May 30, 2008

whose hair? not hayden christensen I'm guessing

Because blogless troll recently noted an uptick in page hits when Hayden Christensen's name is mentioned in a blog post, I decided to look at the most successful search results that brought people to this site. I've only had google analytics tracking my pages for a few weeks, but the results are interesting. If you've got no life whatsoever.

I'm listing these in order of "most successful" using the number of page views per visit that each search term generated.

  • dooh nibor bush
    Imagine my astonishment when I found on the fourth page of search results for this term that I actually had a post with that odd phrase in the title: dooh nibor goes to Washington. And ha, ha, it took me reading the entire post to remember what "dooh nibor" was.
  • arm cast
    I went fifteen pages into the search results and never saw my site listed. Someone was really desperate for something.
  • thema literary
    Yay! A magazine in which I was published brought people to my site!
  • whose hair
    OK, whatever. Certainly not my hair, as I have none.
  • "n is for nate, who was dragged down by the squid"
    I love the possibilities of this one. What was going through this searcher's mind that they would find this phrase, exactly as typed?
And some other random selections:
  • uncle wiggly board game skeezix
  • five different versions of Tiffany Roberts
  • four different versions of star wors
  • three different versions of sock in his mouth
  • pictures of charlie baltimore with pink hair
  • large mug for doctors
  • three versions of gwendolyn rice
  • i miss veronica veronica dead and gone
  • greyhound ate a quarter coins
And of course multiple versions of corner kick, pjd, and haiku.

beware forwarded political emails. you have been warned.

Beware, Democrats. Email is no longer your friend.

Last night I read an email containing the text of an op-ed about the Democratic primary. A Clinton supporter, a well-credentialed woman, pointed out how the primary has illustrated both subtle and overt sexism in our country, and how the rules are different for women than for men in politics. There were solid points and well reasoned opinions.

But there were also a few over-the-top statements claiming that a sexist nation "stole" the primary from Clinton. And the conclusion was that women with principles must, by moral imperative, stay away from the polls in November if Obama wins the nomination.

I was flabbergasted at the conclusion. How could an educated doctor of psychology with over 20 books to her name conclude that withholding her vote in November would be good for anyone? It wouldn't be good for Clinton, it wouldn't be good for the voter, it wouldn't be good for society, and it certainly wouldn't be good for the principles of democracy. The only one it would be good for would be John McCain.

This conclusion left me very unsettled, so I looked for the original text in the Baltimore Sun.

Wait a minute. Where are the statements that the primary was stolen from Clinton? Where is the angry conclusion about not voting in November if Obama wins the nomination?

What I received in email was not the actual text of the op-ed, yet it was being forwarded as if it were.

Now, putting your own words in someone else's mouth is nothing new in politics. But the implications of this email, which is a very clever and sinister attempt by the opposition to keep Democratic voters away from the polls in the fall, are chilling. And even more chilling is the willingness of educated, reasonable, strongly liberal feminists to get whipped into a frenzy and agree with the false conclusion. If this were not the case, then why would I have been forwarded the email by her educated, reasonable, strongly liberal feminist (lesbian) friend? Someone felt strong enough agreement to pass along the text.

Be careful out there. Approach every politically angled text with a healthy cynicism and a critical eye. Make your own conclusions, and don't trust your friends to make conclusions for you. They just might be basing their thoughts on misinformation.

And finally, if you are considering withholding your vote in November rather than vote for Obama, please write in Clinton's name instead. Do not abstain. Use your voice; use your vote. Be counted. Abstention is not protest; non-action creates non-results. And, when you're there with your pen ready to write in Clinton's name while someone beside you is ticking the box for McCain, you just might realize what's at stake and make a different decision.

UPDATE: I found a copy on line of what is supposedly the author's email reply. The final paragraph states that she plans on writing in Clinton's name in November, which is different from the email I received last night. The email that was forwarded to me said she would stay home and refuse to vote.

