Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Weekly free associations

  1. Destined :: to win

  2. FAIL :: blog

  3. Camping :: yech!

  4. Only you :: can prevent forest fires

  5. Incessant :: noise

  6. Tomorrow :: is another day

  7. Impressive :: collection

  8. Riches :: wealth

  9. Dislike :: like

  10. Speaker :: of the House

  1. Carpet :: tacks

  2. Bottoms :: tops

  3. Music :: sound

  4. Nails :: acrylics

  5. Watch it! :: ??

  6. Your life :: is yours

  7. Candies :: no-no's

  8. Chafing :: dish

  9. Svelte :: I wish

  10. Ding :: dong

HT to Unconscious Mutterings.

Plat du jour

An orthopedist, I presume.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Chanukah!

Plat du jour

Actually, the adjective is "euphoric."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Back in New York

I'm back from Las Vegas. It was a quite uneventful journey.

Happy Chanukah!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Chanukah!

Report from Vegas

We're staying at the Paris Hotel. Here's a view of it, with its silly shrunken Eiffel Tower, taken from the Bellagio across the street. Unfortunately, they don't let you cross the street, which is known as the "Strip." The only way to get across the Strip on foot is via some pedestrian bridges. But there aren't enough of them. After dinner my wife was too tired to walk over to one. So we took a cab--just to cross the street!

The Paris is OK. The room is comfortable, except for there being no heater, only air conditioning. It's not really cold, though, just two or three degrees cooler than we're used to. Housekeeping isn't perfect--I had to call to get more toilet paper. The internet works OK--it's wired. But it costs $14 or $15 a day (I'm not sure--two different things list two different prices.) The rooms are cheap, but they make it up with exorbitant extras like this, and the $25/day they charge to use the fitness center.

So far I'm losing less at the casinos than I anticipated--I view it as a cost of entertainment. So I'm pretty happy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Chanukah!

It's December 23, so...

To all Seinfeld fans (and non-fans), Happy Festivus!

BlankTo the tune of Let it Snow:
What a lovely day for Festivus,
a Festivus for the rest of us,
this is the place to hate,
let them wait, let them wait, let them wait.

It doesn't show signs of stopping,
I bought some caps for popping,
aluminum pole's aglow,
let them know, let them know, let them know.

With the feat of strength at hand,
stop crying fight your old man,
so go and drink another beer,
T'is the best time of the year!

What a lovely day for Festivus,
a Festivus for the rest of us,
gather your family around,
cut them down, cut them down, cut them down.

No need for decorating,
as tinsel's too distracting,
all you need is a metal pole,
cleanse your soul, cleanse your soul, cleanse your soul.

With the feat of strength at hand,
stop crying fight your old man,
so go and drink another beer,
T'is the best time of the year!

What a lovely day for Festivus,
a Festivus for the rest of us,
gather your family around,
cut them down, cut them down, cut them down.

No need for decorating,
as tinsel's too distracting,
all you need is a metal pole,
cleanse your soul, cleanse your soul, cleanse your soul.

With the feat of strength at hand,
stop crying fight your old man,
so go and drink another beer,
T'is the best time of the year!

T'is the best time of the year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Chanukah!

Off to Las Vegas!

In a few minutes I'm off to Las Vegas for a family celebration of my 60th birthday. I've never been there before. Wish me luck. (Ha!, I'll be happy if everyone makes it there in time for dinner.)

I hope to be able to blog a bit from there.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Chanukah!

Plat du jour--guest submission

It never hurts to have in-house counsel.

Thanks to Joanne from MHB.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Spam of the day

Oprah Winfrey's No.1 SuperFood, Natural _LoseWeight! only $19.95 FREE TRIAL geg uc9k

Considering the fact the Oprah has recently topped 200 lbs., this spam-o-gram is particularly untimely.

Plat du jour

OK, we get it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Complaint of the day

Trying to put together an evening out with semi-closeted crossdressers is like trying to nail jello to the wall. With a foam rubber hammer.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Weekly free associations

  1. Travel :: clock

  2. Expensive :: cheap

  3. Backspace :: delete

  4. Traffic noise :: constant

  5. Now see here :: son

  6. Vegetables :: yummy

  7. Chat :: Thursday

  8. Your calling :: retired!

  9. Weekly :: monthly

  10. Oh! :: well
HT to Unconscious Mutterings.

Plat du jour

An incorporated wife? Unless it's Mr. Sinc. Or any one of a number of M.R.S. corporations.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Weekly free associations

  1. Love affair :: romance

  2. Bubble :: blow

  3. Pimple :: teen

  4. Knocks :: socks

  5. Persistent :: varmint

  6. Infected :: wound

  7. Yay! :: team!

  8. Repaint :: eventually

  9. Daily :: News

  10. Quickly! :: fast!

HT to Unconscious Mutterings.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Yay 2008!

