it's fall!

Woohoo, perfect moving weather. It will be soooo nice when we are all settled in the new building at work.

I bet this guy was wishing it was still summer.

This one, meanwhile, is glad that summer is safely over.

It really is kind of amazing. By a 78-22 vote, we secured an incredibly conservative court for decades (barring some bizarre development) without much public discussion at all. Judge Roberts' best qualities confirmation-wise were his lack of judging experience and his lack of providing answers to questions. Oh yeah, and that he's a gentleman. Fabulous qualities indeed for someone who will hold such a powerful position for such an incredibly long period of time.


a little word fun

So at work today somebody left a UHaul truck we rented for moving stuff out in the parking lot. This person was supposed to put it away, but didn't, so my boss and I did. Well, I wrote a higher up boss the following sentence:

Sarah and I backed the truck into the garage.


I quickly changed that to:

Sarah and I backed the truck inside the garage.

Also, check out the results to this quiz I took. I'm such a flake.


those dangerous canadians

This is just too funny not to read. I had no idea the Canadians were such a huge threat. It's like the feds have nothing better to do with our tax dollars.


video games drive movies

Video games and associated merchandise sales have been driving a lot of movie development in Hollywood. Special effects teams will throw in totally pointless and cheesy shots just to try to keep up with what gamers expect from the newest consoles. Well I am glad to see that this has been taken to its logical extreme: turning one of the classic games into a real movie (Final Fantasy was a little different).

I hope they do a good job with Doom! That could be a really good movie. Yes, I will admit to reading the (first) Doom book, and it was really enjoyable. If it turns out to just be a crappy movie to capitalize on the groundbreaking success of the Doom franchise, that will be really sad.

ok, this is more accurate

Hmm, I must have just been in a weird mood yesterday, or maybe I misread a question. But I went back and did it again (without any effort to change the outcome) and came up with this:

That's me, sandwiched between MLK and Adam Sandler.

i've been living a lie

Ha, check this out

Apparently OKCupid thinks I'm a socialist. I am going to have to go back and retake it and see how I can modify the result.


excitement is over

alas, the guy was arrested without incident yesterday


what you have to do to make the news

Sure enough, get a guy with a gun to run into a house and have tons of cops show up and shut down a street and voila-your neighborhood gets on the local news! We're a "developing story" right now :)

(This reminds me of the gunshot we heard when we went to Colorado and got the phone call and everything!)

Completely unrelated, I worked with my high school kiddies this evening, and at first I was really pessimistic about this year's resolution. However, after an hour and a half of Aff discussion, I am now fixated on a really intriguing question. The federal government obviously detains some people without charges. Well, the question is, what is the source of that authority? Politically, the President says things like they're terrorists or they're enemy combatants or they have valuable information or other such explanations that don't actually give a legal justification for holding people. Is there legislation? Executive orders? Presidential directives that no one challenges? I am definitely going to have to look into this more.


oh, the sadness

I was getting a glass of water this evening and reached into the cabinet only to pull out one of my mardi gras cups from New Orleans.

Which reminds me...

For some time I have had this thought and keep forgetting when I go to post. It is never too early this year to start planning for Mardi Gras!

Either New Orleans will be resettled and there will be the most enormous celebration ever in the history of the world OR it won't, in which case St. Louis will all of a sudden have the biggest mardi gras party. Andrew, you can attest to the fun that is Soulard in early February. And that's before the huge numbers of people that will try desperately to fill the void of a French Quarter-less Ash Wednesday Eve by coming here. We've got to make sure we are good hosts. Vive la fĂȘte!


changing seasons

So I'm driving home from work and it is dark. Not dusk, setting sun blinding in your windshield, getting darker; pitch black. It used to be bright and sunny as I would drive down Lindell past all the joggers (not the worst part of the day, by the way...). But now, the long days of summer have decided to go on break for a while.

I must be feeling better because I, like, noticed. I'm only partially oblivious to the world around me now. Assuming this condition is temporary, of course, it is actually quite interesting having a little hearing loss. It really alters the sensations from the world around you that permeate your self-absorbed world.


almost here

Gotta love it when Raider's week culminates in a nationally televised game. The over/under for this game has got to be about 100.

