Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

It's New Year's Eve. To celebrate, a lot of people like to focus on the year that was, with things like "Best Of" lists. Like CNN's Word of the Year. Or even better, Rolling Stone's list of the 10 Best Movies Of the Year, which left off my favorite: Stranger Than Fiction. (Also check out their list of the 25 Best DVD's of the Year.)

I will do no such thing. Instead, my celebration will consist of drinking some bubbly and thinking about how awesome 2007 is going to be. (My recommendation for an inexpensive sparkling wine, which was introduced to me by a wine critic at a wine tasting class: Cristalino rose.)


Saturday, December 30, 2006

Radio Silence

I know, I know -- I've been absent for the past week.

I could have blogged while I was in Florida, but I didn't.

I could have blogged when I got home, but I didn't.

Instead, I spent time with my family. On my trip to Florida, I watched three movies.

I even read a book.

Since I got home, I cleaned my apartment and went grocery shopping. And I watched another movie last night.

Today, instead of blogging, I watched the first season of Entourage on DVD.

But really, this should just be seen as a practice run for two weeks from now, when I go to Morocco. Because, in all likelihood, there will be no blogging then either.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Friday, December 22, 2006

Cost-Benefit analysis

I know I should be sleeping, but staying up late to watch Jimmy Kimmel Live in order to see Gnarls Barkley play their cover of the Violent Femmes' classic Gone Daddy Gone was completely worth it.

I'm sure I'll pay for it tomorrow when I'm tired and grumpy all day.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

An Observation

It is very time consuming to label 915 blog posts.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Notice anything resembling OCD here?

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Internal Revenue Service join forces to battle extravagant celebrity culture

It's official: Thanks to the IRS, celebrities will no longer be getting those fancy Academy Award gift baskets.

Accordingly, Ed Norton made this pithy comment:

He said, "A lot of us have talked to the Academy Awards producers about this and I think they're actually going to scuttle the gift baskets and that kind of stuff. I mean the gift baskets, worth amounts of money that a low income family could live on for a year, (are given to) people who have so much already. It gets depressing. You sit there, going, 'This is an embarrassment.'"

Note to self: (1) Find Ed Norton. (2) Give him a kiss.

Travel tips for dummies

I think I would have been somewhat very extremely annoyed if the airport security line I was standing in was slowed down because some doofus decided to send her baby through the X-ray machine.

If the line was long, I might have thought about punching her.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Look what I made!

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce -- for the first time anywhere -- my sock monkey!

Cute, no? The kit said it would take an hour, but it actually took WAY longer than that.

Anyway, he needs a name. Any suggestions?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Cookie recipes

As promised, here are the recipes of the cookies we baked earlier today. They all came out great!


2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus three tablespoons
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Mix shortening and butter. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

  4. Add flour, baking soda, and salt, and blend until smooth.

  5. Mix 3 tablespoons sugar with cinnamon in a small bowl.

  6. Roll the dough, by hand, into 1 1/2 inch balls.

  7. Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar.

  8. Flatten the balls into 1/2 inch disks, spacing them evenly on cookie sheets.

  9. Bake until light brown, but still moist in the center, about 12 minutes.


1 stick butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
4 tablespoons granulated sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Cream the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy.

  3. Add the molasses and the egg and beat until smooth.

  4. Add flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, and beat until well blended.

  5. Pinch off a little of the dough and roll it into 1 inch balls. (Tip: Dip fingers into warm water first.)

  6. Dip each ball into granulated sugar, and place sugar side up on baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart.

  7. Flatten into 1/2 inch discs.

  8. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cracked on top.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 12-oz package chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Mix butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until creamy.

  3. Mix in eggs, one at a time.

  4. Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt.

  5. Stir in chocolate chops and nuts.

  6. Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls.

  7. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Two quick points

  1. If you are surprised that Trey Anastasio (see: Phish) was arrested for driving while on drugs, seriously, dude, you should stop doing drugs. What should surprise you, however, is that there was no marijuana involved.

  2. Judith Regan got fired over the O.J. book. Ha ha ha ha ha. Ain't karma a bitch?

Friday, December 15, 2006

First Night of Hannukkah

Since my folks are a thousand miles away, I like to get myself little presents for Hannukkah.

For the first night, I got myself this:

Yep, kids, I'm making myself a sock monkey. Just because.

(And, for the record, my presents for nights 2-5 are CDs.)

Chrismanukah Cookies

Tomorrow afternoon, I plan on baking cookies -- and Debby has agreed to be my sous chef. It's all part of my annual celebration of Chrismanukah.

For years, I've made cookies at this time of year, and now, the season wouldn't be complete without them. The association started in high school -- either my junior or senior year. Whenever it was, it involved boredom and a decision by my best friend that we just needed to do something. (Of course, this same kind of boredom involved us planning a McDonald's kids birthday party for her for her 18th birthday, and making goodie bags for her 20th birthday that had kids' toy plastic sherriff's badges.) I don't even remember what kind of cookies we made, but it started a tradition: Baking cookies and watching The Life of Brian.

Our freshman year of college, we hung out in my parents' kitchen and did the same thing. That year, my mom helped us, and we made shaped sugar cookies. Unfortunately, the little men and women shapes kept breaking -- so we put the body parts on in, uh, interesting ways. (Depending on the batch, they were x-rated or horror movie victims.) From then on, my siblings and my mom were involved, too.

One year, when I was in law school, we found a hippo cookie cutter and made "Happy Hannukkah Hippos" -- iced gray, of course, with blue lettering. (We couldn't actually fit the whole "Happy Hannukkah Hippo" on each cookie, so we abbreviated them "H.H.H.") My best friend's now-husband thought we were insane (but he married her anyway).

One of the sad things about moving away from everyone was the loss of the tradition. Still, I usually bake cookies to take to holiday parties. And two winters ago, for New Year's, I went to go visit my best friend and her husband in New Orleans where we spent a little bit of time baking.

Look back here tomorrow, where I'll post our recipes.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A haricut, or "changing my life"

Just about every day, I follow pretty much the same routine: I wake up, I go to work, I have lunch, I go home, I eat dinner, I go to sleep. In between these bellwethers are the mundane details -- like work or hobbies -- my normal, every day activities.

Today, one of those activities was to get a haircut. I was just going to get a trim, and I explained to the stylist that it didn't really matter what she did to it, since I generally just put it up in a ponytail. The stylist was offended by that -- something about hair being a versatile accessory. So, somehow, she convinced me to cut it shorter -- mostly by promising me that she could cut it stylishly, and that it could be styled in five minutes in the morning.

