Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, November 30, 2004 6:22 am

Does John Ashcroft know this is going on?

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:22 am

Apparently, discount retailer Target has branched out into personal services.

(h/t Jeff Clark.)

Monday, November 29, 2004 9:41 pm

Word up

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:41 pm

My new Gangsta Name is Da Dung Beetle, yo.

Thursday, November 25, 2004 1:52 pm

Thanksgiving

For faith, family, friends, health, fufilling work, interesting hobbies and life in a country so great that the greatest efforts of human beings to date haven’t ruined it completely, Lord, we give Thee thanks.

Thanksgiving Eve conversation over Granny’s London broil

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 1:36 pm

VICTORIA: Daddy, what’s this?

DADDY: It’s Granny’s London broil.

VICTORIA: I mean where did it come from?

DADDY: Granny made it.

VICTORIA: I mean, did it come from an animal?

DADDY: Mm-hmm.

VICTORIA: Which animal?

DADDY: A cow.

VICTORIA: A cow??

DADDY: Mm-hmm.

VICTORIA: We’re eating dead cow?

DADDY: Mm-hmm. Problem with that?

VICTORIA: Hooper!

HOOPER: What?

VICTORIA: You’re eating dead cow!

HOOPER: Mm-hmm. Granny, would you like a biscuit?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004 12:47 pm

The origins of Thanksgiving, according to Hooper

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 12:47 pm

” … they got on a boat called the Speedwell, but the Speedwell got a hole in it and water came in and so they had to go home. What was that all about?”

Tuesday, November 23, 2004 7:08 pm

Voting news

Filed under: Black-box voting,Voting — Lex @ 7:08 pm

Locally, my friend David Allen, owner of Plan 9 Publishing in High Point, publisher and co-author of “Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century” and editor of the ThoughtCrimes blog, has been named to a legislative study commission that will be looking at voting-machine problems in North Carolina. Before starting his publishing business, David did network security for banks for a lot of years. He’s sharp, he’s skeptical and, although quite a partisan liberal, he’s reality-based and sees this issue as utterly nonpartisan. The commission is lucky to have him.

Nationally, the Government Accountability Office (formerly the General Accounting Office), the nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, said today it will be looking into voting irregularities in this year’s elections, including more than 57,000 complaints received by the House Judiciary Committee, according to this news release. GAO investigations are almost alone among government investigations for their high degrees of fairness and thoroughness. I don’t expect the findings of this investigation to change history — nor should you — but I hope and expect that it will shed detailed light on the (still far too many) problems remaining in our vote-counting systems.

Monday, November 22, 2004 9:44 am

Well, that was interesting …

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 9:44 am

Every nine years, it seems, I have to make an after-hours trip to the emergency room. This time around, it was pre-dawn Saturday: I went to bed Friday night with a bad sore throat and woke up early Saturday with an even worse one, plus what felt like an obstructed airway. Ann called my doctor, whose on-call partner listened to my symptoms and then said, in about so many words, “Dude, I’d go to the emergency room.”

So we did. Long story short: I had a bad case of strep and was severely dehydrated (from not having had anything to drink for most of the previous 36 hours because my throat hurt so badly). They gave me antibiotics and steroids and painkillers, along with about a liter and a half of IV fluid, and sent me on my way. Mad props to admitting nurse Janie, RN Aleshia, who did all the heavy lifting, and Brian Cook, M.D., who was as free with the Vicodin as a man who can’t swallow because of the pain would want. One tip, though, Bri, that they might not have given you in med school: When a patient CAN’T EVEN SWALLOW WATER because his tonsils, uvula and pharynx have swollen to form a near-impenetrable barrier visible to anyone who looks into his open mouth, saying that the notion that the patient can’t breathe is “all in his head” is correct only in the literal, physical sense.

One odd thing to come out of this: I have previously used throat sprays with topical anesthetics in them (Lidocaine or something, IIRC), but apparently you can’t get those anymore. The only sprays Ann could find in the store had as their active ingredient acetaminophen, which isn’t especially well known for its topical-anesthetic qualities. Word to the medical establishment: Whatever the dangers of topicals, if banning them forces you to use addict-bait like Vicodin in their place, you might want to rethink that position …

Anyway. Time for a big glass of water and a long nap.

