Thursday, May 31, 2001

Yesterday I was getting depressed about the job situation, and just basically tired, hot (it broke 93 degrees again), and pissed off in general. So when it was time for dinner, I only wanted only two things: Red meat and dark rum.

Leslie (my wife, remember?) realized I was in no mood to discuss other [healthier] options, and allowed me to take us to Black Angus for dinner, where I had a rib-eye and Coke and Meyers. And another Coke and Meyers.

Damn, that's a good combination. Both the combination of Coke and the dark rich Meyers rum, and the combination of that drink with a nice red piece of meat. Very satisfying. And, incredibly enough, helped my mood considerably.

At dinner, I was telling Leslie about Jenna Bush's latest escapade (see below), and she had a great line. Imitating Janna's Dad she said, "She thinks she's invincimable." (That's a subliminable joke)

Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Well, the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. Particularly when it's been drinking. First daughter, Jenna Bush, has been busted again for her boozing ways.

About a month ago she pleaded no contest to a charge of possession of alcohol (she's only 19) after she and a buddy were picked up in an Austin bar.

This time she had the foresight to borrow the ID of a friend who is of age. Maybe next time she'll use the ID of a friend who actually looks like her?

Hey, Jenna! Your dad is president. People in Texas know who you are and what you look like (and, apparently, what you like to drink). Do your drinking quietly, at home! You know, with dad.

Bush daughter used borrowed ID in new alcohol incident (CNN)
I received an email from my friend, Krista Barrett, editor of the Writers Manual site, with a little survey. Just one question that she's asking several online writers for a feature for her site.

> ... What is the best writing advice you ever received and how did it work for you?

It took me a long time to realize it was "best advice" but I finally found out what is meant by "Write what you know." That advice was often given, and just as often misapplied, when I was taking writing classes in College.

Anybody who'd dare write any speculative fiction would immediately get a few "write what you knows" from the rest of the class. If a nineteen year old student would write about an executive with a long business career, the class chorus would chant, "Write what you know." By the end of any class, even straight autobiographies would be questioned: "Are you embellishing this a little? Come on, just write what you know!"

It took me a long time to realize that despite all the people who repeat this where it is inappropriate (possibly because it's the only writing advice they know), it actually is good advice.

The key is remembering that it does not apply to events: It applies to feelings. What emotions do you know? What pain do you know? What type of love do you know?

You can write about being the first colonist on Mars, whether or not you've been there (I'm guessing you haven't). But first, figure out how you are personally going to relate to the story. Do you know about loneliness and isolation? Focus on that aspect of your space traveler's experience. Do you know about success in achieving a difficult goal? Then that's your story. What else do you know about that could be transported into space?

Well? What do you know?

Tuesday, May 29, 2001

Three hundred years after the fact, the descendants of several people executed for alleged witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, are seeking exoneration for their predecessors.

Damn - If only they'd gotten to old' Tubby Clinton sometime in mid-January they'd have been able to get all the pardons they needed!

Exoneration sought for hanged Salem 'witches' (CNN)

Sunday, May 27, 2001

We were at a party last night the highlight of which, for me, was the music. Not simply the choice of music - which was excellent - but the format in which it was played.

Although I've got quite a collection of LPs (probably around 750), it seems I only play CDs these days (a collection of similar size and scope).

Last night, however, our host was spinning a lot vinyl. It's strange how just the ambient sound, the crackles between songs, and the 60 cycle hum of the turntable can bring me back more than twenty years. I'd gotten so used to the seeming perfection of digital, that I'd almost forgotten the warm feeling and full rich sound of analog.

I suppose I was ripe for the experience, as I'd been thinking about digging through some old records quite a bit the last week or so, since posting Mystery Achievement, wondering what other "song stories" I could write.

I'd been thinking primarily about the songs themselves, the parts of my life they recall, and what short stories they would inspire. Then I'd come to realize that nearly every song I was thinking of was one I'd heard first on vinyl. Whether or not it had later been updated to a CD, it was the actual records that I was recalling.

