Thursday, July 31, 2008


Manny is now going to continue Being Manny for the Dodgers. I really don't have anything to say about this. I'm just sad. Nothing against Jason Bay, but I think the deal stinks.

Thanks Manny. Thanks for the rings. Thanks for the dongs. Thanks for the high-fives, the dreadlocks, the antics. Thanks for being a Red Sock.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happily Bonded Bunnies

I haven't said much about the rabbits lately, and that's largely because there really is no news on that front. Juno and Jupiter are very happily bonded, and aside from wishing that Juno would do a better job grooming Jupiter (he looks like a patchwork rabbit, he's shedding so oddly), we're all very pleased. We've dismantled one of the cages, and they now share the same, expanded cage. It's got multiple levels, and I don't really expect Juno will ever venture up to the upper reaches, but Jupiter has been enticed up once with a carrot, and I expect he will soon find those upper platforms to be his own spot when they are in their house. Right now, they generally aren't in their house much, so there's been no need. They have the run of the house these days, but we are going out of town next week, and they will be going to stay with our good friends (and fellow bunny parents) Angela and Zach in Brooklyn, where they will be expected to spend a great deal more time in their house, or in a pen attached to their house.

Here's a bit of video of them sharing a carrot. Now that's love! The quality of the video is pretty bad, having been taken in low light with our older camera, but it's still pretty cute.

They have both staked out places in the apartment that are their own territory, though they share the rug in the living room, and spend most of their time there sprawled out next to each other. Juno is a kitchen and bathroom bunny and spends her alone time either on the rug in front of the sink, or halfway in the doorway of the bathroom. I understand the current attraction of the tile floor in the bathroom, as it's been quite warm of late and we don't use the air conditioning at all, but we do have to warn overnight guests not to step on her if they need to use the facilities at night! Jupiter owns the couch. He likes to perch on the back of the couch, especially if Dave is watching TV. Honestly, Jupiter seems more and more catlike the better we get to know him. Both rabbits have really settled in and are much more comfortable with us, with each other, and even with guests who come in for the evening or for a few days. Juno won't do her full-on "dead bunny pose" when there are guests, but Jupiter is perfectly happy to hop right up on the couch or the red chair with them, startling them just as much as he does Dave!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Help me Manny Being Manny. You're my only hope!

I was going to weigh in on all the Manny kerfuffle over the past few days, but honestly, my imaginary friend Jere pretty much covered it over at his blog in, "Red Sox Fan meets Voyce O'Reisen".

It's a funny read, even if you don't really care about Manny and his relationship with the Red Sox.

Speaking of Jere, I've just had the pleasure of reading a review copy of his soon-to-be-released novel, "Dirty Water: A Red Sox Mystery", co-written with his mum, and I'll be posting a proper review soon. If you want to take my word for it though, go ahead and pre-order it. It's due out September 1, which is sort of a bummer, as it would be a perfect read for that last weekend of summer.

Tip of the hat to Ish for the exceptionally dorky title. Love. Much love.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Blast from the Past

I saw this lying on the sidewalk at 120th and Claremont Ave last week when I was walking back to the van from Columbia. Even years later, the logo jumped out at me. Not terribly useful there, I don't think.

I haven't even been to Busch Gardens in at least five years, and it's been more than ten since I worked there, but it still bubbles up to the top of my mind from time to time. I was playing Mario Kart Wii the other day, for example, and there was a level that, for some reason, I felt should be in the park in New France. Maybe it looked like a Nintendo stylized log flume. Beats me.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

SAT prep suggestion

I dislike commercials. One thing you will never see me doing with my blog is taking Google up on their AdSense offer. No ads here, thank-you-very-much.

That said, the ads on ESPN tonight during this baseball game are irritating me more than average. There's this one ad that they keep cutting off (they've done it three times so far), not that I mind not seeing it - it looks particularly annoying - but it's weird that they keep cuing up that ad and then cutting it off at the same point. I suspect that it's an ad that can't afford Sunday Night Baseball, but is still stuck in the queue from whatever was on earlier.

