Thursday, February 27, 2003

can you believe I just bought this house?

What you are looking at there is my new house. Really.

I can't believe it either, but Leslie and I made an offer on it the other day, and after just a little back-and-forth, we've arrived at a deal, and we're now in escrow.

It's a beautiful, little mountain home, just about six and a half miles up the Santa Cruz mountains from here. And, when I say "little", I mean LITTLE. It's only 864 square feet in the main house, but there's also a converted garage "studio apartment" and - and this is the best part - half an acre of giant redwoods.

This picture is of the rear of the house. See that redwood tree that looks like it's growing through the patio? It is. It's growing right through the damn patio!

We've still got to finalize the financing, and the house still has to pass all the inspections and such, so it's not final - But it is exciting never-the-less.

A month from now we're probably going to be moving out of this crappy apartment into our very own house! I'll believe it when it happens.

I'm sure I'll post more as the escrow progresses and we move in, but I just wanted to share the news and this photo from the listing ad.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

"Look! Nothing up my sleeve?" You know that when the magician is attracting our attention one way, the real trick is going on the other way. Slight of hand, misdirection, it's the way that "magic" works.

It also works for politics.

While blinding us with the threat of war in Iraq, Bush is now planning to appoint Dr. W. David Hager to the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. This is a man who will not prescribe oral contraceptives to unmarried woman but does prescribe prayer for women with PMS.

Click on these links to find out more and what you can do.

Time magazine article
N.O.W. press release
American Association of University Women article

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

It turns out there's another Ken Goldstein using Blogger to... well, to bog.

You'll find him skulking about at The Illuminated Donkey.

Go over and tell him to stop impersonating me.
From one of my co-workers:

The phrase "Think Globally, ACT locally" has never been so true!
The Lysistrata Project

A Theatrical Act of Dissent
On March 3rd, 2003 (03/03/03) the will be (at last count) 538 readings and performances of Lysistrata, Aristophanes' anti-war comedy, in 36 countries around the world, to protest the rush to war on Iraq.

My friend will be performing in the reading that will take place on the Berkeley Rep. Main Stage. To find out more about this project and find a performance near you, click on the link below.

The Lysistrata Project web site for more information

Monday, February 17, 2003

From the newsletter of a local musician (Chuck McCabe):
Question-of-the-Day: Do you think the Orange Alert is an attempt to stop folksingers from writing antiwar songs, by declaring an alert level that nobody can rhyme?
Actually, that's what this anti-war movement is missing; good folk songs! Instead it's an anti-war movement of very little substance, and what substance there is is often as insultingly simplistic and stupid as the crap coming out of the White House.

But substance doesn't count anymore, if you look at the media coverage of the events. There's no actual detailed coverage of the message of the anti-war movement, only listing of numbers (in contention) and which streets were shut down as a result. The resulting traffic report gets more time (or column inches) than the quotes of the organizers.

The weekend's events were covered as a horse race; who's in the lead, how many are on each side. The stories of the protests are followed by coverage of veteran's groups who are insulted by the protests, with quotes of "If they hate Americer so much, why don't they just leave!"

This is considered giving equal time. After all, isn't the other side of the anti-war protests the people who blindly do what the President tells them?

Personally, I'm such an idiot, that I would have put on the protesters (their message, not their numbers) as giving "equal time" to Bush, Powell, and Rice's constant pro-war message. But what the hell do I know?

Of course, I contradict myself. I say I would have liked to see the media give some serious articulation to the anti-war message, but just before that I said that there is no substance to the message.

There's no serious voice at the head of the movement explaining why it's suicidal to attack Iraq, whether or not you like Saddam. And when somebody does try to do that, they're ostracized from the movement as Rabbi Lerner, of Tikkun, was this last week.

Only pro-Saddam rhetoric is allowed on the stage at these new, larger anti-war protests, proving the veteran's organizations point that these aren't people who love America.

Silenced are the majority of us who do love America, but think the administration is full of morons - and don't think that's a contradiction. Yes, we can love our country and disapprove of its actions, and say both loudly. I know I'm not the only one, but we're given no public voice because we don't cause traffic jams.

Happy President's Day. I'm going to work.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Well, another disappointment: Last night was not the finale of Joe Millionaire, as I had said in my post yesterday. A wasted hour and another week to go before we find out who Ethan chose.

Meanwhile, on a more serious note - From


Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.), chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, affirmed in a recent radio interview that the Japanese-American internment camps of World War II were necessary. "We were at war. They [Japanese-Americans] were an endangered species. For many of these Japanese Americans, it wasn't safe for them to be on the street."

Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), a Japanese-American interned in World War II camps in the United States, has responded to Cobble's comments: "If we were incarcerated for our safety, why were we inside the barbed wire fences, and why were the gun towers facing us?"

Advocacy groups, including the Japanese American Citizens League, have called for Rep. Coble to resign his post on the Judiciary committee and apologize. Reps. Coble and Honda's press secretaries have said that further announcements are forthcoming.

Interestingly, Rep. Coble sat on a bi-cameral committee that addressed Italian Americans and their internment in WWII, and eventually passed the Wartime Violation of Italian American Civil Liberties Act. This provides a track record for what Coble has done legislatively regarding World War II internment. He certainly considered the injustices for Italians -- he sat on the hearing committee. Rep. Coble also led the Congressional effort against the legislation that apologized and paid reparations to Japanese Americans that were interned.

Perhaps Coble will address his selective enthusiasm for American war-camp justice in his future announcements.

Check It Out!

Monday, February 10, 2003

Does this look like a mid-life crisis to you? Friday evening I shaved my head. Not quite all the way down to the bone, but just leaving about a quarter inch all around. Also, to be precise, I didn't shave it; I actually paid a barber to do the deed.

It's the shortest haircut I've ever had. Even when I was a baby, my parents never cut it this short. The last time my hair was this length was when I was a few months old and it was still just coming in. That would place just a little before the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Sunday before that I had gotten my usual hair cut. The same one I've asked for each time I've entered a barbershop for the last thirty years. Yes, the last time I had a major change in hair style the details of Watergate were just beginning to come to light. That was when I went from bangs to a part.

Sunday's hair cut looked like crap - as that hair cut usually does. All week long I practiced saying, "I'm going to shave my head this weekend." Even so, when the electric razor took off that first strip of hair, I momentarily panicked (they really should have you sign a release before they begin an operation like that).

But I quickly recovered, and decided to enjoy making the change. The barber was reassuring, saying, "You've got a good head for this; nice and round without a lot of scars. I can tell that your father didn't hit you over the head with a baseball bat much when you were a kid."

Leslie's taking some getting used to it, but agrees that it's good (and yes, I had her buy-in and permission before I went to do it). It went over well at work today, too. The only potential negative reaction was from my brother, Miles, who, when he saw me, said, "Did you get your hair cut, or did you just start chemotherapy?"

It was quite liberating, actually; an incredible feeling of freedom. I could do anything, once I crossed that line to shaving my head. Maybe get a tattoo, maybe get an ear pierced... Leslie said to give her a week to think about it, but I think I'm going to do one ear. Not that I want to wear anything gaudy or flashy; just a nice little black pearl for accent.

Did I say this might be a mid-life crisis thing yet or not?

Meanwhile, other good news from over the weekend: The Dell Dude got busted for pot. Hopefully that will lead to his commercials being pulled off the air. "Dude, we're going to jail!"

Now I've got to go turn on the TV. Tonight's the final episode of Joe Millionaire...

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Another tragedy this morning, as the space shuttle Columbia has crashed in Texas, minutes away from its planned landing at Kennedy Space Center.

Story on Yahoo! News Site

When the Challenger blew up, in January 1986, I was working at a college radio station and had to broadcast the news to our heavy rocking listeners. It was a day I'm unlikely to ever forget.

This, too, is a sad time, but with all the events of the last couple of years, I don't know that I'm likely to carry the memory of this moment with me for very long. Maybe it just hasn't sunk in yet, having only read the news on the Internet, and not yet seen the video.

In today's hateful political climate (and we thought it was hateful back in the Reagan '80s - Hah!) what I found equally disturbing to the actual tragedy, was the "human" response as evidenced on Yahoo!'s discussion board associated with the article (link above).

Because of the presence of an Israeli astronaut (the first on a U.S. mission), there were several threads of posts composed on anti-Semitic themes. A typical examples was "Holocaust Museum on the Moon", which said that the Jews would use this to "spread their propaganda in outer space."

The only post that made any sense was the person who reminded us of the famous line about the shuttle (who first said it?), "Over 200,000 moving parts, and it's built by the lowest bidder."

Columbia was built in 1981. Tell me, do you use a computer that's over 20 years old to run your business? Or even to write a letter? Yet that's the technology our space program is forced to run on.

Maybe I'm just tired, maybe I shouldn't have read the posts following the article, but now I'm feeding into the paranoia; Will Bush try to pin this on the Iraqis or Al Queda to further his war agenda? Will the wackos who are posting their hatred online try to pin this on the Israelis to further their agenda?

What a state our union is in when we can't even mourn such a tragedy without fearing where the political spin will take it.

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