Sunday, January 27, 2008

Don't Say I Didn't Warn You

This clip, while highly entertaining, has tremendous capacity for bodily damage if watched incorrectly. So here are some ground rules:
  • Do not eat or drink anything while watching. The probability of choking or snorting liquids through your nose is quite high.
  • Make sure your bladder is as empty as possible prior to viewing. I missed this step myself, which resulted in lots of embarrassment and extra laundry duty.
  • Don't view this clip in the company of anyone who enjoys Fox News. Your inevitable amusement just might push them over the edge.
I think that will suffice. So, here is Keith Olbermann's Worst Persons segment from this past Friday, January 25th:

Saturday Six

I don't know why, but I thought I'd give the Saturday Six from Patrick's Place a shot this week...

Here are this week’s “Saturday Six” questions. Either answer the questions in a comment here, or put the answers in an entry on your journal…but either way, leave a link to your journal so that everyone else can visit! To be counted as “first to play,” you must be the first player to either answer the questions in a comment or to provide a complete link to the specific entry in your journal in which you answer the questions. A link to your journal in general cannot count. Enjoy!

1. You go to a restaurant and order alcohol: based on past experience, how likely are you to be carded? (Are you of legal drinking age?)

Not very likely. I do still get carded at the grocery occasionally, though. And yes, I am well above the legal drinking age.

2. You’re selecting a new physician and you learn that the doctor you are visiting is in his twenties: would you feel any less confident about his ability?

Not at all. In my experience, younger doctors are more likely to really listen to what patients have to say & go the extra mile to treat them. I might have to call him Doogie, though.

3. One must be 35 years old or older to run for president. Based on arguments about experience, should the age be increased to 45? Why or why not?

No... I've always felt that the random Constitutional age requirements were arbitrary and a bit silly. There should be a mandatory IQ test instead - like a Presidential SAT.

4. Take the quiz: What age do you act?

You Act Like You Are 27 Years Old

You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel like an adult, and you're optimistic about life.
You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

You're still figuring out your place in the world and how you want your life to shape up.
The world is full of possibilities, and you can't wait to explore many of them.

5. When you were in high school, what age, in your opinion, qualified someone as being “old?”

Oh, probably retirement age, which at that point was around 55.

6. Do you find yourself better relating to people older than you or younger than you? (Sorry, your same age group isn’t an option in this one!)

It depends on the situation. Physically, I definitely identify with people older than I am, due to all my medical issues. Psychologically, I often identify with younger people, since I don't have any kids or a career.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I'm SO Tagged!

I've been sorta lurking around my usual haunts in the blogosphere for the past few days, catching up on everyone's recent posts and trying to get myself back into the flow. I keep wanting to jump back in, but I just haven't felt really inspired to say a whole lot. Not too surprising, I suppose. I think I'm still feeling a bit shell-shocked.

So I take it as a sign from above that my good friend Saoirse Daily2 tagged me on her blog today. I think maybe it's just the nudge I needed to get my act together...

Hopefully it will also get my creative juices flowing again, if only to a slow trickle.

So here are my answers:

1. Customer Service Representative (head teller) at a bank
2. Medical Records chart prep for a neurology practice
3. Flavored popcorn vendor at a local mall
4. Market research for a local radio station

1. Garden State
2. The Godfather (mostly 1 and 2, but sometimes 3)
3. Shaun of the Dead
4. Just Friends

1. Indianapolis, IN
2. Muncie, IN
3. Beech Grove, IN
4. Loehne, Germany (for, like, 3 weeks)

1. Scrubs
2. Flight of the Conchords
3. Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
4. The Colbert Report

1. Gatlinburg, TN
2. Munich, Germany
3. San Antonio, TX
4. Cleveland, OH

1. Laura
2. Ali
3. Cindy
4. Patty

1. Mu shu shrimp at Lotus Garden
2. Club sandwich
3. Fish & chips from Claddagh, with a Guinness
4. Sauerbraten with red cabbage

