Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Seymour Hersh writes about President Bush and the Iraq War in the New Yorker over here.

The former senior official said that after the election he made a lengthy inspection visit to Iraq and reported his findings to Bush in the White House: "I said to the President, 'We're not winning the war.' And he asked, 'Are we losing?’ I said, ‘Not yet.'" The President, he said, "appeared displeased" with that answer.

"I tried to tell him," the former senior official said. "And he couldn’t hear it."

Incidentally, I saw Bill O'Reilly on the Today Show this morning, and he was hilarious. Over the top, very much so, but how much of that is an act and how much is real? I was surprised to hear him criticize Bush, and I actually chuckled when he called Senator Clinton's letter to her constituents 'dopey' (I have no idea what the letter is about as I've been rather busy as of late and have been unable to keep up with my 20 newspapers a day). O'Reilly amusement aside, never fear, this is still a liberal blog, but I like to be fair and point out when I've heard something from 'the other side' that was surprising and/or interesting.

And just when you thought it was safe to turn on your television again, Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie are baaaaaaack.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Holiday fic

Today's bloggity is inexplicably delayed due to technical difficulties. Somewhere out there in cyberspace, there is an email floating around with tonight's content. Unfortunately, it hasn't arrived, and I'm not sure what authorities to contact to report a missing email. I assure you, however, that it was a very excellent post, full of wonderful, humorous and insightful comments, and not a turkey to be seen.

In lieu of that, I'll make an offer here that I've made in other venues:

Leave me a comment, and I'll write you a holiday fic of at least 500 words in any of my regular fandoms (Star Treks except TOS, X-Files, X-Men, Without a Trace, JAG, Commander in Chief). All you have to do is give me a character, a fandom, a scenario, a pairing, etc., anything you'd like. If there's something you'd like to see and I haven't specifically mentioned it here, ask anyway and I'll try to oblige. Pretty much no restrictions. I'm planning on posting the finished stories sometime between December 20 and the 23rd.*

And since this is a fannish post, I leave you a link to 10 reasons to watch "Commander in Chief".

Okay, so I haven't posted anything in any fandom in a really long time, but this is a painless way to get back on the writing bandwagon.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Turkey Link of the Day

For those of you who need MORE in the way of turkey coverage, go here. Flash and sound very necessary. Many thanks to Rocky for providing today's turkey coverage.

When I got back last night, the food situation was a wee bit dire. I'd raided the parental kitchen and pantry, but rather haphazardly, so that meant there were no real obvious options for dinner. So I got a little creative and came up with a twist on quesadillas that, amazingly, turned out pretty well.

Mediterranean Quesadillas

2 flour tortillas
1/2 red pepper
1/2 small onion
1 small tomato
1 tsp olive oil
pinch each of oregano, basil, and chives
salt and pepper to taste
shredded mozzerella cheese

Set oven on broiler mode

Mix all ingredients except for the cheese and tortillas in a bowl. Then fold the tortillas each in half and break them so you have four halves. Spread some cheese on the two of the slices, spoon the veggie mix onto the tortilla, spread more cheese on top, and then cover with the other half of the tortilla. Put on cookie sheet, stick in broiler for one minute or until golden brown, and then flip the tortillas so the other side can brown as well. Serve immediately.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I hoped everyone had a most excellent holiday weekend with their family and friends. I certainly did, car troubles aside, and much food was consumed -- including things made by yours truly that were neither burned or otherwise tragic victims of my culinary skills -- and thankfully, I have heard of no stories of turkeys falling from the sky.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Pop culture

What I'm reading: America, the Book, Live Your Best Life

What I'm listening to: Something to Be, Confessions on the Dance Floor, Breakaway

What movies I'm watching:
Sideways, 21 Grams

What "must see" shows I'm watching
: "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy", "Gilmore Girls," "Commander in Chief", "CSI", "Without a Trace"

Monday, November 21, 2005


I have no details on the aforementioned Turkey Drop, except for the radio station doing a live broadcast from the Honda dealership and apparently, this was the second time such an event had been carried out. From that little fact, I deduce no one was killed the first time, and since our local television news "OH MY GOD MOVIE THEATERS ARE DIRTY" stations didn't report on any deaths by falling turkeys, I'm forced to conclude that somehow they pulled this thing off. Still. Stupid.

