Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Things I Learned on the Internet Lately

How political junkies are made.

"Why ACME Restricted Internet Access"

If when running you exhale as your left foot strikes the ground instead of your right, you won't get a side stitch.

The local shelter might unload more pets if they hire McSweeney's to edit their ads:

Current: My name is Annie and I have had a bit of a rough time recently. After being in a home for over seven years, I was abandoned. I don't understand why and I really need someone who will love me and help me to trust again. I'm a sweet cat and will make the perfect companion for someone who can love me as much as I love her. Could that be you? I sure hope so!

Suggested: Look, I know the deal. You weren't supposed to end up 37, single, and stuck in a midlevel management career, were you? And he hasn't left his wife yet, has he? No, he hasn't. Well, shit happens. Trust me, I know about heartache. My loving owners "forgot" me in a Kmart parking lot. But I'll be here for you. Let's learn to trust again, together. I'll grab my catnip. Where are we parked?

Oh, and, with ads as with real estate, there is one rule: location, location, location.

The fact that Google has agreed to censor it's search results for the Chinese government really shouldn't change things much. Should it?

Deer hate old people.

What happens when you drop a 50 lb ball of silly putty off a roof. Just in case you were thinking about it.

How to convert an Oral B flosser into a vibrating lockpick. Again, just in case you were wondering. (And please insert obscene joke here).

Mesh trash can resurrection?

How not to impress that hottie bank teller.

How to gaslight the sexually adventurous. Don't even think about it.

Apparently, penetrative sex improves public speaking. Hey, I'm just the aggregator . . .

I bet they both wish it was an ex-parrot. (No, he's stunned.)

Peeling bananas from the other end is easier.

Who's controlling your brain?

I kid you not: the pee tree.

So we're now going to know how many ticks it takes for center of a Tootsie Pop?

Fun and mind games with your local Barista. Can you say "small"? S-M-A-L-L. Small.

BTW - Royce is back!!!! Just in time for the Great Iowa Blogger Bash.

Tuesday Quiz

You scored 76% individualism, 32% fatalism, 36% hierarchy, and 28% egalitarianism!
You strongly adhere to the culture of Individualism. Individualists believe that everyone should be given a fair chance, but people should be allowed to succeed or fail based on their merit. Competition -- in the marketplace, in elections, or elsewhere -- is your forte. Individualists think nature is resilient, like a ball at the bottom of a cup, and therefore competitors can be given free rein to exploit it.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 67% on individualism
You scored higher than 74% on fatalism
You scored higher than 48% on hierarchy
You scored higher than 9% on egalitarianism
Link: The Scientific Cultural Theory Test written by Stentor

Monday, January 30, 2006

I apparently speak Geek.

What scares me is that Brent's t-shirt made me giggle.

Exhibit A

During orientation for law school, there came a time when we were asked to introduce ourselves and share our motivation for studying the law. Answers varied from "To help the oppressed" to "To put God back into the legal system." But I'd give very good money to see someone simply proffer this case as "Exhibit A":
Talented foreigners around the world are flashing their skills to get into this country, of course. But very few have the assets of Argentine bombshell Dorismar. The former “Playboy” playmate was rounded up by immigration authorities and deported with her husband on January 5 after living illegally in Miami for five years.

Now her attorney is trying to get the calendar pinup back into this country by classifying her as, quote, “an alien of extraordinary ability.”

C'mon. They really can't flunk you for being a smart ass.

link via Jen: "What's Your Extraordinary Ability?"

Insert Off-Color Joke Here

You Are Brownie Batter Ice Cream

You've been known to lick *everything* clean

I'd write the joke for you, but it's just too damn easy.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

From today's PostSecret

Cut and Paste Poetry

Every now and then I feel like indulging in some creative writing, to challenge myself and see if I can still do it. This is an experiment. The mission: to create coherent verse entirely from cut-and-paste excerpts out of emails on a message board. Rules are that I could change nothing, not even capitalization, only line breaks could be used to change meaning/context. When flipping through places and subject matter, this particular board struck a chord because of the relentless attempts of the participants to find a way to make impossibly flawed relationships work. When I stumbled across it, I alternated between respecting their strength and just wanting to shake them and say "wake up!!!" This is what I want them to say, sliced and sutured from the words they actually used. The result's not going to win any awards, but it was fun.

I have
what you don't know

when confronted
He said
I have to confess
but I
cheated on
never talked to anyone
sexual things
just viewed free sample porn
everyone gets these

He said
he wants to start therapy
some personal recovery work
it doesn't take a brain surgeon
to know the truth

Trying to play the victim
he knows the language
you don't get the whole story
so many reflections
But his
to this:
he is
might check
find out about another affair
he is "acting out"
many different women
him and my Best Friend
his secretary
it has been going on all this time.
I paid for her pretty lingerie

is a permanent condition
a progressive decline
constantly and consistently.
the harsh lens of self-judgment
someone I don't want to be
beyond repair
i should be skinny
easier to talk to
I am not enough
I am not enough
I am not enough

he cried and begged me to let him stay
try to work things out.
He said he loved me

fooled again
grappling for a foothold
dropped into the abyss
raw with emotion
a way of life

but then
he said
how can I blame him?
he didn't do it because he wanted to
it's my fault
I am too
much smarter than he,
He was
feeling resentful
I betrayed him and myself
by invading his privacy
and he
can't handle this situation
having a very hard time at work
Things are very rocky right now
I can't blame it on him
the real problem is

the voices in my head
What happened to me?
I realize
I was wrong
I am
a smart person
a tower of strength
I don't "need" you.
I will
never apologize nor cover up for you
take responsibility
this life
is now my choice
I do not have to prove myself
to you
I'm gone

A Long Line of Monsters

If accurate, I don't know that this quote is going to assist her cause much:
And about Bill Clinton . . . . You know, I really think he should have been impeached, but not for a blow job. His policies are responsible for killing more Iraqis that George Bush. I don't understand why to rise to the level of being president of my country one has to be a monster. I used to say that George Bush was defiling the Oval Office, but it's been held by a long line of monsters. We don't have to support our administrations to love our country. True patriots of my country dissent when our country's doing something so wrong.

Thursday Quiz

I'm a Porsche 911!

You have a classic style, but you're up-to-date with the latest technology. You're ambitious, competitive, and you love to win. Performance, precision, and prestige - you're one of the elite,and you know it.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Quad-City Times: Swimsuit Scandal

This article and photo in the Quad City Times

Close-knit group has helped Spartans become one of Iowa’s elite teams

triggered a rather strident letter from Kathy Sampson of DeWitt:
Swim team picture looks like pornography
Imagine my surprise when I opened my Quad-City Times Thursday morning, and the Varsity section featured a full-page layout of child pornography! Teenage boys in swimsuits that left very little of their “manhood” to the imagination, and effectively turns them into sex objects. In a world of pedophiles, Catholic priests who prey on young boys, female teachers who engage in sex and have conceived children with their underage students and too many teenage pregnancies, is this really appropriate? I think not.

Every local grade school, middle school and high school library has subscriptions to the Quad-City Times which are available to their students. The students are even encouraged to read the newspapers as part of their social studies, “current events” curriculum. I think the Quad-City Times has a responsibility to the communities it serves to not subject our children and us to such blatant immorality. Even the most liberal Democrats I have ever known do not condone the victimization of children, yet, by publishing this photo, the Quad-City Times itself has exploited these boys to sell a few more newspapers.