The two that really set me off however, were back to back ads from Exxon and the US Army. Not my favorite companies to begin with, these are particularly foul bits of advertising. The Exxon-Mobil ad is blatant green-washing, attempting to make them seem like a positive energy source (!) and the US Army ad is bragging on Truman's Executive Order 9981 (equality of treatment/opportunity in the US Armed Forces - more at the Truman Library Site if you're interested.)

They really seemed like the same thing to me.

Exxon-Mobile : Environment :: US Army : Minorities

This came up on the game thread over at Joy of Sox (because I tend to sidetrack easily), and the conversation was quite correct in pointing out that the minority status isn't as significant as the economic and educational status when it comes to recruiting targeting, but since the have-nots who are being targeted by this ad ARE minority have-nots, I think the correlation stands.

Sadly, the ones who need this, aren't TAKING SAT prep anyhow.

Here at the Bed & Breakfast...

It feels like we've had a lot of company lately, or maybe it just feels like I've been cleaning up for company a lot lately!

We were lucky enough to have the great Angela and Zach over for dinner on Wednesday, and then our friend Reid came over Thursday night to drink some lovely cold beverages and try to talk me into taking an A2 gig (I should) and Friday morning Dave's best friends from high school (and before) showed up for the weekend. Fortunately for me, one of those friends is a rabid Sox fan, so I had no trouble planning our weekend around the Sox-Yankees series. Sadly for me, I could have ignored the first two games completely and possibly had a better time. (As I type, they are removing the tarp at Fenway, so the third game should start soon.)

I wish I could enjoy just feeding Dave as much as I enjoy feeding all the other people who come through our hotel here. We'd eat much better if that was the case. Wednesday was roasted veggies and a simple tomato sauce over pici pasta. (Alas, the last of that. I'd been hoarding it.) Thursday, nothing special, though since Reid had come straight from work, I threw together a plate for him. Friday we made homemade pizza before the ballgame, Saturday was french toast in the morning and hamburgers, corn and watermelon for dinner. (The corn, oh, the corn... so good. Just all of the things that fresh corn on the cob should be.)We never eat like that when we don't have guests anymore. (Tonight, for example, is leftover night.) I should get on that.

It's been a fun week though, and tomorrow I'll be all set for more guests. Anyone want to make a reservation?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

this is a test, this is only a test

In the intrest of rampant consumerism, I'm just looking to see how difficult it would be to update blogger from an iPhone.

The answer is, the keypad (or lack thereof) takes some getting used to, but the browser. Makes. Me. So. Happy.

Part of that may be that the web browser on my dumb windows mobile 5 Q is lame and won't play with blogger at all

Best Game Ever

I'm obviously coming a little late to the party here, but I've just seen my new favorite Improv Everywhere mission. If you don't know Improv Everywhere, take a second and check out their website, because they really are more fun than should probably be legal. Every year they bring us the No Pants Subway Ride, among other absurd stunts, all of which increase the sum total of joy in the world. Because I was not paying attention, I missed this one:

Thanks to Zach for the email!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Prickly Zuchini and other Wonders of Summertime

Thursday is greenmarket day outside of Lincoln Center, and since I'm frequently there on Thursdays, I try to take advantage of it as much as possible. There are lots of wonderful things, and people, at the market each time I go there, and I want to take it all home. That said, I have both finite funds, and finite shopping totes. This most recent Thursday, my list looked like this:

Some green thing for the bunnies

Honey and eggs were easy, there's an apple outfit that also brings along a number of items from their neighbors. They were kind enough one week to bring me some apple branches as chew toys for the rabbits, at no charge - they seemed to think it was a great lark. We've been going through honey like mad lately, as Dave has been making lots of honey wheat bread. And toasting it. And covering it with, you guessed it, honey.

