Tuesday, November 30, 2004

How the mighty have fallen

Or, more aptly, "how the midcarders have fallen"...

I read a report that Billy Gunn was working an indy show up here in Lynn last weekend. They didn't even bother advertising his appearance on the low-budget cable TV ads that I saw to promote it.

From "Billy & Chuck" to "jobbing at indy shows". Wow, what a fall.

And one release I forgot to mention - they finally got around to officially canning Linda Miles (one other Tough Enough winner) a few weeks ago. She wasn't even on the main roster anymore. Spectacular Amazonesque physique (though she ruined the look with implants last year), great natural athletic ability, but major attitude and no passion for the business. I was surprised they waited this long to can her.

Monday, November 29, 2004

More updates coming

I'm going to revamp the links section of this blog in the next few days. To preview it, here's what I consider to be some of my essential sports websites:

Bill Simmons' The Sports Guy pages at ESPN. Great stuff, with all sorts of funny pop culture references tossed in. The Dave Barry of sports, and he's a Boston guy.

For football nuts, Peter King is da man. He also appears every week on Dale Arnold and Bob Neumeier's WEEI mid-day show.

Peter Gammons should be the Commissioner of Baseball. I'd say he should be the Red Sox GM, but Theo seems to be doing a prettty good job...

Miscellaney

Jane's crunch time has started - she's going to be pulling 6-day weeks up to Xmas. So today's her token day off right now. I had the little guy all weekend and came up with as much neat stuff as possible to fill the time.

I wound up spotting a Black Friday deal I would try for - a Kodak CX6445 camera (4x optical zoom, 4 megapixel) at Best Buy for $150. But when I got there at 9AM Friday they were long gone. I did, however, get the $10 Ryobi power drill for my office over at the neighboring Home Depot. Better than an electric screwdriver for the price.

As my token sop to the Slashdot crowd, I must say those of you not in the Boston area missed out yesterday. The Movies section had a picture of Natalie Portman on the front page, and she has grown up into an absolutely beautiful woman. The complete opposite of what I am generally attracted to, but I can at least appreciate beauty when I see it.

In a related note, Woodge lust object Jessica Biel was on Letterman a couple of days ago, and she's looking real good, too. My other Letterman observation has nothing to so with hot babes - it's that Barack Obama will eventually be President. But probably not in 2008.

Work is somewhat busy for me at the moment. I'm helping another consultant with a project down on the South Shore, and he's coming up today to build a server for the client with my help. I've been at sites much of the last week or so up before Thanksgiving. This week is slightly more sane overall, but I don't really know how the week will play out. I do think I may have some work this weekend to do for one of my regulars. If so, I'll have to figure out how to make arrangements for David that day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Moral Dilemmas

We got a Wal-Mart flyer yesterday, advertising their Black Friday AM specials. On page 3, there's an ad for a Kodak digital camera - one of the EasyShare DX models (I forget exactly which one) for only $198. Jane and I have been considering the idea of replacing our much older digital camera for about a year now - it's been on the "things to get once the money's coming in" list since then.

Which left me with a quandary: I hate Wal-Mart. Because they're one of the prime offenders in the movement that's driving virtually all manufacturing overseas. Because they care about nothing except squeezing their cost of goods down a little farther every quarter. Because they abuse their workers something fierce. Because they were the key player in driving out all the intermediate-sized regional and local chains. And many more reasons.

So should I buy it there, even though I hate them? Well, I thought, at that price it's almost certainly a loss leader - or at best a break-even item for them. If I go in there, buy just the camera, and leave, I'm screwing them out of profits. That's good, right?

So while I thought about it, I also looked up the camera on the excellent Digital Camera Resource Page (the owner used to run a great informational site for PowerComputing owners). It's a good camera. Very good. But, fortunately my dilemma was solved for me while I read the review...

The camera uses a lens cap instead of a retracting cover. We don't want another camera that uses a lens cap. So it's now a non-issue, and I'll just sleep in on Friday. Whew. I feel much better now that I was able to duck the moral question.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Speaking of controversy

Those of you who were "scandalized" by last week's Monday Night Football opening with Terrell Owens and Nicolette Sheridan (has her face been frozen in amber or what?) should make sure to check out the WWE website today. I haven't watched last night's Raw yet (I was too busy watching the Pats on MNF - that's why I have TiVo), but they did a wonderful spoof of the whole fuss that featured Shelton Benjamin, Trish Stratus, and Vince - they've got the video on the front page, and even if you hate pro wrestling, it's still very witty and worth the viewing. I promise that no steel chairs are involved.