Apparently people think so much of 2008 they're going to make it even longer. On top of the leap day we had on February 29, there's going to be another second added to December 31.

Actually, this has nothing to do with the year's popularity. It's just that the earth's rotation is slowing down.

So if you want to know when 2009 starts exactly, you'll have to reset your watches after 6:59:60 p.m. EST on 12/31.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A bit of a coincidence

Yesterday afternoon I went to the Morgan Library for a guided tour of its exhibition of Babar drawings. While waiting in the lobby I noticed on the list of major museum donors inscribed on the wall the name of socialite Sunny von Bulow. I was trying to remember the details of what happened to her many years ago. She was the alleged victim of attempted murder by her then husband back in the early 80's. Now I'm reading the news to find she died yesterday, after being in a coma for 28 years.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Plat du jour

I have absolutely no idea of what this means.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Semi-random thoughts

● I got my first senior discount for a movie on my trip to Massachusetts (not counting the one I got years ago at a theater in New Hampshire, I think, that gave it to anyone over 55!). One of the big theater chains here in NYC gives it at 60, but at the other one I frequent it's 62. And the theater I usually go to for "art films" makes you wait until 65.

● The ice-maker in my refrigerator is making noises again. As the repairman who looked at it suggested, I have turned up the freezer thermostat (i.e. less cold) as much as I can, but it's still creaking, and my Weight Watchers chocolate mousse pops are getting soft. I really don't want to spend the money to fix it, as it makes ice just fine, but it sure is annoying.

● And while we're on the subject of noisy appliances, my big television started whining the first time I turned it on after returning from my trip. It's the color wheel I'm sure. The noise went away after a few minutes, but it's a portent of a future repair. At least for the TV I have an extended warranty--assuming that Circuit City's bankruptcy doesn't end that. It's actually handled by a third party, so the warranty should be safe.

● A GPS makes driving so much easier.

● I got a call from the hotel in Lowell, MA, after I filled out their survey, complaining about various small things. Result: a credit for half of the charges, after they removed the $9.95 wi-fi fee. It pays to fill out those surveys.

● Now you can pick your exact seats when ordering tickets online for the New York Philharmonic. Yay!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Plat du jour--guest submission

Wizard alert for Virginia! Thanks to Victoria Marinelli

Let's make sure we get this right

From Overheard in the Office:
Developer: Is "buttload" hyphenated?
New guy: No, I think it's just one word.

Weekly free associations

Catching up:

  1. Sleepy :: Hollow

  2. Thanksgiving :: dinner

  3. Fifteen :: sixteen

  4. Authority :: question

  5. Bangs :: love them

  6. Curled :: up

  7. Young man :: young woman

  8. Surprised :: ??

  9. Mistake :: me?

  10. Handle it :: carefully

  1. Spit it out :: now

  2. Shadow :: eye

  3. Database :: useful

  4. Expression :: for it

  5. Boss :: None!

  6. Baby :: Baby

  7. Mystic :: Seaport

  8. Kate :: sister-in-law

  9. Boobies :: I wish

  10. Raid :: bugs

Thanks to Unconscious Mutterings.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I'll bet this gets moved to the back of the tree

Christmas Colors for the White House: Red, White and Impeach

From the Washington Post:

When Deborah Lawrence got the invitation from the White House, the Seattle-based artist decided to make a lefty political statement.

But she never expected it would hang on the official Christmas tree.

Laura Bush asked members of Congress to pick local painters to decorate ornaments for this year's 20-foot Fraser fir in the Blue Room. The globes (to be unveiled by the first lady tomorrow) are supposed to showcase something special about each congressional district. Washington state's Rep. Jim McDermott contacted a local arts organization, which asked Lawrence, a collage artist, to create the local entry.

"I was at first nauseated, then realized it was an opportunity," said Lawrence, 55, who frequently combines politics and satire in her work and saw this as the perfect way "to highlight Jim McDermott because he's a hero of mine."

