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Archive for September, 2008

Creepy or cute?

Posted by Lissa on September 30, 2008

My vote’s solidly for creepy, but that surprises no one:

The sad thing is, it could easily have been cute.  Line up a whole bunch of kids in Obama gear and have them sing “My Country Tis of Thee” or “This Land is Your Land” and it’d be adorable.  But there’s a difference between singing about America and singing about, and to, a politician.  Barack Obama is a man, not a deity; do you think those kids know it? 

For the Obama fans who read this blog — I’m sorry, I know there hasn’t been much for you here lately.  But, truly — if you had groups of children singing to and about John McCain, personally, or George Bush, personally, wouldn’t you think those parents were brainwashing their kids?  Wouldn’t you find it creepy?

(I’ve seen this at three or four different places already, but I think I saw it at Michelle’s first.  Confederate Yankee doesn’t think it’s exactly grassroots.)

UPDATE: Linked by Breda.  Thanks!

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Oh no!

Posted by Lissa on September 30, 2008

Apparently PJ O’Rourke has cancer.  Happily, he’s not yet lost his sense of humor:

Furthermore, I am a logical, sensible, pragmatic Republican, and my diagnosis came just weeks after Teddy Kennedy’s. That he should have cancer of the brain, and I should have cancer of the ass … well, I’ll say a rosary for him and hope he has a laugh at me. After all, what would I do, ask God for a more dignified cancer? Pancreatic? Liver? Lung?

Hope he gets well soon!

(h/t The Corner)

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Calling coffee connoisseurs

Posted by Lissa on September 29, 2008

Hey, I remember Matt G talking about how much he liked coffee.  D’ye think we could get him to give taste-tesing lessons?

The Iowa Department of Public Health says the woman reported a bat in her house but wasn’t too worried about it. She turned on her automatic coffee maker before bedtime and drank her coffee the next morning.

She discovered the bat in the filter when she went to clean it that night. The woman has undergone treatment for possible rabies.

Ewwwwww.  Then again, some people do love Kopi Luwak coffee.  Just ask Dave Barry

So anyway, I ground the beans up and brewed the coffee and drank some. You know how sometimes, when you’re really skeptical about something, but then you finally try it, you discover that it’s really good, way better than you would have thought possible? This is not the case with Luwak coffee. Luwak coffee, in my opinion, tastes like somebody washed a dead cat in it.

(Go read it if you want to distract yourself from the Dow, it’s one of my favorite Barry columns.)

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I don’t have any expert analysis

Posted by Lissa on September 29, 2008

 . . . but I urge you to read it, in and of itself.

The diggers feared – and their evil, sinister bosses had worked hard on that fear – that if people like me publicised their filthy way of life, then the mine might be closed and the $3 a day might be taken away.

I can give you no better explanation in miniature of the wicked thing that I believe is now happening in Africa.

Out of desperation, much of the continent is selling itself into a new era of corruption and virtual slavery as China seeks to buy up all the metals, minerals and oil she can lay her hands on: copper for electric and telephone cables, cobalt for mobile phones and jet engines – the basic raw materials of modern life.

It is crude rapacity, but to Africans and many of their leaders it is better than the alternative, which is slow starvation.

Africa was and is a black hole for humanity.  It has nothing to do with the skin color of the unfortunate, sad people who are unlucky enough to be born there instead of here, and everything to do with the utter and absolute morass of death and decay that inhabits that continent.

I don’t have an answer.  I don’t have a solution.  The liberal recommendation would be to send more money, more aid and more food.  It’s certainly a humane suggestion, but it leads to corrupt governments and rich leaders who oversee their starving beggars with consummate indifference while ensuring that we face the same problems ten years from now, and twenty, and thirty.  The conservative recommendation would be to stop feeding corruption and stop fattening the pockets of the oligarchs until they clean out their clotted, festering pools of bribery and crime and at least make an ATTEMPT at democratic legitimacy.  Alas, that leads to China buying up the land and peoples, the result of which you can read at the link.

I somtimes think that, if there is a God, s/he has much to answer for . . .