Also, someone had to sign releases for this picture to be published. The boys in the picture are underage, so I’m assuming that it was the parents of these boys that approved of this. What were they thinking?

Immorality???? I mean, seriously, we're not talking g-strings here. Two of the kids have thigh-length suits. I suppose this would've been preferable?

Life Hacks

The Life Hacker Pack seems to include a bunch of cool freeware that at least claims to be basically equivalent to the current stuff offered by The Man. Open office is intriguing. It claims you can do a bunch of Word stuff and can save as a .pdf. Cool. One question: can you give me my "reveal codes" window from Wordperfect into a word format? Not that lame button that shows a few codes, but a real half-window that shows the formatting like HTML, so I can delete the code instead of just reverse it? If you do that, without sacrificing some of the handy Word knobs and whistles, I'll love you forever.

WinPatrol, another freeware program included in the comments, seems very handy to streamline the startup process. I'm going to look at it for my notebook.

ABC's "Enquiring Mind" is Apparently a Few Synapses Short

Courtesy of the idiots at ABC, you get this blurb:
Jan. 23, 2006 — At the historic swearing-in of John Roberts as the 17th chief justice of the United States last September, every member of the Supreme Court, except Antonin Scalia, was in attendance. ABC News has learned that Scalia instead was on the tennis court at one of the country's top resorts, the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Bachelor Gulch, Colo., during a trip to a legal seminar sponsored by the Federalist Society.

Not only did Scalia's absence appear to be a snub of the new chief justice, but according to some legal ethics experts, it also raised questions about the propriety of what critics call judicial junkets.

Ooooh. Sounds bad, doesn't it? At least, until you get the whole story: he was teaching a freaking class, people.

The Rocky Mountain News fills out the story:
Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the lawyers' group, The Federalist Society, said Tuesday that Scalia attended the group's meeting to teach a 10-hour course for more than 100 lawyers from at least 38 states on the separation of powers under the U.S. Constitution.

The meeting was at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Creek in Avon, between the Vail and Beaver Creek ski resorts.

Leo said in a statement Tuesday that ABC wrongly characterized Scalia as playing tennis at the resort instead of attending Roberts' swearing-in.

"Justice Scalia arrived and left Colorado without spending any extra days to engage in recreational activity. He arrived at the hotel the night before the course at 11 p.m., having traveled by car for three hours . . . He departed at around 6:30 a.m. the morning after the course ended in order to fly back home. The event started at 8 a.m. each of the mornings, and, despite ABC Nightline's emphasis on Justice Scalia participating in tennis at the hotel, he spent less than two hours playing the game over the course of those two days," the statement said.

Leo called the course "a serious scholarly program that required much work and advance preparation." He said Scalia prepared a 481-page course book, containing edited cases on separation of powers issues, that was given to all attendees in advance.

"Justice Scalia presented the course with LSU law professor John Baker. Both were present together on the rostrum for the 10-hour course, and both received reimbursement for travel and lodging. John Baker received an honorarium. Justice Scalia did not," Leo said.

He said Scalia agreed almost a year in advance to teach the course, and that the Roberts swearing-in wasn't firmly scheduled until the day before.

Sean Serrine of Objective Justice was there:
Like, OH MY GOD! Justice Scalia wasn't at the Roberts swearing in ceremony because he was, gasp, giving a lecture on the seperation of powers! . . .

Now, I need to mention that I'm a bit biased as far as this story goes. Why? Well, I was there and yes, I got the "rare opportunity to spend time, both socially and intellectually" with Scalia. As a law student, what could be better than learning substantial law from a sitting Supreme Court Justice. The Federalist Society wasn't influencing him, he was influencing all of us with his jurisprudence. ABC misses the point entirely, (as usual), and they make a complete ass of themselves.

Walter Olsen at the Point of Law Forum dubs it "The Dumbest Judicial Ethics Story Ever."

SCOTUSBlog feels it borders on character assassination:
The story quotes Justice Scalia as explaining that he missed the swearing in because of a prior commitment he could not break. The claim that he missed the event to play tennis is just absurd; this was not a tennis camp. Rather, so far as the story reveals, the program was a legal program centered around Scalia's participation. It appears that many attendees planned their travel in reliance on his planned attendance.

I am not a legal ethics expert; far from it. But on the facts as described by ABC (and there may be other details that aren't known) I completely fail to see the controversy. The Federalist Society does not litigate cases. It does not (so far as I know) even take positions on judicial nominees. Events like these are similar to those hosted by the American Constitution Society, which more liberal Justices attend. These events strike me as very valuable because they expose more people to the Justices, and vice versa.

I'm sure that Justice Scalia would have preferred to attend the swearing in. The story's assertion that his absence "appear[ed] to be a snub of the new chief justice" is true only in the sense that some people would be willing to take "appear[ances]" without regard to the circumstances. Scalia no doubt explained his unavoidable absence to the Chief, and likely to the full Court.

Orin Kerr comments:
Justice Scalia missed Chief Justice Roberts' swearing-in ceremony because he was giving a series of lectures on constitutional interpretation in Colorado — and he even had the nerve to exercise during his trip!!! . . .

A group of law professors are rumored to be circulating a letter demanding that in light of Scalia's absence from the critical ceremony, Scalia's vote should now be ignored, and the vote of Justice Ginsburg (who was present) should be counted twice.

Wednesday Quiz #2

Arty Kid

Whether you were a drama freak or an emo poet, you definitely were expressive and unique.

You're probably a little less weird these days - but even more talented!

Wednesday Quiz

Your Stipper Song Is

Closer by Nine Inch Nails

"You let me violate you, you let me desecrate you
You let me penetrate you, you let me complicate you
Help me I broke apart my insides, help me I've got no
Soul to tell"

When you dance, it's a little scary - and a lot sexy.

Well Done

I've not posted on the FISA controversy for a while, primarily because there's nothing new to report: The executive branch persists in defending the unwarranted surveillance program as necessary, despite the ample provisions for speed inherent within the text of the FISA. The latest from Gonzales:
In his address, Gonzales said, "I keep hearing, 'Why not FISA?' Why didn't the president get orders from the FISA court?

"It is imperative for national security that we can detect reliably, immediately and without delay whenever communications associated with al-Qaida enter or leave the United States."

Gonzales told his audience: "You may have heard about the provision of FISA that allows the president to conduct warrantless surveillance for 15 days following a declaration of war. That provision shows that Congress knew that warrantless surveillance would be essential in wartime."

Evasive bordering on non-responsive, sir. The FISA provides for speed, with section 1805 specifically stating:
(f) Emergency orders
Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter, when the Attorney General reasonably determines that—
(1) an emergency situation exists with respect to the employment of electronic surveillance to obtain foreign intelligence information before an order authorizing such surveillance can with due diligence be obtained; and
(2) the factual basis for issuance of an order under this subchapter to approve such surveillance exists;
he may authorize the emergency employment of electronic surveillance if a judge having jurisdiction under section 1803 of this title is informed by the Attorney General or his designee at the time of such authorization that the decision has been made to employ emergency electronic surveillance and if an application in accordance with this subchapter is made to that judge as soon as practicable, but not more than 72 hours after the Attorney General authorizes such surveillance.

