Sunday, December 31, 2006

Part 1 of Round 2 is over

Halfway through Christmas part 2 and things are going well. My
sis-in-law and her husband gave me a Dunkin' Donuts gift card; while
I generally eskew quash1 such gifts, I do drink A LOT of coffee...

Charlie On The Pennsylvania Turnpike

1Not sure where I was going when I wrote that... definitely embarassed at the use of not only an incorrect word but also of a non-word!

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Friday, December 29, 2006

His reign has ended

Saddam Hussein is dead.

Can't say I'm sorry to hear of his demise.   His reign of terror has ended.

Charlie On The Pennsylvania Turnpike

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Fixing the Comments on this Blog

BetaBlogger has officially been released. And yet I still haven't fixed my comments. In many posts, both Haloscan and Blogger's own comment links exist. In some, it's just Blogger's. I am hoping to standardize on Haloscan, and this week is my best chance to fix it (I hope!).

In the meantime, if you wish to leave a comment, please try to hit the second comment link (if you see more than one).

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President Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford came to national prominence at an age where I was just beginning to grasp how the government of the country works. During a family vacation the year before, I saw people holding transistor radios to keep up on the Watergate hearings, something I did not understand until years later, but something that was obviously very important.

I guess it was around that time that I began to pay attention to my father and his discussions with my older brothers at the dinner table and the aunts and uncles at family gatherings. Not that I had a clue about what they were talking about, but I had to start learning sometime.

No doubt there will be a lot of posts all around about Mr. Ford's passing. The one that caught my eye this morning was by Macsmind, where he refers to the pardon President Ford granted to President Nixon, and the political risks to the Ford presidency.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Round #1 is over...

Round 1 of Christmas is now over.

With so much of the family spread out, Christmas can never really be handled in a single weekend (or similar time frame). Next weekend we're off to NYC to spend 2 nights in 2 different homes, in this way succeeding finishing the major Christmas visits in the same month (in prior years, it has taken several weeks - at times, months - to accomplish this). Note to self: pack appropriate libations.

And again, at this time of year, everyone is talking about Resolutions for the New Year. If you're not familiar with my take on New Years Resolutions, and why I think the idea is foolish, follow this link for a recap. In short, if it's worth resolving to do, then do it today whether today is Decemeber 26, January 1, or May 12th.... just do it!

For a different take on this, I'll refer you to Michele's latest entry in Faster Than The World , a fine daily magazine worthy of being added to any one's feed reader.


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Monday, December 25, 2006

All over except the shouting

I woke up Sunday morning at 4:30, in Queens, NY.   I've been awake since.   Jack Bauer has nothing on me (OK, he's a better shot....).    I haven't done a true all-nighter in about 4 years, but at least this time there aren't any hospitals involved.

Much-better-half has all but the last few presents wrapped.   In about an hour, the boys will be up... time to catch up on my reading in the meantime...

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

And now the next phase

What a party.... good food, good company. Some demitasse, a little Sambuka. Then afterwards a stroll up the avenue for a Benfarimo Original Italian Ice .... Philadelphia can have their water ice -- what a silly name! There's nothing finer than an ice from The Lemon Ice King of Corona.
Of course, after the dinner, my mom had a string of issues about her PC. So I ended up staying the evening at the folks, debugging their PC, teaching them their new cell phone, and I ended up spending the night. The party was more than worth the effort, as I connected with members of all the family (the only notables missing were, in fact, my brothers... New Hampshire will be down next week, other brother (the Letter Carrier) was working (no doubt raking in a lot!). Met a few spouses of cousins I've never met before, so the day was a success, barring my missing much-better-half and kids.
Now the next phase... getting this house in order for ol' Saint Nick's appearance. The 11 year old discovered NORAD SANTA and is actively tracking his path. Mom and I have some effort to get the halls decked in time for Santa's arrival.
Who knows? I may get to see Ralphie's story in total before dawn!

UPDATE: As of 02:20, the much-better-half and I are still in the Christmas prep. She wanted to watch Law & Order CI (her fav), and now we're into the Miracle on 34th Street marathon. Here's an observation of inconsistency: MACYS ran their Christmas ads for weeks without mentioning Christmas at all. That's their right, of course. So why are they now advertising their after Christmas sale?