She was so excited. About halfway through, she started telling people that she was "changing my life."

This is when I knew I was in trouble.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Soundtrack To My Life

I saw this meme somewhere a couple days ago and thought it was cute, but for some reason, I held off doing it. Today, though, since I was already tagged with one meme, I thought, "Heck, might as well do another."

The rules:
  1. Set your i-Pod/MP3 player/wherever-you-keep-your-music to shuffle.

  2. Press play.

  3. For every question, type the song that's playing.

  4. When you get to a new question, press next.

So here it is -- the soundtrack to my life:

  • Opening credits: All My Life -- Foo Fighters
  • Waking up: Daughter -- Pearl Jam
  • Falling in love: Vacation -- The Go-Go's
  • Fight song: Sober -- Tool
  • Breaking up: Don't Stand So Close To Me '86 -- The Police
  • Making up: All Eyes on Me -- Goo Goo Dolls
  • Life's okay: Rags to Rags -- Eels
  • Mental breakdown: The Boxer -- Simon & Garfunkel
  • Driving: Cool -- Gwen Stefani
  • Flashbacks: Where The Streets Have No Name -- U2
  • Happy dance: The Indoor Type -- Lemonheads
  • Regret: Angels of the Silences -- Counting Crows
  • Final Battle: With or Without You -- U2
  • Death scene: Wild is the Wind -- Bon Jovi
  • Final credits: Love is Blindness -- U2

  • Man, I have a lot of U2 on this list. And as a whole, the outcome seems a little too much like some boring romance that ends poorly. Still, I can be thankful that at least no embarrassing boy band songs came up.

    Since turnabout is fair play, Ryane, I tag you -- along with anyone else that wants to do it too.

    Six weird things about me

    This morning, Ryane tagged me to disclose six ways in which I am weird.

    This is a hard challenge -- not because I'm not weird, but mostly because it's hard to narrow it down to six peccadilloes. And also because I don't want to repeat anything I disclosed earlier.

    1. Even though I am cold all the time, I absolutely hate to put on the heat. I would rather pile on layers of clothing and walk around wrapped in a blanket. So, most days, that's what I do.

    2. I am so bad at math that, more often than not, I count on my fingers.

      Yes, I am a tax attorney.

    3. I love Christmas -- and not just the lights, the trees, and the presents. Remember though: I am, for all intents and purposes, Jewish. Yet, for some reason, I love Christmas so much so that, in high school, I used to tag along with friends to midnight mass.

      I still bake Christmas cookies (generally gingersnaps and snickerdoodles, occasionally shaped and decorated sugar cookies), and I always send Christmas cards. One year, I even made a mix CD to send out to all of my friends in lieu of a card. (My friends still, on occasion, remind me how awesome it was.)

      I really want a Christmas tree. For years, I've been trying to justify it to myself with the whole line about it really being a pagan symbol to celebrate the winter solstice, but for some reason, I can't pull the trigger. This year, I almost bought the Charlie Brown tree.

    4. I have this compulsive need to keep busy all the time. As a result, I can't just sit in front of the TV -- my hands need to be doing something.

      I think it's sort-of like how a shark will die if it stops swimming.

      So, I pick up little hobbies to keep me occupied -- like knitting, or blogging, or -- several years ago -- scrapbooking. And then, out of the blue, I'll drop it -- with no warning. So, be warned. I might eventually get bored of blogging and stop.

    5. As noted in previous posts, I tend to be obsessive about things. Not just because I catalogued my shoes, or because I arrange my clothes in the closet in color order, but how my movies and -- most importantly -- my CD's are in alphabetical order.

      At one point, I organized them by genre, but at some point, the collection got too large -- and some artists are hard to pigeonhole. Take a look at what they look like now:

      I also know that exactly five discs are not in the picture -- because they are in the CD player. They are Pet Sounds (Beach Boys), Taking the Long Way (Dixie Chicks), The Ultimate Collection (The Jackson 5), and Anthology (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) -- both discs.

      And for the record, on the bottom left are my collection of concert recordings (mostly U2, courtesy of Furthur) and on the bottom right are box sets and mix CDs. More on those at a later date.

      But the weirdest thing:

    6. I don't organize my books. At all. I just put them on the shelf.

    So, I should tag other people to do this now, right?

    Mad's already done it, though -- in haiku form. And I'd tag Inbal, but she never blogs anymore anyway. So, I guess I designate Justin, Scarlet, Needtsza, and Evil Spock. Oh, and anyone else who wants to do it.

    Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    Education Victim

    I just got out of my mandatory D.C. Bar class for newly-admitted attorneys where they teach the baby lawyers how to be an upstanding and ethical (cough, cough) member of the legal community.

    I took pretty much the same class in Florida 6 years ago. Only there, it was two days long.

    Lucky for me, New York didn't require a class. Otherwise I'd stab someone.

    Monday, December 11, 2006

    Losing my edge

    This weekend, I did something I haven't done in a long time: I babysat.

    When I was in high school, I babysat a lot. My parents didn't really think that I should have a real job (something about it distracting from my schoolwork), so that's what I did to make money. And I was pretty good at it. But like a lot of teenage girls, all of a sudden I realized that just didn't want to do it anymore. Nothing about the kids, or the work -- I just woke up one day and decided that I wanted to reclaim more time for my social life. So I quit accepting jobs, except when I was really really destitute (and couldn't manage to hound my parents into giving me money).

    Since then, I've occasionally watched the kids of family members or friends, but nothing real serious. And essentially that's what I did this weekend -- I watched Bo's baby so he and his wife could go to a holiday party.

    The baby was very good (all things considered). He only really cried at the beginning (when he realized his mom wasn't there) and at the end of the evening when he was tired and grumpy. In the interim, he and I walked around the Pentagon City mall, where we were joined by several of my friends. Then we went back to my apartment, where the baby amazed us with his crawling and playing with toys. And then, when he started to get grumpy, I tried to put him to sleep

    At that point, the baby was inconsolable. Everyone -- including my 3 friends that were sitting in my living room -- says that you need to let babies cry, otherwise they won't go to sleep -- but I just couldn't do it. Apparently, I've grown into a softie. So I sat there in my dark bedroom with the baby, holding him until he finally fell asleep.

    Of course, he was out for fewer than 10 minutes when the phone rang -- loudly. All that work for nothing.

    And a day and a half later, I'm still amazed at what a wuss I've become. I mean, I'm supposed to be this emotionless, analytical, business-minded lawyer, right? Right?

    Sadly, I'm starting to think that I'm really just a hard candy shell with a gooey marshmallow center. Next thing you know, I'll be watching chick flicks and crying.

