Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Gettin' Semantic

Check this out about how Iraqi insurgents aren't fit to be called insurgents. I didn't realize true insurgency was such an honorable profession, but in any case I'm guessing the "enemies of the legitimate Iraq government" aren't too concerned about what Donald Rumsfeld calls them. Asshole.

Yesterday I went to DiBruno's to buy some cheese, and I had a puzzling little exchange with the guy behind the counter (GBC). Here goes:

Me: "I'd like a pound of pecorina romano, please."
GBC: "$4.99, $5.99, or $6.99?"
Me: "Uh, which one is a pound?"
GBC: "$4.99"
Me: "I want that one."

Did I miss something here? Is one not supposed to ask for cheese by the pound, but only by the price?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Oh the personals!

I'm reading these pathetic personals, and I can't get enough. You read them too, and don't get enough!

This reminds me of an experience I had volunteering for speed dating at the William Way Center. I signed on to sell tickets, but since there was an odd number of participants, I was pressured into service. (I was single at the time, and thus could participate in good faith.) Anyway, Guy #1 is obviously an A-lister*, and our "date" consists of me trying to say intelligent things while he looks at me with the patented A-lister Look of Disdain. Only later did I think, "Hey, he doesn't have a boyfriend either, so what the hell does he have to be so smugly superior about?"

*In case you don't know, an A-lister is in the gay community a guy who has the right look, goes to the right gym, has the right job, vacations in the right area, does the right drugs, and has friends just like himself. The A-lister in question was no better- looking than I, but he had the all-American look, which I definitely don't. Also, he was balding a bit on top, which I was too graceful to point out in a Yoda voice while dancing around on my chair. Stupid gracefulness!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Strife Goes On

This is a joke song I wrote at Dan's suggestion. Not my best work, but I guess it merits a post.

Strife Goes On
(sung to the tune of "Life Goes On")

Ned Stark had a castle in a northern place
Catelyn was from the riverlands
Cat said, "Robert's coming north at a slow pace
And while he's here I think he's going to make you Hand."

Ob la di, ob la da, strife goes on
La, la how the strife goes on

Afraid that there might be another civil war
Ned rode south to rule and serve the king
Cat went sailing after and hid with some whores
But was revealed when Varys' birds began to sing

Ob la di, ob la da, strife goes on
La, la how the strife goes on

In a couple of months, Ned found that his best friend's home
Was filled with heirs from his golden wife, but not one was his own

Ned Stark never came back to his northern place
The Lannisters attacked the riverlands
Robb and Grey Wind went to war with sword and mace
And captured Jaime two books 'fore he lost his hand.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The New Salem

You've probably already heard that the Roman Catholic Church has released a new piece of bigotry about gay priests (this should not be confused with previous bigotry). Specifically, this document places more restrictions on priests in seminaries who "are actively homosexual, have deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called gay culture." Notably, current priests are grandfathered out of this new policy.

Given that up to 50% of priests are estimated to be gay, isn't this like a village of witches having a witch hunt? However, this policy delights me. I wish all my political and cultural opponents would hamstring themselves this way. You see, I don't require that institutions that oppose me die by my hand; dying in any old way is fine with me. Whether the RCC is pummeled to scraps by progressives or bleeds to death of self-inflicted injuries, my jig of glee is the same.

One more thing: Thanks to Sarcasmo (may her chocolate cravings always be satisfied), I just ordered a "Intelligent Design Isn't" t-shirt. I vacillated between that and "Intelligent Design is Stupid", but I went with the former, which seemed less openly insulting.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Cleaning out my hard drive...

...I came upon this picture of me dissing the Hulk.

This was taken at Madame Tussaud's in London, and obviously that Hulk is wax. I realize I'm dressed like Michael York from "Logan's Run" in that pic, which seemed appropriate garb for a wax museum. Interestingly, there was a life-size, chocolate Elton John at that museum, which made me wonder if the image was made with a mold, or did a sculptor start with a giant block of chocolate and then chip away everything that wasn't Elton.