To my knowledge, and I've skimmed the news on this regularly, the administration keeps citing the need for speed, yet no one has been able to proffer any explanation as to why the three-day rule is unworkable in that context. I can only assume that there is none, otherwise why not point it out?

Yes, it's a pain to acquire a warrant, filling out dozens of forms proving why you need access to the suspect materials. In a prior life, I've sworn a time or two at the tediousness of the paperwork. But I understood - it's meant to be rigorous, to ensure our rights aren't violated. If you successfully impinge upon the process, even with the best of intentions, the same "shortcuts" could serve to dismantle your own rights under a less-scrupulous administration.

Given the lack of any solid explanation, I can only conclude that the administratration's position on following the law is simply that if it's not convenient, they shouldn't have to do it. I'm sorry, but "bogus" doesn't begin to cover that attitude. So I was very gratified to see this demonstration at Georgetown:
During his speech, more than a dozen students staged a silent protest by turning their backs to Gonzales, reports CBS News' Stephanie Lambidakis. Five students wearing black hoods unfurled a banner with a quote from Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."

Silent, powerful, effective. Nice work.

Prior posts are here and here, if you want to read a brain-dump as I worked through the language.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Monday Quiz - This One's for the Girls

You Are a Flawless Beauty!

When it comes to beauty, you spare no expense - and it shows
You're the kind of woman a man would launch a thousand ships for
It's hard for anyone to beat you in the beauty department
But remember, it's okay to show a flaw or too - you've got plenty to spare

Ass Was Kicked, Names Were Taken

The Odd Couple's opening weekend went very nicely, thanks for asking.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Opening Night Tonight

Read the "Go" article here.

Why could I have predicted this?

All around, I'm pleased with this one. The parts are solid, the set is beautiful. I am still concerned about the British accent the Pigeon sisters must use (working class, but not cockney).

Some of the audience members at the invited dress last night were asking if we were from England, which I would normally take as a good sign. But then they also asked if we were really twins. I think somebody needs a new prescription . . .

Would you rather come next week instead? There's still tons of stuff to do. Some suggestions for Saturday:

If you're in the mood to laugh, head over to see Comics in Action:

Saturday, Jan. 21 @ 8PM (Planet X - next to Lindale Mall) - If you haven't see us perform in a while, come on out to Planet X next to Lindale Mall at 8PM. It'll be AWESOME! It's an all ages show!

Want to hear some awesome acoustic live music? Scott and Michelle Dalziel are at Zuber's in Homestead:

Saturday, January 21, 8:00 PM We are back at Zubers. Whoohooo ! We've got a couple brand new songs we'd like to show ya. Come witness it. LOL Zubers is located in Homestead IA.. 6 miles south of main amana. -800-522-8883 or 319-622-3911

Something's Fishy Here

You know the generic fish scene screensavers, and how people are using their flat panel displays to play back a video loop depicting fish swimming around in a tank. Yeah, yeah, been there done that back in the '90's, right after that whole flying toaster thing. You've just got cooler graphics. But . . .
now you can get a fish tank that looks like a plasma screen imitating a fish tank. Oooh! Surreal and circular.

Self-Made Man

The book review from Salon offers this bit of analysis:
When Vincent reports, "It was hard being a guy," she really means to say that it's hard for all of us to live up to the hackneyed ideals of masculinity, and maybe only a little harder for Ned. But I strongly suspect that she means it was hard for Norah to be Ned in ways she hasn't quite confronted, that pretending to be a man did not confer upon her any of the alleged privilege or freedom of manhood, and that that was subtly and perhaps subconsciously disappointing. She's too guarded to write honestly about the difficulty and pain she obviously experienced, yet also too locked within that subjectivity to see it for what it is.

Ned seems as if he was a good guy. A little dippy, a little overly earnest, a little too eager to please. But his heart was in the right place, and we can always use more guys like that. Is it as tough to be a guy as it was for him? Well, it can be; manhood 2.0 offers all the old pitfalls and some new ones too. We're all trying to make it up as we go, mixing something from Category A with something from Category B: a dose of old-fashioned stoicism, some dudely 'tude, along with the ability to cry every now and then, or hug each other without grotesque embarrassment. A shot of bourbon and a glass of Chardonnay; it doesn't always work.

Come to think of it, you could say the same thing about women. These days they're all trying to be the attorney general while wearing sexy lingerie and downloading killer cookie recipes on their BlackBerrys. It can be pretty awkward. Some, like Norah Vincent, are trying to find a form of femininity that borders on masculinity. It seems to me that it's pretty hard to be human, and that we might all be the same misfit, mask-wearing, role-playing species after all.

Say Again?

The Daily Iowan has this article:
The UI graduate student union will present President David Skorton with a petition today arguing that international teaching and research assistants who fail to test out of entrance-language proficiency tests should not have to pay for additional required coursework.

COGS President Patrick Oray said the testing policy has concerned international graduate students since last semester. Five UI graduate assistants filed grievances with the mathematics department last semester after they failed to qualify to teach and their hours of work per week were significantly reduced.

Oray said that although only five students spoke out, the current complaint represents a commonly felt sentiment among international students, who must pass one of two language exams before they can teach in UI classrooms.

If students fail the initial language test, called the Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit, they must take a second test given in a classroom setting in whch they make a lecture-type presentation.

Oray said the merits of the program were reasonable but that the UI is running counter to its commitment to educate the newcomers by requiring them to pay $300 for extra classwork.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but I fail to see why it would be unreasonable to require payment unless they were unclear at the time of hiring that a particular level of English proficiency would be required to obtain classroom time. While most employers do pick up the costs of work-related seminars and such, I think I draw the distinction on this one in that while it's a requirement for work, it's not strictly work-related but more of a basic-level skill. 1) If I were thrown into the finance section of my company (god forbid), I'd expect the company to train me and provide seminars on the most recent finance law. But my inability to do math would be something for me to deal with. 2) If I decided to teach school in a foreign country, I'd expect to either have to learn the language beforehand up to a proficiency sufficient to get my ideas across, or I'd be relegated to places where English is spoken as a primary alternate language and teaching in it would be acceptable. If these TAs were recruited with the promise of "come as you are" and then made to pay for a class before they could teach, that would be another matter.

That said . . . as I understand it, the "extra coursework" is to teach a class - the thing the UI has agreed to pay them to do. And UI has tons of classes, ranging from advanced to remedial. They couldn't simply sub for a day on a relatively unimportant topic at really low cost to everyone?

Friday Quiz

Your Passion is Purple!

You've got a ton of passion, but you don't always wear it on your sleeve. If something truly excites you, you let your inner intensity shine through. But otherwise, your passion tends to morph into energy ... which you never lack. You're balanced, knowing when to turn on the fire in your heart.

Good Advice on the Rainforest

UI Law Professor Nick Johnson's got an editorial in today's Press-Citizen. Bonus points: he mentions "blogger State 29."

His is more of a full-fledged website than a simple blog, and he was a very welcome attendee at the last Iowa Blogger Bash (not to mention subjecting himself to attending many of the shows I'm in, which is very cool for me but could be considered a violation of the 8th Amendment in some circles.)