    Friday, December 08, 2006

    "BlackBerry Orphans" are whiny brats

    I just read this interesting article in The Wall Street Journal about so-called BlackBerry orphans.

    As hand-held email devices proliferate, they are having an unexpected impact on family dynamics: Parents and their children are swapping roles. Like a bunch of teenagers, some parents are routinely lying to their kids, sneaking around the house to covertly check their emails and disobeying house rules established to minimize compulsive typing. The refusal of parents to follow a few simple rules is pushing some children to the brink. They are fearful that parents will be distracted by emails while driving, concerned about Mom and Dad's shortening attention spans and exasperated by their parents' obsession with their gadgets.


    The household tension comes as gadgets like BlackBerrys and Treos -- once primarily tools for investment bankers and lawyers -- have entered the pantheon of devices, including the TV, the personal computer and the cellphone, that have forcefully inserted themselves into the American home. . . . The problem has only gotten worse as more devices combine phone and email. Since people rarely leave home without a cellphone, even events that were once BlackBerry-free are now susceptible to office email.


    One of BlackBerry's biggest defenders, Jim Balsillie, the chairman of Research In Motion, says children should ask themselves, "Would you rather have your parents 20% not there or 100% not there?"
    Now, for the record, I've stated before that I hate being tethered to my BlackBerry. I do, however, respect the concerns about BlackBerry-ing while driving. A co-worker of mine recently got in a car accident on their way in to work, and may or may not have been checking e-mail at the time. And lord knows how many times I've yelled at a certain friend to put down her BlackBerry while driving -- even if we did need an address or directions. (Let the passenger do it.)

    Still, I feel absolutely no sympathy for the whiny upper-middle-class children who complain that their parents are distracted by the BlackBerry while sitting at their soccer games or dance recitals or whatever. Jim Balsillie is completely right: Deal with it, Junior. I mean, at least your parents are managing to be at your event -- all while earning enough money to pay for your extracurricular activities, send you to that fancy summer camp, and pay for you to spend five or so years finding yourself at some small liberal arts college before heading on to grad school.

    It must totally suck to be you.

    Thursday, December 07, 2006

    Grammy Predictions

    The Grammy nominations were announced this morning, but rather than discuss who should or shouldn't have been nominated, blah blah blah, I'm going to announce my picks. Well, at least for the categories that I listen to, or know something about, or care about -- or whatever. Because, in all honesty, I know nothing about Polka or Hawaiian music. And, as a disclaimer, I'm willing to admit that my only qualification to make these picks is that I buy a lot of albums, so I'm as likely to be wrong as much as anyone else. But still, everyone is entitled to an opinion.

    Here's mine:

    1. Best Short Form Music Video

      8th Of November -- Big & Rich
      When You Were Young -- The Killers
      Here It Goes Again -- OK Go
      Dani California -- Red Hot Chili Peppers
      Writing On The Walls -- Underoath

      To me, this is an easy choice. I've seen all but one of these, and honestly, the only one that stood out at all is OK Go. I mean, I devoted an entire blog entry to how awesome this video is. If it doesn't win, it was robbed. Best. Video. Ever.

    2. Best Country Song

      Every Mile A Memory -- Dierks Bentley
      I Don't Feel Like Loving You Today -- Gretchen Wilson
      Jesus, Take The Wheel -- Carrie Underwood
      Like Red On A Rose -- Alan Jackson
      What Hurts The Most -- Rascal Flatts

      Alright. I admit it. I occasionally listen to country music that is not the Dixie Chicks. And I really like two of these songs -- I Don't Feel Like Loving You Today and What Hurts the Most. But neither will win. Heck, if Carrie Underwood won the Country Music Award (or whatever the heck those things are called), she'll probably win this too. Maybe Gretchen Wilson will win something else.

    3. Best Country Collaboration With Vocals

      Who Says You Can't Go Home -- Bon Jovi & Jennifer Nettles
      Tomorrow Is Forever -- Solomon Burke & Dolly Parton
      Calling Me -- Kenny Rogers & Don Henley
      Midnight Angel -- Rhonda Vincent & Bobby Osborne
      Love Will Always Win -- Trisha Yearwood & Garth Brooks

      I just put this in so I could vote for Bon Jovi. Whatever.

    4. Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal

      Not Ready To Make Nice -- Dixie Chicks
      Heaven's My Home -- The Duhks
      Boondocks -- Little Big Town
      What Hurts The Most -- Rascal Flatts
      Leave The Pieces -- The Wreckers

      Love the Dixie Chicks. Love the Wreckers. Like Rascal Flatts. I think the latter will win this one, though.

    5. Best Alternative Music Album

      Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not -- Arctic Monkeys
      At War With The Mystics -- The Flaming Lips
      St. Elsewhere -- Gnarls Barkley
      Show Your Bones -- Yeah Yeah Yeahs
      The Eraser -- Thom Yorke

      I have no idea why Gnarls Barkley is in this category. They won't win, will they?

    6. Best Rock Album

      Try! -- John Mayer Trio
      Highway Companion -- Tom Petty
      Broken Boy Soldiers -- The Raconteurs
      Stadium Arcadium -- Red Hot Chili Peppers
      Living With War -- Neil Young

      I love the John Mayer Trio album, but it's blues, not rock. I think the Raconteurs will win this, because they're critical darlings. And it's a pretty good album.

    7. Best Rock Song

      Chasing Cars --Snow Patrol
      Dani California -- Red Hot Chili Peppers
      Lookin' For A Leader -- Neil Young
      Someday Baby -- Bob Dylan
      When You Were Young -- The Killers

      This is one of those categories where I like each song for completely different reasons, so none of them stand out. I sort of hope that Snow Patrol win this one, because they're like nothing else out there right now. But I can't get When You Were Young out of my head lately.

    8. Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal

      Talk -- Coldplay
      How To Save A Life -- The Fray
      Steady, As She Goes -- The Raconteurs
      Dani California -- Red Hot Chili Peppers
      The Saints Are Coming -- U2 & Green Day

      See #3 and substitute "U2" for "Bon Jovi." No, seriously, even though the song was supposed to benefit Katrina victims, I don't think it'll win. I love How to Save a Life, but it won't win either (too "pop"). Coldplay is so last year, so give my vote, again, to the Raconteurs. And it's a great song.

    9. Best Dance Recording

      Suffer Well -- Depeche Mode
      Ooh La La -- Goldfrapp
      Get Together -- Madonna
      I'm With Stupid -- Pet Shop Boys
      Sexy Back -- Justin Timberlake & Timbaland

      Still trying to figure out how Depeche Mode wound up in this category. Give my vote to J.T.

    10. Best Pop Vocal Album

      Back To Basics -- Christina Aguilera
      Back To Bedlam -- James Blunt
      The River In Reverse -- Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint
      Continuum -- John Mayer
      FutureSex/LoveSounds -- Justin Timberlake

      I really like the John Mayer album, but it won't win. And James Blunt is annoying. And as much as I like Elvis Costello . . . It'll be between Xtina and J.T. I think Xtina will win.

    11. Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals

      For Once In My Life -- Tony Bennett & Stevie Wonder
      One -- Mary J. Blige & U2
      Always On Your Side -- Sheryl Crow & Sting
      Promiscuous -- Nelly Furtado & Timbaland
      Hips Don't Lie -- Shakira & Wyclef Jean

      I didn't like the new version of One the first time I heard it, but it's starting to grow on me. Just the same, I think it's going to go to Promiscuous or Hips Don't Lie. I vote for the latter.

    12. Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal

      My Humps -- The Black Eyed Peas
      I Will Follow You Into The Dark -- Death Cab For Cutie
      Over My Head (Cable Car)-- The Fray
      Is It Any Wonder? -- Keane
      Stickwitu -- The Pussycat Dolls

      Just for the record, My Humps is a seriously dumb song. I think it's going to be between The Fray and Keane. I don't care which.

    13. Best Male Pop Vocal Performance

      You're Beautiful -- James Blunt
      Save Room -- John Legend
      Waiting On The World To Change -- John Mayer
      Jenny Wren -- Paul McCartney
      Bad Day -- Daniel Powter

      I'd like to see either of the Johns win this one. Mostly because I'm sick of James Blunt and Daniel Powter.

    14. Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

      Ain't No Other Man -- Christina Aguilera
      Unwritten -- Natasha Bedingfield
      You Can Close Your Eyes -- Sheryl Crow
      Stupid Girls -- Pink
      Black Horse And The Cherry Tree -- KT Tunstall

      There is something about each of these that annoys me. KT Tunstall is the least annoying.

    15. Best New Artist

      James Blunt
      Chris Brown
      Imogen Heap
      Corinne Bailey Rae
      Carrie Underwood

      Since this is the kiss of death, I sincerely hope that James Blunt wins this. He is whiny and malnourished-looking.

    16. Song Of The Year

      Be Without You -- Mary J. Blige
      Jesus, Take The Wheel -- Carrie Underwood
      Not Ready To Make Nice --Dixie Chicks
      Put Your Records On --Corinne Bailey Rae
      You're Beautiful -- James Blunt

      Please, God, let the Dixie Chicks win this. This song kicks ass.

    17. Album Of The Year

      Taking The Long Way -- Dixie Chicks
      St. Elsewhere -- Gnarls Barkley
      Continuum -- John Mayer
      Stadium Arcadium -- Red Hot Chili Peppers
      FutureSex/LoveSounds -- Justin Timberlake

      I can think of reasons that any of these artists can or should win this, or why they won't. I originally was tempted to say Gnarls Barkley would win this, but honestly, they're all about the song, not the album. I hope the Dixie Chicks win.

    18. Record Of The Year

      Be Without You -- Mary J. Blige
      You're Beautiful -- James Blunt
      Not Ready To Make Nice -- Dixie Chicks
      Crazy --Gnarls Barkley
      Put Your Records On -- Corinne Bailey Rae

      When I close my eyes and think of the theme song to this year, it's Crazy. Not only is it awesome, but it can't be classified into any one genre. If it doesn't win I'll be surprised.

    So, there you go. My list.

    What do you think?

    Goodbye, old printer

    So, I bought a new laptop computer a couple weeks ago. I finally have it (and the Slingbox) all set up, ready to go -- and I realize that my printer doesn't work with the new system.

    You see, for years, I've had the same crappy old Canon printer. For $60, it got me through the end of law school, my master's program, and six-plus years of living in D.C. -- and it still works fine -- even though nowadays the photo ink cartridges cost almost as much as the printer did nine years ago. But alas, it's not a USB printer, and the new computer doesn't have a port for an old-fashioned printer cable.

    So, since the printer has essentially become an oversized paperweight, I finally gave in today and ordered a new printer -- complete with copy, scan, and fax capabilities. I guess that means that I'm getting rid of the old flatbed scanner too.

    Jews on Gay Marriage

    Yesterday, Conservative Judaism decided to take a somewhat liberal approach to gay marriage (and gay rabbis): It's allowed, but it's up to the individual congregation to decide to accept it. As explained by The New York Times:

    In doing so, the committee left it up to individual synagogues to decide whether to accept or reject gay rabbis and commitment ceremonies, saying that either course is justified according to Jewish law.

    “We believe in pluralism,” said Rabbi Kassel Abelson, chairman of the panel, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly, at a news conference after the meeting at the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York. “We recognized from the very beginnings of the movement that no single position could speak for all members” on the law committee or in the Conservative movement.

    I've said it before, but it bears repeating: Not only is this openminded and fair, but it's the right answer.

    Wednesday, December 06, 2006

    Another harsh reminder that I'm not a kid anymore

    Guess who needs reading glasses?


    I thought I'd have more time to prepare myself for this eventuality.

    Next thing you know, they'll be telling me that I have arthritis or osteoporosis or something that only old people get.


    Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    Baby, it's cold outside

    This time of year, all I want to do is sleep and drink cocoa. It's cold, it's dark, and all of the fake-Christmas-y cheer annoys me. My office is so cold that people are wearing their winter coats all day.

    This is just about the only time of year that I miss Florida. When I was down there two weeks ago, I could -- and did -- go outside without a jacket, scarf, and gloves. (I just had to wear a polartec fleece vest in the house because the air conditioning was on so high.)

    We moved there from New Jersey during the summer when I was twelve. That winter, our first winter in the newly-constructed house, we actually had to turn the heat on for one night -- Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, so did everyone else, and the entire neighborhood suffered a brown-out.

    So, the next morning, after opening up all of our presents in front of the T.V., the family packed itself into the station wagon and went out for breakfast at the Bagel Land in a nearby strip mall. (An aside: Unlike the house in New Jersey, the Florida house did not have a fireplace in the family room. So, in our family's homage to The Night Before Christmas, our stockings were always carefully placed in front of the T.V. in order of our ages -- which, coincidentally, is also alphabetical.)

    The Bagel Land excursion became a sort-of tradition. You know, one of those things that happens more often than not, but on occasion, there are exceptions. Like the one year when I was in law school, and I somehow managed to catch (on video) my dad making pancakes and dancing around with the dog.

    I miss the weather. I miss the bagels. And every so often, I even miss my family.

