Wednesday, January 31, 2007

If you see some friend of yours in a wheelchair for the first time, don't make supportive comments about popping wheelies, burning rubber, or speeding tickets. Unless your friend is eight years old.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Monday, January 29, 2007

ICC turned off it's free guest access. So I invite you to play chess against me on Yahoo chess. I'm usually in Social, in the Centipede Shack. Usually from about 6 to 8 Pacific time. I am brainhell2003. If we don't match up, send me an email at gmail.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I observed my math-genius four-year-old daughter 'solving' the problems I'd given her. My son did the actual math on the abacus and told her to count the beads. He'd keep telling her to count again when she got it wrong. She's extremely bright, but I should have known that he'd find a way to steal her thunder. I had the computer ask her what's 1 + 1. She said 11. I figured that was a joke. 2 + 2? Twelve.

A few days later, he began making 'books' for her, whose pages feature several math problems, and answers in jumbled order on the same page. She draws lines to connect the problems to the answers.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

When I was a kid I read books about fighter pilots. The first non-fiction book I ever checked out of the library was about the carrier war in the Pacific in WWII. This was no doubt in part inspired by the TV show Baa Baa Black Sheep, about the land-based Marine fighter squadron of Greg "Gramps" Boyington, leading ace of WWII until shot down, who no one ever called "Pappy" in the war.

I read lots about WWII, but my favorite topic was fighter pilots. Fiction, non-fiction, whatever.

I determined to apply to the Air Force academy. I had a neighbor who had been a fighter pilot, in the F-4. "Fighter planes are really cool," he said, "but ultimately their purpose is to kill the other pilot."

"Not if he bails out," I said.

I was tall and thin, not good for performing well in high-G manuevers. Most fighter pilots are shorter.

They would never have let me fly a plane. You have to have perfect vision. Mine was 40-20, twice as good as 20-20. But even back then I had a hairline flaw in my vision. I remember noticing it, being briefly puzzled, and then forgetting it. There is a place in my field of view where if I look at a straight line, the line will kinda jump, as if someone pasted it up wrong. Probably a retinal flaw. The Air Force would have probed our eyes with optical instruments and would have discovered my flaw.

Welcome to your desk job, airman.

I decided against applying to the Air Force only after looking at the time commitment. Four years of school, then (six?) years mandatory service. I figured I'd be 28 when I got out.

Life as I knew it at 18 seemed very brief. Sure, at 28 you'd be physically alive -- but you'd have a dead soul, like all the grownups I knew. Twenty eight was damn close to 30. It might as well be 58. I couldn't. I wanted to LIVE!

And a good thing too. Reagan was president then, and I would likely have continued on in my conservative attitudes, reinforcing them. That is, until my belief in freedom, logic, and truth ran afoul of military brown-nosing golden boys, and I got sh*tcanned for my 'attitude problem.'


Friday, January 26, 2007

The first time I saw Star Trek, at age five, Sulu and Uhura puzzled me. "Why don't they talk funy?" I said. Understand: TV was so racist in the '60s that ANY character who didn't look 'white' spoke in a stereotyped pidgin or dialect. My sister who was 11 said "It's the 23rd Century. They're scientists and astronauts." I believe that she had done some reading about the show. But that doesn't explain Chief Engineer Scott.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

If you've been following my antics on Hooah Wife, this post will make sense to you. If not, less so.

I played chess with Silke Wednesday night. She won. She beat me. She schooled me. She trounced me. She sharked me. She rooked me. Well, she didn't need to rook me. All I saw was a queen and a knight, and kabam! I didn't even save the moves. I hope she did. True, my last move was stupid, but hey.

As promised, I blame my disability. I had extra bad coughing that day (and during the game), and saliva issues so bad that later that evening I briefly could not breathe (maybe four seconds). So Silke, how's it feel beating a cripple? Huh? It's a simple question. Huh?

We played again, and I took her queen. Outright. Then I got her bishop outright. which made up for three points she scored on me. I slid my queen in to where her king was stowed, and checked her. She blocked with a knight but I was going to bring in my bishop to enable me to take the knight and flush the king. I was going to do some schooling of my own!

Heh heh heh.

And then Firefox crashed!!!!!!

Because I was disconnected, I lost the game.

