April, 2004 Archives

The first thing I saw on Aces Full of Links today:

I laughed, as I usually do at clever little jabs, but then I read the text of the post. It seems that this banner was actually produced by James, a part of his newborn website TrimShrub.com. There’s more banners there, and more coming. Hopefully we’ll be seeing them all over the net soon. Go check it out!

Trim Shrub

By my unofficial survey, Saab is the only vehicle maker without an SUV model. Even Porche has one. Early next year, Saab will no longer have that distinction. The Saab 97 SUV will be available next spring. You can get one with a gigantic 5.3L V8 and crash it into a Volvo SUV as fast as you can! Go check out the pictures on the website. At least they put the key in the right place, unlike the otherwise worthy 92.

I’d always been snottily pleased by the fact that Saab didn’t have a gas guzzling model, but unfortunately now I’ll have to take my smug pleasure and stick it in my hatchback. I guess I’ll have to wait til I give up my car altogether before I can get my holier-than-thou ‘tude back. Yeah, I said ‘tude.

The Last SUV Holdout

…in Red Sox Nation.

Citizens! Director of Red Sox Homeland Security Skillzy has issued an advisory system to gauge the threat to our playoff liberty from the evildoers. Just a thin 1.5 game margin separates those who hate freedom from first place. With the coming showdown in the Bronx this weekend, it is imperative that all patriots (except Ty Law) be prepared.

(this post set in motion by Jim. Thanks!)

Homeland Security…

You all can ignore this post. David Grenier is requesting a trackback, so I’ll try to help out.

Actually, don’t ignore this post, go read his blog. Then you guys can see what a real lefty looks like, and you can stop calling me a socialist. Meanwhile, DG would probably say I’m a “Latté Liberal”.

Mmm, lattés…

That last post was by far the most time consuming entry I have ever made. But, I learned plenty from researching it:

Del’s lemonade is originally from an Italian cave.

Louisiana’s official pledge of allegiance is even worse than the United States pledge. If you thought pledging allegiance to a flag was weird, Louisiana will have you pledge to both the flag and a motto!

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the state of Louisiana and to the motto for which it stands: A state, under God, united in purpose and ideals, confident that justice shall prevail for all of those abiding here.

Square dancing is the official folk dance of at least two states.

The Rhode Island word for frappe or milkshake, “cabinet,” came from the fact that blenders used to make the delicious drinks were kept in, yup, cabinets.

Del’s Lemonade supposedly comes in Strawberry, Mocha and Kiwi, none of which I have even seen for sale at any of the various stands.

First of all, check out this story on Chuck’s site. Go now.

OK, so Massachusetts has an official State Cookie. That’s weird. But it turns out all of our states have weird official “things.” Steve points to the Nutmeg State’s (that’s Connecticut) official tartan (Maine has one too) and fossil, which is a bizarrely popular category, as California and Louisiana have state approved fossils, too.

In the Biggest Little, I am happy to report, we downplay our idiosyncratic nature when it comes to official business (ha!). There’s the obvious State Bird, the Rhode Island Red and the State Motto, Hope (compare that to Alaska’s “North to the Future!”). Not surprisingly, the State Shell is the quahog, which Seth MacFarlane introduced to the world as the fictional RI town home to the Griffin family. We have both a State Mineral and a State Rock, the latter being Cumberlandite, found exclusively in and around, you guessed it, Cumberland, RI. The official State Flagship is the Sloop Providence, not to be confused with the official State Yacht, the Courageous.

Charlie Hall, of Ocean State Follies fame, wrote the State song (separate from the State March) after being inspired by none other than hizzoner Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci. Says Hall: “I see [Buddy] at a jazz club, and he says, ‘Why do you always have to write something negative about the state? Why don?t you write something nice?’ So I went home and I wrote some lyrics, lyrics that make you want to puke.”

Last but certainly not least, the State Drink: Coffee Milk. I remember well the controversey over whether the honor would go to the only-in-RI coffee flavored beverage or the RI original, Del’s lemonade (click that link to see the dangers of too much Flash). I’m glad I didn’t have to vote on that bill. When my brother comes to visit he can’t get enough Dels, though my non-native nephews don’t share our appreciation for it. Man, I could really go for a peach-mango lemonade right now… So yeah, cawfee milk, official drink of the Ocean State (the non-official state nickname!)