Of course, it could have been the homebrew bringing up those feelings too.

Saturday, May 26, 2001

Finally: Blogger's been having some downtime lately, and this WebLog has been offline for about three days. All problems appear to have been solved, and everything seems to be working now! (I know you're as relieved as I am).

Below you will find several entries that were piling up, waiting for the site to be accessible again.

Also, here's a couple of "Best of" entries you might have missed:We now resume normal WebLog operations...

Friday, May 25, 2001

According to a survey of eight major U.S. cities, Boston has the nations most aggressive drivers. The surveys included questions about general safety, rude gestures, speeding, and horn honking.

Those behind the survey may have thought that Boston's "F" grade would be a warning or server as a wake up call. But if so, they don't know any Bostonians. Topping the bad driving list is not an insult to Boston, it's a source of pride.

Hell, I haven't lived there since 1974, and I didn't learn to drive (officially) until 1976, but I'm still a Boston driver at heart. Bostonians win the prize for scaring other drivers? Well, all I can say is, "Go Boston!"

Boston Tops U.S. Aggressive-Driving City List
Wow. That was really something. I just finished Bee Season by Myla Goldberg. I love when a novel literally knocks the wind out of you. When you get to the end of the last page, and realize you haven't taken a breath since three pages back.

Bee Season starts out innocently enough. The story of one misfit young girl who unexpectedly wins her school's spelling bee and inadvertently changes the lives of her misfit brother and their mildly eccentric parents. But as the book sucks you in, more layers are added. Each character searching for enlightenment and spiritualism, or anything to fill their empty lives and souls, in some very interesting places.

More interesting is the ways in which some of these family members actually find a way to make peace with the universe, and in the process manage to blur the lines between sanity and craziness, and between what is or is not acceptable or expected.

There are no absolute answers in Bee Season, but there are some mighty fine questions.

Thursday, May 24, 2001

It seems I've been writing about McDonald's a lot recently in this WebLog. First the thing with Regis, then the sinister pickle, and now the truth about beef flavored french fries.

McDonald's now officially regrets that "the information we provided was not complete enough... If there was confusion, we apologize." The confusions stems from the "natural flavor" in the ingredient list for French fries.

McDonald's makes much of the fact that since 1990, all their fries are cooked in vegetable oil, leading many to believe that fried potatoes are a vegetarian dish. Not so: the "natural flavor" in question has now been officially identified as beef.

According to the McWebSite, "This description is in full compliance with and permitted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)." Well, they never actually said that their fries were vegetarian.

Still pending is a lawsuit filed against McDonald's on May 1 in Seattle on behalf of two Hindus who don't eat meat and one non-Hindu vegetarian. They have asked that the suit be certified as a class action on behalf of any vegetarian who ate McDonald's fries after 1990 in the belief that they contained no meat.

French Fry Facts

Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Having solved all of the nation's other problems, Congress is now turning to the ultimate threat to American Civilization in the twenty-first century: People who use cell phones while in the car.

The ones I always notice are the folks who have two driving speeds: 80 mph while listening, then 45 mph while talking. The last minute lane changers are lots of fun too. Of course, there's lots of people driving just as bad without the excuse of a cell phone, but it's always satisfying to catch that antennae and shout out, "Hang up and drive!"

(Important note: I, too, sometimes answer or make a cell call while driving. But I'm a real good driver, so none of this applies to me. Or to you. It's everybody else we're concerned about.)

According to New Jersey Senator Jon Corzine, "Just a few seconds of distraction while talking on a cell phone can mean the difference between safety and peril."

You see, that's why I could never be in Congress. I'm so stupid I thought that cell phones were just one of a million different distractions that could cause a bad driver to screw up. Of course, I'm relieved that Congress has identified this one scourge and is going to do something about it. I feel much safer. Really, I do.