You know who got me curious enough about Firefox to try it? That's right ... Indian Chris.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

important when putting on aqua guard in shower:

1.don't allow adhesive to touch needle cover or it will detach it

2. don't unpeel and restick guard -- that weakens it a LOT

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It finally happened! I played a blog reader in chess. I'm honored that Sis B was the one. She's an articulate, intelligent young woman (and cute, too!). She's the mother of two, one of whom, the infant Sprout, was sleeping on Sis's lap until the point in the first game where I threatened checkmate. The game was even up till that point, then Sprout woke, and distracted Sis. I slammed in the mate and then felt guilty -- for victimizing a mother trying to feed her child.

Sprout was nursing thoughout the second game, I gather from this end of the internet. We played on Yahoo, which is free. Any of you want to take me on, send an email.

The moves for the second game are as follows. I was impressed by her bishop move protecting the rook and threatening my queen (15. e3-d4) I was going to trade queens by threatening with the pawn (b7-b5), but then she blundered with the rook and I cleaned her clock (16. a1-b1 b2xb1+).

Thank you, Sis B!

Date: Tue Jan 23 03:32:04 GMT 2007

1. e2-e4 e7-e5
2. f1-d3 d7-d6
3. b1-c3 g8-f6
4. g1-f3 c8-g4
5. c3-d5 f6xd5
6. e4xd5 d8-f6
7. d1-e2 g4xf3
8. g2xf3 f8-e7
9. f3-f4 f6xf4
10. d3-c4 f4-f6
11. d2-d4 b8-d7
12. d4xe5 d7xe5
13. c1-e3 e5xc4
14. e2xc4 f6xb2
15. e3-d4 b7-b5
16. a1-b1 b2xb1+
17. e1-d2 b1xh1
18. c4xb5+ e8-f8
19. b5-d7 e7-g5+
20. d2-c3 h1xd5
21. d7xc7 d5-e6
22. a2-a4 a8-c8
23. c7-c4 c8xc4+
24. c3-d3 c4xa4
25. f2-f4 g5xf4
26. d3-c3 e6-d5
27. h2-h4 d5xd4+
28. c3-b3 d4-b4++

Monday, January 22, 2007

Yahoo thinks I'm Black. Most all the ads have Black people in them. When I set up the account, for weather reports, I set my zip code to a largely African American town near here, because I felt that the weather forcast would be more accurate. Yahoo also thinks I'm wealthy. Good thing I don't have Tivo, it would think I'm gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Please remove the brace on my leg by squeezing the clamp -- not pulling the velcro -- and help me get my shoe on.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

In 2003, I lost a friend over the issue of Israel. Two, I guess. It was an email discussion. The second guy, who we'll call 'Noam,' wanted only to blame Israel for all the pain there, and extoll the Palestinian heroes, justifying any tactics they might use. I said that Israel had done many evil and stupid things, but had a right to exist. It was a fiat accompli, even if theft underlay the formation of the state. I said that since history cannot be reversed, the goal now ought to be establishing peace and security.

Noam was abusive and insulting, accusing me of stupidity and sadism. The next guy, my good friend of many years, who we'll call 'Pancho,' was cc'd on all of this. He was the type of guy who wanted everyone to get along, and would do almost anything to diffuse conflict. But in this case he agreed with Noam, so rather than correct Noam on his abuse, he kept largely silent, occasionally posing questions to me.

I was concerned about finding the factual basis for some of the outrageous claims Noam made. Pancho wrote "and i have concerns for the people about to be slaughtered by the empire u are so eager to defend."

I hadn't defended 'the empire' (the U.S.), or the planned invasion of Iraq, but I guess Pancho and Noam wanted me to shut up and agree with anything Noam said politically -- hence the abuse from Noam and the silence from Pancho.

Noam said some nasty, anti-Semitic stuff. In all caps, red font.

I stayed fact-based, and calm.

This thread went on for months, and the personal abuse from Noam mounted. It was as if he thought that asking for sources and using the power of reason made me George Bush, and Noam could prevent the impending war if he just insulted me enough. Ideologues and bullies like Noam and Bush hate reason and facts.

Finally I asked Pancho to comment on Noam's abuse towards me. He replied that it was sad to see us both engaging in so many ad hominem attacks.

What else could he do? He wanted to support Noam, yet he knew that I had remained civil, and seemed to have the upper hand in terms of argumentation, so he decided to claim we'd both been childish. It was a classic passive-aggressive move.

People will humiliate themselves for their ideology.

I emailed Pancho once or twice about it. He failed. We're not in contact any more. Good riddance.

Friday, January 19, 2007

This actually happened to me. Only the last three words are fictional. I put it in short story form 10 years ago, but it's real. I was this way with all of my girlfriends.