I mean, why watch WWE for sex and violence, when you have the NFL and NBA? Ironically, when the Pistons got their banner raised and their rings presented, they all wore replicas of Triple H's championship belt. If you want your own, just head to the WWE Shopzone and you, too, can be an NBA superstar.

That belt, by the way, is derived from the old NWA/WCW belt. The classic WWF-era belt is currently the "WWE Heavyweight Championship" belt, and is the SmackDown belt. And yes, I'd love to have either version as a Xmas gift someday to put on my office wall. And yes, I know I'll never get one.

Maybe a couple of Pistons can spare theirs...

Monday, November 22, 2004

So, you wanted to take time off?

Ron Artest did - he wanted to take a month off because he was "tired" from promoting his forthcoming album. Well, he got his wish... Now he gets to take the rest of the year off. Unpaid.

I hope your album tanks too, you scumbag.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Why I've been relatively MIA

A few people have actually gone to the trouble to ask me why I haven't posted a lot over the last week or so. I'm flattered. But here's the answer for you all:

I'm really freaking busy!

Seriously, I am. Not all of it's been billable, but enough has been that I'll be keeping the lights on and the door open for a while yet. This week's featured work for a couple of new customers, an Apple meeting yesterday all afternoon (forcing me to miss the first game of my string at bowling last night - but we won anyway and moved into first place, nyah nyah!), a new customer initial meeting in Boston on Monday, a breakfast with my ex-boss on Tuesday (not super-significant, but Robert wanted me to mention it so here it is), and tomorrow I'm down on the South Shore, probably most of the day.

I may even be doing some work here in town on Saturday - I have to call the customer sometime tomorrow and check. Next week's pretty busy as well, with a project in Cambridge most of Wednesday and possibly a job in Boston Tuesday.

Busy is good. As for everything else, Our health is decent, Jane's job is OK, David is doing well in school but is now afraid of monsters. He has compensated for that on the Karmic Scale by making his first real strides towards the potty - this week he's successfully whizzed in it a couple of times. And our government sucks more than ever.

If I have time this weekend, maybe I'll write some stuff about sports. That might be fun.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Dumbing down

Today's Boston Globe has a front page article entitled "Evolution foes see opening to press fight in schools". It's accompanied by a pie chart that shows what percentages of Americans believe in creationism or evolution, and was taken a couple of years ago.

The results were:
48% of Americans believed in creationism.
9% of Americans leaned towards creationism but weren't sure.
5% were leaning towards evolution.
10% had no opinion.
28% of Americans believed in evolution.

So it turns out that one of my opinions from the just-passed election was wrong. And I apologize. Previously I thought that roughly 51% of Americans were utter morons. It turns out that number is more like 72%. My editorial department regrets the error.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Drained

Here's my day today - but first, some background. It's freakin' snowing here! Last night, Jane got home from a meeting at her boss's home in Rhode Island at about 10:30 or so. So I'd had an all-night Dude-a-thon. This morning, I get up at about 7:30, to go see a customer (#1) here in town at 9. At 8:15, I head downstairs all showered and shaved, and I turn on my cell phone.

With a frantic message on it from a referral customer, looking for Mac help. I call the new customer (#2) and make arrangements to head over after I wrap up with #1. Jane is going to take David to school so I can get started, then head out to meet her boss out near Worcester. In the snow.

So I'm working over at #1's site, curing a malware infestation. Nasty one. About 11 or so, the phone rings, and it's Jane. She's dropped off David, but got stuck back at home on work calls and hasn't left yet for Worcester. Not a good sign. I call #2 and let him know I should be there pretty soon.

Noon: I finally finish beating up the PC and start the SP2 install. That'll take a while, so I head over to #2 and start the work there. Recovery goes well, and the Mac gets a shiny new OS install (preserving settings from the previous one), along with a disk repair and permissions fix. While it downloads the 100MB update over the sluggish DSL line, I prepare to head to my office for a brief respite. Then I get a call from #3 - the customer down the street who'd referred me #2. He has a new (used) PC laptop that can't find a network connection. I figure out a plan to fit him in on my way out the door.

