Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, December 31, 2003 6:48 pm

Now, officially, A Bad Idea

Filed under: Black-box voting — Lex @ 6:48 pm

As you know if you’re a regular reader (Hi, Mom!), I don’t think much of paperless touch-screen voting machines. But don’t take my word for it. Take Fortune magazine’s, which designates them some of the worst technology of 2003.

Strange Days X: The News & Record’s 10th Annual Roundup of the Idiotic, the Ironic and the Just Plain Weird

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 12:30 pm

Here is Fimoculous’ list of lists for year-end 2003, with links to everything from Dave Barry’s year in review (always a winner) to the New York Times’ list of the year’s best jazz albums.

There is, however, one noteworthy year-end roundup missing: my own, published this past Sunday in the News & Record. It didn’t get put online for whatever reason (not all the paper’s stories do), but thanks to my esteemed co-worker Diane Lamb, I now offer it here.

Enjoy.

* * *

Welcome to “Strange Days X: The News & Record’s 10th Annual Roundup of the Idiotic, the Ironic and the Just Plain Weird.”

It seems this feature began only yesterday, although it actually was back in those halcyon days of 1994 when Davidson County Sheriff Gerald Hege was in trouble with the state, the president’s patriotism and integrity were under repeated attack, our civic discourse had degraded to near-gutter levels and Michael Jackson was under suspicion of child molestation.

Oh. Wait.

* * *

Jan. 2: And his own horoscope for today was – we are not making this up – “Get work done early”
Syndicated horoscope columnist (and Leo) Sydney Omarr dies.

Jan. 16: Inevitable headline: Yes, we have no bananas
Edible Cavendish bananas, the most common type, may disappear within a decade unless new varieties are developed that are resistant to blight, a British news agency reports.

Jan. 28: The word made flesh – or at least fish
Two members of a sect of Hasidic Jews in New Square, N.Y., claim that a 20-pound carp they were preparing to slaughter and make into gefilte fish began shouting warnings in Hebrew that the end of the world was coming. They slaughtered it anyway.

Feb. 5: Forget about holding up Bic lighters for an encore
At noon Eastern time, the first organ note in the late composer John Cage’s new work, “As Slow as Possible,” is played. The performance actually began 17 months ago, although the only thing that has happened up to now is inflating the bellows of the organ. The work is intended to continue for another 639 years.

Feb. 5: Dude, you’re getting a cell!
Benjamin Curtis, the actor who portrays the character “Steven” in Dell Computer’s “Dude, you’re getting a Dell” commercials, is charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

March 7: Because, you know, he was going to fly the school into a building
A 6-year-old first-grader in Youngstown, Ohio, is suspended for 10 days for “possession of a weapon” after putting a plastic butter knife from the school cafeteria into his book bag.

March 13: Play our way, or we’ll take our toys – uh, loved ones – and go home
After France threatens to veto any U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing a military attack on Iraq, U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla., says she’ll introduce a bill that would allow relatives of World War II service members buried in France and Belgium to have their loved ones dug up, then reburied in the United States at taxpayer expense.

March 14: Embedded
The Fayetteville Observer orders home a reporter and photographer covering an Army unit in the Mideast because the reporter has become engaged to an officer in the unit, whom she has been dating since before the unit left Fort Bragg.

March 19: Freedom of the press, however …
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in Cleveland to accept a Citadel of Free Speech Award from the Cleveland City Club, bans broadcast media from the award luncheon.

March 19: It makes people look better, too
Alcohol consumption impairs the sense of smell, researchers report.

March 31: Can you say, “Hitler”?
Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, is the “worst dictator in history,” Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke tells reporters.

April 7: Who wants to be a (cough, cough) cheat?
Three Britons are convicted of using “coded coughs” to win the top prize on Britain’s version of the TV game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”

April 21: So what should we offer Climax, N.C., to change its name?
Animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals offers the Buffalo, N.Y., suburb of Hamburg $15,000 worth of veggie burgers for its schools if it will change its name to Veggieburg.

April 22: That does it. I’m getting a cat
As a case involving a Texas ban on sodomy reaches the Supreme Court, U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., says overturning the ban will lead to “man-on-dog” sex.

April 28: As long as they spell my name right
After cybergossip Matt Drudge trashes former Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal’s forthcoming memoir, the book, which won’t be published for weeks, leaps in one day from No. 23,588 on Amazon.com’s sales list to No. 1.