Sunday, November 21, 2004 12:56 pm

Fighting cancer

Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 12:56 pm

David Hoggard‘s wife, Jinni, has breast cancer and is preparing to fight it. If you’ve the sense God gave granite, your prayers are with ‘em.

Friday, November 19, 2004 6:47 pm

How things happen, cont.

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:47 pm

From this comic strip, a Holiday Inn Express advertising campaign was born.

Take it from an ex-religion writer who has spent his life around churches …

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:46 pm

… to generate blasphemy any funnier than this, you’re going to have to resurrect the dead members of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004 8:39 pm

The perils of medical research

Filed under: Geek-related issues — Lex @ 8:39 pm

A friend passes along the following IM conversation from her office:

Person1: anyone have cold medicine? I’ve got a stuffy head and sore throat. Free handful of candy for the first person who coughs up (ha, ha) some medication!Person2: Here ya go.

Person1: Thanks for all the drug offers. [Co-worker] came to the rescue with a new product, apparently still in the human trial stage, from [recognized brand name]. I’ll let you know if it works.

Person3: Let us know, also, if you grow horns or a third eye or something.

Person1: That’s supposing that I can still speak, of course. You never know with these human drug trials.

Person3: Good point. When I took part in one, they told me I might experience cramps or tremors in my extremities, but I think they were just bbbbbbbbbbulllllllssssssssss*******************g me.

I wonder if I could turn this into a paper for the Journal of the American Medical Association

Nah, probably not. Too reality-based.

Finally, Ralph Nader is good for something. Oh. Wait.

Filed under: Voting — Lex @ 8:28 pm

Ohio gets a statewide recount after all because the Ralph Nader campaign the Libertarian and Green candidates for president raised the money to pay for one. (At $10 per precinct, it’s about $113,000 for a statewide recount.)

They say they don’t expect the outcome to change. They just want to make sure all the ballots were counted accurately.

Good for them.

Volusia County, Florida, on the other hand, has some ‘splainin’ to do for the second presidential election in a row. Information here (scroll down to “Volusia County on Lockdown”).

The tip-off was that the flower beds were moving.

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 8:23 pm

The small town of Rennes-le-Chateau in southeastern France has been swamped with relic-seekers inspired by both ancient legend and the modern-day best-selling novel — that’s novel, as in fiction, folks — the legend inspired, Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code.”

In fact, so many people tried to get to the buried body of a mysterious 19th-century priest after whom one of the book’s characters is named that at the family’s request, the body was dug up and reburied in a 3.5-ton sarcophagus surrounded by five cubic meters of concrete.

“It’s a Philistine minority but they come here and stomp all over the place with no respect for anything or anyone,” [said village Mayor Jean-Franois L'Huilier]. “Last year they even tried to tunnel into the church. It was like something out of a prison escape film. They began digging in the night, put the soil in bags and put the bags in the hole which they covered with a layer of earth so nobody would see during the day. It was only when someone noticed the flower beds moving that we discovered what they were up to.”

People, yes, it was a great read, but it’s only a novel. Dan Brown made. It. Up. Now leave M. L’Huilier and his town alone.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004 6:02 am

Fresh meat

Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 6:02 am

I had never heard of New Jersey’s new acting governor, Dick Codey, until a couple of minutes ago, but here are two things from a WNYC radio interview with him that make me think voters might like him:

[REPORTER:] Several years ago, as a state senator, he learned that almost a third of the employees at the state’s psychiatric hospitals had criminal records. Some for murder. Codey, armed with a forgettable face, decided to assume the name of a dead felon to see if he could get hired.

CODEY: So I decided to go undercover. I got a job at Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital as an orderly working the midnight shift. My first day at work I was told ‘You’re lucky — the midnight shift is the easiest way to have sex with the patients.’ I saw things I did not see in the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. As a result of what I uncovered the President of the hospital and about thirty five to forty other employees were let go. We now require in our state psychiatric hospitals criminal background checks on every employee before they can go to work.”

