Monday, October 31, 2005


  • Turns out I had taken last Friday off (the 28th) and forgot. When I called in to work to check in that morning, they didn't tell me that the computer said I was off. Still totally my fault, but a little assist would have been nice. So, I spent the entire day with my (proverbial) thumb up my ass, when I could have, for example, been at the White Sox Parade/Rally.

  • Today, I had to go to the downtown office to sub for someone. Unpleasant. Only took me an hour and 45 minutes to get home. And I stalled about 15 minutes before leaving (if you leave right at 5 it's really bad) to grab a sangwich and let some of the 5 o'clock traffic bleed off. Sadly, in those 15 minutes an insignificant drizzle turned into a traffic congesting blatter.


  • Friday, October 28, 2005

    Now THAT'S Karma!

    A woman bought a winning lottery ticket worth $1 million with a stolen credit card and could wind up with nothing if convicted, police said.

    Thursday, October 27, 2005


    Welcome to Denny "The Coach" Hastert's blog.

    Winning pretty!

    Hey, how 'bout those Sox?

    I've been watching many of the Sox playoff games with MET and family, and tonight was no different- at Matt's house, with the lovely Mrs. Matt and his folks. We enjoyed a pile of Fox's pizza, some Miller Lite, some Belgian ale (Chimay Grande Reserve and Duval) and various snacks. We watched the game, somewhat uninterestingly, until the 8th when the Sox scored. Hey, good stuff. Then, in the ninth, when that guy went 8 rows into the stands to catch a foul ball, the mood heightend. Sweet Jesus, this might be real. Ozzie Guillen and all that shit.

    Moments later, the game was over with an unbelievably close pick-off at first base. The White Sox have won the World Series. The real one, right there on TV! No, really!

    We stepped out onto the porch to listen to the din of the city. What a sound. I've never heard such a thing. We were a block off of Western Avenue, the South Side party central. But even then, the sounds of fireworks, horns and joyfull screams came from all around. This wasn't just a couple of idiots who spilled out of a few taverns, the city was electrified. We then toasted to the White Sox with Champagne-style sparkling wine. With a quickness, being October, we bundled up (complete with beers and cigars), and wandered up to Western Avenue. [As an aside, only a block from where I went to grade school.] Once again, I've never seen such a thing- and I've seen mayors, presidents and the 1984 Olympic Torch travel down that street- in my life. The damn Sox won (swept!) the World Series! We passed another bottle of celebratory sparking wine, and swept ourselves into the revelry- complete with an Elton squirting us with the remnants of the bottle.

    To wrap it up: I can't think of a better way to enjoy the fellowship of friends and an entire city. Those who weren't there, were. Good stuff. Excuse me if I get a little weepy.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    In the words of an Al Gore characterization,

    I agree completely:

    Greenspan succeeded in fostering stability

    I remember a lot of that late 70's and early 80's bleakness. I've read about the crushing inflation. It didn't look like a lot of fun. Greenspan!

    Monday, October 24, 2005


    I'm currently taking some training/testing things for HP. Sucking! The questions don't coincide with the training, and are also stupid. My brain hurts. I've been doing this since 9 this morning and I can't pass a goddamn 60 question test.

    Sunday, October 23, 2005


    Grand slam? Walk-off homer? I am atwitter!

    Get a shittier trumpet next time, Mr. Hairgel!

    What do you think about that, Tim McCarver?

    (click the images for bigger)

    CNN Quick Poll Uselessness

    Could you name the British foreign secretary?

    No, because I wasn't the Queen of England.

    I did not know that

    Did you know Fran Drescher was in "Saturday Night Fever"? She was 20 at the time.

    Friday, October 21, 2005

    I must have missed something.

    From an op/ed in the NYT:
    ... the United States Department of Health and Human Services published the full genome of the 1918 influenza virus on the Internet in the GenBank database.

    This is extremely foolish. The genome is essentially the design of a weapon of mass destruction. No responsible scientist would advocate publishing precise designs for an atomic bomb, and in two ways revealing the sequence for the flu virus is even more dangerous.