Sadly, the people from whom I prefer to buy my carrots, Stokes Farm, had none this week, which meant that the fantastic (and free) bag of discarded carrot tops was also unavailable. (Most carrot purchasers let the folks there take the tops off for them, and he woman who usually mans their stall is always happy to give me as many of the carrot tops as I can carry, which is great, as the bunnies love them.) I had to buy my carrots elsewhere, and I must say, I was not as pleased with them. I still got my lettuce (and some sorrel) from Stokes, and I also found some perfect small summer squash. I got two yellow and two zucchini, and they were so fresh and so close to their planty root (no pun intended) that the stems still prickled when I selected them. I'd forgotten just how spiky squash ARE when you pick them. It's been years since my mom had a garden, and I certainly have no room for one here, but those little spiny caps made me wish yet again that I did. There's nothing like fresh squash. Nothing.

Except maybe fresh corn.

Or fresh tomatoes.


I sauteed them, with some onion and some garlic, in just a little olive oil. So perfect.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Winnable Flame War?

While I'm pointing you around the Internet, check out this guy. His name is Sean Tevis, and he's running for State Representative in Kansas. Why should I care about Kansas, you ask? Well, really no good reason. Kansas is too flat for me. But this guy is just the sense of humor I wish we had more of in politics.

Running for Office: It's Like A Flame War with a Forum Troll, but with an Eventual Winner

The weblog is an engaging look at the process of running for state office, and if you've got that $8 bucks to throw his way, do it.


Everytime I hear Al Gore speak, I lament that he was never our president. If this Al Gore, the passionate, articulate, engaging climate warrior Al Gore, had been the one running for president in 2000 he would have won by enough that the election couldn't have been lifted in a Floridian bank heist. He's found his voice in his cause and has become so much more than an ex-Vice President in the process.

That said, check out the speech he gave today at Constitution Hall in DC:

He's right. We can do more, and we should do more. The solution doesn't lie with individual choices, though I certainly advocate your making wise ones with the environment in mind, but rather with public choices. Policy, and the political will that drives it, is the only way forward. The US used to be a world leader. We can't just sit around playing Risk while the rest of the world worries (or doesn't) about this crisis. Some of the things he argues in this well written and superbly delivered oration are things that I've talked about, as recently as this morning.

"Yet when we look at all three of these seemingly intractable challenges at the same time, we can see the common thread running through them, deeply ironic in its simplicity: our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels is at the core of all three of these challenges — the economic, environmental and national security crises.
We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change.
But if we grab hold of that common thread and pull it hard, all of these complex problems begin to unravel and we will find that we’re holding the answer to all of them right in our hand.
The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels."
-Thanks to Climate Progress for the transcript

I highly recommend taking the time to watch this speech, and then calling your elected officials and candidates for office about it. Then think about it, remember it, when choosing where to bestow your vote in the fall. This is the sort of thing that we CAN do, as long as we DO it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I hope I'm in a better mood at the end of October.

Because right now I'm in sort of a lousy one, so the All-Star Break and its attendant, well, break, is making me cranky. I miss baseball. How is Kevin Youkilis supposed to cheer me up with a grand slam if there ISN'T ANY BASEBALL?!

The All-Star Game was fun and all, but, like most of the east coast, I had work in the morning and had to give up on the tie game in the 13th inning and go to bed. I could only be more pleased with it if it had been my hero Youk with the MVP level game, rather than J.D. Drew. (Not to say that I don't like Werd, because I do, and he's been a very effective Papi stand-in. I just have a soft spot for Youk.)

Wow am I pathetic. Seriously. There will be baseball again on Friday. It's not like it's the end of the season or anything. My team is in first place (by .5 games, granted, but they'll deal with that in good order), the Yankees aren't even in second, there's still months to go. I even have nice cold beer in the fridge. I feel pathetic, but even when I'm glum, a nice baseball game really takes the edge off. It's an addiction. If I'm still feeling this underlying sadness come October and the end of the season (may it be LATE in October...) I just might have to do something drastic.