Speaking of Elton John, did you know the city of Philadelphia renamed part of Juniper Street after him? Yup, Spruce Street is now crossed not by Juniper Street, but by Elton John Way. Call me crazy, but I think knighthood was probably a greater honor.

Civic Duty Done!

My jury duty ended yesterday in a conviction on four felony counts. It was a murder trial, involving one drug dealer killing another in North Philadelphia, and although I was proud to serve, I'm not anxious to repeat the experience soon. My last murder trial ended in acquittal, and I can tell you that it's a lot harder to convict than to acquit. Knowing that you're sending a person to jail for a long time is really hard. It's even harder when you're the foreperson, as I was, and you have to read the verdict to the court, as I did. For the rest of the day, I made certain that the most taxing choice I faced was Diet Coke or root beer.

Samsgiving is tomorrow, always a good time. If you don't much like to cook, it's good to have friends who do.

Friday, November 18, 2005

A borrowed rant

Yes, I am still on jury duty, but we're deliberating and (I hope) will be freed from Philadelphia'a judicial grip on Monday. At the end of every day, the judge tells us not to discuss the case with anyone, but why would you? For Pete's sake, you hear about it all day in excruciating detail, so by the day's end I for one am more than ready to change the subject. In addition, to discuss the case intelligently with anyone I'd have to go into a wearying level of detail. Bah. When I'm done with it, anyone who wants to know about the case is free to ask.

Anyway, I was talking to my brother about "The Dark Crystal" the other day, and we agreed that Kira, not Jen, is the real hero of the story. Here's my brother's (paraphrased) rant about why.

Kira has friends all over the land, Pod People and Striders and such. Kira has direct mind-to-mind empathic communication with animals, who seem inclined to do what she wants. She can hit a crystal bat at 15 yards with a bola while standing in a rowboat. She can fly. Jen, on the other hand, has two discernable skills: He can play a few notes on a flute and he can read. Given that the second ability is boasted by the majority of America's second-graders, I'm not impressed. Kira drags Jen's sorry ass all over the place, saving him from one danger after another, and along the way manages to kill one of the Skeksis by rallying an army of critters to push him into a pit of fire. Jen has to stick a peg in a hole, and he manages to fuck that up so that Kira has to get stabbed to give him another chance to put a peg in a hole.

Kira: A flying, telepathic ninja with allies capable of providing her with shelter, transportation, and tactical assistance. Jen: A literate flutist barely capable of performing a task easily accomplished by chimpanzees in laboratories the world over. Who's the hero of the story?

Friday, November 11, 2005

The civic duty thing

I got picked for jury duty, which is A-OK with me, because it means I don't have to go to work for five or six days while the wheels of justice turn, presumably with my able assistance. Obviously, I'm prohibited from talking about the case (and I imagine that the judge would also have included blogging in the prohibition), but I can tell you that the D.A. was wearing a good suit that fit her perfectly. It remains to be seen if her case will be as effective as her outfit.

Who said jury duty was bad? I got to read a book all day, get paid both by work and by the City of Philadelphia, and got 10% off at selected vendors at the Reading Terminal Market just by flashing my juror badge. Admittedly, it would be better if I were on a celebrity trial, because I could then write a book afterwards and make loads of money, but a discount turkey sandwich is good, too.

By the by, I, like others, am heartened by Democratic victories Tuesday in New Jersey, Virginia and California. We haven't exactly turned the corner, but it's been so long since we had any good news that these electoral triumphs come like salvation.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Dover Pogrom!

Oho! Eight of nine holy-rollers who are trying to push "intelligent design" into the Dover schools have been ousted, thusly. Thanks to Anju for the link. Women who dig evolution are sexy.

More on the election front: Jon Corzine cruised to victory in his gubernatorial race over Republican Doug Forrester. Doug, this is the second time you've lost handily to a Democrat in a New Jersey election. So far, the good voters of the state of New Jersey have said they want you as neither U.S. senator nor governor. Keep in mind that, in your Senate race, you lost to a candidate who was rushed into the race less than forty days before the election. Evidently the voters would have supported the Creature from the Black Lagoon if it had run against you on the Democratic ticket. Time to pack it in, methinks.