A recent study commissioned by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that of 32,000 accidents analyzed, 29.4 percent were caused by an outside object or event while only 1.5 percent were attributed to using or dialing a mobile phone. Hmmm, doesn't seem to agree with Congress's findings. The AAA must be communists.

In the interest of public safety, I'm sending my Senators a list of other distracting driving hazards that should be immediately banned, including:
  • Changing tapes / CDs while driving
  • Children who talk (All passengers under the age of 14 must be gagged)
  • The use of maps in cars, or slowing down to look for an address
  • Applying make-up, brushing hair, or just admiring yourself in the mirror
  • Eating / drinking fast food while driving (To discourage this behavior all drive-through restaurants will be boarded up immediately)
  • Giving rides to your in-laws
  • Nose picking and finger nail biting
  • Playing air guitar or using the steering wheel as a drum kit (In fact, all FM radio broadcasts should be banned)
  • The flashing lights and sirens of the Highway Patrol (These always rattle me when they spring up in my rear-view mirror)
  • Other drivers within a quarter-mile radius of my car
  • Fighting with your spouse / significant other
  • Thinking about Congress while driving

This is just a start at my list. I'm sure there are other things. In fact, I'll probably come across a few when I leave for work in a few minutes. Maybe I'll write them down as I drive past them...

Tuesday, May 22, 2001

A special All Quote Edition of Ken's WebLog:

"As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do." - Andrew Carnegie

"Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too." - Voltaire

"Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." Edgar Allan Poe

"I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." - Thomas Jefferson

"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give." - Winston Churchill

Monday, May 21, 2001

For anybody who missed the festivities today, I've posted a couple of pictures of W getting his honorary doctorate today at Yale along with a few quotes to remember...

Bush Graduates
I'm looking at this health insurance claim form sitting on my desk, and this sentence caught my attention: "I know it is a crime to fill out this form with facts I know are false."

"Facts I know are false." A wonderful Orwellian statement if there ever was one. According to Webster's Online, a "Fact" is "something that has actual existence... truth." So how could a "fact" be false if it means something that it true?

I was going to write to the insurance company and let them know that they should change to form to read, "I know it is a crime to fill out this form with statements I know are false." But then I started to think about it, and came to the conclusion that maybe they're right.

There are lots of "facts we know are false" such as:
  • Don't make ugly faces; somebody could hit you on the back and the muscles will freeze like that forever
  • You'll go blind if you keep that up
  • Depending on your point of view; O.J. Simpson is guilty / innocent
  • This stock is recession-proof
  • George W. Bush was elected president of the United States
...and the list goes on...

Sunday, May 20, 2001

I had an idea for a short story about a couple who are interpretive dance artists. The only gigs they can get are performing at grade school assemblies, doing versions of Peter and the Wolf, or the story of the First Thanksgiving. They keep applying for NEA grants, but are never approved.

One day, they're sitting at home in their trailer drinking Buds and watching cartoons (not much else for unemployed interpretive dance artists to do in the off season) when they get an idea for a new interpretive dance masterpiece: "The Tweety Chronicles."

They set about making elaborate costumes. He's covered in black and white fur, and with the final addition of a big pink nose and whiskers, he's transformed into Sylvester the Cat. Her shawl, baggy dress, gray wig, and glasses quickly transform her into the Grandmother. Their only set piece is a bird cage set atop a tall poll, containing a little yellow stuffed bird.

Their first performance of the new show is a near disaster from an artistic viewpoint, but the fourth grade audience goes wild with appreciation, cheering each time Sylvester gets close to eating the bird, and just about booing the Grandmother off the stage.

Word spreads around town about the performance, and before long they receive a phone call inviting them to perform The Tweety Chronicles at a local dinner theatre (they need a replacement show real quick when their Felix Unger goes in for an emergency appendectomy and their Oscar Madison starts showing up for performances already drunk).

