Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Are Computers Alive?

Doods. My computer? Is, like, broken? I'm so mad. Why, computer, why? Why did you choose one week before my thesis is due to break? Do you hate me that much? Do you want me to fail? In case this is inspiring palpitations in anyone who cares whether I turn in my thesis, not that I'm saying there necessarily is such a person, rest assured that I managed to get my files off the computer before it burst into metaphorical flames. So the thesis will still be turned in, and it won't be, like, a recitation of the alphabet. But blogging must needs be put on hold until I get this worked out, which will possibly be by tomorrow, and which will certainly result in a tremendous effusive post about how much I love my computer, and all of you. Wish me luck.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sunday Confidential

Confidentially, I've gotten hooked on a web comic called NYC 2123: Dayender. Generally speaking, I don't know much about comics or graphic novels, but I had the good fortune of meeting Chad Allen, one of the creators, and I'm sold. Set in post-apocalyptic New York City in the year 2123, the main characters are badass outlaws with hardwired wi-fi, altered senses and other cool body mods, and they're up against a shadowy enemy with devious intentions (but I won't give away who it is - you'll have to see for yourself). The drawings are clean, the writing's sharp, and the whole thing is just fun. Plus, I love the online format, as opposed to the traditional paper comic. One of the things a comic's drawings are supposed to show is the passage of time, and when you're clicking through frames as you do online, there's an actual literal correspondence to that sense expressed in the work. NYC 2123 can also be read on PSP, which is cool, but I have a funny feeling that most of my readers don't have PSPs or maybe even know what they are. Yay NYC 2123!

Friday, April 21, 2006

So Long, Farewell, Harriet

According to the Times, Harriet Miers may be the next victim of Joshua Bolten's Administration shake-up:
Joshua B. Bolten, the new White House chief of staff, has raised the possibility of moving Harriet E. Miers from her job as President Bush's counsel as part of a continuing shake-up of the West Wing, an influential Republican with close ties to Mr. Bolten said Thursday.
Tee hee. Didn't Bush already try "moving" Miers to the Supreme Court? And frankly, I can't see exactly what changing Bush's legal advisor is going to do for improving things in the White House. But hey, I wouldn't want to contradict the new Lord of Darkness, Joshua Bolten, or he might try to fire me. And I don't even have a job.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Scott Gets the Pot

Today will be the day that goes down in history as the day the White House press conference died. Yes, the axe has fallen on Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, the man who coined the phrase, "We don't comment on ongoing investigations." If he whispers it in the woods, will anyone hear him? I can only imagine who the next press secretary might be and what scintillating parries with the media will ensue, but I would like to propose the new catchphrase of the next press conference generation: "We don't comment on ongoing military actions." That could have astounding effects on the public perception of the Iraq War. War? What war?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Baby Madness

Oh my god!! I'm so excited about the most exciting baby news of the year! That's right, folks, in the moment we've all been waiting for, Brooke Shields has had her baby! Will she overcome her struggles with postpartum depression? Why on earth did she name the poor little thing Grier Hammond Henchy? Have any pictures been released?

And, oh yeah, not like anyone cares, but Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise also had a baby today. Did you even know she was preggers? I kid.

Oracle, tell me, how long will the insane trend of Hollywood baby-accessories continue?

Monday, April 17, 2006

I Work Hard, Too!

Sorry not to post yesterday - I was felled by the Easter bunny. But the good news is that Joshua Bolten, the new White House Chief of Staff, seems like a really fun guy, telling White House aides that anybody who was thinking of leaving within a year should just go now. I don't know why, exactly, but to me this just sounds kind of... mean. He's like, "I'm sick of you people screwing things up for the President. You know why his approval ratings are so low? It's because of people like you, lazing around here, leaking stuff to the press, messing up the war in Iraq, confusing the public on his prescription drug program; yeah, you know who you are. You know what? You know what? Why don't you just go. That's right, just go. If you don't like it here, you can leave. This is my House, and while you're under this roof you're going to work by my rules."

