Coming Out of Left Field

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Pat's pabulum

A few years back, Pat Robertson once warned citizens of Orlando, Florida that displaying gay pride flags would make their city more prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, and other catastrophes. To most people, this claim will appear simple-minded if not downright preposterous. However, there are scientifically-minded bigots out there (it takes all kinds) who won't change their beliefs until they have some hard data.

Fortunately, a writer named Janis Walworth came up with the perfect rebuttal (with footnotes and everything):

Do unnatural acts cause natural disasters?

This might explain why Massachusetts, even after same-sex marriage became legal, is still standing ... and why, every time I've been to P-town, it's been a bright sunny day.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

A picture paints 1,000 words

Got this by e-mail:

The photo below is a composite of American soldiers who have died in Iraq over the last year.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Or in this case, hundreds of lives. And growing daily.

Please consider forwarding this note to eligible voters.



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Monday, September 27, 2004

Just when I thought that I was out ...

As the Red Sox play their final games, I'm promising myself one thing.

I will not get too excited. I will not get sucked in.

Wor --

No no no, none of that. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. The Sox haven't even clinched the wild card yet. They've collapsed before, they could do it again.

World --

Sssssh! What are you trying to do, jinx them? That's the last thing they need. Every other time they've been pressured, they choke. Remember '86? You still hurt from that, and you weren't even there at the time. As for last year, Aaron Boone's still a household swear word.

World Ser --

No. I won't. I will not. It's not worth the pain, the aggravation, the heartbreak, just to see yet another defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. Nope, enough is enough.

...

...


Oh, what the hell. You just can't keep a Sox fan down.

World Series, here we come!

Update, 9/28: the Sox clinched at least a wild-card spot last night by beating the Devil Rays. Maybe this will be the year after all. :)

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Thursday, September 23, 2004

Medical marvel

I know science's come a long way since leeches and lobotomies, but this is just amazing. *wink*

Neatest Trick of the Week (The New Yorker):

From the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press.

Community medical School Classes, 6-7 p.m. Tuesdays through April, Carpenter Auditorium, Given Medical Building, UVM. Tuesday, "Can a Damaged Lunch Be Repaired? How Adult Stem Cells Might Help."

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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Vote for me!

Today my blog is one year old, and I'm celebrating its birthday with a campaign announcement: I, soxfan, will be running for vice president on the Sloth ticket. In partnership with my running mate, taurusmoon, I pledge to run a relaxed campaign, with no unnecessary waste of time or energy.

OK, so I'm running for vice president of Easily Addictive, not the U.S. If I were ambitious, I'd say you have to start somewhere. Since I'm merely lazy, I'll just say that being VP of EA would be much less work and much more fun. So don't sweat it -- vote Sloth.

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Student stumbles

Three weeks of film production class have reminded me of two things:

1. I am not naturally adept with mechanical thingamabobby whatchamacallits.
2. I can't draw anything more complicated than a stick figure.

Fortunately, the mechanical stuff should come with practice, lots and lots of it. I need to find a nice, numbered diagram of the camera (this Arriflex manual looks like it might do the trick) and memorize what every little lever, button and knob does. Part of me wonders whether I should order an extra spool or two of film so I can practice loading and unloading without ruining project footage.

As for the drawing stuff, the professor assured us he isn't expecting Rembrandts; what's most important is that someone else can look at the storyboards and understand what's depicted in terms of angle, motion, etc. The jury's still out on mine ...

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Top ten list

I didn't get to see John Kerry's appearance on Letterman last night (my bedtime's much earlier than it used to be), but I did come across Kerry's "Top 10 Bush Tax Proposals". Here they are, in case anyone else missed hearing them too:

10. No estate tax for families with at least two U.S. presidents.

9. W-2 Form is now Dubya-2 Form.

8. Under the simplified tax code, your refund check goes directly to Halliburton.

7. The reduced earned income tax credit is so unfair, it just makes me want to tear out my lustrous, finely groomed hair.

6. Attorney General (John) Ashcroft gets to write off the entire U.S. Constitution.

5. Texas Rangers can take a business loss for trading Sammy Sosa.

4. Eliminate all income taxes; just ask Teresa (Heinz Kerry) to cover the whole damn thing.

3. Cheney can claim Bush as a dependent.

2. Hundred-dollar penalty if you pronounce it "nuclear" instead of "nucular."

1. George W. Bush gets a deduction for mortgaging our entire future.

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Monday, September 20, 2004

Ouch

Merriam-Webster's definition of ugly:

1 : FRIGHTFUL, DIRE
2 a : offensive to the sight : HIDEOUS b : offensive or unpleasant to any sense
3 : morally offensive or objectionable
4 a : likely to cause inconvenience or discomfort b : SURLY, QUARRELSOME

My definition of ugly:

5 a: Yankees 14, Red Sox 4 b: Yankees 11, Red Sox 1

Or maybe they're already covered by the "frightful" and "hideous" categories. Sigh.