This fall I plan to introduce legislation to make A Cry for Help the official State Blog. Write your State Senators!

I wouldn’t be so damn annoying in talk show interviews. However If I was in fact Quentin Tarantino, I would find time to meet up with strangers at a mall, take them under my wing, and act crazy for an entire afternoon. According to this internet entertainment fan, that’s exacly what he did.

Hollywood blogger runs into Quentin Tarantino at the mall.

Read that once and assume that it is factual – it’s an amazing story that way. Read it a second time and assume that the whole thing is a work of overzealous fan fiction – it’s hilarious that way.

I could never be Quentin Tarantino. He has his hand in every inch of the movie making process. He even cuts his own filcks (and looks to have packed on a few pounds while doing so). There is no way I could do that after all of the stress of filming. I put the finishing touches on a promo video for my improv company last night and it was nerve-racking. There are so many damn details and I can never get it just right (most specifically sound leveling). I can’t think of an editing project that I have done that I have been 100% satisfied with. Maybe someday…

How did everyone like Kill Bill Vol. 2? [drool]I can’t wait to see it.[/drool]

Update – I have actually gotten some positive feedback about the promo video thus far so if you want – check out the first cut. It’s about 10MB in Quicktime format. Lemme know what you think.

If I Was Quentin Tarantino

Wow, amazing what a come from behind Red Sox win over the forces of evil can do for your mood. Today, Patriot’s Day, Boston Marathon day (won by, of course, two Kenyans*), early Sox game day, was awesome. The Boston Nine took three out of four games this series from a pretty listless Yankee team. We play them again this weekend coming up, hopefully they still won’t have gotten it together.

Alex Rodriguez, who I can’t bring myself to hate despite my fellow Citizens, went a beautiful, wonderful 0 for 17 until a two out single in the ninth inning today. That just made go-ahead-run Jason Giambi’s strikeout to end the game all the more sweet. And it’s a beautiful day here and in New England. Good times.

In the interest of holding on to this good feeling, I refuse to read anything about George W. today. Now if these pesky papers would just write themselves.

(*Freshman year I had a floormate from Kenya, he could run pretty well, but he was actually of Indian descent. We also had a desk clerk named Kenyon, who was an artsy architecture student. I don’t think he ran at all.)

You know, for all the time I sit in front of the computer, reading, IM’ing, listening to Red Sox games, you’d think I’d be posint a lot more. Well, I’m in a pretty good funk, so not much has stuck me as worth posting about. There’ll probably be one of those “lots of links, not a lot of commentary” posts coming up, but I’m not feeling inclined to dig up the links.

Red Sox-Yankees!! It was a little too early this year, though I did enjoy seeing the game on Fox Friday night, it’s the first I’ve seen of Fenway this year. Today’s game sucked, though.

So yeah, sorry to disappoint if you’ve been checking in this weekend. I should be back on track this week.

Where Is Everyone?

Atrios was on Air America the other day talking about the press conference the other day. In discussing the deer in the headlights moment of Bush’s attempted answer as to any mistakes he may have made, Atrios posited that in George W. Bush’s world, everything is about him, and he is good, and everything he does must be good. Here’s a line from the press conference that William Saletan pulls out:

One thing is for certain, though, about me, and the world has learned this: When I say something, I mean it. And the credibility of the United States is incredibly important for keeping world peace and freedom.

Read the article by Saletan, it’s very interesting.

An example Atrios used, which I thought was enlightening, was in regards to this line, spoken by the president on September 17, 2002: “There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.”

(To get the full experience, you really have to hear him say it, which you can do here)

As Atrios’s theory goes, this wasn’t just another example of poor speaking, but rather a fundamental inability to get out the end of the adage: “shame on me.” He just couldn’t bring himself to say it, so, inexplicably, he threw a Doors The Who line in there.

Pay attention in the future to Bush’s statements and see for yourself whether this is true or not. I’ll definitely be thinking about it.

All About Me

I was out last night, so I didn’t get to see the press conference live, but I did catch pieces of it on cable news, I read the transcript, and Em and I talked about it. I’m glad Nightwing posted his thoughts here.