He lists the mandatory minimum characteristics required for the rainforest idea to succeed:
Focus. . . .
Community-based. . . .
Logical location. . . .
Up-front financing. . . .
Business plans. . . .
Revenue streams. . . .
Realistic evaluation. . . .

I agree with the whole thing, including the one point that most pro-rainforest Iowans don't want to admit about the "location" issue:
Aquariums do best near oceans; Colonial Williams-burg in Williamsburg, Va. The Living History Farms, or Dubuque's Mississippi museum on the banks of that great river, gain significance from their location in Iowa. A rain forest does not.

Read the rest.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Improv Alert!!!

If you can't make it to Iowa City this weekend, or theater just isn't your thing, check out Comics in Action this Saturday. They're flippin' hilarious. Seriously.

But don't ask them to act out a pickle. Take my word on that one.

If you go, tell Agent Collateral Damage I said hello, and get his ass over to see Odd Couple.

Fresh Law

The Iowa Court of Appeals decided, like, a gagillion cases today. And because I spent my time stating the obvious I don't have any left to blog on them. Dammit.

Well, there's a bunch of criminal cases, including this case in which a homeowner forced to leave his home by court order based on a domestic abuse charge tries to sue the state for a "taking". Sort story: he lost. There's also an interesting fight over a family farm that you'll need a score card to keep up with. It spawned both a dissent and a special concurrence, so you know they had a hard time making up their minds.

Oh, and there's a criminal case in which this was the basis for a stop:
On December 11, 2004, between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m., Reserve Deputy Eric Goemaat witnessed a vehicle come to a stop on the side of a rural gravel road approximately one-eighth of a mile from his home. Watching through binoculars from his home, the reserve deputy saw a person walk in front of the vehicle’s headlights. The vehicle remained stationary for approximately eight minutes. It then continued down the road and turned into a farm driveway that led to the home of Deputy Sheriff Ronald Goemaat. Eric Goemaat is Ronald Goemaat’s son. Eric Goemaat called his father and told him a vehicle that “looked suspicious” was coming up his driveway. The reserve deputy did not tell his father that he observed any crime or traffic violations being committed by the driver of the vehicle.

After visiting with his son on the phone, Deputy Goemaat looked out his window and saw a vehicle pull into the yard at the end of his quarter-mile-long driveway. The vehicle stopped for a few seconds, turned around, and headed back down the driveway. The deputy’s fully marked patrol vehicle was parked in the yard and illuminated by a yard light. Deputy Goemaat left his house, got into his patrol vehicle, turned on the “bar lights,” and followed the vehicle back to the gravel road, where the driver, Michael McIntosh, pulled over. McIntosh was subsequently arrested and charged with OWI in violation of Iowa Code section 321J.2 (2003).

1) It was insufficient.
2) I think there was more to the story than that? I somehow doubt both of them spend all their free time looking out their windows with binoculars, or stopping any car that uses their driveway to turn around. If I'm wrong on that one . . . seriously: seek therapy, guys.

This criminal case that the State couldn't seize a guy's truck just because he used it to act as a look-out in a drug deal (he apparently had absolutely no other involvement with dealing). NOTE: it's a very fact-specific case, so criminal charges aside, I don't think I'd be volunteering for lookout duty anytime soon.

For an idea what domestic violence looks like, try this case.

This case reinforces the premise you can't promise leniency to coerce a confession - at least not if you want it to be admissible in court.

This case demonstrates why you have to be very, very careful about throwing in a laundry list of lesser-included offenses. If you guess wrong, you may just shoot yourself in the foot:
It is well-settled that the double jeopardy clause protects defendants against multiple punishments for the same offense. . . . Thus, if one crime is a lesser-included offense of another, and a defendant is convicted of both crimes, the double jeopardy clause may be violated. . . . However, by rendering a guilty verdict on a lesser-included offense in the first trial, a jury impliedly acquits the defendant of the greater offense. . . . It is therefore impermissible to resubmit any of the greater offenses at the second trial because the Constitution not only protects against conviction of the greater charge on retrial, it protects against the jeopardy of facing the greater charge after an acquittal, express or implied. . . . In this case, assault with the intent to commit sexual abuse causing bodily injury was submitted, although in error, as a lesser included offense of first degree kidnapping, and became the law of the case. Therefore, we conclude the double jeopardy clause bars retrial of the submitted greater offenses of first-degree kidnapping, third-degree kidnapping, and third-degree sexual abuse.

Oh, and By the Way . . .

You Are Glam Sexy

You live for flaunting your sexiness, and you totally work it. Why not? You've got the goods - you might as well use them. You're 100% woman, and you never go out without looking your best. After all, you never can tell when you might bump into Mr. Perfect!

Refining Public Policy

One of the better parts of the great blog conversation is the ability to debate openly and come to consensus. State's responded to my response to the whole welfare-subsidized tubal ligation issue: Oh It’s Good, Good, Good. Like Brigitte Bardot!

First off, there are some who might feel that State's linking my substantive post to the fluff "what sex symbol are you" test has demeaning implications, as though any opinion I advocate equates to the fluff generated by blonde bombshells.
If I win this debate, I pledge to do all I can to save puppies and promote world peace.
My opinion? A) Controversy drives debate, people. B) High heels and brains are not mutually exclusive. The more the stereotype is thrown out there and proven false, the better. C) Except if I prove it false too many times I can no longer fake ditzy to get out away from obnoxious sales people and such, dammit. Oh, well, link away.

On to substance:

State asks: Did anybody read the original story and comprehend what it was about?

Um, yes.

Then points out: "The main point of the program, at least from the Federal angle, is to reduce the number of taxpayer-financed births. The hope is that the Feds reduce their costs by getting more poor women in Iowa checked and, ostensibly, get them on a female-initiated birth control plan. Fewer Fed-paid births equals fewer State-paid bennies down the road.

Can we all agree on that? Good.

Yep, I'm with you there.

But then, the clarification: "In closing, the point of the program is to reduce Federal and State costs of bringing another poor child into the world. Right? So all we're asking is that an additional choice be offered.

Choice? Get it? Choice."

If that was the intent of the original post, then I agree that the choice should be made available. The problem was, I didn't read that into the original post or the follow-up. The entire commentary from the original post reads:
The State of Iowa, or maybe even the Feds, would be better off paying poor women to get their tubes tied. Give them something like $2000 cash money and a free operation. That will save the taxpayers a lot of money in the future and will eliminate any future welfare dependents. Then they can screw every dirtbag loser in the county and not make any more babies. That's what we call a "win/win" situation for all. In the retail world they call this a "loss leader." (emphasis mine)

To me, the use of "better off" connotes substitution, not supplementation. I presumed you were stating that tubal ligation should be instituted instead of the free birth control and annual exams for which the Department of Human Services has received funding. This apparently mistaken impression was reinforced in the next post, which states in part:
The ultra-lefties can wring their hands all they want about "poor women" and how anybody who dares to criticize their plight must consider these women "whores" or whatever, but that doesn't solve the problem. Neither does giving the women "free" checks for herpes, warts, gonorrhea, crabs, and lord knows what else before slipping a packet of "free" pills into their purse - pills you just know that many will neglect to take properly.
How do you break the cycle of dependency upon the taxpayers? Free birth control? Grants to go to the local community college for a semester and a half? Job training so you can work at the local casino or TouchPlay Slottery convenience store? No way. That's not it.

