31 March 2005

Worthwhile commentary

    Bob Garber of Flint Michigan needs a Kidney? Well, Bob Garber, you're going to get that Kidney thanks to the Bob Garber Gets a Kidney Act of 2005.
      Dr. Stephen Colbert
      Senior Ethicist
As always, the Daily Show is dead on with this and this.

What's so funny?

    I said "I know, everybody funny, now you funny too"
      George Thoroughgood
    Hey, laughing boy!
      Bugs Bunny
Apparently humans aren't the only ones in on the joke.

30 March 2005

That other bogus war

    You waste my coin Sam, all you can
    To jail my fellow man
    For smoking all the noble weed
    You need much more than him
    You've been telling lies so long
    Some believe they're true
    So they close their eyes to things
    You have no right to do
    Just as soon as you are gone
    Hope will start to climb
    Please don't stay around too long
    You're wasting precious time
      Don't Step on the Grass, Sam
      by Steppenwolf
I had started this post a couple weeks ago, and forgot to finish it. We had watched a few episodes from Season Two of Penn & Teller: Bullshit!. One of the episodes was about the war on drugs. I used to be fairly passionate about this issue, and this got me thinking again. Now I'll grant that in college, I may have had a slightly different motivation for questioning the laws that make certain intoxicants illegal. I'm older now and, like our president, I can be perfectly honest when I answer "no" to all the drug use questions on a security clearance questionaire. Despite this, I am still convinced our anti-drug laws are completely whacked.

Penn & Teller openned with a flashback to Prohibition. It's a popular and entirely appropriate precedent to cite. Prohibiting the sale and consumption of alcohol led to a huge criminal black market, poisonings from bad booze, and no real reduction in the consumption of alcohol. It was a complete failure. So you'd think we'd have learned. Well, we didn't learn from Vietnam, so what would we learn here?

Facts on P&T BS should be approached with caution. Like the people and organizations they debunk, P&T choose their interview subjects and footage carefully. That said, I think they had an easy case to make here. Just look at heroine. It is cheaper and more pure now than when Nancy Reagan first told kids to "Just say no." You can find similar statistics about other drugs to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of the so-called war.

Then there's the crazy pot thing. This is where the anti-drug rhetoric really falls apart. If you look at deaths attributable to the drug, pot is safer than alcohol and tobacco. No one has ever overdosed, that's for sure. And then there's the medical marijuana. The anti-drug movement is unwilling to even admit that there may be a medical application, despite the mounting evidence that pot has helped AIDS patients and chemotherapy recipients curb the crippling nausea and keep some weight on.

It just kills me. Despite new evidence, new studies, new opionions from the AMA, whatever, most lawmakers and anti-drug activists are unwilling to consider the possibility of medical marijuana. They seem so pig-headed about it. It's as if they no longer care about the issue, but just don't want to be proven wrong.

Then there's hemp. A popular theory has William Randalf Hearst demonizing marijuana as a means of protecting his significant investments in manufacture of paper from wood pulp. I don't know if he's at the root of the laws against pot use. However, the articles he published and the paper mill stock he held are both a matter of record, so his motives were shady at best. In any event, here is a source of paper with a much smaller environmental impact that we refuse to explore. A new cash crop for farmers. Come on.

I know, I know, I'm talking crazy. To embrace legalization is polical suicide unless you're local politician in one of a select few states. It's easier to maintain the status quo here. Accept the conventional wisdom, despite its flaws. It would certainly kill a national campaign. Or would it? I don't know, and we never will, because no one would try.

29 March 2005

Bloggus Interuptus

    And Sharkey says: Hey, kemosabe! Long time no see.
      Sharkey's Night
      by Laurie Anderson

So once again, a long hiatus in posting. I'm not sure why I haven't posted. Some things one might post about are best kept out of view from the wandering eyes of search engines. Other things are too depressing to rail against week after week.

Terri Schiavo is one topic that fits the latter condition. I blogged about her, or rather the GOP hypocrisy surrounding her. Rob had this to say. Jeri pointed out this observation of the GOP. The blogging activity about Schiavo is a news event on its own. At this point, I have heard to much. I want everyone to stop talking about it. The legal battle over, the case has become a deathwatch. I don't need a news story explaining in painful detail how she will die. I don't need info-graphics. Thank God for Anna Quindlen.

If you haven't read Rob's post of 17 March, you should. I spent Friday wiring in another smoke detector. I also wired them together, so that if one goes off, they all go off. The hardest part was getting a new line from the basement to the second floor attic. Having accomplished that, I can now continue adding smoke detectors to all the bedrooms.

