Saturday, December 30, 2006

Weird websearch of the day

CHRISTOPHER MELONI looks like bert from sesami street
It's still very early in the day, but I think this one will hold up. And this blog was first on Google's list.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Three things I learned going to Christmas dinner at my wife's cousins' in Connecticut:

  • It is very expensive to rent a car for Christmas...and almost all the rental locations in Manhattan are closed on Christmas day.
  • They charge $4.95 extra to buy a $25 American Express gift card in the supermarket.
  • It is possible to gain five pounds in a single day.

Plat du jour

Found on a plumbing company truck.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Five things

Helen Boyd tagged me for the "Five Things You Don’t Know About Me" meme. Of course, the answers really depend on who "you" is, as she pointed out. But very few people know these things about me.
  1. I was skinny until I was seven years old. Then I discovered food was good.
  2. I earned eleven merit badges when I was Boy Scout.
  3. I have never had a stitch in my body.
  4. The middle toe on my left foot is shorter than it should be.
  5. I hate peanut butter.
Pretty boring, huh?

Plat du jour

A bridge player? Or maybe backgammon?

Not even if you have your lights and siren on

LA Firetruck Collides With Train
Lesson to firefighters: you don't have the right of way over a train.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Another '60s rocker dies

Denis Payton, of the Dave Clark Five, has died. The DC5 was one of the earliest groups in the "British Invasion," arriving in the U.S. shortly after the Beatles in 1964. It was one of my favorites back then--though their music never progressed the way the Beatles' or the Rolling Stones' did. Just recently the band was chosen to be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.

Payton's death makes me sad, even beyond the loss of someone who helped me learn to like rock 'n' roll. He died of cancer at 63--just the same as my father. And it won't be that long before I'm 63. It's a bit scary, actually.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bravo American Express!

A while back I posted an article about how I was getting an American Express Blue Cash card to replace my Discover. I was hoping that I'd no longer be getting so many calls from the fraud prevention department when I just used my card in my normal manner. My hopes have been realized. In fact, I haven't gotten a single call from American Express about my usage. It's wonderful!

But I have had one concern about my new card. My credit limit was lower--only 71% of my Discover limit. This could be a problem: I have about 7.5 weeks' charges outstanding when I usually pay my bill (electronically, always in full), two business days before it's due. I knew I had been using it a lot lately, so I went online to check my balance. Sure enough, I had used up well over half my limit, and there were still two weeks to go before I had to pay my bill. It was probably OK, but I didn't want to take a chance on going over--so I figured I'd make a partial payment now.

Then I noticed a link on the screen: "Request a credit increase." I went there, and they asked only two things: What limit did I want, and what is my household income. I asked for a 50% increase (making it a bit higher than I had with Discover), and put in the income figure (actually, I had to go and check my tax return, and adjusted it to only include the money we'll be getting in the future--there were some large non-recurring items last year). Then I hit enter, and got a confirmation page. The figures were what I wanted, so I clicked the submit button.

I expected to get a message saying they'd consider it and let me know. Instead, they said my request was approved, and my new limit would be available for use within 15 minutes! Now that's good service.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

Plat du jour

Three great skates? Why three? Is the extra one a right or a left? Probably a left--two left feet.

A still icky websearch

Last May someone reached my blog searching for "thick tushy blog." I was way down the list, fortunately. Now someone in Germany found me with tushy blog. Now I'm up to fourth on the list. Oy.

But I guess it's my own fault for blogging about it.

Yet more spam

Wednesday I got 139 spam messages. But things are slowing down. They may not even break 100 for yesterday.

Plat du jour


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More spam

The spammers did not rest on their laurels. Yesterday the count was 119. Only one was not caught by my spam filter.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Plat du jour

With whom?

At last some sanity about Christmas trees

They're putting the Christmas trees back up in the Seattle airport. The airport took them down after a rabbi requested they also put up a Chanukah menorah. The airport officials decided that they would have to put up symbols for all religions, which their staff didn't have time for. Instead, they took down the trees.

Of course, many people were outraged. A lot were angry at the rabbi, but he never asked for the trees to be taken down. All he wanted was that a menorah be added. Now the rabbi has agreed not to sue, and the trees will be returned. They will work on a real policy for next year.

I'm not exactly a big fan of religion, atheist that I am. But let's be sensible. Most Americans celebrate something this time of year. The courts have ruled that government has to be neutral when it comes to religion, not completely secular. It's not that difficult to put up seasonal decorations that recognize all religions, without violating the Constitution. I'm glad some people out in Seattle have decided to act reasonably.

A record day for the spammers

Yesterday I received 105 spam e-mails in my main e-mail account--the first time it went over 100 in a day. But not one of them made it past my home-made spam filter into my inbox. They've gotten extremely predictable.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Plat du jour

I like sangria, too.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I can't win

Just when I managed to free up a full day tomorrow, so I can really attack my to-do list, I have to go to a funeral.

Plat du jour

Who bought us?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Question of the day (or even longer)

Why can't I ever get to the end of my to-do list?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Plat du jour

Very patriotic!

Clayelle in the flesh

I get a lot of people reaching this blog doing searches for Clayelle Dalferes, the sultry-voiced announcer on WQXR, NYC's classical radio station. Some are searching for photos of her. But there aren't any on the internet, save for the baby picture she uses on her bio page on the WQXR site. As I said previously, she is a mystery woman, at least visually.

Well now apparently there is a way to see what Clayelle looks like. She and some of the other WQXR announcers are going to be reading Dickens' A Christmas Carol at the Strand Bookstore on December 16.