* * *

[REPORTER:] … Despite the fact that he will serve as Governor for 14 months he and his wife and two sons will not move to the Governor’s mansion in Princeton. He says for his family, working class Irish Catholics, a key goal was to get out of public housing.

Initiative. Creativity. Compassion. A sense of humor. Honestly, I have no idea what kind of person this guy is, let alone what kind of (acting) governor he’ll make. I certainly have no idea whether, given the chance, I’d ever vote for him. But in an era of bland, cookie-cutter politicians, this kind of backstory stands out.

Geekspeak/Administrivia

Filed under: Geek-related issues,Housekeeping — Lex @ 5:48 am

If the merits of different Web browsers don’t interest you, feel free to skip this one …

I downloaded Mozilla Firefox to give it a try and compare it with IE, which is what I normally use at home. I haven’t spent a whole lot of time on this yet, but here’s what I’ve found so far:

Advantages: Firefox’s “Find” capability is much faster and cooler than IE’s. This factor comes into play when I’m jumping from my RSS reader to the oldest unread post on a blog I’m subscribed to.

Disadvantages: Firefox seems to have a limited range of fonts to render. This concerns me primarily because the title and subtitle of this blog are set in a cool font, Haettenschweiler bold italic (I also just like saying “Haettenschweiler,” which sounds like it ought to be the name of a big, rusty old land boat with a killer sound system), which FF renders as the much less interesting (to me) Arial bold italic.

Anyone have any real preference for one over the other? Please share your thoughts. Thanks!

Monday, November 15, 2004 1:55 pm

Scripture

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 1:55 pm

If you’ve got some time, check out The Poor Man’s post on Christian fundamentalists who can’t even be bothered to make sure their “Scripture” is actually in the Bible and not, say, a Shakespeare play. The post ain’t that long, but the comments — now numbering more than 150 — take that whole idea and run with it in some delightfully goofy directions. Yea, verily, they inspired me to propose some emendations for the next major translation:

Great lines that probably ought to be in the Bible, but aren’t:

1) To thine own self be true;/And it must follow, as the night the day/Thou canst not then be false to any man.

2) Kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out.

3) Where’s the beef?

4) I like big butts and I cannot lie.

Great lines that probably ought not to be in the Bible, but are:

1) Chica, there’s no guys here and Dad ain’t getting any younger, so let’s get him likkered up and have his babies so at least our family will go on.

Saturday, November 13, 2004 8:34 pm

This morning at breakfast, or, It does need saving, after all

Filed under: Victoria — Lex @ 8:34 pm

Daddy, will you please strap this watch on?

Sure, sweetie.

Daddy, hurry! I URGENTLY need to save the world!

Urgently, huh? OK, I’ll step it up, then.

Thank you, Daddy.

No problem, sweetie.

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Drama king

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 8:30 pm

Like a lot of kids, Hooper plays with Thomas the Tank Engine trains, and like a lot of kids, he makes up dialogue for his toys. But I don’t think I’ve come across another kid whose dialogue sounds as if it is being read from a book, complete with omniscient narration, even when it’s being composed on the fly in the back seat of a moving car:

“James chugged alongside Thomas. ‘Are you OK?’ he asked.” “‘Yes, I’m fine,’ said a grumpy Thomas.”

Cool. Theater for 3-year-olds.

Thursday, November 11, 2004 8:33 pm

The horror, the horror …

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:33 pm

And speaking of service and sacrifice, there’s this

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 8:47 pm

Important Halloween-related question regarding anatomy candy bars …

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:47 pm

… from Sour Bob:

“What do you want to bet that the marketing bigwig who slapped the “Fun Size” label on these little nanocandies has some shortcomings in his personal life?”