    First, it would be easier to create and release this highly destructive virus from the genetic data than it would be to build and detonate an atomic bomb given only its design, as you don't need rare raw materials like plutonium or enriched uranium. Synthesizing the virus from scratch would be difficult, but far from impossible. An easier approach would be to modify a conventional flu virus with the eight unique and now published genes of the 1918 killer virus.
    I find that hard to believe. Don't you need some specialized equipment to manipulate viruses? Like the REALLY tiny tweezers? Last I checked, there are plans on the internet for building a nuke, and besides the plutonium, you need little more than a garbage can and some dynamite.

    Whatever. I have to think that if some enemy of healthfulness has the skill and equipment to deploy a virus to the population, they'll have the recipe for whatever virus they want.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    Funny Headline

    Nut-cracking gorilla surprises scientists

    Hold tight for part two of the shaving epic, "Say friend, can you pass the styptic?"

    Monday, October 17, 2005


    Failed candidate hopes new name helps
    Three years ago, Frederick S. Rhine fought the uphill battle of running for Cook County judge against someone with a strong Irish name.


    Drove past this bad-boy the other day:

    The new rock-n-roll McDonald's

    Saturday, October 15, 2005


    Thousands Gather in D.C. for 'Millions More Movement'
    The sun rose over the Capitol this morning where thousands of men, women and children were gathering for the Millions More Movement. And even though the crowd was not as large as the hundreds of thousands at the Million Man March a decade ago, or as the Promise Keepers who gathered five years ago, black leaders at the event said the success of the day cannot be measured by numbers.
    Except that the name you gave the event sort of demands that it actually be measured by numbers. Reading the article, it seems like there were more "leaders" than attendees.

    Keep hope alive.

    Friday, October 14, 2005


    I smell Pulitzer.

    Are we really using "shotgun" in 'news' reporting now?

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005


    That Midas commercial is the worst Fred Flintstone I've ever heard.

    Monday, October 10, 2005


    Went to the doctor today for the first time in a while. And it's a new doctor for me, the son of my childhood pediatrician. Which is kinda cool.

    I was going because I have asthma. It was under "control" for a long time because I smoked cigarettes and didn't try to exercize. (Tobacco was a turn of the century cure for asthma, the nicotine dilates the blood vessels and the tar provides a Pepto-Bismol-like lung coating action) Now that I've switched those around (not smoking and getting exercise), the asthma is getting in the way.

    My point is, I am now laden with drugs. I've got the Albuterol, the Flovent ("I think he's on 'roids!"), the $15 nerdy inhaler spacer and some Zyrtec to try for allergic purposes. The OTC Claritin hasn't been cutting it lately, even if I double up.

    Guess which one cost the most? The friggin' Zyrtec. The COPAY was $35 for 30 of the little fuckers. I can't imagine what it costs uncut by insurance.

    [time passes]

    Probably the same. This is a non-formulary drug, which means nothing to me except that they won't pay for it.

    Sunday, October 09, 2005


    Why can't I find Animaniacs on DVD on Netflix?

    Saturday, October 08, 2005


    Go here and read the lyrics for the song "Skin".

    Now, I hesitate here.

    I'm not superstitious about much, but cancer is one of the few things about which I am, in fact, superstitious. I think it should be avoided in all possible ways.

    That said, and wood properly knocked on, brooms spit upon (*) and salt cast over my shoulder, I have to say:

    This is the worst song ever performed, written or even thought of. It could only be worse if they had actually used (and rhymed) the word "metastasize".

    I just don't think you should be selling records with hidden tracks in them containing songs about little girls with cancer, no matter how sappy and sentimental the song is.

    (*) Had to fire a girl at McDonald's once for doing that. You have to spit on the broom if it touches your feet, or it's bad luck. Turns out, it's even worse luck if you do that in front of customers.


    I love it when kids learn lessons.

    The Internet diaries that have become ubiquitous among tech-savvy teenagers appear to have tripped up nearly 60 students at three northwest suburban high schools who are facing discipline after a series of drinking parties this year.

