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God tells me to copy and paste, so you can't stop me. -- Kate

"You know, I could run for governor, but I'm basically a media creation. I've never done anything. I've worked for my dad. I worked in the oil business ..." -- G.W. Bush

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. -- Galileo Galilei

Thursday, January 27, 2005

This is one of the reasons why putting social security into the market is a bad idea. Can anybody look at the next paragraph and say that what happened is reasonable or sensible?

EBay Forecast Misses by a Bit, And Shares Fall
By GARY RIVLIN (NYT) 793 words
Late Edition - Final , Section C , Page 1 , Column 5

ABSTRACT - Shares of eBay fall nearly 12 percent, as much as $12 in after-hours trading because its earnings in fourth quarter missed Wall Street's expectations by [a] penny a share--this despite profits that were up 44 percent; company posts profit of $205.4 million, or 30 cents per share, in quarter ended Dec 31, up from $142.5 million, or 21 cents per share, in period year earlier; revenues were $935.8 million, also up 44 percent; chief executive Meg Whitman comments (M)
For some reason there are people who expect the market to respond rationally but it doesn’t, obviously. If what team wins the World Series or the Super Bowl can effect the next day’s market prices then there is a puzzle. How do you keep your money safe from non-business factors? Answer, you can’t, as long as there are people who are swayed by irrational non-business reasons when they are making business decisions.

Here’s something that has always stuck with me since I read it, that playing the market is just like gambling, don’t put in more that you can afford to lose.

I know that the experts say that historically the market is a sure thing but I can’t help but wonder. If it is such a sure thing, why do they have to put that line in market prospectus about history not being an accurate predictor of future gains (or losses). What if you need your money just after the market goes south? It has happened. What then? Will you still be able to retire if all or most of your retirement funds are stuck in the market?

Monday, January 24, 2005

Published: January 22, 2005
Nautical Nonsense

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?"

"SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS!"

"Absorbent and yellow and porous is he ..."

... not to mention dopey and charming and more hugely overexposed than ever, thanks to an anti-homosexual attack from the Christian right. Because of a media fuss ignited by the American Family Association and Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, this cartoon character is well on his way to culture-war immortality, up there with those moral saboteurs Murphy Brown and Tinky Winky.

It's not that Dr. Dobson has a problem with Mr. SquarePants per se. He is angry, rather, about a video made for grade schools by the We Are Family Foundation that features SpongeBob and other TV characters. It doesn't mention sex. But the foundation's Web site says this: "I pledge to have respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own." How could anyone be against that?

Dr. Dobson is. He has denounced the video as a bait-and-switch, one that uses cartoons to legitimize a group that will corrupt children with a homosexual agenda.

We find it strange, actually, that the intolerant Dr. Dobson has not taken aim at SpongeBob himself, who is naughty and rude enough to give many parents pause. After "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie" came out, a Christian family Web site made a long list of worrisome bits, including "cartoon rear male nudity, repeatedly," "pinching of banner staff between nude buttocks" and "suggestion of sadomasochism in transvestitism."

As any weary parent knows, America's children spend billions of hours watching movies and shows like that, absorbing underwear jokes, flatulence gags and mushy messages of tolerance until their brains run out their ears.

There may be a threat in all that, but Dr. Dobson and his allies seem to have missed it entirely.
I wonder if this Dobson guy has a problem with any of the violent videos or the half hour long advertisements thinly disguised as cartoon shows for kids.

He has a lot more faith in what kids remember than I have. "I pledge to have respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own." Most kids can barely remember their homework assignments. I don’t think a lot of kids will really understand the pledge let alone take it all to heart.

And this ”video as a bait-and-switch,” what is that about? The bait I guess is the cartoon and the switch is the pledge? Kids are easy but not that easy, see the previous paragraph. Geez, Dr. Dobson is a goof.

Hmmm, I wonder what he thinks of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. A cartoon about two little kids, one rather diabolical, one a bit stupid, and the Grim Reaper. Pretty funny and a bit sick at times . I guess it’s ok since Grim isn’t gay.

Friday, January 14, 2005

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin is one of my favorite books. The most interesting part is her introduction to the story. The story doesn’t make as much sense if you don’t read the intro and remember it.

She writes that she is sometimes asked if her writing is what she thinks the future will be. She says no, that her writing and really all author’s writing is a reflection of what is going on around them when they write a piece even if they don’t notice that fact. That intro has changed how I look at most writing. I try to take what I am reading within the context of what was going on around the author at the time it was written.

That said, I was watching TV yesterday, flipping through the channels not finding much of anything to watch. I clicked on a show for a few seconds where a woman was having needles stuck through the skin of what looked like her leg. There was a male voice trying to calm the woman since she was crying rather hard and looking really uncomfortable. Then the male voice said something that made me wish there was someone who would just punch the bastard in the head. “It’s ok this is the last, biggest and most painful needle.”