Go Chiefs!


balloon bonanza

There was perfect weather this afternoon for the Forest Park balloon race. And, even better, the wind was blowing just right to send them northward right over the apartment. That's pretty cool to stand on your deck and look straight up into a hot air balloon.


christian exodus

Guess what? The Daily Show's doing Christian Exodus tonight. They must have read my blog :)


hatred is not too strong a word

I really hate taking drugs. A lot. The doctors didn't seem to care, though. I have one prescription antibiotic ear drop and one prescription antibiotic pill. 500mg, no less. And the actual taking the drugs is only half the issue. There are all kinds of restrictions for several hours around taking the pills. My favorite side effect, given that it's for an ear infection, is it might cause dizziness. Hmm, isn't the point to make the ear better...

At any rate, some free advice. Don't get a sunburn, an ear infection, and a sore throat at the same time. Not fun.

And on the subject of free advice, make sure your affairs are in order if something should happen to you. We had a relatively young staff member get sick and pass away at work, and among other fun issues, a relative was unhappy he got taken off her life insurance. Telling people what medical care you want and how your assets should be divided up is something you should do now. Don't procrastinate, justifying it with once you're finally married or get a house or have a kid or a grandkid or retire or turn 100.

Actually, I lied. That last paragraph will cost you $150. You can mail me a check at your first convenience.

so, are ya?

I am:
Congratulations, you're a swing voter. When they say 'Soccer Mom', they mean you. Every Democratic ad on the TV set was made just for your viewing enjoyment. Don't you feel special?

Are You A Republican?


neat little factoid of the day

If Wal-Mart were a country, it would be China's sixth largest trading partner.


where's an atheist doctor when you need one

I don't have much direct experience with our medical system as I am generally a relatively healthy, young male. I went to the doctor when my mother said hey, you have to go do the doctor this afternoon. However, this week was a tad long and as the body is great at doing, it stayed sufficiently healthy while I needed it and then crashed last night. So this morning I looked up the ten closest doctors to my apartment accepting my health insurance. Well, this was news to me, but apparently doctors are as bad as banks. It is simply impossible to even talk to, let alone actually see, a doctor between about 4pm Friday and 8 am Monday. For people with schedules like me, taking Saturday and Sunday off is most convenient. But if I wasn't of the Judeo-Christian mold, I would love to work Saturday and Sunday and take a couple days in the middle of the week off. Malls are much more pleasant on Tuesdays, for example, and it would be a heck of a lot easier scheduling the dumb Laclede gas people to get out here and do there nothingness. Wouldn't at least a few doctors realize that people are bound to get sick in the two and a half day period known as the weekend? If it really was that hard getting some doctors to work on Saturday or Sunday, then surely some enterprising doctor could come along and charge a slightly higher copay for weekend service. There's always the emergency room, but that costs a lot more money and would require me waiting for hours and hours as it would be obvious I'm at the bottom of the priority list. Not to mention that defeats the whole point of having family doctors and emergency rooms.

At least there was plenty to watch as I lay comatosed on the couch today. It's hardly September, and the Big Ten has already been decimated...hehe. It's rough when you can't even score a touchdown against Iowa State. And Georgia didn't look so tough today. Also proved once again that announcers shouldn't announce things before they actually happen. After a somewhat involved story about how Oklahoma had blown out so many teams in a row at home by more than ten points and how that streak was going to end, Oklahoma scored enough points to beat Tulsa by more than ten.

Go Fighting Irish! Oh wait, maybe that's one of those offensive names that should be changed.


darn cubbies

Sunburns suck too. So do mosquito bites.


too full of chicken and brownies

and ice cream! I learned a very sad fact about Mrs. Lee this weekend; namely, that she thinks ice cream and brownies don't go together.

But aside from that, a very good Labor Day indeed. Some old friends, and some even older friends, and some very new ones. Air shows and barbecue and the Cheesecake Factory. Getting whooped at monkey baseball and Mario Kart.

Pigging out on homemade snickerdoodles and having Ted Drewe's for lunch.

A monumental game of Risk and a cat that survived under my care.

Washed the sheets, did the laundry, made the bed, and put all the clothes away. In the same weekend, no less.