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Friday, September 17, 2004

So that's where they were

Got this in an e-mail from the Democrats' Women's Vote Center:

"John Kerry criticized President Bush for not renewing the ban on assault weapons. Well, you can understand why President Bush doesn't want to renew the ban. These are the first weapons of mass destruction that he's been able to find."
Jay Leno, "Tonight Show" (NBC), 9/13/04

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Red Sox hair humor

"...the Sox even have a Jesus action figure playing center field..."
Dan Shaughnessy, The Boston Globe, 9/12/2004

"Wigged out: Damon admits he's actually bald"
TSN joke sports ticker, The Sporting News, 9/20/2004

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Thursday, September 16, 2004

Watery geography

If a friend's "postcard" is any indication, it's time to update U.S. maps:



Seriously, if you're anywhere near the hurricane zone, stay safe. If you want to help, give to the American Red Cross disaster relief fund. Money comes in handier than food, which can spoil, or clothes, which might not fit, but local relief drives may request specific items too.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Attention all college students!

Over 1,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq, and over 7,000 have been injured. "Mission Accomplished" has turned into "Mission Impossible", yet Bush and his aides show no sign of seeing the light. In fact, they keep sending people over there -- many of them college age, some even younger.

If you want to protect Bush's lack of a plan for Iraq, please sign Moveon.org's letter to Bush. They're trying to collect 50,000 signatures in the next five days; the letter and signature count get published in the New York Times, and each signature triggers a $5 donation to the MoveOn Voter Fund. So please sign -- and then register to vote.

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Yogi's quotes

One of my favorite TV ads is the AFLAC spot with Yogi Berra, whose absurd comments ("And then they give you cash, which is just as good as money") manage to flabbergast the previously unflappable duck. Other gems of his, from Things People Said:

"This is like deja vu all over again."

"Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded."

(When asked for the time) "Do you mean now?"

"If you come to a fork in the road, take it."

"I didn't really say everything I said."

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Monday, September 13, 2004

Primary pick

Massachusetts is holding state primaries tomorrow. Even though his campaign has deluged me with various print materials (it's annoying to get six copies of the same flyer), I'm voting for Carl Sciortino anyway.

NARAL actually sent me a letter endorsing Sciortino's opponent: the incumbent, Vincent Ciampa, who (according to them) had consistently supported a woman's right to choose. Yet, the same guy, by voting for all of the anti-gay marriage amendments, would allow a woman to get legally married only if her spouse was a man. That doesn't sound like much of a choice to me (nothing against guys) -- and neither does Ciampa.

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Cafe complaint

Dear Renee's in Somerville,

Some small requests for the next time I come for brunch:

1. When I sit down, please come take my beverage order within five minutes. If you can't do that, please don't come to the table, ask for my meal order, then tell me that you can't take my meal order unless I've ordered a beverage first from someone else. If you make me order my beverage from someone else, please don't let me see you pouring coffee for another party.

2. If you have eggs Benedict on the menu, please use real hollandaise sauce.

3. If you can't avoid using fake hollandaise sauce on your eggs Benedict, please at least bring the food within an hour of my sitting down.

4. If you absolutely must take an hour to bring our order, please make sure the food's hot when it gets there.

5. If you can't conceive of any way to deliver hot, reasonably tasty food in a reasonable amount of time, please expect to get an unreasonably small tip -- and do *not* expect a return visit.

Regards,

An unhappy customer

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Friday, September 10, 2004

GOP in ER

If you think anti-Kerry critics have been coming out of the woodwork, you're not alone. As the Onion points out, all the distortions and contortions must hurt:

Hundreds of Republicans injured in rush to discredit Kerry

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Book borrowing website

I had no idea until today, but there's a Netflix-like site for books:

Booksfree.com

It's very tempting, but I think I'll hold off joining for now. There are tons of unread titles lurking in my shelves, so I feel obligated to read those first. (For some strange reason, more keep appearing all the time, too.) The other thing is that I used to have Netflix, but cancelled because I couldn't find time to watch three flicks a month -- and even two books is more of a time commitment. Maybe someday (when I hit the lottery and can retire), I'll sign up for both, and spend the rest of my life reading and watching to my heart's content.

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Thursday, September 09, 2004

Red Sox quote of the day

"It's the first time I ever looked in the mirror and was glad I was bald."
- Boston manager Terry Francona, commenting about Bronson Arroyo's blond cornrows (They're letting their hair down, Boston Globe, 9/9/04).

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Donations drive

There's no baseball this weekend at Fenway, but there will be bloodmobiles. On Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the ballpark will host its second annual community blood drive. If you want to observe September 11 in a way that helps others, stop on by and give a pint.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Candlelight vigils

More than 1,000 American soldiers have now died in Iraq. To honor them, please try to attend one of the many candlelight vigils taking place tomorrow, Thursday, September 9, at 8 p.m. If you can't go to one of the ones listed, you can organize your own, or light a candle wherever you are.

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Creation anecdote

A friend sent this along:

Once upon a time, God was missing for six days.

Eventually, Michael, the archangel, found him, resting on the seventh day.

