October 31, 2005

On Harriet Miers

Now that the whole Harriet Miers fiasco is over, and a replacement Supreme Court nominee has been put forward, there were two things that struck me.

The first was that as soon as Miers withdrew, all of the people who initially came forward issuing statements expressing disappointment were Democrats and liberal groups. Generally speaking, the theme of the comments dealt with the fact that President Bush's decisions were being dictated by the extreme right of his party. Specifically, Senator Harry Reid, Democratic Minority Leader stated, "The radical right wing of the Republican Party killed the Harriet Miers nomination."

Now, with the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito, who Reid had previously warned President Bush not to pick said, "I think it would create a lot of problems."

That should tell you something. All issues aside, politically speaking Miers obviously was not a smart choice. People from the opposing political party were on your side and members of your own are against you. Bad decision. And now, with the new guy nominated, the leader of the opposition party opposes your decision and your own party supports it. Good decision.

If your party has a solid majority in the Senate, your really shouldn't need to condede anything. If the tables were turned, and we had a Democratic president with the Democrats controlling the Senate and the Republicans were significantly opposed to the president's selection, should the Democrats care or cave to Republican concerns? Would it be nice in terms of bipartisanship and political unity? Yes. Is it necessary? No.

The second thing that struck me was James Dobson's (founder of Christian evangelical Focus on the Family) initial glowing support of Miers, but after her withdrawal, his expression of reservations of her sitting on the bench.

Should he have waited until after she withdrew to express this? No. So this leads to the question of whether his leadership is truly about the issues or if it is merely the maintence of a Republican voting bloc. There is a great article I read this morning that examines this issue precicely by W. James Antle, III called: Dobson's Choice: Values Voting or Evangelical Identity Politics.

I believe that Christian voters should support candidates whose values that they share. And leaders of Christian organizations have a responsibility to make it clear that they actually support the issues instead of merely endorsing a candidate for political purposes.

The upcoming battle over the Alito (a.k.a. Scalito) nomination will surely be an interesting one. Let's see how it turns out.

October 28, 2005

The Sensible Center

A red-state Democratic governor explains how Democrats can win again with a positive agenda for the future.

By Mark Warner


Let me tell you about life in today's Washington.

In today's Washington, a fiscal conservative is someone who thinks the deficits can go on forever. He thinks that you can make the cost of the war go away by using Enronesque budgeting tactics of simply taking the costs off the balance sheet.

In today's Washington, politicians work deep into the night to try to write laws to interfere with the family of Terry Schiavo and ignore the fact that there are 45 million Americans with no health care at all.

In today's Washington, politicians refuse to unlock stem-cell research that could change the lives of millions of Americans with potentially curable diseases.

In today's Washington -- we see it day in and day out -- the heroes are political operatives whose only goal is to find the nastiest way to ruin their opponents, even if at the cost of our national security.

In today's Washington, it's all about the issues that divide us and about settling the scores of the past.

Yet in the heartland, in states like Virginia, folks are looking for something else, something I call the sensible center. The sensible center is wide open for any Democrat who can credibly make the case.

For years, the right wing of the Republican Party has asked its candidates to take socially extreme positions that are outside the mainstream. For the most part, those candidates took those positions, but once elected they only paid lip service to them. Some of that changed after the 2004 elections. They said, hold it: We control the White House, the Congress, the courts, the majority of the statehouses. Why aren't we getting our due? So now the right wing is asking for its pound of flesh -- on Terri Schiavo, stem cells, and a whole new series of litmus tests. Combine these actions with a failed fiscal policy and America's damaged reputation in the world, and that means a whole lot of moderate Republicans who consider themselves part of that sensible center are looking for a home. We Democrats can bring them back.

This is not some esoteric theory. I'm living proof of its accuracy. I'm very proud of the fact that I had a united Democratic Party behind me. But I would not be governor of one of the reddest states in America -- Virginia -- if I also hadn't been able to get support from a lot of independents and moderate Republicans. If Democrats are going to become the majority party in America again, we've got to do that all over the country.

How do we do that? We start by simply telling the truth; by being straight with people on issues from fiscal matters to America's role in the world. We do it by recognizing that in 2005, the issues in this country are no longer left versus right or liberal versus conservative; they are about the future versus the past. The Democratic Party has always been at its best when we've looked to the future. It's been our heritage. Roosevelt led us through the Depression and the Second World War. Kennedy challenged us to put a man on the moon. Clinton led us through the greatest economic expansion in American history. That is our Democratic record. We've done it before and we can do it again.