In 20 minutes, I've eaten lunch, put stamps on all my bills, checked my e-mail, and written myself a paycheck. I head back to #2, and complete the reconfiguration, setting up Classic and doing some migration tasks.

Now it's time to head back over the bridge to #1's place. He's back on the computer, but there's still a little bit to be done. I install the post-SP2 fixes, give him some pointers, and make arrangements to return to install his AV update and DSL router that he's been assigned to go buy as homework by me. That'll be a breeze - if it takes the less than 15 minutes I think it will I won't even bother putting it on the bill. Then, I head back over the bridge one more time...

And go visit #3, where I discover that the machine had been shipped with the wrong dongle for the 3Com Ethernet card he'd been given with the laptop. So it ain't gonna work. And the battery won't take a charge, either. He's going to return it, and I show him a new Dell model online that's almost as cheap, and way better. As I wrap up, #2 calls again - there's a question about launching apps.

So after heading up the street again, I looked at the situation, and we decided to just boot back into Classic by default until he can pick up his original disks for his Adobe products (he has OS X-native apps on them, he just installed the OS 9 versions), and buy a copy of Panther. We'll deal with that next week at some point.

By now it's about 4. So I head back to Cummings one more time, and pick up David. He likes snow.

But Jane doesn't. She's running late out west, and finally slogs home about 7ish - right after David and I get home from the grocery store. I wind up whipping up dinner while Jane changes into grubbies, and then she tends the oven while I run up and start doing my bill entry. It would help if I billed for all that time I worked today!

As for this entry? It took me about 20 minutes. I snuck off to do it while Jane gave David a bath and bonded. She hasn't had a lot of quality time with him the last couple of days.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The political spectrum

First off, a pat on the back for moi - a short time after I wrote my last post, Arafat finally kicked the bucket. If it turns out that my worldview is wrong, and there is a "hell", then that's where the murdering bastard is right now, along with all the homicide bombers he inspired.

Now, back to the regularly scheduled feature.

I was thinking about this on my way to the office today. What's the basic difference between people who identify as "liberal" and people who identify as "conservative"? Why do conservatives so thoroughly dominate political discourse in this country, and why, despite that, are they convinced that there's a "left-wing media bias"? As best as I can tell, and without inflaming things further, it's this:

The basic conservative viewpoint is to see the world as a binary place. A position is either right or wrong. Other people are either with you or against you. Religion, with it's "we're the chosen ones" view, is a strong influence.

Liberalism, on the other hand, is inherently less absolute. Nuance is important. The opinion of others is generally considered, even if it doesn't change your final opinion. And liberals are generally accepting and tolerant of those that are different.

Are there doctrinaire, PC liberals? Of course. And there are thoughtful conservatives, too. I'm talking about the basics here, not everyone.

And that helps define me. I personally have a large number of views that are actually quite conservative. I think it's far too easy to get a divorce, for instance. I personally oppose abortion - I think it's a horrible thing. I would have been quite happy to see Afghanistan reduced to a parking lot after 9/11 - screw what the rest of the world thought about that.

But despite that, my worldview is overall a liberal one. Just because I think divorce is too easy and I take marriage seriously, doesn't mean I shun people who've been divorced. And I support gay marriage for the same reason - if a couple wants to take the act of marriage (and I mean civil marriage - religious marriage is between a couple and their church) seriously and get hitched, I'm all in favor of it. I think stable pair-bonds are good for society. And though I am appalled by abortion, I absolutely support the right of others to make a choice that I think is a poor one. I also know that Saddam had nothing at all to do with the attacks on the US, and should never have been taken down. I'm all in favor of cooperation between nations whenever possible, but I also know we have to take our national self-interest first.

My world is filled with subtle hues and shades of gray. Shadows blend gradually with light. Right morphs slowly into wrong. There are few absolutes, short of "don't harm others unless they try to harm you first", and "try to leave the world a better place than you found it".

And the fact that I can see the world this way means two things. One, it means that I'm smarter than the vast majority of the people in this nation. And two, it means that I'm a distinct minority in a chest-thumping, Bible-quoting, black & white, Republican-led nation.

And we're a lot poorer as a nation for it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Currently sucking heat

Right now on Raw there are two plotlines that make me thank the heavens I have TiVo, because I can fast-forward through them. One is the horrendous Gene Snitsky and all the tasteless things he does to get heat for supposedly causing Lita to miscarry, and the other is "fitness guru" Simon Dean, whose schtick consists of insulting fat people who are planted by ringside. The character is OK, but i just don't see where they can go with it.