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

And so it begins

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the town

Everything is coming loose, everything is coming down!

So today is the big fam dinner in NYC.

Both kids.. not just one... both wake up feeling ill. Not desperately ill, but not what you want to drive 2 hrs and then go to a restaurant with. So as not to depress the relatives, I'm going solo. And my much-better-half? She's OK with the idea, but I have a feeling being home all day with 2 sick kids is going to test her merriment quite a bit!

Welcome to my world of holidays.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Meme

Just back from last weekly Cub Scout Den meeting for 2006. Two more months and I am done!!

Maidink posted a Christmas meme, so I am following on....

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?
Pure chocolate, hot, please. My mom makes her own egg nog: nothing else you buy in the stores comes even close to hers.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa wraps everything. Unless I am gifting for much-better-half; only then would a one-armed chimp with astigmatism make the wrapped presents look worse.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Multi indoors... and mostly outdoors. One evergreen gets all white.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
I had a mistletoe belt once. A black leather belt with a plastic mistletoe that attached, ostensibly in the rear (you can guess the connotation). Oddly enough, it was a first Christmas present from my mother-in-law. One year I wore in to the office, with the mistletoe on the buckle...

To answer the question, no.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Usually, we're all too crazy busy to do so before the last weekend before the big day. This year, we're starting to decorate (in earnest) tonight!

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Fish was generally served at my relatives house Christmas Eve. This was a sore point for me, for I dislike seafood. Lasagna works.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?
I dunno. Not that I had a bad childhood, but nothing exceptional stands out. Perhaps the first year I left 'kid presents' and entered into the Grab Bag with all the cousins (freshman year).

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I think third grade... I put the pieces together after seeing so many TV commercials for toys, a few of which I got. All those Christmas specials on TV had the elves making toys and wrapping them, but none were in the colorful boxes like on the shelves at the stores. Like the ones I unwrapped.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Used to; having kids, that's no longer done.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Heh. I'm the guy... you think I get a say?? Not even at work on the office tree!! Usually, at home I decorate on a weekend or evening, she fixes when I am at work.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it?
LOVE driving in it... but for only 3-4 months per year. Give me summer sun any other time.

12. Can you ice skate?
Heh. On my ass, yeah.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Family. Sure, there's the importance of the actual spiritual aspect of the holiday which trumps all else. But instead of getting presents, I'm happy my fam is healthy.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Ricotta. Now, we pronounce it rig-gott-ta. And its prepared very much like cannoli filling, only sweeter and smoother. Take a tub of Polly-o, some sugar,  a little Crem-d-Cocoa (if after pouring the cream turns brown, you've added too much enough) ... beat until smooth. Spoon into desert bowls, shave a little chocolate on top... enjoy!  Edit: Almost forgot!  Dash or two of pure vanilla while mixing!!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
We used to go to the Uncle's house every year. Since that has ceased, one of my older brothers is constantly trying to MAKE a new tradition. You can't do that, really. If you find yourself doing the same thing for a couple years in a row, fine. But you can't say from now on, we'll do THIS and call it a tradition. It doesn't work that way. You can't force it to happen.

17. What tops your tree?
Hallmark light-up Angel

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?
Giving, although I always worry about making a good choice (even with wish lists)

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?

20. Candy canes: yuck or yum?
Gotta be peppermint. Maybe cherry. Much-better-half brought home Gobstoppers. Please, as the original candy, sure. But not as candy canes.

21. Favorite Christmas movie?

22. What do you leave for Santa?
I once left a bottle of Jack Daniels, but was yelled at for doing so.
Cookies, carrots.

Self tagging... if you've read this far, be my guest and make your own list. Leave it on your blog and comment/trackback. Or just list in comments.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Out of the mouths of babe Department

While I sit in a traffic jam my much-better-half relays the following response to her joke from the soon-to-be 4 year old son:

Mommy, you crack me up like a pair of eggs!

sent via Gmail for Mobile Devices

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Crimbo Greetings

I swear each year it is getting harder and harder.

