Friday, April 30, 2004

Office Supply Madness

Papermate makes the smoothest writing pencil, guaranteed. The Mirado Black Warrier. If a pencil can be sexy, this is it. Used to be owned by Sanford.

Ever wonder what the pencil ratings mean?

I purchased a Uni-Ball pen at Walgreens because I ran out of pens. I got the Signo RT, in 0.7mm blue. It's a gel ink pen. I don't like it. It's a clicky pen, and a rollerball. I fear pocket leakage. I am also very disappointed with the action and writing quality for a pen that cost four times what my regular pen costs. I like the fine point 0.3mm, but the 0.2mm micro is good for fine work.

Car Update 2

The operation was a success. I put everything back together yesterday and fired it up. After it belched smoke out the carburetor (which I will pronounce "car-bur-eetor" from now on), it ran.

Of course, now the alternator isn't working. Boondoggle!


Neil Steinberg (Chicago Newspaper Sun Times Columnist) in Jerusalem. At the Wailing (Western) Wall. Being slightly meaner to the Arabs than he should be, and on street life in Jerusalem. And a Memorial Day lesson?
(those are three different columns. His index.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Big Brother

Big brother is watching. I think that's probably a good thing. Blogging is publishing. Just as I would expect the fuzz to bust a Tribune columnist who wrote of illegal activities, I would like to think a blogger would get the same treatment. Too many people think the internet is some lawless zone of free enterprize where anyone can get anything they ask for, and say anything they want. Damn hippies.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Car Update

Success! Sort of. The job at hand was the head gasket, and I was interrupted in doing it on Saturday by the rain. It is a complicated job, it is the gasket that goes between the head ("Contains Valves! And Sparkplugs!") and the block ("Contains Pistons! And a Crankshaft!"). To separate them, you need to basically remove everything from everything. There is a trick to slightly save time, you put a jack under the tailpipe and it pops apart, you slip the gasket out and the new one in. It worked. I buttoned it back up, and I await the morning after the various sealants have dried to see if it runs. I also ran out of daylight.

Things I learned today:
  • How to use a torque wrench. 65 foot/pounds is a lot.

  • I forgot.

    Of course I found out in the process that there is a hole in the bottom of the trunk, so I've got that to fix. But I'm not complaining, I enjoy (mostly) mechanicing.

    [HA! The Soup Nazi was on Scrubs.]
    [Also, for those I haven't assaulted with this before, please watch "Arrested Development." It's good funny.]

  • Monday, April 26, 2004

    New Money

    A new $50 bill to match the $20 that was released last year. From the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Nice name, and well done on the currency design.


    My man Buzz makes the news. Quoth his lawyer, Swifty:
    "This case is an example of the very worst side of the business associated with creative broadcasting," Swift said. "Buzz Kilman is a legendary broadcaster and one of the last bastions of amazing creativity on the air . . . so an economic dispute like this is upsetting."

    I love quotes like that. He could have easily added "when a beautiful man such as Buzz Kilman can be treated in such a manner, I think it really makes up all think about what it is to be an American."

    Also, I'm in the wrong business. 190 Large?

    Saturday, April 24, 2004


    I decided today would be the day to do some auto repairs that I have been ignoring. The head gasket in hoopty#2 needs replacing. A long, tiring job that I've never done before. Half way through, with engine guts splayed everywhere, I popped back into the house for a quick drink of water. I get back outside and it's raining. On the inside of my engine. Where water isn't supposed to be (although there already was water there thanks to the broken head gasket; the oil has turned into chocolate milkshake). Nonetheless, this ruins everything. I was hoping to finish tonight and let it dry (sealants) overnight. No such luck. and it's supposed to rain tomorrow too, I think.

    I have a tremendous amount of crap to do, and no motivation to do it.

    Coming soon: Stolen Election 2004!

    The paranoids are up in arms about the electronic voting machines, because they are paperless. They want it to spit out a receipt to prove it's honest. Also for the code running the machine to be published (open source). That'll stop them!


    Because the evil forces rigging our elections couldn't figure out how to publish false code or rig a voting machine to spit out fraudulent receipts.

    Don't get me wrong, I think touch screen voting is stupid for a lot of reasons. But as some sort of last straw of our takeover by Evil®? Not bloody likely.