Sunday morning after Martha left for work I lay in bed reading the New Yorker she had brought for me. The article about hyenas had been fantastic. We both liked the parts about the antelope stumbling among the loops and whorls of its own entrails.

But I was done with the hyena article, and the magazine was many months old, so I read an article about the final days of Bob Dole's campaign against Bill Clinton. The writer said that Dole, like any politician, had a gambler's intuition, and so he dogged the campaign trail 16 hours a day just in case there was a victory out there waiting for him to stumble into it.

Maybe it was that article that made me get up and check Martha's Scrabble dictionary, stashed under the futon couch along with the board after our argument the night before. We had argued about placement of the board, and then she had caught me trying to spell the gambling game KENO, as KINO.

That allowed her to spell PANG and surge ahead. Pang was the right word, I thought, as I retrieved the dictionary from under the futon, careful not to disturb the wooden pieces which were still on the board. The pang of her catching me in KINO might stay with me for the rest of my life, I realized, because of how cruelly she had done it.

I'm not a Scrabble player, this game with Martha being only the second in my adult life. So she had explained to me the use of the Scrabble dictionary. "You might not like some of the words in there," she had said when she called me from work Saturday afternoon. "Some people get upset about that. We can use another dictionary if you like."

"Any dictionary is fine," I said, "as long as it's in English." She laughed and began speaking to me in Spanish. I understood half of it. She said she would come to my apartment at six. Then she yelled at some cook in Spanish, and told me in English that she had to get back to work, there was a batch of mango salsa to be made.

"I hate this job," she said.

I had shown her a little about database design and she had she had seemed to understand. I told her she could stop working in kitchens and getting burns on her arms if she would learn computers. She was smart, very smart. I wanted to break up with her.

But I wanted to keep her. Yes, as a friend. I knew that the odds were that we would drift apart after she found someone else. But there was a gambler's chance that I could keep her as a sister in that way you can sometimes do with former lovers. I was going to play for that chance, and that would make it a delicate play.

At least she hadn't said she loved me, I thought. She had been getting very involved in the relationship and I had been getting very involved in the friendship. I wanted her to resume sleeping with her downstairs neighbor, Dave, and to play Scrabble, visit bookstores and record shops with me. Plus, she had written some good stories and I wanted to include them in my web magazine.

All these things were in jeopardy, however, if we broke up instead of drifting into friendship.

She came over at six and the argument approached with light winds, like a hurricane catching a town off guard. We pulled the board out from under the couch. It already had some words on it from the night before. She spelled a word that resulted in spin-off word, EN.

"EN?" I said.

"It's a word in the Scrabble dictionary."


"It's a typographer's word for the letter 'n'. They also have ESS in there, for the letter 's'."

"Yeah, that's a wild dictionary. I looked in there and saw the word QUANDANG. You know what it means?"


"It's the plural of QUANDONG."

"What's a quondong?"

"It's an Australian tree."

"God, I swear, these Scrabble people have gotten so out of control in their pursuit for words. They've morphed that dictionary into an unholy thing."

"Yeah, I noticed a lot of three-letter words. I think they probably have a legal word for any three letter combination."

"Featuring a vowel."

"Featuring a vowel. So I can spell anything in three letters as long as it contains a vowel and pretty much count on scoring against you."

"So, wait. Have you been studying the dictionary?"

"For six hours," I lied.

"That's not fair," she laughed. "No, totally, man. That's is totally not -- it's so. Oh, f--. There's people who do that, you know? They, like, do that. And it's so sleazy."

"It's not fair to study it during the game."

"No, not at any time."

"You've been studying it for years."

"I have not!"

"You been playing for years and looking in that dictionary. How else would you know EN is a word? I'm just trying to level the playing field."

"Oh, God!" She moaned and rocked back against her cushion. "I'm beginning to suspect you're really competitive. You're one of those types, aren't you? I can tell because, like, when I was talking to you during your move, you totally shut me out. It was like I wasn't there at all."

"So that's your plan. If I win it's because I'm competitive and I cheated with the dictionary."

"We can change dictionaries if you like."

"I would think you would want me to know there were words like REI and TA in the dictionary. To make it more fair, for me."

"We can switch dictionaries if you like. I said we could switch."

"I don't want to switch. We agreed to play with this one and I wouldn't want to switch up on you in the middle of a game. But did you know there's a word in there for a letter of the Hebrew alphabet?"

"So? It's a letter."

"This is a letter that doesn't even exist in the English alphabet. It's a Hebrew words for a Hebrew letter. And yet you could get points for spelling it against me."

'What is it?"