April 30: Boosting his slugging percentage
Shortstop Julio Lugo of the Houston Astros, whose wives’ club’s primary charity is a battered-women’s shelter, is charged with slamming his wife’s head into a car.

May 2: He never wrote about man-on-dog sex, either
Public moralizer William Bennett, the author of “The Book of Virtues,” has gambled away more than $8 million since 1993, The Washington Monthly and Newsweek report. He offers the defense that he never wrote about gambling as a sin.

May 12: Run for the border
More than 50 Democrats from the Texas House of Representatives decamp for Oklahoma rather than allow a vote creating more Republican-dominated U.S. House districts in the state to be passed by the state House’s Republican majority.

May 14: Le cigare, c’est moi
On attempting to light a cigar and being told that he could not smoke in a federal building, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, replies, “I am the federal government.”

June 18: How ’bout we just destroy his computer?
One day after Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, proposes allowing copyright holders to destroy the computers of people holding bootleg files, CNET.com reports that the senator’s Web site includes an unlicensed programming script for which royalties run up to $900.

June 18: Whip me, beat me, make me stop traffic
A tractor-trailer rig carrying a load of sex toys catches fire, blocking one of England’s busiest highways for more than six hours.

July 2: “Go on, try it! I double-dog dare you!”
President Bush challenges Iraqi irregulars threatening additional attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, “Bring it on!”

July 10: From brat to wurst
Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Randall Simon uses a bat to hit a woman in an Italian-sausage costume during a mascot race between innings, causing the Italian sausage to fall over and take the hot dog down with her.

July 28: The (betting) bucks stop here
A Pentagon agency headed by Iran-Contra figure John Poindexter announces plans for a commodities-like market in which investors would profit from correctly predicting assassinations, acts of terrorism and other globally destabilizing events. The plans are scratched a day later; William Bennett declines to comment.

Aug. 3: Eeeeeee-vil
A nondenominational Christian church in Greenville, Mich., holds a book-burning to burn copies of the Bible. Church members say all versions except the King James Version are corrupt.

Aug. 7: Hiding in plain sight
Moore County sheriff’s deputies seize marijuana plants found growing on – wait for it – Hemp Street Extension.

Aug. 11: If they’d just kept quiet, it would have gone away. But this is Fox
Fox News sues comedian/actor Al Franken for using its slogan in the title of his book “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.” Orders for the book soar in response, boosting it to the top of The New York Times’ best-sellers list.

Aug. 22: Sounds like we have a replacement slogan for “fair and balanced”
Fox News’ lawsuit against Al Franken is thrown out of court by a federal judge, who comments: “There are hard cases, and there are easy cases. This is an easy case. This case is wholly without merit, both factually and legally.”

Aug. 24: Shul runnings
Israel has formed a bobsledding team to compete in the Olympics, the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California reports.

Sept. 4: That would explain the bra, the panties, the fishnets and the butt so big it needs its own ticket on airline flights
Fox News talk-show host Bill O’Reilly offers The New York Times his opinion on Franken’s book: “He says he’s a satirist. If Franken’s a satirist, then I’m Jennifer Lopez.”

Sept. 6: In Bush we trust
A man pays for $150 worth of groceries at a Food Lion in Roanoke Rapids with a $200 bill. The bogus bill – the Treasury does not print bills in that denomination – bears a picture of George W. Bush and the “signatures” of former presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, as well as a photo of the White House on the back with a sign on the lawn reading, “We like broccoli” and “USA deserves a tax cut.”

Sept. 7: Only the good die young
Singer/songwriter Warren Zevon, who penned such pop gems as “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead,” “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me” and “Werewolves of London,” dies of lung cancer at age 56.

Sept. 8: As we said, only the good die young
Leni Riefenstahl, an influential filmmaker and leading Nazi apologist, dies at age 101.

Sept. 12: It makes your name grow, but the effects last only 24 hours
The town of Agra, Okla., temporarily but officially changes its name to Viagra, like the impotence drug, in response to an offer of concert tickets from a country radio station.

Sept. 15: How you likin’ them pink cells now?
Gerald Hege, the nationally known sheriff of Davidson County, is indicted on 15 counts of embezzlement and obstruction of justice.

Sept. 30: Rick Santorum said this would happen
A South African man previously implicated in the molestation of a goat skips bail on charges of sexually assaulting a pig.