1. Anywhere with a beach, good weather & not too many nasty bugs
2. Bavaria
3. Ireland
4. Disney World

1. Taking a real vacation with Mark
2. Electing a REAL president this November! (knock wood...)
3. The end of the writers strike
4. Good health & happiness for everyone I know

1. Laura
2. Repressed One
3. Gidge
4. Effrenatus

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Select A Candidate

Sorry for my prolonged absence from the blogosphere... As you know, we had a death in the family recently, so things have been a bit more hectic than usual around here. I'm going to try to get back in the saddle over the next few days.

Warm thanks to all of you who expressed your sympathy for our loss & offered your support in our time of need. Please know that your kindness is greatly appreciated.

So, on to business... I came across this quiz on Patrick's Place, and thought it might be fun to post here. As usual, my answers matched me with Dennis Kucinich - which would be fine, if he had even a snowball's chance in hell of getting elected. *sigh*

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Jack Raymond: February 28, 1929 - January 10, 2008

As some of you already know, Mark's dad Jack passed away this morning from complications due to a massive heart attack. Jack was a warm, wonderful man who was always full of vitality and energy. When his heart attack struck him, he had just been driving home from one of his favorite activities: square dancing with his Seniors group.

Coincidentally, the local newspaper just recently recorded a short video report about the Square Dancing Seniors, which was posted on their website on Monday - just one day before Jack's fateful car accident/cardiac arrest. I wanted to share the video with all of you (for those of you who never had the pleasure of meeting Jack, he's the handsome, silvery-haired rapscallion in the light blue shirt):

Farewell, Jack... you will be greatly missed. And wherever you are now, I hope you're still dancing.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Political musings...

As the good people of New Hampshire file through their polling places to cast their votes today, I thought it would be an auspicious time to talk a bit about my take on the primary season so far...

Last week's Iowa caucuses were historic and inspiring, with a record turnout, especially for the Democrats. In the current climate of political cynicism, it was refreshing to see so many new and young voters turning out to support their candidates. On a personal note, I was glad (though not totally surprised) to see that ALL 3 qualifying Democratic candidates received more votes than any of the qualifying Republicans, reinforcing the feeling that any Democratic nominee will have a good chance at reaching the White House this year. Much was made of Hillary Clinton's 3rd place finish, but even she was several percentage points ahead of Republican winner Mike Huckabee.

Of course, the big story this week has been Barack Obama - both his Iowa win and the momentum he's gained as a result of it. Obama's Iowa victory was stunning not because it was a surprise (he had been the frontrunner in the polls for several weeks) but rather due to the margin by which he won. I think that, while Obama has picked up a lot of support over the months of his campaign, most pundits - and voters, for that matter - were not sure if this would translate into actual votes. It seems like everyone was hedging their bets, waiting to see if anyone else would dare cast their votes for him before they would publicly back him as a candidate. I know that's sort of how I've felt... Obama seems like a decent guy who shares many of my beliefs, and he certainly has the charisma and presence to be a contender. But all the scuttlebutt over the past year revolved around the theory that Hillary Clinton was the clear frontrunner whose nomination was almost inevitable. So, I felt, why get invested in a candidate who doesn't have a chance? I think a lot of others have felt this way, too, whether they want to admit it or not.

But after Iowa, the floodgates opened - suddenly, it's not so unreasonable to back Obama. And with each passing day, his poll numbers continue to rise. I don't believe this is because people all over the country are unduly influenced by the opinions of Iowa caucus voters. What Iowa did for Obama was prove that people in the heartland have heard his message and not only support it, but are also not afraid to vote for him, despite the fact that he is young, black and somewhat unproven. Now scores of closet Obama supporters are stepping out from the shadows to be counted.