"I forget."

"I thought you studied for six hours. Didn't you take notes?"

"I lied about the six hours. I flipped some random pages just to get a sense of it. And boy was I surprised."

"We can switch."

"No, we agreed to use this one. Next time we can use something else."

"Now, do you want to play where you have to define the word if you're going to use it? Some people play that way. I've played that way."

"Doesn't that open the door to a lot of arguments? Somebody gives a definition that's close, and somebody else interprets that it's not close enough?"

"Yeah but not if the person you're playing with is cool. And besides, if you think they're pulling that on you then you can pull it on them the next time."

"I wouldn't want to pull anything on anybody."

"It's just one way to play."

"I'd prefer that if those letters are in the dictionary, it's legal, you can spell it, whether you know what it means or not."

"Okay," she said, and turned the board towards herself.

"Hey," I said, "now I can't see the letters."

"God!" she said, "You had it turned toward you!"

"No I did not! I had it right down the middle, like this, so that we could both see it."

"God," she gasped parenthetically, "I can't believe we're having this conversation."

"You agreed," I said. "You agreed to have it right down the middle so we could both sit on the same side and see it."

"I can't see it at this angle."

"What angle?"

"I have to see it straight on."

"Oh that makes perfect sense. Why didn't you say that last time?"

"Say what?"

"Last time when I said we should both be able to see it, you agreed. Now you're saying any angle renders you illiterate, as if you aren't capable of reading road signs and all sorts of other stuff at an angle."

"I didn't know what the heck you were talking about when you said we should sit like this. It made no sense to me."

"Wouldn't it be obvious? I said I wanted to move around to this side so I could also see the letters, and so that you could see them also, during my move."

"I don't want to see them during your move. I've always played this way. The people I play with take the board to themselves when they make their move."

"Be that uncool as it may, you nonetheless in this game agreed to this system whereby we both could see."

"Agree! Agree! What are you, a lawyer? I didn't understand what you were saying, so I just let it go by. If you want to keep the board like this then I'll just move in front of it like this."

"I can't see."

"Now can you see?"

"Yeah but I can see your letters too."

"Oh, god."

"Can I ask you something?"

""Okay," she said, "but I just have to warn you I'm premenstrual." Her lip was starting to quiver. "The girl always cries," she said.

"I'm sorry," I said.

"Well why do you have to be so competitive?"

"I don't care about the game but I do care that if we are going to disagree, it should be fair. What I said last night made perfect sense to me and I'm surprised it wouldn't be common sense to you. But the main thing is, what I wanted to ask you, is why you didn't say something then."

"I thought..." she swallowed.


"I thought you would be mad at me and make fun of me and say I was stupid."

"I would be such jerk then," I said, taking her hand.

"I need a hug," she whispered.

We sat on the floor and hugged and I held her a little longer even after she said it was okay to let go.

"I guess I shouldn't say I love you right now," she said.

"That would be a bad idea," I said. I meant: a bad idea right after an argument. But I don't know what she thought I meant.

We played a few more words on the Scrabble board and I scored two 22-point words in a row, which she answered with a nine and a 32, bringing her within three points.

It was then that I scored a 32-pointer and got in front her by 12 points. We were getting near the end of the game, where the words reach the outside of the board and the risk of triple-value words increases.

I worried a lot about giving her a triple word space, and so I rejected two 18-point opportunities. TANK, for instance, down across a double-letter space, opened up a triple-word space for her which would be so easy to end in an 's,' thus pluralizing TANKS into TANKS, getting that score plus her triple word, and putting the game out of my reach.

It was then that I saw KINO, with the 'k' on a triple-letter space. Yes, it opened up a triple word for her, but only if she could fit one of her letters in front of the 'k' in KINO and still make a legal word. I didn't think there was, or could be, any such word, even in the Scrabble dictionary. KINO would get me 18 points and probably win me the game.

"KINO," I said, and put down the letters. "Eighteen points."

It was then that she played a classic Scrabble joke on me. First she challenged. I was surprised.

"What's kino?" she said.

"It's a gambling game," I said.

She smiled and flipped gleefully through the dictionary. I wondered how she could not know that word. She has to have heard of it. Boy will she be shocked when she finds out. Plus, she will lose her turn for challenging, and then I'll win for sure.

"It's in here..." she said. She began to hand me the dictionary, then pulled it away. "But it's spelled wrong!" she laughed, and threw back her head.

"Good one!" I said, and went to use the bathroom. When I came out I said, "That must be a Scrabble classic. Enjoy it now, because now that you've taught it to me, I'll never fall for it again."