I suggest getting there early if you want to get a seat.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I guess they don't have any transsexuals in Kansas

5PM Patient: Hey! It's Damn Cold In This Paper Gown

Physician: What can you tell me about this X-ray?
Student: It's a male pelvis with two fractures.
Physician: It's shaped like a male pelvis, but it's not.
Student: How can you tell?
Physician: The lack of a penis outline on the X-ray helps.

Emergency Room, University of Kansas Hospital
Kansas City, Kansas

Overheard by: Stifling the Laugh

via Overheard in the Office, Dec 1, 2006

Friday, December 01, 2006

Did Continental Airlines kill my mother?

The Associated Press is running a little article, Firms Troubled by Sick People in Office, citing a survey that shows 56% of US businesses have a problem with "presenteeism:" employees who show up for work even when they are sick. The employees are unproductive, their illnesses get worse, leading to increased healthcare costs, and they transmit their diseases to other employees.

Even worse, they transmit their diseases to the firms' customers. I try to avoid flying on Continental Airlines whenever possible, because of its Perfect Attendance Program. They trumpet it in their Annual Report. Among other incentives to come into work sick, Continental employees who have no absences are entered into a drawing for a Ford Explorer. Just what I don't want: to be sealed into an airplane with sick people. It's even worse that I might be getting my drinks and snacks from sick crew-members trying to win a car.

My mother flew Continental when she visited me in October. Four days later she had pneumonia, and died shortly after that. Did Continental kill my mother?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thanks, Google!

Google lists my glob as 12th when you search for kickass blog.

Talking back at the headlines

"Top News" headlines from the Associated Press at 3:12am:

Bush, al-Maliki Agree Not to Divide Iraq
Some other people may have a say in this.

Panel Reaches Deal on U.S.-Iraq Policy
A deal only among themselves. It will be politely ignored by Bush.

Radiation Found on 2 Jets in Spy Probe
2 jets? This is getting worse and worse.

7M in U.S. Jails, on Probation or Parole
We're not going to solve the drug problem in this country just by locking everyone up.

Preacher Arrested in Alleged Murder Plot
Doesn't the Ten Commandments have something to say about murder?

Army Scammed Into Buying Golf Balls
Are people so stupid they think this kind of stuff won't be noticed eventually?

Killer Whale Attacks Trainer at SeaWorld
So? It's a killer whale. The guy was lucky.

Ford Says 38,000 Accepted Buyout Offers
That's an awful lot of people. I wonder where the ones who aren't retiring will find jobs, even with the education benefits.

Spam: NOT back to normal

I thought my spam count was getting back to normal. I shouldn't have opened my big mouth. Yesterday I got 88--the most for any day in the last two weeks.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Plat du jour


Male utilities?

Man Shoots Doe With Rack of Antlers
MICHIGAN, N.D. (AP) - When Carmen Erickson dropped a deer with a single shot in a cattail slough south of here, he thought he'd downed a nice buck. Unlike his shot, he was a little off. The deer was a doe.

"It's got no male utilities," said Erickson, who lives in Minot. "It has teats ... it was pretty unusual."

Six hunting partners with Erickson witnessed the doe with a 4-by-4 rack.

"I'm sure this story will be around for 10 years," he said. "At least in our group."

Erickson notified the state Game and Fish Department and received a voice mail from a biologist who said these types of deer often are bucks whose testicles haven't descended or for some reason are castrated. Erickson said that is not the case with his deer, however.

"We couldn't find any male genitals on the deer," he said.

"We turned it over, and I got a lot of heat over that. Like I was supposed to know," Erickson joked.

Gary Rankin, district game warden in Larimore, said he has seen a couple of antlered does over the years, but for a doe to have a well-developed rack is unusual.

It is not the first antlered doe to be reported in the region this year. A conservation officer for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported seeing a 10-point antlered doe shot near Robbin, Minn., during that state's firearms deer season. DNR conservation officers in other parts of Minnesota also reported a handful of antlered does.

Erickson said the antlered doe is a first for his crew, which has been hunting together for 25 years.

"It definitely was a keeper, he said.

Spam back to normal?

After another week of high spam count (average: 68/day), with 82 two days ago, suddenly the count went back down to 45 yesterday--little more than normal. So far today it still seems to be continuing at a normal level.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Plat du jour

An angry Yankees fan?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Questions of the day

Why is it that the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League is in the East Division, and the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League is in the Pacific Division?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

Another good blog to read

A few days ago I stumbled upon Paul Soglin: Waxing America. Paul was a fellow student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School, and was also on the Madison city council. Before he was elected he had a part-time job driving the airport limousine, and continued at that for a while--a couple of times I had the honor of a Madison council-member helping me with my luggage. He was first elected mayor right about the time I left Madison. I last saw him here in New York at a fundraiser for his campaign for Congress--an election he lost, alas.

Paul's blog is left-leaning, well-written and rant-free, a combination I have come across all too seldom. I'm adding it to my "things-to-read" list.

How I stumbled upon it is a bit curious. Somebody did a search for "crossdress columbus ohio restaurant." Paul's blog was 49th on the list. Mine was down at 63rd.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Plat du jour

Pretty soon--it's really getting cold out there.

Spam, spam, spam

The spammers have really been working overtime lately. For quite a while I was averaging about 40 a day on my main e-mail address. Suddenly this has jumped up to the high 60's. The most curious ones are the messages that seem to be using random phrases from the Bible as the subject. I have no idea what they actually say, though, because I never open them.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Talking back at the headlines

The headlines from the Associated Press "Top News," as of 22:55 ET.