A whole series of dances are created, each based on a classic Sylvester and Tweety cartoon. They play to sold out shows night after night. They're booked on a regional tour of dinner theatres and life is great.

They upgrade their Tweety to include a light bulb hidden in the cage, just under the bird, giving it a mysterious glowing effect. The money is rolling in, and they move out of the trailer park and rent a small house in the suburbs. They even get cable.

Then, when they're about to make their big New York debut, they receive a couple of visitors backstage: The lawyers from Warner Brothers. They're served an injunction preventing them from performing any shows based on Warner's copyrighted characters. A near riot erupts when the audience for that night's show is turned away.

At their next scheduled gig they try to do the same dances, but out of costume, and to different music. Another near riot forces them to leave the theatre through the sewer lines. The rest of the tour is cancelled.

They return home to find their house vandalized, with "Plagiarizers" and "Copyright Infringers" spray painted on all the walls. They call one of their biggest supporters through the years, the Principal of G.W. Carver Elementary School, to see if they can do the Thanksgiving show. Their calls go un-returned.

The spiral downwards is like lightning. Before long they're sleeping in an alleyway, drinking wine out of a box, and fighting about whose fault it is that their lives have come to this. They start to argue, and then the fight starts to get physical.

They stand and go after each other with fists a-flying. But they're each so hungry and drunk that they can't land a punch. Instead they just dance around each other, waving their arms and legs. They look at each other, then themselves, and they smile, as they each come to the realization that what has kept them together is the spirit of dance, and that as long as they keep the spirit of dance alive, they'll be alright.

Final scene takes us to a different town, several months later. The faces of smiling children fill an elementary school auditorium. On stage are our heroes dancing out Peter and the Wolf. But this time, the Wolf looks suspiciously like Wile E. Coyote.

Saturday, May 19, 2001

"Defective and unreasonably dangerous" pickle threatens National Pickle Week!

I'm sorry to have to upset you folks with this terrible news. I mean, I realize that you were all set to begin the pickle celebrations and all. I've got a two pound tub of baby gherkins, and five of the biggest, crispest, nastiest looking kosher dills you've ever seen sitting in the refrigerator waiting for me. But this just couldn't wait.

Beware of the renegade pickle slices being served up by McDonalds. They leap out of sandwiches at unsuspecting customers in attempts to burn and disfigure the chins of those who'd dare to eat them.

At least, that's what happened to Veronica Martin, of Knoxville Tennessee. But don't fear for Veronica's safety, she had a lawyer to protect her - and all America - from these evil sour green bastard offspring of the cucumber world.

The courts have spoken! The settlement is in! Justice has been served! Let National Pickle Week Begin!

Hold the pickle

Friday, May 18, 2001

Well, Mystery Achievement has been posted on iPublish. There were some warnings earlier in the week about iPublish's contract terms, but I decided to go ahead with this anyway. The warnings seemed more pertinent to writers with more of a track record who are posting book-length manuscripts.

For better or worse, it's there for you to read....
Mystery Achievement a new short story by Ken Goldstein.
"We are literally in a war with energy companies, many of which reside in Texas. Californians wants to know if [the president] is going to be on their side." - California Governor, Gray Davis

"I'm deeply concerned about the impact of blackouts on the daily lives of the good people of the state of California, and my administration is committed to helping California." - G.W.

Meanwhile, Davis has publicly threatened to sign a windfall profits tax bill as a means to commandeer electricity from generating plants or simply take over the plants themselves of companies that won't cooperate. Chief "obstructionist" company, according to Davis? Reliant Energy of Houston, Texas... a major backer of one G.W. Bush...

And the race is on. Yep, this is all about power, but it's not entirely about electricity. In the final months of the last administration, Old Tubby was willing to use the power of the presidency to help California through this crisis. That policy changed the day W took office.