"Ooh, you don't think I was mean, do you?"

"Not mean. More like cruel."

"It's just part of the game."

"Really? It's seems sort of a gamesmanship thing."


"Psychology. Mental games. I didn't know that was part of this. I thought we were supposed to respect each other, and limit the combat to the board. I don't really want to play a game that involves being your enemy in real life."

"Are you angry with me?"

"No. It was a good joke. It's natural. Lots of people would do the same."

"Wouldn't you, if you had the chance?"

"Uh, maybe, no. Actually, no. I don't think I would do that."

"Why not? You make fun of me when we're arguing. You say sarcastic things like, if I knew how to drive and read at the same time..."

"Well, yeah but that's a two-way street. You were calling me a competitive jerk."

"No I wasn't. I totally wasn't. And I am so sorry if you thought that's what I meant. We just had a misunderstanding, is all."

"We had a misunderstanding, but I'm not willing to be designated the mean guy. You were pretty sarcastic yourself."

"I'm not willing to let it be my fault either."

"It was a misunderstanding."

"But you should just be able to hear what I'm saying without getting defensive."

"You should just be able to say what you're saying without starting your sentence with 'God!' as if you can't believe what a fool you are talking to."

"Did I do that?"


"I'm sorry. It must have just been my inner voices coming out."

"It's okay. We can have fights, as long as we try to be fair."

"I don't want to fight with you."

"I respect you enough to fight you."

"That's sick."

"I'm sorry, but it's not," I said.

She ran her hand from her brow to the back of her head. "Listen, can I give you your turn back?"


"Let's just play from before KINO."

"No way. That wouldn't be fair."

"I don't want to beat you."

"I can accept losing."

"Let me just give you the points."

"That would be awful. No thanks."

"Then I don't feel like playing."


"This is just too stressful."

"I see."

"Are you mad?"

"I thought you wanted to play. Now you don't. So I guess that means you win."


"The game ended. And you have more points, so you win."

"No, that's not what I'm trying to do!"

"Well how about if we suspend it then, and finish it later?"


We went into the other room and got in bed. A little while later we had sex. It was nice but I wasn't in love with her. I had to get rid of her somehow.

"You said this weekend we should have a relationship talk," she said softly.


"I have some foreboding about that," she said. "I feel you're going to reject me."

"I won't reject you," I said. You might not be my girlfriend, I thought, but I won't reject you.

In the morning the clock radio went off at 6:10. The remnants of the Khmer Rouge were holding Pol Pot captive and offering to give him back to authorities for certain immunities for themselves. Didn't the government see, I thought, that aged Pol Pot was declining in value every day, and that the pieces to capture would be his former lieutenants, the people who were young enough to continue to cause trouble in Cambodia?

"What time is it?" Martha said sleepily.

"6:16," I said.

She stumbled up. "I have to be out of here in four minutes."

She went into the bathroom, tacked on her clothes, and left.

I rolled over and picked up the New Yorker magazine. In the hyena story the young woman is attacked and mauled by the animal to the point that she must beat it over the head with her own arm. Using her stubbornness, she pokes it in the eyes with her fingers and so escapes. In the Bob Dole story, Dole goes down but he goes down fighting, just in case there was a million-to-one chance out there with his name on it.

That's a good philosophy, I thought, drifting into thoughts about how I played basketball. I nearly always lose at basketball since I am so uncoordinated, and slow. But I play because I love it. I have learned to lose gracefully.

But you shouldn't accept losing, I thought, and I padded in bare feet across the carpet. I looked across the room to the futon couch, with the Scrabble board under it.

You should always make that last, futile gesture, like the woman trapped in the hyena cage, I thought, as I bent down to retrieve the Scrabble dictionary.

I looked up KENO. There it was, on page 295. KENO n pl. -NOS a game of chance.

Then I flipped the pages to 299. And there it was. KINO n pl. -NOS a gum resin.

A gum resin!

I turned to the phone. I wanted to call her, to tell her that my word, KINO, was a word. Then I looked at the clock. 7:29 AM, Sunday morning. She was just opening the kitchen at the delicatessen. It would be too obsessive of me, and besides, she would say things like "I am so sorry," and "Will you forgive me?" or "I guess you won it fair and square."

And I didn't want that.

Then what did I want?

She might say that we should rewind the game to when I spelled KINO, since she had been mistaken to challenge it. I might point out that the rules said she would have to lose her turn for making a false challenge.