Landmark, or, One is the loneliest number

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:38 pm

(via Apostropher)

I have been living in Provo for about four years and I was just barely introduced to one of Provo’s finest characters. A friend of mine told me about this man and where he could be found. I call him “Middle Finger Man” (MFM) because no one knows his real name. These man sits on his porch all day every day and flips off everyone that drives by and has been doing this for years. He is so reliable to be there that you can actually give directions according to this man as a landmark. “Yeah, head up Geneva and then when you see middle finger man, then I am the second turn after him….etc.”When I heard about this guy, I just couldn’t believe it. I thought that would have to be the funniest thing that I have seen for a while. So I hopped on my motorcycle and headed over to Geneva Road. I drove over the bridge that spans the Provo River and counted the houses, “One House, two houses, three houses.” I didn’t see him at first and thought that I would go home without seeing him then BAM! There he was on his porch and AS SOON as I caught eyes with him, both fingers went flying up and stayed there til I was out of sight. I couldn’t believe it. I quickly turned around to try it again. Same thing happened. So I tried it six more times (8 total) and just chuckled each time. [...]

The next day my buddy Dave and I headed over to MFM’s house again with my video camera. What I decided to do was just to pull off in front of his house and challenge him to a battle. I would hold the camera on him and he would hold his fingers toward me. I’m not sure what would happen, but I knew it would be fun.

And so it was. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 9, 2004 5:08 pm

Sore loser. Very sore loser.

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 5:08 pm

And a freakin’ whiner to boot:

All those Federal taxes you love to hate? It all comes from us and goes to you, so shut up and enjoy your f—— Tennessee Valley Authority electricity and your fancy highways that we paid for. And the next time Florida gets hit by a hurricane you can come crying to us if you want to, but you’re the ones who built on a f—— swamp. “Let the Spanish keep it, it’s a s—hole,” we said, but you had to have your f—— orange juice.

Hey, beehortch, I like my orange juice.

Mystery solved

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:03 am

Those forged documents claiming that Iraq attempted to get yellowcake uranium in Niger? Actually were spam, says Ginmar, an Army specialist currently deployed in Iraq.

Hey, makes at least as much sense as any other theory I’ve heard.

Sunday, November 7, 2004 10:25 pm

Back from the dead

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 10:25 pm

Greetings. I emerged from last weekend with a helluva head/chest cold, courtesy of my son. (To those pondering parenthood: Know now that children are, in addition to their other charms, germ incubators.) I worked through Monday, Tuesday (late into the night) and half of Wednesday, but then I had to collapse. I’m not well yet, but I’m feeling slightly more human after a couple of days of (more or less) rest.

I understand we had an election. More on that anon.

Wednesday, November 3, 2004 10:22 pm

Election postscript

Filed under: Voting — Lex @ 10:22 pm

One thing happened in yesterday’s elections that made me very, very unhappy.

Now, understand: As a journalist, I’ve got a duty to examine a candidate’s policy proposals and report on their likely effects, without fear or favor, and I gladly accept that duty. As a citizen, I respect everyone else’s rights to their views, even if I think they’re batsh*t insane substantively flawed.

But there’s one thing in the realm of politics and government that I don’t accept, don’t respect, haven’t a single ounce of tolerance for: messing with the vote, particularly by making it harder for your fellow citizens to vote.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden put it nicely: “I don’t care what your politics are. That’s not the issue. People who mess with the vote are not your friends. If they don’t believe in government by the consent of the governed, they sure as hell don’t believe in government by the consent of you.” In fact, people who mess with the vote ought to lose their right to vote, permanently.

Don’t agree? Fine. Leave. I hear the president of Uzbekistan holds similar views. Go there. You’d probably hit it off … you know, up until the part where he boils you alive, anyway.

Folks, it’s the 21st century and we’re the greatest freaking country in the history of the planet. There is no excuse for any voting system except one that’s transparent, accurate and fraud-proof and that requires a maximum wait to vote of one hour even on days of record turnout. We know how to do this, and we do have the money.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004 8:40 pm

Wolves, lower

Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 8:40 pm

In case you’re bumming about the election results on whatever level, here’s some perspective: David Hoggard’s wife, Jinni, has breast cancer.

Things can always be worse. Always.

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