    Monday, December 04, 2006

    Random sports news

    Florida State might have had a crappy football season,* but maybe they'll have a pretty good basketball season.**

    Even though they've lost to Wisconsin and Pittsburgh, they somehow managed to beat Florida today -- but that's probably because the Gators have mono.

    *Emerald Bowl? Really?

    Friday, December 01, 2006

    Pop Quiz

    Bored on a rainy Friday? Take the How's Your Vocabulary? quiz.

    Your Vocabulary Score: A+

    Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
    You must be quite an erudite person.

    Or, for more of a challenge take the Does Your English Cut the Mustard? quiz.

    Your English Skills:

    Grammar: 100%
    Punctuation: 100%
    Spelling: 100%
    Vocabulary: 100%

    Wednesday, November 29, 2006

    My story

    Remember back when I said I sent a story to the Ruined Music website, and I'd let you know if they published it? Well they did.

    Read it here.

    Finished product

    Here's the end result of my knitting project:

    No, I did not knit the kitchen chair.

    Tuesday, November 28, 2006

    Numbers and words

    So, as noted below, yesterday was my birthday. I am officially 31, and therefore, I'm trying to convince myself that it's cool to be a prime number.

    I was, however, just the teensiest bit upset when my aunt offhandedly made some comment about being forty.

    Not. Even. Close.

    Anyway, here's an interesting little tidbit: According to this, there are 10,499 people in the United States with the first name Dara. And when I did the search with my last name, it turns out that no one else has my same name.
    LogoThere are:
    people with my name
    in the U.S.A.

    How many have your name?

    I am unique.

    Monday, November 20, 2006

    Complaint o' the day

    My parents' house is soooooo cold. More significantly, they don't know how to fix the thermostat, and can't find the directions.

    I think I'm getting frostbite.

    Friday, November 17, 2006

    What's wrong with Wisconsin?

    There is something weird going on in Wisconsin. In September, some guy was arrested for attempting to remove a corpse, presumably for sexual purposes. But now there's this whole story about some guy getting it on with a dead deer -- and whether that should be illegal.

    This is not a joke. From the motion (conveniently available on The Smoking Gun):

    First of all, can you really win a legal argument by quoting The Princess Bride?

    And second, eew.

    Thursday, November 16, 2006

    Distraction, distraction

    I've been derelict in my blogging duties today. But that's because there was so much good TV on. I've already managed to watch My Name is Earl, The Office, Gray's Anatomy, and The O.C. -- which was surprisingly good. I still have E.R., Smallville, and Supernatural to go.

    Ain't November sweeps grand?

    Speaking of tonight's TV, check out this article on all the tech involved in making the animated segments of tonight's Earl.

    And if you're still bored, have Dwight Schrute call your friends.

    Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    Me, in South Park

    If I were a character on South Park, I'd look something like this:

    Thanks, Sweet. This was fun.

    Update: For fun, I also made a South Park version of my mom:

    Update 2: Thanks to my awesome brother, here's the rest of my entire family, South Park style:


    My sister and her husband

    The artist himself

    I am a cookie killer


    This is a very popular quiz this week -- it's been everywhere, including Gene Weingarten's chat. So, I took it. And the results are, uh, peculiar:

    What American accent do you have?
    Your Result: The Midland

    "You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

    The Northeast
    The Inland North
    The South
    The West
    North Central
    What American accent do you have?
    Take More Quizzes

    This says I have no accent. It's wrong, though, because I have a combination of accents.

    I mean, I grew up in New Jersey, roughly halfway between New York and Philly, and then moved to Southeast Florida. I went to college in Tallahassee, which is pretty darn southern -- enough that I can -- and do -- use the term "y'all." My parents grew up in the Bronx/Brooklyn and Jersey City.* My grandparents are from the Bronx, but lived in Massachusetts for a long time. My cousins definitely speak with some Boston tendencies (and call subs "grinders").

    I think "Philadelphia" and "Inland North" are overrepresented, and "The South" is underrepresented in my result.

    *I'd say they both have New York accents, but my dad has a New Jersey accent, which is somewhat distinctive. The best example is that he says "Nuurk" instead of "Newark."

    Punchline question

    I'm trying to figure out the funnier twist to the story that a Florida absentee ballot was mailed with a rare stamp: Is it that 1) the law requires that it remain in a locked ballot box until it is destroyed; or 2) the idea that the stamp might be a fake?

    Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    Learning something new

    This weekend, I decided to learn something new -- how to knit.

    My mom taught me how to crochet when I was younger -- and I learned how to sew and do cross-stich in home-ec -- but I never managed to learn how to knit.

    On Sunday, while shopping with some friends, I saw this kit -- which seemed to be aimed at children -- and figured that it couldn't be too difficult.

    Last night, while watching TV, I started making the first couple of stitches. Today, I think I'm starting to get the hang of it:

    Admittedly, this is very simple. It's a scarf, so there are no complications like sleeves, or round edges, or anything. Plus, it's only one color yarn, and a simple pattern where I'm knitting one row and then purling the next.

    Still, I'm kinda proud of myself.

    Chicken or egg?

    When I got home last night, I crashed. I was on the verge of making myself dinner, and instead, I went to go lie down, "just for a minute."

    Yeah, right. I should know better by now. I don't do short naps.

    I wound up sleeping for just over 2.5 hours, while still dressed in my work clothes.

    The problem? I woke up, and couldn't fall back to sleep until around 2:30 in the morning.

    Of course, now I feel like complete and total crap. And I'm left wondering if the napping was a sign that I was getting sick, or whether it made me sick?

    Monday, November 13, 2006

    CNN, always reporting on the important issues of the day

    Something to ponder at lunchtime: The trend in celebrity divorces.

    According to the experts at CNN, it's now de rigueur for the successful woman to divorce her less-successful mate. And they even throw in a bit of advice for regular folk:

    [W]e can and should learn from these celebrity bustups, where the woman, traditionally the financially dependent spouse, leaps beyond the man in terms of money and power, creating inevitable fissures in the union. More practically, they say, professional women need to learn to protect their assets -- as in demanding a prenuptial agreement -- before they head to the altar.

    Aaaw. Ain't it sweet.

    Sunday, November 12, 2006

    Fixing the AMT

    Remember back when I said that the alternative minimum tax sucks? Before I started saying crazy shit like if it were the only tax system, it might be okay, since it would be kinda like a flat tax?

    Lucky for us, the Post reports that the Democrats were listening.

    Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), the presumptive chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, this week put fixing the AMT at the top of his agenda, calling it far more urgent than dealing with President Bush's request to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, which are scheduled to expire in 2010.

