Saturday, October 30, 2004

Well I didn't post all week. I'm bummed the Sox won the world series, but take it as a sign that even the loserest of losers can turn their luck around with a little bit of cash and a lot of hard work. I decided that I'll sit for the patent bar exam as soon as possible. Started studying day before yesterday, shooting for early or mid-January. Dog looks a little depressed these days, not sure why. Maybe he misses his youth. Or maybe he needs a girlfriend, I don't know. I do know that I'm glad he's not a cat, since I don't like cats much. Except for the cats in Team America, I thought they were pretty funny. Probably going to try and make some chicken soup tonight, we'll see how it goes.

Monday, October 25, 2004

If ever there were a Monday, today would be the day. And not just because it's Monday, but because it's been one of those mythical Mondays.

Let's start with the weather... after a glorious, absolutely glorious weekend of sun and shine, today was a return to the gloom and doom that occasionally descends upon the PNW. It threatened rain without much production, except for those moments when I was walking the dog or driving the truck. But I'm used to the weather, and anyway it's only October. I don't REALLY get tired of it until March or so.

Wait, I should go back about six hours. Before the weather, there was the sleeping situation. I slept on the couch last night, not because B and I had a fight, but because we're eradicating little six-legged pests from our bedroom, and the dog can't sleep in there right now. Since he can't sleep in our room right now, the little guy is beside himself with anxiety. He doesn't understand that we don't want him sucking up powdered pest poison (but we're okay with it, really), and he thinks he's done something wrong. So to stop him whining I slept in the living room with him, which was none too comfortable.

Work... such as it is. I drove B to her office, then drove to mine. Today being the first time I've made this trip, I missed an exit in between our offices, and so had my journey unnecessarily extended. That was not-too-bad, except I really wanted a cup of coffee. I'd foregone my morning cup at home to save time, figuring I'd fill up in the basement. Upon arrival, I was saddened to learn that there was no more coffee. And not just no more coffee in the pot, but no more coffee in the house. Gritting my teeth, I drank tea. Lots of tea.

Actually starting to get to work on this project was impeded by the fact that the weekend crew that was assigned the task of clearing up the final publishing and editing bugs didn't, so we couldn't, so I sat there for a while chasing my tail. My boss is a real sport, though, and she let me hang around to collect hours while I tried to figure out problems that weren't mine to begin with, and so I couldn't be expected to fix. The downside there is I got stuck trying to explain these issues to my fellow worker. I must not have been doing a very good job letting her know that I didn't know any more than her, so I couldn't really answer her questions, no matter how many times per quarter hour she asked me to explain stuff.

But that was okay, even though I was hungry, because I found a vending machine that spits out chimichangas for a buck seventy-five. Except, in my case, today it didn't spit out the food, so I was spitting mad. My boss kindly reminded me that many people are killed or maimed each year when they try to shake their treats out of the machines. And she promised to try to get my cash back for me. I'm not holding my breath.

So a few hours later, I took off for home. No major problems on the way home, no traffic to fight, because hey, it was the middle of the day, and the only people out driving at that time of day are no-lifes like me.

At home, the dog had to pee, so I had to take him out, so it had to start raining again. Happily a friend of mine is heading up this way in a couple days and we're going to meet up. Unhappily the dog took my lapse in concentration as an opportunity to eat something off the street that I normally would have stopped him eating, which is going to make him real unhappy later on, in a digestive sort of way, one suspects.

My ballot was in the mail. I made my girlfriend dinner. I read the voter's pamphlet and was frankly offended by the paucity of real choice amongst candidates. I refuse to vote for someone who says, "Abortion is the American Holocaust" and am honestly shocked that a major party (guess which one!) would allow themselves to be affiliated with that kind of moronic talk. But then, there's a lot of moronic talk going around these days, right John?

There are still 3 hours to go before tonight ends. If there is cause for serious schadenfreude, I'll be sure to let you know.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Yup.

"That’s one of the meanings of 9/11. That you cannot be safe in Darfur or Beirut, in the Phillipines or Indonesia, that’s a problem. But if you can be murdered by Islamic terrorists while you’re on the top floor of the WTC, then that’s not a problem anymore. That’s much bigger. The progressive idea was to turn, for instance, Beirut into NY. If that’s not being accomplished, this is bad enough. But when people start turning NY into Beirut, we’re definitely moving backwards. And fast.