The nine-inch ball is covered with swirly red and white stripes -- and, in tiny glued-on text, salutes the Democratic congressman's support for a resolution to impeach President Bush. (Also showcased: Washington state's 1919 labor strike, its suffrage movement and the violent anti-World Trade Organization riots of 1999.) Lawrence sent it off to D.C. in September and was very surprised it was accepted for the tree -- and that she was invited to this afternoon's White House reception for the artists, which she flew to D.C. to attend.

"Apparently, they didn't read it -- or Laura Bush is more progressive than I believed," Lawrence told us.

Sally McDonough, the first lady's press secretary, said yesterday that hundreds of ornaments were submitted for display and there were no plans to pull Lawrence's artwork or her invitation. But, she said, "it really is too bad. I haven't seen the ornament, but I would hope that no one would take this as an opportunity to be divisive and partisan. There is a time and place for everything, and I don't think this is either."

The comments are quite good--especially this one:
This is a microcosm of the last eight years in a nut shell. The inability for the administration to pay attention to detail.

HT to Victoria Marinelli

A deer hunter gets it

Deer gets revenge after hunter shoots him

I know there is a very large population of deer that is increasingly venturing into suburban if not urban areas in search of food, and that hunting is needed to try to keep some sort of balance, and that venison cooked properly is delicious, but I always feel sorry when deer are killed by hunters. Maybe it goes back to Bambi's mother. Mostly I think that killing fairly defenseless animals should not be considered a sport.

It seems like such an uneven contest. But this shows that once in a while a deer can get some revenge--though he died in the end anyway.

Boston photos

The first is an amazing sight: the hotel in Boston had both Coke and Pepsi products in the same vending machine. Note that Coke seemed to have sold much better than Pepsi.

I did not take the second photo. It is "Tobin Bridge 4am," the work of Phillip Jones. I saw it while visiting the Boston Athenæum, a private library that still has vestiges of an art collection. I thought the picture was stunning. I'd love to have a print of it, but I'm afraid to ask how much it would cost--we are having a sizable decrease in our income for the next few months. (This has nothing to do with the Bush recession, but now it is much more difficult to make up the decrease by shifting investments.) Maybe I'll just buy a copy of Murder Suicide by Keith Ablow--they used the photo as the cover artwork.

Back from Massachusetts

I'm back in New York. In fact I've been home since Friday evening, mostly disposing of hundreds of e-mails that came in while I was gone (plus a good number that had accumulated in the days before I left). I also wanted to catch up on the other internet sites I follow, and get in some exercise each day, because I gained two or three pounds while I was away. Saturday we went and saw Frank Langella in A Man For All Seasons as well. So I haven't wanted to take the time to blog. (If anyone is really interested in more up-to-date reports on what I'm doing, they should follow me on Twitter. There's a link at the bottom of my Twitter Update list at the right.)

Part of the reason there was so much internet stuff piled up was that the wi-fi didn't work in our hotel room in Lowell, where I went from Boston for Thanksgiving with my sister. A lot of things didn't work very well at the hotel there, and I am looking forward to filling out the online questionaire about my stay that the hotel e-mailed me yesterday. But first I want to see what shows up on my American Express bill--a discrepancy about the charges was also part of the problem.

I still have a pile of snail mail to go through, and I have to finish getting the last few things out of my suitcase. Then I will be back to what passes for normal in my life.

Monday, November 24, 2008

This trip has problems

It's never a good sign when your taxi can't make it to the door of your hotel because there are a couple firetrucks right in front of it. Fortunately, there wasn't a fire in the hotel, just some people who had to be rescued from a stuck elevator.

That meant, however, that none of the elevators were running. So I couldn't get up to my room. It was only about a 15 minute wait, though.

Last night I noticed I had forgetten to pack a few of my toiletries.

This morning we woke up to find we had no electricity. The phone did work, and the deskperson told us there was a power outage in the downtown Boston area. She said it would probably be out for hours. Fortunately I have my emergency radio/flashlight/cellphone charger, as well as a smaller hand-powered flashlight. So we had enough light to take showers, etc. (The hot water was working.) After that the power did come back on.

I wonder what the next mishap of the trip will be.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm in Boston

I'm up in Boston for a couple days, en route to my sister's for Thanksgiving. Here are a couple shots I took out the train window with my cellphone enroute (click on them to embiggen):

The Manhattan skyline as seen through the newly-renamed Robert F. Kennedy Bridge.