He inquired of God, "Where have you been?"

God sighed a deep sigh of satisfaction, and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds. "Look, Michael. Look what I've made."

Archangel Michael looked puzzled, and said, "What is it?"

"It's a planet," replied God, "and I've put Life on it. I'm going to call it Earth and it's going to be a great place of balance."

"Balance?" inquired Michael, still confused.

God explained, pointing to different parts of earth. "For example, northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth, while southern Europe is going to be poor.

Over there I've placed a continent of white people, and over there is a continent of black people. Balance in all things."

God continued pointing to different countries. "This one will be extremely hot, while this one will be very cold and covered in ice."

The Archangel, impressed by God's work, then pointed to a land mass and said, "What's that one?"

"Ah," said God. "That's Washington State, the most glorious place on earth. There are beautiful streams, hills, and forests. The people from Washington State are going to be handsome, modest, intelligent and humorous, and they are going to be found traveling the world. They will be extremely sociable, hardworking, high achieving, and they will be known throughout the world as diplomats, and carriers of peace."

Michael gasped in wonder and admiration, but then proclaimed, "What about balance, God? You said there would be balance."

God smiled, "There is another Washington ... wait until you see the idiots I put there."

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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Whew

The other day, I drove a car, and managed to end up with the same number of limbs I started out with. This isn't a big deal to most people, but it's quite an accomplishment if either of two things is true:

1. You haven't driven any sort of vehicle in over a decade.
2. Being a Taurus, you prefer, literally as well as figuratively, to keep your feet on solid ground.

Since both those apply to me, I was very, very apprehensive about taking the driver's seat. Fortunately, I have an extremely encouraging, patient and trusting wife with a smallish car, and the dirt road I practiced on, though bordered by trees, was clear of people, other cars, animals, or any other sizable moving objects.

I did two slow, careful loops before calling it a day. Eventually I hope to work my way up to an empty parking lot, and if I'm lucky I may even make it onto a highway before another decade rolls around.

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A parody from Barry

Dave Barry doesn't have enough to do. Between writing columns for The Miami Herald and running for president, he's found time to start his very own conspiracy novel:

"The Da Vinci Code", uncracked

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Closeted Republican

No, not me -- our Commander in Chief. At least, according to this very tongue-in-cheek piece in the New Yorker ("Shouts and Murmurs" column):

Running mates

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Saturday, September 04, 2004

Damn. Damn, damn, damn.

Guess it had to end sometime:

Rangers 8, Red Sox 6

At least the Yanks lost too. Plus, Kevin Brown's going on the DL (taking his 10-4 record with him), after punching a wall. Stupidity, indeed.

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Friday, September 03, 2004

Prophesying demise

People have told me I need to get out more, but never as forcefully as this:

What Death is in store for you?
Don't Trip
You will be smothered under a rug. You're a little
anti-social, and may want to start gaining new
social skills by making prank phone calls.


What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
brought to you by Quizilla

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Thursday, September 02, 2004

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I don't understand my Muse. Ask her politely for a book review, and she stalls. Press her for a school paper, and she freezes. But stick her in a black comedy class and force-feed her with RNC news, and she suddenly gets creative. Go figure:

Bush headed to Iraq – as soldier?

By Ima Hawke, 9/3/04

New York (AP) – In a surprising turn of events, President George Bush announced last night that he plans to volunteer for military service in Iraq.

The impromptu declaration came during Bush’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. The president was in the middle of reading his prepared speech when, in front of thousands of delegates, he suddenly put down his papers and stated his intentions.

“You know what? I’m sick of hearing Democrats complaining about Iraq,” Bush said. “You know what they’ve been saying. That we have no business being there, that we don’t know what we’re doing, that we’ve actually made things worse. OK, so it hasn’t been a walk in the park, but America is a great country, and we’re going to turn things around.”

“We’re doing it here,” Bush continued, as the crowd cheered, “and we’ll do it there too. I believe that. I’m confident we can help Iraq along the road to full democracy, and to make life safer for them and for the whole world. In fact, I’m so confident that tomorrow morning, I’m going to go to the nearest military recruiter and sign up!”

"Bush on the warpath", continued (on Epinions.com)

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Taking a hit for the team

Many folks have tried to lift the Curse of the Bambino. One required a little dive, another a little climb. Most of them, though, probably didn't hurt as much as this:

Taking teeth out of curse? Teen hit by Ramirez foul ball lives in Babe Ruth's former house

Thanks to Fenway staff and doctors at Brigham and Women's, no permanent damage was done. If there is any Curse-reversing karma from this, I hope it lasts beyond the regular season. Two root canals is enough for anybody.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

School scam

I think the folks at the school bookstore majored in new math. How else to explain my buying several books for $30 and selling them back for five bucks and change? Sure, the books were used (though I didn't highlight them at all), and yes, they need to make a profit. But a 600% markup seems a bit extreme, especially for books that are a) only used in the one class and b) depressing as hell. At least I cleared some space off my shelves, which I hope to fill up with some cheaper, happier titles.

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