    Thursday, April 22, 2004

    Simple pleasures

    Was sitting round the house here and, as I am wont to do occasionally, let out a burp. It was exactly (as humanly possible at least) like the Eudora Welty burp. And it made me laugh and laugh and laugh.

    In other news, my allergies are killing me. Like a dog.

    Wednesday, April 21, 2004

    REPOST: Goddamn anarchists

    In any other business, we frown on "security experts" who violate our security and then tell the world where the open door is. And distributes keys to the other doors. This whole "we're just in it for the security" thing just sounds like one of those deflection lies anyway...

    Guard: Hey! Stop right there!
    Hacker: Me stop? You should stop- you are a horrible guard, look how easily I got in here. You should be embarrassed. I'm calling the newspapers! Unless you pay me to fix the lock I just busted!
    Guard: Your trunk is full of VCRs!
    Hacker: [sputter]

    I'm just sayin'. I don't think it's simple irony that these hacker types are also loner types and immature types.

    While the results- increased computer security- are laudable enough, how much time and effort is wasted doing things this way?

    On fire today?

    Fuck you, Blender magazine.
    Blender describes 1985's "We Built This City" as "the truly horrible sound of a band taking the corporate dollar while sneering at those who take the corporate dollar."

    Oh, I'm so cool for hating corporations. Look at me! I'm so much smarter than you because I lifted an opinion from patchouli-stinking, hemp-wearing neo-hippies! (Who buy their stuff at the mall.)

    Newsflash, doofus, Blender is brought to by the same "corporate whores" as Maxim magazine.

    Why do all those so-called bad songs also happen to be songs that were popular? It wouldn't be to give handjobs to their (and cultivate more) tragically hip readers, would it?

    River of fear...

    Not just cooked in a pressure cooker, deep fried in a pressure cooker. That's what gives it its tasty fingerlickin' goodness, you know.


    It seems a little early for devastating tornadoes, especially since it wasn't all that warm out, but bad things happened nonetheless.

    Tuesday, April 20, 2004

    Goddamn anarchists

    In any other business, we frown on "security experts" who violate our security and then tell the world where the open door is. And distributes keys to the other doors. In fact, it sounds like a lie anyway...



    Senator Looney tells us we need to be drafted "to understand the intensity and depth of challenges we face."

    Sorry, I didn't know it was the job of:
  • compulsory military service
  • a senator from Nebraska

    to make me understand anything.

  • Monday, April 19, 2004


    I've received my computer parts. Installed/swapped them, and everything works. Now I am firmly in the middle of preparing for the OS reinstall. As usual, there are complications. Moron that later...

    EDIT: Everything is pretty much back together, and I'm loving it. I was worried, I installed the new processor without reinstalling the OS, and it wasn't faster. After the reinstall it's working flawlessly, however. Good times. Finally I can edit pictures without it freezing up on me.

    The Pentium 4 processors are very small, they are about 3cm square, which it as small as a 386. They are fabricated on a 90 nm process, which is very small. 900 Angstroms, 90 billionths of a meter. The upshot of that is that very shortly (engineering-wise), molecules will be too big. If I remember right (it's easier to shoot from the hip then it is to research), the problems they have now with reducing the size of the processors is making lasers with a small enough wavelength to etch the silicon properly. Light is too big. We live in amazing times. I have a handheld computer that has more memory and is faster than the desktop PC I used 5 years ago.

    Wait- my point on going off on that tangent was that because the thing is so small and has 125 million transistors packed into that tiny space, it generates a tremendous amount of heat. The heatsink that comes with it weighs about 3 pounds.

    Horror. Oh, the horror.

    John Valenti is a writer. A newspaper writer. Because of that, he often inserts short sentences that add fake drama and fill space. Like this one. Sometimes needlessly. Like this one.
    It cost maybe pennies on the dollar to make.

    What does this mean? What dollar?

    Anyway, good for this guy (the subject of the article) for fighting the good/ridiculous fight.

    Sunday, April 18, 2004

    Score!! and Abject Failure!!

    So there LC and I are, in Fat Sam's and MD has just left with H. in tow. We are near the dance corner, with sort of an eagle's eye view of the place. We instantly notice, besides the cool lesbians, a guy on a mission. He's That Guy®. (As in "look at That Guy!") Anything with breasts, real or imagined, he is hitting on. And failing. Because he exudes 'player' and 'desperation'. And LC and I are enjoying every minute of it. Because it's hilarious to watch his failure.