Oct. 2: Like he said
Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh is implicated in illegal purchases of the prescription painkiller oxycontin. This is the same Limbaugh who told viewers of his now-defunct TV show on Oct. 5, 1995, “If people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up.”

Oct. 3: But not in newspapers
It’s OK to use the F-word in radio and television broadcasts, the Federal Communications Commission rules, as long as the context is neither sexual nor excretory.

Oct. 5: Dude, you own your own company. You couldn’t take her to a movie once in a while?
Cass Ballenger, the Republican who has represented North Carolina’s 10th District in Congress since 1986, blames the breakup of his 50-year marriage on tension caused by the close proximity of a Muslim advocacy group to the Capitol. He also blames a House of Representatives ban on accepting meals and theater tickets from lobbyists, a move he said denied his wife a social life.

Oct. 7: So you’re saying he was a politician
The Philadelphia Inquirer publishes this correction: “In Sunday’s Arts & Entertainment section, an article about the film ‘Kill Bill’ erroneously referred to Ricardo Montalban’s character in ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’ as a Klingon. Khan was an evil human bent on universal domination. …”

Oct. 7: Evil human bent on universal domination? Or leader of the worldwide resistance and last hope for mankind?
Actor Arnold “The Terminator” Schwarzenegger is elected governor of financially ailing California despite numerous allegations that he has sexually harassed women on his movie sets.

Oct. 8: What part of “nature, red in tooth and claw” didn’t you understand?
Timothy Treadwell, a California author/filmmaker famous for shooting Alaskan brown bears despite warnings from bear specialists that he was risking his life, was killed and eaten by one or more bears earlier in the week, the Anchorage Daily News reports. So was his girlfriend.

Oct. 9: Not-so-higher learning
An N.C. State student is threatened with legal action after posting a realistic-looking parody of a CNN Web page, reporting that performing oral sex on a man at least twice a week reduces a woman’s risk of breast cancer.

Oct. 9: Imagine if they asked him to throw the ball
Jacksonville Jaguars’ punter Chris Hanson gashes his left leg severely enough to require surgery when he swings an ax at a tree stump in the locker room and misses.

Oct. 9: But we’re going to get bent out of shape because someone dares to criticize what’s going on in Iraq
Televangelist Pat Robertson suggests that the State Department’s Washington headquarters should be destroyed with nuclear weapons.

Oct. 13: You might want to ask the grieving relatives whether they agree
In a speech at the University of Washington, U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt, R-Wash., criticizes media coverage of the war in Iraq by saying: “The story of what we’ve done in the postwar period is remarkable. It is a better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day.”

Oct. 14: Well, that worked
Like many presidents before him, President Bush orders his administration to stop leaking to the news media. News of the order leaks within a day.

Oct. 23: Lowest wages, guaranteed
One way retail giant Wal-Mart is able to offer “the lowest prices. Guaranteed,” the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement claims, is by hiring illegal immigrants through a contractor and paying them as little as 25 cents per hour.

Nov. 5: Because, you know, he’s going to fly a stripper into a building
Provisions of the anti-terrorism Patriot Act are being used to investigate a strip-club owner and some politicians in a case with no link to terrorism, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Nov. 12: Lies and the lying liars who might unseat them
Al Franken says he might run for U.S. Senate.

Nov. 13: Lies and the lying liars who try to one-up them
Not to be outdone, Bill O’Reilly says he might run for president.

Nov. 15: Designated driver? Hey, garcon, how ’bout you designate me another glass of Bordeaux?
The French wine industry, disturbed by a 15 percent drop in wine consumption since the beginning of a government campaign to discourage drunken driving, launches advertisements claiming that most adults can have a glass or three with dinner and still drive legally.

Nov. 17: Bet it doesn’t do so well in Jersey, either
A Louisiana parish (county) decides to ditch the voice-recognition software on its 911 system because the software cannot understand Southern accents.

Nov. 22: But Joe and Jane Taxpayer sign your checks, and you’d better not forget it
During a House discussion on whether to put Ronald Reagan’s picture on the U.S. dime, many House members reveal they do not know who is on the dime now, The Washington Post later reports. (It’s Franklin D. Roosevelt.)

Nov. 26: Weapons of mass destruction found in the United States: 1. Weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq: 0
Authorities arrested three white supremacists and confiscated a cyanide bomb near Tyler, Texas, that was capable of delivering a large cloud of lethal gas, Dallas/Fort Worth station KTVT reports.