Sensible solutions. It's that legacy that inspired me. I came into office after a winning campaign that included a lot of folks in rural Virginia who hadn't voted Democrat in a long time. I've had some success in governing Virginia because we've focused on sensible solutions that look to that future.

When I was elected following a Republican governor, we first of all had to get our fiscal house in order. Virginia was a state in the red. My predecessor, who had been the chairman of the Republican National Committee, left me a budget shortfall six times greater than he publicly stated.

But we also used that crisis as a chance to totally reform Virginia state government.

We then went about reforming our tax code with a Republican legislature. That allowed us to make historic new investments in education, the key to our future. We kept the focus on making our academics more rigorous, and we made sure that those new dollars were held accountable in how they were spent in our schools.

Virginia today has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the whole country. Virginia has a booming economy. And after a two-year independent study by Governing magazine, Virginia was named the best-managed state in the country.

We did all this by focusing on what's important for the future of Virginia, not what's politically expedient. We did it with support from legislators of both parties. We found common ground in the sensible center. Imagine if that was the way it was done in Washington.

We live in an extraordinary time in America. Our challenges are enormous. American men and women in uniform are deployed around the globe on dangerous missions, in dangerous places, raising valid questions about the strength and size of our armed forces. We're in a struggle with a new enemy that can strike anywhere at any time, in a war unlike any that we have fought before.

Here at home, economic change is happening more rapidly than any of us thought possible. We feel like we're paying too much at the pump. We feel like we're spending too much time away from home. We worry that our jobs may be outsourced to Bangalore.

As a nation, we're getting older. Our social safety nets -- Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security -- need attention. Medicaid will bankrupt most states by 2020. Increasingly, there are going to be fewer workers responsible for more older Americans.

We actually run the risk of being the first generation in American history to leave behind a country weaker than the one we were born in.

A few months ago, I led a trade mission to India. I saw a number of things there that speak to me about where we need to be as a nation. I was struck by the crushing poverty. But I also saw something incredibly hopeful and inspiring. There was a project called the Hole in the Wall. Computers were literally placed in a hole in a concrete wall with a little tin roof over it. They turned on the computers in the morning; they turned them off at night. No teachers. I met a kid named Samir. He asked me how to spell my name so he could Google me. And these young people were emailing and instant messaging. They were doing exactly the same thing that my own daughters do with their computers at home.

The kids were remarkable. This experience said to me that the race is on for the future. Who's going to own it? Who's going to get there first? This is America's next great challenge, and we must start preparing right now.

I don't think we're prepared. Consider this: at a time when a commitment to education, technology, and research and development has never been more important, American R&D as a percentage of GDP has fallen to one-sixth in the world. The United States ranks 11th in the world in broadband deployment. Less than 15 percent of our high school students take enough science and math to qualify for any kind of engineering or advanced science in college. India alone produces four times more engineers each year than the United States. Our 15-year-olds now rank 28th in the world in math scores.

These are stark realities. We've got to face them. In Virginia, we have put down 700 miles of broadband in our rural communities so folks don't have to leave home to find a quality job. Even though our economy is booming, we still have 700,000 working-age adults -- nearly 20 percent of Virginia's workforce -- without a high school diploma. These people worked in jobs like textile, furniture, and tobacco. We partnered with NASCAR and started a "Race to the GED" program, encouraging people to go back and get a certificate so they can qualify for 21st century jobs.

In our high schools, no matter how rural, no matter how urban, we are offering the opportunity for students who are college bound to earn one semester's worth of fully transferable college credits -- get a jump start on college. We're saving parents $7,000 off the cost of higher education.

For non-college-bound students, we're saying, "Work with us." We'll guarantee you not only a diploma, but also an industry-recognized certification: computer technician, auto mechanic, nurse's aide. If that requires courses at the community college beyond high school, as part of our K-12 deal we will pick up the cost. We'll make sure you've got industry certification so that you can go out and get a good paying job as opposed to a minimum wage job.

We're also starting to reduce the perverse incentive that puts our least experienced teachers into our most underperforming schools. We're recruiting highly successful teachers and paying them a $15,000 bonus to go into our underperforming schools for three years.

