Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Hurrican Juan Inflicts Damage on Halifax

I'm always surprised how stories that happen outside the United States get glossed over by our media. Example:
Halifax sustained major damage due to Hurricane Juan. Having visited Halifax, Nova Scotia this summer, I can tell you that this isn't just some little city in rural Canada. Maybe I missed the story on the networks, but a quick look at Yahoo! supplies nothing in terms of stories on this. So if I was to be a pessimist of a sort my line of thinking would be if it doesn't affect the U.S.A. then our media doesn't give a shirt. Unless it's an earthquake.

A Quick Change of Plans

Had you told me on Friday night that in 24 hours I would be in Cleveland, hanging out with Heidi, Kevin, Beth, and people's I would have thought you daft. But of course, that's what happened.

Around 1pm on Saturday I got the "bug." It's the kind of thing where I know I can get out of the house, need to get out of the house, and just go. Anywhere. I convinced Matt that this was a good idea and while tossing around suggestions like Rochester, Cleveland, anywherebuthere, until we finally settled on Cleveland. I reserved a room online while Matt showered, I packed and showered, he packed, and we left. I was pushing for Cleveland the whole time actually since I was hoping we could see Heidi & Kevin. Knowing, of course, that they've been busy, had company, and had no idea that we had embarked on a 2 1/2 drive out their way. For the run down of the conversation between Heidi and me when we got closer to Cleveland read Heidi's post on her blog. I should note that I was trying to be very, "I know you're busy, but if you're available.. we don't want to impose etcetcetc." I don't know if that came across!

But it was a good time. It was nice to see everyone again on this last "free" weekend before elections imprisons Matt and me at headquarters, making phone bank calls, and whatnot. I had the most delicious omelette on Sunday at The Falls Restaurant in Olmstead Falls(?). I'm a little shaky on location names since I've been away from the Cleveland area for over six years.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

A True "Beverage" Connoisseur Event

I was alerted by the D&C about an almighty festival happening in Denver, CO this week. The Great American Beer Festival. Matt and I decided it sounds pretty cool and one year we may try to make it there. It's a little intimidating when you start thinking of how many styles of beer these 350 breweries will have on hand for tasting. And I admit my tolerance level would be my downfall in the quest to sample to my heart's content. It's definitely one of those times when you start drinking early, in moderation, and often.

And courtesy of Wil, a little related humour:

The leaders of the big beer companies meet for a drink. The president of Budweiser orders a Bud, the CEO of Miller gets a Miller, the head of Coors orders a Coors, and so on. Until it's Arthur Guinness's turn. He orders a soda.

"Why didn't you order a Guinness?" everyone asks.

Guinness replies, "if you guys aren't having beer, then neither will I."

Friday, September 26, 2003

Talk Like Bill O'Reilly Day

It's Talk Like Bill O'Reilly Day over on Atrios (Friday, Sept. 26, 2003). Go chortle over some of his witticisms.

Babs Hit it On the Nose (no pun intended)

Via Drudge:

The Myth of "Big Government" ...Barbra Streisand
Posted on September 25, 2003

What is "Big Government?" We've been conditioned to believe these are bad words - but when Hurricane Isabel ripped through the East Coast last week, leaving many homes and businesses significantly damaged in its wake, Bush told disaster relief workers and governors of the affected states, "If you need help, let us know." This was not Bush showing his "compassionate" side... this is what the federal government does -it helps people in need. Contrary to Republican slogans against "Big Government" or "Tax and Spend Liberals," if you look at the reality, government spending is a key part of what makes this country function and provides the services that Americans both depend on and take for granted.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the agency Bush extolled in the Southeast this week, is designed to help Americans in crises - be they victims of natural disasters, or victims of extreme poverty. Agencies such as FEMA are what make our country able to bounce back from tragedy and unforeseen events, just as schools educate our children, firefighters fight fires, police officers keep our streets orderly, a decent highway system allows us to move freely, national parks maintain our incredible natural resources, our military protects us from outside threats, the Center for Disease Control protects us from epidemics, and Social Security and Medicare programs insure that our seniors aren't thrust into poverty after so many years of hard work. These are just some of the basics of government. These are not entitlement programs. These are not excesses. These are not "special interests." This is what the government is supposed to do for you, the people.