Dec. 1: “We think we know what he means. But we don’t know if we really know”
So says Britain’s Plain English Campaign, giving its annual “Foot in Mouth” award for most baffling public comment to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for this 2002 comment: “Reports that say something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me because, as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

Dec. 1: At least he wasn’t standing on the hood of his speeding car with his arms spread, shouting, “I’m king of the world!”
Hours before his swearing-in, the new Guilford County director of public health, Dr. Ramesh Krishnaraj, is charged with driving while impaired after driving his 2003 Mercedes-Benz convertible around the Stoney Creek golfing community with the top down, honking his horn.

Dec. 2: A divorce is the least of your problems, Congressman
The Council on American-Islamic Relations sues Rep. Cass Ballenger, R-N.C., for defamation in response to his having blamed the group for creating tension that broke up his 50-year marriage. Ballenger announces his retirement the same day.

Dec. 2: For when chloroform is just too darned hard to obtain
A Chicago-based company introduces what it calls the first-ever spray that helps kids fall asleep.

Dec. 4: Even cannibals have standards
A German man who has admitted killing and eating another man testifies that he received more than 400 other offers over the Internet from people seeking similar treatment, including one from a man he turned down because he was “too fat and not talkative enough.”

Dec. 9: Dude? That was no grocery store
Rush Limbaugh, fresh from rehab, posts this comment on his Web site: “I haven’t been to the grocery store in a long time. I have staff that does that for me. But I went to the grocery store recently, and they tried to over-prescribe me on all kinds of stuff.”

Dec. 10: And the tabloids will report it as, “Michael Jackson causes wreck”
While pulled over on a highway shoulder to call a radio talk show to complain about the consequences of excessive Michael Jackson coverage, a Long Island, N.Y., woman escapes serious injury when her SUV is rear-ended by another car.

Dec. 17: And finally, just a little something to think about as we head into a presidential election year
Executives of one of the nation’s largest makers of voting machines include felons convicted of stock fraud, cocaine trafficking and – surprise! – computer fraud, the Associated Press reports.

News & Record staffers, its wire services, Salon.com, CBSNews.com, CNN.com, FoxNews.com, MSNBC.com, BBC.co.uk, guardian.co.uk, News24.com, The Wall Street Journal Online, National Review Online and the Web logs Amish Tech Support, TBogg, Eschaton, Counterspin, Silflay Hraka, A Small Victory and Tacitus contributed to this report.

Contact Lex Alexander at 373-7088 or lalexander@news-record.com

Tuesday, December 30, 2003 11:26 am

Look on her works, ye mighty, and despair

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 11:26 am

Lots of bloggers think they know how to rave up a rant, how to pitch a bitch. They’re all wrong. Nobody does it like Dawn:

If there is one thing I understand it is the maternal instinct. But when I read things like this [the Oklahoma woman who murdered a pregnant woman and cut the fetus out of her stomach because she wanted a baby] it makes me wish I had a prosthetic LEG so I could take it off and BEAT THAT LADY TO DEATH with it. …What kind of world is this where YOUNG PEOPLE contract DEADLY DISEASE? An unfair one, that is what kind. If I ever acquire super powers I am going to anthropomorphize that meningitis bacteria and then I am going to beat it with my prosthetic leg TWICE AS HARD as I beat that lady. Those children had mothers, meningitis; did you ever stop to think what your inflammation of their teenaged braincases would do to those who RAISED THEM FROM INFANCY? I am sure you didn’t. That is why my prosthetic knee is going upside your bacterial head.

I am in a MOOD so I am going to do something that relaxes me. I will probably clean for seven or eight hours, but then so help me I am going to sit down and make the sweetest arts and crafts you have ever seen. Did someone say pasta angels? They are so AWESOME I cannot even BELIEVE IT.

That is why my prosthetic knee is going upside your bacterial head. Ladies and gentlemen, I. Rest. My. Case.

Monday, December 29, 2003 4:03 pm

Film criticism, or, How I spent my kids’ Christmas vacation

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 4:03 pm

Friend: So what are you doing with (Victoria and her friend)?

Me: I thought I’d take ‘em after lunch to see “Peter Pan.” Wanna come and bring (your daughter)?

Friend: Sure.