Our goal is nothing less than to make the Virginia workforce the best educated, most innovative, best connected one in the country. We want Virginians to compete against anyone in the global economy. We should be doing it all over the country.

We don't have the luxury of waiting.

The last few years have seen the virtual elimination of time and space between Boston and Bangalore, between Shanghai and Chicago. These changes are affecting how we live, where we live, how we educate our kids, how we deliver health care, how we protect and preserve our national security. The rate of change is now on steroids. It's accelerating in an ever-quickening pace.

America no longer has the luxury of business as usual in Washington where they study, debate, disagree, go home, and put things off until the next Congress. The status quo is not going to cut it.

America is a country that was born of revolution, and Americans' best values are hard work and innovation. Our country has always been at its best when we've given everyone a fair shake and their own shot at the American dream.

It's always been Democrats who have always been able to see a little bit farther down that road. We are ready to shake things up. The time is right for us to lead again.

(DLC | Blueprint Magazine | October 21, 2005)

October 27, 2005

Rising Kaine

Yesterday, I was reading blog posts across the internet about the Michael Steele announcement when I stumbled upon a blog which was extremely racist. The News Blog is operated by some guy named Steve Gilliard (apparently he is a somewhat well known blogger). There was a post regarding Steele's announcement where there is a doctored picture of him with the caption, "I's Simple Sambo and I's running for the Big House." You've got to see it to believe it.

Obviously, Gilliard is a liberal democrat.

So today, Tim Kaine's campaign (Democratic nominee for governor in Virginia,) requested that the site stop running ads that they had previously paid for. No reason was given as to why they wanted to stop running the ads but it is a bit obvious. But according to Steve Gilliard, Kaine is a coward.

Gilliard is miffed that the Kaine campaign didn't ask him to explain his actions before pulling the plug on the ads. Because if they had actually engaged him on the issue, they would surely change their minds! It was merely satirical after all. How could the Kaine campaign be so rude?

I've read some comments about the picture from people from both sides of the political spectrum but something jumped out at me. Gilliard is (apparently) black. One of his defenses was that people didn't take the time to find out that he was black. So does that make it ok? So if he was white and made the same racist picture, would it then be wrong? What if the tables were turned and it was a white conservative blogger who made the same picture for a black Democratic candidate for office? No doubt there would be a huge uproar by liberals everywhere slamming how insensitive the blogger was being. Apologies would be demanded. Politicians would be required to denounce the remarks. But luckily, it is a liberal making the racist statement and the victim is a black Republican. Those types of blacks are sell-outs to their race anyway, right?

Tim Kaine, I am so glad that your campaign no longer advertises on that racist site. Too bad you couldn't have quit sooner, or rather simply not advertised on there in the first place.

The sad part is unlike skinheads who are knowingly racist, this new generation of racists simply can't understand how racist they are. And they actually think that their actions are good!

Sometimes actions are all you need. It doesn't matter how you feel you need to explain what you have done and why you think it is okay. Wrong is wrong. And you, Steve Gilliard, are wrong. Once the campaign withdrew their advertising, instead of realizing, "Hmm... maybe, just maybe I have done something offensive" he goes on the defensive saying the problem is with Kaine. Um, sorry buddy. It's jerks like you that are the problem.

While I am not a Virginian who can vote in their election, I would most certainly cast my vote for Tim Kaine. Not only because he is Mark Warner's Lt. Governor and actually has a positive message and results to back them up, but because he makes racists like Steve Gilliard angry. Now, if only I could find a t-shirt that said, "MAKE A RACIST LIBERAL MAD. VOTE TIM KAINE."

October 26, 2005

Antiwar Brit Funded by Saddam?

The US Senate is currently investigating whether anti-Iraq war British Parliament Member George Galloway received funds from Saddam Hussein via the UN Oil-for-Food program.

Here are the five allegations from the Senate subcommittee:
1. Galloway personally solicited and was granted oil allocations from the Government of Iraq during the reign of Saddam Hussein. The Hussein regime granted Galloway and the Mariam Appeal eight allocations totaling 23 million barrels from 1999 through 2003;

2. Galloway's wife, Dr. Amineh Abu-Zayyad, received approximately $150,000 in connection with one of those oil allocations;

3. Galloway's political campaign, the Mariam Appeal, received at least $446,000 in connection with the oil allocations granted to Galloway and the Mariam Appeal under the Oil-for-Food Program;

4. The Hussein regime received improper "surcharge" payments amounting to $1,642,000.65 in connection with the oil allocations granted to Galloway and the Mariam Appeal; and

5. Galloway knowingly made false or misleading statements under oath before the Subcommittee at its hearing on May 17, 2005;


Click here for the complete article from Vcrisis.