But I didn't exactly want that, either. That would put me so far out ahead that we could both be certain of the outcome of the game.

I looked at the carpet, and the Scrabble board, and I realized what I wanted. I wanted her to make the same mistake twice. I would spell KINO yet again, and she would challenge it yet again. Then she would feel the same pang I had felt when she had used the "It's-in-here-but-it's-spelled-wrong" joke on me. In that moment, my PANG would be transformed into a KINO, a sweet little bit of gum resin that would stick to me for the rest of my life, like a piece of gum under a chair, to be chewed and re-chewed at intervals.

Whatever else is going on, I thought, we're not going to have that break-up talk if I can avoid it. This sick little relationship has got to continue at least until I can spell KINO on her again.

She had taken the last move before quitting the night before. So my move was the first one, and I still had all the letters for KINO.

I laid down the letters.

She made half a laughing sound. I didn't want to give her too long to think. So I said, as by way of explanation, "I had an 'i' too."

"You used an 'i' last time. Remember? KINO."

"No, KINO is right."

"It's KENO, like in the dictionary."

Pretending to be annoyed, I said: "I know what I know."

She held her head in her hands and started rocking back and forth. "Oh God!" she said, "This is so awful. Can we just quit this right now?"

"Quit what?"

"Quit arguing and fighting over a silly little game."

"Let's just play. We don't have to argue and fight."

"But I don't want to humiliate you again! You're making the same mistake twice!"

""Look," I said, being annoyed again. "You let me play my game and take the consequences. If you want to challenge, then go ahead. Otherwise play."

"Okay then, I won't challenge," she said in a hushed voice.

"You're just going to let me have the points."

"Why not," she said resignedly.

"You don't respect me enough to just play me. You think I'll be angry to lose? Think how I will feel if you hand me charity points. What kind of respect is that?"

"Okay, okay," she said, laying her hand on the dictionary. "I challenge. You lose. Now can we just end this game and go to bed?"

"You're not going to look it up?"

"You look it up," she said, tossing me the dictionary. She reached for the television remote.

I turned to page 295. Leaning over and pointing out KENO for her, I said: "It's in here, but it's spelled wrong."

Then I flipped to page 299. She looked at me with that sick look.

"Oh my God," she whispered. "KINO is a word too."


Martha had always struck me as an honest and honorable person. She had always been fair and open with me.

She said, "But you defined it wrong! You said it was a gambling game!"

"First of all, we agreed that the players don't have to define the words. Secondly, you did not ask me for a definition this time."

She looked at me. I looked at her.

"You little f---er," she said, "Let's play again."

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Here's the story of what I bought with my iTunes gift card. A couple of years ago, I bought a copy of My Life, by Bill Clinton. Somehow, I lost it. So I got another one. But after a while, reading books became more and more difficult, given my weak and spastic hands. Yes, I do know about bookstands. Most of what I read is on the computer screen. So I bought the abridged audiobook version. Six hours. I enjoyed it. Also, I got two Star Trek movies, my favorites: IV and VI. Wrath of Khan is for dull people who like camp. The kids and I watched IV. I also bought a bunch of songs that y'all said I should. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

This memory still haunts me. When our first was born, our son who is now seven, he wasn't breathing. He was blue and motionless. Meconium had got into his lungs. The nurse took us over to this table where she worked on him. He was new and unknown to me and I loved him. She told me to tickle his feet because "they don't like that." She sucked stuff out of his mouth with a bulb. It looked brutal. The alarm kept going off. Every 30 seconds? Three minutes? I don't know. I was trying to help save the baby. I stroked his soles. "Come on buddy. Come on," I said. It was terrifying and literary, I recognized that. But in those situations you don't ponder, you just try to endure and perform.

He's seven now, fine and energetic, intelligent and caring, with an empathetic heart.

Giving the difficulty of our son's birth, you can imagine the joy and relief when our daughter came out of her mother, took a deep breath, and immediately let out a strong cry.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

helped me jam that in my armpit


gonna jam other end in arm rest


pleasrest one nd of comb n armrest

Monday, January 15, 2007

There is a game involving predicting which notables will die in a given year. I propose a version in which I predict 25 who will die before me. You all can give me a score card based on the formula 100 - (the notable's age at death):

Jerry Garcia
Saddam Hussein
Paris Hilton
Fidel Castro
Lance Williams
Norman Mailer
Joni Mitchell
Truman Capote
Gore Vidal
David Crosby
Dick Cheney
Karl Rove
Mark Foley
Michael Moore
Hugo Chavez
Charlie Sheen
Martin Sheen
Jessca Savitch
Terry Gross
Eric Estrada
Joe Montana
Lee Iacocca
Prince Charles
Philippa Parker Bowles

I may update this from time to time.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Hooah Wife contributor Indian Chris is not only philosopically wrong, he often factually humiliates himself. And like his hero Dear Leader, he won't admit it.