What it looked like to me, and a few of my associates, at the time was that W was trying to deliberately make Davis look bad. W was willing to let California twist in the unpowered wind to a) punish us for not voting for him, and b) to cripple Davis as a potential national Democratic leader and a challenge to W in 2004.

The closer Davis gets to actually getting something out of these energy companies that have screwed us, the better his reputation gets, and W puts the screws on a little tighter.

Now, I've never been a big fan of Gray Davis. I always thought he was a bit of a weasel and a political lightweight. Back in January, when W first cut energy assistance to California, I thought, "Well, if it keeps Davis out of the White House, it's worth sitting in the dark for an hour or so from time to time."

But lately, I've actually been impressed with the way he's doing battle with the power companies. He's managed to get concessions out of almost all of them, except Reliant. Now we'll see whether or not he's able to complete this "Davis and Goliath" scenario he's set up and play it through to the Democratic nomination for President in 2004.

I'm not picking sides, mind you. I'm just enjoying the show.

Thursday, May 17, 2001

This morning I finished up the draft of a new story, "Mystery Achievement." I'll be posting it on iPublish after another couple of times through it. The iPublish site has an "assignments" area, which are suggestions for writing, based on what they think their readers are interested in. "Mystery Achievement" is in response to their "Song Stories" assignment.

My song, of course, is Mystery Achievement, from the first Pretenders album. The story tries to recapture the feeling of being nineteen in the events of a single afternoon. I know, it's just that coming up on forty thing making me long for the old days, so you can just shut up about that. My mid-life crisis aside, I think the story is pretty good.

I'd tried to write a story from that song before - maybe not quite a year ago - but it didn't really go anywhere. This version, however, I'm real proud of. I'll let you know when it's publicly posted.

Also - Just finished a great collection of short stories, "Speaking with the Angel," edited by Nick Hornby. Great new fiction by mostly British writers, including Hornby (High Fidelity), Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting), Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones's Diary), Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genious), and more. Plus, the proceeds from the book go to benefit education for children with autism. So go buy the damn thing already!

Wednesday, May 16, 2001

It occurred to me that today is about halfway between the date I was officially laid off from my job (March 1) and my 40th birthday (July 24).

Luckily, I feel I'm close to the end of the job hunt. There are two organizations that I've had second interviews with that seem very positive. I believe that one of them is up to the reference check point.

If I don't get a job soon, I hate to think how depressing my birthday entry here would be. My 39th birthday was bad enough. Of course, I'm concerned for you, the reading public, more than for my own sanity.

Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Poor Regis Philbin. He doesn't even own his own face.

Yesterday I was in McDonald's and their latest game promotion is a tie-in with "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" All over the place are posters with pictures of Regis and the cash. On the placemat is a picture of Regis with the cash. On my soda cup is a picture of Regis with the cash. And on the fries box, which contains my game piece, is a picture of Regis with the cash.

And next to each picture are the words, "No celebrity endorsement implied."

Who the hell do they think they're kidding? Of course there's a celebrity endorsement implied! Why else would there be pictures of Regis Philbin all over the damn restaurant? What they really mean is, "No celebrity endorsement paid for."

McDonald's made the deal with ABC, and ABC owns Regis' image - at least, when used in conjunction with the title "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" Regis has nothing to do with it. One day he just walks into McDonald's and sees his face everywhere. "No celebrity endorsement implied." Yeah, right. Am I the only one who notices these things?

By the way, I won $2 for knowing the answer to, "Over what part of the body would you wear a monocle?"

Monday, May 14, 2001

The Supreme Court this morning unanimously ruled against giving marijuana to patients who prove that it is a medical necessity. What I found interesting is that the court did not question the medical necessity aspect.

What they looked at was simply "whether there is a medical necessity exception to these prohibitions." According to the decision, written by Justice Thomas, "We hold that there is not."

In other words, a very strict by-the-letter reading of the law, that leads them to, "We know you're sick, and we know marijuana will help, but policy says we can't let you have it."