    Here's some background:
    The complex and expensive tax was designed to prevent the super-rich from using deductions, credits and other shelters to avoid paying the Internal Revenue Service. But because of rising incomes, the tax is expected to expand to more than 30 million taxpayers in 2010 from 3.8 million mostly well-off households in 2006.


    In simple terms, the AMT is sort of a flat tax with two brackets, 26 and 28 percent, and fewer deductions. Credits for dependents, medical expenses, and state and local taxes are all disallowed. Instead, taxpayers get a single big deduction, called the AMT exemption, which is set this year at $62,550 for married couples and $42,500 for singles. Taxpayers must compute their taxes both ways and pay whichever is higher.


    By 2010, "the AMT will become the de facto tax system for filers in the $200,000 to $500,000 income range, 94 percent of whom will face the tax," according to a report by the Tax Policy Center. About half of tax filers making $75,000 to $100,000 will have to pay the tax, including 89 percent of married couples in that income bracket who have at least two children.

    In the past, Congress has patched the AMT one year at a time, primarily by increasing the exemption amount. Next year, to hold the number of affected taxpayers steady at about 4 million, the patch would cost about $50 billion, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

    Unfortunately, the article doesn't mention how the Democrats have any sort of cohesive plan to fix this problem.

    Saturday, November 11, 2006

    Movie recommendation

    Stranger Than Fiction is the best movie I have seen in a long time. It is smart, funny, tragic, silly, and interesting.

    Go see it.


    Friday, November 10, 2006

    Yet another crazy lunch story

    Since I'm not exactly getting peppered with questions, I've decided to devote a couple minutes to writing about my most recent lunchtime controversy.

    Yesterday, I had a quick appointment in between Farragut West and Foggy Bottom. I decided that I'd walk there and back, and grab lunch along the way back to my office, since the weather was divine -- probably for the last time until next Spring.

    Plus, it seemed like an excellent day to walk down by the White House.

    So, on the way back, I stopped to grab a sandwich at Cosi, as I am wont to do. I decided, fat and calories be damned, I was going to try the Turkey Bacon Cheddar Melt. I ordered, and specifically asked them to hold the honey mustard (I hate mustard) and to put the sandwich on the new Etruscan whole-wheat bread.

    During the fifteen-minute walk back to my office with the sandwich, I was so excited about that sandwich. The Cosi next door to my office has been closed for so long that I had almost forgotten how good their bread tastes.

    I got back to my office, grabbed a Diet Coke, and finally sat down at my desk to eat my sandwich. Of course, it was absolutely drenched in honey mustard.

    I called the Cosi, and at first, they were uncooperative. They said that I could walk down there and get a replacement sandwich. I explained that the whole process would take at least a half-hour of my time, which was unacceptable. They offered to have a sandwich sent out to me, if I waited until after the lunch rush was over -- but they had no idea what time that would be. I reluctantly agreed, and was transferred to a manager.

    Of course, the manager chose a different route. She unilaterally decided that it would not be possible to deliver a sandwich to me, no matter how long I was willing to wait. Instead, she said that my next four sandwiches at that location would be free. She took my name, e-mail address, and other information, and promised me that she would send me something to confirm ASAP.

    I gave the sandwich to one of the newbies in the office, and then went downstairs to Au Bon Pain to get a Thai Chicken Salad. As always, it was perfectly okay, but it just wasn't what I wanted.

    It's about 30 hours later, and I still haven't received any e-mail from Cosi. The bastards.

    Ask Dara Anything! Round 3

    It's a quiet holiday Friday around here. So, to amuse myself, I thought I'd sponsor another round of "Ask Dara Anything!"

    It's exactly what it sounds like. The rules are simple: Just post your question in the comments section, and I'll answer it.

    Awesome awesomeness

    If you haven't seen it yet, check out The Daily Show's cartoon about Midterm Elections. It's full of awesome-y goodness.

    History of Dara, part 6

    I was looking through some papers yesterday, and stumbled across a two chapter attempt at writing my autobiography. It was written right around the time I graduated from college. In retrospect, I clearly had no business writing an autobiography at that point in my life, but I had a couple tales to tell. Plus, my last semester was a summer semester, and my roommate left after the first six-week session, so I had a lot of time to kill. I'm going to save the chapter on my telemarketing jobs for a later date, but here's the chapter about my trip to Paris. Enjoy.

    The summer after my first year of college, I went on a study abroad program in London. This program also included a four-day trip to Paris. I was so excited to be going to Paris that I did not accurately prepare for the trip. I forgot my French-to-English dictionary, I packed all the wrong clothes, and I left my umbrella in my flat. Coincidentally, all it did was rain while I was there.

    The first thing I noticed as I stepped off the bus was that Paris smelled. "But hey!" I thought to myself, "This is Paris -- the city of love, the city of light! Who cares if it smells? This is a historical, important place."

    I went into the hotel to check-in and unpack. After this, I had some time left before I had to be anywhere, so I decided to find a bookstore and buy another dictionary. I left the hotel, and wandered into a small boutique around the corner. I walked up to the salesman. "Excuse-moi," I said oh-so-politely. "Je nes parles pas Français bien. Parlez-vous Anglais?"

    The salesman looked at me as if I were a total moron. "Of course I speak English," the man said rudely, in a perfect British accent.

    "Thank you," I whispered, and I turned around and walked back to the hotel, where I sat in my room and cried for twenty minutes. My friends practically had to drag me out of my room that afternoon.

    Eventually, I was able to leave my room and go see the sights. I eventually bought that dictionary, which came in quite useful.

    I had packed clothing for warm weather, however, my entire trip was cloudy and cold. So I bought quite a number of t-shirts to wear with my one pair of jeans that I had with me. The problem was the rain. My only shoes that I had in Paris were an old ratty pair of sneakers with holes in the heels. My feet were wet for four days. I thought that I was bound to come down with pneumonia.

    The entire time we were there, the rain just got worse. On the night we decided to go to the Eiffel Tower in order to get an aerial view of the city's lights, there was a thunderstorm. The winds were so strong on the top level that I kept getting blown into the railings. The storm got too violent, and we had to be sent down. Then my friends and I got to walk through the twisting streets of Paris, trying to find our way back to our hotel.

    The next night, in order to celebrate the end of our trip, my friends and I decided to go out to a "nice" dinner. We found a restaurant that looked appealing and went inside. We were seated and proceeded to order. The group of us decided that it would be a good experience to try some French wine. We looked at the wine list, and as everything was unrecognizable, we randomly selected a name. When the bottle came to the table, we were shocked. It was a California Chardonnay. We couldn't stop laughing about it all night, or even the next day, as we started our journey back to London.