In lieu of falling turkeys though, The Fainter and I went to the Renaissance Fest on Sunday, where turkey legs were consumed with great gusto by people who weren't us, and where somehow goth Vikings with an S&M bent frolicked with fairies pixies and where gypsies seemed to walk hand in hand with the Knights of the Round Table. AND OH THE CLEAVAGE WE SAW. We heard rumors about people who come dressed up as Storm Troopers or in Star Trek uniforms, but we didn't actually see one. I did, however, see a Roman centaurion. 'The Renaissance' is apparently a lot more loosely defined in time than I've ever given it credit for.

Anyway, a good time was had, the highlight being the "Joust to the Death". Really, there was jousting, all with horses, trumpets, swords, Henry VIII, favors, and a whole bunch of princesses named Bridget waving bras and panties around. I AM NOT MAKING ANY OF THIS UP. The Fainter felt she had reached a whole new level of ridiculousness. Me, I promptly launched into the story of how Henry VIII fell off his horse during a joust, Anne Boleyn got freaked, had a miscarriage, and that was effectively the end of their marriage. Obviously, one of us has less of a grip on reality than the other, but at least neither of us came dressed as a Storm Trooper.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Tis the season

I'm convinced there is something in the air in November and December that makes otherwise rational people go completely insane. Maybe it's the fact Christmas carols are now on 24/7 play on radio stations (and some even started back before Halloween!) or maybe it's the cold or maybe it's the eggnog or the rampant consumerism, but whatever it is, it isn't pretty. Yesterday, though, I heard something on the radio that absolutely took the cake. A car dealership here is sponsoring 20 free turkeys for Thanksgiving. And I thought, "Oh, what a nice idea. I'd really go for that if, y'know, I actually ate turkey." And there I was, basking in the warm of humankind's generosity, so much so that I almost missed the next part of the message:


I had, and still have, no words.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


It's cold here in Sweat Sock City and if there's something I just can't abide, it's COLD. In fact, I think I'm rather like an amphibian, needing my ambient temperature to be around 80 degrees. At the office, in the AC, my finger nails turn purple and my hands are blocks of ice. I don't like cold, Sam I am, and the fact that I'm actually from Vermont is no evidence to the contrary. In fact, I often argue, I was just as cold in Vermont as I am here, it's just that everyone else was cold with me. Here, the mercury drops down to freezing, the wind is blowing hard and cold, and everyone's excited, saying, "It's so nice out!" And I just want to grab them and say, "Have you BEEN outside?"

I'm just saying that two days ago it was 90 degrees and today when I woke up, it was 31 degrees. The weather is Red State's only competitive advantage and if I have to live in the land o' Bush, well, they can dang well turn up the thermostat.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Because the last post was so obviously digging at the bottom of the bloggy barrel, I thought I'd give the Republicans in Congress a hand for eliminating the 'bridges to nowhere' out of the highway bill and instead, the money will be spent on other projects in the state of Alaska. Doesn't look like Rep. Ted Stevens who threatened to quit if the money was taken away from the bill is going to quit though. Dang, that could have been a fun one to watch.

I thought this editorial proposing a privacy amendment was excellent. Seriously. I'm a supporter of Roe, but even I'm not sure whether it's a Constitutional right (well, I think it's my Constitutional right to have a say in what I will or will not do with my body, but I don't think that's written into the Constitution). So why not, for once and for all, end all arguments over whether the average American bear has a Constitutional right to privacy by codifying it into the sacred text?