Here's an article from the British newspaper The Independent.

You can find a lot more information on this simply by searching for Galloway's name on Google. It would be quite interesting to find out if this is true, and if it is, whether it is an isolated incident or if there are other European leaders who were similarly anti-war whose special interest groups included Saddam Hussein.

Control Me

A friend sent me this article today. It is quite freaky.

Here's a clip:

The technology is called galvanic vestibular stimulation — essentially, electricity messes with the delicate nerves inside the ear that help maintain balance.

I felt a mysterious, irresistible urge to start walking to the right whenever the researcher turned the switch to the right. I was convinced — mistakenly — that this was the only way to maintain my balance.

The phenomenon is painless but dramatic. Your feet start to move before you know it. I could even remote-control myself by taking the switch into my own hands.

Remote Control Device 'Controls' Humans

October 25, 2005

Michael Steele for Senate

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele today formally announced he will run for the U.S. Senate, recasting the successful political partnership that enabled him to become the first African American elected to statewide office.

Article here.

Today Michael Steele made it official... he's running for Senate. Not that today's announcement was a surprise to anybody. But this race surely will be an interesting one, and one that I will follow closely.

I, for one, think that he will make a good addition to the Senate. Check out his website for today's announcement speech. The site really could use some work, though. I think even I could have made a better one...

All politics aside, every once in a while a politican comes around that seems like he or she is actually a decent human being. Mike Steele is one of them.

October 24, 2005

What is a Friend(ster)?

After years of deliberately not joining online communities, a few months ago I caved and joined Friendster. Previously, I regularly received those email invites to join and reassure somebody of our friendship, but I just wasn't having it. I just saw it as too much work to keep a personal page updated. Yes, I can be that lazy.

After finally giving in to joining, I decided it would be fine because since "everybody" was on it, I could at least maintain some sort of contact with old friends from high school, those who have moved away, as well as just people who I am connected with but just don't get a chance to see that often.

When I signed up, I was sure that everyone on my Friendster list would be people I personally knew. Or rather, those whose first names I knew and could pull out of a lineup if I needed to. But I learned with Friendster, this isn't really the case. It is possible to have a Friendster whose personality you couldn't describe or face you couldn't identify even if your life depended on it.

I learned that there is a difference between a friend and a friendster.

Here are some of the post-joining dilemnas that I currently face.

1. The Friendster rejection.
Often I have received buddy requests from people who I don't know. People who maybe I should know, but for some reason I don't. Or maybe they know me, but I don't know them. Whatever the case may be, once you receive one such request, you have to decide either to reject them or simply ignore them. Both of which seem to be rather mean responses to these purported friends of yours. And being mean is just, well... mean.

2. Insanity
Whenever you have a "community" where people are connected by keyboards and monitors instead of face to face contact, you are sure to find a higher than normal percentage of oddballs who want to be your friend.

Here is a message I actually received on Friendster:


Date: Wednesday, August 03, 2005 15:14:00
Subject: Join the Ryan Revolution!
Message: Hey. My name is Ryan. I notice yours is also. This
is not, as you may be thinking, a coincidence.
How, you may ask, is it not?

Well, I put your name into the search engine, for a
start.

Heres the deal. Last year I was insufferably bored.
So I amassed an army of Ryans well, 60 or so -
off the Friendster database. It was fun to watch
them all join me, and to look at their profiles, and
go: Oh, he seems interesting, for somebody who
shares my name. But then they wanted to know
where I was going with it. And I didnt know. So I
skulked off and pretended I never did anything.

But now, I know!

And alas, I return to Friendster to find that half,
maybe more, of my militia have not signed in to
their account for at least six months. The truth is,
in the absence of firm leadership, my namesakes
have deserted me. So, it has come to this I need
new blood.

I call on you, as a new recruit, to join the growing
ranks of Ryan, and participate in a creative project.
Every month Ill come up with a new task, and as a
collective group we Ryans will show all those other
names just how damn inventive we can be. Ill try to
keep this going for a year, and itd be cool if you
could help me do it.