    He finally settles on two attractive girls who are alone at a table. They seem game enough. He introduces and immediately sits down. And he begins the schtick. Mirroring their actions, making fun of other people, the appropriate arm touches (appropriate only in "How to Pick Up Chicks" land, of course). And they are playing along. I began to get bummed out, thinking that once again the player is winning.

    Then one of us notices one of the girls make a "kill me" face to the waitress. So we pay a bit more attention. And then we each get eye rolls from them. Now we're having fun, because we're in on the joke, and the player is certainly NOT going to win. Always a good thing.

    The night begins to end, last call is made. They guy starts making the move, and we see the girls doing everything in the book to deflect. Pointing to nonexistentt wedding rings, etc. The guy is in pain. I almost felt bad for him. He finally disengages, and they are free to leave. And they walk right up to us.

    That does not generally happen. [thus, "Score!"]

    So we start conversing and find out that they are sisters, and that the older one dated a guy in high school who I once shot with a BB gun.

    [and here's the "Failure!"] I lost my way. We were conversing nicely, and somehow the conversation just lost traction. Multiple opportunities for furthering (not asking for phone #, they talked about getting pancakes, etc.) squandered. Shameful, really. I failed to shift gears- I was working in "neutral charming" mode, when I should have been more inquisitive. To my credit, however, I was battling with the fact that where they said they lived made them dangerously close to being slightly related to me through marriage. Further analysis says they aren't, but that doesn't help me now. Also the one I liked lives in Missouri. Where have I heard that line before?

    The only thing in the positive column is that The Player was hanging around the door when we were leaving, and I gave him the cockiest "how's it going" nod I could muster. So at least he learned a lesson.

    Saturday, April 17, 2004

    The Irish were rotten indian fighters!

    But industrious as ever. Behold.

    10,000 points to anyone who gets the reference in the title.

    General Steele

    PS- Say, that's another hint.

    That's gonna hurt in the morning

    Just ate something called Fish Nibblers from White Castle. Tasty enough, but I fear the worst.

    Friday, April 16, 2004


    I watched the WB's The Help. They stole a joke, and a fairly integral joke at that, from King of Queens. The dogwalker-walking-the-old-man-on-a-leash thing. It's one thing to steal a one-liner, but that's just silly.

    One line instant review? If you've already cleaned all the grout and still have a half hour to burn before the guy shows up to collect the dead cat, this won't offend the neighbors.

    Just saw Arthur "Frank Costanza" Spooner say "so long, douche" to another character on TV. King of Queens is hilarious.

    Yeah baby!

    Rob Feder tells me two things that are interesting to me. One, my new favorite TV station has increased its power to be the most powerful low power station in the land! The signal is now acceptable. Fuzzy, but the sound stays good- can't watch TV if the sound is crappy. I found it while in my cable exile. Turns out, there are tons of stations on the air that cable doesn't cover. It reminds me of WGN and WFLD when I was a kid- Carol Burnett, Perry Mason (Is it wrong?), The Untouchables, Lassie. If I can get the signal amplified enough, I may begin running tape on it. Those are some shows (along with Andy Griffith) that I intend to force people to watch.

    And Johnny B. is once again on the loose.

    Hamilton Burger

    Fast food goodness

    An ode to Big Boy. Creepy, creepy Big Boy.

    And from JAG, McDonald's is trying to balance things out a little. Why is it that when Mom cooks a meatloaf, in that orange ceramic loaf tray, bubbling with grease and topped with ketchup (or BBQ or whatever) served with baked potatoes and corn, it's good, healthy home cookin'- but when McDonald's serves a 4 ounce hamburger along with some fries, it's going to kill everyone?

    It's because of jerks like like this guy:
    "If McDonald's wanted to improve the public's health, in addition to providing the salads and bottled water, it could stop using partially hydrogenated oils in its fries, which contain trans fats and are a powerful promoter of heart disease," he said. "They also could lower the fat content of their burgers, use lowfat cheese, provide more baked food instead of fried food and lower the sodium content of their foods."