    At least one of the parties was captured in photos that were then posted on the personal Web site of a student, according to other Web sites of teens in Palatine-based Township High School District 211 and people with knowledge of the investigation

    Friday, October 07, 2005


    My Samsung monitor, the SyncMaster 753DF, has failed. I was watching the White Sox game and it got really dim and went POP! It also smelled like burnt popcorn. (I believe the flyback transformer (the one that makes lightning if you touch it) has gone funny.) It was only 5 years old- granted, that's a hard five years- but it's disappointing anyway. Even worse is that I had a spare Compaq monitor on the shelf, which was removed from service because of emotional problems, and it looks 10 times better than the old one ever looked. And now I have to buy a new monitor. The good news is that I should be able to get a pretty nice one pretty cheap.

    Go Sox!

    Mark Giangreco's hair is floating three inches above his head!

    Thursday, October 06, 2005


    [Note: that "damn!" should sound like Judge Smails.]

    Anyway, that damned ER show has sucked me in again by casting Sally from Third Rock as a by-the-books nurse manager. Other than that, it's the usual bullshit. But it's enough for me to keep watching it. That and now I know how to stop someone who's in atrial fibrillation with just a bucket of ice water. (You stick their head in it. The shock of the drown/cold feelings kickstarts the heart back up.)

    So I've got that going for me.

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005


    As I may or may not have written before, I bought this razor in a grand experiment in shaving. My conclusions:

  • Hell yeah, I've never had a closer shave.
  • In the spots that I didn't miss or render bloodied.

    The directions for shaving with this style of razor are to not press down at all. Just touch it to the face at the correct (30 or so degrees) angle and pull down- let it do the work. That works wonderfully on the flatter portions of my face. I shaved ~11 hours ago, and there is no palpable stubble on my more successful spots. That doesn't work on the curved and coarser areas, however. The chin, for example. I'm not sure how to work that one. Also the neck, where my hair doesn't have a regular "grain" to go with or against. (Against yielded better results for me.)

    The other trick is that you have ONE shot at getting a pain free shave. With a "regular" twin or tri blade style razor, you can go over the same spot three times to get it right without too much pain. Second pass with this thing and you might as well be stabbing yourself with hot needles. Even then, there is less visible abrasion and blood than with the regular razor. Previously, I've had bleeders that I didn't even feel that went for 10 minutes. Now, these hurt like hell and disappear before the aftershave application (again, horrifyingly painful in any area shaved with more than one pass).

    It is possible that some of this is because of the strange (and seemingly useless) design of the "slant" razor- it seems to expose a LOT of the blade, more than I think should be necessary. I may try a more standard implement.

    I'll report later with a more final determination, probably leaning toward a "recommend" with the reservation that you have to suffer a little to get good at it.

    INSTANT EDIT: Ever since the beard started growing in good, I've had a problem with the neck hairs grabbing on the shirt collar. Besides being scratchy and annoying, it prematurely wears shirts out. Finding a solution to this is what led me on this adventure. I also may need to investigate different shave creams.

  • Monday, October 03, 2005

    Prison Break!

    I admit it, I've been taken in by the show. And not even a little bit because it is shot at the historic Joliet State Prison. Actually, that was the only reason I started watching it, since I've done work there. I've walked those sidewalks, boiled my ass off in those buildings (limestone retains heat too well), and almost been killed by a jail guard I was mouthing off to. ("You'll never catch me, screw!")

    Nevertheless, it has become fun to watch. It's got that maxi-series (like "24") feel, without the constant ridiculous threats. There are no nuclear bombs on airliners carying the president here, just the usual bad things that happen when you try to escape from prison run by Stacy Keach.

    (*) Actually, I had just parked in the wrong parking space and he took it personally. I did mouth off, however.

    Justice DeLayed, justice denied.

    This story about Tom DeLay is unfolding just how you'd want it to. First he's indicted, as was widely expected. Then we hear that the prosecutor is a bible freak (talk about a case of the right thing happening for the wrong, but deliciously ironic, reason), and now they indict him again.