I have relayed in these posts how hectic life is at home, and there's every reason to believe it will get better... sooner or later. But not yet. I realized this morning that no Christmas cards were sent out, and there's a pile of unopened ones from the last few weeks on the table. With Christmas (or as Maidink prefers: Crimbo) just 6 days away, there's little chance any one's Cards will get there on time, never mind the Hanukkah cards we've neglected to send.

And as for my friends in real life, specifically those former co-workers I worked with 2 years ago, I have managed personal, face-to-face holiday greetings since my untimely departure. That won't be happening this year, as there's just no time (or work justification) for me to get my butt down their neck of the woods. So far I've managed one phone call as a substitute, no doubt e-mails will catch up with those already on leave for the holidays.

To those of you who frequent this Blog, I bid you God rest ye merry, gentle people. While in recent weeks my hit counter has soared, largely based on my links to the 24 prequel, I do know many of you a regular readers and I appreciate that to no end.

With any luck, and some planning, by this time next year things will be lot different, in as much the hall decking will be long done, and the kids will have a proper lead-up to their big day. In the meantime, count on this blog posting during the wee hours of the weekend with the progress of doing Santa's work.

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Move over It's A Wonderful Life

Dave Barry points to this year's feel-good holiday movie:

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OK, I want this

So some bash me for not having a wish list. Fine. Here's something I want:

Of course, this headset -- which would put to shame Geordi La Forge's in an instant -- is useless without an iPod, which I don't own, nor expect to buy for at least another year. I do own a 4 year old Pocket PC, which can play videos (with poor resolution) but that will require an upgrade before I treat myself to an iPod.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Beware of the tumbling man

So at my 2x weekly Martial Arts work-out, the Master Instructor splits the course into 2 specific components, about 70% Tae Kwon Do and 30% Hapkido, which involves various tumbles and defensive moves.

Tumbling is an area I am sorely lacking; I don't have the coordination to do it very well. One of the younger gals, a 4th Gup (compared to my 5th Gup), was trying to build my confidence. She means well, but at about 14 years old, she really doesn't grasp how hard it is for this old dog to learn a new trick.

She: You're getting better, you just need more practice
Me: Well, it's not like I have the opportunity to tumble on his mats every week.
She: You should do what I do!
Me: And that is...?
She: I practice tumbling on my bed!
Now at this point in the conversation, a little voice in my head was screaming NO, DON'T SAY ANOTHER WORD. I, naturally, ignored this common sense advice.

Me: Kid, somehow I think your father would disapprove of my tumbling on your bed.

Yeah, it was wrong, but her eyes bugged out, and her face turned three different shades of red.
She: I hope you don't think that I was suggesting...
Me: No, no, you did nothing wrong. I am just a bad person... forgive me for saying that.
She then back-fisted me to the gut, and we both laughed...

Seriously, I have to listen to at least ONE of the voices in my head sometime...

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Dealing a full-house of Gift Cards

I've discussed my dislike of Gift Cards in years past (here and here), and little has changed, other than my dislike has deepened. My nieces and nephews has sent their wish lists, and in obligation we've provided similar lists for our boys (we consider it an obligation because in the past, my collective siblings and sibling-in-laws ignore our lists and gave what they wanted). When I compare the lists, side-by-side, I find that there are many common gift cards for the kids.

Meaning, it's probably easier to say OK, we're giving your daughter a $30 gift card; how much will you give my kid? $25? Fine, here's $5, lets call it done.

This from the man who hasn't set out to the Malls for his much-better-half....

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I managed to get HaloScan comments to work on BetaBlogger... FINALLY! Hat's off to Logical Philospher for his notes.

I do realize I have both Google and HaloScan comments showing; I will fix that, but at least my old comments are there.

And I will figure how to embed read more for my longer posts.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Another night

Here I am again, awake.

Typically, I get about 5-6 hours of sleep a night; that's up from about 4 hours which was the norm 3 years ago. I know there's volumes written on 8 hours a night but I can't manage that many, during the week especially. Sometimes I am run-down during the work day; I grab a nap in my car, and in about 10 minutes I am good to go again.