(I think this link came from the Hot Air headlines, but it’s not there anymore

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Whittle passes a kidney stone

Posted by Lissa on September 29, 2008

But the fact is, after two hours of this I was screaming and cursing and calling out to God and Jesus and whoever else would listen. And all that second Demerol shot did was take that bright light down from filling the room to being a single, white-hot spot the size of my fist moving down and to the right at the speed of L.A. traffic. So after three hours of this, I was reduced to simply mewling, and at about 3:30 P.M., the doctor went away for 15 minutes and when he came back he gave me a shot of Dilaudid, which is the name I will give to my first child, male or female.  [snip]

So imagine my delight, ten minutes later, to see the hallway door melt away as room was filled with unicorns! Little cartoon unicorns, each with a silky mane of bright blue or green or pink . . . and when they giggled — which was continuously — they would lift up their little tails and rainbows would emerge. And in that one wonderful moment as my eyes rolled back and the white-hot light faded away and vanished — in that blissful instant I suddenly understood with perfect clarity the whole Hope and Change thing. I had gone from the horrible, nasty, mean Republican America to the other America. And it’s a much better place, it really is.

You know you want to RTWT.  To my female friend from college who had the kidney stone — hope you saw the unicorns, honey!

(Got it from a comment over at Rachel’s)

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Mondays

Posted by Lissa on September 29, 2008

It’s cloudy and drizzly outside with a chance of pouring.  Also, the cat curled up on my legs TWICE this morning during the alarm-snooze cycle (which lasts anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour, I kid you not) and managed to lull me into REM sleep RIGHT before I really had to get up.  (I dreamed that Mike was a superhero who could fly, only he had to recite a certain benediction or it didn’t work and he’d forgotten the words.  I prompted him into remembering it and then convinced him to tattoo said prayer on his wrist so he wouldn’t forget anymore.  Then I dreamed about African Tigers hunting moose.  Yeah, I don’t know either.)

The general malaise is a continuation of yesterday, it seems.  Oh, twas an auspicious beginning to the day — I was at the Lissaville Animal Shelter at promptly 8 AM.  (Of course, the doors didn’t open till 8:30 — apparently the Sunday crew, unlike the Saturday crew which was my prior shift, does NOT get there early — but a Kindle and a bottle of Diet Coke renders such delays moot.)  I played with five adorable kittens (Claudio, Ophelia, Puck, William, and a nameless imp whom I called Hamlet) as well as some older, more mellow kitties.  I helped the med team doctor three month-old kittens — they climbed me like Mount Everest, dude.  WICKED cute.  And I topped off my charitable day by giving a ride to a very nice man named Chuck, thus saving a 75-year-old gent a walk to the T station in the rain.  (He usually has a ride but his contact wasn’t there that weekend.)

I then proceeded to be a model of industry, brewing a pot of coffee instead of taking a nap, then making up a weekly menu and proceeding to the grocery store.  I zoomed up and down the aisles, collecting my [sale] items with dispatch and enthusiasm, and returned home in triumph.

Alas, that’s when things began to go pear-shaped.  We are very lucky in the Kitty Den that there is an underground parking garage for our use.  We are slightly less lucky in that it is a VERY. NARROW. parking space with a support post on one side, necessitating cautious and delicate maneuvers in order to achieve Parkdom. 

And I FAILED.  I *thought* I was just shy of the pillar, affording the SUV to our left sufficient room to open its door without whacking poor Bernard (the name of our car) along his flanks, when the whimper of scratched, wounded, outraged vehicle informed me I was wrong.  It’s not terrible — I don’t think I chinked the metal — but the paint job is most certainly mussed.  It was A Sad.  I had A Sad.

As if that weren’t enough, we had another Sad with Mike slitting open his thumb later that afternoon (while WASHING a knife, mind you).  I spent the rest of the evening waiting for the other/third shoe to drop — good and bad things come in threes, you know.

So as not to end this diary on a sad note, let me assure you that, according to the Blue Cross Blue Shield nurse (they have a 24/7 helpline), Mike didn’t need stitches.  It stopped bleeding (EVENTUALLY) and seems to be doing okay this morning.  The catfish (dipped in milk, rolled in cornmeal mix and baked) was hot and crispy and delicious, the Pinot Grigio was crisp and refreshing and the steamed broccoli was succulent.  Spaghetti sauce was bubbling gently in the Crock Pot as I left this morning, redolent with garlic and meaty-tomato-y goodness, and it should be delectable tonight with Italian bread. 

In other words, I shall stop whining and man up.  Right after lunch.

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I can’t resist!

Posted by Lissa on September 26, 2008

I know, I know, I’m sorry, I try to be a LITTLE fair and impartial (just a LITTLE!), but the last five seconds of this video made both me and Mike giggle like fools so I’m posting it anyway, I’m SORRY!

(h/t Ace)

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Liveblogging the presidential debate

Posted by Lissa on September 26, 2008

We went to a winetasting a few hours ago (to benefit the Lissaville Animal Shelter where I volunteer on weekends, hooray!), nibbled some food, watched an episode of NCIS and one of Family Guy and now we’re sitting side by side with nice tall glasses of wine, ready to liveblog the debate!