The Rhode Island capitol in Providence.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

10 rules of movie etiquette

Elliott Kanbar, president of the Quad Cinema in NYC, included this list is his weekly e-mail. I agree with all of them. I hope he doesn't mind my posting it here.
(1) After buying your ticket, don't hold up the line by counting or putting away your change in front of the box office. Move to the side and do what you have to do.

(2) A baseball cap is a hat. Don't wear it in the theater.

(3) If the theater is not too full, don't take a seat right in front of the patrons behind you.

(4) On the other hand, if the theater is full, don't put your jacket on the seat next to you if you're not holding it for someone but only because you want more room.

(5) Feet on the seat in front of you are never acceptable, even if the theater is empty.

(6) Chatting should stop as soon as the theater is dark, even though the only things on the screen are trailers.

(7) With concession prices high, it's understandable to buy some of the food (like sodas) on the outside. But don't bring with you big bags of smelly food from fast food restaurants.

(8) Like all retail businesses, movie theaters (especially the art houses) are hurting. Don't take advantage by buying senior tickets when you don't qualify, age-wise.

(9) Even though you may not be talking, the light from a BlackBerry or iPod during the film is distracting to the patrons around you.

(10) If the line at the box office is long, have your money ready when you get to the window.
I think rule 7, coming from a theater owner, is quite generous. Most won't let you bring in any outside food or beverages.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Weekly free associations

I'm very late this week.
  1. Please stop :: it

  2. Move over :: Beethoven (no, that's roll over)

  3. Sweet as :: sugar candy

  4. Bet :: lose

  5. Mad about :: the mouse

  6. It’s over :: .

  7. Intend to :: mean to

  8. Blame :: game

  9. Jefferson :: president

  10. Heartless :: cruel

Thanks to Unconscious Mutterings.

Plat du jour

I hope they're talking about teeth and not dogs.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy birthday to me--I guess

Today is my 60th birthday. It's kind of scary: I'm within four years of the age my father died. On the other hand, I'm almost 22 years less than the age my mother went. I hope I'm as lucky as she was, but who knows?

I am glad I'm no longer a 50-something. That really got kind of boring a couple of years ago. I don't feel old mentally, but my body keeps reminding me I am. And my memory isn't what it used to be.

So, happy birthday to me, I guess.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Plat du jour--guest submission

Joanne found another one.

This is kind of an in-joke. In the transgender world, "GG" means "genetic girl." (It's not a particularly politically correct term.) I kind of doubt the accountant who owns this plate is aware of that.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not all of the posts on FAIL Blog are fails

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

So, is this a FAIL Blog failure?

Obama's first mistake as president-elect?

I didn't see the interview of President-elect Obama on 60 minutes last night, but somehow it got into the question of how the college football national champion is determined. Obama favors an 8 team playoff to replace the single game between the top two teams. According to the AP, he said,
"It would add three extra weeks to the season," he said at the conclusion of a wide-ranging interview. "You could trim back on the regular season. I don't know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this.
He's probably right about that. However, what he fails to realize is that the NCAA, and the colleges that run it, don't really care much about the serious fans of college football. Their first concern is for the alumni and local fans who fill the stadiums during the regular season. They, and the TV broadcasters, are the ones footing the bill for the college athletic programs. For each game that is subtracted from the regular season, over 50 stadiums of ticket-buying fans are lost. A seven game play-off is not going to make up for this, even with increased fees from the TV networks.

And who knows? The NCAA just might have some concerns about how three weeks of playoffs (instead of one bowl game) might affect the student-athletes playing them.

This isn't a major mistake for Obama, but maybe he should just stick to politics and statesmanship.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Headline fail

Gov. Paterson, Legislative Leaders Meet Secretly
If they had met secretly you wouldn't know about it. Try "privately."

Plat du jour

I sure hope the misspelling is only due to the correct one already being taken.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Why I don't give to beggars on the subway

(in addition to the fact that it's illegal to beg on the trains)

From Overheard in New York:
Subway beggar to the people on train : Yo, my daughter just died and I don't have any money to bury her... (recognizes someone on the train) Yo!
Man on the train: Hey! How's the wife?
Subway beggar: Oh, she good, she good. She be working too! She working on the 4 line!

