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It's time to take this bull by the horns and milk it.

Thoughts and observations of an Enneagram Type 7 INFP Beatles fan. I prefer baths to showers, late nights to early mornings, cats to dogs, and Mary Ann. The perfect blog for all featherless bipeds.

Gooblek is a 2-to-1 suspension of cornstarch in water. It acts like a liquid if you move it slowly, but a solid if you hit it or squeeze it. Click below for info on Asparagus Pee.

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February 2003
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Friday, March 28, 2003
Chase MortgageSo, we finally succumbed to the low interest rates and decided to refinance our house, and they just can't get the paperwork right. They faxed over some documents for us to sign, and even though both the original loan and the new loan are with the same finance company (we did this to help it go smoothly, you see), they've got the payoff value of the old loan off by about $10,000. The gal on the phone says something like, 'oh, well, that's no problem, this is just an estimated escrow something or other,' but I say, bullshit. Over and above points, etc., we've paid something like $400 in little niggling fees for the filing, couriers, notary public, you know the drill, gone through a credit check, had our house appraised at our expense, and all of that, and when they send that guy out at 10:00 am on Saturday to have us sign something in triplicate, it had better have the right numbers on it.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Here's a good article on human cloning, with 3 laws of cloning that are designed to echo Isaac Asimov's famous 3 Laws of Robotics, from I, Robot: Scientific American: I, Clone I, Clone

Wednesday, March 26, 2003
Here's a link to the guy who's blogging from his basement in Baghdad: Where is Raed ?

Old GloryThere's sure a lot of interesting stuff to think about. I picked up an old compilation of Playboy interviews to reread the 1980 interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono that they did around the time Starting Over came out, right before he was shot. Then I got sucked into reading several other interviews, like Bertrand Russell, Vladimir Nabakov, and Albert Schweitzer, and they've all had interesting things to say about war...

Here's Lord Russell on the cold war:

...I would strongly recommend an agreement on both sides not to teach that the other side is wicked. For Americans, communism is the Devil; for Russians, capitalism is the Devil. The truth is that neither is wickeder than the other. They are both wicked.
and again,
Another matter to which I have always attached great importance in education is that schools ought not to teach nationalism. Every school, with hardly any exception, has as one of its objects the deception of children. They teach them patriotism, to salute the flag. But the flag is a murder symbol, and the state is a pirate ship, a gang of murderers come together. When they salute the flag, they salute a symbol of bloody murder. All this is perfectly clear, valid psychology.
Here's Vladimir:
The fact that since my youth - I was 19 when I left Russia - my political outlook has remained as bleak and changeless as an old gray rock. It is classical to the point of triteness. Freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of art. The social or economic structure of the ideal state is of little concern to me. My desires are modest. Portraits of the head of the government should not exceed a postage stamp in size. No torture and no executions.
Here's Dr. Schweitzer, when asked, 'Considering the differences which split the world, do you think war can be averted?':
My friend, we must hope so. But deep-down among men, you know, the differences are not always as great as they appear on the surface. Look - quick! - look at those two chickens fighting under the tree. See how they rush at one another, make a big noise and ruffle their feathers... and now, what? You see, it's all over. It was just bluff, just noise. Big nations are like those chickens. They also like to make big noises. But very often, it means no more than two chickens, squabbling under a tree.
But what took me the deepest into thought concerning the war was the interview I read last night and this morning with Albert Speer, the architect of the Third Reich and Hitler's second in command, who was condemned to 20 years in Spandau after confessing during the Nuremberg trials to the enslavement of 5,000,000 people into forced labor. Here he is on Hitler's comments about a son as a successor:
'Think of the problems if I had children! In the end, they would try to make my son my successor, and the chances are slim for someone like me to have a capable son. That is almost always how it goes in such cases.' He always cited the example of Goethe's son, who was a cretin, to explain his distrust of a hereditary succession.
How's this for cognitive dissonance?
I was forced to wait on the airstrip in freezing cold for several hours while Soviet POWs strove to clear the snow and ice from the runway, and at one point, several Russians in padded jackets surrounded me and gesticulated animatedly. They spoke no German, and I no Russian, but finally, one scooped up some snow and rubbed my face with it. I realized he was warning me of frostbite. Another of the Russians reached into the filthy, tattered remnants of his Red Army uniform and handed me a clean, folded, white handkerchief to wipe my face. Later, that image stuck in my mind: Here was one of a race we were determined to turn into helots, a people whom we already regarded as little more than pack animals, giving me what was probably the last of his personal possessions - and for no other reason than that I was a fellow human being threatened by the elements.
And finally,
If Adolf Hitler had possessed a button that would destroy the entire world, he would have pushed it at the end. Today, there are such buttons in the war rooms of all the great powers. None of the world's leaders is a Hitler, but the hatreds and fears on which Hitler thrived still persist, and the potential for mass destruction is even greater today. in the 1970s, an executioner never has to see his victims, whether they number in the hundreds or the thousands or the millions. This was the nightmare of Nazi Germany, the first modern state to mechanize murder. It is also the nightmare of a world of H-bombs and high-altitude jet bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles and chemical-biological warfare. In such a world, terrorized by technology, we are all in Auschwitz.

I know that these instruments of death are in the hands of sane men, often decent men, but there were sane and decent men in Nazi Germany and they did not avert the greatest bloodbath in recorded history. The automated juggernaut of modern mass destruction can all too easily achieve a momentum of its own, carrying the world to total annihilation. Once the beast is loosed, it can travel in only one direction. The descent into hell can be an exhilarating ride, but it is a one-way trip. I know. I have been there. I still am.