Interested? Then join us. Add me as a friend, and
Ill return the favour.

Faithfully,
Ryan


I seriously considered changing my name after reading this. Maybe something like Horace? or Alpern?

3. Creativity
I have no creativity to make a cool looking profile. It makes me feel inadequate as a human being. People have professional looking pictures where they wear nice clothing and stare off to the distance. Or look at the camera seductively. I go with webcam pics that make me look like an alien. Life doesn't get much harder than that!


4. Friendster mongerers
I know I have been asked to become Friendsters with people only because they need to win the "I have the most friends" award. When getting such invites, I wonder to myself if I should be a participant in their game, or this obsession that the inviter has. Its kind of like getting with a player fulling knowing you are getting played. I mean, who wants to be one of 500 other friendsters on a list? I mean, you are nothing but a conquest to them. But yet, you go along with it anyway. And you are getting played online for goodness sakes, without any of the in person benefits.

5. The harm of cancellation

Every now and then, I think about cancelling my Friendster membership. But I don't go along with it simply because now that I have made contact with some people, it would be a shame to cut those ties. Even though they are online ties. But prior to joining Friendster, connections were lost but now that some have been regained, it seems a shame to lose them once again. Or what if by once being a friendster and then not being somebody's friendster later, the individual thinks that you don't want to be their friend anymore even though you are just sick of Friendster? Quitting is rough...

My conclusion is this: Friendster is a cult. Where else can you meet up with folks from the looney bin who obsess over the perception of themselves by others, fear rejection, who go all out with their membership, and keep you locked in the fold?

Don't join, because once you're in, you are stuck.

And you become a friendster. You feel a strange tingling and then it's done.

Save yourself. It's too late for me...I'm one of them now.

And don't worry. We can still be friends, but not friendsters. Being friends is cooler, anyway.

October 23, 2005

DC is No. 1 in Daytime Population Increase

As I spent about 1/3 of my weekday commute time driving into work this morning, I realized how great it would be if every day could be like today. Very few fellow suburbanites coming into town on a non-workday.

There is some news this morning about how certain cities see their daytime populations significantly increase as commuters come in to work. DC ranks #1 in this category (unsurprisingly).

Here's a link to the article.

Top Three Inventions of All Time

1. The wheel.
2. The steam engine.
3. TiVo.

October 21, 2005

Martha's Apprentice

I am an avid Apprentice watcher - both Martha and Donald.

Rebecca is my fave with the Donald.

But now, I have a favorite on Martha - Ryan. No, not because he and I share the same name, but because he really shined on this week's episode (I only saw it last night on CNBC... I have no idea when the first run of the episode is!). He really was easily the most effective project manager I've seen on that show, and quite possibly in recent all-around Apprentice history. He is one of those few apprenti who can connect with the customers crazily well (i.e. wedding cake sale) as well as lead a team of enthusiastic members without the backstabbing and footdragging others tend to create.

He's great. If only there were more Ryan's in the world... oh, wait a minute.

October 20, 2005

The Winter Olympics

I just realized today that the next Winter Olympics is less than 4 months away! For those of you who don't know, I live and breathe the Olympics - both summer and winter whenever they're on. I count down the days, and always toy with the idea of actually attending events. But for these Olympics, I guess I had just let them slip. I guess my focus on the 2008 Beijing summer games just consumed me.

So today, I will be looking at how much it would actually cost to fly to Italy, find a hotel this late in the game, and then find some tickets for a halfway decent event. Actually, any event would be great. (I am a PROUD curling fan!)

Worst case scenario, I can just tape hours upon hours of coverage on my newly working TiVo!

October 19, 2005

The Racist NBA

The NBA has a new dress code for this season.

On Monday, the NBA announced in a memo to teams that a dress code will go into effect at the start of the season. Saying players must dress in "“business casual"” attire, the league banned items such as sleeveless shirts, shorts, sunglasses while indoors, and headphones during team or league business.

The policy also requires players on the bench who are not in uniform to wear sport jackets, shoes and socks.


Necklaces worn over clothing have also been prohibited.

However, according to Stephen Jackson of the Indiana Pacers, this is extremely racist and an attack upon a culture.

It seems lately that the race card has been played way too much. When people keep crying race every time something that they don't like happens, it will make people want to listen less when racially motivated actions actually do occur.