Like watch hockey.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fun with Stat Counter

Today's random search string brought someone to my Happy Creation Day post from a few years ago. It was:
6012th birthday on october 23.
I am dying to know who was searching google for this. And more to the point, why? Whoever you are, thanks - I'd forgotten about that, and it made me laugh all over again!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Baseball Project

I have this irritating tendency to forget that I have an emusic subscription, so I either waste a month's downloads, or I find myself scrambling at the eleventh hour to select 90 tracks. Which is what happened to me last night. I got some older Cathie Ryan, the cast recording of In The Heights and some assorted other stuff when I found this.

The Baseball Project turns out to be a collaborative project between Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate, Miracle 3) and Scott McCaughey (R.E.M.) who discovered a mutual obsession with baseball and casually discussed a baseball based musical project for several years before actually settling down to work on The Baseball Project, Volume One: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails last year. It's rare that I'm on top of something so quickly, but the album was just released last week, and on a lark, I downloaded it in it's entirety.

It's quite good. Largely story songs about some of the great or quirky baseball stories. (Plenty of material there for several more volumes!) Musically, it's easy and accessible, nothing earth shattering, but well worth the listen. Lyrically it's much more compelling. In Harvey Haddix, an argument for the inclusion of Haddix on any list of perfect game hurlers, they manage to use the names of all 17 pitchers to officially perform that feat without sounding at all stilted. For those of you to whom that made no sense, Haddix, pitching for the Pirates, took a perfect game into the 13th inning only to lose the game. It's the longest perfect stretch in one outing, and yet, since he did eventually allow one hit, not a perfect game. He did, however, pitch the 27 up, 27 down that the others did, and then again a third of a game. An interesting argument, and a fun song.

I particularly enjoyed Ted Fucking Williams as well, and The Yankee Flipper. The album as a whole is a love letter from some total baseball dorks who just happen to be first rate musicians to the sport they follow religiously. Critical in places, such as Gratitude (for Curt Flood), about the Gold Glove center fielder who's unsuccessful challenge to the reserve system opened the door for free agency (and today's sky high salaries), but still reverent and joyful.

And did I mention that it's just fun to listen to? I want to take it out for a drive!

I'll bet Video Professor could help you out with that, McSame...

Every single time I see those Video Professor (no link - if you can read this, you don't need it) commercials, I either mock them mercilessly, or I shake my head and ponder the poor fool who needs to be taught anything past "click here" for the internet.

Who could that lamebrain be?

Why, the Republican't nominee for President!

"I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself."
Honestly, what person under the age of 80* can possibly take him seriously? I'm willing to allow that he probably hasn't ever needed to figure out email, since there are plenty of people around him to do it for him, but web browsing? He'll have that down "fairly soon"? Really?

*My grandfather is over 80 and totally has this down, but in all fairness, my grandfather is also FAR smarter than McSame.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Friends and ancient history

Thanks Youk!

I was having a pretty crap sort of a day, but Kevin Youkilis has totally got my back. His cheer-me-up bid was a lovely grand slam, and the Sox are steamrollering over the poor O's right now, which is quite the mood alterer.

Night before last I was up too late chatting online with Walter, and somehow ended up hitting the Wayback Machine to see what lingering bits of my early blogs are still preserved there. There's something dreadfully narcissistic about rereading your own journal from nine years ago, but it's also quite fun. The word blog wasn't even in use when I started. I can't seem to find any entries from before Dec. 1999, but I started in Jan of that year. I've only kept it up intermittently though.

The thing that struck me most is that the friends I mentioned most often in those days are still the friends I go to when I'm feeling blue these days. I was feeling pretty low in one of those late 1999 entries, and my solution was to go out with my good friend Jess. Today? I called Jess and Jeremy to have them over to dinner. My mom told me once that her friends that she made in college were the ones she ended up keeping forever, and that seems to be true for me as well. Though there are a number of my high school friends with whom I am still close, and of course there are others since college. I wonder though, what it is about college that makes such long term friendships.

Whatever it is, I'm glad of it.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

What should I do next? I know! I'll run for Congress!