FYI, timestamps by my computer.  Since I pause occasionally for clarification, rewinding to talk to Mike, and refilling my wine glass, the time delay will grow throughout the debate.

9:00 Dear my god, that is the stupidest, sappiest intro music I’ve EVER HEARD.  Good lord.  Oh c’mon, you can’t go one single political night without mentioning JFK?  Yes, make sure you mention the POW thing within the first two sentences.  Reaching for the wine glass.

9:02: Mike: “None of those people look like they’re happy to be there, you realize.”

9:02: Audience has promised to remain silent.  Do y’all want to take a bet on how long that lasts?

9:03: McCain looks old.  Obama looks skinny.

9:04: Obama on economics:  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I like to talk.  About nothing.  And wars.  And doom and gloom.  He’s worried about people struggling on Wall Street?  Huh?  “We have to move swiftly.  And we have to move wisely.  And i’ve put forth a series of proposals . . . oversight . . . possibility of getting money back if and when market returns . . . none of that money is going to pad CEO bank accounts of golden paracutes . . . help homeowners, because foreclosures are root problem.  Last eight years.  George Bush.  McCain.  All their fault.  Shredding regulations, hoping riches will trickle down, they didn’t.  Middle class isn’t getting a fair shake, that’s why I’m running for president.”

9:07: McCain: Thank you, thank you, I speak more slowly and that makes me cooler.  Oh he has to mention Kennedy too, in this case though it’s Ted, thoughts and prayers to the Lion of the Senate.  He doesn’t talk as glibly as Obama does.  McCain hasn’t been feeling great . . . wonderful, now everyone thinks he’s dying of cancer.  Again.  Fabulous.  Oh look, Democrats and Republicans working togehter and that’s so hopeful and inspiring.  Christ, he’s not saying words that are any better than Obama’s and we all know who is the better orator.  More wine.

9:09: McCain: This isn’t the end of the beginning of this crisis, this is the beginning of the end of this crisis.  Oh dear god.  Oh, and just in case you’re not TOTALLY bored and confused, we must eliminate our dependency on foriegn oil.  Christ on a pony.

9:10: Obama:  Two years ago I warned you fools about this.  A year ago I even wrote a letter about it.  So yes, we have to solve this problem, and we have to intervene, but we can’t forget to blame the people who deregulated the market.  It’s all their fault. 

9:11: McCain: I can’t stop clearning my throat.  I’m actually hoping that all the folks who want Palin at the top of the ticket will get inspired by my imminent demise and come out in droves.  Oh, now I’ll talk about Eisenhower.  ‘Cause he was old and white and he didn’t make too poor a president.  He wrote letters!  See, he didn’t email either!  Vote for me, yay!

Y’all, I’m so not making it through this whole debate on one glass of wine.  Politicians SUCK.

9:13: Obama: We shouldn’t just wait till things are bad to screw with the market!  We should always screw with the market, even when it’s ticking along merrily without our greedy little thumbs poking for plumbs!  Power!  Control!  Mine!

9:14: Audience laughed.  Told ya it wouldn’t last! 

9:15: Obama: I hate lobbyists and I love nurses and teachers and police officers.  Don’t look at my donor list, just take my word fo rit.

9:15: McCain: We have to fix this system.  We have fundamental problems with this system.  There’s no doubt we have a long way to go.  Are you still with me, my fellow Americans?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  I have fundamental belief in the goodness and strength of the American worker . . . I believe you . . . so vote for me.  Thank you.

9:16: McCain: Spending is completely out of control.  Largest increase in the size of government since the Great Depression.  The worst sympton of this disease is earmarking . .  . gateway to out of control spending and corruption . . . former members of Congress residing in prison [NOT ENOUGH! – lissa]  As president of the united states I want to assure you, I’ve got a pen, this one’s kind of old, I’m going to veto every single spending bill that comes across my desk, I will make them famous, but you won’t know their names. (approx words)  Obama earmarks a lot, which makes him a stinkyhead.  Google it.  Vote for me.

9:19: Obama: He’s totally right.  That’s why I didn’t ask for any earmarks this year.  No, don’t look at my records for all the other years I was in the Senate (there were a lot! Swear!), just look at this year.  And McCain wants tax breaks to rich corporations, in amounts a lot more than I ever asked for earmarks.  So he’s the stinkyhead.  We’ve got to grow the economy from the bottom-up.  I’ll cut taxes for 95% of working families.  (Don’t ask me how on earth that’s possible.)  They’ll all buy computers and gasoline.  Unlike George Bush (George Bush!  George Bush!  McCain is George Bush!)