    First, they've done plenty of that- lowfat shakes, baked apple pies, grilled chicken, whitemeat chicken nuggets (they are gross, by the way), and others. Second, nobody is telling you to eat yummy food all the time. That's why they are providing salads! That's why they have that chicken breast filet sandwich! They are trying (like Burger King and Wendy's too) to transcend the "it's shit, but it's fast" meme that's being furthered by this guy, and that asshole who did that 30 day documentary and tons of other people who think they're awfully hip and cool for hating McDonald's. They are the same people who scrunch their noses at the suggestion of Taco Bell. "Pfft! If you want Mexican food, I know this little place where you can get real Mexican food," they'd say. Thanks for the tip, pomposo. I don't want Mexican food, I want a fucking Grilled Stuft Burrito and a Dr. Pepper!

    Thursday, April 15, 2004


    I write from my new computer hole, The Office II. Previously, the computer had been in the dining room. I liked that a lot because it was sort of a perch, or command center, for the day to day BS that life entails. I'm near everything. Sadly, the computer desk turns into an everything desk, and a keyboard caked in Lousiana Hot Sauce just doesn't work as well. Tasty though. There was also the wire situation. Wires draped EVERYWHERE. This move will cut down a huge lot of that. The room I'm in used to be the roomate room, then it was the basement (junk collector), and now it's The Office / Server Room. I also have a window now, with a lovely view of Interstate 294.

    EDIT: I may decide to start an annoying habit: referring to rooms not by their standard names (bedroom, family room, etc), but by what I am doing in them. The same room could be, by mere virtue of my intentions, the exercise studio, the lounge, the music room, the conservatory, the library, the sunroom, the grotto, etc.

    The Body

    I like this guy. If he ran this year, he'd probably win.

    Wednesday, April 14, 2004

    Hot and Wet!

    A water substitute for use in fire supression systems that doesn't ruin stuff. Here. Good news for museums and other archival situations, and for electronics.

    How not to run a radio network

    Air America Radio is bouncing checks after only two weeks on the air? They're renting time on someone else's station? Troublesome. Maybe I'm "old-school" when it comes to radio, but to me the call letters and frequency are important things about radio, and for that reason I think renting someone else's time is a bad idea. It says two things to me, that they believe the listeners will follow them anywhere, and that they don't want a bunch of damn radio stations to unload when the whole thing goes kaput. Yeah, the 2000 people in each major city who really care will keep up and follow the programming. What about the person that's pissed about something Rush just said and decides to check out what the other guys are saying? Good luck. And that's why it won't be a success.

    Wacky Name

    Ken Dolabra

    Tuesday, April 13, 2004


    Just ordered me up some new computer guts. The Asus P4C800E-Deluxe systemboard, containing everything you'd ever need. The Pentium 4 2.8E Prescott processor. Some memory. This is upgrading a PIII 750, so I think I waited long enough.

    Monday, April 12, 2004

    Vonage Update

    I wrote earlier about a plan to convert my phone service to an internet-based service, Vonage. My results are good.

    You sign up and they give you a phone number, or you keep your old one through LNP. They send you a box. You connect the box in between your computer(s) and the cable modem, and you plug regular phones into the box. If you're good with wires and can plug your whole house wiring into the box, nobody would ever know the difference. It works exactly like a normal phone. I've made and received dozens of calls, and only one was horribly botched. You do, however, have to 11-digit dial for local calls. Which really isn't that much of a stretch, since the 224/847 area code here in Chicago has to do it, and doesn't VA's 571/703 have to as well? [insert area code nostalgia here]

  • Biggest problem is potential reliability. There are a number of added steps and vendors here. We'll call it the Amtrak problem. Except for a few lines on the East coast, Amtrak doesn't own any actual traintracks. They own trains and buy time on other lines with names like the Baltimore & Ohio and Chicago Western. But when the tracks heat up and warp and a passenger train crashes, whose name is on TV? Amtrak. Vonage has no control over my ISP, and so for any ISP issues they are forced to shrug their sholders. But it's their dialtone I'm looking for.
  • 911- Because it's internet based, you can literally plug this box into the internet anywhere in the world and have your home phone number live. So you have to register your home address with their servers, and when you dial 911 your call goes the same place (or a similar place) as a cellular 911 (or *999) call goes. Which isn't where your landline 911 call goes.
  • Thanks to the FCC, this is not "telephone" service, it is Digital Voice service. Besides the above, I can't really think of the implications of that yet. Less taxes, so far.