--1 Train

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bush admits he's dumb

Well, sort of. He is calling for "smarter government" to combat the financial crisis.

His call will be answered. We will have a government much smarter than his, in, what is it now, 67 days?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Plat du jour--guest submission

Joanne keeps finding them. This one's weird.

Dogs can be transgender, too

From Overheard in the Office:
Client with sick dog: I need to see the veterinarian on duty because my dog isn't feeling well.
Veterinarian receptionist: Is your dog a male or female?
Client with sick dog: She's a male.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gander, meet goose

From the Associated Press (emphasis mine):
If first impressions matter, Obama and his wife displayed one similarity to the super-punctual Bushes, pulling up to the White House's South Portico 11 minutes early. The couples traded warm and easy greetings in the crisp autumn sunshine, with the wives exchanging pleasantries about the fall hues each wore - Mrs. Bush in a brown dress and Mrs. Obama in a red one.

While Obama and Bush, in business suits, proceeded waving and smiling down the White House Colonnade for nearly two hours of private talks, Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Bush had their own agenda...
It's wonderful to see a news story where what the men wore was noted, as well as the women's fashion choices. Kudos to writer Jennifer Levin.

Now I'm waiting for a male writer to do the same.

Happy anniversary--to me

Today is the tenth anniversary of the first time I presented as a woman in public.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekly free associations

  1. Coverage :: full

  2. Cynical :: bastards

  3. Gust :: wind

  4. Improvised :: ad libed

  5. V :: W

  6. Guests :: uninvited

  7. Brutal :: Nazis

  8. Grant :: Hugh

  9. Pull :: man

  10. Streaming :: audio
Thanks to Unconscious Mutterings.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Spam of the day

Michelle Obama nude

Central Park today

Click on a picture to embiggen it.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Semi-random thoughts

● I really think I'm seeing more people wearing Obama buttons since the election than before it.

● I've succumbed to twitter. Sometimes I post what I'm doing there, but I have NOT connected it to my phone. My last five tweets (I think that's what they're called) are over on the right hand column, and if you're a tweeter(?) there's a link to follow me there.

● I'm really enjoying the great decrease in my e-mail volume since the election is over. Even though I just skimmed most of them, I couldn't bring myself to delete all the political messages without opening them first.

● The struggling Wisconsin Badger football team finally won its first conference game today, beating the even more struggling Indiana squad. Indiana kept it close at first, because we kept giving them the football. Then we knocked out their quarterback and they were in deep trouble. I think their second stringer was already injured, and was only in for a few plays. Their third and fourth stringers could do nothing. Final score: 55-20.

Hold it until Monday

Bathrooms to Close Weekends at 19 NJ Parks

Friday, November 07, 2008

Plat du jour--guest submission

Another one from Joanne. Highly appropriate after the election.

A big thumbs down on Overheard in New York

Readers of the website Overheard in New York get to vote on whether they like or don't like an item that's posted there. Most receive pretty high approval ratings, no matter how stupid they are--to me anything getting under 75% is a rejection. It is rare to see one under 60%. So when a post gets only 37%, you know it's really horrible. Like this one:
Teen boy #1: I don't like any of her family except her mom. She's okay.
Teen boy #2: Her mom is crazy, yo. I want to rape her with this umbrella. I bet you if I fucked her, she wouldn't even remember, she's so crazy. Wouldn't it be cool if there were a hot chick, like 21, with Alzheimer's and you fucked the shit out of her and then the next day she couldn't remember?

--Q44 Bus

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My (first) post-election post

I haven't been blogging much recently--only 11 posts in October, just one of which had any significant amount of writing. I haven't even done a "semi-random thoughts" post since August. There are a number of reasons--watching the Olympics and the conventions, exercising as often as possible, and doing my taxes among them. I blogged a little about the presidential campaign, but I stopped, mainly because I was just repeating what other people had said, often much better than I would have. I was also wading through dozens of political e-mails every day. Even just skimming most of them was rather time-consuming. I was tired of reading, let alone writing, even on non-political topics. I did my bit for the Trans for Obama effort, and one long post about the Olympics, but that was about it.

Now that the election is over, I'm going to try to post on a daily basis--and do some real writing also. Starting now.