The Democratic candidate for Congress in my home district (VA-01) suspended his campaign the other day, citing "past financial difficulties". He didn't have any real chance of winning, I'm sorry to say, but even having a Democrat on the ballot is fun - so often this seat isn't even contested. The incumbent won a special election last year to fill the seat of the late Jo Ann Davis, a very conservative Republican who had held the seat since 2001. Voting against Jo Ann Davis was such an exercise in futility - I think I wrote in my dad one time! Anyhow, Hummel didn't really stand a chance, but I'm sorry to see that he's suspended his campaign.

Since it's a loser anyhow though, heck, I'd run.

Except I don't think the bunnies want to move to DC, so I guess I'll skip it.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Holes in the 50 T-Shirt Strategy

The news, pundits and blogosphere have been making great hay out of the Obama campaign's much touted "50 State Strategy" and before you get the wrong idea, let me go ahead and say that I think it's a great plan. By spending time on every state, not only is Obama building momentum for his own election race, but he's substantially improving the chances of down ticket candidates. In the long run, I feel like the down ticket races are where the real change (anyone tired of that word yet?) can be effected. If we can send a bunch of better, more progressive congressfolk and senators to Washington with Senator Obama, then the chances of enacting a progressive agenda are substantially increased. Not that you can tell from the current roll-over-and-play-dead congress, but the legislative branch is capable of being either the sitting president's best ally or most implacable foe.

In the long term, party building of this nature is crucial if we want those 'red' states to turn purple and even blue. My beloved home state, the Commonwealth of Virginia, is increasingly blue (Obama leads in current composite polling data and we're about to replace an old guard republican senator with a wildly popular democratic former governor). Some of this shift can certainly be attributed to the growing population in the more liberal northern part of the state, and to the abysmal approval ratings of the Resident's administration, but a lot can also be laid at the doorstep of that popular governor's campaigning, and that of his successor, and at the foot of the huge netroots effort to elect our junior senator, Jim Webb, in 2006. Each successful race (and even the unsuccessful ones) that competes in the state enlarges and energizes the base. The 50 state strategy does this on a national level, even in places like Utah, home of the most republican congressional district in the country. (Utah's 1st District, in case you were curious, an R+26 district.)

That said, you didn't come here to hear me spout off nonsense you could have gotten at dKos. You came here to hear me spout off more trivial nonsense!

The Obama site has, as you would expect, an extensive collection of campaign related gear and garb you can buy. One prominent category is "State Shirts". I went looking for a Virginia for Obama shirt, which I would probably not have purchased, but nevertheless, I wanted to know it existed.

It doesn't.

Virginia, a state that hasn't voted for Democrats on a national ticket since supporting LBJ in 1964, is currently leaning towards Barack. Not hugely, certainly within the margin of error, but the trend is continuing, and I look forward to casting my (absentee) ballot for the first democratic candidate to win the state in my lifetime. (Voting for Clinton was fun, since he did win, but since he didn't win the Commonwealth, this has the potential to be fantastically better.)

There's no shirt for Virginia? He won the primary there handily! He's contesting the state. McCain actually just made an ad buy for Virginia, for crying out loud! Republicans never have to do that! No shirt?

So that made me curious. What other states have been left out?

-Iowa (McCain 41% Obama 45.8%)
-Louisiana (Solid McCain)
-Maine (Solid Obama)
-Maryland (Solid Obama)
-Mississippi (McCain 50% Obama 44%, Rasmussen)
-Nebraska (Solid McCain)
-Nevada (McCain 45.2% Obama 41.8%)
-New Hampshire (McCain 39.4% Obama 50%)
-South Carolina (McCain 48% Obama 39%, Rasmussen)
-Virginia (McCain 45.1% Obama 46.5%)
-Washington (Solid Obama)
-Wyoming (Solid McCain)
(All poll data is composite from, except when noted. Margins greater than 10% are considered solid.)

A bunch of these states are shaping up as battlegrounds. Hook it up with the Cafe Press already! Wouldn't they like to see those states showing their support on their torsos?

But don't worry. You can get your Guam or Puerto Rico shirts. Perfect for the non-voter in your life.