    For those two reasons, I'm keeping my landline phone at a very basic level. I believe that's $15 a month. (Thank you, regulation.) Between Comcast, Vonage, and/or ComEd failures, I wouldn't be comfortable without a regular landline. Maybe not, since I have a cell phone too. We'll see. The $40 for two lines is still cheaper than the $60 for one I was paying SBC/Ameritech.

    Neat stuff. It's got all the bells and whistles phone service should have, plus a couple extras that are the future of telephony. One example is called SimulRing. Caller dials your number, and it rings your phone and another phone of your choosing. Answer whichever one is convenient. It doesn't work too well yet as it introduces a wicked delay (250-500 ms?) on the non-primary phone. If that's a cell phone there's even more delay. But in a pinch, it certainly works. You can check your voice mail from the web. You can have "phantom" numbers, in any area code they have coverage. So if you move to Chattenooga and the whole family stays in Albuquerque, you get a local Tennessee number and a phantom Albuquerque number. Family dials a local call and gets you in Tennessee.

    This is slightly behind the bleeding edge of telephony, people have been using the internet for phone calls for a little while now. But it's the first thing that's been ready for prime time. Theoretically, the phone companies would start providing everyone with a fast internet connection (not a kludge like DSL) and your telephone and internet come on the same line. Make it fast enough (fiber) and your cable TV could come on it too. That's a long way off however. Phone and internet combined is certainly a reality for business users, so home is not *too* far off.

  • Help me

    Why does my computer work just fine 99% of the time, yet I can make it freeze almost on command by loading something made from Flash, or by using Photoshop? CLJO's link to the fish joint did it again just now. I thought it was my 5 year old video card, but a far too expensive new one later, and it's exactly the same.

    I'm half tempted to just buy a $400 Dell and waste my money on wine, women and song. But I suspect my Cool Dell Priviledges don't make a damn bit of difference when working on my own equipment, and I don't think I can deal with Tier 1:

  • Is the computer on?
  • Try disconnecting it from the power strip.
  • Have you cleaned your mouse?
  • OK, we'll send out a technician to erase all your data.

    Off to Dominick's to buy an ass-load of meat. I've got quit-smoking weight to take off before bikini season!

  • Please shoot me from the left

    Big brother is watching... and listening. Sometimes I forget, and I'm sure others do as well, is that there is no right to not get caught. Crime, whether murder or speeding, isn't about outfoxing the police- it's about respect for the society we live in. The "it's not wrong if you don't get caught" attitude is obviously universally human, but I think it's (fairly or unfairly) particularly American. There is the "if you don't have anything to hide..." slippery slope, but I may be changing my tune on that, slightly. It's long been established that your home is mostly inviolable, but that the streets are mostly transparent. This technology does nothing to change that, except possibly to ADD truth- it's hard to falsely accuse someone of doing something on a streetcorner that's been under constant surveillance.

    Of course, what happens when this drives crime to other places, or further underground? We'll deal with that when we get to it. Shouldn't it be difficult to be a criminal? Shouldn't we be creating an environment where it's easier to join productive society than not?

    Saturday, April 10, 2004


    This fucking computer is on its last legs. Inconsistancies and unexpectedness abound. I suspect I have bad memory, but I don't feel like replacing 512 MB of PC100 when I'm going to be replacing the whole thing shortly/eventually. So I live with it.

    Spent the day doing nothing, all the while my plate fills geometrically fuller with shit to do. Tomorrow? Family visitin'.

    They added on to Bourbon Street. It is one of those omnibus entertainment venues like you see in resort locales, with the beer garden, dance club, sports bar and restaurant all in one spot. Removing the sand volleyball courts, they've added a music venue. When it's not being used that way, it is just an empty room with tables. A lot of the clubwhores hang out in there to cool off. Good viewin'. Spent last night in there.

    Friday, April 09, 2004


    Jeffy brought it on himself, of course. But I still feel very bad for my man T-Bone who found a more honorable way to make his millions.

    What you need is a COMPUTER!

    Apples get viruses too. And, since OS X is sitting on top of Linux, that means it can get them too. Can we all shut up now and learn to write decent software? Seriously: a virus that can be deployed in an MP3 file? That's terrible. "Apple is more secure" my ass. What about .jpgs? Do we have to worry about them now too?


