Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Norm Coleman explains why Bush should resign 

Norm Coleman thinks Kofi Annan should resign because he presided during the period in which American oil companies paid off Saddam Hussein to buy oil under the table. If Annan's policies called for payoffs to Hussein, or if he didn't know what was going on due to incompetence, he should indeed resign. By the same token, Bush should now definitely resign.

The decision to call for Mr. Bush's resignation does not come easily, but I have arrived at this conclusion because the most extensive torture and murder of prisoners by the US military in the history of this nation occurred on his watch. The world will never be able to learn the full extent of the sexual humiliation, barbaric use of life endangering interrogation techniques and yes, outright murder that occurred under the Executive Branch's collective nose while Bush is in charge.

Yellowfin tuna and ginger vegetables 

tuna is awesome

Minced about half a thumb's worth of fresh ginger and a couple cloves of garlic, stir-fried in olive oil with one yellow squash and a ton of asparagus which was on sale at an incredible $1.99/pound.

Tuna was rubbed with a couple minced cloves of garlic and red and black pepper before being seared medium in olive oil. I usually like my fish cooked well-done; this was a very small steak (1/4 pound) and I underestimated the time it needed to cook. Still delicious, as long as it's pink and not red in the middle.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Pan fried sirloin steak, spaghetti, grilled onions and garlic, raw carrots 

love beef

Steak was a birthday present from friend Nick. Spaghetti sauce is Prego roasted red pepper & garlic. That's one small yellow onion and half a large bulb of garlic.

I've no idea how it happened, but I cooked the steak too well, I have my steak medium rare: pink and cool in the middle. It's a brand of frozen steaks, not fresh. They are pre-marinated. Maybe that had something to do with it. I don't feel it was my fault!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happier Thanksgivings 

Last Thanksgiving, April Winchell posted a Thanksgiving greeting from her nephew which began,

I can't think of a better way to celebrate the Indians teaching us how to survive the winter so we can kill them in the spring, than by stuffing our faces and taking naps.

God Bless America! It's the only country you can be whatever you want to be and be whoever you are and be equal. Well, that's unless you are female, gay, lesbian, Hispanic, Black, Asian, disabled, atheist,overweight, old, poor, middle class, Native American, undereducated, Jewish, unattractive, live in certain zip codes, have ethnic sounding surnames, fall into lower tax brackets, middle eastern, unhealthy, a veteran, convicted of any crime, an HMO member, of non-christian religion, not owed something by someone in power, not sponsored by a corporation, not unionized, have opinions contrary to popular opinion, or honest.

We do have a lot to be thankful for. In addition to having given up literally slaughtering Native Americans and parceling out their land, our society has for the most part abandoned slavery, the execution of "witches", and public floggings.

More recently we've mostly given up lynchings, eugenics, whipping strong-willed children, and reformed the labor practices tantamount to slavery in the mining and textile industries ... and women can vote now.

Even more recently, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 allowed our culture to let go of the notion of requiring the consent and signatures of the husbands or fathers of women who apply for credit or purchase property. A marriage license is in most states is no longer a license to rape (In the mid Seventies, New York was the first state to prosecute someone for raping their wife).

Despite the fact that many in the 11 states who recently outlawed taxing same sex couples the same as opposite sexed couples are giving sadistic thanks for their backwards accomplishment*, on days such as today when we are to pause and consider our blessings even black Americans and gays probably feel society is more moral than forty years ago. Or even ten.

Happy Thanksgiving.

* Don't think "marriage penalty", think of the tax-free transfer of an estate to a deceased spouse and the collection of Social Security survivor benefits thereafter.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Some guy gave me the bird and I almost forgot it happened ... 

So I'm writing it down.

Reading the paper (actually printed on paper) while visiting my parents, this past Spring or thereabout. Never having sat down to digest the obituaries but knowing some people enjoy reading them every day, I decided to see what reading the obituaries felt like. One remembrance struck me enough to mention out loud to my folks, "Hey, look at this guy - he's giving the finger in his obituary photo!"

Turned out the guy's family sits in front of them in church. Of all the days I'd choose to read the obituaries and of all the obituaries I didn't remark upon ...

I asked them if he was the kind of guy who would flip off the world with a smile in his obituary photo. They supposed they didn't know, but my dad remarked that his pointer finger could be behind his ear. Well, yes, his pointer finger was behind his ear as his whole hand presented the FU gesture.

Dumb or  

I work under the assumption that everybody I interact with is at least as intelligent as I, but I'm working on reminding myself that there is a good possibility that the other is monumentally stupid. This is the assumption that most Republicans work under, and it seems to work quite well for some.

My old friend David points us to the Alliance for the Separation of School and State, an alliance of ignorant religious freakazoids who repeatedly make all sorts of outlandish claims that you have to be stupid to believe. Take this page. It states that,

If people like this can make headway with those educated by our current school system, I recoil at the thought of them succeeding.