9:21: McCain: Notice that Obama only suspended earmarks once he started running for president.  Doesn’t that RING A LITTLE BELL FOR YOU MEDIA IDIOTS?

9:22: Obama: I don’t know where John’s getting his figures, and therefore I shall close my eyes, purse up my lips sorrowfully and wave my finger in reproval until I get to talk.  I want to spend money cause it’s important to spend that money, and I’ll pay for all of it.  No, actually, you’ll pay for it, but that’s not the point.  Earmarks aren’t nearly as important as cutting taxes for those in the middle class.  [Please do remember that Obama is gung-ho about cutting our taxes.  Anyone counting their chickens?  Yeah, I didn’t think so. – Lissa]

9:24: McCain: Our business taxes are too high.  Ours are 35%, Ireland’s is 11%.  I want to cut business taxes so more businesses want to DO business here and bring jobs here.  And let’s go back to earmarks, cause I feel really strongly about this.  I’m going to call out Obama again, so that he can wave his finger again, ’cause that makes him look really silly and arrogant.  Oooooo, now he looks angry!!  Will he bite?  Vote for me, yay!

9:25: Obama: If you make less than $250K a year you won’t see a dime of tax increase.  [HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! – Lissa] That high tax rate?  That’s just pretend!  There are magic loopholes, so they don’t pay taxes!  Magic, I tell you!  BLACK MAGIC!!!  Oh, and McCain wants to tax health benefits.  See, he doesn’t love you.  I do.  Vote for me!

9:27: McCain: This is a classic example of walking the walk and talking the talk. That huge energy bill?  Festooned with TONS of breaks for businesses.  I voted against it, he voted for it.  You have to look at our records.

9:28: Mike: He may be eating McCain’s lunch, but if he continues acting arrogant and obnoxious, people are not going to like that.

9:28: Obama: We all would love to lower taxes on everybody.  [HAHAHAHAHA!  OW!  MOMMY IT HURTS!  HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!-Lissa]

9:29: Mike: Notice that Obama says we pay a very low business tax rate because of loopholes.  The biggest loophole is that you don’t actually have to pay those taxes until you bring the profits home to America , so companies try to just leave them overseas, paying taxes over there.  The thing is, there are only three developed countries that do try and tax overseas profits . . . and we’re one of them.

9:33: Mike: Why doesn’t he ask about foreign policy?  Lissa: Oh yeah!  Isn’t this supposed to be the foreign policy debate?

9:34: Obama: We’ll have to delay a range of things because the economy’s slowing down.  But we have to have energy independence.  We have to invest in solar, wind, bio-diesel. 

9:34: Mike: What’s that on his lip? Lissa: Spit.  Mike: Is he . . . foaming at the mouth??

oh, and Obama’s still talking.  About China and blah blah blah blah.  Bridges are falling down.  Ewww, spit is still there. 

9:36: McCain: No matter what, we’ve got to cut spending.  We’ve let government get out of control.  Obama has the most liberal spending record in the spending.  It’s hard to reach that far across the aisle to the left.  (Obama chuckled softly)  For example, I voted against ethanol.  I will proceed to give other examples of bad spending.  (Zzzzzzz)   I will get spending under control.  I saved the taxpayers 6.8 billion dollars by fixing a contract and putting people in prison.  I know how to do this, I’ve been doing this for years.

9:38: Obama:  As I’ve said before . . . [okay, I didn’t listen to any more.  Everytime he says “as I’ve said” or “as I’ve consistently said” or “as my record shows” I’m going to throw something.]  We are going to have to change the culture.  Tom — er, John — mentioned that while I may be wildly liberal, that’s mostly just opposing George Bush’s wrongheaded policies.  But hey, I worked with Tom Coburn.  Listing federal spending.  [Yes, Obama.  That was SO UNCONTROVERSIAL that no one voted against it.  And yes, Obama, we miss Tom Brady too.  We understand the Freudian slip.]

9:41: McCain wants a spending freeze.  Obama says that’s taking a hatchet to a problem that needs a scalpel.  There are several very important areas that are underfunded, like early school education.  [Oh, for Chrissake.]  And we’re spending too much money in Iraq.

9:42: McCain: We’re sending $700 billion a year overseas to countries that don’t like us very much.  Some of that ends up in the hands of terrorist organizations.  We need all the other stuff, solar wind etc., but we need offshore drilling as well.  Obama opposes nuclear stuff too.  We can make jobs that way too.