But something is not regular, not quite right. Thursday into Friday I got no more than 2 hours of sleep. And I wasn't run down the entire day. Here I am now, into Saturday 12:30 AM, and I am not at all tired, and haven't been able to sleep since retiring around 11:00.

So what is it that keeps me going? And why do I not experience any fatigue? Those who know me know I've done stints of 24-30 hours straight (usually involving hospitals), but there's no such urgency now.

Last night I finally dove in to upgrading this template. There's nothing I despise more than a whiner, and there was one person (in particular) whining about this template (yours, truly). Others had commented, too, but none as often as I. So I did it. Sadly, my Haloscan comments didn't make the transition. There are a number of didn't links on Google pointing to hacks to permit it. Most revolve around one guy's effort, and each with different patches to his work. Of the 6 different arrangements I've tried, none have clicked for me. So I'll try and try again.

Christmas is coming. Hard to tell around this humble abode. Much-better-half is always running at full speed, and lately I've come close to her rate. Hopefully we'll begin decking the halls this weekend.

Family gatherings are always an effort. We live in rural PA. Much of my siblings live in the NYC area, and one brother and his family is based in New Hampshire, with their son (my nephew) at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. For decades, there was a family gathering in the old Queens neighborhood at my uncle's house. That was the center of our Italian heritage in NY, and my grandfather's mainstay after immigrating here (legally, I might add).

My father was the youngest son of 4 boys and 4 girls... a big Italian family! So all of the aunts and uncles and grand kids would gather Christmas Eve for a present exchange for the youngsters, and a grab-bag for everyone in high school or above. This was the tradition for me growing up. And there would be all sorts of cooking going on, largely fish (like in the story), and there would be good cheer and fun all night. Then a walk to the neighborhood church for Midnight Mass (well, for those without young kids). That was the old tradition.

As the years past, the migration to Eastern Long Island began with the younger generation, and each year less cousins made the trip in on Christmas Eve. About 7 years ago, the elders of the family abandoned the Christmas Eve tradition and opted for a dinner at a neighborhood restaurant. We haven't made the trek in for that or the grab bag in over 12 years. I'm hoping we can arrange to be there for the dinner next weekend.

But that was the old tradition. As I have 3 brothers, all with spouses and 2 with kids, we started having Christmas at my parents house. For awhile it was Christmas eve, taking the place of the uncle's house. But as my nephews and nieces grew from toddlers to believers in Santa, my brother and his wife wanted to be home for Christmas morning to see what Santa brought. So we moved the Mom and Pop's Christmas to the weekend in between Christmas and New Years.

Well, this year its New Year's weekend. And there are problems again with scheduling. One brother is letter carrier for the USPS, and he will be working that Saturday, OT. He and his spouse are opting to have the gathering on Sunday, so he can be fully awake. A reasonable request.

One brother and his wife want to go out New Years Eve for a party, one starting early and finishing sometime Monday morning. So they want the family party on Saturday. A perfectly reasonable request, one that I, in fact, envy.

New Hampshire wants it Saturday, too, because they don't yet know when their 19 year old son the Cadet will be on the East coast, and whether he will want to hang with us old farts or party with his peeps. And either way, he'll want to depart for the Academy from NH on Monday, so they're pushing for Saturday.

My much-better-half's sister, bro-in-law have two kids, each with a spouse and a child. THEY'RE gathering is on Saturday and they want us to join them.
And my much-better-half would rather NOT drive on New Years Eve, but would rather be home for the ball dropping (since she'll likely be asleep long before it happens).

Meanwhile I have to get this place ready for Santa and his team to visit. Oldest son is 11, and is starting to question the whole Santa gig. He and I saw The Polar Express in the theater 2 years ago, and that reaffirmed any doubt he had. But as he's watched it this week for the 3rd or 4th time, he's starting to piece together what most of us already know. Fortunately, I think I can rely on him to perpetuate the story for his soon-to-be 4 year old brother, who is more than sold on the subject of Santa and his elves.

So the next two weeks will prove to be chaotic and full of arguing siblings over where and when we should meet to spread cheer.