At Least 112 Die in Attacks Across Iraq
It's a civil war. A lot more will die.

Bush Opens Stock Exchange in Vietnam
and all of the stocks immediately went down.

Kissinger: Iraq Military Win Impossible
I guess he learned something from Vietnam.

House Democrat Wants Draft Reinstated
Fat chance.

British Police Probe Ex-Spy's Poisoning
Is this the synopsis of the next Mystery! show on PBS?

More College Heads Earning $50G or More
That should be $500G.

Mass. Governor Wants Gay Wedding Vote
People shouldn't be voting on human rights.

'Never-Ending Kiss' Caps TomKat Wedding
It's really sad people are so interested in this.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Friday, November 17, 2006

Living with...raccoons

I've posted many links to articles about bears invading human habitats. I even posted one about a moose. Now we have: Raccoons Invade California Enclave.

I actually saw a raccoon in front of my apartment building here in Manhattan last year. Once it was in the tiny garden we have, and a day or two later it was up in a tree across the street. It must have come from Central Park--I have seen a couple of them there. I wonder how it managed to get across Fifth Avenue. Well, I suppose it could have waited for the light to change.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The funeral, etc.

I spent the day going through my mail, both e- and snail. There's still a fair amount of snail, which I probably won't get to until Friday--I'm going to a Social of the LGBT Law Assn. tomorrow.

I've also been thinking a bit about what happened in Cleveland. My mom's funeral (Sunday) went well. My brother had arranged things with the funeral home just fine. Roughly 40-50 people were there, not including the 5 of us. A few came to express their condolences before the service--mainly those who would not be coming to the house afterwards. The rabbi did a rather good job of summing up her life, based solely on one conversation with my brother. The whole thing lasted maybe 20 minutes (the funeral home later sent over a CD with a recording of it, but I'm really not ready to listen to it again at this point). I cried a lot.

Then we drove over to the cemetery, maybe 10 minutes away. Interestingly, it's only three blocks from the house my mom grew up in. There was a brief ceremony in the mausoleum rotunda, or whatever it's called, with a recitation of the Kaddish. They didn't take the casket downstairs to the actual vault, because the elevator was out of order. The family did go down there afterwards, though. The double vault was covered by a little curtain. The cemetery had removed the marble cover and sent it out to have my mom's name added. We peeked inside, and saw my father's side covered with a piece of styrofoam, with his name scrawled on it. We laughed about that.

This was the first time I had been there since my father's funeral, nearly 25 years ago. I wonder if I'll ever be back--I know some people do like to visit their deceased relatives in the cemetery, but I'm not one of them. Maybe I got that from mom. The only time she went there was to attend funerals. She would stay afterwards to visit my dad and her parents, who are also buried there, but she never made a special trip.

After a few minutes there, we got back into the limousine and they took us home. We sat at the dining table and ate lunch. The rest of the afternoon, into the evening, we talked with the people who came to help us get through the mourning period. But it wasn't particularly somber. The Browns' game quietly played on the TV in the corner. (They actually won!) There was a lot of reminiscing about happy times with mom. A lot of people did express their surprise at the suddenness of her death--they all said things like, "I just saw her 4 weeks ago, and she was fine." But no one was surprised that she had refused medical treatment that might have given her body the time to fight off the infection. They knew how stubborn she was--and how much she did not want to be an invalid, dependent on other people, much less dependent on life support machines. She wanted no part of a breathing tube that might, or might not, be temporary.

Monday we just had visits from a couple who were unable to come to the funeral, and one repeater from Sunday. I took the time to gather a few old things of mine that I wanted to keep, including my high school yearbook and the stuffed bear that was given to me when I was born. It still growls when you turn it over, if only weakly.

Tuesday morning my siblings and I went out to the lawyer's office to set things up for handling the estate. I'm not the executor, so my direct role will be pretty small. I will have to wind up the trust from my father's estate, where I'm the trustee.

I think I'm in pretty good shape now about mom's death. But I wasn't as close to her as my siblings, or my sister-in-law for that matter. I talked to her every couple of weeks, and saw her for a few days two or three times a year. I always knew she was there for me, but she never wanted to intrude in my life--particularly after I got married. She spent more time with my sister and sister-in-law, both on the phone and in person. I know her death has really shaken them up. And as for my brother, he lived with her for the large part of his life, save for his 20's. Then for nearly 25 years it was just the two of them in the house. Now he'll be alone. I hope he'll be OK.

I'm back in NY

I'm back in New York City. I actually got back early Tuesday evening--the plane was delayed only slightly. I've been slogging through dozens of e-mails since then--and that doesn't count the hundreds in my spam folder, which I had to check for false positives. There were two.

I'm very tired. Last night I didn't sleep much, for some reason, and I had to get up early to go and see the lawyer with my siblings. Tomorrow I'll start on the big pile of snail-mail.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Things are moving along

The five of us (three children, two daughters-in-law) have gathered at our old house (where my brother lived with my mom). Calls keep coming in, as are food deliveries, chairs from the funeral home, etc. My sister and sister-in-law took some clothes there for mom, and made the official identification. Cousins are on their way.

We keep busy. It helps.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Change of location

I'm in Cleveland now. Mom's funeral will be Sunday. I'm actually in a hotel accessing the internet via the TV and a wireless keyboard of somewhat limited capabilities. (I have to make sue all of the ltters I type acually go in.) Hopefully I can realy post something frm my brother's computer tomorrow.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My mom didn't make it

My mom didn't make it. The pneumonia never was stopped, and maybe there was something else infecting her lung. I got a call from the doctor Wednesday morning, asking me to come in to discuss possible treatments, some of which she was refusing.