Bob Woodward has stepped into the Name Plame Blame Game. What I do find interesting is that Woodward says his source is not Scooter Libby, the guy recently indicted. Libby learned of Plame from Cheney, but would Cheney really be so stupid as to tell Woodward first? I don't like Cheney at all, but I also think he's smarter than that. This is a verrrrrrrrrry interesting development, to say the least.
Material Girl

Madonna has a new album out, "Confessions on the Dance Floor" and I heard the first single today, "Hanging Up" and liked it a lot. I've always been a big Madonna fan, especially much of the material from "True Blue" and "Ray of Light". I hear this album is Madonna back to form after the politicized "American Life" (which I know nothing about other than it was controversial for the anti-war stance she took). Anyway, I was definitely bopping in the car and for that reason alone, I think I'll pick it up; for my long drives, it'll be fun to have some upbeat music.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Discussion points

I missed Friday's news round-up because I was busy partying my weekend away, so much so that when Sunday night came around, I was a boneless sack in front of the television, watching that weekly crack fix: "Desperate Housewives" and "Grey's Anatomy". I did, however, fold laundry while watching television, so I feel slightly better about my whirl of gaiety this weekend. However, this weekend's events have sparked four questions:

* At one point did you officially add someone to your cell phonebook rather than just relying on the 'incoming calls'/'outgoing calls' list? Two months of phone calls, maybe? Or maybe six months?

* At one point, do you decide you're officially exclusively seeing someone? I mean, is there a number of dates? Number of hours? Months? Weeks? The count is getting up there -- on any measure, especially hours -- and I need to figure it out.

* And as an addendum to the previous question, if you're not exclusively seeing someone and the subject of exclusivity never comes up, do you tell them if you're going on a date with another person? Or just keep it to yourself? Past experience tells me the latter, but honesty and guilt make me want to admit the former.

* Also, how do you know when you've met 'The One'? Is there an overarching symphony playing in the background or more of a rational, "You're pretty cool, you're everything I'm looking for, you'll do." Obviously, I haven't got a romantic bone in my body, otherwise I'd be hearing violins and swooning over the roses, rather than thinking my way through a checklist.

This all fits into the "when do you tell someone about the blog?" post from a few days ago. I am ashamed to admit that while I may be in possession of mad HTML skillz, I flat-out told The Guy (tm) I used to do web design but no longer am in the business (which is kinda of true, as the site is here, and not being actively (re)designed, but that's more of a Clintonesque semantic twist, I think). And obviously, there are some posts which obviously I wouldn't want a (potential) significant other to read, ESPECIALLY in retrospect (which begs the question of why I post these things publicly anyway, but I'm a blogger, and thus must navel-gaze like nobody's business).

Your thoughts, dear readers, are much appreciated.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The patter of little feet

The NY Times had an article last week about rowdy children in cafes. Today, at lunch, we had a similar experience when two children, between the ages of 5 and 7, were running around like no one's business, banging on the piano, climbing on the railings, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. I get that kids will be kids, but what drove me nuts were the parents sitting back, eating their lunch, and every now and then, making a half-hearted effort to rein their children in.

At one point, the kids were banging on the piano about a foot and a half behind me and when the parents -- who were looking right at me -- didn't do anything, I turned around and told them to stop. I don't like disciplining other people's kids (unless I'm the babysitter, which isn't something I've done in a long time), but this seemed to be extenuating circumstances. I got a dirty look from one of the people in the parents' party, but I didn't care. The kids could have hurt themselves on that railing or even on the piano (I pinched my thumb trying to close the cover), plus it was a buffet-style restaurant, so the kids running around made for an unintended obstacle course diners would have to navigate.

When I expressed my annoyance to my uncle, he said with a knowing smile, "We'll see what happens when you have kids." That's always the thing that sticks in the back of my mind -- I don't have kids, so maybe my impression of the "sit in your seat and eat otherwise we're leaving" attitude is way off base. I don't think I was wrong to be seriously annoyed though.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Link of the Day

On this past week's "The Apprentice", everyone was running around clueless about "Star Wars", and in the case of one group, not realizing Darth Vadar was a central, if not the main character. How can there be such a dearth of pop culture knowledge among otherwise supposedly intelligent people? Maybe they should have watched all six movies at the same time. If I were The Donald (tm), I'd fire the whole lot of them. Not know who Darth Vadar is, SHEESH!