FURTHER UPDATE: I decided to email the author (Dr. Lynette Long) and ask her about the email texts attributed to her. A copy of my email appears below. We shall see if she replies. Stay tuned.

Dear Dr. Long,

I have seen two different versions of an email attributed to you. The one that I hope is real can be found at The conclusion is that you plan on writing in Hillary Clinton's name when the November election rolls around.

The version I received from a friend last night, which caused me to read the original text of your excellent op-ed in the Baltimore Sun, had some different text. In it, the conclusion was that you would withhold your vote in November and stay away from the polls entirely.

Is either one of these emails actually your writing?

I personally believe that either candidate would make strong President, and I vowed long ago to vote for whoever won the primary. I agree that our society is rife with blatant and subtle sexism, but it is not limited to politics and certainly not to the DNC. Simply walk through any suburban shopping mall, flip through the magazines in any Barnes & Noble, tune in to any "reality" TV show. Sexism is endemic in our national psyche, as are racism and ageism and now, thanks to Bush, xenophobia.

I fail to see how a protest vote of any kind is ever a productive thing. Consider the two outcomes of a Clinton write-in campaign:
1. Obama wins. In that case, the write-in tally for Clinton will be forgotten amid the election coverage by the "sexist" media who then will gush over the first ever black President. The Clinton write-in will be a footnote at best, and the DNC will gladly ignore whatever numbers they see. Feminism will become irrelevant to the DNC and even more marginalized as it had no impact on the outcome.
2. Obama loses. In that case, the write-in tally will be blamed for the loss. Rather than being seen as a powerful voting bloc, the feminist Democratic movement will be seen as the root cause of "four more years" of war, fear, and failed energy and health care and education policies. Feminists will be painted as selfish and shortsighted, not as powerful and principled. Why? Because your write-in vote won't suddenly make the press stop being sexist, particularly if a white man wins the election. And the DNC will want to make sure such a write-in campaign never happens again.

I hope you will reconsider your position. As a relatively privileged white male, I am highly aware of the biases that shape my opinions. And while I admire your passion and encourage you to continue to fight against sexism everywhere in our society, I think your protest vote is a well intentioned yet misguided action. I do not think it will have the impact you hope it will, particularly because of all the points you illuminate in your most excellent op-ed.

Thank you for your time and attention. I hope to hear a reply from you regarding the email text and also regarding my opinions above. I agree that the world would be a better place if run by women, and I hope to see that in my lifetime. But the country needs NOT to have McCain in charge for the next four years.


May 29, 2008

The astonishing feet of Brian McBride

This from today's Contra Costa Times, my local newspaper (scroll down in the linked article for the item; emphasis in the excerpt is mine):

Striker Brian McBride, 35, is leaving Fulham after 412 years to return to the United States, the English Premier League club said.
I had no idea McBride had played at Fulham since the late 1600s.

This rivals my favorite typo from this paper. Several years ago, when the 49ers had a day off, the paper quoted player Andre Carter as saying that his plans were just to "sit on the coach all day." See if you can spot the typo.

Generally, the CC Times has good local sports coverage. Their feature profiles of local college athletes really are quite good. It's the editing that's sorely lacking in quality. I suppose that's life on a short deadline.

May 28, 2008

haiku wednesday - May 28, 2008

This week's words are

title dream destroyed
illegal touch lost the match
ref's vision was blurred

illegal campfire
judgment blurred by alcohol
just one match caused this?

hold on there, missy
your eyes don't match blurred photo
illegal I.D.

May 24, 2008

Picking cherries

We went out to Brentwood this morning to enjoy the early cherry pick-your-own season. Got 18 pounds before we realized it. Very nice, but another week or two they'll be perfect.

May 23, 2008

Four dollars

Yeah, yeah, $4 a gallon doesn't seem much to you Brits and other Europeans. But over here it's symbolic. (Side note: Just beyond that sign is where I witnessed a pretty bad non-injury crash yesterday. Saw it coming long before the two drivers did.)