Me: Since I’ve only seen various versions of “Peter Pan” about 200 times, I thought I’d keep myself awake by looking for subtexts.

Friend: Good idea. I’ll keep an eye out for homosexuality and ethnic themes. You take incest and bestiality.

Me: Cool.

Friend: Cuz once you’ve had a crocodile, you’ll never go back.

Sunday, December 28, 2003 11:31 am

But not Dennifer

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 11:31 am

My infant stepnephew Douglas Logan Grubbs needed a nickname because of the profusion of Dougs in his blood family, and the one he got was one of the coolest things to emerge from our myriad mixed-marriages holiday gatherings:

D. Lo

Saturday, December 27, 2003 1:30 pm

A holiday observation

Filed under: Ew. — Lex @ 1:30 pm

Nothing says “Christmas” like replacing the guts of two toilets.

Thursday, December 25, 2003 10:57 am

Santa and too many chocolate-chip cookies don’t mix

Filed under: Hooper,There but for the grace of God ...,Victoria — Lex @ 10:57 am

After delivering the goodies and consuming the cookies and milk left for him, Santa — or at least the one who delivered the toys at our house — had to get up at 3 a.m. to take some antacids. When he returned, he found, to his mild annoyance, that both children had gotten into bed with him and Mrs. Claus. But there was nothing to be done for it.

The toys were big hits this morning. H. loves his Thomas the Tank Engine set — indeed, so much so that I no longer suspect him of having ADHD, because he has been enraptured with it for nigh on four straight hours now. V. was enthusiastic about her baby-doll bath/bed/feeding set, but she seemed just as enthusiastic about digging out from under the tree the present she had made for Mommy and Daddy, a piece of handmade Christmas artwork. Mrs. Claus was pretty darned enthused about her own gift — the second season of “Star Trek: Next Gen” on DVD.

We’ll be doing a roast for dinner — we’re pretty much turkeyed out — and then it’s back to the salt mines tomorrow for at least one of us. But today is a good Christmas, a delightful Christmas, in our house. Would that it were everywhere else.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003 10:23 pm

Peace on earth, goodwill toward men

Filed under: Religion — Lex @ 10:23 pm

The line of demarcation is racing west. The world trembles in darkness, as it does every night, but this night on the cusp of another observance of the birth of our savior.

The Christmas story is, in spiritual terms, one not only of giving but also of redemption, of the freedom to be defined by more than just our mistakes and our shortcomings, if we will take that freedom. The story tells us: We can do better — not perfect, perhaps not even great, but better. We can be better to our world, better to others, better to ourselves, if we will but try.

We are human, so we do not always try. But because we are human, we always hope. And so it is tonight. So be it every night.

UPDATE: If you haven’t already, check out Real Live Preacher’s retelling of the Christmas story, from a purely human viewpoint but with all the divinity intact. As of this writing, the intro and parts 1-7 of the eight-part series are up. You’ll see why this man has a book deal and you and I and most other bloggers you read don’t.

Santas and hockey don’t mix

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 10:08 pm

Santas go bad at the Islanders game.

Santa and Jesus don’t mix

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:18 pm

And here’s Katy to tell us why.

Warning: Monitor spew alert; possibly NSFW (language).

Tuesday, December 23, 2003 10:20 pm

Dive! Dive! Dive!

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 10:20 pm

With the possible exception of “Operation: Pettycoat,” which was so bad it’s not even listed in the Internet Movie Database, there’s never been a bad submarine movie. Mediocre, sure. But not bad.

That’s pretty incredible right off the bat, especially when you consider all the repressed homosexuality and the double-entendres inherent in such classic submoviespeak lines as, “Make her depth 500 feet!” “500 feet! Aye-aye, sir!”

But it’s especially incredible when, as StereoLabRat points out, only 12 things ever happen in submarine movies, and the same 12 things happen in every submarine movie. Warning: NSFW

Saturday, December 20, 2003 11:11 am

More TV we’d like to see

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 11:11 am

“On the next ‘Queer Eye’ … “

(Thanks to Pfred for the image; I don’t know where he got it from.)

Friday, December 19, 2003 6:03 pm

God loves a cheerful giver

DongResin ponders some things he’d like to say to representatives of organized charities while extolling the virtues of more direct charity:

I don’t like most organized charities, since all they really are is a way to feel like you’re doing good at a nice safe distance from the people who could really benefit most from a little one-on-one kindness. Instead, give that money directly to the guy on the pavement, and don’t worry about it if he decides to spend it on crack. Chances are he really wants that crack. You’re not his parents, and isn’t it nice for a change to know exactly where your money is going?