I was slightly nervous going into Tuesday. Obama was significantly ahead in the public polls. On October 23 I had participated in a conference call of the leaders of the trans and gender identity communities (blush) with a couple of the Obama campaign leaders. They said their internal poll numbers looked promising, but they were acting as if they were three points behind. They weren't taking anything for granted. So I was feeling pretty good about Obama's chances, but there were some background fears--in 2000 (and maybe 2004) the Republicans had shown themselves to be fully capable of stealing a presidential election.

While I discounted the conspiracy theories about the electronic voting machines being rigged by their makers, I was much more concerned about them being hackable after the fact--my 25 years as a computer programmer taught me how difficult it is to make any system totally secure. Plus, I had first-hand experience of how flakey mark-sense readers can be. Hopefully the ones being used to count ballots in this election were better than the ones my installation had to deal with in the 80's. But I was (and still am) quite certain that they are not going to be 100% accurate, particularly when the ballots are being marked by untrained voters.

I was also concerned about voter suppression. Before the election there were charges in several states controlled by Republicans that there were suspicious wholesale purges of the voter rolls. Most, if not all, turned out to be quite routine, legitimate actions, except that some were done slightly too close to election day under the federal regulations. (There were also charges that ACORN was engaging in massive voter fraud in gathering registrations of new, presumably Democratic-leaning voters. This turned out to be highly exagerated.)

But election-day voter suppression, often just by making it extremely time-consuming to vote in predominantly minority areas, was a bigger fear of mine.

It turned out to be an unnecessary fear. While there some scattered problems, things generally worked well. It reminded me of Y2K--it was basically a non-event, because we in the data processing industry had worked our tails off for two years to make sure things went smoothly (In fact, it ended up being far smoother than most year-ends, because everything had been so thoroughly tested).

I had other concerns besides the reliability of the election results. I was a bit worried that the Republicans wouldn't need to falsify them. While Obama was running nine percent ahead of McCain in the polls immediately before Tuesday, I was concerned about how predictive this number was. It has been claimed (though some people dispute) that African-American candidates generally don't get as many votes as polls predict, because some white voters, when they finally get into the voting booth, just cannot bring themselves to vote for a black person (the Bradley Effect). I read that it could be as much as ten percent--though that really seemed rather high to me. But even if it were only half that, it could make the election a toss-up when figuring in the polls' standard margin of error.

It turned out that Obama got 53% to McCain's 47% of the popular vote, a six percent difference, neglecting third party candidates. So I think a little of my concern was justified. Fortunately, it was only a little.

Speaking of third party candidates, that was another concern of mine. It is generally believed that Gore would have taken Florida in 2000, had Ralph Nader not been on the ballot. Nader was also on the ballot in Florida this year, though he seemed to be attracting far less support than eight years ago. Still, in a state that was being called a battleground, a few votes could make a difference. And as we saw in 2000, Florida could swing the entire election.

It turned out that Obama beat McCain by nearly 200,000 there, with only 60,000 votes going to others.

Thus, my nervousness was unnecessary. Obama won easily. Given the state of the economy and Bush's unpopularity it would have been a huge landslide--but Obama is African-American.

I never really gave a lot of thought about having an African-American president. I vaguely remember reading Irving Wallace's novel, The Man, back in the 60's. It was a political thriller about a black president pro tempore of the senate, normally third in line, who succeeds to the presidency after some ridiculous coincidences. It was as much about 1960's race relations as it was about the presidency. I remember Shirley Chisholm running for president in 1972--only to find that her candidacy generated far more resistance because of her gender, than because of her race. Jesse Jackson was a much more viable candidate in the 80's--but I never thought he really had a chance to win.

Barack Obama came out of nowhere. He came to national attention with his great keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention, even before he was elected to the U.S. Senate. A scant 2½ years later he declared his candidacy for president. I have to wonder if he thought he had any chance to win at that point--or whether this was originally just a trial run for sometime in the future. I didn't consider him a major candidate--I favored Bill Richardson, who I thought was our best chance of getting the U.S. out of Iraq. When Richardson dropped out I was in a quandary: I wanted to back a candidate who was good on the Iraq question, and who had a real chance to win. Obama was good on Iraq and he had won the Iowa caucuses, but I had to wonder about his lack of experience. Hillary had more experience, but was not as good on Iraq, in my opinion--and she had beaten Obama in New Hampshire.

My choice was made when Bill Bradley endorsed Obama. I consider Bradley the best-qualified candidate for president we've had in decades, and if he thinks Obama has enough experience, it's good enough for me. When Bill Richardson later also endorsed him (despite his close connection to the Clintons), it was icing on the cake.

