I hope the Turks continue to stand their ground against the US buildup and war with Iraq.

Posted by Lee at 11:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
January 01, 2003
bush's hypocrisy

Why N. Korea isn't like Iraq, according to Bush, The Straights Times, January 2, 2003 (it's tomorrow in Asia)

The story reports the total inconsistency of our appointed president's stance on North Korea vs. Iraq. It makes absolutely no sense -- unless you consider how much oil North Korea is sitting on vs. how much Iraq owns. Then it makes perfect sense to ignore a real threat and blow up an imaginary threat.

"The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) believes that North Korea already has two nuclear weapons and could build five or six more in the next six months if it reprocesses its large stockpile of spent nuclear fuel into weapons-grade plutonium.

"As for Iraq, the CIA and Britain's foreign intelligence service estimate it would take the country five years to develop such a weapon - or a single year if Mr Saddam is provided with missile material." [Emphasis added]

Posted by Lee at 08:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack