Wednesday, December 31, 2008

6th Day of Christmas

On the 6th Day of Christmas ... Wynken learned to ride a bike. Yes, I know it sounds like I already said that, but I didn't. I said Blynken learned to ride a bike. Now it was Wynken's turn. He's tried on and off before, though mostly off.

We bought a bigger bike last year plus some extra-long training wheels, that didn't amount to much. This year, I ripped the training wheels off and made him practice on the little bike to build confidence (he could put his feet flat on the ground). After half an hour of that, we moved up to the big bike and the street. I provided some push and just a little balance, and he did just fine! Steering and braking need some help, and there were one or two crashes, but they were on grass so no big deal.

Wynken needed a lot more encouragement and a few minor threats to get him outside and on that bike, but I think he felt really, really good at how much success he actually had. We're gonna build on that.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Overheard In My House


Actually, we hear that a lot in my house. The cool part is it now comes from my one year old, Nib.

She is oh-so-cute. It used to come out "me-me", now it comes out "Mom-my".

The not so cool part is that she says it for anything and everything she wants. Right now, that's anything she can see. So we're treated to an unending litany of "Mom-my. Mom-my." It's a bit like having your very own truck back-up sound: Beep! Beep! Mom-my! Mom-my!

5th Day of Christmas

On the 5th Day of Christmas ... Blynken learned to ride a bike.

Well, ok , she started to learn to ride the bike (sans training wheels). She kept at it for more than an hour, even when the rest of us quit our outside activities. She actually got pretty good at it, kept her balance, pedaled, worked on steering, and starting from a standstill -- (that braking thing could use some help).

The main point is: she kept trying. Perseverance is something I've tried and tried to teach my kids, but always seems to fall on deaf ears. (I know, I know, I just need to persevere.)

And what do you know, she said it was fun.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

4th Day of Christmas

On the 4th Day of Christmas ...

We went to Mass and watched the Redskins' football season officially end.

I guess both religious obligations are now fulfilled.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Easy Bake Love

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... an Easy Bake oven and some sugar cookies.

In a North American rite of passage for little girls, Blynken got her first Easy Bake oven. She patiently waited until after all the day's activities and until after dinner.

Then dear old Dad screwed in the requisite 100W light bulb (not Soft White! not Long Life!) in the Easy Bake oven and we pre-heated it for 15 minutes. We carefully opened the package of prepared sugar cookie mix and added 3/4 tsp. of water (using her brand new measuring cups and spoons, I might add) to make dough.

We rolled out the dough in two batches - one chocolate, one plain - and used the cookie cutter to make little hearts in the center; we switched the vanilla heart into the chocolate cookie and the chocolate heart into the vanilla cookie for nice effect.

Blynken put the cookies in the tins and baked the cookies in her Easy Bake oven and shared them with Wynken, Mrs. Nod, and Nod-girl.
"Dad, is it okay if you don't get a cookie? There are only four of them."
(Hmm, I do all the work and Mom gets the cookie?) Yes, it's quite OK, I like to lick the bowl better anyway.

You never saw a girl more contented; she's just thrilled being a girl and doing girlie things. She even cleaned up afterward. Then she turns to me and says:
"Dad, I just love baking with you."
Aw, who needs a cookie anyhow?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Borge, my Borge

Enjoy this little bit of hilarity from the master of comedy: Victor Borge.

Inflationary Language

Phonetic Punctuation

EU, you again?

Found this little article over at Spiegel Online talking about the "Irish problem":
Brussels Invents Trick to Get Irish to Vote Again

Brussels has come up with a new trick aimed at getting Ireland to hold a second referendum on a failed EU treaty. It would like to make concessions to Dublin guaranteeing it the right to determine its own taxation, abortion laws and neutrality -- and to codify those rights as part of Croatia's membership deal.
So it's not just me thinking that the pro-life Irish laws are a major obstacle to the EU supranationalism. Stick to your guns, boys. Make 'em recognize the dignity of human life in writing; challenge the notion of laïcité presupposed by the architects of the new Europe.

St. Thomas Aquinas long ago baptized Aristotle in showing the true relation between faith and reason; why do the EUdomites insist on reinventing the schism? Once upon a time, the Irish saved civilization; possibly they may do it again.

12 Days of Christmas

Re-post from
Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829 were prohibited by law to practice their faith either in public or private. It was illegal to be Catholic until Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England in 1829.

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written in England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the basics of their faith. In short, it was a coded-message, a memory aid. Since the song sounded like rhyming nonsense, young Catholics could sing the song without fear of imprisonment. The authorities would not know that it was a religious song.

"The 12 Days of Christmas" is in a sense an allegory. Each of the items in the song represents something significant to the teachings of the Catholic faith. The hidden meaning of each gift was designed to help Catholic children learn their faith. The better acquainted one is with the Bible, the more these interpretations have significance.

The song goes, "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…"

The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn’t refer to an earthly suitor, but it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. i.e. the Church.

1st Day: The partridge in a pear tree is Christ Jesus upon the Cross. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge because she would feign injury to decoy a predator away from her nestlings. She was even willing to die for them.
The tree is the symbol of the fall of the human race through the sin of Adam and Eve. It is also the symbol of its redemption by Jesus Christ on the tree of the Cross.
2nd Day: The "two turtle doves" refers to the Old and New Testaments.
3rd Day: The "three French hens" stand for faith, hope and love—the three gifts of the Spirit that abide (1 Corinthians 13).
4th Day: The "four calling birds" refers to the four evangelists who wrote the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—which sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ.
5th Day: The "five golden rings" represents the first five books of the Bible, also called the Jewish Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
6th Day: The "six geese a-laying" is the six days of creation.
7th Day: The "seven swans a-swimming" refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.
8th Day: The "eight maids a milking " reminded children of the eight beatitudes listed in the Sermon on the Mount.
9th Day: The "nine ladies dancing" were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
10th Day: The "ten lords a-leaping" represents the Ten Commandments
11th Day: The "eleven pipers piping" refers to the eleven faithful apostles.
12th Day: The ‘twelve drummers drumming" were the twelve points of belief expressed in the Apostles’ Creed: belief in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, made man, crucified, died and arose on the third day, that he sits at the right hand of the father and will come again, the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Unto Us a Child Is Born

“Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Lk 2:1-14

Adoramus Te Domine

I came, not knowing my need.

He was there; he had been waiting the whole time.

I had intended to stop but a moment but his presence held me.

I felt anxious and rushed, caught up in my own affairs, my own timetable. His peace transfixed me, quieted my soul.

I got on my knees, and I worshiped Him.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Waiting For Godot, or Anybody

It's late and I'm stuck waiting; the hour is late, but not enough for sleep. It's not yet Christmas, only Advent: a classic anticipation. The new job is accepted, but not able to be started.

So we wait, as if for Godot, wondering what it all means, or if it has any meaning.
Estragon peers out into the audience and comments on the bleakness of his surroundings. He wants to depart but is told that they cannot because they must wait for Godot. The pair cannot agree, however, on whether or not they are in the right place or that this is the arranged day for their meeting with Godot; indeed, they are not even sure what day it is. Throughout the play, experienced time is attenuated, fractured or eerily non-existent.[7] The only thing that they are fairly sure about is that they are to meet at a tree: there is one nearby.

In our culture, only instant gratification is rewarded; having to wait, developing patience, long-suffering, trust in the Divine Providence are all things that are looked down upon or discouraged. Only the slow, stupid, or poorly connected have to wait; the clever and the powerful can leverage their own way out.

The Christian knows in his heart that God is most powerfully alive, carefully attendant to his every need (Mt 6:27), and is able to bring good out of suffering (Job). So in these final days of Advent, remember the admonishment of Paul (Rom 8:18): "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us."

Father knows best. Really.

Botnets Watch the IT Department

From as back as far as 2002:

Slashdot | Distributed, Low-Intensity Botnets
Actually botnets watch the IT department.

Is this really a surprise ? Not every hacker is a 10 year old that does it for the kick of announcing himself "master of the network".

These days you write a virus, that stays in the back-back-background (exe injection is one hell of a rootkit-like trick that not a single antivirus vendor detects : you startup. You find some dameon process that's sure as hell not going to get terminated any time soon (on winxp you can actually use the "idle" process), you "debug" the process, insert your own code in it's memory, in a freshly allocated piece, use the debugger to jump into your code, which creates a new thread in it's address space. You clean up, and voila, you'd have to be one hell of an admin to realise what happens on boot. You could even infect svchost.exe on disk).

The hacking programs stay very, very, very low key and use covert channels to send information out, and receive answers. (e.g. user logs in with username password -> daemon looks up aes('$username,$password').some.domain.attacker.owns. The remote dns server is what informs the attacker of the username and password. Or have the webbrowser startup in a hidden window going to ""+aes('$username,$password'). You get the idea.

In these days of youtube, myspace and such, such a lookup is not exactly a strange occurance (though I use a "question and answers" site), and used sparingly, will evade any detection system.

Use the enemy's tools against him. Use the webbrowser to connect to the web. Use DNS. Use email. Use ... never try to open an outside connection.

Works wonders. 3 years now, and still not discovered.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You Love Me

As an exercise, I decided to take my entire iTunes collection and analyze it for word frequency.

The thought was that the names of the songs that I like may reveal some deep insight into my personality or into the personalities of the artists that I like.

After adjusting for articles and prepositions I found a definite trend.

The results are true: there is a message in all that noise -- You Love Me.

Incidentally, the least favorite word? Abba.


If your kids are arguing over who gets to read the Bible in bed -- is that good or bad? :-)

News Flash: People Are Created Good

Just a quick post to note what should be obvious: the Catholic Church teaches respect for the dignity of all people, including embryos.

The CDF's release of the instruction Dignitatis Personae (On the Dignity of Persons on Certain Bioethical Questions) on December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (read conception of Mary for you non-Catholics), is surely significant. Or as Dr. Seuss said in Horton Hears a Who: "A person's a person, no matter how small".

Quick read: IVF -- bad, ESCR -- bad, contraception -- bad; tinkering with the genetic code -- dicey at best; conceiving babies the old fashioned way -- good, respecting sex and persons -- good.

Is this news to anyone who knows thing #1 about Catholicism?

Blair Ne'er Well

John Speaton, SPUC director, comments over at his blog on the seeming emptiness of Former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair's conversion to Catholicism.
Tony Blair (pictured) has now teamed up with one of Canada's best-known pro-abortion figures. Belinda Stronach (also pictured), a prominent businesswoman and former MP, has joined her foundation with Mr Blair's Faith Foundation in order to promote the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The British government under Tony Blair interpreted the MDGs as including a universal right to abortion on demand. When an MP, Belinda Stronach said that women's groups should only receive government funding if they are pro-abortion. The Blair-Stronach partnership will also promote the Faith Acts Fellowship, which the Tony Blair Faith Foundation runs in partnership with the InterFaith Youth Core. The InterFaith Youth Core is bankrolled by major pro-abortion foundations.
The obvious question is: why convert? If you don't subscribe to all that the Catholic Church teaches, why would you willingly put yourself in a compromising position? It seems odd. Yes, I've heard of people who were still working on "issues" even after their conversion, but wouldn't you want to "work it all out" first?

Another curious trend with public figures who have taken "Conservative" social positions: a number of their wives have taken more liberal positions, sometimes quietly, sometimes not so quietly. Offered as evidence: Laura Bush on Roe v. Wade, Nancy Reagan and embryonic stem cell research, and a bit notoriously Cherie Blair and Planned Parenthood (ok, this article seems to indicate that she's not so far off from Tony, just from what you'd expect from a Catholic).

This pseudo-religiosity stands in marked contrast to the constitutional crisis provoked by the Grand Duke of Luxembourg who was recently stripped of his last remaining law making power by that country's Parliament over his refusal to sign a bill legalizing euthanasia.

Blair's conversion to Catholicism in this context seems to be more of a formalization of a modus vivendi since he has been attending services with his wife, Cherie, (who was born a Catholic) for several years. There does not appear to be much conviction behind it, since both he and his wife have publicly advocated for positions contrary to Church teaching, notably abortion, birth control, and homosexuality.

Blair is not completely devoid of faith, however; note published reports of the "importance" of his faith and ethics guiding his political life. He's just not very public about that faith (partly to avoid the label of being a "nutter"). So the guy does believe in God, does have an active faith life, and is involved in "faith-based initiatives" (as we would say in this country); but from this side of the pond it just seems a bit vacuous and not particularly Catholic.

The Blair Faith Foundation seeks to promote the Faith Acts Fellowship along with the InterFaith Youth Core, etc. which all strive to achieve "consensus" in a "neutral" environment to discuss "faith" and "common ground". Now I'm all for inter-religious dialog and consensus, etc., but politicians and religion are uneasy bedfellows these days and so what you usually end up with is a meaningless soup that is vaguely spiritual and not much else.

Fare thee well, Blair, but I'm afraid that you may be a ne'er-Blair-well.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Triple Delight

On my recent trip to Denver I hit the Triple Delight: BJ's Brewhouse, the Wynkoop Brewing Company (Denver's first brew pub), and the Coors Brewery Tour.

I have made a small pastime of drinking craft beers and collecting the accompanying pint glasses. If you're ever in Denver, try BJ's Jeremiah Red Irish Ale, it's worth the trip! Zowee! The rest of their current crop of beer, although tasty, tended towards the hoppy end of the scale. Even the nut brown ale was unusually hopped; not something you'd expect.

The Wynkoop Brewing Company had the largest selection of truly tasty craft beers. The only downside is that they had virtually no interesting pint glasses to take home. The logos for the individual beers were all collector-worthy, so this was a true disappointment. Mrs. Nod, whose cupboard is now full, was not so disappointed.
The Wynkoop, located in lower downtown (LoDo) is billed as Denver's first brew pub. The place is enormous -- three stories -- with a a comedy improv club in the basement and billiards on the top floor.

The Coors brewery tour in Golden, CO was both free and fun. I'm not normally a Coors-brand drinker, but I found out that they do make both Killian's Irish Red (a favorite from the past) and Blue Moon Belgian style White Ale (a current favorite). That, and the opportunity to drink beer that has never left the factory was too much to resist. Good cold, cold beer. At the end of the self-guided tour of the brewery you get 3 samples of any kind of beer in their lounge area. Yum.

Nib's Got Teeth

My little Nib is slowly but surely making her way into her one-hood. People may talk about one-ness, but in this case it's not unitive so much as descriptive: the girl is one year old. I mean, she's been one for a while now, but it's not over yet, right?

Long story short, she had five or six teeth for a good long time. Now, after a quick trip to Denver -- Boom! -- she popped out another lateral incisor and a couple of of bi-cuspids (one-year molars).

Since I am the official tooth counter in the family, I am officially taking note.

What I had forgotten however, is how cranky teething kids are. (You'd think I'd be accustomed to it by now.) Short nights, fitful sleeping, fever. The girl who wouldn't be caught dead putting anything, much less food, in her mouth, now picks up anything from the floor and puts it in her mouth.

Nib still breast feeds some, but Mrs. Nod just keeps giving her the eye. "If she bites me, she's cut off." Not that I blame her, those suckers are sharp.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Overheard In My House

"That's part of the brown food group: steak, gravy, potatoes, and beer."

and this food group:

"The 3 G's: greasy, grimy, and good tasting."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Senate Seat: For Sale

The Tribune reports that Illinois Rod Governor Blagojevich was arrested on federal charges of corruption. Specifically, Governor Blagojevich was arrested for attempting to "sell" Obama's empty Senate seat.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, were arrested today by FBI agents for what U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald called a "staggering" level of corruption involving pay-to-play politics in Illinois' top office.

Blagojevich is accused of a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy, including alleged attempts by the governor to try to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama in exchange for financial benefits for the governor and his wife. Blagojevich also is accused of obtaining campaign contributions in exchange for other official actions.

My comment is: another corrupt Chicago politician? Is anyone really surprised?
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that in the last three decades, at least 79 local elected officials have been convicted of a crime, including three governors, one mayor, and a whopping 27 aldermen from the Windy City.
It is widely assumed in many circles that all politicians are corrupt; In Chicago enough are that it has become a by-word.

It would seem that this guy's main failing in that regard is that he had no finesse.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Medical Mouthfuls

All kinds of fascinating medical research is going on all the time. Some of it is great, some of it is wildly unethical, and sometimes it's actually practical.

Things like making deaf people hear with lasers, proving that people can smell fear, sounds great, but when you read the fine print it says "call back in ten years or so" for a practical application.

But sometimes there is a finding for which there is an immediate application. Researchers have confirmed that HSV1, a major contributor to Alzheimer's disease, may be able to be treated with anti-viral medication or vaccine; cold sores may be able to be cured by activating them and then killing them with acyclovir; and canker sores can be treated with licorice (this is probably black licorice, not Twizzlers).

Ok, maybe the licorice is the only immediate treatment, but the others are closer to reality than theory. Hm, gotta find some licorice.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happy Blogday

My blog turned 1 year old back in October and I totally missed that fact.

Not that that sort of anniversary has any intrinsic meaning, but I decided to look back on it in an ego-centric, self-absorbed way.

They say that it takes about a year to settle into blogging. (And by "they" I mean stuff I just made up on the spot.) Figuring out what you want to say, how to say it, getting in the habit of blogging regularly: it all takes a little while (especially if you have a job and family).

In sheer statistics, my average entries dramatically increased when I "discovered" (got off my lazy cyber-rear) RSS feeds and Google Reader. 2007-Q4 had a whopping 15 entries; 2008-Q1 had 7; 2008-Q2 had 12; 2008-Q3 had 35, and so far 2008-Q4 is sporting 87.

Whether or not there was anything worthwhile in all that, I can't say. What I can say is that I felt like saying it, and so I did. I won't win any awards, but that's not why I do it. (Actually, I don't know why I do it.)

A friend of mine said: Content is King. Bah. I'm going for "most creative titles".
Happy Blogday.


This article from CNS quotes the the Bishop of Arlington, Paul Loverde, regarding FOCA:
‘Yeah, I’m not going to close the hospital, you’re going to arrest me, go right ahead. You’ll have to drag me out, go right ahead. I’m not closing this hospital, we will not perform abortions, and you can go take a flying leap.’ ”

Yeah, that's my Bish. Say it!

It would be so much more meaningful if we actually had Catholic hospitals in Arlington. Sigh.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Comma, Comma, and Comma

For the record: I prefer commas between ALL the elements of a comma separated list.

While it may be a grammatically correct option to omit the final comma before the "and", it's just annoying.

This, that, and the other thing.

Shout-outs to the two people who care.

Terrible Toddlers

Ugh. It's finally happened: Nub and Nib are both officially toddlers. Nub, who is developmentally delayed, just started walking this summer; Nib started walking just before Thanksgiving.

Since that time, Nub climbs up on the back of couches and tables, while Nib has already learned to climb the stairs. My house is starting to look like an obstacle course with strategic parts of the house blocked off by baby gates.

These two pre-verbal tykes wrestle sippy cups back and forth while competing for who gets Mommy's lap. (Grunt. Shriek. Grunt.) If you turn your back on one of them, you're going to have to mount an immediate Search & Rescue team to snatch them from whatever place they were not supposed to be. The bathroom door is never left open, baby locks guard the kitchen cabinets, and the stair gate has been a permanent fixture in the house for the last ten years.

Nub is 3 years old, which is officially my Least Favorite Age for my kids. People talk about the "terrible twos", but really, two year-olds only know how to say "No!", while three year-olds are capable of actual malice and forethought.

When we first started having kids we were so excited to see their first word, their first crawl, their first step. Nowadays I'm thinking: if I can just keep them from being mobile for another two weeks, I'll have an advantage.

Sigh. So that's no longer an option. We long ago moved from the man-to-man child rearing strategy to the "zone defense"; but as long as the two terrible toddlers stage persists, it looks like we'll have to opt for "double coverage".

Miracle? What Miracle?

Not sure what to make of this. The AP reports that the International Medical Committee of Lourdes, the doctors' panel set up by the Catholic Church expressly to judge the veracity of miraculous cures coming from the Shrine of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes, has decided they will no longer do this.
But last weekend, the panel, known by its French initials CMIL, decided from now on it will only rule on whether healing cases were "remarkable," leaving it to the church to decide whether they are miracles, panel secretary Dr. Patrick Theillier said.
On the one hand, this sounds very reasonable: doctors do doctor stuff, the Church does miraculous stuff. The article goes on to say that the panel at the shrine is independent of the CDF which does miracle investigation for the Vatican; the CDF sort of looks down its nose at the operation at CMIL. CMIL complains that they "all but decide" what is a miracle; the Church merely has to give its assent to the doctor's findings of "miracle cure".

On the other hand, the panel was set up for this purpose by the Church; is it really in the purview of the doctors as a panel to change their charter? Of the 7000 reported "miracle cures" at Lourdes in the last 150 years, only 67 have been officially deemed miracles by the Church. That's less than 1%. This does not seem like a particularly onerous task for the doctors. Averaged over the last 150 years, that's one certified miracle every 2.2 years.

One can't help but think that this latest rebellion (their word) is just a symptom of the increasingly aggressive secularism that plagues France and the rest of Europe.

News flash: French doctors wouldn't know a miracle if it bit them in the rear end.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fast Food, Enduring Principles

I ate lunch today; most people in this country did. But it's always nice when you can eat a decent meal and feel good about who's getting the money. Ok, it's only $6 but if you sell enough of them it's more like $2.64 billion.

I'm talking about Chick-fil-A and its founder S. Truett Cathy.
Armed with a keen business sense, a work ethic forged during the Depression, and a personal and business philosophy based on biblical principles, Truett Cathy took a tiny Atlanta diner, originally called the Dwarf Grill, and transformed it into Chick-fil-A, the nation’s second largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain with more than $2.64 billion in sales in 2007 and currently more than 1,380 locations. His tremendous business success allowed Truett to pursue other passions – most notably his interest in the development of young people.

I've always noticed that Chick-fil-A is not open on Sunday. Being a day of rest and all, it's almost a dead giveaway that you're dealing with a Christian. (In the same way, Domino's Pizza was founded by a Catholic.) Doubtless there are others.

Imagine if we all carried our convictions to the full in the public arena. It just gives me a reason to smile -- anyone for a chicken sandwich?

A Wrinkle In Time

Actually it had nothing to do with the book. But if you wanted to stretch it, you could say it has only a very little to do with the fight between good and evil; more precisely, it is the fight for good and order.

This morning there were the three shining faces of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod-girl all dressed and ready to head out to the bus stop for school.

No fights. No fuss. No missing shoe. Everyone had dressed, eaten, made beds, combed hair, brushed teeth, put on shoes and jackets. And it was quiet. If you don't have 5 kids, this last may not seem significant to you, but believe me, it's a rare treasure.

I was stunned. Amazed. Nonplussed. "Are you well?" Everyone was fine. Happy. I immediately awarded them all 5 points and walked them down to the bus stop.

I want to close my eyes and just remember this moment: a wrinkle in time.
Shh. Don't tell: it's working.

Heater, Shmeater

Just in time for the onset of the cold weather, my HVAC unit is on the fritz. Bundle up my babies, 'cause it's gonna be cold tonight.

Is your heater supposed to have a large block of ice in it? Why is it that major appliances can sense when they'll be needed most and choose that particular moment to conk out?

At least the electricity is still on and I can snuggle up to this nice warm laptop. :D

The heating repair company said they'll have someone right out to fix it "sometime between 9AM and 5PM". Way to nail it down!

Auto Execs and Their Jets

There has been a big hoopla in the last two weeks over the Big 3 auto executive's decision to fly their corporate jets to Washington to ask for a piece of the bailout pie.
But skeptical lawmakers blasted them for flying private jets to Washington and failing to make personal sacrifices in exchange for federal assistance.

"It's almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in a high hat and tuxedo," said Rep. Gary Ackerman, a Democrat from New York.

"Couldn't you have downgraded to first class or something, or jet-pooled or something to get here?" Ackerman asked the executives at a hearing held by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee.

Something my boss said about it actually made sense. These executives get paid for running a business, not for testifying in front of Congress. The faster they can get to where they're going and make decisions for the company, the better off they'll be.

Now, from a business point of view, this is sound reasoning; from a public relations point of view, this is a disaster. Duh.

The head of the United Auto Workers union was a little more savvy.
Ron Gettelfinger, head of the United Auto Workers union, also testified at the hearing but flew a commercial flight to Washington.

"I got a plane to catch, you know what I mean," Gettelfinger said to reporters when leaving the hearing room.

Does anyone see the delicious irony that auto executives are getting pilloried for their use of private aircraft? I mean, come on guys, you could at least have showed up in a hybrid Volt, Escape, or Aspen.

A nice Cadillac would have shown some style.

Monday, December 1, 2008

We Three Kings

Did I say Kings? I meant Presidents, of course. These three guys: Putin, Chavez, and Castro.

Examples of so-called democracies who are engineering their own permanent re-election. Come on guys, you're not fooling anyone. Raul Castro is already there by dint of his brother's fiat, the other guys are still pretending.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has announced a plan to seek a constitutional amendment to allow him to stand for re-election.

Report suggests that President Medvedev will make reforms to allow Putin to stay as president until 2021.

The Cuban Parliament named Raúl Castro president Sunday, ending nearly 50 years of rule by his brother Fidel but leaving the island's Communist system unshaken.

And you thought this was an Advent post.


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