Every weekend should be three days long!


what a waste

What a fantabulously glorious waste. Air shows, especialliy military aircraft, in particular fighter jets, are awesome, awesome, awesome. We saw some F15s, F/A 18s, Harriers, and less exciting aircraft. Now, I think the Top Gun, Tom Clancy, height of the Cold War era was the most exciting in US military history (and you would too if you were anything like me, as in, even having the board game; those Civil War reenactors ain't got nothin')

I say all that because military tech is awesome (and so is the board game I linked above, by the way).

But I also say it because it's such a waste. Not just the gas and staff time and maintenance that went into the actual air show. But also the engineers and financial resources that went into the planes and their bombs rather than, say, bridges and schools. It is not at all contradictory to love the technology and support the personnel while also suggesting we should shift massive resources (but not all) away from blowing stuff up and to building stuff. It's a pretty direct tradeoff.

The fair is also an interesting cultural experience. This was just St. Louis County, not the even more fun extremes of a state fair, but it's still noticable that virtually everyone is white and there is a positive love-fest for all things military (even though, of course, minorities are overrepresented in the armed forces). The announcers' scripts for some parts of the air show were essentially PR and ads for the military, and perhaps out of everything I found it most interesting that there were clear attempts to change impressions about Vietnam. Why, might you wonder, would the military have an interest in cleansing the image of that excursion a tad?


chiefs fans are all about

too bad tonight counts for jack squat


my new orleans rant

(R) Alright, I'm only going to do this once, and then I'll resist the urge. We have yet another unassailable case study in governance of modern society. By now, no one is laughing at the idea that the United States isn't in some invulnerable supernatural state; natural disasters can still strike our 21st century perfection of a nation.

There has been enough coverage that people can see the scale of devastation and total breakdown of civil order, but not enough yakking by the talking heads who love personal tragedy-driven ratings to make people numb or sick of the story. Putting resources in long-term planning, civil engineering, infrastructure, disaster preparedness, and so forth is boring work, concerned primarily with the tedium and minutea that makes for poor infotainment and even poorer soundbite-driven politics. Yet, that's what is required.

The alternative, which many people are now experiencing, is anarchy. Anarchy is not abstract. It is real, and it is personal. It is starving, unable to get medical help, at the mercy of criminal gangs, trying not to get raped, desperately seeking a loved one, a child, a grandparent. And that's just in the short term. Then there's the property destruction and economic disruptions. Some historic things will be lost forever.

The power and fury of Katrina stems from God's Creation, but lack of governance creates the scale of human tragedy. This isn't a detailed policy analysis, a rundown of what the Army Corps of Engineers or FEMA or somebody else should or shouldn't have been given money to do; there is plenty of publicly available information by experts regarding that.

But it is a direct refutation of that most-loved phrase in the aftermath of catastrophe, no one could have seen it coming. The hard truth that ideologues, like those over the past five years in the Bush Administration who have been dismantling our real homeland security in the name of tax relief for the wealthiest of the wealthy, corporate welfare, and, more recently, terrorism, must deal with and be held accountable for is that things could be better. Much better. We have the experts and professionals in place, but it requires policy makers to use science based in the real world, not platitudes from some fantasy one. It requires real leadership concerned with representing Americans, rather than corrupt aristocrats willing to trade their constituents' best interests to enhance their personal fortunes. It also requires the people harmed by a lack of good policy to demand no less from their leaders. To me, that is significant; it's why I have the same, if not more, frustration and fury with supposedly Democratic leaders. They should be out there selling this vision of government, how people really can be better off, rather than selling out to the same people as their Republican counterparts...just not selling out quite as well.

On September 10, 2001, flying a plane into the World Trade Center complex in New York City was one of the classic examples of how to do mass damage easily. Heck, we had already deployed military anti-aircraft equipment to protect important meetings of state, while the Trade Center complex itself, aside from the academic attraction of it being both a densely populated area and the global symbol of American financial dominance, was actually attacked by Islamic terrorists less than ten years prior to 9/11. Go to a library and look at books on risk assessment from the 1970s; you'll see people writing about hypothetical attacks at what is now referred to as Ground Zero. Yes, of course the details of 9/11 were a tactical surprise, but it is a bald-faced lie by the political appointees that the professionals in government and academia had no idea something like what happened on 9/11 would occur.