The $4 a gallon threshold here should be noted as an historic event, however. I believe it is the moment that the rest of the American population finally will come out of their state of denial and realize that holy shit, we'd better find an alternative to gasoline, and pronto.

It was not so long ago that "experts" said things like this:
But gasoline is unlikely to top $3 per gallon absent an unexpected supply hit, such as a hurricane disrupting operations at key Gulf Coast refineries. [Houston Chronicle, September 13, 2007]
I laugh when I hear people (especially in the news) say, "... and it may not go down again."

Well, DUH.

The $4 a gallon threshold is a harbinger of ever-spiraling gasoline prices here. It is simply one more indicator that we as a nation can no longer consider ourselves better than everyone else. Our arrogance has lasted too long and turned into hubris, and it's time to acknowledge that as long as we are reliant on foreign oil for our energy, we are not truly independent. (In fact, we can never truly be independent, ever again, and the quicker we realize that our neighborhood now knows no boundaries, the better shot we have of staying in a world leadership role.)

$4 a gallon was inconceivable to all those people who proudly bought Hummers just three years ago. I laugh at the guy who wrote a local op-ed saying he was proud to drive his Hummer and emit carbons into the air as it demonstrated his invincible control over nature. Take >that<, smackhead. But I feel awful for the people truly hit hard by $4 a gallon gas. I don't care about the families with their big SUVs, oh boo hoo it costs sooo much to get Billy to ballet and Susie to rugby now. No, I feel for the people who are unable to make a living any more. The pool service people. The yard service people, including the legions of immigrants in this state who may or may not be documented. Taxi drivers, who often have to take fuel costs out of their receipts. I feel bad for the people who could not afford houses close in to our cities and so moved out to the exurbs in the late 90s and early 2000s. They already struggled, and now their mortgage rates have skyrocketed at the same time their commute has doubled in price. They were only trying to have a better home and school for their kids, and now they're unable to maintain what they could afford just three years ago. I know everyone will tell me to "get over it," but imagine where we'd be if Gore had been elected in 2000. Sure, 9/11 would have happened anyway. Gore would have smacked down the Taliban and bent all the US military might into finding bin Laden. We would not have spent a trillion dollars in Iraq. We would have had oodles of national guardsmen on hand to help rescue and rebuild the Gulf Coast. We would have poured a huge amount of the nation's vast intellectual and creative resources into alternative fuel and green technologies, because that was Gore's biggest passion. Oh, wait. Gore was elected in 2000. He just wasn't allowed to become President.

$4 a gallon represents record profits for oil companies like Shell and Chevron. $4 a gallon represents an imminent threat to our Alaskan wilderness and California coastlines. $4 a gallon points to higher prices on staple foods. $4 a gallon points to more families unable to make ends meet.

It may seem cheap to much of the world, but look at it in the context of having nearly doubled in a two year period. When our society is based on the automobile, that's a huge, and mostly hidden, part of many families' budgets.

May 21, 2008

haiku wednesday - May 21, 2008

This week's words are

humanity's edge
delayed action, thousands killed
focus the blame where?

results are delayed
which candidate has the edge?
focus on recount

time out of focus
winter's edge blurs delayed spring
bee encased in ice

May 19, 2008

Nobody expects the inquisition!

I've been inquisited by blogless troll, who I think is perhaps Dave Barry's evil twin. Or at least Dave Barry's younger twin. They both live in Florida and are damnedly funny, but the Troll uses more foul words, I think. It's like he's a PG-13 blog and Barry's a PG blog. Anyway, the Inquisition Meme is something that surprisingly appears to thrive. You'd think people would shy away from something called the Inquisition. I wonder how long before the Holocaust Meme shows up.