An attack that manages to ground all US and most of the world’s air traffic and close down the stock markets around the planet is something qualitatively different from a bomb in an Ulster pub. Human life is fragile, so is democracy, the world economy, globalization etc. The US can absorb U$ 1 trillion in damages. The rest of the world cannot. The US can survive a nuke in Manhattan. Brazil can survive a nuke in Sao Paulo. But Brazil cannot survive a nuke in Manhattan. What most of the world’s anti-Americans fail to understand is that whatever harms deeply the US harms us even more. Were Africa to suddenly disappear, it wouldn’t make much of a change in the life of New Yorkers. Were NY to disappear, Africa would go along.

So, this is what I have to say for those who think that Americans have overreacted to 9/11. Actually they have under-reacted. One more attack on America and Latin America will be condemned to a further hundred years of solitude and misery."


And there's a good litmus test for knowing if your house has a roach problem or not in the whole article, which I think you should read.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I think what this means is, the end of the world is upon us. It's not so much that the Yankees couldn't stage an improbable comeback (10-3, 2 out in the bottom of the 9th, I thought they still could have won it), and it's not that Boston has won anything yet (they still have to play the NL champ), what bothers me is that the 3-0 series lead is no longer sacrosanct.
The 3-0 lead was something you could count on. It was like, the sure thing, as far as sports goes. The 3-0 lead was something almost holy, something untouchable. It was more than the 4 minute mile, because there was so much more to it. Now it's just one more fallen idol, one more landmark from my childhood erased. What is this crazy, unhealthy world doing to all of us, now that the 3-0 lead is no longer invincible?

Assuming the world does not end, I'll tell you what really IS going to bother me now. It's that everytime a series goes to 3-0, we're going to be told over and over and over and over again by the sporting syncophants that the only team EVER to come back from a 3-0 lead are the 2004 Red Sox. I don't know if I'll be able to suffer hearing that statistic associated the Boston Red Sox. If there is any team other than the Yankees that I do not want to be reminded of ever, it's the Red Sox. And Manchester United, but they don't play in series match-ups.

UPDATED AGAIN: Something happened to my original update (like, I deleted it accidently, duh) so here's what it said: my buddy Chris suggests that my existential crisis is meaningless. Basically, in his opinion, because the Yankees are the most loathsome team in all of baseball, with a history of loathsome off-field and on-field moves, they deserved everything they got. Furthermore, the fact that it happened to them this year is an indication that universal justice is alive and well, and that all is well with the world. No indication if this logic applies to terrorists and child molesters, but I hope, how I hope, that it does.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Baseball is a merciless game. There is no place to hide on the wide open diamond. Errors of skill and judgment on the field are, as a matter of physics, instantly exploited.



The most dramatic moment in baseball, for me, is the home run. A pitcher committs an error of judgment, decides to challenge the wrong batter at the wrong time, and he is punished. Or, the pitcher committs an error in skill. He leaves a ball up and over the plate, the batter seizes the moment, and reacts. The bat whips around, crushes the ball, and the failure of the pitcher is all too evident. There is no gray area, no room for debate. There is no consoling a defeated pitcher. He must move on, alone, though he takes responsibility for the whole team.

You cannot fault the batter. He is presented with an opportunity and he takes advantage. There is no more reason than that. He does what he is trained to do--to bash the ball wholeheartedly. The joy comes not from making the pitcher look bad, but from completing the physical act which he has practiced countless times. The ball is up, it is over, it is struck.

Management is another level to the game. There, too, the moves are open to public scrutiny. But with management, there is rarely the instantaneous reaction that there is with pitching and hitting. For example, in the summer, John Olerud was let go by the Seattle Mariners. Many claimed this was heartless, stupid, without class. Tonight, John Olerud, one of the nicest, most accomplished, least appreciated first basemen in the game, hit a home run against Boston to score two runs for the New York Yankees. This is not about the Yankees. Personally, I don't like them. But I do like Olerud, and I was disappointed at how he was treated by the Mariners this summer. So, congratulations to you, John Olerud, I hope you win another ring, even if it is in Yankee pinstripe.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

G--

I meant to include this as a central point of my response to your comments last night, but unfortunately I got distracted and followed a course of argument that I meant to relegate to a secondary position. In short, I got carried away and lost sight of what I thought was a stronger line of reasoning. Fortuitously for me, this has enabled me to think a little more about the point itself.