What the hell was the point of telling this woman that things were ok and she was fine and trying to calm her if the next words out of your mouth is “This is the most painful" one yet?

So today, my mind drifted to that few seconds and I figure now that it must have been some “reality show.” Yeah right, maybe it’s reality if your reality is being held captive and abused in some psychopath’s basement.

Then it dawned on me, this is a reflection of what is going on around us today. People are being bombed and beheaded. There is Abu Ghraib and Fallujah. Car bombs going off and people being mutilated by suicide bombers. The most popular video games are violent and bloody.

We have become so desensitized to pain in others that we have come to see torture as entertainment. Well, not all of us. I clicked past it in the span of 15 seconds or less. In fact, when I thought of it today I got queasy. I can’t see what people get out of this crap. Now that I’ve thought about The Left Hand of Darkness it all makes sense. Pretty damned sad to live with this. I wonder what future generations will think of us.

From the NY Times Headline email:
F.B.I. May Scrap Vital Overhaul of Its Outdated Computer System
By ERIC LICHTBLAU
The computer overhaul is considered critical to the campaign against terrorism but has been riddled with problems.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/14/politics/14fbi.html?th

I have to ask, does anyone know of a computer system for the government that has worked? The IRS system was worthless. The new system being worked on for the Navy is getting ready to be scrapped too.

I feel like Charlie Brown calling out to anyone within earshot.

Can anybody tell me . . . why do all the new government systems suck!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

I just figured out why I will probably never marry.
The study found that a high I.Q. hampers a woman's chance to get married, while it is a plus for men. The prospect for marriage increased by 35 percent for guys for each 16-point increase in I.Q.; for women, there is a 40 percent drop for each 16-point rise.
So here I am, proud of being in the top2% of the population for I.Q. only to find out that only 1% or less of the population may be interested in me and only if I wait on them.

Evolution can really suck.

Here’s the whole article.


Men Just Want Mommy

By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: January 13, 2005

WASHINGTON
A few years ago at a White House Correspondents' dinner, I met a very beautiful actress. Within moments, she blurted out: "I can't believe I'm 46 and not married. Men only want to marry their personal assistants or P.R. women."

I'd been noticing a trend along these lines, as famous and powerful men took up with the young women whose job it was to tend to them and care for them in some way: their secretaries, assistants, nannies, caterers, flight attendants, researchers and fact-checkers.

Women in staff support are the new sirens because, as a guy I know put it, they look upon the men they work for as "the moon, the sun and the stars." It's all about orbiting, serving and salaaming their Sun Gods.

In all those great Tracy/Hepburn movies more than a half-century ago, it was the snap and crackle of a romance between equals that was so exciting. Moviemakers these days seem far more interested in the soothing aura of romances between unequals.

In James Brooks's "Spanglish," Adam Sandler, as a Los Angeles chef, falls for his hot Mexican maid. The maid, who cleans up after Mr. Sandler without being able to speak English, is presented as the ideal woman. The wife, played by Téa Leoni, is repellent: a jangly, yakking, overachieving, overexercised, unfaithful, shallow she-monster who has just lost her job with a commercial design firm. Picture Faye Dunaway in "Network" if she'd had to stay home, or Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction" without the charm.

The same attraction of unequals animated Richard Curtis's "Love Actually," a 2003 holiday hit. The witty and sophisticated British prime minister, played by Hugh Grant, falls for the chubby girl who wheels the tea and scones into his office. A businessman married to the substantial Emma Thompson falls for his sultry secretary. A writer falls for his maid, who speaks only Portuguese.

(I wonder if the trend in making maids who don't speak English heroines is related to the trend of guys who like to watch Kelly Ripa in the morning with the sound turned off?)

Art is imitating life, turning women who seek equality into selfish narcissists and objects of rejection, rather than affection.

As John Schwartz of The New York Times wrote recently, "Men would rather marry their secretaries than their bosses, and evolution may be to blame."

A new study by psychology researchers at the University of Michigan, using college undergraduates, suggests that men going for long-term relationships would rather marry women in subordinate jobs than women who are supervisors.

As Dr. Stephanie Brown, the lead author of the study, summed it up for reporters: "Powerful women are at a disadvantage in the marriage market because men may prefer to marry less-accomplished women." Men think that women with important jobs are more likely to cheat on them.

"The hypothesis," Dr. Brown said, "is that there are evolutionary pressures on males to take steps to minimize the risk of raising offspring that are not their own." Women, by contrast, did not show a marked difference in their attraction to men who might work above or below them. And men did not show a preference when it came to one-night stands.