9:44: Lissa: I don’t think that’s going to go over very well.  A lot of people are anti-nuclear power.  Mike: Yes, but most of the people that are knee-jerk anti-nuclear, are already in the tank for Obama anyway.  Lissa: Good point.

9:45: I notice that’s at least the second time that Obama has referred to himself as the future president in certain terms.  I think McCain did that at least once though.

9:46: Every time McCain jabs at Obama, Obama makes a face.  They aren’t showing split-screen as much when Obama talks.  I’d like to be able to compare his reaction to McCain’s.

9:47: Obama: GEORGE BUSH IS MCCAIN.  MCCAIN IS GEORGE BUSH. 

9:48: McCain: I was not elected Miss Congeniality in the Senate nor for the Administration.  I’ve oposed their spending on lots of things.  I’m Maverick!  FEAR THE MAVERICK!

[We paused here for a litter box break.  I have to wonder how different this appears to non-policy wonks/bloggers.  When all the information is new to you, do you notice more or less McCain’s fumbling? Obama’s rolling eyes and sighs?]

9:50: Wow, the first foreign policy question!  Lessons of Vietnam . . . what are the lessons of Iraq?

9:50: McCain: You can’t have a failed strategy that will then cause you to nearly lose a conflict.  Our intial military success — everyone celebrated the initial military success and then things went very badly.  In 2003 I went to Iraq and came back and said, we need a new strategy.  We got a new general, new straegy.  We will come home with victory and honor.

9:52: Obama: McCain and I have a fundamental difference.  The first question is whether we should have gone into Iraq in the first place.  Six years ago I stood up and said we shouldn’t.  It was extremely politically risky for me to do so.  [Mike: Yes, it was extremely risky for a state senator from Illinois.  Extremely.]  I wish that I had been wrong and they had been right.  [Good line.]  Al-Qaeda is stronger now than it has been since 2001.  [Huh?  Are you kidding me?  Really?]  We’re borrowing money and stuff.  The lesson to be drawn is that we should never hesitate to use military force, but we must use military force WISELY.

9:54: McCain: The next president is not going to have to decide whether we should have gone into Iraq.  The next president is going to have to decide when we leave Iraq, and how.  That is the question.  Obama got the surge wrong!  Wrong, I tell you!!!!!  [Dude, Obama looks PISSED.]  Obama’s never had a Senate hearing although his committee oversights [ouch] NATO.

9:55: Obama: I have Biden.  Biden understands this stuff.  I like Petreus.  But it was a tactic designed to contain the damage of the first couple years.  John, you like to pretend that the war started in 2007!  You like to pretend that the war started in 2003.  You said it was going to be easy.  You were wrong.  You said we would be greeted as liberators.  You were wrong.  Wrrroooooooonnngggg!!!

9:57: McCain: I’m afraid Senator obama doesn’t understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy.  [Obama still looks down, still looks pissed.]  I was in Iraq to watch troops whose enlistments were up and who were re-englisting.  You know what they said?  They said, Let us win.  Let us come home victorious.  Senator Obama refuses to recognize that we are winning in Iraq.  (Obama: It’s not true.  It’s not true.)

9:59: Obama consistently refers to McCain as “John.”  I do not recall hearing McCain say “Barrack” once.  Maybe I misremember?

Okay dude I’m bored. Almost finished with the first glass of wine, maybe I need a second?

Meh.  Still bored.  I’m done y’all, go read Ace :)  EDIT: I should have put a STRONG langugage warning on that link!

10:18: Dude, I’ve already gotten five hits off this sucker. Who’s the person out there reading and refreshing?  Show thyself!

10:34: Awww, thanks Wisconsin Jen and Chad!  Dude, I gave up after the first glass of wine — after all, I started the evening with a wine tasting! — and moved to Freecell.  I have said before and I shall say it again — I think all politicians are somewhat related to microbes.  With fangs.  Kind of like that pic I posted yesterday :)

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Congratulations! It’s a . . .

Posted by Lissa on September 26, 2008

 . . . blog!

I’d say “Awwww!  My very first blog-child!”  But since it’s my fiance I think that would be a little bit weird and creepy. 

I think Mike got just a little jealous seeing how awesome y’all are and how much fun I have blogging.  Michael’s got the blogging bug!

Please, if y’all have a moment, pop over to NeoliberalNotions and tell him hi :)

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Bonus photo!

Posted by Lissa on September 25, 2008

Because it’s just too cool NOT to post:

Loligo Pealei squid suction cups

Loligo pealei squids have eight arms and two tentacles, all of which are coated with suction cups, lined with fangs composed of chitin.

Oh, most assuredly.  Doesn’t everyone know that?

Lots more here

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