Note to Mr. Arafat

Hurry up and die already, will you? I'm tired of reading about your slow demise (it's been almost two weeks now), and the world'll be a better place without you. When push came to shove, you always favored war over peace, refusal over compromise, and happily sacrificed thousands of those who looked to you for leadership - not to mention thousands of innocents on both sides. The blood of a generation of Palestinians is on your hands, and even your long-awaited death won't wash them clean.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Yet another reason last Tuesday was a disaster

This USA Today article (reposted on Yahoo) hits the idiocy of our society right on the head. A growing wave of fundamentalists behind pharmacy counters are outright refusing to fill prescriptions for drugs that they morally object to - most particularly birth control pills. And a growing number of states are trying to grant them legal protection when they do it. Some pharmacists have even refused to give the prescription back to the patient so they can fill it elsewhere.

To me, it's pretty simple. If you work at a pharmacy, and you refuse to dispense a drug that was legitimately prescribed by a doctor (and that is stocked by the pharmacy), you lose your license to be a pharmacist. Period. It is not the job of pharmacists to make moral decisions on behalf of patients and insert themselves into the doctor-patient relationship.

The only gray area I'd allow is if a pharmacist does not stock a drug, they are welcome to not order it - but they have to notify the patient that they do not offer that drug, so they can go elsewhere. If a pharmacist doesn't want to dispense birth control pills, they should work for a pharmacy that doesn't carry them. Or open their own. If you work at a pharmacy that stocks them, you dispense them. There's an association of these assclowns that actually has 1500 members, according to the article.

Congratulations, America. This is what you voted for last week. Maybe next week we'll bring back the burkha.

Monday, November 08, 2004

The wonder that is TiVo

Every once in a while my TiVo grabs something that I just can't resist watching. Yesterday, it recorded "Boston Legal", and I caved in and watched it through afterwards.

Mind you, I hate legal shows. Ever since "LA Law" was all the rage (and I will never forgive that show for giving Corbin Bernsen a career), I've been turned off by the genre. I've avoided "Ally McBeal", practiced other things during "The Practice", and whatever that Jerry Orbach show was - I never saw it. So I was sorely tempted to give "Boston Legal" a pass, too.

I'm glad I didn't, and that TiVo picked it for me. James Spader is terrificly smarmy, and Shatner(!) is simply wonderful - I love it when he gets roles he can fully ham it up in, and this is as good as it gets. The plot was kinda stupid last night, but it did get a nice guest appearance from Dana Delany, and the supporting cast was decent. It's Spader and Shatner(!) that make "Boston Legal" fun - I may have to start making it a regular job for TiVo.

I'd anthropomorphize my TiVo further, but it hates when I do that...

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Generalities in this NFL season

I've come up with a few rules regarding the NFL. Using them, so far I made it five weeks into my annual KOTH tournament, won a week in one pool, and came in second (with a small prize) in another pool. I also have at least one weekly win in every pool I ever play, and I'm usually near the top of the annual standings in them. I've also had some dismal weeks, though, and the pools I play are very low-stakes.

Rule number 1:
The AFC is currently a far stronger conference. Ergo:
- Given a roughly equal matchup across conferences on paper, the AFC team will win around 80% of the time.
- This can apply to the teams' records, statistics, or anything else you'd use as a criteria.
- So if a cruddy AFC team plays a cruddy NFC team, the AFC team wins.
- And a mediocre AFC team has a reasonable shot of beating a good NFC team...
- And a top-notch AFC team (see: Pittsburgh) will utterly humiliate a top-notch NFC team (see: Philly)
- The AFC will be favored in the Super Bowl.

Rule number 2:
More than in any other league, coaching makes a difference. So...
- Any Bill Belichick team will be a Super Bowl favorite. Until he proves otherwise.
- Mike Martz will never win a Super Bowl, because he is guaranteed to have a major Brain Fart at least once per game.
(see: today against the Pats - where he let his team to waste nearly a minute in a 2nd and goal with under 4:00 left)
- Given the parity in the NFL talent-wise, any good coach has a chance any given week.
- With the basic conservatism in the NFL, bad coaches get recycled for a long time before new blood gets into the system.
- Look at Rich Kotite as a good example of this.