You seem unwilling or unable to acknowledge the moral superiority of the United States, and thus fail to understand the vociferousness with which I advocate for the military protection of the country on overseas fronts. This is so either because you do not recognize, as I do, the value of the United States as a country and society, or because you do not believe such values can be measured and quantified, and thus compared. The point I meant to pursue last night then, is this: forget about morality for a second. If you don't think the morality of nations can be compared (and it's obvious that I believe this is a foolish proposition), then consider another line of comparison.

What are the traits of a healthy society? What do people want and value? Electricity? Running water? Roads (I know you like roads)? Air travel (I know you like air-travel, too)? Schools? Free media? Internet availability? That's an incomplete and imperfect list, but those are most likely universally-applicable signs that you've got a healthy society.

All these services (and I haven't even described goods yet, like niceties such as "food" or "shelter", or even your beloved CompUSA, Circuit City, or the countless internet-vendors you patronize) cannot take place without a functioning market place. And, even in societies where there is a functioning marketplace, not all these services are readily available or optimally functional. Furthermore, in at least three of the areas above (air travel, internet access, and media) the United States has been a pioneer and standard-bearer for the rest of the world to follow.

In short, another way to measure the United States as the greatest nation on earth would be to compare its market to that of other nations. In terms of size, there is no comparison. We are the biggest. In terms of quality, there is no comparison. In terms of safety, again, no comparison. In terms of wealth generated, no comparison.

These markets provide goods, services, opportunities for personal growth irrespective of background, and sometimes even education. These markets draw people from all countries of the world and these markets can only thrive in such a liberal society as ours. Furthermore, history has repeatedly shown that societies in which markets are restricted are less free, less able to produce for its citizens, more likely to be controlled through undemocratic means. Like it or not (and far, far, far more people on earth like it more than dislike it) this nation has been the Grand Experiment, and the experiment's successes have far outweighed its failures. That's yet another method by which I quantify this nation's superiority.

I do not believe this country is fragile. I do not believe the "barbarians" are at the gates (alarmingly, though, I do believe at least some of the barbarians are actually inside the fort, and I trust they will be dealt with in turn). I do not believe that we should at all limit the extent to which we pursue and kill (as in, "execute" summarily, with or without public disclosure) these new barbarians.

Finally, if you think I am hostile, it is because of the limits of choice we as a population have in deciding who our leader in this war will be. You could say I believe that the marketplace of candidates has been weak. I do not think, and I have never suggested that I blieve, that the current administration is doing an adequate job fighting this fight. However, the idea put forward by the American left that we can "do better" is based on false alliances and logistical miscalculations. I believe it would be foolish to allow John Kerry to take over on the greater war, the ideological war, not because I think the current administration is doing a perfect job, but because the proposals put forward by Kerry are delusional. In order to convince me that we should change leadership at this election, the Democrats would have had to have picked someone better. They didn't, so they lose (my vote), end of story.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I had not read this blog for quite some time, and I was glad that instapundit linked to this article today. Two memorable passages:

1) "...all of this rage and fury and spitting and tearing up of signs, all of these insults and spinmeisters and forgeries and all the rest, seem to come down to the fact that about half the country thinks you deter this sort of thing (another Sept. 11th attack--wjd) by being nice, while the other half thinks you deter this by being mean."

2) "...It all comes down to carrots (liberals) or sticks (conservatives). By the way: if you’re in a rush and need to run, here’s the spoiler: You can offer a carrot. Not everybody likes carrots. Some people may hate your carrot. Your carrot may offend people who worship the rutabaga. But no one likes being poked in the eye with a stick. That’s universal."

I don't much care for carrots, especially cooked ones, even though I know they're good for me and I should eat more of them.

Please read the whole thing.

Monday, October 04, 2004

I'd like to thank Chris, Jen, Otis, Mt. Saint Helens, the Seattle Mariners, B's automatic transmission, and all the dog's shedded hairs in the carpet for giving me something other than unemployment to think/do something about this afternoon. Your collective assistance though this continuing difficult time is very much appreciated.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Tonight, when you weren't looking, the world became a better place. A little boy was born in New York City. He's going to be really special, and so we have to help make the world a better place for him.