So when Republicans, such as leading tax-cut proponent Grover Norquist, talk about reducing government to the size where they can "drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub," we need to examine what that world without government would look like. Do we want to live in a country without a legal system, without a military, without free education, without safety net programs? Is this the future most Americans actually want for their country?

We also have to understand the connection between taxes and spending. It is our taxes that pay for these services, so Bush's two big tax cuts for the wealthy will, eventually, result in a cut in the services that all Americans depend on everyday, unless the tax cuts are repealed. So far, Bush has been more or less coasting on a policy of tax cuts and spending increases, such as the additional $87 billion he now is asking Americans to shoulder for Iraq. Meanwhile, he has cut spending for state-administered programs - plunging state governments into crisis, and has created unfunded mandates with catchy titles, such as the No Child Left Behind Act. Bush is dangerously betting against the future... turning an enormous surplus into an enormous deficit that future generations will have to grapple with. Eventually, we will be forced to have a national discussion about either repealing the cuts or asking the question: What everyday government spending programs are we really ready to do without?

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Their Money's Worth..

The taxpayers certainly got their money's worth from me yesterday. We're in the midst of wrapping up the proposed budget for next year, and that includes various messages and letters that need to go out or be announced. I clocked out at 10:40pm after finishing up a radio address and was back here bright and early at 9am to continue work on the press release. I figure I should get some comp time out of this, but with election season AKA silly season upon us, I highly doubt any time I can get off from work will matter in the end. And we won't even get into possible headaches this budget could cause me personally.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Wonder Who will Win the Death Pool on this One

The Pope is Ill. Who's taking bets? Anyone? Anyone?

Vatican May Limit Girls' Role in Mass

I'm, what's generally termed, a "recovering catholic," so a Washington Post article about theVatican Possibly limiting Girls' Role in Mass angers me. I'm not a religious person, but I was an altar girl for five years. If this proposal goes through it's just another reason to condemn the Catholic Church for their short-sightedness. I was lucky enough to be brought up in a liberal Catholic church, so it wasn't as horrible as some churches. It still felt stifling enough for me to leave.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Radiohead As Interpreted By Fifth Graders

Via Shep:

Fifth Graders Interpret Radiohead Through Drawings.

This was great. It left me hysterical, nodding, laughing, and generally feeling like someone really nailed it on the head. Or was nailed. Either way.

Silver Lining of a Different Kind

Last week, a little more than a month before my 27th birthday, I found a long, gray hair. It's right near the front and is almost visible when I have my hair parted down the middle. When I first saw it while looking in the mirror in the ladies' room at work, I thought my eyesight was deceiving me. I compared it to some strands of hair that had been highlighted back in March. The grim difference is that the silver went right to my root. I had one of the clerks from the Legislative offices take a look and she confirmed my fear. She admonished me not to pull it out, which I had no intention of doing since I rather have my hair grow in gray than lose it. The thought of coloring my hair when the wedding gets closer crossed my mind, but I rather like my natural highlights and don't want to lose that just to hide a few gray hairs. I'm sure many women have had that inward and outward groan of dismay when they realied the Gray Monster was stealthily making its home on their heads several years before the big 3-0.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Mushy-Gushy Over Sports

I'm not a sports fan. Sure, I enjoy hockey, but by all rites I am not a sports fan. With this in mind, it was odd to find me getting a little mushy over a television tribute to the Buffalo Auditorium that Sabres Owner Tom Golisano put together and aired on Buffalo tv stations yesterday. The tribute seemed a little contrived at times with former Sabres and current Sabres trying to have some back-and-forth talk. It wasn't completely natural, but then these guys are paid the big bucks to kick arse on ice, not to showcase their skills at happy talk. And I could have done without this wave-action effect they had going on with the cameras. It wasn't a, take a shot at person talking and switch to larger shot of both guys talking, back to shot of second guy talking. It was a bob and weevil between the two speakers and an almost drunken wobble on whoever was speaking. Regardless, it was still a nice tribute.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

A Personal Hell

It's all in good fun people. Just laugh, ok?