Rule number 3:
Some owners are just guaranteed to suck. The best example of this is in the NBA, with Donald Sterling's Clippers. But it applies in the NFL, too. Usually when the owner decides he's a good football mind. Bob Kraft learned his lesson after trying to micromanage Bobby Grier and Pete Carroll. After handing it to Belichick and getting out of the way, he's picked up two Lombardi trophies. This is also why Dan Snyder will never win. And why Al Davis can no longer win.

Rule number 4:
Ego rarely wins. This has been proven conclusively by the Patriots - players sublimate their egos (and often get paid less) to get rings. Teams with big, standout superstars usually go home in January, even if the players themselves go to the Pro Bowl.

Corollary: superstars cost more money, and bust your salary cap wide open. Fewer superstars equal more quality mid-level players - and they make better interchangeable parts with good coaching (see rule #2).

Exception: some players are so good that you can't help but win with them. But even then, they need the right complementary parts. How many Super Bowls did John Elway win until he got a running attack to work with? And how many did Dan Marino ever win?

Rule number 5: Injuries matter. Scan the injury reports and see if a starter is out. And the position matters a lot. A good scheme can usually mask an O-line outage (again, the Pats are a great example, as are the Broncos). Defensive outages are tougher. Look at the way the Steelers torched the Patriots last week as soon as Ty Law went down with an injury. This week, with a week to prepare, the Pats were able to whup the Rams while resorting to Troy Brown at corner for much of the game.

Rule number 6: Quarterbacks have changed. When Drew Bledsoe came into the league, he was The Prototype. Big, strong, with a gunslinger mentality and a cannon for an arm. What Dan Marino was in his prime. But a few years ago, the game changed. Gunslingers were out - quarterbacks had to become accurate and mistake-free, with faster reads and checkoffs. Game management was key. Which is why Bledsoe struggles in Buffalo now, Kurt Warner is running for his life in New York, and Tom Brady is now the new Prototype. Steve McNair is the other master at this, but with the extra dimension of a running threat. There's a few more with potential (this new rookie, Rothlisrebergrremeisterskistein, could maybe get there, and Chad Pennington shows signs), but that's the New Breed of QB.

Rule number 7: Running is important. The Pats go one game without Corey Dillon available, and they get hammered without a legit running threat. Edgerrin James gets hurt in Indy, and down go the Colts. The only places where this doesn't seem to matter are in Denver, where I could probably plug my toddler into their scheme and he'd gain 1000 yards, and in Buffalo, where they had Willis McGahee ready to replace Travis Henry. This week saw Jerome Bettis gain nearly 100 yards with Duce Staley on the sideline, but right now Pittsburgh is riding one of those Magic Waves.

And finally:
Rule number 8: Sometimes, none of this matters. Look at the Giants-Bears game today. By all measurements, the Bears had no chance and shouldn't have even bothered flying into Newark to make the pilgrimage to Exit 16W. But the Giants didn't bother showing up instead, and the Bears win 28-21. Or the fact that the Dolphins have actually won a game this year.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Making it an even ten...

Rico was released by WWE today. But there's still one day left in the week, who knows what else is coming? Even though they took Rico and mainly had him playing variations on gay characters (ironic, with Rico being an ex-Vegas cop, skilled martial artist, and American Gladiators winner in his past), he was still entertaining and a good worker in the ring.

And three more go down

It's a big purge week at WWE - now they've added Johnny "The Bull" Stamboli, Rodney Mack, and Jazz to the release list. Stamboli was in the FBI faction with Palumbo, so now the only FBI member left is Nunzio. Mack and Jazz are a real-life husband and wife team, so that's probably why they were dropped together. Jazz was a good solid womens' heel, but Mack was pretty bland.

So far the count is six men dropped from the roster, and three women. All the women were dumped from Raw, and four of the men were dumped from Raw, two (Stamboli and Gunn) from Smackdown. Billy Gunn's biggest success was back about four or so years ago when he teamed with BG Armstrong (then known as Road Dogg) to form the New Age Outlaws tag team. Maybe we'll see a reunion in TNA soon, though I like Armstrong now in 3 Live Kru with Konnan and Ron Killings.