But don't worry, Scott McClellan's press conference about Bolten's first staff meeting did not go by without mentioning the "hard work" required to serve in the Administration. Oh my god, do they EVER talk about ANYTHING without saying what hard work it is? When Peter Pace was defending Rumsfeld the other day, he said, "nobody works harder than he does." I hate to be the ones to break it to you, fellas, but you are the leaders of the free world. You're not grade schoolers. You don't get A's for effort. I'm so happy for you all that you're not lazy, but seriously, is non-laziness really your main accomplishment? My hamster isn't lazy either, but you don't see anyone electing him for office.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

My Brave, Very Important Announcement

Poor Rummy. No one likes him except the President, and these days that's sort of like in grade school when the only kid who wants to be your friend is the one who smells like pee and always has his fingers up his nose. I think we're up to six retired generals calling for his resignation now, and they're all so handsome (in my mind) and disciplined and honorable, with excellent posture, and though I have a feeling we might disagree on, say, everything else, I too will bravely lend my name to the list of decorated generals who call for Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation. It's a hard decision for me to make, because part of my personal code is to accept the authority of the leadership and the president, but I know how much weight my voice will add to this distinguished list, so I truly feel that I must speak up.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I-Ran So Far Away

Ever since Sy Hersh published an article in the New Yorker about the Bush Administration establishing plans for a military strike against Iran, he's been all over the radio waves, which are directly wired into my brain, incidentally, and there's been quite an uproar. The White House is calling his claims "wild speculation," which, strictly speaking, doesn't mean that it's not correct. Even wild speculations can sometimes land on the truth. Meanwhile, in a super-creepy ceremony involving robotic chanting from the assembled diplomats, Iran announced the exciting news that they've enriched uranium. Congratulations, Iran! We're all so very proud. Are they accepting applications for residents on the moon yet?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Sigh. Why, Silvio, why can't you just go quietly into that good night? Enjoy your retirement. Screw lots of women. Lounge around at a villa. Get in a fistfight with Bono. Whatever. I know Bush will miss you, but that in itself is reason enough to know you ought not be Prime Minister. I mean, look at his other political pals: Putin? Chalabi? The love affair is bound to sour.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Immigration in its Obviously Hilarious Context

Ah, immigration. As you cannot help but have heard, there's a battle going on in Congress over the status of illegal immigrants, with various potential outcomes including making illegal immigrants felons, setting some of them on the path to citizenshiip, or something in between. As you have probably also heard, there are perhaps 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, and for context I'll remind you that the US population is almost 300 million (check out the POPclock - it's so cool!). Thus, if my superior math skills do not deceive me, illegal immigrants make up 2500% of the US population. Wait, that's not right - it's 4%. Which is still a lot.

Just to add to the context (Holy moly! There's so much context I can barely stand it!), in 2003 the US jail and prison population topped 2 million for the first time. I'm not sure what it is now but I'm willing to bet it's not, say, 12 million, which, for those of you whose math isn't as good as mine, is 6 times as many people. So incarceration of our new felon population is going to be tricky. But quite a boon for the penal system.

And for one last bit of context, so, so much context, the Public Defender Service for DC has a list of felonies, and with the exception of the horrendous crime of failing to return a rental vehicle and maybe bigamy, most felonies are acts that result in significant loss of property or violence. Last time I checked, working shit jobs for practically no money and paying taxes doesn't really fall in that category.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sunday Confidential

A few weeks ago, when I was planning my spring break, I got it into my head to clean my laptop. It's a wonderful little white iBook, and we're madly in love, but after a year and a half it's starting to look a little grimy, and a few of the keys stick more than I'd like, so I was going to take off all the keys, wash 'em up, really get the dirt out, and spruce it up all nice and fresh. Naturally I never got around to doing this, I mean, who has time for that shit? But last week I decided I couldn't bear it any longer - the stickiness of the "i" key had to be resolved. So I took off the key and spiffed up the inside. When I went to put the letter "i" back on, though, I saw that the key is not one piece, but three: the key itself and two little plastic joints, which fit together and on the base and onto the key in a totally mysterious way. After an hour and a half (I kid you not!) of wrangling with the stupid things, I finally figured out how the whole thing worked, but in my desperate battle I had broken off a tiny, minute, miniscule smidgen of plastic from one of the joint pieces, and therefore, the key doesn't attach completely anymore and it pops up all the time. I considered switching the broken piece for one from a less popular key like "x," but I'm afraid that once I go down that road, there won't be a single properly attached key left on my keyboard.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Leaky and Sneaky

Scooter Libby is saying the President authorized the leak of classified intelligence in order to discredit Joseph Wilson, who publicly doubted the Administration claims that Iraq had weapons of mass distruction (though he didn't specifically say the Prez authorized him to leak the name of Valerie Plame--Wilson's wife--an undercover CIA agent).