Not long after I moved to New York after college, I was taking the No. 4 train in to work with one of my roomies when we got hit up for spare change by a guy who obviously lived on the street.

I gave him a quarter. Not much, I know, but at that time, my walking-around money for the week, including groceries, was $20. For the week. In New York. But I digress. Anyway.

“What’d you do that for?” my roomie said. “He’s just gonna spend it on booze or dope.”

I just shrugged, but I recall thinking, “Then he’s gonna get more enjoyment out of it today than I will.”

I gave away a lot of quarters in New York.

Thursday, December 18, 2003 9:28 pm

Bit o’ housekeeping

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 9:28 pm

Something’s up with Blogmatrix, so until they get their act together I’ve taken the RSS feed down because with the feed in place the page was taking too long to load.

No acting required

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 9:20 pm

We were informed today that in our church’s Christmas Eve service/pageant, Victoria will be portraying an angel.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003 8:37 pm

The perfect storm

Filed under: Black-box voting — Lex @ 8:37 pm

Black-Box Voting encounters the perfect storm: An electronic vendor, a Republican elections supervisor (who already has given a testimonial for the vendor), two Republican opponents and a 27-vote margin in one of the five largest media markets in the nation.

This could be good.

In related news, an audit has determined that voting-machine maker Diebold used uncertified software in all 17 California counties in which its machines were used. Software in 14 counties had been certified by the feds but not by state authorities, as required under state law, and software in the other three counties (including Los Angeles) had not been certified at either level. These machines were used in two elections, including the recent recall that put Arnold Schwarzenegger into office.

The state’s Secretary of State is threatening to de-certify the company, and based on this quote, I’d say this guy gets it:

“The core of our American democracy is the right to vote,” [Kevin] Shelley said. “Implicit in that right is the notion that that vote be private, that vote be secure, and that vote be counted as it was intended when it was cast by the voter. And I think what we’re encountering is a pivotal moment in our democracy where all of that is being called into question.”

We are indeed at a pivotal, historic moment: We voters reassert ownership of the election process, or we kiss our most sacred right goodbye. I know which way I’m voting.

CLARIFICATION: I failed to explain the relevance of the party affiliation of the people mentioned above. Although Republicans nationally have been slower to try to address this issue than Democrats, my point was not that. Rather, my point is that the people involved in this case all belong to the same party, so whatever dispute may arise cannot be dismissed as simply partisan griping.

The occasional Polaroid-related question, or, Reason No. 6,842 why I don’t review pop music anymore

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 12:38 pm

Ever since Outkast first urged me to shake it like a Polaroid picture, I’ve been wondering: What in pluperfect hell does that mean?

I’ve never owned an instant camera*, although of course I’ve seen them used, so it’s not clear to me when or why you might shake a Polaroid picture, even to make it develop faster. The lore when I was a kid was that if you breathed on it it would develop faster, but I don’t recall anyone suggesting that shaking had a similar effect. So if you want to create a shaking-related simile, wouldn’t you want to say something like, “Shake it like James Bond’s martinis” or “Shake it like a drunk drying out” or even “Shake it like salt/pepper” or something?

I’m just sayin’.

So: Anyone know? Enlighten me.

*For the past 20 years or so I’ve been doing all my shooting with a Nikon FG-20, and for the forseeable future I’ll probably continue to do so. Shaking the pictures that it takes appears to have no effect on their quality, resolution or clarity.

Let’s start the day off in a good mood, shall we?

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:26 am

Seriously.

Two bits of cat-related humor here.

First, Mike asks, What happens when you have:

1) nothing to do
2) a sharp knife
3) a large lime
4) a patient cat
5) too much tequila
6) and it’s football season?

Continuing with cat-related humor, Sour Bob, who would be the first to tell you he’s not a cat person, tries diplomacy Paul Wolfowitz style as he attempts to reach an accord with the feline he’s cat-sitting. [NSFW -- bad language in big type].

Monday, December 15, 2003 6:12 pm

Next season’s big Broadway hit

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:12 pm

A comedy of manners/errors for the Internet Age: One of Laurence’s partners in crime at Amish Tech Support tells us what happens when some girl starts using YOUR screen name.