    Why are only the Clear Channel stations being fined? The offending material was broadcast on all the stations, give or take for the effects of the delay machine being triggered. See, how it works [flatulence] is that a listener must complain to the FCC to trigger an investigation. So am I to believe that there are similar nuts in all the CC markets, and not in any of the Infinity [flatulence] markets? Doubtful. So what's the deal?

    [flatulence] Actually, I just figured it out. They could have said "WBGG in Ft. Lauderdale was fined," but it looks better to say "Clear Channel Fined." But I had too much [flatulence] fun writing this to give up now.

    Thursday, April 08, 2004


    How can one suburb be subject to DHS regulations and the other not? Alsip is lying about their motivations, or Worth is violating the law. Either way, it needs to be stopped.

    And how does limiting the hours of the public's access to waterways help national security anyway? Terrorists only work after 9pm? That's ridiculous. Or are we only surveilling the waterways during certain hours?


    What is he hiding?


    The LA Times is a good newspaper generally, and I often forget to remember it. Here, they talk about drunk driving. The ultimate question being, do drivers have any kind of right to have had a drink before driving? MADD, SADD, et al, don't think so. I do think so, but I'm not sure I can justify it against any kind of logic. The article does a good job of asking questions. Who do we trust to answer them?

    Wednesday, April 07, 2004

    In honor of a previous post

    Stealing more photos from If drudge can do it, so will I. Can't tell whether that's the original PC, or an XT. Or an AT? I think the AT was in 84. And the basic architecture of the PC hasn't changed since.

    Audry Hepburn with a dye job?


    Illinois officially apologized to the Mormons for killing Joseph Smith and driving the sect out. Should be apologizing to Utah. You heard me.

    Tuesday, April 06, 2004


    A lot of people say Rush is crazy. Most days, I'd go along with that. But I think we all can agree that this guy is nuts. He is a bully of the worst kind, he's the one who hits you with your own hand and says "stop hitting yourself!" Not only is he going to keep hitting you and taking your lunch money, he's going to pretend to be your friend and tell you you're the jerk for letting bullies push you around.

    Monday, April 05, 2004

    Dead Trees

    The Sun Times is no longer "Still Cheap @ 35¢," they raised it to the industry standard 50¢ effective today (I think). I heard a regular citizen on the radio complaining, and I [nearly] quote "They shoulda given us more notice! I might hafta switch to the Tribune- it's a bigger paper anyway."

    I ought to get into advertising.


    Been listening to some Air America Radio. I know they are just starting out, but it doesn't smell good. I wonder what will happen when Franken and Garafolo get sick of their new toy and don't feel like working three hours a day, every day? Of course, it's hard to say what they're doing- they repeated Franken's 1200-1300 hour from 1300-1400, so three hours a day might be pushing it (*). Earlier, Franken was doing some kind of voice where he sounded like some kind of Truman Capote character. And he keeps doing that thing where he says something powerful and meaningful (in his own mind at least), and then caps it off with that weird laugh of his. If you're going to be funny, be funny. If you're going to be serious, be serious. You can even mix those in the same conversation. But the same sentence? No. Synthesized example:

    "Unlike Bush, who's sending these kids out there to DIE- uhhahahahaha."

    No good.

    I have it on good authority that nobody ever (genuinely) laughs with an alternating sound. Once you choose the sound, you stick with it. "hahaha" or "hohoho" or "heeheehee", never "hohahoha". Thank you. (That's part of a Pink Floyd song, isn't it? "hahaha, hohoho, heeheehee")

    (*) I'm not being sarcastic- doing three hours a day, every day, of material is very difficult, and good radio requires that. That's part of the reason Rush is so successful (like Stern)- it's rarely boring. Enraging, pandering? Of course. But rarely boring.


    Check this out. Here. Watch the video. Fascinating.

    Would they change the weather?


    The six steps of the laser printing process (Xerographic, or electrophotographic) process are cleaning, conditioning, writing, developing, transfering and fusing. That's how they create an image on the paper in a laser printer or in a copy machine.

    Ironically, they do the exact same thing to my great-aunt's hair every week at the beauty shop.