Circle I Limbo

Circle II Whirling in a Dark & Stormy Wind

Circle III Mud, Rain, Cold, Hail & Snow

Circle IV Rolling Weights

George Bush
Circle V Stuck in Mud, Mangled

River Styx

NAMBLA Members
Circle VI Buried for Eternity

River Phlegyas

Overzealous Religious Types, KKK
Circle VII Burning Sands

Dick Kimball
Circle IIX Immersed in Excrement

Circle IX Frozen in Ice

Design your own hell

Friday, September 19, 2003

What's the Truth, Really?

Our office follows the statistics the state gives us on unemployment figures, but tends to take them with a grain of salt. This is especially true after our economic development office was contacted by the state and asked if we could help provide any job gains/losses figures. It turned out the state apparently doesn't really have a concise way to track those figures or they just take a guess every month. We don't know. None of this adds up to us taking much stock in figures that seem to be politically manipulated depending on how it will benefit the powers that be. For a quick look into what I'm talking about, take a look at this story in the Buffalo News on the slowing of job losses in the region. Jamestown has been flat or in the positive range for most of this year for jobs and generally well ahead of the Western New York region. Now, all of a sudden, just in time for an election in the city, we've apparently had job losses and have fallen behind Buffalo for this month. If you look further down the article, there are percentages for unemployment. Our unemployment rate apparently dropped a sixth of a percent from 6.3 to 5.7 percent. Now, maybe there's some big explanation that I'm not getting here, but wouldn't it seem to you that if our unemployment rate dropped then our jobs number would have increased or stayed the same? The only arguement I can think of is that we may have lost some jobs and the people who were collecting unemployment have stopped, but still don't have jobs. It's still fishy to me.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Season = Autumn
You're Most Like The Season Autumn ...

You're warm, and the most approachable. You have
that gentle prescence about you. People can
relate to you, and find you easy company.
However it's likely you've been hurt in the
past and it has left you scarred so things can
become rather chilly with you at times. Being
the third Season in, you're mature, trustworthy
and loyal to your friends but prone to
depression and negative thinking.

Well done... You're the shy and sensitive season :)

?? Which Season Are You ??
brought to you by Quizilla

A Stillness Before the Howl

It was unbelievably quiet as I left work today. No birds, bugs, or any other noise aside from some traffic. I suppose all the animals got the message and are holed up and just waiting for the wind and rain to arrive. The leading edges of the storm have already started to produce some sprinklesi n the area and it's cloudy. The wind hasn't picked up yet, which just adds to eerieness of it all. I'm about to head to a Labor dinner and I assume that the rain will be in full progress by the time I get out.

In good news, our friends, Chuck & Lori, "escaped" from Washington DC since our national government has shut down in advance of the storm. I'm hoping that Matt will feel up to getting drinks with them later tonight. Ahh.. friends, storms, fall weather... it's all good.

Seasoning the Melody

I heard a snippet of blues-ey jazz following the news this morning on the radio and immediately thought of sunny, warm, Autumn Saturdays when you're bustling around the house getting chores done. Then I thought of other songs and the seasonal associations I attach to them. For instance, I can't hear anything by Tom Petty without thinking of early September. And it never truly seems like Christmas time until I've listened to Enya's Sheperd Moons. Here's a quick personal list of songs/albums/artists and seasonal, or other, associations:

Crowded House - "Recurring Dream: The Best of..": March, April
Liz Phair - Whip Smart: May, first warm spring breezes wafting through dorm room
Dire Straits - "Sultans of Swing": Summertime
U2 - Joshua Tree: Late August, warm days and cool nights crusing with the windows down
Tom Petty (all but especially) - Into The Great Wide Open: early September, Fall
They Might Be Giants - "Snail Shell": Post-Labor Day, back to school
New Order - "Regret": Mid-Fall, Homecoming
Classic Rock (as a genre): Overwhelmingly Fall, doing yardwork before snow hits
Enya - Sheperd Moons: Late November/December - Christmas
Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes: December/icy, quiet nights