Friday, November 11, 2005

The new crack

I've discovered Sudoku. I've only heard about it, never actually tried it myself, until I found this online version at the Washington Post. My brain is completely tied up in knots, but I guess that's what I get for starting at the hardest possible level. I may never ever leave the house again.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Oink oink

I love this editorial by Richard Cohen about Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) throwing a hissy fit on the floor of the Senate if his famous $230 million 'bridge to nowhere' is taken out of the highway bill and and the money is diverted instead to New Orleans, where God knows, they need the funds. You can read more on Stevens' remarks here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Stupid headline of the Day*

This story takes the cake: "Proposition 2 a winner." Please. Since when is condoning discrimination by a 3 to 1 margin a winner? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

* Can this count as Thursday's HotD, Jessica? (g)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I'm pretty sure that when you get your hair professionally dyed, it should stay dyed and NOT bleed all over the place whenever you get a little drop of water on your hair, yes? To say that I'm unhappy about the nice purple stain on the back of my commemorative World Series t-shirt would be an understatement, not to mention the stain on the beach towel I used to dry my hair, and OH, the nice chemical odors that CONTINUES TO LINGER, even though I washed my hair TWICE and conditioned it. Not. Happy.
Miss Manners, maybe

Yvonne asked an etiquette question and it's a good one, and I think the answer would be highly personal depending on the blogger. See, it goes without saying we bloggers like attention, are shameless navel-gazers, and want to be read and adored and we want to be talked back to. At least that's the theory and every blogger is different.

The cool thing about blogging is that we can talk to the world at large without any real fear of consequences. I don't actually ever expect to run into someone who reads this blog regularly (unless you're my mother, in which case, HI!) and I would be honestly weirded out if someone found my blog and then met me and associated the two of us together since I try to keep at least some modicum of privacy. If this happened to me, I'd probably think the person was a stalker, especially if I had not told that person I had a blog (and generally, I don't tell people about the blog except some close RL friends).

So my advice is, if you think you've met a blogger in RL and even if in a non-stalkerish way and also in a way that is completely unrelated to the blog, I still wouldn't say anything at all unless the person ventures out information about the blog. In fact, until you get to know the person better, I'd say nothing and maybe down the line, if all is well and good, then you can admit the truth if you want to. (And of course, all of this is moot if the person posts their full name, picture, etc., on their blog and at that point, I think it's fair game to say you read their blog, because really, there's nothing stalkerish about that and the blogger is being quite obvious about wanting to be found out). But in general, I wouldn't say anything, because strangely, despite all the soap boxing, blogging is kind of a private thing.

Any other bloggers have thoughts?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Festival of Lights

Last week was Diwali. Here are a few pictures I took this weekend.

One of the hallmarks of the holiday are little oil lamps which are set throughout the house. Here's a close-up of one of the lamps.

I love looking at the little lamps burning all in a row.

A close-up of one of the lamps.

Not to mention eating lots of good food! The more colorful items on the plate are sweet and sticky and utterly indulgent. I, however, prefer the spicier items.

Every year, I draw little pictures on the tile with sand for Diwali. Here is just one tile I did. I did other tiles in yellow, blue, purple, or a mixture of all of those colors. It's pretty painstaking work, and I do have a small little brush and pan so I can scoop up any designs I mess up or any excess sand.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

'tis the season

Apparently, these days the Christmas season starts right after the last of the jack o' lanterns have been extinguished. The local easy listening radio has already started playing Christmas carols. A little too early for the drummer boy to come out and play, I think!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday round-up