Friday, December 12, 2003 9:51 pm

Contraception

And more: If you have sex now, or think you might ever want to, you need to read this.

Contraception

Filed under: Ew. — Lex @ 9:51 pm

And more: If you have sex now, or think you might ever want to, you need to read this.

She’s back

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:51 pm

After a lengthy hiatus from blogging … ladies and gentlemen, Sekimori!

An AIM suggestion

Filed under: Geek-related issues — Lex @ 9:47 pm

No, not Accuracy in Media. I mean AOL Instant Messenger.

It’s the world’s most-used instant-messaging system, apparently, but the software, although free, doesn’t have a lot of features. For example, it will only let you log on with one user name at a time, which has got to be frustrating for those of you who want to spend your time in cyberspace as, simultaneously, yourself, an underage hooker and a dog.

You might want to try DeadAIM, which describes itself as an “AIM enhancer.” I haven’t tried it; this is information, not an endorsement. (Also, anything on the Internet that calls itself an “enhancer,” I’m pretty suspicious of.)

Myself, I use (and recommend) Trillian, freeware that allows simultaneous use of multiple IM services: ICQ, MSN, Yahoo!, AIM and IRC. Currently, the free version allows you only one logged-in user name at a time per service, but since I’m never online as anyone but myself, that’s fine with me.

Thursday, December 11, 2003 9:29 pm

He’s got me there

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 9:29 pm

Hooper, what was that noise?

Not’ing.

Did you take your shoes off?

No.

Did you?

Yes.

Buddy, you know you’re only supposed to take your shoes off in the car if Mommy or Daddy says it’s all right. Kind of like in “Elmo Says” — you only do it if Mommy or Daddy says.

Elmo doesn’t HAVE shoes.

Uh, no, he doesn’t. In fact, he doesn’t even have FEET.

Animals don’t have shoes.

Uh, no, they don’t.

OK, den.

* * *

Damn, that’s embarrassing. Losing an argument to a todder.postCount(‘107119617294046372′); |

You can have trustworthy elections … but it’ll cost ya out the yin-yang

Filed under: Black-box voting — Lex @ 9:20 pm

Apparently that’s voting-machine maker Diebold’s planned response to the state of Maryland, according to an internal e-mail in an article published here:

ANNAPOLIS — An e-mail found in a collection of files stolen from Diebold Elections Systems’ internal database recommends charging Maryland “out the yin-yang” if the state requires Diebold to add paper printouts to the $73 million voting system it purchased.

NOTE: I don’t know, and the writer doesn’t say, why he believes the e-mail to have been “stolen” from Diebold rather than, say, leaked. I’ve e-mailed the paper’s editor seeking an explanation.

UPDATE: I heard from the reporter and his editor, both of whom attributed the “stolen” claim to Diebold itself and to other news reports. In fact, according to “Black Box Voting” author Bev Harris, the files were leaked by a Diebold employee, not stolen. The book’s publisher will be in touch with the paper and Web site, seeking a correction.

Tuesday, December 9, 2003 9:35 pm

Sayonara, Tooth No. 2

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 9:35 pm

Victoria’s second tooth came out today, at school, just like the first one. (Although not during a meal. During her Japanese class.) No rest for the wicked Tooth Fairy.

When you’re right, you’re right.

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:34 pm

And Mimi is right: “You just don’t get to say ‘feasting on the dead’ often enough.”

Rigging a voting machine? Here’s how it could work.

Filed under: Black-box voting — Lex @ 9:30 pm

Thudfactor provides a demo. If you’re not concerned, you’re not paying enough attention.

Welcome to the bandwagon

Filed under: Black-box voting — Lex @ 9:23 pm

The New York Times has gotten on board the voter-verified-paper-trail bandwagon.

Welcome, guys. What kept you?

Monday, December 8, 2003 5:42 pm

“Flamethrower/She’s a red-hot glower/She’s a flamethrower at night … “

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 5:42 pm

Stereolabrat offers a wonderful ode to flamethrowers. My favorite part:

[Random commenter]: The best thing about flamethrowers is that Alien gives us undeniable proof that they’re also the #1 weapon on spaceships in The Future.Stereolabrat: Ah yes, we will become wise in The Future. I can’t wait. I hope in our Future, aliens have flammable blood.

That. Would. Rock.

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