    I'm generally a crew sock man. But this summer, I'm hoping to be just a bit more stylish than my South Side genes would generally have me be. So, among other things, I bought today some of the low-rise socks for summer wear. I'm going to call them, for preservation of my hetero-self purposes, shoe liners. When you need socks, but don't want to look like you're wearing any. I'm testing them right now, since it's 32° F outside, and my ankles are cold. As I've said before, I would dress like Crockett every day if it were socially acceptable.

    Also spent $40 at Target to complete the bathroom ensemble. For the first time in my life, I bought decorative towels. No. I'm going to edit that right now. They are normal, functional towels that I fully expect to be used by visitors. Not the stiff, embroidered $25 handtowel that matches the three wicked candle and the potpourri. Just a non-white towel I won't be using day-to-day. And they match, sort of. Anyway, I needed something to fill space on a wall, so I also got a small medicine cabinet to nail up. And towel racks. For 5 years, the towel has hung over the curtain rod when not in use, and draped on the sink when I'm in the shower. (And that's on a good day- don't get me started on the tile job that took three years.) It's time I got civilized. I even put the door back on.

    Last night, LC and I went to Quigley's South (the former Reilly's Daughter). (Shockingly, with all the Irishmen in the world, this is the first result in google when simply typing "quigley's") The one in Naperville is far too dark, with the dark green paint and the burnt oak and the 6 foot tall upholstered booths. The Oak Lawn one is more Prairie Style. In fact, if you scroll down to the second picture, where the drunk is touching the mural's boobie, I spent the entire evening staring at that exact same mural. I asked Lou why Chairman Mao was looking down at the St. Patrick's Day Parade, a farmhouse and Marina City, but he wasn't interested. It was a weird evening- it was "creepy old" (thanks, Lou) in there. Like at any moment you were going to get hit on by someone who went to school with your mom, and knows it.

    I had no point, and thus ended up without one. Socks, towels, creepy women. It was a good weekend.

    Friday, April 02, 2004

    120 is for WIMPS!

    I forget that I don't need to link to a story to write on this infernal contraption.

    Will the Army Reserves system collapse when this Iraq thing finally ends? I saw on the news that some of the first wave of reservists that went to Iraq a year ago are coming home. And I remember a lot of the trouble, with matched and unmatched salaries and families to support and jobs to lose, back when they were getting called up. It seems like a lot of hassle for a lot of people, and I wonder if it will be worth it to future soldiers who leave active duty for them to enlist in the reserves. That's assuming people get to leave.

    Don't 'Mess' With Texas


    Thursday, April 01, 2004

    Don't Mess with Texas

    When Southern down home cookin' kills. Of course I stole this from Drudge. But knowing what I know about southern cooking, I'm not surprised. The explosion was probably designed in so grandmaw could teach a valuable lesson about minding your cooking. Southern cooking: when you're making spaghetti, you poor ALL the grease from the ground beef into the pasta water. "Keeps them from sticking together." I'm not kidding.


    My man Terry Gainer has gone off the deep end.

    Maybe not- his job is to protect the property and people of the Capitol, it is someone else's job to balance that with other odd notions such as openeness, transparancy, democracy.

    It's the Ashcroft dichotomy- his job is to enforce the laws of this country, not be everybody's best pal. I think it's his job to piss off people who would break the law. Now if he can just let that sexy bitch Justice show off her cans...


    Cook County raised their tax on cigarettes 555%- from 18 cents a pack to $1.00 a pack. Ouch. Based on the last time I bought, this brings the single pack, retail price to well over $5. That's awful. [groan] When I was working at McDonald's and began smoking in earnest, the two gas stations across the street engaged in cigarette price wars (there was a high school nearby). The Shell station was always the better deal. They were $2.25, $4 for two packs. And two packs lasted about a week.

    But it's a problem- part of the reason I quit was the tremendous amount of money I was wasting, so if that helps more people quit it's a good thing. But I find something distasteful about the government closing budget gaps on the backs of the people who enjoy vices. I think I've got it: Alcohol, tobacco and firearms need to be regulated. So they should be taxed only to the extent the costs of regulation are covered. But if they close budget gaps on vice taxes, they are de facto encouraging those vices because they profit from their use. If everyone quit smoking today, other taxes would have to be raised somewhere. That seems like a bad thing.