"Family planning" should also involve a time in which the State decides that enough is enough. We're not getting all China on the welfare bums, but an incentive to a 19 year old mother of two with no hopes or prospects is the kind of loss leader that might pay some dividends down the road. Rather than stringing the mother and the kids (and some of the fathers) down the road until she's 39 with 20+ years of welfare, ADC, food stamps, heating assistance, Hawk-I, Medicaid, or never-ending battles in court over child support, how about giving the family an option to quit while they're behind only a little bit.
(emphasis mine)

Now, to be fair, the post does use the language "giving the family an option." However, it's preceded by a diatribe on how free birth control is not the solution, and, if given, will only be ineffective because women on welfare are too ignorant or flightly to remember to take a daily pill. For a substantive answer to that argument, see my earlier post. My point here is merely that it appears State is actually in agreement with my position, diatribe aside. We discover that once the language is taken down a notch and bring out the issues. . . .

Which is precisely why I don't use inflammatory rhetoric.

Dan comments:
You both are arguing the same thing. State used the openly inflammatory lingo to get you to buy into the program.

And you did.

You took State to the woodshed just like Brer Bear took Brer Rabbit to the briar patch. At least Brer Bear realized when "his better was got."

Um, Dan? I been around this briar patch longer than you might realize. I am well aware that State takes a deliberately inflammatory approach to incite conversation - why do you think I thanked him in the last post for stirring the pot? My niche in all this is to do the brain-bleed analysis. I'll occasionally be snarky, but in general it's mainly straight-up logic.

Oh, and as far as buying into the program goes: do you think I just made up that example on my prior post out of thin air? Or perhaps could you sense I was a tad outraged and tried to help that mother before having to step back and watch her life fall to pieces that can never be put back together again? I'm afraid my position on this debate was cemented a good ten years or more ago, by someone who made the point far more eloquently than any of our blogs or comments can.

Chris Woods responds to our responses here:
Adding tubal ligation has part of the choice in family planning is an interesting idea and deserves more real thought and consideration than just a couple of bloggers. I’d like to see some kind of research center take up the idea, if they already haven’t (I haven’t really done any research to see if there is a similar policy already).

State 29 also responds to SNAD’s post with something actually reasonable and worth the read (while barely inflammatory).

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wednesday Quiz

You are Brigitte Bardot

Naurally sensual and beautiful
You're an exotic beauty who turns heads everywhere
You've got a look that's one of a kind

Hey, Guys? Mind if an actual female has a say?

State 29's been dealing with birth control and welfare issues lately, and I thought I'd take a moment to address this argument:
Beginning in February, low-income women ages 12 to 44 who earn 200 percent or less of poverty level will be eligible.

They'll be able to go to a health clinic and apply to receive free annual gynecological exams, birth control pills and other family planning services. Abortions are not covered under the program.
The State of Iowa, or maybe even the Feds, would be better off paying poor women to get their tubes tied. Give them something like $2000 cash money and a free operation. That will save the taxpayers a lot of money in the future and will eliminate any future welfare dependents. Then they can screw every dirtbag loser in the county and not make any more babies. That's what we call a "win/win" situation for all. In the retail world they call this a "loss leader."

Inflammatory language aside, the argument simply doesn't hold water, for reasons I'll touch on in a moment. There were a flurry of comments on State's argument over on Political Forecast - see Chris Wood's response and the comments thereto. Out of these, Marc D. went farthest in doing actual factual refutation of State's position. His comment:
What I find most irritating about State29’s commentary on this and many other issues, is an obvious failure to do even the most elementary research.

Citing sources such as the US Census, the House of Representatives, the Heritage Foundation, etc. This nicely put together page provides facts that obviously have no currency in the Bowels of State29’s mind in refutation of the myth that “Welfare gives mothers an economic incentive to have more children.”
[Fact: “Studies have not found a correlation between size of welfare benefits
and families. “]

Myth: People on welfare are usually black, teenage mothers who stay on ten years at a time.
Fact: whites form the largest racial group on welfare; half of all welfare recipients leave in the first two years; and teenagers form less than 8 percent of all welfare mothers.

discusses the 8 most prevalent myths about welfare including State29’s obvious favorite: “Welfare dependency is the result of the moral failings of poor people: addiction, unwillingness to work, lack of family values and sexual control.”


State responds here:
Ignore the whole "welfare queen" myth. That's a rare instance.

What about a family with four or five kids with a married mother and father, but for some reason they can't bring in enough to get by. Perhaps one or both parents are on disability, is an occasional drunk or drug addict, or just can't hold a job. The family is constantly on some kind of assistance. Is it OK for the State to come along and say: "You're 32 years old, you've taken $XXX,XXX from the taxpayers over the past XX number of years. You're probably not going to change your ways. Why not accept some cash and get a free operation?"

The reality is that some people are going to get themselves into bad situations thanks to bad choices and before long they're living a Jerry Springer Guest Lifestyle.

The ultra-lefties can wring their hands all they want about "poor women" and how anybody who dares to criticize their plight must consider these women "whores" or whatever, but that doesn't solve the problem. Neither does giving the women "free" checks for herpes, warts, gonorrhea, crabs, and lord knows what else before slipping a packet of "free" pills into their purse - pills you just know that many will neglect to take properly.

How do you break the cycle of dependency upon the taxpayers? Free birth control? Grants to go to the local community college for a semester and a half? Job training so you can work at the local casino or TouchPlay Slottery convenience store? No way. That's not it.

"Family planning" should also involve a time in which the State decides that enough is enough. We're not getting all China on the welfare bums, but an incentive to a 19 year old mother of two with no hopes or prospects is the kind of loss leader that might pay some dividends down the road. Rather than stringing the mother and the kids (and some of the fathers) down the road until she's 39 with 20+ years of welfare, ADC, food stamps, heating assistance, Hawk-I, Medicaid, or never-ending battles in court over child support, how about giving the family an option to quit while they're behind only a little bit. Then they can have the time to raise what they've got, get their lives together once the kids are in daycare or school, then they can have a life and a career of their own. What's so wrong about that?

Well, you've bundled a lot into this, but I'll try to answer the question.

1) Assumes facts not in evidence.
First off, you say to take the "welfare queen" out of the picture. That's wise, because the welfare queen is a statistical minority. According to what I found in the Urban Institute, about a quarter to one-third of those who go off welfare in Iowa return. That leaves two-thirds who don't. Having another child is a factor among those who return, at about 35%, but again not a solid majority. So by my math, about a ninth of the welfare recipients are repeaters who are back on for having another child. Why am I going on about a point that you conceded? Because you neglected to delete the personal assumtions associated with the welfare queen stereotype:
Neither does giving the women "free" checks for herpes, warts, gonorrhea, crabs, and lord knows what else before slipping a packet of "free" pills into their purse - pills you just know that many will neglect to take properly.