But I'm starting to think he might be right about one thing. He dourly predicted that Hillary Clinton will be our next president.

Until recently, my own stance was: Never happen. For one thing, the Albatross. The media loves to snicker at Bill Clinton. Never mind that he helped make this country better, stronger, more responsible, more respected and more prosperous ... he used to jog to a McDonalds!1 No one wants a third term for Bill, they'll say.

Plus, add in the Eva Perón angle, insinuate ego and feminist-socialist anger make her power mad, and she's sunk.


But half the eligible voters in this country are women. They're not going to vote for her just because she's a woman, but they may want someone smart, tough, responsible and fair. She'll seem a welcome change from the elite, weak, frat boy liar George Bush.

The '06 vote shows that voters were annoyed with ALL Republicans. And that mood looks likely to continue as the Iraq defeat plays out slowly for the rest of Bush's term.

I believe (though I don't know) that HC has the biggest campaign fund of any Democrat. That, plus her selling points, makes me admit that she's likely to be the nominee.

Meanwhile the 'maverick' John McCain -- her likely opponent -- continues to soil himself with repeated support for Bush's failed policies.

Whoever the GOP nominates for '08, they'll have more money than HC, and the media on their side. But the appetite for change may be so strong that HC might win.

I hate to make predictions, given how wrong I usually am, but I have to conclude that Indian Chris is right.


1. As Arkansas governor, where he would get water and coffee.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

In the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college, I listened to the college radio station a lot, and they were playing Grandmaster Flash's "The Message" a lot -- a lot a lot. A whole lot.

I worked, in the kitchen, with a young African American man who claimed once to have been to prison, maybe as a joke. He had a band, and once our dorm was hoping to hire them for our big party. I was dorm association treasurer. Their price was enormously high, like, $700. They were a serious band and had gigs playing at local bars, including, I later realized, a major gay bar.

The others asked him if they could play this or that. When we were working in the kitchen I asked him if they could cover Grandmaster Flash. "Who?" he said.

Thanks to Sis B. and others who pointed out that I was wrong in thinking that new Blogger costs money, I accepted the invite this morning and migrated my blog.

What’s YOUR plan, huh?!

Guy with no parachute jumps out of plane. Horrified jump crew looks down in … uh, horror.

Guy yells up at them:

“But those who refuse to give this plan a chance to work have an obligation to offer an alternative that has a better chance for success. To oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible.”

Friday, January 12, 2007

Apparently I look upset when I'm happy. There's been several times when I've been very content and happy, and someone asks me if I'm down. One time, at work, in 1995, I was cruising very well on my coding project, and my boss asked me with concern if I were OK. I guess I just get really relaxed and my face falls.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Got me an iTunes gift card. So tell me, what album or song MUST I have?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

My kids ask me for math problems. The latest for my four-year-old daughter:

3 + 2 =
7 + 3 =
4 + 4=
5 + 6 =
10 + 10 =
10 + 1 =
4 + 2 =

3 + 1 + 2 =

8 - 1 =
9 - 1 =
5 - 2 =
10 - 3 =
4 - 3 =

6 + 6 =
7 + 7 =
1 + 1 + 1 =
1 + a = 2; a=
2 - a = 1; a =
a + a + a = 3; a =

She got them all right.

She's extremely bright, and says she will ask her preschool teachers for more of this 'easy math' as we call it -- BUT I do wonder how much her 7-year-old brother helps her. When I asked him, his answer seemed seemed credible. AND he wailed at his mom that he wants her to be able to get some wrong.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Blogger stinks

At 11 AM:

"Blogger Status
Friday, January 05, 2007
Announcement: there is a scheduled outage for old Blogger next Tuesday, January 9th, from 7:45am-9:45am PST. You will not be able to post to old Blogger blogs or access any old Blogger blogs on Blog*Spot during this time. We also will not be allowing any new blockquote new blogs on new Blogger during this outage"

As I said a while back, expect more problems from 'old Blogger' that don't occur on 'new' Blogger which -- oops -- costs money.