    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    On other people's writing

    It's a literature-type day on the blog. Mostly to make up for all the politics-type days of the past few weeks.

    First, thanks to Boing Boing, check out these two sites posting reviews where people trash talk about classic works of literature.

    • First: Defective Yeti. Examples of the brilliance found here are include some brilliant mind compared The Great Gatsby to Beverly Hills 90210, and his intellectual equal decreeing that 1984 is no longer relevant due to the fall of communism. (Had to get a little politics in there, heh heh.)
    • Second: Charlie's Diary. Here, a chronologically challenged person took issue with Romeo and Juliet because it was similar to other stories.
    Fun for the whole family.

    And here, thanks to Minijonb, I give you a literary meme.

    1. One book that changed your life: 1984 (George Orwell). I loved the book, loved the story, loved everything about it. It made me want to be a writer. More importantly, it made me start questioning my government, which, in theory, made me a better citizen, and by extension, a better person.
    2. One book that you'd read more than once: Is this past tense or future tense? If past, then Gone With the Wind (Margaret Mitchell), which I read like a hundred times. If future, then, the book I most need to read again is Generation X (Douglas Coupland).
    3. One book you'd want on a deserted island: Ulysses (James Joyce) -- because if I have all that time, I might as well be productive and figure out a way to get through it.
    4. One book that made you laugh: A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess). Mostly because of the strange slang dialect -- which I often found myself having to re-read out loud.
    5. One book that made you cry: Waterland (Graham Swift). Read this book! Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
    6. One book you wish you'd written: Hell, I just wish I wrote my own book already. But probably Waterland, since I'm not hip enough to have written Generation X or High Fidelity (Nick Hornsby).
    7. One book you wish had never been written: This is hard, because I'm of the view that all books have their purpose. But, for the record, I didn't like Catch 22 (Joseph Heller) at all.
    8. One book you're currently reading: Henderson the Rain King (Saul Bellow). It's the latest from my list, and I'm about halfway finished.
    9. One book you've been meaning to read: Ulysses. See #3 above. But I've tried, honest. It's just so hard.
    10. Tag five people: That would be rude. Besides, this blog is all about free will. But hopefully, five people will play along.

    On writing

    When I started this little blog project nine months ago, I mostly intended it as a place for me to vent my frustrations and post things that I would otherwise send to people in annoying e-mails. I had no idea that it would remind me of how much I love to write.

    The problem is, I have this thing called a job.

    Anyway, for those who haven't been paying attention, November is National Novel Writing Month. And, while I haven't actually signed up for the challenge, it has inspired me to write more. I'm not sure where (or if) it's going -- I only have about 650 words so far.*

    See, one of the downsides of this job thingie is that I generally work really long hours. So the only time I have to write is when I get home from work. But when I get home, I usually need to relax, find something to eat, check out what's on the telly, and unwind for a little bit first. Since I've started with my project, I've managed to find a tiny bit of time to write, late at night, just around midnight. As a result, I go to sleep late, wake up late, rush in to work late, and proceed on with my very lawyery day.

    Still, 650 words is pretty good, right? Although, maybe it's better suited to Jason's alternative writing challenge. I'll reassess towards the end of the month.

    Anyway, yesterday afternoon, I stumbled across this awesome site, Ruined Music, where people tell real life stories about how a song is ruined for them.

    Yeah, you know where this is going. I stayed up late night last night to write one. It's about 400 words. I started writing it out by hand -- like I hadn't done since I was a kid -- during Lost, and e-mailed it in at about 1:30.

    I'll keep y'all posted if they publish it.

    *662 as of this morning! Hooray!

    Wednesday, November 08, 2006

    The fallout begins

    Just days after saying that he thought Rumsfeld and should stay to the end of his term, President Bush announced today that Rumsfeld is stepping down.

    Fresh from the Post:

    The development occurred one day after midterm elections that cost Republicans control of the House, and possibly the Senate, as well. Surveys of voters at polling places said opposition to the war was a significant contributor to the Democratic victory.

    Bush described Rumsfeld as a "superb leader" in a time of change, but said his defense chief recognizes the value of "fresh perspective." He said Rumsfeld is a "trusted adviser and friend," and that he's "deeply grateful" for his service to the country. Bush said he and Rumsfeld agreed that "the timing is right for new leadership" at the Pentagon.


    Oh, Virginia.

    You disappoint me. Just when it looked like you were getting over the redneck ass-backwards southern thing by electing two moderate Democratic governors back to back, and possibly even ousting George Allen, you have to go and overwhelmingly support an homophobic initiative that doesn't just prohibit gay marriage -- it prevents any type of civil union.

    Boy, was Gene Weingarten right this morning when he noted that you declared yourself the "state of sanctimonious bigotry."

    And to those Democrats and independents that supported the amendment but voted for Jim Webb: What are you thinking? You should be ashamed.


    Tuesday, November 07, 2006

    You know it's official when it's on CNN

    In what can only be described as a death knell to family values, CNN reports that Britney and Kevin are divorcing. reports that Spears filed legal papers Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, citing "irreconcilable differences." Spears is asking for legal and physical custody of their two children, 1-year-old Sean Preston and 2-month-old Jayden James.

    The date of separation was listed as Monday.

    While I question CNN's decision to quote TMZ as an official source, they published the actual papers, which must mean it's true.

    How not to behave at your polling place

    If you haven't voted yet, you still have time. Just don't do this:

    A man who reportedly believed Republicans were conspiring to steal today's election entered an Allentown polling site, signed in and proceeded to smash the screen of one of the electronic voting machines with a metal cat paperweight, poll volunteers said.

    Alas, it was to no avail:

    Lehigh County Board of Elections Chief Clerk Stacy J. Sterner said votes recorded on the machine were saved. More than 130 people had voted at the site by the time of the incident."The good news is that even though the machine is broken, the votes are not lost on the memory card. They have them in custody at the voter registration office," Sterner said.

    Slow news day

    Since there's clearly no important local or national news today (*cough *cough), the über-hip and trendy (*cough *cough) Washington Post has an article about the dangers of the new (*cough *cough) trends: body piercing and tattoos.

    I mean, who knew you could get an infection?

    Um. Most people.

    Disclaimer: I have five regular earrings, and a piercing in the cartilage of my left ear. I used to have two more earrings. And, once upon a time, I had a belly-button ring -- way back before I had to wear suits and hose to work, subjecting myself to infection. One of my siblings has other piercings, and both of my siblings have tattoos. (Note: It's not true that they can't be buried in a Jewish cemetery.)