As any female can tell you, the annual exam is a part of the essential routine, married or not. It's primarily because ovarian cancer is symptomless until it's in the late stages, but there are a whole host of other reasons. It is also generally required in order to obtain any chemical birth control because of the increased health risk to the female. That goes across the board, from the private doctor's office to the Free Medical Clinic. Your rebuttal statement correctly points out that venereal diseases are a typical part of the screening (albiet one that's covered less and less as insurace is being cut), however it also implies that this is the sole reason for the visit: to minimize the number of bugs the stupid skank has picked up in the past year by sleeping with God-knows-who. But we've already eliminated the statistical minority welfare queen, remember? So the stereotype is invalid, as is the correlating implication that giving women free birth control pills is useless. Again, remember, we've ditched the welfare queen. And the overall statistical effectiveness for the pill is 92-97% - which takes into account people who miss them. To sum: what facts do you have to show that non-"welfare queens" are skanky and can't keep track of their pills?

Rather than stringing the mother and the kids (and some of the fathers) down the road until she's 39 with 20+ years of welfare, ADC, food stamps, heating assistance, Hawk-I, Medicaid, or never-ending battles in court over child support, how about giving the family an option to quit while they're behind only a little bit.

Have we all forgotten about the five-year time limit? Even those recalcitrant cases will eventually find a cut-off point. And, again, studies show that returning parents are only 1/3 of welfare repeaters and only 1/3 of the people on welfare are repeaters.

2) Overbroad/overkill
You argue that free birth control simply won't work, impliedly because women on welfare are either to recalcitrant or stupid to take the pills. That's a myth, as the success rate for the pill is in the ninety-percent rate, taking missed pills into account. It's also a stereotype, in my opinion, I don't know a female alive who's been on the pill for any amount of time and didn't miss one sometime, somewhere, generally due to circumstances beyond her control. But regardless, you're forgetting some other options: depo-provera, the patch, etc. There are many ways of preventing birth that minimize the "stupid" factor even if it were present.

Tubal ligation is not a minor procedure. It's very invasive and almost always permanent. Poverty, on the other hand, is not necessarily permanent. Neither is the lack of work or an education. In other words, you're advocating a permanent procedure (sterilization) for what you simultaneously argue at least should be a temporary condition (poverty/welfare need).

BUT . . .

In with the stereotypes, the inflammatory language (good job in getting the discussion started) and so forth is this little phrase:
giving the family an option

Precisely. I'd argue that your tubal ligation solution, rather than replacing the free birth control and the required medical check-ups necessary to dispense it, should be added as another option for low-income families to consider.

(Not the whole $2000 "bonus" if they take it. When you combine that with the stereotypes I pointed out, I'm afraid it does smack strongly of eugenics.)

But the operation itself - why shouldn't it be available as an option?

I can cite an example I ran across in the past: a woman who had two unplanned pregnancies while studying to become an electrician in order to try to get her family up and out of the system. She'd chosen to become an electrician because she'd done the research on hourly wages, wanted to stay away from seasonal work, and also was realistic enough to know she didn't have the brains to do well in college. She was structured, disciplined, and I truly believed she'd pull it off. The first child, I believe, did predate the electrician training and was conceived because they were using only condoms.
(NOTE: Is everybody out there clear that 14 out of 100 women will become pregnant in a year of typical condom use? (NOTE NOTE: is everyone also clear that means "typical," not "irresponsible?" Particularly those of you who use condoms as your primary method of birth control? Think about it.)
Second time around, if I recall correctly, she tried the pill. She got the baby jackpot again, in that she fell into that 3-8% who got pregnant anyway. And, given the rigorous schedule she tried to keep and her high sense of responsibility, I'd say she wasn't a stupid woman who often missed pills. After the second time around, she requested a tubal ligation. Her low-income benefits wouldn't cover it and the doctor wouldn't perform it, because she was under the age of 25. Long story short, after yet another "miracle" conception, she became depressed enough that she stopped trying. She eventually ended up in the system for a number of years, got her kids removed, and has become the typical burn-out. Some might look at her family history and say it was inevitable. If the State kept track of juvenile records beyond the age of 18, you would be able to trace some families down through the system over generations back, and her family did have a significant history of involvement with the system. But I often wonder, given how hard she tried to break that trend, was it inevitable, or did that one issue act as the turning point, a catalyst for the slow descent down into poverty, addiction, and chaos? It's impossible to answer, but I think that is one solid example in favor of adding tubal ligation as an alternative choice for women who wish to exercise that option.

Anyway, I think this basically addresses the question, but I reserve the right to supplement (and correct my stupid fractions) if I want to, 'cause it's my blog.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Tuesday Quiz

ColorQuiz.comMe took the free ColorQuiz.com personality test!

"Her need to feel more causative and to have a wide..."

Click here to read the rest of the results.

Stole this from Matt, and while I don't know if I like the answers, it's certainly interesting.

Friday, January 13, 2006


From Alas, A Blog, I bring you this classic, which I've renamed:

Best. Editing. Error. Ever.


I didn't know they gave Darwin Awards for Hamsters. Note the "Past Stories" links on the right sidebar.


Just for the hell of it, some Bill Maher excerpts. Follow the numeric links to read a bunch more:
1. If you're over 20 and you have a doll in your house, you'd better be a guy and the doll better be inflatable.

2. New Rule: If your razor has five blades, it's not a razor, it's a weed-whacker. With the new Gillette Fusion razor, the first blade lifts the stubble; the second severs the hair follicle; the third slices your skin; the fourth scrapes bone marrow; and the fifth was used by O.J. Simpson to kill his wife, and he wants it back.

3. New Rule: The fortunes in fortune cookies have to be fortunes. "You surround yourself with good friends" is not a prediction. It's a compliment. Quit kissing my ass, cookie! If I'm going to sit through a plate of MSG-laden, twice-cooked kitty-cat, I want a real fortune like, "That meal you just ate is going to give you cancer."

4. New Rule: When I ask how old your toddler is, I don't need to know in months. "27 Months." "He's two," will do just fine. He's not a cheese.

5. New Rule: I'm not the cashier! By the time I look up from sliding my card, entering my PIN number, pressing "Enter," verifying the amount, deciding, no, I don't want cash back, and pressing "Enter" again, the kid who is supposed to be ringing me up is standing there eating my Almond Joy.


I'm not saying I'm arachnophobic, but I'm in total sympathy with this guy.

Matthew Yglesias looks at Caitlin Flanagan's long article on blowjobs and asks: "Why Can't I Get These Assignments?"

Bored at work? Test yourself on the etymology of common words. It can be harder than you think.

Question: so is this guy a geek or a dork?

How about this guy?

I mean, they're skirting that geek/dork line, but I'm going with dork on #1 and geek on #2.

Speaking of guys, the question remains. . . .

Did you catch Gradual Dazzle's link to the best blonde joke ever? If you're blonde, email me and I'll explain it to you.

Iowa Blog Wars Part II.

I'll put my two cents' worth in later - this post is for fun stuff.
Let's not bicker and argue over who flamed who.


In the "awwww" inspiring mushy relationship department: Michelle is trying to revive the love letter as a genre, and is looking for suggestions.
And to for a good reminder about what's really important, read Waiter Rant. BTW - I don't ever miss his posts. They should syndicate his blog.

The Ground Meat Cookbook. I kid you not.

You could base an Eastern philosophy on this sign, couldn't you?