Likewise, no one knew the particulars of 2005's hurricane Katrina. But similarly, New Orleans is (was?) one of the classic examples of potential US environmental disasters. It sits below sea level, surrounded by water, with few evacuation routes. Its protective coastal wetlands have been handed over to rampant development. It is arguably the historical, cultural, and energy crown jewel of the South. Millions of people live along the Gulf Coast region through Louisianna and Mississippi. Human, animal, petroleum, and chemical wastes will fester in stagnant water creating terrible disease conditions. Civil governance breaks down, particularly with national guard personnel killing Iraqis rather than stopping looting, repairing Army Corps of Engineering projects, performing search and rescue, and delivering critical food, water, and medicinal supplies.

Becoming involved in unnecessary foreign entanglements is a textbook example of how hawkish Republicans (and hawkish Democrats), not liberal Democrats, are undermining national security. There are literally armed gangs wandering the streets of New Orleans committing various acts of violence right now. In Baghdad, we allowed priceless cultural artifacts to be ransacked, but of course we at least protected the oil ministries because we knew looting is as natural as apple pie, if you'll let me mix metaphors there. I mean, think about this for a second. There are parts of New Orleans that are so lawless it is literally dangerous to be there.

But, I also want to point out that my concerns, at least in the three defining disasters of the Bush Administration, don't really affect me that much; they are of compassion, not self-interest. I don't have very many friends who have served in the armed forces overseas (and if I ever got drafted, I have the right interests and abilities to remain stateside doing financial work at the Pentagon or playing war games at Fort Leavenworth or being a liason with defense contractors doing advanced research like Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems here in St. Louis), I've never even been to NYC, and my only real attachment to the Gulf Coast is fun memories of Mardi Gras. I say that because what we have been doing (or more accurately, not doing) is a legitimate course of action. We could say that organizing society through government to provide services essential to keep society functioning isn't worth the tax dollars. But the New Yorkers saved by first responders and the people of New Orleans still awaiting a response speak loudly for a different conclusion. My position isn't based simply on a desire to free ride off of society; it is a legitimate desire to save lives and property.

What is so universal, from which I draw a lot of truth, is that in times of crisis, people beg for and celebrate governmental leadership. 9/11 rescued, in a very literal sense, both the Guiliani and Bush Administrations. You have desperate people in the Gulf Coast calling news outlets talking about running for their lives from their own neighborhoods and wondering when they are going to be rescued. You have people broaching otherwise un-American topics like price ceilings (which are completely the wrong solution, by the way; Stalingrad would have starved in World War II and probably fallen to the Germans if "price gouging" hadn't been allowed).

Sometimes it is frustrating having a vision for how the world could be better off, but usually I'm optimistic. It would be more efficient if we would decide to deal with problems before they become crises, but at least Americans seem pretty darn good at operating in crisis mode. Interestingly, even among supposedly the most hardcore small government conservatives, when disaster strikes, all of a sudden the government's supposed to do something. Imagine if Al Gore had campaigned in 2000 that he was going to massively reorganize the federal government, making it much bigger and giving it sweeping new powers. The Weekly Standard would have had a field day, and yet, we ended up with a global war, the Department of Homeland Security, the USA Patriot Act, and the systematic subversion of science by government authorities.

To this day, however, we still haven't gotten true leadership on some of the most pressing dangers we face.

so far, roomie's aok

Let me count the ways...
1) packs like I do; cram everything in the car, as a last resort, use trash bags
2) I pick up the laptop and hear "you're taking the good stuff in"
3) has about the same amount of bath stuff as Adrian
4) didn't know arrival time until essentially arrived
5) hmm, I had more stuff, but now I'm tired and seem to have forgotten them...oh well, I'll probably wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it

Speaking of housing, we're not that much farther from the Gulf Coast than Houston or Atlanta, and we do happen to have a loft that we just use for storage and games, so if you, or someone you know (or even someone you don't know) needs some transitional housing (as in, transitioning from a house that used to be there to a house that actually is there) let me know.

For the record, I had this idea before this website.