Today, whilst waiting in the jury room at the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center, I started thinking. (At this point Dan always says, "Oh, God.") Shoes wear out. Coats wear out. Pants, shirts, socks, cars, rugs, towels, houses...everything at some point wears out and has to be replaced, except for one thing: Key rings. Not those fancy-schmancy key rings that open on a little hinge, but the standard round rings that require you to awkwardly jam a coin between their coils so you can struggle a key into their metallic grasp. Has anyone ever had one of those that had to be replaced because they wore out? How would they wear out? How would you break one? Where would you buy a replacement? How many questions will I ask about a topic that means very little to very few?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Another Dover Update

The president of the Dover school board has testified in the Dopes Trial, and here's a highlight.

Harkins acknowledged that her familiarity with the concept [of intelligent design] was limited to some Internet research and a brief reading of Of Pandas and People, an intelligent-design textbook that the Dover Area School District is using as a reference book in the high school's library.

Boy, I'll bet the parents in that district feel a lot better with such a meticulous and thorough educator at the helm! Here's another example of her dedication:

Nevertheless, Harkins said she felt the curriculum should specify what kinds of theories should be mentioned besides evolution.

"If you're going to say 'other theories,' then you need to have an
example of what 'other theories' is," Harkins said.

I'm sorry she didn't include stuff about Yggdrasil or Cronos...that would make science class way more fun!

I probably shouldn't prognosticate about this, but what the hell. These people are going to lose, and lose big, but the loss won't in any way deter their supporters. They'll view themselves as martyrs for Jesus, curse those godless liberals and the activist judges who work for them, and then start work on another slantwise way of introducing mythology into public schools. Ignorant fools.

Too much of a good thing

The other day Dan and I were in the Superfresh on South Street, and we saw on sale 10 boxes of cake mix for $10. Although a dollar a box is a good deal, who the heck buys 10 boxes of cake mix? Naturally, I straightaway phoned Sarcasmo to ask her the same question, and I'll bet it was the most curious phone call she'd received all day. Or maybe not.

Don't get me wrong; I like cake mix. I like licking the spoon after you put the pans in the oven, and I like flattening the top of the cake so it can better support the second layer. The trimmings that said flattening produces go down tasty with milk, and sometimes I have thought of eschewing the frosting and simply eating the cake naked. (The cake would be naked, not me. In case you were wondering.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A Dover Update

Apparently, even the judge in the Dover case is getting pissed off at the school board. My favorite quote from the article:

In two separate, sworn depositions this year, Bonsell said he did not know the source of the $850 check for the books. But last week former board member William Buckingham testified he handed the check to Bonsell to give to his father, Donald Bonsell.

"You were the conduit by which your father received the $850?" said
Jones, his jaws clenched. "Why in January of 2005 didn't you tell [plaintiffs' attorney Eric] Rothschild on repeated questioning that Mr. Buckingham was involved in the exchange?"

Bonsell replied, "It was my fault. I should have said

Well, I'm glad he's apologized for the false testimony he provided. Lying in a deposition without later apologizing would be rude.


Oooh...I am sooooo angry! I was just listening to a BBC program in which pro-war Americans from Ohio were being interviewed, and you should have heard what they said. One woman said that support for the war and a desire to liberate people from dictators reflected Midwestern values, and that she knew that some people on the coasts just didn't share those values. Others echoed this sentiment.

Memo to those people: Fuck you! Who the hell do you think you are? My gosh...all we hear is how the liberals are this snobbish elite, yet then we're treated to this kind of holier-than-thou bullshit. This is an example of just another kind of elitism, which goes, "Well, we may not know what wine goes with what pasta, but we're going to Heaven." I'm sick and tired of hearing conservatives tell me how wrong, how valueless, how sinful, and how corrupt I am, and how upstanding, plain-speaking, old-fashioned, and most of all, modest, they are.

Although I'll admit I view most pro-war folks as politically naive, I don't think they're indifferent to human suffering, or satisfied with tyranny. I really, really wish they'd accord me the same consideration.