That's why I've started drinking Old No.7 as I've typed this... hoping to pre-lubricate for the coming storm, and maybe getting some sleep tonight.

Hope it works.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Now what?

So this is what insomnia is, eh?

I've laid in bed since 11:00. No sleep. A pity I have to be on the road in about 3-1/2 hours.

What did I do to deserve this?

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

New Template, temporarily lost old comments

Working on getting all the Haloscan comments back on...

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Eight Crazy Nights

Chanukka is, the festival of lights
Instead of one day of presents
We get eight crazy nights

When you feel like the only kid in town
Without a Christmas tree
Here's a list of people who are Jewish
Just like you and me...

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Senator Tim Johnson

A lot of press about Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota.

Sen. Johnson was said to have a stroke and underwent surgery last evening, but later reports suggest he didn't have a stroke, yet no details have yet been released about what specific procedure was performed.

While this blog indeed wishes the best for Sen. Johnson and his family, it is interesting that no specificity has been made about his condition. It is quite possible the man has a cyst in his brain. This blog knows a woman in her late 30's who presented similar symptoms -- slurred speech, loss of motor control -- and was later found to have a non-malignant cyst that blocked cerebral fluid from reaching her spinal column. An initial surgical procedure was necessary to provide cerebral drainage for the built up fluid.

A five-hour brain surgery later, and the woman recovered fully. Whatever the diagnosis, here's hoping for a speedy recovery for the Senator.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Do.This.Now. No Excuse.

Don Luskin had this on his excellent blog, and I am overdue to cross post it.

Go here NOW and send your support to the troops. It's free, and it is the right thing to do!

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Confront Iran, not coddle

Sen. Rick Santorum, outgoing senator from Pennsylvania, was a guest on Imus in the Morning today. In his segment, he gave his view on the Iraq Surrender Study Group report. The Imus Show Blog recaps his statements thusly:

Senator Santorum was only one of two Senators who voted against Robert Gates as Defense Secretary. He felt Gates did not understand the basic problem in Iraq, namely Iran. He disagrees with Gates who thinks we should talk with Iran. Santorum feels we should confront them. He says Iran’s leader Ahmadinjad has
been very clear in his goals; destroy Israel, dominate the region, and conquer
the western world. Personally I believe if we don’t strongly confront Iran. In 10 years there will be an Iran Study Group telling us what went wrong with our policy on Iran.

Sen. Santorum has been a great Senator for the Commonwealth and the nation overall. He has been a champion of the middle class, border security, and the War on Terror. While I cannot help but remain annoyed at the narrow-mindedness of my fellow Pennsylvanians who either sat-out or voted against Santorum, I know that this is not the last we will hear from this man. Not by a long shot.

And as for the Imus Show Blog's prediction in 10 years, I do hope he's wrong, but I fear he may well be correct.

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All About (Christmas) Eve (repost)

I had only known Karen for three weeks when I extended the invitation. "I know these family things can be a little weird," I told her, "but my folks are great, and we always have a lot of fun on Christmas Eve."

"Sounds fine to me," Karen said.

I had only known my mother for 31 years when I told her I'd be brining Karen with me. "She's a very nice girl and she's really looking forward to meeting all of you.""Sounds fine to me," my mother said.And that was that. Two telephone calls. Two sounds-fine-to-me's. What more could I want?

I should point out, I suppose, that in Italian households, Christmas Eve is the social event of the season- an Italian women's raison d'ĂȘtre. She cleans. She cooks. She bakes. She orchestrates every minute of the entire evening. Christmas Eve is what Italian women live for.

I should also point out, I suppose, that when it comes to the kind of women that make Italian men go nuts, Karen is it. She doesn't clean. She doesn't cook. She doesn't bake. And she has the largest breasts I have ever seen on a human being.

I brought her anyway.

So begins the beloved Christmas story I repost year after year in my annual Holiday Chestnuts collection for your enjoyment, ...more...

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Christmas Shopping is about done

The annual event of shopping for my mate is near complete. I mean, it ought to be, after the purchase of the her new ride last month, you'd think I'd be done already.