Fresh Caselaw

First, I'll get the semi-serious stuff out of the way: here are new Iowa Supreme Court cases up today: Alexander v. Groth is an inter-relative fight when a sister sold off the house after mom's death and didn't split the proceeds. Mom had transfered the house into sis' name before she died, and then sent to all the other kids that it was just a tax thing, and she expected sis to split everything evenly when she sold the house after Mom's death. The Court found the letter sufficient to create a trust, and held Sis to her promise. Iowa Supreme Court Disciplinary Board v. Reilly appears to be a fairly obvious revocation of an attorney's license, based on stealing a client's money and then kiting checks to try to cover the loss. The Supremes frown on that kind of thing. The last one, Summy v. Des Moines is rather interesting: A golfer on the eighteenth hole of Waveland Golf Course got beaned by someone teeing off from the first hole. The golfer teeing off did not yell "fore," 'cause he didn't see anyone over on 18. The city wanted to argue that the whole thing was the golfer's fault, that the negligence in how he teed off and the failure to yell "fore" was the proximate cause of the loss, and the injury was one incidental to golf. The problem? Section 344 of the Restatement of Torts states:
A possessor of land who holds it open to the public for entry for his
business purposes is subject to liability to members of the public while they
are upon the land for such a purpose, for physical harm caused by the
accidental, negligent, or intentionally harmful acts of third persons or
animals, and by the failure of the possessor to exercise reasonable care to
(a) discover that such acts are being done or are likely to be done,
(b) give a warning adequate to enable the visitors to avoid the harm, or otherwise to protect them against it.

In other words, if you open up your land to the public when you know or should have known that people or animals are going to be doing negligent or dangerous stuff on your land, you have the duty to warn people about the hazards. The city wanted to argue proximate cause despite this, saying the act of the third party golfer was solely responsible, but the judge didn't let them. This may sound unfair at first, but if you think about it, if the alleged harm is the failure of the city to protect the public from the foreseeable acts of third parties, and the city is allowed to counter that by arguing that it's the third party's fault, the argument becomes circular and eviscerates the provision as written and render it utterly meaningless. Which is probably why the Restatement includes this principle:
If the likelihood that a third person may act in a particular manner is the hazard or one of the hazards which makes the actor negligent, such an act whether innocent, negligent, intentionally tortious, or criminal does not prevent the actor from being liable for harm caused thereby.

The City also argued immunity based on Iowa Code Section 670.4(10), which protects municipalities from liability from negligently issued permits (i.e. if the State gave a hunting permit to someone who shouldn't have one and that person caps somebody). They claimed the golf pass issued to the golfer's employer counted as a "permit." Not so much. Finally, the City argued that jury selection was bogus because the Court didn't allow anyone who owned property in Des Moines onto the jury. The Supremes agreed this was improper, but the city failed to show how that impropriety would've affected the outcome of the case, so the point was insufficient to overturn the jury verdict. Oh, and if you still think there was no way the city could've been at fault for this, consider the following:
At trial Summy introduced evidence that the design of the golf course called for a tree barrier between the first and eighteenth fairways. Although
such a barrier had existed at one time, sixty to eighty mature trees in the area between these fairways died in the 1960s. In June 2000, there were a few small trees between the first and eighteenth fairways, but according to the plaintiff’s witnesses these trees were not a sufficient protective barrier. Even one of the City’s witnesses acknowledged there was a hazard in the area of fairway eighteen from being hit by a shot off tee number one. Summy’s experts testified that the two fairways had overlapping areas of play and that it was absolutely foreseeable that golf balls hit from the first tee would travel into the area where Summy was hit due to the overlapping playing areas and the lack of heavy trees between the fairways. The experts also identified several ways in which the safety in this area could have
been improved. In addition, evidence was presented that the City had no inspection or safety program, and no one was responsible for identifying hazards on the course so protective measures could be implemented.

Sounds like the city knew about the risk, had taken precautions, but didn't really give a damn when the trees went down. Until someone got hurt. Or am I overreacting? Golfers?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Things I've Learned on the Internet Lately - the Fashion Mini-Issue

Fashion is becoming very dissociative these days. I'm going for that billowing tailored look, myself, with skirts that are short, but in a longish sort of way. Walking down the street in one of those should elicit a deafening silence.

But no matter how hot the trends are, people in Missouri just won't get it.

Sperm costumes do nothing for the figure. And, seriously, those shoes? Apparently, it was a parade, held in conjunction with the announcement of new legislation: a formal proposal to force all men and women — even those just visiting — to always carry at least one condom. Those caught empty-pocketed could pay a fine of $180 or take a safe sex course . . . Which brings me to these questions: Why fourteen as a cutoff age, instead of twelve or eighteen? Define "carry"? Would keeping it in your purse count? Your car? Wouldn't it be just as easy to require the guys just to wear one all the time? Might make that whole public urination a thing of the past - and be yet another innovative fashion statement. Nope, I think they just rubber-stamped this one without any thought whatsoever.

They might manufacture most of our clothes and home furnishings, but for God's sake do NOT let Taiwan get into design.

The enlightening power of female genitalia: "They all looked so different." Hmm . . . not if these guys get their way: "The majority of women are thrilled with their new, more aesthetically desirable appearance after labiaplasty, and are more confident, comfortable, and sexually active." Am I the only one who finds this trend very disturbing?

Maryland protects your right to wear a thong . . . . or, not.

Via Aprille: which celeb do you resemble?

Oh, and this rather surprising result:

You Are Most Like Charlotte!

You are the ultimate romantic idealist
You've been hurt before, but that hasn't caused you to give up on love.
If anything, your resolve to fall in love is stronger than ever.
And it's this feminine optimism that men find most appealing about you.

Romantic prediction: That guy you are seeing (or crushing on)?

Could be very serious - if you play your cards right!

Thursday Quiz

You Belong in Paris

Stylish and a little sassy, you were meant for Paris.
The art, the fashion, the wine, the men!
Whether you're enjoying the cafe life or a beautiful park...
You'll love living in the most chic place on earth.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Psst - Side Note on SideBars

Hey, Dweeze, Greenman - couldya update your sidebars to list this blog instead? The old one's been dead and buried for a while now. It's time to let go and move on with our lives.

House Update

So yesterday, was anyone else having problems with Blogger? I couldn't get anything to go through. Anyway, here's the update:

It's done. The house is sold.

Now that I'm done doing the happy Snoopy dance, I've got to pack all the things I've accumulated over the past ten years. The sheer amount of stuff is amazing. It's been so easy just to put rarely-used items in the basement or a closet instead of giving them away, selling them, or tossing them. Thank God I haven't got too much of my mother's pack-rat tendencies, or this would really bite. I've got some outdoor stuff I'll need to sell. I've got to toss all the crap in the basement that's not essential. If I'm not an idiot, I'll also pry my hands away from some of my lesser-worn clothes and shoes and sell or give them away. (Ouch!). This doesn't even begin to touch my library of books - and I'd pretty much rather cut off my right arm than give those away.

(Side note: I should've known the marriage thing wouldn't work out when I first moved in. The ex took a look at all the books - I admit I have an awful lot of them - and asked: "I can toss these, right? You've already read them?" I don't think I actually responded in words, the horrified look was enough.)

I have to be out mid-February, and I'm in a show until the end of the month.

Holy crap.

Anybody got some spare boxes?

To do:
  1. Call all utilities and get shut-off scheduled. Re-read offer and make sure I was supposed to get a credit for all that propane I just filled the tank with. (dammit).