She went out her way, stubborn to the end. She wanted no tracheal tube, and when the heavy mask breathing assister became unbearable, she demanded it be taken off. The doctors said she might not last 24 hours without it, but she was quite clear in her decision, and we had to honor it. I called my siblings to tell them to come to NY as fast as possible.

A doctor did convince her to allow them to put the big mask thing on for 15 minutes, if things really got bad, and I think they did that about 9 pm, but it wasn't enough. Meanwhile my sister and sister-in-law arrived from Massachusetts. My wife and I took a little break, but they soon called us back to the hospital. My brother arrived from Cleveland in time for my mother's last few waking moments.

They made her as comfortable as possible, and she stopped breathing at 3a.m., with all her family around her.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Send Bush a message!

I've been rather preoccupied with my mother, but I'm still going to vote on the way to see her tomorrow. I did do a post on 52 reasons NOT to re-elect Republicans. There is a 53rd reason: we must bring an end to Bush the Lesser's war. If Congress doesn't change the direction we're going, in two years we will have even more troops in Iraq, and a lot more casualties--and the civil war there will go on regardless. Send Bush a message--enough!

Monday report

I think my mom is doing better. Though she still complains about how she feels, there is less of it. They are continuing the intravenous anti-biotics for a few more days, as the pneumonia is still present. There's still a problem of the heart arhythmia that they're watching.

The best part of the day, though, was when the physical therapist came. She got my mom to walk around the foot of the bed, from one side to the other. It was slow, aided by her cane, and it did exhaust her--she took a nap after her little trip. But it was so good to see her up and moving.

My mom can't take most of the food they give her. Breakfast is OK, cereal, banana and cottage cheese. But most of the rest just turns her off. She ordered cottage cheese for dinner once, and what came was a cottage cheese salad that was way too dry. She just ate some of the vegatables accompanying it. They do give her a nutritional supplement drink especially formulated for diabetics. She likes that, particularly when they chill it first.

Tonight though, we solved the dinner problem. I went out and bought her a container of cottage cheese. She ate part of that, with the fruit cocktail that came with her otherwise untouched meal. I also got her some pudding and jello cups, but she was too full. I'll bring them back tomorrow.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday update

Mom's about the same. They finally moved her to the pulmonary unit 10 minutes after I left Friday night. The new room is quieter, but when she is sitting in the chair (where she's a little more comfortable) I have to borrow a another one from the visitors' lounge--there's only one in the room. I had to get her a little clock, as there's none in her half of the room.

I'll be going over to visit her in a little while--I just have to figure out how to get across the route of the NYC Marathon.

Futile websearches

My blog has been getting a number of visitors from people, probably men, searching for "kick testicles" or something containing that phrase. I got one for "women kick testicles" from Saudi Arabia.

Sorry, guys, you won't find anything about kicking testicles here.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Quick update on mom

Things are progressing slowly. Her heart has stabilized, so they are putting her back on her medicine for high blood pressure. The blood transfusion doesn't seem to have had much effect. They are going to be giving her nutritional supplements--though she did eat a fair amount of her dinner last evening. The portion was so big I might have had trouble finishing it.

At the moment, I don't know where she is exactly. Yesterday afternoon, they told her space in the pulmonary unit had opened up, and she could move down there if she wanted (and they might move her even if she didn't want it). Since her favorite nurse is off this weekend, she decided to transfer.

They said it could be as late as 7:30 that she would actually go. At 7:00 they said they were cleaning her new room. Then nothing. I asked and asked. I wanted to see where she would be, but at 11:00pm we were still waiting. I'm going to get on the phone now and try to find her.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Plat du jour

I found this after leaving the hospital last night. S/he must have quite a commute.

Thursday night/Friday morning report

Things are progressing pretty well with my mom. She is able to sleep better now, as her coughing has mostly stopped, and they switched her noisy roommate to a different room. The new one is much quieter--in fact she seems to sleep most of the time. My mom is much more cheerful.

The doctor said the IV anti-biotics would continue though the weekend, so my mom will definitely be in the hospital that long--not that I think she will be strong enough to leave for a while anyhow. They want her eating reasonably normally and walking before they will discharge her. Now she has no appetite, and only eats a fraction of her meals--though she says she does a good job on the cottage cheese and banana for breakfast. They gave her a unit of blood yesterday to help make up for this.

The biggest concern at this point is her heart. Her blood pressure is somewhat high, though the rate and oxygen levels are pretty good. It is the arhythmia that has been noted that has most of the doctors' attention. They said that fluid retention, as evidenced by the swelling of her feet and ankles, is not a large concern, unless it's in her lungs.

My meeting the NYCLA LGBT Issues Committee last night was postponed, so I didn't have to worry about that. My sister-in-law went back to Massachusetts, as she has to work today, but my sister is trying to arrange things so she can come down.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wednesday night/Thursday morning update

My mom is recovering slowly. All her medications seem to be working--though her blood pressure was somewhat high yesterday. It did go down a bit by mid-afternoon. Her blood-oxygen level also isn't quite what it should be. We are a little concerned about the swelling in her feet and ankles--she isn't walking yet. My sister-in-law and I will be talking to the doctor about that shortly.

Last night I was able to attend the board meeting of the LGBT Law Assn Foundation, of which I'm treasurer. I've got a meeting of the NY County Lawyers Assn LGBT Issues Committee this evening--I'll see if I'm able to go to that. My sister-in-law has to go back home this afternoon.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tuesday night/Wednesday morning report

My mother's getting stronger. Yesterday she sat up in a chair for 6 hours (only 2 hours the previous day), and was able to scoot herself up in bed by herself, which she hadn't been able to do by herself before. The new medications seem to be working well.

