Friday, November 17, 2006

Mayonnaise Sleigh

Inject a little Christmas spirit into every-day condiment consumption with this battery-powered sleigh that also holds your favorite mayonnaise, sauce, or spread. Integrated circuitry plays "The First Noel" and "Jingle Bells" repeatedly as the sleigh tours the dinner table in an 18" diameter circle. Keeps kids pretty well occupied.

13 oz.

From the Crastpog Enterprises "Home for the Holidays" Catalog, Christmas 1986.

Funny cat photos

From BoingBoing. There are many more photos here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cheney Finally Overruled: Rumsfeld Gone

With Bush's replacement of Rumsfeld with Bob Gates, from the Bush 41 crowd, the 2006 midterm election has turned out to be the equivalent of a presidential election where power changes hands in the executive branch -- at least in terms of Iraq policy. NBC is reporting that Bush finally overruled his vice president in deciding to can Rumsfeld and the neocon approach and bring in a realist. Had Kerry been elected in 2004, I don't think he would have been able to implement a much more important shift in policy.

On MSNBC all the pundits are gushing about how great it is that Bush finally made a decision on his own and told Cheney to take a flying leap. I have to admit I didn't see it in him, and I confess to finding myself impressed by the long-awaited acceptance of reality that Bush displayed in the press conference. I know he'll never admit that the Iraq adventure was a big mistake (sinister oil grab? wacky neocon fantasy?) founded on manipulated intelligence, but the DOD housecleaning is better than nothing. Presumably the neocons won't be on anyone's foreign policy dance card for a long while now, which is also good.

It's not all happy-happy-joy-joy. The invasion was still a crime, in my opinion, and the perpetrators will probably escape prosecution, and that's not right. But I do appreciate Bush's willingness to listen to the message of the election, and I'm glad to see that an election can have an effect. I hope it is a real, lasting effect.

China Already Ahead of US on Auto Fuel Efficiency

According to the NYT, China is burning coal like crazy, but they have set fuel-economy requirements for new cars that are more stringent than the United States.

As David Brent would say: Pathetic.

Our fleet fuel economy hasn't budged since I was in grade school. What am I missing here?

Most Relieved Man in America

"You don't have to be crazy to work here, but help?"

I didn't do so well on my October 18 predictions, which were way too pessimistic. I predicted only 12 Dem pickups in the House; they'll get at least 30 or so. And I was way off on the Senate. Of 8 contested races, I got four wrong -- RI, MO, TN, and VA, assuming Webb holds on in VA.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Let My Fingers Do the Walking, and used's nifty phone number and script generator to make a few dozen calls from my home to voters in some tight House Districts around the country. The numbers and scripts were generated on the fly and after every few calls I'd get transferred into a new district. Before calling into a new district I'd check out the candidates' websites so I wasn't totally ignorant, but nobody I talked to was interested in chatting about the candidate. An enjoyable geography lesson if nothing else.

Here's where I called, in order, (with results added later on during the night as they came in):

New York 24 - Central New York - Michael Arcuri (D) is looking to replace Sherwood Boehlert (R) who is retiring. This district went for Bush in 2000 and 2004 but Arcuri had a small lead over Raymond Meier (R) going into the election. RESULT: Arcuri won 54-45%.

New York 26 - Western New York - Jack Davis (D) trying to unseat Tom Reynolds (R), the head of the House Republican Congressional campaign committee. Reynolds was hurt a bit by the Foley scandal but has recovered since then. This race was called a toss-up. (Hoo-boy, one of Davis's planks was to "Eliminate the Death Tax.") RESULT: Reynolds won 52-48%.

North Carolina 11 - Ashville and Western North Carolina - NFL-quarterback-washout-turned-politician Heath Shuler (D) hopes to unseat incumbent Charles Taylor (R). NY Times says the district is leaning toward Shuler. RESULT: Shuler won, 54-46%.

New Hampshire 2 - Rural New Hampshire - Paul Hodes (D) trying to knock off moderate Republican Charlie Bass. NY Times calls it a toss-up. RESULT: Hodes won, 53-45%.

Florida 22 - West Palm Beach, Boca Raton - Ron Klein (D) hopes to unseat Clay Shaw (R) in the land of the Buchanan Butterfly Ballot. This ticket-splitting district voted for Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004. NY Times calls it a toss-up. RESULT: Klein won, 51-47%.

Illinois 6 - Chicago western suburbs - Iraq War vet and double amputee Tammy Duckworth (D) vs. Peter Roskam (R) to see who will succeed Henry Hyde (R), one of the Clinton impeachment poobahs; the district was Bush country in 2000 and 2004. A toss-up. RESULT: Roskam won, 51-49%.

Nevada 3 - Las Vegas suburbs - US Senate staffer Tessa Hafen (D) takes on two-term incumbent Jon Porter, who is a slight favorite. RESULT: Porter won, 48-47%.

Texas 22 - Sugar Land, Houston southern suburbs - Tom DeLay's district! Democrats are running Nicholas Lampson. DeLay's name is still on the ballot -- the Republican, Shelly Sekula-Gibbs, has to run a write-in campaign -- but the district is so conservative that Lampson is only given an even chance of winning. RESULT: Lampson won, 52-42%.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Mussel Motel

Clams check in, they won't check out. Control household mussel population. Non-toxic.

Item no. MM-4576
$5.95 / pack of 3

From Crastpog Enterprises "Back Home for the Holidays" Catalog, Christmas 1986.

Henry David Thoreau

Now here's a philosopher I can get behind. Thoreau is the featured writer for this, week six of my "Classics of American Thought" class. Up to now, we've had five philosophers, four of which were clergymen, and they're all so darned positive about everything. Winthrop with his City on a Hill, Berkeley with his God is controlling each and every one of our thoughts at all times, and that blowhard Emerson with his "Oooh look at the pretty night sky...I think I shall faint with joy" schtick.

In Walden, Thoreau is realistic about the grim prospects life might hold.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary.
Unless it was quite necessary. Finally, someone who admits that ultimately, there might not be any meaning to life whatever, and resignation might just be the only sane course. Such an admission makes me credit the rest of his views all the more.
I reduce [life] to its lowest terms, and , if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world.
I also appreciated his professions of frugality in the service of stripping away all luxuries, such as his discovery that bread without yeast tasted just as good as bread with, even if I didn't always quite believe him.
Related Posts with Thumbnails