    People, it's not that big a deal. You did dumb stuff when you were a teenager/in your early twenties. Kids still do dumb stuff. It's not newsworthy. Move on.

    Just for the record

    I voted today -- surprise, surprise. (And not just because Justin told me to.)

    The whole process took about an hour, but I feel pretty good about it. My opinion might change, however, if the proposed Marshall-Newman Amendment passes.

    Here's the text:

    Shall Article I (the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to state:

    “That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.

    This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.”?

    Forget about George Allen, bond initiatives, or any of the other crap. Forget about being pro-choice, or pro-life, and what that means with regard to stem cell research. Even if you disagree with homosexuality in general, this amendment is offensive. Not only is it offensive because of the homophobic undertones, but it's offensive because the language is so overly-broad that some court somewhere could interpret it as making contractual agreements between unmarried persons that involve some right typically associated with marriage invalid.*

    Oh, and let's not forget that it defies the principle of comity.

    See, one of the things that works so well is that governments have this understanding by which they're supposed to recognize the validity of other government's laws, in a "You don't tell us what to do, we won't tell you what to do either." That's why if you get married on a whim in Vegas, you're still married when you get back home. So, with this amendment, Virginia is saying that they'll refuse to recognize unions that are perfectly legitimate in the place where they occurred.

    *I think there's a good basis for an equal protection challenge on this basis. I mean, what exactly is the legitimate governmental purpose behind the law, and how exactly does the provision accomplish that purpose?

    Monday, November 06, 2006

    New additions

    Some people blog about their pets; I blog about my shoes. Meet the new additions to the family:

    Via Target and Kenneth Cole, respectively.

    Pop Culture Litmus Test

    I saw Interview's Pop Culture test today (thanks Gawker!).

    I am astounded that I can only identify ten of them without resorting to Google or Wikipedia. Therefore, I've concluded that Interview is way out of my league.

    Accordingly, I've decided that I ought to come up with my own Pop Culture reference test. Possible candidates from recent blog posts include:

    • George Allen
    • Stephen Baldwin
    • Charles Barkley
    • Bono
    • Tim Burton
    • Kirk Cameron
    • Naomi Campbell
    • Neko Case
    • Eric Dane
    • Patrick Dempsey
    • Devo
    • Ted Haggard
    • Logan Echolls
    • Tina Fey
    • Mark Foley
    • Kinky Friedman
    • Lorelai Gilmore
    • Jeffrey, Michael, Uli & Laura
    • Alex P. Keaton
    • Jimmy Kimmel
    • Michael Kors
    • Rush Limbaugh
    • Richard Linklater
    • Dave Navarro
    • Chris O'Donnell
    • O.K. Go
    • Matthew Perry
    • Ryan Phillipe
    • Trent Reznor
    • Santino Rice
    • Alex Rodriguez
    • Al Sharpton
    • Slash & Axl
    • Wesley Snipes
    • Jeff Suppan
    • Bill Watterson
    • Jim Webb
    • Gene Weingarten
    • E.B. White
    • Bradley Whitford
    • Wegmans
    • Michelle Williams
    Scoring: If you can't identify the majority of these names, then clearly, this blog is not for you.

    Thought for a Monday morning

    This was in my mailbox this morning, and it sums it up perfectly.


    Sunday, November 05, 2006

    Football and politics

    Since this story is about local politics, it's been overlooked by the press here in DC, but I think it's one of the most interesting stories to come out of the election.

    According to the article, the mother of New Orleans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees is a judge running for reelection -- and he is upset about her using his image in her commercials. Equally interesting is that they apparently had a falling out, over his not hiring her as his agent.

    This has not, however, had any effect on the Saints' season.

    Friday, November 03, 2006

    Religious/Political Question of the Day

    For all the evangelicals out there reading this -- help me get this right: Crystal meth and gay prostitutes are ok, but gay marriage is not?

    And let's not get into the dispute about the difference between "sex" and "massage" in this circumstance -- it veers dangerously close to Bill Clinton territory.

    A letter

    Dear Curt Cloninger:

    How are we supposed to take your theory that Guns N' Roses Sweet Child O' Mine represents "the voice of your generation" seriously when you can't even get the lyrics right?

    You wrote:

    Its lyrics tell of an escapist teen love. I imagine the song's subject, "Sweet Child," wearing ripped jeans and several Cyndi Lauper bracelets, our narrator picking her up in the back of the trailer park in his green Impala, and they cruise to Makeout Point.

    As the lyrics go, Axl Rose sings, "I'm just sitting here staring at your hair, and it's reminding me of a warm, safe place where as a child I'd hide." I can see them embracing tenderly, and going to shoplift a six-pack of Schaefer. So far, so good.

    No Mr. Cloninger, not good at all. See, the lyrics actually go "She's got eyes of the bluest skies/As if they thought of rain/I hate to look into those eyes/And see an ounce of pain/Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place/Where as a child I'd hide/And pray for the thunder/And the rain/To quietly pass me by."

    And any girl seriously listening to that song would have been way over "Cyndi Lauper bracelets."

    Write what you know, sir. And clearly, you don't know Guns N' Roses.

    Thursday, November 02, 2006

    "Not Cool" is no defense

    It's official: "Not Cool" is not a persuasive legal argument.

    When did wanting to pay less tax become a criminal offense?

    Some people are all up in arms, accusing U2 of cheating on their taxes becuase they moved their publishing company's headquarters out of Ireland and to the Netherlands to take advantage of lower tax rates.

    These people are out of their friggin' minds.

    Folks, this is not cheating on taxes. Not even close. It's a fundamentally sound, albeit tax-motivated, business decision. Or, as the Edge called it, "tax-efficient."

    Companies do this every single day. Heck, it's why I continue to live in Virginia instead of Maryland or D.C.


    This confounds me:

    Amanda Brisendine attributed the 30 pounds she gained in the past year to an abandoned smoking habit and rich food. So when she went to the hospital with sharp stomach pain, she wasn't expecting to leave with a newborn son.


    George Macones, chairman of the OB/GYN department at Washington University in St. Louis, said he's seen about a dozen cases in his nearly 20-year career.


    The 26-year-old Renton woman went to Group Health Cooperative's Eastside campus last Saturday after experiencing several days of abdominal pain so intense that she called in sick from work. Doctors examined her and performed a pregnancy test that showed positive — she was nine months pregnant.


    Already mother to a 14-month-old daughter, Melodies, Brisendine said she didn't experience typical pregnancy symptoms, like a missed menstruation, morning sickness, fatigue or food cravings. "Everything was normal as far as I knew," she said.

    Thanks, Yahoo! News.