My sister-in-law got in. She's a much better care-giver than I am--she can anticipate my mom's needs much better, so she's proactive, whereas I'm mainly reactive. With her here I was able to take a little break yesterday evening for a small, late, Halloween observance (a weird "burlesque" show--which on Halloween at least is an excuse for young women to do a strip tease (more strip, less tease, for most of them), and pour fake blood on themselves). It was good to get out--I hadn't presented as a woman in over 2 weeks.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Monday night/Tuesday morning update

Things are progressing with mom. She's getting stronger day by day--strong enough at least to start complaining about things. There are some side effect/complications, but nothing major. A cardiologist has been called in to adjust her medication to regulate her heartbeat.

Meanwhile, my sister-in-law is coming in for a couple days. With her here I'll be able to spend a little less time in the hospital, and I think I'll be able to get out tonight for Halloween a bit.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday evening update

Mom's significantly better. She's stronger, they've given her solid food to eat, and she was sitting up in a chair for a while this afternoon.

She's still very sick, of course, and there are side effects of her treatment that that have to be monitored and managed. But she seems to be going in the right direction--which is a relief for me.

Sunday morning update

My mom's doing OK, but as the doctor explained, her immune system has basically taken over her body fighting the infection, leaving her little energy for anything else. So she feels exhausted. It doesn't help that her new roommate has Alzheimer's, and screams a lot, making it hard for my mom to sleep. They're trying to find some way of rearranging the rooms, but many of the patients there are similar to her roommate. The hospital is full, giving them few options.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Update on my mom

She's got pneumonia, a very bad case, according to the doctors. But it's responding to the antibiotics, so things are looking up. She's been able to eat a bit, and she finally is in a regular room instead of emergency--it only took 23 hours to do that. It's in the "ACE" area--"Acute Care for the Elderly."

They said she'd be in the hospital at least through the weekend. I'm guessing it'll be a bit longer than that.

My mom's in the hospital

My mom has been visiting me here in New York. She came last Thursday, and was supposed to go back home Tuesday. But late Sunday night she started feeling sick, and spent most of Monday in bed, very weak. We cancelled her flight back, rebooking it for Wednesday. But she remained weak, maybe even got a little worse, running a bit of a fever, and we cancelled the Wednesday flight also.

Finally yesterday she was so bad I called my doctor, who advised a trip to the emergency room. The paramedics came, gave her oxygen and I think an injection of something, and she improved immediately. Then we all went to the hospital. It was the first time I ever rode in an ambulance--though they didn't use the siren except at one corner.

Anyhow, in the emergency room they checked her over, and over and over and over. A total of four exams by two residents (or whatever they're calling them these days), the attending physician, and my doctor, who came a bit later. All asked the same questions, and came up with the same diagnosis--some pneumonia in one lung. They eventually did a chest x-ray, though I never heard the results. They admitted her, and gave her anti-biotics.

The only problem is, they don't have any available beds. So she's stuck on a gurney in the aisle in the emergency room. She was sleeping on and off, even amid the noise. Hopefully in the morning they'll find a real place for her.

Altogether I spent about 7 hours at the hospital, mostly in the emergency room, except for a couple times when they shooed all the visitors out to the waiting area. There were all sorts of interesting things going on, in both places. But that will have wait for another post.

Get well fast, mom.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

52 reasons NOT to re-elect Republicans

For years and years people have complained about Congress. Poll after poll show that a majority think it does a lousy job, BUT these same polls show that most people think their representative and senators are OK (though lately the dissatisfied group is up to a third).

Well, folks, guess what--if you think there's a problem with Congress, your representatives are probably part of the problem, too. And it seems to me that the largest group of these problem politicians are Republicans--the party seems to attract more than its share of influence peddlers, perjurers, and, er, guys with an unhealthy interest in Congressional pages.

But if you are still inclined to return a Republican to Washington, take a look at this list on my friend Betty's blog. See if your representative or senator is on it, and click to see what he or she has been up to. To be sure, not all of them have been accused of crimes--some are just servants of the wealthy, or just plain senile. Read all about it. Then, on election day, send someone else to Washington.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Post Office: We don't care about you

The Associated Press reports that the Post Office has started a program to eliminate stamp vending machines in post offices by 2010. They claim it is too expensive to maintain them, especially as they have gotten older. They also claim some machines get little use.

Well, maybe if they didn't return change in dollar coins people would use them more. Or if they sold useful items, like "additional ounce" stamps--currently 24¢. Instead it's usually books of 20 first class stamps--$7.80 at the current rate. Which means if you don't have exact change, or $8 in bills, you get the hated dollar coins back. If they sold books of 7, people could just put in $3, which I think a lot more people carry around--$5 bills seem to be used a lot less than tens and ones.

The post office is increasing its use of automated postal centers, though, which is a good thing. They take credit cards, as well as cash. It would help to have more of them. The last time I went to the post office, two people were monopolizing the single automated machine, with a huge stack of envelopes they were mailing out, apparently from where they worked. Each envelope had to be done separately, with the zipcode manually keyed in, and the requested services entered (there is no "same as previous" option, apparently). So I had to wait on the line (long, of course) to see a clerk.