Easter was good. We had my parents, Sharon's sister and her family, and Ed, Jancice, and Ed's mom. It was an excellent dinner (of course). Mustard crusted leg of lamb in a wine demi-glace. The kids had fun hunting for eggs (plastic, filled with candy) and playing. It was a very good day.

So that's the update. Hopefully there will be some more frequent posts.

Oh yeah, check out this guy's page.

18 March 2005

Hypocrites all

    Yet in instances like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life. Those who live at the mercy of others deserve our special care and concern.
      George W. Bush
      talking about the Terri Schiavo case

    While driving back from the speech later that day, Bush mentions Karla Faye Tucker, a double murderer who was executed in Texas last year. In the weeks before the execution, Bush says, Bianca Jagger and a number of other protesters came to Austin to demand clemency for Tucker. 'Did you meet with any of them?' I ask.
    Bush whips around and stares at me. 'No, I didn't meet with any of them,' he snaps, as though I've just asked the dumbest, most offensive question ever posed. 'I didn't meet with Larry King either when he came down for it. I watched his interview with [Tucker], though. He asked her real difficult questions, like 'What would you say to Governor Bush?' 'What was her answer?' I wonder.
    'Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'don't kill me.'
      "Devil May Care" by Tucker Carlson, Talk Magazine, September 1999, p. 106
      (For the record, Tucker never asked to be spared during the Larry King Live interview)

Fucking hypocrite. Excuse the language, but it applies here. It is so appalling and despicable. He was so cavalier dispensing death in Texas. It makes me sick to hear him talk about a presumption in favor of life! Fucking hypocrite!

The Terry Schiavo case frightens me to no end. What right do these self-righteous bastards have to interfere in the gut-wrenching and immensely private decisions that Michael Schiavo has to make on his wife's behalf. In death penalty cases, they say that the courts have spoken and decry the delay tactics made on behalf of the condemned. Yet the courts have spoken here, ruling that Ms. Schiavo would not want to live like this and that her husband is rightly carrying out her wishes. In response they've used every tactic in the book. Hell, they even tried to pass a law.

Here is the latest new on this story. The Senate health committee (GOP controlled, surprise) wants Michael Schiavo and Terri Schiavo to appear in front of the committee. As if they haven't suffered enough, now they want to grill him on TV and make him defend what may have been the hardest decision in his life. I feel so sorry for the Schiavos. They are made to suffer so some politicians can further their political agenda. I feel sorry for her parents, to, by the way. Their false hopes are being exploited by these same politicians.

Fucking hypocrites!

14 March 2005

Common ground

    So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table
    Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able
      Dar Williams
      The Christians and the Pagans
I had been meaning to post this for more than a week now, but I've been a little out of touch with the blog.

I had an interesting lunch with my boss, the owner of the company. The discussion was supposed to be about direction, goals, etc. over the long term. That part of the conversation was suprisingly short, mainly because there was nothing new to discuss there (another story I'll tell sometime).

So, having known each other for 13 years now, we starting talking about co-workers, former employees, etc. "How's so-an-so doing?" and similar stuff. We got onto the subject of marriage, and that was where the surprise was.

He and I are about as different as people can be. He is a die-hard Republican who hunts, plays sports very competively, etc. So it was unexpected when I found so much in common with him. We were both surprised recently by several unexpected divorces of friends and co-workers. We started talking about that, and about what keeps two people together or pushes them apart.

It turns out that we had both gone through several of the same challanges in marriages. The same stressful times triggered by similar events or at similar milestones. The same decisions, rationales, realizations, etc.

Anyway, It was just a reminder that there's always common ground there somewhere.

04 March 2005


    It's been eleven years. You should expect it by now.
You may notice some slight changes to today's entries since they were first posted. Sharon noticed several mistakes and historical inaccuracies that required correction.

Thank you dear, not only for eleven years, but for making sure I get it right.

I love you.

Where the hell have I been?

    It's been a long time since I rock and rolled,
    It's been a long time since I did the Stroll.
    Ooh, let me get it back, let me get it back,
    Let me get it back, baby, where I come from.
    It's been a long time, been a long time,
    Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time. Yes it has.
      Rock and Roll
      Led Zeppelin
It's been damn near two weeks without a post, so let me attempt to get back in the swing.... I'm going to set the time back on the rest of today's posts, so that they show up after this....