Saturday, November 13, 2004


This Regent apple is really good. Firm, brilliant white flesh and a whole lot of apple taste - not a tart or sweet taste, but an apple taste. This is the apple to have when you're having more than one.

Here is what you need to know about the election: most of the people that voted for Bush believe we found WMD in Iraq and Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks - the rest swear up and down that Bush never said Iraq was involved in 9/11 and we invaded Iraq for reasons other than to "disarm" Hussein. In other words, Bush's election strategy made effective use of stupid people.

I administer the server this site runs on - some German freaks hijacked it for the second time in as many months to distribute pirated German language versions of incredibly bad American movies. I tightened up security by just closing all but a few ports, which prevented blogger from being able to FTP new posts - I did the two election posts immediately preceding this one "manually". Hackers strategies make effective use of the fact that Windows literally are big transparent holes in walls.

The solution to getting Blogger to play nice with a limited number of ports open was to set the PASV port range to 1025-1026 (any n and n+1 sequence greater than 1024 should work).

Monday, November 01, 2004

So, it's finally here 

My driver's license expired on the 29th of October, so I renewed it today in order to vote. Convenient as my tabs also expired the last of the month. Probably would have waited until I got a ticket had I not needed my license to vote.

Saturday night, I slid Kerry/voting information flyers under all the other 12 doors in my apartment building, not including the laundry room. I didn't want to knock twice, so am saving my knocks for between 5 and 6 tomorrow if anybody needs to be coaxed out of laziness.

This election is so strange, I can see Kerry defying the media polls and handily winning: there are a lot of unknowns that work in that direction: if early voting is an indicator of Democratic vs. Republican turnout, Bush will get smeared. I have a hunch many Republicans are not as excited about Bush as the vocal Bush supporter. Certainly not as motivated as the hordes of people that desperately desire to relieve Bush of all his hard work as Kerry put it.

In 2000, the polls immediately prior to the election almost unanimously underestimated the Gore vote but for the most part got the Bush vote right: it was 47.87% Bush, 48.38% Gore. ABC, the Washington Post and CNN/Gallup/USA today got the Bush vote spot-on, but under-predicted the Gore vote by 3-4 points. If the battleground polls are off by a similar amount in the same direction, Kerry will easily take FL and OH in which case it will be time to think about breathing easier. For graphs of the trends, see here and here. It's uncanny that every poll I've bee tracking shows a dead heat nationally the day before the election.

My favorite "surprise state" is VA: it's pretty close in the polls and although the 60-64 year old ago group has increased a whopping 14% between 2000 and 2003, the 18-24 group has increased over 7%. Plus, a lot of highly educated tech people moved to the "Silicon Dominion" during the internet boom - people likely to be "cell-phone only" and liberal.

Whether Bush's empty rhetoric will sway people that have remained undecided is a possibility: People who aren't sure who to vote for just haven't been thinking, so it's possible that "We're going to stay on the offensive" won't be thought about either: a second of reflection reveals that a) it's clear whatever Bush means by being on the offensive isn't working - Osama is still roaming free and commenting casually on our election and Iraq is getting worse and b) it's unclear where Bush is going to get the troops needed to "stay on the offensive".

I am thinking that hope is on the way and we'll all wake up from our nightmare.

Democracy is more than voting: modern democracies must value transparency and elected leaders must be subject to accountability. This administration has neither quality.

Here comes the democracy train, all abord. Choo choo.

I have no idea, but here it is 

Prediction time.



After that, the closest states are OH and FL. If Bush wins both but Kerry wins the rest - OR, NV, NM, MN, IA, WI and MI - it's a tie - 269-269. However if he wins both OH and FL, it seems likely he'd also win NM and/or NV.

The citizens of OH, OR and MI are voting wether to amend their constitutions so as to codify a sense of heterosexual superiority - of those, MI would have the most fundamentalist Christians to be drawn to the polls, most of which would vote for Bush, but not in as large proportions as the white Southern Baptist type of right-wing fundamentalist Christians. If Bush does take MI and Kerry takes Florida, it sets up three other possibilities for an electoral tie: if Bush wins NM and NV or one of WI or MN.

But I do think Kerry will take MI and FL which means if he also wins MN and WI, or any three of the rest: MN, WI, IA, AZ, NV and OR, he wins - possibly by 1 electoral vote.

That scenario also sets up six other possibilities for electoral ties - it will be 269-269 if Kerry wins:

But here's my stab at it: Kerry will win MN, WI, OR, NM and IA, Bush gets NV. Kerry wins 296-242.

Popular vote prediction: Kerry: 51%, Bush 45%, Badnarik 2%, Nader 1%, Peroutka 1%.

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