Please note that these rules only apply at team or league functions. If the NBA was asking for each player to have a certain dress code when they are at they are at their mansions, when they send their shopping lists with their assistants to get groceries, when they are getting in free at the hottest parties in town, then there would be a problem. However, this is not the case. It basically comes down to, "when you are on the clock, you dress by the rules." It's really not that complicated.

Then you hear the argument that the definition of "business casual" varies by profession. I guess that's true. But please don't compare basketball players with construction workers or limo drivers as to its definition. Why not go with the typical millionaire's definition? Or just the definition used by the average American? Oh, wait a minute.

What about personal freedom? These rules are a significant restriction on the liberties of basketball players. I mean, whenever doing something work-related, having to wear what your employer wants you to wear, not something that expresses the "inner you" is very dictatorial. Oh, please.

Welcome to the real world. It's not personal, it's just business.

Does the rule apply only to the black players? Yes. Even those who are even part black.

Do white guys wear sleveless shirts and shorts? Of course not!

Do Asians use headphones? No, they are too busy reading their math books to listen to music.

Oh, you are right Stephen Jackson. The rule is racist. Only items that blacks wear are on the list of banned clothing. My mistake.

You can argue that the NBA doesn't need a rule, or that the rule itself might not help move the league in the more professional direction that David Stern hopes. But stop using the race card. The entire civil rights movement can't be trivialized into something as stupid as this.

My TiVo Adventure

So, I was at my buddy's house on Sunday watching football on TiVo when I was reminded of the wonders of technology. I remember when I moved into my apartment, I was extremely interested in getting TiVo , but the phone line requirement completely threw me. We didn't set up a landline because everyone had a cell phone and used it as their primary line. There was no need to incur the monthly expense of a phone line that nobody would use. After all, there were VCRs to tape whatever shows that we may have been missing. So the TiVo became one of those impossible endeavors that I simply wrote off.

But on Sunday as I watched the game, the ability to easily tape shows, pause live TV, fastfoward through commercials, and replay memorable moments renewed the TiVo passion in my heart. Now, since I live somewhere where we actually do have a phone line, the TiVo option reemerged.

Since I am an extremely sensible person and never rush into things, I waited 24 hours and bought my own TiVo on Monday evening. They have a great rebate deal going on where you get $150 of the $200 purchase price back. Not bad.

So now came the fun part... the initial setup. The whole process was rather simple, with the only messup occurring when somebody accidentally picked up a phone receiver in the middle of the initial TiVo download through the phone line.

As I read about TiVo, I learned that I can hook it up to our wireless network so that the phone line wouldn't have to be utilized for future updates. So yesterday, I found the cheapest adapter that was TiVo-compatible and bought it from CircuitCity.com. I selected the in-store pickup so I didn't have to wait any longer for my TiVo setup to be complete. The hours of the workday seemed to drag by as I eagerly awaited for 5 o'clock to roll around to I could make a quick stop at Circuit City to pick up the adapter.

Finally, after a typical rush hour commute, I picked up the adapter and headed for home. Eager to finally have the entire system setup, the moment I arrived home, I hooked up the adapter to the TiVo and waited for it light up in recognition of the bonding of my two new favorite gadgets in life. But nothing.

I quickly did some research on the internet to discover that it didn't work because my TiVo software was version 5 and I needed version 7. A quick TiVo phone line connection would resolve that. However, the download took an extremely long time so I was unable to finish the setup last night.

This morning when I turned on the news I quickly checked to see if the TiVo software had downloaded. And it had. I was thrilled.

So, I once again attached the USB wireless adapter to my TiVo.

But once again, nothing happened.

Puzzled, I did some further research only to find out that the software on the adapter was not the TiVo compatible type. The make and model were correct, but the SERIAL NUMBER was one that did not work with TiVo.

So now I need to find a new USB adapter. I found one at Best Buy which should theoretically work, however, I cannot be sure. I will stop by there after work today to make sure it is compatible, but who knows.

This evening will be extremely similar to yesterday evening. I will eagerly rush to an electronics store hoping that what I buy from them will work with what I have at home. But hopefully tonight, there will be a happy ending.

October 18, 2005

You're So Vain

You're so vain, you'll probably think this post is about you.
You're so vain, I'll bet you think this post is about you.
Don't you? Don't you?