A second study, which was by researchers at four British universities and reported last week, suggested that smart men with demanding jobs would rather have old-fashioned wives, like their mums, than equals. The study found that a high I.Q. hampers a woman's chance to get married, while it is a plus for men. The prospect for marriage increased by 35 percent for guys for each 16-point increase in I.Q.; for women, there is a 40 percent drop for each 16-point rise.

So was the feminist movement some sort of cruel hoax? The more women achieve, the less desirable they are? Women want to be in a relationship with guys they can seriously talk to - unfortunately, a lot of those guys want to be in relationships with women they don't have to talk to.

I asked the actress and writer Carrie Fisher, on the East Coast to promote her novel "The Best Awful," who confirmed that women who challenge men are in trouble.

"I haven't dated in 12 million years," she said drily. "I gave up on dating powerful men because they wanted to date women in the service professions. So I decided to date guys in the service professions. But then I found out that kings want to be treated like kings, and consorts want to be treated like kings, too."


I’ve been wondering about this for awhile.

What if the insugents are not trying to mess with the democratic process? What if they just see Iraq and the Americans there as an easy target? What if they are just messing with U.S. and other country’s troops because they can easily do it? What if the idea is just to cost other countries’ as much money and people as possible? What if the Iraqi elections just happen to be occurring at the same time as it is the easiest to screw the military? Maybe it’s all about revenge and the insurgents aren’t even thinking about the election.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

While looking for more weird vacation pictures, I somehow found this article. It’s probably good that there aren’t any pictures on the off chance that it may harm or degrade the boar.
"The task performed by Rebecca Loos is one that occurs regularly on UK farms. We don't believe the scene was degrading or harmful to the boar."


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

I’m still looking for interesting on-line vacation pictures. OK, actually today I was looking for weird vacation pictures. That’s how I found the phone number for the pay phone in tha basement of the Vatican. I don’t know if it really works, I’m too cheap to try it. If it works, let me know.

Perhaps you would like to call Antartica? What I really want to know is who shows up if you call 911.

For more pay phone fun check out the Pay Phone Project.

Today I want to share a recipe that a friend gave me over the holidays, pineapple dressing. It is sooooo yummy.

1 can of crushed pineapple
3 eggs
3/4 cup of sugar
4 Tbls butter, melted
1/2 tsp Salt
6 slices of bread, cubed
Cinnamon

Mix the wet ingredients and salt well. (You can add a little cinnamon to the wet stuff if you want. I like cinnamon so that’s what I do.)
Add the cubed bread and mix it all together.
Dump it into a greased 8x8 pan. Sprinkle cinnamon on top.

Bake in a 350 degree oven (325 if you use a glass dish) for 45 minutes.

You can double the recipe for a crowd or for leftovers. Use a 9x13 pan and bake for about 1 hour or until set and a little brown.

It’s excellent with ham or just by itself. I figure it would be good with some vanilla ice cream too. It tastes good hot, cold or room temperature.

I’m thinking of trying it with a little cream cheese or ricotta cheese. Kind of a quick short-cut pineapple cheesecake.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

OK, one more vacation picture sure to get some attention. You can tell people about your trip to the San Diego Zoo and how you had to avoid the Rhinos.

While on your online vacation please take a moment to visit Ireland's Dingle Peninsula to see Fungie the Dingle Dolphin.
I just haven’t been a very good blogger lately. I’ve been a bit lazy about bloggin or doing much else when my sister and I haven’t been shopping for, cooking and dragging food and goodies to my father’s house for the holidays.

I decided today to look for other people’s vacation pictures today. I found this one. I would like to visit just to see the “Do-It-Yourself Dog Wash.”

This is a shot of Minneapolis. My sister and I went there for a few days in October. Well, really the trip was to go to the Mall of America but we went to Minneapolis and St. Paul too. If my guts weren’t giving me a nasty time I would have seen even more.

You know, if you want you could print the pictures that are online and make up “your own vacation trip” pictures to show friends. Just decide where you wish you went, go online and find pictures of those places and print them and put them in a photo album. When the grandkids ask what you did when you were young you can show them the pictures of all the places you went. You could look like you just travelled for a living. You could even print a shot of your fake parents waiting for you to come home. Or maybe they were your host parents when you travelled somewhere exotic as a teenager.

Here is a shot of your trip to Switzerland. Your stop at the Opera House in Paris. Strange people you took a picture of in a Munich Stadium. Then on the way home you drove by Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox in Minnesota.

Never been to Disney, go here and adopt a family. Print some of these as your trip pictures. Tell everyone that you were the designated photographer and weren’t permitted in any picutes. You haven’t talked to these people since the trip, just because.

Maybe you want something more exotic. How about Morocco. Or you can say you went to Africa to see a total solar eclipse and got to see elephants and other animals and even Zulu dancers.

I must say that web searches are just about the best thing you can do on the web.

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