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

Inquisition Meme

What were you doing ten years ago?
Ten years ago would be 1998. I was sitting around while my wife read books about how to ensure the gender of your next baby. Mostly old wives' tales and ancient Chinese lore. One year later our baby son was born. Apparently he didn't get the memo that he was supposed to be a girl. Other things I was doing ten years ago: started working for a tiny startup called "Rapid Logic" as marketing director. Embedded systems software for routers! Yay! Also, in 1998 we moved into our current house. Our almost-two-year-old son called it "New House" for the next three years.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?

  1. Write up my notes from the United Way of America conference in Baltimore.
  2. Have a meeting with my new boss to find out what our new organization looks like.
  3. Reschedule my writers group originally scheduled for tonight.
  4. Fill out my Adult Leader Registration form for Boy Scouts. I've already been through all the training, so I figure I should probably actually get credit for it.
  5. Catch up on reading some of my friends' blogs.
What are some snacks you enjoy?
  1. Popcorn. Real popcorn, not that microwave cancer corn. Real butter. TONS of real popcorn salt.
  2. Fritos.
  3. Gummi Bears. Sour Patch Kids. Any sour candy.
What would you do if you were a billionaire?
Retire. Travel. Write a lot. Fund youth centers in inner city areas and build youth mentoring and leadership programs. Family stability is the true way to lift people out of poverty. And I'm not talking about the ban-gay-marriage "family stability." I'm talking about parents involved in children's activities, kids learning leadership skills from other youths, kids being taught how to budget and save and read and write. There are many people doing good work in this area now. If I were a billionaire, I'd give them more resources to achieve their goals. Oh, and maybe buy a Premiere League soccer club. That would be fun.

What are three of your bad habits?
Only three? OK. Um. It's just us, right? If I tell you, you won't tell anyone else, right?
  1. I bite my nails. Only the fingernails, though. I don't bite my toenails. That'd be gross.
  2. I don't call people. I should be phoning my mom, my dad, my brother, my sister, my friends a lot more than I do.
  3. I drum my fingers. I was a snare drummer in a fife & drum corps as a kid, and sometimes when I'm concentrating (or when my mind wanders), I'll realize my fingers are tapping out the cadence to Road to Boston or Grandfather Clock. I assume this annoys the hell out of people nearby.
What are five places where you have lived?
  • Glastonbury, CT
  • Berkeley, CA
  • Las Vegas, NV (but only for a few months at a time)
  • Seattle, WA
  • Walnut Creek, CA
What are five jobs you have had?
  1. Newspaper delivery kid. One morning a woman on my route at 5:30 a.m. brought me to the barn in her back yard and showed me a four-hour-old baby horse. Another morning a bird crapped right on my hair. Another morning my scarf froze to my lips.
  2. Video clerk on the graveyard shift at Major Video in Las Vegas. One night we had two call girls come in with their clients. As the oldest employee on the shift (and possibly the only literate one), it was my job to restock the adult room. We could run videos on the in-store video screens 24x7, but we could only run Disney videos. Though Collette used to enjoy putting in the unrewound porno tapes to see at what point the customer stopped watching and eja... I mean ejected the tape.
  3. Desk clerk at the rec sports facility locker room at UC Berkeley. I handed out locks. I washed towels. It wasn't that great a job. They assigned me to the men's locker room, though I had requested the women's locker room many times.
  4. Bagger at a supermarket. I was in high school, and I quit my cushy job at CVS Pharmacy to be a bagger at a freakin' grocery store. This was before I found out that the entire management training program in retail grocery chains consists of repeating the following mantra over and over for one year: "Employees are bad and must be treated as if they are Nazi pedophile nosepicking shiteating smelly pukey scum." That job lasted nearly a month before I quit because the boss was a total bitch.
  5. Corporate Citizenship professional at one of the world's biggest corporations. If I don't become a billionaire, this is the job I intend to keep the rest of my working career. Great company, great coworkers, doing good for the world, reasonable compensation. What could be better?
What were the last five books you read?
Oh Crap. How can I remember this? OK, here goes. I may be forgetting one or two in the sequence, but you get the drift.
  • The Time Traveler's Wife. Or rather, I'm in the middle of reading it. Highly recommended. (Niffenegger)
  • The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events #5). No, I did not read #s 1 through 4. (Snicket)
  • The Tao of Pooh (Hoff)
  • Hamlet (Shakespeare)
  • I'm a Stranger Here Myself (Bryson)
What’s playing on your iPod right now?
Eric Clapton, "Hey Hey"