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Agnes v. Isabel

I'm not the only one who has wondered about whether Hurricane Isabel will be anything like Agnes. Of course, I figured out yesterday that the storms couldn't be more different path-wise. Regardless, this Buffalo News story is still good and gives some interesting accounts of the 1972 storm.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Hurricanes of Thought

I've been watching the developments of Hurricane Isabel with some interest. Mostly because some computer models show the remnants of the storm eventually passing right through the Southern Tier area between Friday and Saturday. This made me wonder if this was similar at all to what Hurricane Agnes did in 1972. Quick research shows the storms were very dissimilar. On the other hand, Drudge provides a link suggesting Isabel is more like the Hurricane of 1938. Either way, it's cause for worry. Matt's brother and family lives in Wilmington, NC while Rochester Matt has family in Amityville, NY and Providence, RI. And I won't get into the countless people I know in the Washington DC area that probably would be affected by heavy rain.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Till You Drop

I just spent a scandalous amount of money on clothes, shoes, and accessories. Let me repeat, scandalous!

Alternatives to Kazaa

I've started researching music download programs since the RIAA has been successful in spooking me with their heavy-handed tactics toward sueing people. Since I use RealOne Player for just about everything I do audio-wise on the computer, I received one of their promotion emails for the Rhapsody program. I checked it out and if I was simply interested in listening to any artist I could imagine, this may be the service for me. It's $9.99 a month with a free two-week trial period. The service also allows you to download CD quality music for $0.79 a song.

So I started doing some math. If I downloaded about 18 songs a month (about what I can fit on a CD) and was a member for a year, each CD would cost me $24. However, if I download 72 songs (the equivalent of 4 CDs) in the free two-week trial, then it would have only cost me $14.22 per CD. But a very personalized CD. I know it's sort of scamming the system, but they still get my money either way. I guess I'm looking for a service that offers great music selection (obscure and well-known), unlimited downloads, and possible streaming at a reasonable price. I had been a subscriber to Emusic for a couple years, but they simply didn't have enough well-known artists to make it worth my time and money. If you know of a legitimate service that I can try, let me know.

Friday, September 12, 2003

"The remedy is the experience. It is a dangerous liaison."

The stress levels are ever increasing at work and at home. Budget and politics. I would say it's two different things, but when you break it down, it's mostly politics. It's ugly. This election season has great potential to be one of the ugliest ones I've seen in terms of the Legislature and how they react and handle the 2004 Budget proposal(s). I could be surprised, and that would be a nice change. In the meantime, I'm planning on dealing with it by doing something that many women turn to when the stress levels increase. I'm going shopping. More specifically, I'm going shopping with Matt to Erie, PA. I feel like a traitor since I know for a fact that retail shops are suffering in this county due to the elimination of our tax-free status on clothes and the quarter-increase in sales tax put on us by the state. However, I have my own budget to consider. And I need selection. Three things I need. New shoes, a new purse, and some work clothes. I searched all summer long for a purse and I haven't seen the type of shoe selection in stores that I like. So to Erie we go. We will be hitting Target, DSW Shoe Warehouse, the Men's Wearhouse, and perhaps Steinmart and/or Marshall's. Selection and the fact that clothing is tax-free is the draw here, plus getting out of the county for a day. We all need our releases. Time to check my credit card accounts to see where I stand and how much I can really afford to spend.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

The People's Blog

The Internet Gods have smiled on me and I've been able to read Lileks for the past few weeks again. For some reason, whenever I tried to pop over to his site I would get that error code. You know the one.

Anyway, I copy for you this excerpt:

Tonight we had chicken. Free-range, antibiotic free, low-stress, non GMO-grain-fed chicken. It was horrible. It was like eating chicken-flavored Silly Putty. I blame the marinade. But of course I always do; that's my easy out. What, Iran has nukes? J'accuse le marinade! Gnat ate all her chicken, and inquired: "what's for dessert, father?"; (I love that. Sometimes she calls me "Papa,"; which makes me feel like Kindly Gepetto; when she calls me "Father"; I feel like a Victorian patriarch.)

"Kosher Ice Cream,"; I said.