The thing in this article that REALLY ANNOYS ME is that the postal service is reducing the number of free-standing blue mailboxes. They have done that a little in my neighborhood already. I used to have one right at my corner, but it's gone now--though there is another only a block away, so it's not a big deal. What is a big deal is that they have reduced the number of pickups from that box to one a day. If I don't get my mail in by 11:00 a.m., it will sit there to the next day. To me, this just tells me they don't care about giving us good service.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Plats du jour

I found these three blocks apart.

10,000 visitors!

Despite the fact that I have not been posting much of substance of late, and my daily visitor count has decreased by close to half, this blog has now received over 10,000 visitors. I thank all my readers, especially those who have stuck with me during my periods of decreased output. I do intend to return to my previous level. My intermediate-sized projects of the last few weeks (e.g. my taxes, a visit by my mom) are now pretty much completed (though my Great Office Clean-Up Project must be renewed). So stay tuned.

Thanks again, all.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Say it ain't so!

I just got an e-mail from the guys in Girl Friday saying Lisa Jackson has split from them. It's also on their Myspace page. This is horrible! I love this group. The last time I heard them they were so together I wondered why they weren't playing a huge arena and not a small club.

This is sad.

Plat du jour

Big Man on Campus?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Queen

Quick review of The Queen: Run, don't walk, to see this film. It's the story of how newly-elected British Prime Minister Tony Blair convinced Queen Elizabeth to change the response of the royal family to the death of Princess Diana in 1997. It is the best film I've seen this year. I don't know how much of the details is true, but it doesn't really matter--it's certainly based on fact, and is a riveting film.

All of the performances are good to excellent, Helen Mirren will certainly get an Oscar nomination for her title role, and Michael Sheen as Blair should garner one also.

Sad websearches

In the last 2 or 3 days a couple people have reached this blog searching for "girls kick testicles" or something similar. I wonder why no one seems to look for "women kick testicles."

Friday, October 20, 2006

Plat du jour

There are a couple of possible captions for this one:

Really Q'd up.
or maybe
Too Q-ute.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

This is a fetish?

I notice that Sheen V's Place lists this blog under "feeding my fetishes." This blog??!!! I've got to wonder what fetish of hers I'm feeding. Could someone have a fetish for vanity plates?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Ney pleads guilty--but doesn't resign

Yesterday Republican Congressman Bob Ney pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements. That makes him the first GOP legislator to admit to being the recipient of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's influence-buying. I doubt he'll be the last.

But he has not resigned his seat in the House of Representatives just yet, much to the embarrassment of the Republicans. The last thing they need is a walking, talking reminder of the moral bankruptcy of so many in their party. If they aren't taking extravagant "gifts" from lobbyists, they're sending sexually suggestive messages to teenaged Congressional pages--or covering up the sending of the messages.

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said that Ney's crimes are "not a reflection of the Republican Party." Maybe they're not a reflection of the Republican Party--I'm pretty sure bribe-taking isn't an official plank in their platform. But it is a reflection of the Republicans--the fact is, their party does seem to attract an awful lot of miscreants.

More good times for the Democrats.

A taxing week

It feels good to have finished doing my taxes--three days early, even.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Holocaust and Rosseau--three days in Washington.

I just got back a couple hours ago from a trip to Washington to see the U.S. National Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Rousseau Exhibition at the National Gallery of Art.
Saturday and today we spent at The Holocaust Memorial. We didn't get to see more than a fraction, just the small but informative exhibit on the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and the beginning of the Permanent Exhibition. It might take twelve hours to fully view the latter, maybe more. In about 4½ hours over the two days we might have gotten through a third of it, it's so huge.

I'm not going to post a full review, even of the part I did see. I will say that it is extremely well done, going into just the right amount of detail in most areas. Here and there I came across some things that were new to me, for instance, how the Nazis defined what a Jew was. This was something they never had to really do until it became a crime for a non-Jew to marry or have sexual relations with a Jew.

There are some interesting artifacts on display. I certainly noticed a pair of early tabulating machines the Nazis used to process the data concerning people's race--early examples of a card punch and a card sorter. The logo of the manufacturer was quite evident: IBM--they were manufactured by its German subsidiary.

The Museum building itself is also remarkable. It's reminiscent of a prison and a factory--a lot of plain brick, metal, rivet-studded doors and baseboards, skylights. It is respectful of the subject matter, but not pretty. There was one other thing I thought was excellent--most of the people visiting the museum were not Jewish. Jews tend to know a lot about the holocaust, but others may not. Today when we arrived there was group of young men in uniform about to leave after their visit. Their speech confirmed what I surmised from their garb--they were German, perhaps cadets at the German version of West Point.

Eventually we'll go back to see the rest of it. It will probably take another two trips.

Sunday we went to the National Gallery to see Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris. This exhibition has only one more week to run. The enigmatic artist's work is extensively shown. But was he really as naive as many of his paintings, and his statements, would suggest? Or was this just his strategy to use his limited, self-taught technique to eke out a meager living? I don't think we'll ever really know. I do know that Rousseau's work is fascinating, not beautiful by any stretch, but haunting, emanating an air of mystery unlike any other artist's that I can think of.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Plat du jour

We heard you the first time, Max.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Observation of the day

Tangerines aren't tan.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Weird websearch of the day

Someone in Memphis was looking for connecticut big ass growers, which lists my blog as fifth. I have no idea what the searcher was looking for.

Plat du jour

Looks like Puccini slave girls are doing quite well.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Plat du jour

New York is my city, too.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Lloyd Moss is retiring

This is Lloyd Moss's last week as a WQXR announcer. He started at the station in 1955, and has been the late afternoon "drive time" host since 1989. That is when he returned from an 18 year diversion doing voiceovers and acting.