Here is one of the best analyses I've seen yet regarding the war in Iraq. It's a Norman Mailer piece.The New York Review of Books: Only in America

Wednesday, March 19, 2003
I was going to write something about how distracted I've been lately, like telling you how last night, when I was changing the cat's litterbox, I reached for the wrong bag and accidentally filled her litterbox with dry cat food, but instead, I've decided to share this prayer that I've written for the war effort:
Father, We thank you for the blessings that you've showered upon us, and the bountiful resources you've given us to affect positive change in our world. We ask that you guide us gently in our pursuit of freedom and peace in places where these blessings have not yet come to pass. We thank you for giving us the thoughtfulness to choose good over harm wherever possible, and for protecting us and our troops from committing evil or falling prey to the evil of others. Whatever happens over the next few months, we praise you and pray that your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen

Saturday, March 15, 2003
I don't have time to write much today, but here's a link to something pretty entertaining...FLY GUY

Thursday, March 13, 2003
Buy It and Read It! Small Wonder at Amazon

I'm just finishing up reading Barbara Kingsolver's book Small Wonder, and it is fabulous. Simply some of the most thoughtful and thought-provoking essays on the meaning of post-9-11 patriotism, U.S. foreign policy, literacy, human rights, and environmental issues that I've ever seen all together in one place.

The essay I read this morning was about the flag and how it belongs to all of us, the doves as well as the hawks. It got me thinking about all those people who printed out flags on their color printers a couple of falls ago and taped them to their car windows, and now you see them going down the road and the paper is all warped and yellowed, and the colors have faded to pink, green, and purple. What are they thinking?

The flag is a symbol that becomes sacred by virtue of the way we treat it - without transubstantiation, the body of Christ in the Eucharist is just a cracker. That's why we have rules of flag conduct like, 'don't ever let the flag touch the ground,' and 'don't fly the flag at night without a light on it.' One of my old high school girlfriends actually pestered the dean at her college so much about that one that he ended up having a spotlight installed for the flag out in front of the Student Union so that they could leave the flag up at night. She was very proud of that, too.

So then I hear that we're now getting back at the nation of France for not supporting the war effort by referring to french fries as 'freedom fries,' and french toast as 'freedom toast.' I would sure like to live in a country that I wasn't embarrassed by! I mean, why not go all the way and rename them frog's legs? Pathetic.

Speaking of french fries, here's another book I recommend highly:

Buy It and Read It! Fast Food Nation at Amazon

Tuesday, March 11, 2003
Hiss!Superstitions... can't live with 'em, well, that's about it. We've had a fairly spirited discussion here at work this week - our order entry system is about to hit order number 666000, and the question came up whether it was worth bumping the number up to 667000 to avoid reading back a number that began 'six-six-six.' I'd love to say that we decided to ignore it, but I was actually one of the people who argued for bumping up the numbers, because in a world where buildings and airplanes skip the 13th floor and the 13th row of seats, why risk a one-in-a-thousand chance of offending someone a thousand times? Hmm... I wonder if they give a discount for 14th row seats for people who can count?

Friday, March 07, 2003
Before...and After!
Well, I know you've been dying to see how the tub turned out. Click for bigger pics.

Thursday, March 06, 2003
Wouldn't 'The Bloody Turnips' be a good name for a band?
Well, I got the results today from yesterday's blood test, and I'm healthy as a horse. If anybody really wants to know, my cholesterol count is 211.

The main thing I've learned is that I did not enjoy yesterday morning without coffee.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003
Janet straightened me out last night - turns out she's left me for as long as a week at a time before Emily was born, and I was lost and lonesome when she found me and took me in.

Hey! Get your own!Something very strange is going on with the prices of things... can anyone explain to me why I can buy a microwave or a 4-head VCR for $39 out at Target, but I just paid about $4 for a bag of cat litter? Somethin' ain't right. OK, all right, I understand supply and demand, and cheap sweatshop labor, and economies of scale achievable through mass-production, and all of that. But what I don't understand is how you can put together something like a calculator with 20 moving parts and electronic components that have to be screwed and soldered together, that even includes a battery, package it in a blister pack with a 4-color print job that has to be diecut, pack those in a box, send it across the Pacific on a boat, ship it to Auburn, and sell it at The Dollar Tree for one freakin' dollar! I mean, at some point, it has to be like the old story: we buy these widgets for $1.20 and we can only sell them for $1.00, but we make it up in volume.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003
Better to be home alone than in bed with Jacko!
Phew! After working at least a few hours 27 of the preceding 28 days, I declared a holiday and stayed home alone yesterday while Janet went to work.
Of course, there wasn't much to it. Papa John came and got Emily a little after 9:00, and the guy from the cabinet shop showed up at 9:30 to hang the new cabinet doors over the bathtub. Then I took a bath (the tub was declared seaworthy as of Friday, and I've had 5 baths already) and drove down to Kaiser Roseville Medical Center to find out that 'fasting' also meant 'no coffee.' After that, a quick lunch, a couple of beers, and a nap, and then by 5:15 or so, up to get Emily at John's house. Someday, I would like to try spending a substantial, uninterrupted period of time by myself. I'm pretty sure the longest I've ever been alone is only like 4 or 5 days, if that, and I can't really think when that would have been, except maybe a thanksgiving break during college when my roomate went home and I hung out in our room. I like being alone, but I seldom get the chance, and then, since I know it's limited to a few hours, I try to do too much instead of just enjoying some quiet time to myself.

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