"Kosha izescheme?";

"Yes."; It was left over from the quasi-kosher meal I made for Medved et al a few weeks ago. I completely forgot about dessert. Since you don't mix milk and meat, and since I was serving meat, I got some kosher frozen dessert. Chocolate fudge / vanilla. Not bad at all. It was soy-based, of course. Just like the soy-based vodka I had the other day: different, and not entirely bad at all. But I have an image of this conveyor belt heaped with soybeans heading into an Archer-Daniels Midland plant; on the other side of the building are various nozzles marked VODKA and ICE CREAM and ERSATZ BURGER PATTIES, and the goop plops out into trucks that take the stuff away to the post-production facilities. At this point they could market the stuff with the people suffix - People'sCream. People'sVokda. People'sBurgers. And the ads could have a Heston impersonator complete with kerchief: People's Cream is made out of Soy!

My junior year in high school I had a group of friends that liked to joke about being part of the "People's Party". Each of my friends had titles that they came up with on a camping trip. Ben, who was the only one who brought a razor to shave with, was the People's Purveyor of Shaving Goods. Ryan, I believe, was the People's Purveyor of Pharmaceutical Goods for bringing a different kind of tobacco. Emma, Ryan's lady at the time, was called the People's Mattress. On the other hand, maybe it was Nicole. The gist was that people liked to lay on her if you know what I mean. I was given the name the People's Woman. My job was to "sit and be pretty. "Pretty chauvinistic, but it was all in good fun.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Un-censored Doonesbury

In case your paper ran an old version of Doonesbury yesterday, you can see the "contraversial" cartoon here. The D&C was one of the papers that ran old comic in this one's place. While you're looking at Sunday's comic, check out today's comic as well. It deals with two hot topics: flash mobs and Howard Dean.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Hanging Up the Clothesline

I will be making my mostly annual trip to Rochester this weekend for the Clothesline Festival on Saturday. This year will be a bit different as I will be stopping first in Brockport tonight for EagleFest '03. I'm going for the music actually, and hopefully to connect with some friends. I'm hoping that since I came into work early today (by mistake) that I will be able to leave early, thus seeing part of my friend Darren's band, Veluxe, perform at the festival. Otherwise, I'll be all around this weekend I imagine. A trip to Rochester is starting to become incomplete if I don't catch a film at The Little and coffee at Java's. The only problem is that I really want to see at least four people while I'm in town (if not more). Let's see how much I can cram into one weekend!

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Back To School Envy

Even though it meant homework, projects, boring classes, and anxiety, I always looked forward to going back to school after summer vacation. Sure there were the moment where I didn't want my endless days of freedom (AKA babysitting for money) to end, but for the most part I really looked forward to school. First off, it meant new clothes. In other words, it meant that maybe if I studied that fall issue of Seventeen magazine hard enough and pleaded with my mom enough, I might just get that hot look for back to school. And maybe, just maybe, people will think I'm a little bit cooler than the year before. I was, admittingly, a bit of a geek throughout school. I liked to read and I was a music nerd. I also didn't live very close to a lot of my friends, so school meant seeing everyone after a long summer. It meant jokes around the lunch table and swooning over new crushes in the hallways. It meant gossip. I still love good gossip and news. So yesterday made me feel a little envious. I miss the start of something new in Fall. Elections don't count. It's the feeling that you can change and you can be better. That this year, it will be different. This year you will shine.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Bizarre, Tragic Happenings in Erie, PA

I first heard about this story about a pizza delivery man died after a bomb attached to him went off when Matt and I went out for drinks with our media friends. They hadn't aired the story on our local news, even though we're only 47 miles from Erie, PA. I chastised them nicely since this is a big story and Erie is kind of in our market. It's truly bizarre though. It seems to me that some third entity was involved here. I guess we'll hear more over the next couple weeks. I'll never think of Peach Street the same way. Before Thursday it was a treasure trove of big box stores like Target, Lowe's, Kohl's, Barnes & Nobles, Krispy Kremes, and the like. Today, home to unfortunate men who rob banks with bombs attached to them. I guess we all have our Nushawn's (may require registration).

Away, Away

We're on a mini-vaca in an area where they're experiencing forest fires (thanks asshole arsonist). It's an area that makes Clift...