Saturday night, while doing pretty much nothing, the cable channel settled on QVC, which featured a DVD camera for a sweet price. After staring at the screen for a few minutes, my much-better-half asked if I liked it, and I said I did. Our camcorder, now about 7 years old, sporadically eats the tape, and each of its two batteries have a half-life of about a traffic light, so it spends more time in a drawer than actually being used.

Before I could suggest maybe next year she had already punched the numbers into the phone and ordered it (QVC is her favorite place to shop, and she can place an order in her sleep if needed). So we're on our way to the 21st Century in video (on a 4-month EasyPay, no less).

But I did tell her: nothing more for me, period. A $400 camera pretty much fills any and all gift list for me. I am not the type to make wish lists or the like; there is no list of things I want, because there's no need. If I need something, I buy it. If I can't afford it, I probably don't need it. Oh sure, I could make a list of things I could wish for (A Hummer leaps to mind, despite the fuel pricing, it is a damn fine vehicle); who wouldn't want the life of Elmer J. Fudd (millionaire, with a mansion and yacht). But that's fantasy, and not hardly useful. (On a completely loonely side-trip, check out Elmer's version of Google.)

This camera is more of a family (a/k/a house) gift as anything else. We have a fair amount of video of the older son, but dramatically less of his younger brother, so the need is plain. So I'll look forward to the seemingly obligatory gifts of ties and such from the boys, but I do hope she doesn't get crazy and buy me anything else.

Of course, while I will tend to say an SUV covers Christmas and then some, and while she echoed that same sentiment after I told her nothing more (period), I'd be a damned fool if I didn't make time to go shopping on her behalf.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

24 Trailer is up!

It's up ... not nearly as long as the prequel, but worth a view

I confess the second time I watched the prequel I had a vision of a recent James Bond flick, Die Another Day, with Pierece Brosnan being accused of (allegedly) giving up the name of an American spy under torture.

I hope that is the only such similarity!

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Happy Repeal Day

I mentioned it last week, but will say it again: It's REPEAL DAY

A pity my hives are back with a vengence... I could use a belt right about now...

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Definitely not on my wish list....

From the AskMen.Com Cool Gadgets Collection....

Quoting from the article:

The Stokke Gravity "balans" chair is "probably the closest you'll ever get to zero gravity" (well, at least that’s what Stokke is claiming). The chair, which resembles a rocker, provides a range of positions that include an ergonomic office chair, an upright chair and a recliner. The 49.2" x 57.5" x 24.4" chair is available in a variety of fabrics and leathers and it usually comes with a beech wood frame.
I have no problem with hanging around in weird positions, but something like this is far too pricy for such relaxation. You, too, can achieve zero gravity for a mere $2,310.

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From my Holiday Chestnut collection..... reposted from years passed.


As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help from that renowned scientific journal SPY magazine (January 1990) - I am pleased to present the annual scientific inquiry into Santa Claus.

1. No known species of reindeer can fly. However, there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer that only Santa has ever seen.

2. There are 2 billion children (defined as persons under 18) in the world. BUT, since Santa doesn't (appear to) handle the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim children; that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to the Population Reference Bureau (1990). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each!


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Monday, December 04, 2006

The Blog's template... Yes, yes, I know you all know that already, and all but a few are too nice to say as much.

I have a tradition of posting Holiday Chestnuts, humorous bits of Holiday fun. Each year I add one or two to the collection, but keep reposting the tried and true ones. Had I properly upgraded this template, I could easily refer you, the reader, to the proper category. But since I am behind on categorizing, that will have to wait.

Looking to make money this holiday season? Who isn't? A pity I can't offer you any. However, if any of you have the time and inclination to offer design assistance to upgrade this blog, I'll be certain to post a generous hat tip, permanently, on this blog for all to see.

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Another head has rolled

Michelle Malkin has links to the news that the UN Ambassador John Bolten will step aside at the conclusion of his recess appointment.

Look forward to the only potential successor to be of the mind who will lean heavily towards working with the world instead of working with America's interests first.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

24 Season 6 Prequel

So where has our hero Jack Bauer been?

UPDATE: YouTube has deactivated these links. But you can follow this link to see the Season 6 Prequel of 24 in its entirety!