By sheer coincidence, yesterday we had finally seen "Traffic." Very good movie (but not without a few problems), the point of which seemed to be, "Drugs are really bad, but there's not a damn thing we can do about it."

Saturday, May 12, 2001

In his weekly radio address today, W said, "To the Congress who's interested in helping consumers pay high gas prices: pass the tax relief as quickly as possible. That's the quickest way to help consumers."

Where to begin... with the grammar or with the hypocrisy? OK, how about the hypocrisy...

So, now the tax cut plan is designed to relieve consumers who are being hit by high energy prices. A convenient way to claim that he actually has an energy plan, but a rather thin attempt at that. Remember, this is the same plan W's been selling since he started to run for president.

During the campaign W presented his tax cut as the proper thing to do because the economy was going so well. It was a high-times tax cut. Once taking office, the same exact plan was suddenly specifically designed to deal with an economy that's going to hell, and just antidote to the dot-bomb blues. This week it's an answer to the energy crisis. And next week the W tax cut will be the only way to put Timothy McVeigh to death.

Now, the grammar... Since when is Congress a singular who? How about a what, or maybe a plural who. But more serious is this, "... Congress who's interested in helping consumers pay high gas prices..." What? Congress wants us to pay high gas prices? And I naively thought they wanted to relieve us from paying high gas prices. The bastards.

Friday, May 11, 2001

W's smarter, younger brother, Jeb, has signed into law a total reform of Florida's election procedures. Punch card ballots will be illegal by the 2002 primary election and completely replaced by optical scan ballots at a cost to the state of about $32 million.

Talk about locking the barn door after the cow's gotten out.

There's no truth to the rumor that Katherine Harris was overheard saying to Jeb, "Now, we'll have to be really creative in how we steal the election for your older, dumber brother next time!"

W, meanwhile, with his buddy, Asscroft, have successfully blocked the implementation of a ban on building new roads in federal forests. These are roads that are built at taxpayer expense to assist private lumber companies in harvesting natural resources that belong to the public for their own private gain. (did you follow that?)

After "working on the issue" for eight years, the previous president issued the order last January 5th. Once again we're left wondering, if this was supposed to be such an important part of the Clinton "Environmental Legacy" why was it left till the last minute to be implemented by W? A cynic might think Tubby knew damn well it would never go into effect. (See also: Arsenic, in our water).

This entry was posted late due to technical problems at Blogger - Sorry!

Wednesday, May 09, 2001

Well, the ebook is complete, and ready to sell! The 13th Story's Survival Guide for Web-Based Authors - Or: How get your writing read, and maybe make some money! is 45 pages of advice on how to put a site together that is optimized for the best search engine placement, and information on how to attract and keep readers. It was designed for writers who are interested in getting their work online, or better promoting the work they have already posted.

We'll see how it goes. It will be the first time I've asked online readers to pay up front for anything I've written. But priced at only $2.25, I don't think it will be that hard a sell. As I said, we shall see.

Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Holy Crap! I agree with W!
"President Bush has stated that he is opposed to price controls and does not support cutting the federal gas tax because he is looking for long-term, not short-term solutions to this energy crisis. As a result, the president cannot stop gasoline prices from rising this summer."
In his defense of the free economy, W has accidentally done something good for the environment.

Believe me, I'm not happy with paying $2/gallon (current area average - $0.25 above the national average), and I don't look forward to the price going up further, but denying the problem ain't gonna help fix anything. Also, as expensive as we feel gas has gotten in the U.S., we're still paying far less per gallon than nearly anyplace else.

If the rise in prices helps slow down SUV sales, convinces more people to buy vehicles like the Honda Hybrid (runs on gas & electric), and encourages a little conservation, I'll grit my teeth and bear it.

Today, in San Jose, it's 93 degrees, and we're having rolling black-outs due to the energy crunch. Price controls at the pump aren't going to help us in the long run. It's a quick-and-easy, short-term band aid, of the type that politicians usually favor for the feel-good aspect.