This one goes to eleven

    And so today, my world it smiles,
    Your hand in mine, we walk the miles,
    Thanks to you it will be done,
    For you to me are the only one.
      Thank you
      Led Zeppelin
The quote was as far as I got on this post before going to bed on the morning of our eleventh wedding anniversary. The day itself was not what we planned, I'll tell that story next. Meanwhile....

Early in the morning of January 1st, 1993, her annual New Years party was winding down (it was still hers, not ours). Sharon and I were talking about what you always talk about at New Years: resoutions. I knew what I was hoping for, but I wasn't sure where Sharon stood and didn't want to push. I was still recovering from a crash that almost totalled my car and me with it. (For the record, it was my fault, the result of me being an idiot). I asked Sharon what she wanted. She answered with a question, "So, are you going to marry me, you son of a bitch, or what?" So okay, I guess I didn't have to worry about pushing....

Two months later we'd found an apartment and were all set to move in. The night before we moved in, I told Sharon that I was going to wait to ask her until we actually moved in. "Oh, you can wait if you want," she said. I didn't wait. She said yes. Two days shy of a year later, we were married. When we were down the aisle and in the narthex, I turned to her and she grabbed me. We held each other for what felt like forever, cliches be damned. A day later we were on a train to New Orleans. Ah, New Orleans. Someday we'll return.

And now it's been eleven years. Back then we had an apartment and a cat. Now we have a house, three cats, two dogs, and the two most wonderful girls on this earth. I remember once when we were arguing and fuming about something (probably me being an idiot again). At some point, Sharon started telling me about something that had been on her mind. It had nothing to do with the argument, whatever that was. What I remember is this: it was the kind of thing she needed to tell her best friend about, but she couldn't, because we weren't talking.

That is what Sharon and I have. I don't mean the stupid arguments, though we have our share. Someone once told Sharon that she didn't need her spouse to be her best friend. Parent, partner, stable, etc., those were the things this person was looking for. That's not Sharon and I. She is the one I turn to with a problem. She's the one that gives me support and encouragement, and I hope I do in return.

So, here's to year twelve. And thirteen. And fourteen. And twenty-five. And fifty. And so on....

Anniversary day

    I'm sorry we couldn't spend the day thinking about how much we love each other, instead of trying like crazy not to vomit.
For our anniversary we had front row tickets to Democracy, dinner reservations for the Firebird Restaurant, and plans for a stop to see The Gates.

The morning of our anniversary started out when I hear my one of my kids crying in her room. Sometimes this happens when she has a bad dream. Unfortunately, this time it was because she had wet the bed.

I got her all cleaned up. While we were downstairs loading her sheets and blankets into the washer, I heard activity upstairs. I figured it was her older sister, so I headed upstairs. She was in our room throwing up.

It turned out that whatever she had hit my wife also. Several drugs later, we decided we should give it a go. My mom was staying with the girls. She's a retired pediatcric nurse, so she was fine with my sick daughter. My wife and I headed to the station to catch the train. She spent the trip alternately fighting nausea and dosing off. We got a little soup before the play, a relatively safe lunch.

The play was excellent. I recommend it to anyone who has the chance.

We left the theatre started uptown towards Central Park. After a block, my wife said, "Let's just go home." That was a good idea. We turned back and walked down to Penn Station. When we got there, we immediately saw the "All Aboard" call on the board for a Trenton bound train. We rushed to the platform, which was empty. Back upstairs, we now saw the "All aboard" for a different gate. More running, this time to watch the train pull out. Apparently they were having a little trouble updating the screens. The next train wasn't for another 45 mintues, so we headed for the waiting area.

That was when it hit me. By the time we boarded the train, I was feeling mightly low. Someone had a hot dog with saurkraut on the train. That was more than I could take. I spent the ride home in the vestibule between cars trying desparately not to get sick. I sang Green Day to myself as a distraction (still my favorite). By the time we got home I had a fever and chills.

So, not the romantic Saturday in the city we hoped for. Oh well. We both know there are plenty of next years to make up for it.

Go Codey

    I fully recognize that I was not elected to this position. I did not run for it. And I did not seek it. But, I will not run from the responsibility, and I will not shy from the challenges.
Sharon and I watched Richard Codey give the FY2006 New Jersey Budget Address wishing he was actually a candidate in for Governor. Ironically, the fact that Codey is not a candidate is probably the reason his address was a frank and honest as it was. Codey seems to be taking on the issues with a strength and zeal of a someone who has nothing to lose. I think it's just New Jersey needs right now. Go Codey, go!