Due to YouTubes 10 minute length limit, here's part 2...

Kudos to for pointing it out to me, and of course a big h/t to CountStyrofoam

I can't wait Day 6 to begin 14-January....

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Lights out, uh-huh

The winter cold front pushed out all the unseasonably warm weather we've experienced this week. High's Thursday in the 70s, 30 degree drop by Friday night. With the cold front came heavy winds; four three hours our area was under a winter storm watch, flash flood warning, and a tornado watch all at the same time!!

Somewhere around 5:45 our lights went out... not entirely unheard of, but never a great thing. About 3:15 they came on, so I went round to turn off all the unnecessary lights, boot up my PC and not before connecting to my mail server did the lights go off again (and the UPS did its job once again). So back to bed I went, stumbling in the dark.

Woke up with my arms, chest, back and legs covered in hives; pretty colorful if I do say so myself. Lips and eyes swollen.... WTF? Called my GP; no hours on Saturday, says the service, so call the local out patient clinic or go to an ER.

No idea what I did differently, but something is not agreeing with me in a big way. Was it only my extremities, I'd take benadryl and ride it out; but lips and eyes are too close to airway constriction, so I went to a clinic. 6 days of prednisone, and the warning should you experience the inability to breathe, go to an ER. Gee, and to think they went to med school!

Lights came back up around 2PM... I would have decked the halls if not for the hives (and the lack of power for the lights). We'll see what happens tomorrow...

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Celebrating Repeal Day

Yes, yes, I know we're in the holiday season, and there's plenty of big holiday time coming, but there's also a little holiday that doesn't quite get the attention it richly deserves:


Yes, that's right: the anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition Day, Decemeber 5th. It may not seem a big deal to you, but consider the last time you imbibed, and then ask yourself what you would have done that moment had Probibition not been repealed.

I learned of Repeal Day by listening to a FoneShow podcast; FoneShow enables you to listen to your fav podcasts via your cell phone; I was listening to an update from The Onion when Dewars reminded me about the upcoming anniversary. Arguably, FoneShow is a little tough for the radio shows that offer their content in 40 minute podcasts (a la Lionel), but it is useful for more compact offerings, such as Joy the Cleverhack (who turned me on to FoneShow, btw).

Any way, Dewars was one of the first imports to make it back to the States, and we should honor that even by raising a glass of spirits (in moderation, of course) on this Tuesday as an appropriate sign of respect.

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Must haves for gift giving!

December is the gift giving season, be it for Christmas or another holiday, there are plenty of reasons to give gifts.

I like to find the kinds of gifts that are somewhat unusual. Here's an example: in every office environment, everywhere, there's always someone who is perpetually cold. Even in the summer.

USB Heated Gloves

No more cold fingers! These gloves plug into your USB ports and provide comfy warmth for your digits! And for those whose tootsies are always chilly there's a gift just for them too!USB Heated Slippers

Of course, I have this image of people walking away from their desk and dragging their hardware with them. I purchased a pair of the noise-dampening headphones (in part to listen to streams, and other times to keep the office noise from distracting me); on more than one occasion saw me standing up and walking away from my desk while the headset was in on more than one occasion! Find them at PERPETUAL KIDS (aptly named).

My biggest fear of these devices, however, the power drain on your PC. USB ports can drive external devices, but imagine the draw of a pair of gloves (and mules) on your PC power supply.

I've always liked these kinds of gadgets; last spring I featured an interesting web cam. And yes, I may even break down and get myself a Christmas tree for my desk.

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I got mine, did you get yours?

I got my flu shot this week... big deal, I know, but to some I was the target of scron. A gent with whom I hold a great deal of respect chastised me for getting it. How could I let myself have one?

Even worse: he was appalled that I let MY KIDS get it.

He is a bright, intelligent, outgoing person who owns his own business and is quite successful, yet he must know SOMETHING that the combined medical community doesn't.

After reading up on the importance of the flu shot, please do not neglect to review the facts on the CDC's Global HIV/AIDS initiatives; today, 1-December, is World AIDS Day. I doubt there are many of us who don't know someone who has been affected by this disease.

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