I'm more amazed to hear me say this than any of you are, but Bravo W! Resist the temptation for the short-term quick "fix". Now the hard part: Come up a realistic long-term solution.

Monday, May 07, 2001

I've just about finished work on The 13th Story's Survival Guide for Web-Based Authors. I've just got to test the pdf conversion and proofread it one more time before I make it available. This will be my first self-published ebook, and will be for sale on my 13th Story web site for only $2.50 - Hopefully by the end of this week!

And a busy week it will be... Today is Leslie's birthday (my wife). I gave her her presents this morning, and we'll be going out to a nice dinner tonight.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is the big Non-Profits and Technology Conference. I've got to be there at 6:30 AM to set up our "Mobile Technology Classroom" - which is 22 Internet enabled lap top computers. Later in the morning I'll be presenting a session called "Non-Profit Portals and Search Techniques: Finding the Information You Need." Then I'll be facilitating a session on ASPs.

I've also got job interviews scheduled for later in the week. But, as you know, I'm rather superstitious about saying too much about those ahead of time.

So, if I don't get a chance to post too much on the Weblog this week, you'll understand. Thanks.

Sunday, May 06, 2001

I just had my first Red Bull Energy Drink. I've resisted for some time, thinking it was overpriced and trendy, but I was out for a walk, and it was awful damn hot, and it just looked like the right choice.

I don't know if Red Bull ("Not recommended for children or persons sensitive to caffeine") is popular in the rest of the country, but here in the Silicon Valley it's on the order of a sacrament. The Valley is full of teams of coders who work 20 hours a day on a diet of nothing but Red Bull and Cheetos.

The taste is somewhere between Cherry 7-Up and Cherry Robitussin. But I could see how it would grow on you. Frankly, I think it would go down a lot better mixed with vodka, but that would probably defeat the purpose.

Am I full of energy from it? Not that I'm aware of, but then, I did just type this in about fifteen second, and my head is buzzing just a bit...
Yesterday, to honor Cinco de Mayo, W gave his weekly radio address in Spanish as well as English. Great. Now we have a president who is incoherent in two languages.

In other news, Monarchos "has been declared the official winner" of the Kentucky Derby. Another jockey, John Velazquez who finished second on Invisible Ink, claimed that Monarchos' jockey, Jorge Chavez, interfered with him at the quarter pole. After a quick review, Judges handed the victory to Monarchos.

I just kind of like how they said that he had been "declared the official winner" rather than simply saying, "He won." Not that I'm making any kind of comparison between the Kentucky Derby and the presidential election. Not at all. The Derby is important: People have money riding on the outcome.

Friday, May 04, 2001

Reading this morning's news, I see that Tina won the big Survivor II TV show, and all I have to say is, "Tina who?"

I frankly didn't remember her at all, having only watched the first few weeks of Survivor II before we lost our TV reception. I see Colby came in second. He, I remember, and didn't particularly care for. I don't feel that I really missed anything by not watching the series through to completion. Nor do I really miss TV in general all that much.

Sure, I do miss West Wing, and I'd enjoy seeing Boston Public, and maybe Ed, but it has not left any kind of void in my life to not have access to it. We're watching a lot of movies on tape, and I'm enjoying that a lot more.

Of course, if Elisabeth had been one of the Survivor finalists, I might have a different story to tell. I'd say it's because she's from my home town of Newton, Massachusetts, but it's really just because she's so damn cute! (And isn't that what TV is really good at?)

Thursday, May 03, 2001

On the site Democrats With Spine, a user named "perry" had this to say:
"In what can only be described as a baffling move, the city council of San Diego has unanimously banned the use of the word 'minority' in public documents and discussions... Does anyone really believe that this kind of PC crap will make a difference?"