November didn't start off so hot for President Bush, as it turns out more Americans than ever just don't approve of the job he's doing. This, by the way, isn't a "I told you so" moment as we still have three more years of Bush, and while I cannot be convinced that he isn't anything BUT incompetent, I'd like to think he isn't going to completely fiddle while Rome is burning -- unfortunately he hasn't given any evidence to the contrary. Without some significant quality action that a) shows he's actually in touch with people, that b) he cares about the integrity of his staff and c) that he's capable of solutions other than cutting taxes, and d) skips vacations for the next three years, it's quite possible we'll see that rating continue to slide south. The Times of London nicely recaps Bush's Very Bad Month here.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter isn't being shy about where he stands on the Bush Administration (how much you want to bet Jimmy Carter wasn't among the 130 at the dinner for Prince Charles and his wife?) and shock! The CIA has secret prisons around the world and gasp! the 't' word might actually be taking place. Dude. Maybe the ethics training Bush ordered will help. Still, Republicans are pretty pissed off at Democrats for this week's closed session meeting, that apparently was a year in planning.

Tom DeLay may have found a judge after a merry-go-round whirl of 'blink and you'll miss 'em' Democrat and Republican shuffle. Scooter Libby pleaded not guilty to perjury and obstruction of justice. As for that other little legal matter -- the appointment of a new justice to the Supreme Court -- Slate has rounded up a bunch of articles here and NY Times full coverage is over here.

Going back to Rome burning, the French are rioting and apparently have been for a couple of weeks. Not to be out-done, there are protests in Argentina as well. There was looting in New Orleans after Katrina, but gosh darn it, Michael Brown looked good; who knew the key to hard-working fashion are rolled up sleeves? Not so interested in fashion was Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall who faded in a navy blue ensemble next to Laura Bush' gown. Camilla is no Diana, nor would she want any comparisons, so my guess is the dud of a gown was a calculated one.

Maureen Dowd talks about feminism here -- and I'll be honest, I couldn't get through it -- but she has another thing or three to say to media guru Howard Kurtz over here.

Meanwhile, a Zogby Poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly want to elect Matt Santos to the White House. You'll have to check out the West Wing live debate on Sunday to see if Santos (played by Jimmy Smits) can outsmart the whip-smart Alan Alda. Still, viewers seem to prefer Geena Davis' version of the West Wing.

All in all, not quite as exciting a week as last. Will Karl Rove resign? Will Bill Frist calm down? Will the $800 gazillion bridge to nowhere in Alaska remain in the highway bill? Will Kevin Federline's rap rise up the charts? Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Accomplished day

I got my hair trimmed and colored today, so for the first time in a very long time, it's all black, and my kind of grown out layers are nicely back in line. Having a coupon for the free color was the best part. Still not sure how I feel about the cut. The stylist assured me long was better for my hair being thick and curly, but I've always had this impression that when you get your hair done, it has to be DRAMATIC so people notice, y'know, nothing short of hacking off 10 inches or something like that (which, btw, I HAVE done). And I do find it harder to deal with when it's short -- more opportunities for Insta!Puff and unruliness. At any rate, I'm liking the fact my hair is actually all one color now.

On a less frivolous note, I sent in my absentee ballot today. There were a ton of constitutional amendments I'd never heard of, but at least I got to vote against Proposition 2. It won't make any difference, but I felt very strongly that I had to register my opposition to formalized discrimination.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Those crazy, crazy kids

People who aren't me are trying to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. For those of you playing the home game, that 1,667 words a night (or day). After three years of this mad fest -- twice I actually completed the dang thing -- I'm sitting this round out. I'm putting this in writing and in public just so I don't change my mind because I know someone (initials j.p., natch) will remind me the month is still young...

Strangely, I think of this blog as being private. Never mind that it's online for God knows who to read, and here I think it's private. So even though I don't know most of you who read this blog (introduce yourselves!), it doesn't bother me at all -- mostly because I have control over what content actually appears here. But I always feel some trepidation over letting Real Life people know about this blog. It's not like there's anything terribly controversial here (other than being a liberal in a Red State but pretty much everyone who knows me know that about me) and no deep secrets or revelations or even feelings here. But still, I don't know. I just never know when it's the right time to tell a Real Life person about this blog, if indeed I should ever tell the person.