I think when the President's term is over and voice analysts count his most frequently used phrases, the clear winner will be "it's hard work" and its variations. And this is exactly what he's talking about. This is the kind of outside the box thinking that's so taxing on the presidential mind. Do you think this shit just happens in his sleep? Or on his long, relaxing bike rides? I think not. You can hardly imagine the hours of brainstorming, the storyboards, the preliminary modeling that went into this before the President said, "By God (bless his holy name)! I've got it!" Leaking classified information and then acting outraged about the leak, now that's hard work.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Attack of the Fishopod People

Yet another weird animal post. If you haven't noticed, I find weird animals to be the most important thing I can possibly blog about. I have to keep you up to date on the existence of strange fossilized remains that might crawl into your bed and nibble on your ear while you are sleeping. The latest odd organism to rear its exceptionally ugly head is the 'fishopod' crawling fish. Named Tiktaalik, its fins have a proto-wrist and elbow, and "It could do a pushup," said discoverer Neil Shubin.

Well, shit. I don't think I can do a pushup. I don't want this pushup-doing, steroid-guzzling, head-swiveling fishopod coming after me, I'll tell you that. If you are wise, you will do what I'm doing: holing up in a fallout shelter with nothing but workout equipment and two thousand cans of tuna fish. When all the tuna is gone I will emerge, myself a fishopod, ready to take on Tiktaalik in a pushup competition. The prize? Unquestioned world dominance.

Drop and Give Me Twenty

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ode to Massachusetts

Gosh, I love Massachusetts. I think I've only been there once, but that doesn't stop me from loving it. I love it so much, in fact, that I have to write a poem to express my feelings. A critic might say, if you love it so much, why don't you marry it? To which I say, if there were ever a state that would allow me to marry it, it's probably Massacusetts. Now, without further ado, my

Ode To Massachusetts

Massachusetts, we thank thee
For your liberality.
E'er since the Mayflower dropped its anchor
You have been the red states' canker
Your grudging embrace of religious freedom
Expanded to even those who don't heed Him.
Workers' rights warped Lowell's loom
And the Kennedys issued from thy womb.
Gay marriage allowed, despite stumbles and trips,
And somehow there's been no Apocalypse.
A recent suit fights sodas in schools,
Claiming the drink industry takes us for fools.
Now there's universal health insurance--
Thank you, ole Mass, for your liberal endurance.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Baloney (Bologna?)

I'll be glad when the Italian elections are over. Berlusconi is such a lunatic, his presence on the world stage really stresses me out. But I should be more sympathetic; after all, old Silvio must be pretty stressed out, too, since he hasn't gotten laid in, like, months. Nevertheless, the final debate between Berlusconi and his rival, Romano Prodi, sounds like a lot of fun, if you have a high tolerance for contentious backbiting (key phrases quoted by the Times include "drunkard clinging to a lamp post" and "useful idiot"). Again, though, I'm going to blame Berlusconi's bad attitude on his self-imposed abstinence.

The debate concluded with Berlusconi announcing a substantial tax cut worth more than $2 billion euros a year, and he made the announcement in such a way that Prodi could not respond. He's like the bully who stomps on the other kid's foot and runs away. I'm sure I'll rue the day that I said this, but it almost makes you nostalgic for American politics, doesn't it?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Sunday Confidential

Tomorrow the bf goes on a six-week trip around the country to take pictures and stuff. This is the third year he's done it, and I never like him being away for so long, but it's always a good experience for both of us. It gives me a chance to focus on my writing (which is especially key this year, what with the thesis coming up) and to take a break from the weekend commute--must. fall in love. with westchester! Speaking of Westchester, I started wondering recently what the suffix "-chester" actually means. So I looked it up. Because the Internet is magic. And it's an Old English derivative of the Latin "castrum," for "fort." I live in a fort! Anyway, pals, I will be holing up in the fort of white privilege known as Westchester for the next six weeks, and by the time my silly dancing boyfriend returns from his trip, I will have my master's degree. Which means either he'll be gone for a really long time, or I will be graduating really soon.