Considering that "PC" usually refers to the excessive linguistic zealousness of the left, perry couldn't be further from the source of this move to ban the word "minority."

The move in San Diego is actually only a precursor to a [California] statewide initiative to ban the use of "minority" that will likely be on our ballots sometime in the next year or two. This initiative is brought to us by the same fine folks who brought us props 186 (denying health, education, and other services to undocumented aliens) and 209 (ending affirmative action).

Why is the right adopting the lingo of the left (PC) to pass these "minority" laws? (And yes, it was deliberately obfuscated, so perry shouldn't feel bad about being duped about the source).

Because by eliminating "minority" from the official vocabulary they've successfully closed off any discussion of race problems, and therefore, any rolling back of props 186 or 209. Not mentioning "minorities" helps to keep the fat, old, white guys in power. A return to the good ol' 1950s.

When the statewide campaign begins look for a lot of misleading advertisements saying that only by eliminating "minorities" can we truly help them to be a part of our society. Did I say the 1950s? I meant 1984.
A new article by Michael Moore on Alternet, "George Hasn't Done Anything Al Wouldn't Have", exposes the truth behind some of the "shocking" things W has done to destroy the environment.

While much was made of W's rescinding of Clinton's executive order to reduce the amount of arsenic in our water supply, only Michael Moore has the guts to point out that Clinton only signed that order in the last weeks of his presidency and it had yet to go into effect. In other words, old Tubby did it to ensure his "environmental legacy" knowing full well that it would never become law (and become an annoyance to his sponsors in the chemical industry). It's politics, not policy.

As evil as W may seem (and evil is as stupid does), he's only continuing the policies of the last eight years, and Big Al wouldn't have done anything different. Yep, W's got to be stopped - But don't hold your breath waiting for the Democrats to stop him.

Wednesday, May 02, 2001

When the magician saws the girl in half, everybody asks, "How'd he do that?"

What I'd like to know is, why did he do that? What type of sick bastard wants people to think that he cuts girls in half for entertainment?

Another thing that's been bothering me is how cartoon animals get their names. It seems that most animal characters get their type of animal as their last name, with the glaring exception of dogs.

You've got your Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Daffy and Donald Duck, Porky Pig etc. But with dog characters it's just plain Snoopy, Goofy, or Pluto. The only partial exception, and it's phonetic only, is Deputy Dawg.

Why is that dogs don't need last names? Is it that as man's best friend we assume all animal characters are dogs, unless otherwise specified? Or is it some kind of slur against their intellect?

(Insert your own Cher joke here).

Tuesday, May 01, 2001

Well, today marks the first day of my third month of semi-unemployment. "Semi" because the organization I work(ed) for, HandsNet, pretty much ran out of money at the end of February, and most of the staff had to be laid off, myself included. (It was a fun day, as I got to lay off my four staff people before signing off myself).

Since then I've still been working for HandsNet, but part time, and as an independent contractor - meaning no benefits, etc. This is far better than unemployment, and it allows me to maintain my position in case we actually raise the funds necessary to continue, but it is far from desirable (security-wise).

And so, to the job hunt. Here's the breakdown of leads for the 19 jobs I've applied for so far - The first number is the number of jobs, the number in parenthesis is the number of interviews:
  • - 1 (1)
  • - 10 (4)
  • - 3 (1)
  • Opportunity NOCs (print) - 1 (0)
  • Opportunity NOCs (web) - 1 (0)
  • YNPN jobs listserv - 2 (1)
  • None (contacted by employer) - 1 (1)
  • Mercury News (print) - 0 (0)
  • - 0 (0)
  • - 0 (0)

For those who care about such statistics, that's an interview for 42% of jobs applied for. That's supposed to be very good, as the "experts" say you should only get one interview for every ten resumes sent (10%). Which means, the cover letters are good, the resume's good, it's just me they don't like.

So far, no second interviews, although I'm expecting to hear from one of last week's jobs later today.

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