Friday, 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 on 01/31/03 at 10:33 PM

(0) commentspermalink 

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 on 01/31/03 at 05:00 AM

miscellaneous everything • (0) commentspermalink 

Wednesday, January 29, 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 on 01/29/03 at 04:55 AM

miscellaneous everything • (0) commentspermalink 

Sunday, 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 on 01/26/03 at 06:05 PM

miscellaneous everything • (0) commentspermalink 

Saturday, 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,, 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 on 01/25/03 at 05:01 AM

reviews • (0) commentspermalink 

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 on 01/25/03 at 12:26 AM

miscellaneous everything • (0) commentspermalink 

Friday, January 24, 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 aint easy,
And your manhoodҒs getting queasy,
Bomb Iraq.

Fall in line and follow orders, bomb Iraq.
For our might now knows no borders, bomb Iraq.
Disagree? Well 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 on 01/24/03 at 04:53 AM

miscellaneous everything • (0) commentspermalink 

Wednesday, January 22, 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 on 01/22/03 at 04:54 AM

miscellaneous everything • (0) commentspermalink 

Sunday, 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 on 01/19/03 at 06:05 PM

miscellaneous everything • (0) commentspermalink 

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 on 01/19/03 at 07:28 AM

reviews • (0) commentspermalink 
Page 1 of 3 pages  1 2 3 >