As for myself, I'm still officially undecided, but I find the groundswell of support for Obama to be inspirational. Politically, my beliefs would probably align more closely with Dennis Kucinich, the former candidate Chris Dodd, or (lately) John Edwards. But Obama has been the most charismatic from the beginning, and I can't help but pull for him to some extent. My main concern with Obama has nothing to do with his age, color, background, or lack of experience. No, what bothers me is that his actions don't always seem to match the rhetoric. He talks a lot about change, but I haven't seen much effort on his part to initiate that change. He's against the war, but has voted to fund it (a tough political spot to be in during a presidential campaign, admittedly).

But I would have no problem casting my vote for Barack Obama as president... Of course, I would have no problem voting for any of the other remaining Democratic candidates, either. This may have something to do with why I'm still undecided... Any of them would be so-o-o-o-o much better than what we've had for the past 7 years that it's hard for me to quibble over small platform differences.

The only one I can't get really excited about is Hillary Clinton, which is a shame. I think it would be cool to have a woman as president. But of all the Democratic candidates, she is the one that worries me most. Primarily, I'm concerned that she would be less than supportive of rolling back the unconstitutional powers that have been ceded to the Executive branch by the Patriot Act, which is a major issue for me. How can you be a Democrat and not stand up for civil liberties and basic rights like habeas corpus? That being said, I think Hillary Clinton has a lot of qualities necessary for a great American president, and I would certainly vote for her were she the chosen Democratic nominee.

In all honesty, I feel that most of the Republican candidates would be reasonably capable in the Oval Office, too - not that I would ever vote for any of them. But despite our differences in values, I feel that the majority of the Republicans have the potential to at least be effective executives - and any of them would be an improvement over Dubya (faint praise, at best). Not that I wouldn't still complain about them, as I have done about every previous Republican president in my lifetime (and a few before my lifetime, too!). But I don't think I'd be quite as worried about the future of our country - heck, of the entire planet - as I have been during the Bush/Cheney years.

I guess that may be the only positive legacy of the current administration: they really put things into perspective. I remember feeling frightened by the concept of Dan Quayle being only one heart attack away from the presidency.... Ha! Little did I know what depths of incompetency were yet to come. I used to think Ronald Reagan was evil, but now he just seems like a big, fuzzy puppy dog. Nixon? A bad apple, sure, but no longer the anti-Christ. He almost seems like an amateur compared to Dick Cheney... Once again, I guess the apprentice surpasses the master.

Puppet Theatre, January 7, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, break out the popcorn! It's time for the latest installment of Bill O'Reilly Puppet Theatre (clip courtesy of Crooks and Liars):

I just love good theater, don't you?!

Monday, January 7, 2008

I've been saying this for years...

What political ideology do you have?
Your Result: Democratic Socialist

You are the standard European socialist who believes that the government should spend large amounts of money on social welfare programs. You also believe that these social welfare programs are mandated by the people who vote in your ideal democratic government

Authoritarian Capitalist
What political ideology do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

We're Famous!

My good ol' home state of Indiana made it onto Crooks and Liars today... I'm so proud.

For those of you who haven't heard, a few years ago our duly elected legislators, in their infinite wisdom, decided to pass the strictest voter ID law in the country. Of course, it has been challenged, but so far every court has upheld the law, despite evidence that it has already disenfranchised a number of indigent, elderly &/or disabled voters. Let freedom ring.

The issue is due to come before the Supreme Court this year, but considering the current balance of the court, I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Typing Test

59 words

Learn Touchtyping

Not too shabby... I was actually pretty impressed with myself here. Of course, if I tried to type like that for more than 60 seconds at a time, I'm sure my arms would just fall off at the elbows... ;>)

Still, it's nice to see that I haven't lost all my skills yet!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Official 2007 Christmas Play

Here's some video of my precious niece & nephew, who decided to put on an impromptu Christmas play for us after our annual holiday extravaganza this past Saturday.

There's not a lot of character development, and the story has some plot holes, but darn it if those kids aren't cute!