Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Things I Learned on the Internet this Morning

Despite the depression recession and that whole women's liberation thing, they still have debutante balls. Seriously?! And why is it this photo resonates less of "Eighteenth-century glamour" than "Anne Boleyn putting her head on the chopping block"? Color me cynical.

Apparently, you shouldn't regift, but if you're gonna, there's rules. Here's a question: why not? I mean, if I'm not enamored with a particular item of clothing, already have the latest kitchen gadget, or I really don't mesh with a bit of household shelf-shrapnel, why am I supposed to let it gather dust in the basement rather than giving it to someone who would actually appreciate the thing? That's stupid. Here's my proclaimation, in writing and in public: if I've ever given you anything you don't like, please feel free to exchange it, return it, or give it away. It's not a damn shrine, it's a gift. I thought you'd like it or find it funny, but I was wrong. No biggie. If you accidentally regift it to me, I will probably laugh at you. But that's part of the fun. Lighten up, people. Caveat: if someone made or gave you something thinking it's totally cool, it's probably not a good idea to bring it to any gag-gift or white-elephant exchange they're going to attend. It looks like you're making fun of their taste. This, and a nasty cold that kept me home this year, was the only thing precluding me from unloading a couple of sappily sentimental statuettes from the wedding at white elephant exchanges this year. Oh, but I'm keeping the tabletop cross that has the Virgin Mary on it with the word "Purity" engraved in the base . . . and lights up inside and changes colors like some lava lamp or insane LED tree. That's just too good to give away.

Book buying is apparently becoming a social conscience thing - who do I want to support with my dollars? Oh, I so don't think so. Unless I know the author personally, I'm buying as cheap as I can get it. Ask anyone, I'm a total book junkie. I go through a book every a day or two unless my life is insanely busy. A new book is a huge treat, I'm generally forced by economics and not having a ton of time to make treks to the library to reread my own. I once had aspirations of having a highbrow library - leatherbound or hardback, no paperbacks, and a whole ton of classics. Yeah, sure. I can no more put down a book with an intriguing blurb than a chocoholic can walk away from chocolate cake. It doesn't matter if it's a timeless classic I've not had time to read, or some bestselling drivel with a thrilling plot, I'm absolutely compelled to read it. So if you think I'm going to be spending $25 for a hardback when I can get the same fix for a penny plus postage, you're insane. Unless . . . Well, I already have it right here in my hand, and I would have to wait for delivery if I ordered it online, and I don't have a show going on right now, so I could probably finish it tonight. . . . yeah, I don't think the publishing industry has much to worry about on this end.

Everyone says to be careful out driving tonight. What you should actually be worried about is walking.

Apparently, having an upside-down mortgage is the glue that keeps bad marriages together these days. I understand marriage advocate's ideas that it's for keeps and everyone just needs to try a little harder, but wouldn't this be a particular brand of hell?

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Maybe they do have the evidence of an actual pay to play on Blago after all:
[T]wo sources close to Jackson told CNN that, in 2002, Blagojevich -- then running for governor of Illinois -- solicited a $25,000 campaign donation from Jackson, which he did not get.

At the time, Jackson's wife, Sandi, was a candidate for the job of director of the state's Lottery Commission, a post she did not win, the sources said.

After Blagojevich took office, in early 2003, he told Jackson something to the effect of, "You see what $25,000 would have done?" the sources said.

In 2006, Jackson reported the incident, which he believed to have been an attempt at a shakedown, the sources said.

But is it part of the indictment?
Spokesman Kenneth Edmonds described Jackson's interaction with federal authorities this way: "As a responsible citizen and elected official, Congressman Jackson has in the past provided information to federal authorities regarding his personal knowledge of perceived corruption and governmental misconduct.

"This was completely unrelated to the current investigation regarding the U.S. Senate appointment. And it is absolutely inaccurate to describe the congressman as an informant," Edmonds said in a written statement.
And if not, does the indictment have enough hard evidence of an offer? Even this is rather oblique - a donation coinciding with appointment, but it's not made explicitly contingent until afterward, and that is open to spin.

Tricksy politicians.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Two legal articles are making me scratch my head during my lunch break.

First, CNN has announced that the Adam Walsh case is finally closed. Cool. But on what basis? I've read the article three times, and the closest I get is this:
When he took over last year as police, Wagner vowed to close the Walsh case. He reviewed the entire case file and assigned a retired detective, Joe Matthews, to conduct an independent review. Toole, a convicted pedophile and killer who associated with notorious serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, died in prison in 1996. Wagner said investigators were able to place Toole in Hollywood at the time Adam disappeared.