Reactions today are pretty much in line with what I expected, I’m glad people seem to grasping that the President, despite the 45 minutes he was talking, didn’t actually say anything new. Stay the course is not a good plan when things are getting worse, tell us what we’re doing to deal with the changing situation! Steve has more. Aces is good on this, too.

This post on Daily Kos (complete with everyone’s favorite St. Dubya pic) really resonated. With all the reading and research I’ve been doing on Islam and the Middle East these past few months, I don’t think the President’s “God is on our side” rhetoric is doing anyone outside the Bible Belt any good. Bush’s Texas religiosity (that is, the very public display of faith) is fine for wooing a segment of the electorate, but surely even the Pope knows that making foreign policy based on faith and righteousness can be dangerous for everyone involved. I don’t think Bush understands this at all, and the world is less safe for his ignorance.

The whole thing reminds me of Bad Religion’s American Jesus, written in 1993 but oh-so-relevant today. (lyrics below, you can download the song –legally!–- here)

I don’t need to be a global citizen,
‘Cuz I’m blessed by nationality,
I’m a member of a growing populace,
we enforce our popularity.
There are things thet seem to pull us under and
and there are things that drag us down,
but there’s a power and a vital presence
that’s lurking all around.

We’ve got the American Jesus
see him on the interstate,
we’ve got the American Jesus
he helped build the president’s estate

I feel sorry for the Earth’s population
‘cuz so few live in the U.S.A,
at least the foreigners can copy our morality,
they can visit but they cannot stay,
only precious few can garner the prosperity,
and it makes us walk with confidence,
we’ve got a place to go when we die
and the architect resides right here

We’ve got the American Jesus
bolstering national faith
we’ve got the American Jesus
overwhelming millions everyday

He’s the farmer barren fields,
the force the army wields,
the expressions in the faces
of the starving millions,
the power of the man.
the fuel that drives the klan,
the motive and the conscience
of the murderer
He’s the preacher on TV,
the false sincerity,
the form letter that written by
the big computers,
He’s the nuclear bombs,
and the kids with no moms
and I’m fearful that
He’s inside me.

We’ve got the American Jesus
see him on the interstate
We’ve got the American Jesus
exercising his authority
We’ve got the American Jesus
bolstering national faith
We’ve got the American Jesus
overwhelming millions everyday.

American Jesus

To make a living I work as a sales engineer for a software company. The software that I support can run on a wide variety of platforms, use an even wider variety of web server software, and interact with quite a few relational databases. I know a lot about our product and I also know a great deal of relevant information about the other parts of the puzzle that our product interacts with. That being said, I don’t know everything. Sometimes when on the phone with a client I will be asked something that I don’t know. When put in this situation I should admit defeat – the best response is always to tell the client that I will have to do some additional research and get back to them. Even though I know that this is the correct response, it doesn’t always come out that way. Sometimes I stutter, try to fake my way through it, repeat information that I have already said, change topics, or even just ignore the question entirely. When I make this mistake the client loses faith in both me as an engineer and our product as a reliable solution. If I did this often I am sure that I would be fired.

Tonight for 45 minutes on national television our president was asked a wide array of tough questions about his product. To support this product Mr. Bush needs to be able to speak about a wide variety of issues. To do his job well he must respond to all these questions, or at least let his customers know that he will work as hard as he can to find the answers. Not even half the time (a high estimate there) did Mr. Bush respond to the concerns of the media. He stuttered, tried to fake his way through the question, repeated information that he had already said, changed topics, and most often just ignored the question entirely. Tonight I lost faith in our president and fear for our country. This man should be fired.

I have always felt that Mr. Bush was not the right man for the job but have never been able to pinpoint why. These coming months up until November I will always be able to pinpoint this moment to support why I feel that George W. Bush is not right for this country. When Howard Dean lost in Iowa many said that he threw away his chance at office. After reading the news tomorrow while I should be working I will be left with one lingering question. “Why doesn’t anyone else think that last night Bush threw away his chance at re-election.” More people need to notice what is going on here. More people need to act. More people need to be scared. I for one know that I am going to try just a little bit harder at work tomorrow (after the news of course). I sure as hell don’t want to get fired – all the jobs are gone…

Bull Shit