  2. Decide what I'm selling and get it to Stuff ASAP. (Will they pick it up for me if I don't live in town?)

  3. Find a temporary place to live.

  4. Price out storage facilities and U-hauls.

  5. Find out what exactly I need to bribe my friends with to help me move furniture.

  6. (Heeeeeellllppp!!! I'll buy beer. Dinner? You want a lien on my firstborn? Personally, I'd go for the beer or food - a much better statistical chance of collecting.)

  7. Decide the final split on the remaining bills with the ex.

  8. Get boxing, baby.

Also to do:

  1. Buy a car (my old one's toast).

  2. Get a job.

  3. When all this is over, take a flipping vacation.

Don't Mess with Me

You Are Trinity

"Touch me and that hand will never touch anything again."

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tuesday Quiz

You are Dark Chocolate

You live your life with intensity, always going full force.
You push yourself (and others) to the limit... you want more than you can handle.
An extreme person, you challenge and inspire the world!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Crossing Fingers, Holding Breath

I just got a call from the realtor. We've got two offers coming in today.

It's been an adventure. Listing the house at it's real value got me nothing last year. Listing it right at the rock-bottom price has certainly generated interest - everyone likes a bargain - but the idea that it is about the rock-bottom price and there's not a lot of room to move doesn't seem to sink in all that well. I got an offer Friday, but it was far too low - an over 10% drop from the asking price. On Sunday the house was being shown, and I had to run back and get my ATM card so I could do errands. (I always remove my dog from the house during showings, 'cause people seem to dislike her constant barking and growling at them. Go figure.) I met the realtor who was showing it on the way out, and mentioned the offer and how we rejected it. She apparently used it to prod her clients, and now the other people are coming back with something better as well.

Crossing my fingers and holding my breath that we get something acceptable.

Iowa Blogger Bash

From Joe Kristan's blog at Roth & Company:
After extensive and exhaustive research, the official site selection committee for the February 2006 Iowa Blogger Bash (Central Iowa Edition) has selected the Raccoon River Brewing Company as the location for this year's event. Why there? Good beer, good food, and a good internet connection (I'm using them to post this, in fact. Yes, all three). And you don't need a T-mobile or I-Spot or any of that stuff. Just a wi-fi enabled computer or pda and you are in business. And it's reasonably kid-friendly, too, if you're there early.

Last year's event was, of course, a sparkling success, a combination of glamour, style, wit and wisdom seldom equalled in Des Moines since the glaciers retreated. I met too many great and friendly Iowa bloggers to mention by name. And Dave was there, too! Whether we can bring in the white whale, or at least Captain Ahab, remains to be seen.

The event will begin about 7:00 p.m. or so on the appointed evening. If you are coming in from out of town, you can even stay at the posh Hotel Fort Des Moines next door at the blogger rate, or the lower standard rate if you behave.

Who is invited? Bloggers and blog fans with even the most remote Iowa connection are welcome. There's no cover and no minimum (like that would be a problem with this crowd). There's a place to smoke, if you do, and lots of places to avoid it if you don't. Beer, food, pool tables, free internet access, beer... need I say more?

If you think you can attend, please let me know via e-mail or in the comments. Also, please consider promoting this event on your own site. Be there or... do something else, I guess.

All right, who's heading the caravan from this end of the state? I've still not been told whether I'm going to be onstage that night or not, but I'm planning not until I hear otherwise. And we need a rematch on the pool game. I do NOT normally play like that . . .

I got one more idea: a Chris Woods "I survived the Christmas 2005 Iowa Blog Wars." T-shirt. Anyone with time on their hands want to design one? I'd wear it. (Hey, I blogged on the NSA stuff too, ya know. I can even quote the AUF statutes. . . . I refer you to my earlier "I'm a nerd" test and refrain from further comment.)

Just for Not the Moonbat - Odd Reminders from the 'Net Gods

I have an introspective, blue attitude this morning, feeling a little overwhelmed by things. I see this on Michelle's Mental Clutter:
"Wild Mood Swings is a simple game. You select a mood from a pull-down list, click on 'take me away' and it'll whisk you away to an appropriate site. Each time you reload the page or click the shuffle moods link, the moods are sorted into a different order."

Okay, fine. So I click over and pick "directionless," which takes me to this site, which asks a simple question: Berlin?

TIVO Alert - New Battlestar Galactica Season

I saw this review on Salon this morning:
Like many others before me, I assumed that "Battlestar Galactica" (10 p.m. EST Fridays on the SciFi Channel) was just another space show meant for science fiction buffs and people who loved the '70s version of the show. Like many others, when I was a kid, I considered "Battlestar Galactica" a cheap knockoff of "Star Wars," which I loved. . . .

What's strange is that, even when people told me, very directly, that the new "Battlestar Galactica" was a really smart, character-driven drama that just happened to be set in space, I didn't believe them. That's how insidious the layers and layers of crappy space-show buildup can be. Even though I heard "dark" and "smart" and "unpredictable," all I could picture was Captain Kirk in a toga.

It's all been said before, but I'll say it again: "Battlestar Galactica" is much, much better than you can possibly imagine. The battle scenes are claustrophobic and paranoia-inducing, with the enemy always hidden from view but omnipresent in the imagination, thanks to closely framed, hand-held shots. The power struggles are complicated and nuanced like the ones you find on "The Sopranos." The soundtrack is odd and moody and completely unique as far as TV soundtracks go. The stakes are always high, and there's an incredible amount of action in each episode -- you never feel like the characters are just spinning their wheels, or the situations are repeating themselves, as you do with so many other dramas. The show takes a deeply ambivalent approach to religion: The Cylons attack in the name of their god, which makes them a little bit like fundamentalist Christians or Islamic extremists, but the president of the humans also embraces some pretty odd beliefs and so-called ancient prophecies.

What's most remarkable about "Battlestar Galactica" is that it's populated by distraught, fallible characters who fumble around in the dark and make big mistakes, but never lose our sympathies. Many of them aren't likable or even easy to understand, but we're offered some way of seeing the world through their eyes. . . .

Friday night, the breathtaking return of the series certainly didn't disappoint. . . . Admiral Cain (Michelle Forbes) and Commander Adama continued their bone-chilling stand-off, with Cain sharp-tongued and scary enough to make you stand up and boo loudly - while secretly cheering on the best frackin' female villain in recent memory. Of course, this show has so many strong female characters in it, where do you begin? Roslin, Starbuck, Number Six, Boomer... And unlike network TV's lead females, who so often veer into the realm of fragility and Teri Garr "Forget your job and come to bed, honey" moments, these characters - particularly Roslin and Starbuck - are presented as just as confident and as flawed in interesting ways (Take note, "Commander in Chief") as their male counterparts.

There are plenty of chances for those flaws to come to the surface, too, with so much on the line for the colonial fleet. I mean, sweet Jesus, how many jolting scenes were there in this episode? With such insanely high stakes and so many fast-moving storylines, "Battlestar Galactica" may just be the anti-"Lost."

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Monday Quiz

Your Inner Muse is Thalia

You are most like this playful muse of comedy.
Life is all about laughter to you, and you're a natural comic.
You make people laugh until their sides split.
And you're always up for some play time!