I wonder if the shoe will drop even further this week. There's a few people on the roster still that I would have expected to see cut first - but the only guy with an absolutely secure future is Triple H. Because he's married to the boss's daughter in real life.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

News from elsewhere

The purges continue at WWE. Today, they dumped Chuck Palumbo, Gail Kim, and Nidia from the roster - all of whom were on Raw but pretty underutilized. Palumbo came from WCW, and made his biggest splash when he was teamed with Billy Gunn in the "gay couple gimmick" they had a couple of years ago as the bleached blonde "Billy and Chuck" tag team. He went on to have a nice Smackdown run as part of the FBI (Full-Blooded Italians) faction with Johnny "the Bull" Stamboli and Nunzio. He, along with A-Train, was "traded" to Raw back in the spring, and never really made an impact there at all. Gail Kim never made much of an impression - she was a fitness model from Toronto of Korean extraction who was gorgeous (I thought) but couldn't really work and generated no crowd heat at all.

Nidia was a bit of a surprise. She was the first female Tough Enough winner (Maven Huffman was the men's winner, and is just getting a face push right now), and only recently got to have a wrestling role on TV. After a post-Tough Enough stint at OVW, Nidia came to WWE as the "girlfriend" of redneck character Jamie Noble (who was dropped over the summer). She had a fun run there, and after they broke up the storyline she was sent to Raw (after an "injury" hiatus that she conveniently returned from with larger breasts afterwards) in the trade storyline along with Palumbo and A-Train. She wrestled as a pretty generic face during her Raw stint, but also never got any real push. But since WWE is re-doing Tough Enough after a year off (as a Smackdown segment), I would think they'd keep her around. Of the six winners so far (two each in the first three seasons), Maven's the only one with a regular wrestling-related role right now. Nidia was cut, neither of the two second season winners are in a wrestling role (Jackie Gayda is a valet for Rico and Charlie Haas on Smackdown, and Linda Miles is back in the minors after a stint as a valet for the Bashams), and the third-season winners are both in OVW - though Johnny Nitro got to be Eric Bischoff's assistant for a while on Raw.

And they're doing Tough Enough again? Why?

I still haven't watched Raw yet this week, but apparently Edge completes his heel turn. Hopefully it'll help - he was just stalling out big-time as a face on Raw. His high-water mark so far has been while working as a heel with Christian (his real-life best friend from childhood), and while working as a face on Smackdown in a program with Kurt Angle. But Kurt makes everybody look good - it's one of the reasons why he's arguably the best wrestler working today.

I'm not enamored with the changes they've been making lately at WWE in general. I still watch it, though. At the rate they're going, though, if I want to see half the wrestlers I'm familiar with I'm going to have to spend more time watching NWA-TNA Impact every Friday. They already have Sabu, Raven, and Jeff Hardy among many.

Tonight after I got home from bowling I taught David to say "Missisagua". Houses are cheap there.

What else went wrong?

Besides what I talked about previously, whoever set CBS up to take a fall on the Bush National Guard story was brilliant - a dirty trick worthy of Atwater himself. Once that scandal broke, it completely neutralized the story about Bush going AWOL, while the other dirty tricksters kept hammering Kerry over his Vietnam service. It's also interesting how both Florida and Ohio completely contradicted the exit polls by roughly the same margin. Everybody cheats where they can - it's an unpleasant fact. But I suspect that the Republicans did a far better job of it this year.

I hope something happens (hopefully not something that gets citizens hurt) that completely humiliates the miserable smirking SOB. Either that, or that the Northeastern US comes to it's senses and decides en masse to become a Canadian province. I love America, but this obviously isn't my America anymore.

Well...

The sun is bright, but I see a lot of haze out there. The car horns are louder than the birds, who seem to have all flown away. I guess that means Shrub will probably win if Ohio's vote is finally counted. He's already doing the full-court media press to declare victory preemptively. At least this time Kerry isn't pulling a Gore and conceding prematurely.

If it turns out that way (leave it to Ohio to be Florida this time), there were a couple of factors. Turnout, while heavy, did not reach the levels that were projected yesterday morning. Advantage, Republicans. The current demographics in the South also favor them. It'll be real difficult for a Democrat to win nationally without at least picking off one southern state, especially since the Gore states from 2000 have 10 fewer electoral votes between them since reapportionment was done.

Should the Republicans hold on, it's time for the Democrats to take a page out of their playbook. One of the things that helped them make their initial takeover of Congress possible in 1994 was their unity. Especially in the Senate, where a small bloc that unites can make a real difference. So it's time for the Democrats tot get serious about acting as a party and not let anything pass. No laws of any significance. No judges, especially not for the Supreme Court. Nothing.

