Thursday, June 29, 2006


My proposal writing course is over, and I am pleased to report I got a big, fat "A." Almost makes 14 weeks of graduate work shoved into 5 feel worth it. Almost.

Pennsylvania is now reaping the grim harvest of its decision to repeal the motorcycle helmet law. Gee...who'd have thought the incidence of head injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents would dramatically increase after telling cyclists they needn't bother with helmets? I've heard all the arguments about personal freedom, but if cyclists should be free to ride helmetless then we, the taxpayers, should be free to not treat their injuries on the commonwealth's nickel. Since that's not gonna happen, I say we make 'em wear helmets. Besides, what about the freedom of those of us who drive automobiles? Shouldn't we have the option of not wearing our seatbelts? Finally, in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania driving is a privilege, not a right, so forcing cyclists to wear helmets isn't infringing on their rights. Not vetoing that repeal was one of the few things Governor Rendell has done with which I strongly disagreed.

Monday, June 19, 2006


I've spent more than six hours on my stupid proposal, and it's still not done. Hate this class! Hate it so much! Valuable experience, but hate! When this class is over I'm going to buy a bunch of books and read the hell out of 'em.

The Inquirer published my letter to the editor today, and since I let them publish my email address I got lots of kind messages from appreciative readers. I also got a disjointed missive of venom from some nutjob in West Chester. I guess if I had to live in West Chester I'd be angry, too.

A couple of cuties moved into one of the empty the apartments in my building, but my main interest in them is wondering if I can get them to play Ultimate on Saturdays. Go ahead and pass your amendment, Pennsylvania...I'm still just as boring as a married guy!

Friday, June 16, 2006

An evening of the damned!

I just rented "Village of the Damned", which for those of you who don't know is a great horror movie that was naturally incompetently remade in the 90's. To add insult to injury, Kirstie Alley was cast in the remake, and she is one of my most unfavorite actors of all time. (Evidently Charo was not available.) But I digress. The DVD also contains the little-known sequel "Children of the Damned," which I've not seen but am eager to watch. I'm sure it will be awful, and that only increases my eagerness. I wonder if Dan knows what he's getting into...

Tonight is a well-deserved break from my proposal writing class, which is the current bane of my existence. It's taught fairly well and all that, but it's fourteen weeks of work crammed into five, meaning I have readings and assignments just about all the time. Blech. I must say, however, that proposal writing as a craft is kinda fun. I'm enjoying researching grant organizations and angling the proposal for maximum impact. I think I could do that for a living.

Back to paragraph one. The woman at the video store was just the prettiest thing you could want, and wearing a t-shirt that showed off the, uh, northern hemisphere to best advantage. I can completely understand what straight guys see in women, I really can.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A hearty giggle...

...was had by me when I read about this. Lynn Swann provides further evidence, if any more were needed, that he doesn't have the sand to be Pennsylvania's governor. Why, you ask? Any move to reduce the size of the legislature would involve an act of the legislature, which means members would be voting themselves out of a job. I'm thinking that a body that voted itself a pay raise in the dead of night and then circumvented the state constitution so they could collect it early isn't likely to experience the sudden rush of civic-mindedness such an act would require. Call me cynical if you must, but that's my view. Good luck with that, Lynn. Dummy.

On another topic, whoever isn't playing Galactic Civilizations II is really missing out. If you've ever hankered to tread across the galaxy like a great titan of doom, you need to try this game.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Now it's two things

I don’t mean to bring anyone down, but this has been on my mind since it happened, and I’m hoping blogging will help me get over it.

Yesterday morning, Dan and I were enjoying a brisk walk on Lombard Street, heading west, when at 17th we saw some kind of commotion about a half-block ahead. A woman walking toward us, who was closer, saw it too, and when she turned and hurried in that direction I knew something was wrong. I saw a guy in a white t-shirt running around the corner away from a woman now sitting on a step, and when Dan and I ran over, she was bleeding from a cut on her nose. Turns out that two guys held her up at gunpoint, took her purse, then to add injury to injury, whacked her across the face with the gun. Yep…evidently robbing her and scaring her out of her wits wasn’t enough. I suppose I should be grateful they hit her with the gun instead of shooting her with it, but come on! What kind of person does that?

Obviously there wasn’t much we could do except call the police and wait with her until they arrived. I went in the direction the muggers had gone, hoping they’d discarded her purse once they took her valuables (wallet, cash, etc.), but either they didn’t drop it or I didn’t see it. She was completely freaked out, in no small part because these thugs had her apartment keys and her ID, which means they now have an all-access pass to her home. You know, just in case the trauma of robbery wasn’t enough, there was also the hovering fear of future violence. In her home.

At first I was just sort of scared and sympathetic, but after about fifteen minutes I got really, really angry. It’s not that I’ve never heard of this sort of thing before; not only did I grow up in a slum, but someone I know was mugged in the not-too-distant past. Seeing the actual event, though, made it more real somehow, and more infuriating. I found myself hoping that she had scorpions in that purse that would sting those thugs and make them swell up like autumn pumpkins or something. For a second I thought, “Dammit, I should start voting Republican!” but then I remembered that they’d just send more money to Iraq and not really cut crime.

Later that day in work, I spoke to a coworker who said she's currently growing her hair out so that she can donate it to an organization that makes wigs from donated hair for kids with cancer. That made me feel better than any thought of retribution against those muggers. (Although a purse of scorpions is nothing to despise, either.)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Have you ever noticed...

...that when someone says, "I'm not racist, but..." that he/she's about to say something racist?

So the Governator is sending the National Guard to patrol the California borders. Here's the man himself:

"We are doing this, may I remind you, reluctantly,'' Schwarzenegger said. ``It's not my preference to send the National Guard to do this mission. But under the circumstances, to help the federal government to secure our borders, because that is our No. 1 concern.''

So he's reluctantly seeing to the state's #1 concern? Uh-huh...Arnold, I hear they're filming "Red Sonja II", so if you leave now you'll just have time to warm up the Hummer.

Building fences and patrolling borders to keep out immigrants is like leaving three weeks' of leftovers on the kitchen floor and then deciding that the way to fight the bugs is to surround it with roach traps. If we truly want to stem the flow of illegal immigrants, we'd do alot better to make sure nobody wants to hire them. Those folks aren't sneaking in from Mexico to see "X-Men 3", after all; they're coming to make money. I think capitalism has taught us that where there is a demand there will be a supply, so as long as there's work the border-jumpers will keep jumping.

Still, there's something amusing about us building hundreds of miles of fence to keep out the people who make possible the cheap produce and housing Americans won't do without. Sad and amusing.