The fact that Obama is African-American had no effect on my backing him--either way. It was incidental--he was a candidate who happened to be black, not a black candidate. He wasn't making his race an issue. He was good on most of the issues I am concerned with, especially Iraq. Politicians (I probably should call them statesmen) who I admire vouched for his abilities. I would have been happy to support Clinton had she won the nomination, but I didn't think she was the better candidate. I didn't think Obama's race would make him unelectable--particularly since as early as February I started to suspect the economy would be the major campaign issue, and when the economy goes bad the incumbent party seldom wins.

And it didn't. As I said before, the prejudice against Obama's race was a small factor compared to the voters' desire to get the Republicans out. In 10 weeks we'll have a president I will want to hear addressing the nation, a president who will get us out of Iraq sooner rather than later, a president I will trust to appoint open-minded judges, a president who will govern on the basis of facts, not beliefs.

President Barack Obama. It makes me smile just to type that.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Art is in the nose of the beholder?

Belgian artist's work causes a stink _ again
ANTWERP, Belgium (AP) - One man's stink is another man's major art project. A piece by Belgian conceptual artist Jan Fabre at the Antwerp's MuHKA contemporary art museum is challenging the nose as well as the eyes.

The installation "Spring is on its way" consists of onions and potatoes hung from the ceiling in condoms. And the vegetables are, well, spoiling....

I'm on Fail Blog!

more fail, owned and pwned pics and videos

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Weekly free associations

  1. In love :: with

  2. Be my guest :: Disney

  3. Number one :: son

  4. Swallowed whole :: gullible

  5. 50 percent :: off

  6. Made in :: China

  7. Supplement :: add

  8. Right for :: you

  9. Endless :: melody

  10. Ceramic :: tile
Thanks to Unconscious Mutterings.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Plat du jour

I would say this plate belongs to El Juglar, except he works for a Mets minor league team, not a Yankees one. I dunno.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekly free associations

I've really gotten behind doing these.

  1. Contemplate :: Navel

  2. In the house :: Out of the house

  3. Classical :: music

  4. Quest :: Boggle

  5. Best friend :: Man's

  6. 1991 :: Bush I

  7. Never will :: Say never

  8. Fool :: Money

  9. Unhappy :: Happy

  10. Best man :: Wedding

  1. Magical :: Mystery Tour

  2. Shrimp :: Cocktail

  3. Project Runway :: Hedda Lettuce

  4. Economy :: Car

  5. Porch :: Swing

  6. State of affairs :: Oy

  7. .com :: .net

  8. Fifty cents :: 4 bits

  9. Ripping :: Tearing

  10. Bull :: Shit

  1. Zoo :: Total

  2. Neighborhood :: There goes the

  3. Salute :: Flag

  4. Immortality :: Teens

  5. Dominion :: Canada

  6. Rhonda :: Fleming

  7. Parties :: Fun

  8. Prince of Darkness :: Batman?

  9. Garbage :: Pail

  10. Standard :: Deviation

  1. Insight :: ??

  2. Irksome :: ??

  3. Maybe :: Not

  4. Confirmation :: Hotel

  5. Bib :: Overalls

  6. Stop! :: Go!

  7. Lobster :: Newberg

  8. Boys :: Girls

  9. Fire away :: Hit Me With Your Best Shot

  10. Give up :: the ship

Thanks to Unconscious Mutterings.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Plat du jour--guest submission

A transwoman on the myHusbandBetty boards just got this plate. Thanks, Steph!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Is this what Joan of Arc really looked like?

There are no pictures of Joan of Arc, apart from a couple very crude drawings. However, Patricia Nell Warren on the Bilerico Project thinks that this might actually be what she looked like, apart from hair color. Her theory is a bit of a stretch, but it's still quite interesting.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Plat du jour

Even the license plates are nagging me now.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Plat du jour

From Fail Blog. This was quite deliberate, I'm sure.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Another one from Overheard in NY

Little boy: Mommy, John McCain likes Abba.
Mom: Does he really now? Then you two have something in common.
Little boy: Noooooo!
--Overheard in New York

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Today's best from Overheard in NY

Principal, over PA system: Attention: We are testing out the PA system. If you don't hear this, please call the office.