Bottle things up well enough, and the party in power gets blamed.

As for what this says about us as a people, I'm frankly disgusted by it. We ought to spin off all the contiguous red states as a separate country and let them have their no tax pro-war theocracy. Reboot the whole damned thing and start over. At my BNUG board meeting last night, we were all talking politics. There's a couple of conservatives in the group, a couple of liberals, and mainly centrists - most of the group supported Kerry and a couple Bush. We had some good debating among ourselves, but I pointed out that compared to the average person, we were way over at the right side of the intelligence bell curve. Most people are stupid, and that's part of why the Republican appeals work. Most Americans still think that Saddam had something to do with 9/11. A significant number believe in creationism. They're morons, and GWB is the perfect president for morons.

The only thing I'm glad of is that for the most part, my friends who supported Bush for one reason or another lived in states where they had no statistical effect on the outcome at all. So I can still speak to them and keep a relatively clear conscience.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

It's 11 PM

As I type this, the Smirking Moron has 197 electoral votes according to CNN, to Kerry's 188. Most western polls are now closed. It's still pretty much a dead heat. Based on what I've seen, we'll have a record turnout today, which may favor Kerry. I hope so.

On that note, we won't know who won definitively for hours, if we find out at all tonight. So I'm going to bed.

In the morning, if it turns out that Kerry has indeed pulled it out, I'll know because the sun will seem a little brighter, the sky a little bluer, and the birds will be chirping a little louder. The world will hopefully be on it's way to being a better place.

On the other hand, Florida and Ohio are both kind of problematic, and Kerry probably will need one of those two to win.

In other news

The WWE released Billy Gunn, A-Train, and Test yesterday. Gunn was no surprise - it was generally known in the business that he was having "issues" (which usually means either drinking or drug problems) and he hadn't been on TV in months.

I was more surprised with the other two. Test had been a fairly reliable big man for them for a long time, was recovering from neck surgery, and was also known for being Stacy Kiebler's real-life SO. A-Train (Peabody's own Matt Bloom) was a pretty reliable big guy as well who was a solid heel character. But since getting moved over to Raw this spring he'd been all but invisible. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any room for heels that aren't part of Triple H's faction on Raw.

Why did I just write that? Because, frankly, I'm sick of writing about real sports and politics. Effective tomorrow, I'm going to try and shift my focus back to the mundane and the technical, saving my soapbox for the truly important stuff. It's more fun that way.

But I will rant about the election a little bit first. We voted early today, and turnout was very heavy. Hopefully that's a good sign.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Life goes on

Meanwhile, with the loss to Pittsburgh yesterday, the Patriots have returned to reality. I don't think any team will equal their 21-game streak any time in the immediate future - in fact, given the parity in the NFL it could well never happen again. Right now, their concern though should be hoping Dillon, Law, and Samuel are healthy enough to go next weekend.

In other sports news, a tempest is brewing on talk radio over Kevin Millar's comments about downing a shot before the last few games. If I ever run into him in a bar, I'll take matters into my own hands...

And buy him a shot. Thanks for winning the title, guys - ignore the people who whine about "oh, it's such a terrible example for young ballplayers" and crap like that. You're adults. Booze is legal. Whoopdee-doo.

In other booze-related news, I was in Cambridge today to help a client with a MacOS X Server migration. The best part was (other than getting paid) was that on the way home I was able to stop at the Memorial Drive Trader Joe's and pick up a case of assorted Charles Shaw wines. Affectionately known among wine people as "Two-buck Chuck" (though here on the East Coast it actually costs $3), Shaw sells a full array of wines through Trader Joe's, and has a terrific reputation for a good product at a drop-dead price. A case should last us most of the year unless we have a big party.

Another Halloween has passed here - we went to the Welch's house for trick-or-treating like we did last year (see the old pics on David's site for the history). This year he went as the Cowardly Lion. Actually, he was supposed to just be a lion, but he turned into a big wuss when we got there and we had trouble getting his costume on him. After a while, he accepted it and we were able to head out, though getting him to keep the lion head part on was a struggle. He scored lots of candy. Again. But we kept the sugar overload as light as possible.

Despite that, he was still up about every two hours last night, so we both got very little sleep. Tonight'll be an early night for sure.

The other X-factor about how long the case will last: if the Smirking Moron gets re-appointed to the Presidency, I may chug about half the case tomorrow night.

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