[CORRECTION: No it doesnt. I was wrong about this one]

Alas for the revenue stream, there are many remaining choices for reliable free blogging.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Like all kids, we were very bad about writing thank-you notes. One Christmas, the rule was that we had to write the note before we opened the present, leaving a blank space which we would fill in later. I suspect that it was my father's idea, since it only happened once.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

In the past I have said that people who object to my questioning the accepted story regarding 9/11 have a Thar Be Dragons mentality.

You ask why there's no released video of flight 77 striking the Pentagon. Do you really expect me to believe that George Bush personally ordered the attack?!

More formally this fallacy is known as the Appeal to consequences.

Appeal to consequences, also known as argumentum ad consequentiam (Latin: argument to the consequences), is an argument that concludes a premise (typically a belief) to be either true or false based on whether the premise leads to desirable or undesirable consequences. This is based on an appeal to emotion and is considered to be a form of logical fallacy, since the appeal of a consequence does not address the truth value of the premise. Moreover, in categorizing consequences as either desirable or undesirable, such arguments inherently contain subjective points of view.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

26 months and 16 days later, one of my favorite bloggers has posted again. He was in Iraq and wrote about it very well. The bastid's old email address no longer works, an he has left no way to contact him, other than fookmyspaceiain'tdoin'that.

But apparantly he's blogging on myspace. After he got out of the Army, he got married and found a nice job. Now his myspace status is 'Divorced.'

Friday, January 05, 2007

Cough is starting earlier each day. Was 5:30 PM, then 2, now 11:30 AM.

First dance: Wonderful World by Louie Armstrong
Second Dance: Sentimental Journey by Lester Lannen
Moonlight Serenade - Glenn Miller
Unchained Melody - Righteous Brothers
Unforgettable - Natalie Cole
It had to be You - Harry Connick Jr.
I only have Eyes for You - The Flamingos
**You Gotta Be - Des'ree
In the Mood - Glenn Miller
Moon River - Sinatra
** La Vie En Rose - Edith Piaf (French, 1930s)
That's Amore - Dean Martin
My Girl - Temptations
ABC - Jackson Five
**Hard to Say I'm Sorry - Chicago
**These are the Days - 10,000 Maniacs
My Cherie Amour - Stevie Wonder
Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
Don't Stop - Fleetwood Mac
**Rock Lobster - B-52s
**Mother and Child Reunion - Paul Simon
**Graceland - Paul Simon
**I Can't Explain - The Who
**Bright as Yellow - The Innocence Mission from the 'Empire Records' Soundtrack
**Crazy Life - Toad the Wet Sprocket from the 'Empire Records' Soundtrack
**Fountain of Sorrow - Joan Baez
Dancing in the Streets - Martha Reeve
Stayin Alive - The Bee Gees
I will survive - Gloria Gaynor
And She was - Talking Heads
Wild Thing - Tone Loc
How Bizarre - OMC
Crazy - Patsy Cline
I'm Every Woman - Whitney Houston
No Woman No Cry - Bob Marley

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Somalia stuation should be interesting. The Islamist guys currently being routed by Ethiopia have presumedly got a potential for insurgency after their last redoubt is overrun. Iraq is not the first insurgency ever, but it is the latest success. So the Islamists may model on that. In Somalia, we may run an occupation by proxy. The payoff may be that we greenlight Ethiopia to try to seize a port from Eritrea (good luck!). The ultimate outcome in Somalia looks murky. It could turn out like Iraq, where the bad guys win. Or, if Ethopia wins, and stabilizes Somalia, then it turns out like Iraq, where we handed control of the country to a neighbor.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


your mom said it was unfair of me to give you math problems that combined negative numbers, multiplication, and dual unknown variables. I hope you like this better. This is a cipher where every letter is shifted forward two spaces in the alphabet. What does it say?

vjg ecv kp vjg jcv ku dcem

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

All clear in the colon. Dresden lies in flames.

When I was in high school in the late '70s, I loved The Rolling Stones -- but as the British Invasion group. You know: 'Satisfaction.' But when I was in high school, the Stones came out with all this 'Black' music. Never mind that we now know that these categories are as dubious as the supposed 'races,' I'm telling a story about me then. Rolling around the dial, I had encountered what I considered Black music -- mostly Soul. What a waste of effort, I thought: It was way over the top. Oily voices, wailing, too slow and relaxed ... passionate, but without good cause. Imagine my disappointment when the Stones became a backup to Jagger acting Black. First time I heard the song 'Slave' (truly great Rock n' Roll), I grew impatient and changed the station because they were just noodling around slowly while Jagger put on his act. I soon learned that the song was tight, very tight. But I thought you should know my shame.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by