WQXR general manager Tom Bartunek called Moss "slightly mischievous." That he is. He sometimes can get into a bit of a banter with the news announcers. It can only be for a few seconds at the beginning or the end of a newscast, but somehow he manages.

My favorite part of his mischief, though, is his wordplay. Puns are not beneath him. My favorite example was the day after Mother's Day, when he talked about Yo Yo's Ma, Anne-Sophie's Mutter, Ricardo's Muti, and Debussy's La Mer. I think there was one, maybe even two more that I can't remember.

I'll miss him.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Useless websearch of the day

Someone searched for breaking crossdressing habit and found my blog, way down the list. Of course, this was just a word coincidence, because there is nothing in this blog on the subject. Crossdressing isn't just a "habit." It can be an expression of one's identity, or a sexual fetish--frequently it's a combination of them. Where it's purely a fetish (a percentage I suspect is not that large), I suppose quitting might be possible for a strong-minded person. But for most crossdressers, where there is at least a measure of gender identity motivation, it's almost impossible. You can't suppress who you really are, not permanently.

"Purging," where a CD throws out all of the crossdressing items, is very common, but almost always replacements are obtained, sooner or later. Some CDs do this time after time after futile time, but they always return to crossdressing.

Of course, now there is something here about "breaking crossdressing habit"--basically, forget about it.

Living with...a moose?

Moose Wanders Onto N. Michigan U. Campus
Maybe I should start a series about moose also.

Living with bears XXIV

Canada: Wayward bear rounded up, Bear causes a stir
Connecticut: Black bear spotted on Sugarloaf Drive Monday
Japan: Rampaging bear attacks schoolboy
Pennsylvania: Black bear mauls pit bull
Florida: Altamonte Resident Finds Bear Close To Home

Friday, September 22, 2006

Plat du jour

How big is father?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Another one for Murphy

Why did I have to come down with a cold the week I have important meetings three different days--Monday, Tuesday and Thursday? I'd like to present as a woman at all of them, for various reasons. But it takes so long for shaving and hair removal, getting to CDI (where I "transform"), doing my make-up and changing my clothes, getting back to CDI afterwards, taking off the make-up and clothes. I really could use the time for some extra sleep.

Now someone should be telling me to stop blogging and go to bed.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Plat du jour

Hooray for J!

(and I ♥ NY also)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Another Republican bites the dust

I've posted two or three things about Ohio Republican congressman Bob Ney since last January, when he stepped down from his leadership position because he was being investigated for corruption. Now, after months of proclaiming his innocence, he has agreed to plead guilty. His deal apparently provides for 27 months in prison.

I love to see these former high officials heading off to jail--especially when they're Republicans.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Goodbye Discover, hello American Express

Since 1994 my Discover Card has been my main credit card. It has a cash rebate feature, basically 1% on purchases over a certain amount per year--$6,000, if I remember correctly, with lesser percentages on lower amounts. Since I use it for almost everything I can, my monthly bills (which I always pay in full), are always four figures--occasionally even the upper four figures. They also have a "Get More" program, which gives a 5% rebate for some purchases. And finally, if you use the rebate to purchase gift cards from certain merchants, you can get up to double the amount.

But recently I discovered (ha ha) that the American Express Blue Cash card has a better rebate program: 1.5% above $6,500 in annual purchases. They also have 5% rebates, though no gift card program. Still, at my level of credit card usage, I should do better with the Amex card.

The Discover 5% rebates are limited: only at certain merchants, up to certain amounts, during certain times of the year, and they make you sign up for it each time--the whole thing is too much to keep track of. Amex gives 5% for all supermarket, gas station and drug store purchases, all the time, no limits, no signups, once you pass the $6,500 mark.

Discover's gift card program is not terribly useful. The number of merchants that offer double have dwindled to a handful of places I don't particularly want to shop at (it was great when Borders offered double). Most now just give a 25% bonus, so it's like getting a 1.25% rebate. And it's also just a hassle--you have to order them, and remember to take them to the store. It can be a pocketful, as most only come in $25 denominations.

There are a couple other reasons why I want to switch to Amex. The Discover card still isn't accepted at as many places as American Express. So my rebates will be higher for that reason alone. Finally, I am sick and tired of the huge number of calls I get from the Discover fraud prevention department. I have gotten so many messages from them on my answering machine that I have their number on my speed dial. If they were calling about unusual activity on my card, or about large purchases, I would understand it. In fact, I would welcome it--who wants their account to be used fraudulently? But that's seldom what prompts these calls. Most of them are about small, normal purchases at places I use the card all the time. Apparently the algorithm for generating these calls is largely based on the frequency of use. The more you use the card, the more calls you get. I wonder what the Discover marketing department would have to say about that.

So it's goodbye Discover, hello Blue Cash. Coincidentally, I am switching my brokerage accounts from Morgan Stanley to Merrill Lynch, because my stock broker is switching. Morgan Stanley owns the Discover Card. They're losing me as a customer twice.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Plat du jour

No, thanks, I'll just watch.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11--no need to remind me

It's the fifth anniversary of the World Trade Center terrorist attack. The second attack actually. I was in both of them.

In the first one, 1992 I think, I marched down 67 flights of a dark, smokey stairwell from my office in 2 World Trade. Fortunately I had a little flashlight in my briefcase.

On 9/11, though, I had a different job, and I was working across the street from 7 World Trade. I don't need any memorials, let alone bogus docu-dramas, to remind me of what happened. What I saw was too horrible to forget.