What five people do you want to tag?
Maria, Ch@ndy, J@na, Chumplet, and Collette (No, not the Collette from the video store. That was a different Collette.)

May 18, 2008

Dolphins at six flags

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May 17, 2008

The Unlucky Twenty-Six: Feedback Request

I am in the latter stages of formatting a Word document and finishing up first-draft illustrations for a premiere draft of The Unlucky Twenty-Six. Not for publication, but as something that puts each poem with its illustration on a single page. I am hoping a few of my friends may be willing to read through it and offer criticism. After that, I have no idea where I could send it. I mean, it's not really a children's book. And nobody reps poetry (not that it's really poetry either). So I'm a bit at a loss. And am open to suggestions.

If you're interested in offering constructive criticism, drop a comment on this post and I'll include you in my email, which will likely be towards the end of the week.

May 15, 2008

Baltimore convention center at 7 a.m.

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May 14, 2008

haiku wednesday - May 14, 2008

This week's words are

note: according to, the word "average" has two or three syllables. I use the two-syllable pronunciation. With that in mind, here are my weekly Wednesday haiku with the words provided by bone. (Thanks, bone!)

crane my neck to see
I can't read his chicken scratch
one more average grade

red neck, white tank top
belch, scratch privates, snort, grunt, wink
just your average man

fingernails scratch neck
it must have been great for you
no, it was average

May 13, 2008

Not so rainy Baltimore

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May 11, 2008

I spam you! (thank you Verizon, you suck)

Yes, I pay for a service that lets me send marketing messages to you! And I can't turn off those marketing messages! Isn't life wonderful?

If you've read my blog recently, then you have way too much free time. That, and you know that I love the ability to snap a photo with my camera phone and blog it immediately with a little bit of text that I painstakingly poke out at a rate far slower than my 300 baud modem back in college. But I hate the stupid marketing text Verizon automatically tacks on to the end of each message. If I emailed a photo from my phone to you, you would get the text also. If I blog it, the text shows up in my blog. It's something like this: "This message was sent to you via the magic and wonder of the outstanding awesome terrific Verizon service. Find out how you, too, can be one of the cool people! Click here!!!!!!!!" (I'm paraphrasing.)

Well, I emailed Verizon to ask how to turn off that awful spam marketing shit. Guess what? I can't! Even though I pay for the service! (OK, technically my company pays for it, but that's just accounting.)

Here is the surprisingly chipper nose-thumbing I got from their customer "service" department. (I think "customer service" here means "happy people who say 'no' a lot.")

Dear Peter Dudley,

Thank you for your excellent question regarding the Verizon Wireless tag at the end of your e-mailed picture messages. My name is [name withheld for the blog], and I am able to assist you.

I am sorry, but at this time we are unable to block these messages from appearing at the end of your messages.

I will be sure pass your comment and dissatisfaction onto our Marketing Department for review

Peter, I thank your for your valuable feedback today. I want you to know that we appreciate your business and thank you for using Verizon Wireless. Should you have additional questions, please reply to this e-mail.

[name withheld for the blog]
They are just SOOO happy to get my valuable feedback, which will be passed along to Marketing. What this means: "I am stuck in a shit job where I can't actually do anything about your complaint, but you're right, this asinine text is the work of the evil ghouls in the Marketing Department, so I'll send them your note, but don't expect it to do any good because there's no accountability for the happiness of the customer in this lame company."

But [name withheld for the blog] sure did use a lot of nice words to tell me I'd be more effective setting myself on fire, didn't he?