October 17, 2005

Michelle Kosinski

So on Friday, while watching the Today Show, there was an extremely funny moment.

Michelle Kosinski was reporting on flooding in the northeast while riding in a canoe. But then suddenly, two men walked right in front of her, through the water. The water was about up to their ankles.

For pics, click here.

Post report, Matt and Katie hassled her asking whether she had reached ground yet. Later, when Al was doing the weather, instead of a weathermap, he used the footage of the men walking in front of Michelle.

It was quite the morning news moment.

On Thursday's show, Michelle, once again reporting on the flooding stood in waist deep water. Maybe she should have done her story from there.

Or, not been so dramatic.

I guess thats why they call it "news and entertainment." Because I certainly got both.

October 12, 2005

Liars and/or Thieves

Back in May, I took my first child, or rather my car, to the Volkswagen dealership for an oil change. This was a part of the 70,000 mile check up to make sure all was running well on my car. I hadn't really experienced any problems except a squeaky belt whenever I started my car, so I didn't expect really much to be discovered during the physical.

So, it was a day off I had so I brought the car in, and waited. And waited. And waited some more. The longest oil change of my life. So finally, after the oil was changed, and the car inspected, I was informed of two HUGE problems with my baby.

The first one was that my break pads were in serious need of replacement. I was curtly informed that whomever I had put my pads in before had done a bad job. (At that point I gently reminded them that I had purchased the car from that very dealership as a "certified preowned vehicle" and asked why it wasn't discovered sooner, i.e. during their 70-point pre-sale inspection) I was then cautioned that my struts were bad. The service manager told me that normally, struts shouldn't be movable, but mine could be moved a quarter inch. He told me that if I didn't hurry up and get them replaced, he had seen cars brought in where the tire of the car had broken through the hood because of the problem that I apparently had.

Seeing that I had already wasted the entire morning there and had other things to do that day, as well as that fact that I just didn't have the estimated $900+ I needed to repair my car, I asked if it would be possible to have the work done the next time I needed my oil changed. I was told that they couldn't make any guarantees, and that the sooner I had the problems fixed, the safer I would be when I drive.

So May goes by, June, July. Time for another oil change. No cash so I just postponed the repairs and had my oil changed at the standard, far more convenient Jiffy Lube.

So then, here in October, I finally had enough saved up to use on car repairs (after making such life critical purchases such as a digital camera, mp3 player, and some new furniture) and make the appointment for the repairs.

I dropped off the car yesterday for the oil change, some recall work, and the brakes and struts. They didn't have a cost estimate for me when I dropped it off, but was informed that somebody would call me with how much everything would cost at some point later in the day. I waited for a call, but never received one. Late in the afternoon, I decided to call them up and see what the story on my car was. After having to leave a message for someone to call me back, I was called to be told my car was ready for pickup. Slightly nervous that I hadn't approved whatever cost of the labor would be, I asked what exactly was done to my car. I was told that the recall work had been completed, and the oil was changed.

And that my brakes and my struts were just fine.

So were they lying then or are they lying now?

I do know my brake pads will need replacing at some point soon as I do periodically hear a squeak or two. And when driving over potholes and rough roads, I do hear pops from my struts, so I can imagine that at sometime in the near future I will need to have something done to them as well.

But aside from the fact that the dealership, or the stealership as it is sometimes called, did not give me new brake pads when I actually had them listed on my service order just baffles me. First, I'm not planning to get them replaced and am told that I need to and am warned what would happen if I didn't. And then yesterday, I bring the car in for them to do it, and then they don't because apparently all is well!

My conclusion is that I will no longer take my car back to the dealership for service. Not because they are thieves and cost too much for work on my car (both time and money) since I already recognize that and still kept going back because I did appreciate the quality of the work. But no, I will not go back because they are liars.

And my belt still squeaks.

October 3, 2005

Same old story for Redskins, Gibbs

Terry Bradshaw has a great review of the Skins this year.

Here's a clip:

My point today is that we live in a world where we all want instant gratification. We want to jump on the Internet. We're on the cell phone going to work. Everything is now. We want everything now. Fast. Speed. Give me answers today. Right now. We have no patience.


Read the rest here.

October 2, 2005

Nick Novak

Proud to be a Terp, Proud to be a Redskin.

3-0

WOW

Hail to the Redskins!

Great game.