Toole twice confessed to killing the boy -- and twice recanted his story, saying he made it up. It could not be learned what, if any, new evidence exists. . . .

Walsh has long believed Toole killed Adam, and on Tuesday, Chief Wagner said there never any other suspect. Toole died in prison in 1996 while serving a life sentence on unrelated charges.

Toole's confessions in the Walsh case were questioned by police because Toole confessed to other murders that police knew he did not commit.

Although the details of his story changed, Toole did lead police to the Sears store and pointed out the spot where Adam was last seen. He also led police to the canal where the boy's head was found.

But investigators could not find Adam's body where Toole said he left it.

A bloody piece of carpet removed from Toole's car was lost by police many years ago, before DNA testing became available.
So is it over just 'cause they decided it was? Surely any new evidence can't be classified as part of an ongoing investigation, 'cause the killer they've named is dead. Unless there's an alleged accomplice? I'm simply puzzled.

Second, it is now being questioned whether there's a case against Blagojevich at all, according to this NY times article:
There is no evidence, at least none that has been disclosed, that the governor actually received anything of value — and the Senate appointment has yet to be made.
Please tell me they didn't push this too early, that they actually have at least a recording of an offer for value.

Meanwhile I'm working from home, waiting out this freaking winter wonderland - at least until my next hearing at 9 tomorrow - and another head-scratching puzzle has come up: There's me, a cat, and a dog, in a house with a bunch of square footage to roam in. So why is it again that I always seem to find us all in the same chair, bed, or couch?

Thursday, December 11, 2008


The d*mn thing's staying up!!!

Satan puppy is guarding the tree.
She's evil. Just ask the cat.

That's Gotta Smart

Actor slits his own throat as knife switch turns fiction into reality. D's comment: "Good thing they weren't doing Sweeney." No sh*t.

Perfect fodder for the "always check your props before the house opens" lecture.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Do You See Jesus?

I was given a vintage nativity set by an aunt, one I'd admired in her home. She has her own rules on religion, including following the old Protestant precept that it's bad to show pictures of God. So I wasn't surprised when she had displayed it without the actual manger. But I was rather surprised when she gave it to me sans child, and when I asked she said she'd thrown it away. So its more respectful to toss Baby Jesus out with the old coffee grounds than it is to display it? Ooookaaay.

So now I've got Joseph, three kings, and a bunch of shepherds hanging around with Mary and the animals, all waiting for a non-existant savior. I know exactly how appropriate the atheists and agnostics would find that, and while I'm not without a sense of irony, I'd like to complete the set. Call it OCD. So I'm searching on Ebay through 11,000 some items for nativity scenes to find one that roughly matches. There are tons of odd statuettes, but you'd be surprised how much the Jesuses (Jesusi? Jesi?) go for. D thinks people make wreaths out of them. How odd.

Of course, I could always just do as a colleague suggested - wrap a bunch of cotton up, plop it in the center, and when people look at it oddly, say: "Do you see Jesus? You have to really believe, you know. Don't you see Jesus?"

I think I'll keep looking.


D found the baby Jesus wreath bit - - Annelle makes one in Steel Magnolias. So the good news is that I won my baby Jesus and hopefully it will blend nicely with the rest of the set. The bad news is that somewhere a propsperson is cussing.

Side Note: A beautiful quote he found while looking it up: "When someone asks you 'think about what Jesus would do', remember that a valid option is to freak out and turn over tables" -- Unknown


A few changes on the sidebar required some tweaks, let me know if they're not working.

Merry Christmas, Illinois.

It's been suggested that the Coleman/Franken election recount is close enough that they should have a coin toss:
Luckily, Minnesota’s electoral law has a provision for ties. After all the counting and recounting, if the vote is statistically tied, the state should invoke the section of the law that requires the victor to be chosen by lot. It’s hard to swallow, but the right way to end the senatorial race between Mr. Coleman and Mr. Franken will be to flip a coin.

I'm thinking not so much. The text of the Minnesota law states as follows:
204C.34 TIE VOTES.
In case of a tie vote for nomination or election to an office, the canvassing board with the responsibility for declaring the results for that office shall determine the tie by lot.
History: 1981 c 29 art 5 s 34

As I read it, it says a "tie vote" not a "statistical tie." Last I looked, Coleman had it by 192 votes. That's not a tie. Yes, there are a lot of arguments about certain ballots (I'm not surprised Mr. Lizard People has come forward for his 15 minutes of fame), but let's face it, people: there are going to be errors whenever you count this many items. Just ask anyone who's had to work retail inventory. If it were an actual tie, I'd be all for the coin toss - though a trial by combat sounds far more interesting.

I should get back to work now.