May 8, 2008

Disney wild animal place... there are tigers.

update: I am hating Verizon. vacation update: hot hot hot. Like 90 degrees. Some of the animal park rides were shut down, like the water ride about 1:15 p.m. Crowded, crowded, crowded too, today. But still fun enough.

What's most remarkable about Disney in Orlando (when you're used to Disney in southern California) is how freakin' long it takes to get anywhere. 45 minutes minimum from one park to another, or from the resorts to the park. The only exception was Epcot, which is walkable from the Swan Dolphin.

Travel day home tomorrow. Cub scouts all weekend. Baltimore next week.

May 7, 2008

Party @ universal studios!

update: Just for all you who have never seen me hatless, a photo without a hat. Great party at Universal. We only had half the park; Sharp had the other half for their party.

Sorry I missed 3WW today. We started with 7 a.m. breakfast, 8 a.m. "non-motivational speaker motivational speaker," then 9:30 a.m. we were released to our own devices. Epcot all day. Pretty cool place for this California Disneyland boy; never been to Epcot before, though I had been to many of the countries exhibited in the International section. Still, it was fun. My Mexican-heritage wife enjoyed the Three Caballeros boat ride in the Mexico section, but she also likes "It's a Small World" at Disneyland, so there's no accounting for judgment here.

Anyway, I hope to have another photo tomorrow. We may skip the Cindy Lauper concert in the evening after the closing gala dinner. Not sure if we'll karaoke or hit Magic Kingdom again.

I could get used to having someone else pay for this stuff.

May 6, 2008

Holding a gator

Update: This took place at Midway Airboat Rides near Orlando. Nice folks, fun tour. We saw a few alligators, a bald eagle, and three great blue herons. Plus some other stuff. Like a red-somethinged hawk sitting on a post, and a turtle sitting on another post, and a water snake resting in some tree roots.

Air boat tour

May 5, 2008

Vacation begins!

view from our window in orlando

update: Removed all that stupid crap that Verizon tags on to the bottom of my photo emails from my phone, which never used to get attached to it and which should NOT be there since I'm paying for the stupid service, and no one receiving my photos needs to get a marketing spam message, least of all me or my blog. Verizon, it sucks that you tack on this crap to the ends of my photo emails. Quit it.

May 2, 2008

Fiction Friday: about a tree

about a tree
5/2/2008 - Monday (not so) light verse, special FF edition
Fiction Friday prompt: Write about a tree (Join Fiction Friday here.)

There are many things that you can see
when you walk about a tree.

Two small impressions, little boots
poked in among the old oak's roots
where Sean climbed Danny's back for height
to rescue their branch-tangled kite.

And further on, a chipped black stone
where Danny slipped and broke a bone
and Sean ran home their ma to tell
that Danny got hurt when he fell.

Now in the bark some letters etched
where Danny took his knife and stretched
up high, his Sarah's name to write
before he left for war that night.

And pencil shavings on the ground
dropped to the dirt without a sound
as Sarah's love and gentle tears
filled many letters through the years.

And here, upon the westward slope
where lovers sat to smooch and grope
in sunset's glow at end of day;
Sarah loved Sean with Dan away.

A bottle piece, a broken shard
where Danny had been drinking hard
and thinking vengeful, evil thought
since Sean and Sarah there he caught.

And here, a blood stain on a root
where Danny held his gun to shoot
his brother Sean who died that day
as Danny watched him bleed away.

And now a shadow, dark and deep
where Sarah comes each day to weep
for Danny's soul, which he did loose
amongst the branches, with a noose.

I kept that rope that Danny used
because his love I had abused;
I keep the gun upon a shelf
and soon might use it on myself.

The things I see about this tree
are Sean and Danny, dead for me.

One of my writing goals for 2008 is to write at least one light verse or poem every week in addition to my haiku wednesday and fiction friday posts. I will try to do this on Mondays.