Personally, I fared pretty well, though. We were evacuated between the two towers coming down, and I wasn't caught in either dust cloud. Despite having worked in the Trade Center until 1998, I didn't know anyone who was killed there. My old company got just about everyone out safely, and all the rest of the people I knew who worked in the Trade Center also got out. Afterwards I got to work from home for a few weeks (which I liked), and then in a temporary office in midtown for several months more. Eventually my company returned downtown, to the same building. It was always weird going down there, with the towers gone and so many businesses closed.

A recent poll found that a majority of Americans thought 9/11 was more significant to the country than Pearl Harbor--which means a majority of Americans know little of history. As the article pointed out, there was a generation gap here--voters 18-34 were the most ignorant. But I guess it's understandable--people want to think what they are going through is the most important time in history. But heightened security for air travel, and for getting into buildings, is nothing compared to what happened after Pearl Harbor. The "War on Terror," as the Bushites like to call it, will never have more than a tiny percentage of the casualties of World War II--even if you include Bush's War of the Saddam Obsession. We don't even have a draft now, let alone the rationing of meat, gasoline, and I think sugar, that Americans experienced then.

But getting back to today, I'll be avoiding all the memorial TV shows, movies, newspaper and internet articles. I don't need them to remember--as much as I would like to forget.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Plat du jour

An Audi is not a bike.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Another board membership

Next year I will be joining the board of directors of the LGBT Law Association of Greater NY (LeGaL). I'm already on the board of the LeGaL Foundation, its 501(c)3 affiliate. In fact, I'm the treasurer.

I know I'll be on the Association board because I'm one of the 11 people running for the 11 positions on it.

One of the more interesting facets of this election is that the bylaws require there to be a minimum of three men and three women on the board. Both minimums were met this time without counting me. But I wonder how I'd be classified.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Weird websearch of the day

"girls kick testicles
I haven't had one like this for quite a while. This blog is fifth on the list.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Plat du jour


Andre Agassi retires (yawn)

The big news from the U.S. Open tennis tournament is that Andre Agassi has played his final match. He retired after losing to a qualifier ranked 100 and something. Agassi's aching sciatica nerve was the real reason for the loss.

A while ago Agassi announced the Open would be his last tournament. When the draw was announced people saw that he could meet Andy Roddick in the fourth round, and were looking forward to the confrontation. But his aching back prevented that, despite a cortisone shot and three anti-inflammatory injections over the last few days.

Frankly, I never liked Agassi, and I won't miss seeing him on the tour. I certainly won't miss his blowing kisses to the stands after every match--a particularly annoying bit of pandering to the crowd as far as I'm concerned. He may have gone from the young "image is everything" rebel to the elder statesman of tennis (or at least of men's tennis), but he always seemed to me to be nothing more than a one-dimensional tennis machine. Well, maybe he expanded to one and half dimensions after he became a father.

Basically, I always thought he was a little dumb, and certainly uneducated. He did manage to get a high school diploma, after years of correspondence courses. Lack of formal education is not unusual on the tennis circuit, especially among the top players, but some manage to compensate for that by being smart--smart enough read and educate themselves a bit. I never noticed any of that with Agassi.

His committment to playing Davis Cup waned over the years--he played all of one Cup match after 2000. This made me like him even less.

In anticipation of his looming retirement, Sports Illustrated ran a long piece on him in July. It basically just confirmed what I already thought. Agassi is an overly-competitive, impulsive, rather self-centered guy. One may say that this is common among top athletes, and maybe it is, but it's not necessary--I can think of plenty who aren't that way.

Andre Agassi is someone I'd probably hate to spend any time with. That's my test of whether I'm going to be a fan of any particular athlete. Agassi gets an F in my grade book in that subject.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Comment moderation

I just noticed a couple of comments that had been awaiting moderation for several days. I'm sorry for the delay in approving them. I'm supposed to get an e-mail when a comment comes in, but apparently that hasn't been working. So I'm going to have to check manually. I'll do it as often as I can.

Murphy strikes again

Our dishwasher stopped working yesterday morning, at the beginning of a three day weekend. The repairer can't come until Tuesday.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Republican still at it--senility sets in?

I have noted before a stupid remark from Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT). He's been continuing in this vein, sayng terrorists "drive taxi cabs in the daytime and kill at night," and making other inappropriate remarks. It sounds like he's getting senile.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

(not) Weird websearch of the day

headstand supportive device
The websearch itself isn't weird. What's weird is that this blog is number one on the list.

Plat du jour

This car runs only at night.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Pre-order She's Not the Man I Married

My friend Helen Boyd's new book, She's Not the Man I Married, is available for pre-order on Amazon. I can't wait to read it.

But I'll have to.

Plat du jour

A cute, little, red BMW convertible is a very nice surprise.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sadder websearch

A few weeks ago I posted an article about a sad websearch that found my blog, transgender mary carillo. I explained that Mary is not transgender, or transsexual, just because she doesn't act girly.

Now someone has reached my blog searching for mary carillo lesbian. Oy.

No, Mary is not lesbian either. She's married to a man. End of that story also.

Scalia at the ACLU???

I see Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, perhaps the most conservative of all the Justices, and certainly the most outspoken, will be at the ACLU conference in the fall. He will be having a "conversation" about civil liberties with ACLU president Nadine Strossen. That should be interesting. He's been a strong opponent of the ACLU's positions in a number of areas, but has also been a strong backer in others.

Another milestone

Lately I haven't been posting as much as before, and my average visitor count is down. Nevertheless, this blog has now passed 9,000 visitors. Thanks to all who have hung in there. I will be posting more, but I've got to get this office cleaned up.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Plat du jour

I don't care who's paying, I don't want one.