--Public School
Overheard in NY

No wonder our schools are failing.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Now we're number 7

The Transgender and Allies group has moved up to seventh on ActBlue's ranking of donors to the Obama campaign! We're up to 259 donors when I write this.

In two and a half days we've added over 150 donors (who gave about $8,000).

So please join in, if you haven't already. Help make the trans community visible politically. Read Kate Bornstein's latest post if you're unconvinced.

Just go to Even if you can only afford a buck or two, it counts. And it all goes to the Obama campaign--neither ActBlue nor the Stonewall Democrats (who helped set up this effort) get anything. ActBlue does ask for a "tip" to help finance their operation, but it's completely optional.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Trans for Obama--keep up the momentum

The Trans for Obama Day is over, but our effort goes on. Contributions made today will count toward the Obama campaign's third quarter statistics, the last major reporting period before the election.

We also have a new goal: 261 donors. This should move us into 7th place on the list of groups donating to the Obama campaign through ActBlue.

So, if you haven't done so already, please make a donation. It's not too late. Large donations are appreciated, but any amount is welcome--the number of donors is of higher importance. The goal (aside from helping elect Barack Obama, of course), is to increase the political visibility of the transgender community and our allies.

Go to the Trans Community and Allies Page on ActBlue:

It only takes a couple minutes. Even if you can only afford a buck or two--every penny goes to the Obama campaign.

It's also not too late to blog about our campaign. Joann Prinzivalli has joined the bloggers for the trans page group.

2:30PM UPDATE: We're up to 234 donors! and add some more bloggers to our list: Debra Porta, and Véronique. And then there's my friend Betty, who not only posted on the Daily Kos, but came out as trans there as well!

3:00PM UPDATE: The ActBlue site is having technical difficulties at the moment. Grrr!

5:30PM UPDATE: The site is back up. So you can donate NOW. Please.

We did it!

200 donors!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Only 6 more!

We need just 6 more donors to the Trans and Allies for Obama page to reach 200. We've got 9 minutes left until midnight. We can do it. Go to

Right now!

UPDATE: I'm now told we're going by Pacific Daylight Time. And we only need 4 more now.

Mukasey: three steps forward, a big one back

On the same day I praised Attorney General Michael Mukasey for the latest of three positive developments, I got an action alert from the ACLU. It asked me to sign a petition to the Department of Justice's Inspector General, requesting him to determine whether the FBI has been violating its current internal guidelines on investigations. The action alert said:
Bush and Mukasey are at it again. They’ve announced dangerous new FBI guidelines that will severely jeopardize the personal privacy of innocent Americans. These regulations need no congressional approval and are terrifying...

If implemented, new guidelines will allow the FBI to interview you, your friends and your family under a false pretext.

The FBI could recruit secret informants and have them infiltrate peaceful protest groups.

Investigations based on little more than race, ethnicity or religion would be allowed.
The ACLU believes the proposal is unconstitutional.

But it's even worse than that. There are indications that the FBI is already acting as if the proposed new guidelines were in force.

So I signed the petition, and am asking you to sign, too (and unlike Trans for Obama Day, this won't cost you a cent). Just go to Here's what the ACLU suggested I send out:

Subject: We're all suspects?!

Under new FBI guidelines proposed by Attorney General Michael Mukasey, all the FBI has to do to put anybody they want under prolonged physical surveillance is assert an “authorized purpose” such as detecting or preventing crime or protecting “national security."

These kinds of Bush/Cheney/Gonzales/Mukasey “just trust us” policies have been eroding our rights for the past eight years. After illegal spying and top-level torture policies coming from the White House, this is absurd. Enough is enough!

These new guidelines would allow the FBI to interview you, your friends and family under a false pretext. The FBI could recruit secret informants, and have them infiltrate peaceful protest groups. And the FBI to could initiate investigations based on little more than race, ethnicity or religion.

The FBI could also search commercial databases for personal details about your life with no real reason.

And all of this would be allowed without an ounce of evidence that you or anyone else has done anything wrong.

These guidelines represent one step closer to a police state. And the worst part is that there is good reason to believe the FBI has been violating its internal guidelines all along.

Fortunately, there is something we can do about this before the new regulations are implemented.

I just demanded that the Inspector General at the Department of Justice launch an investigation to determine if the FBI has been violating its own guidelines. The Inspector General’s office at the Department of Justice has proven to be an unbiased, internal watchdog that has consistently exposed wrongdoing. We need to urge the IG to do it again. Take action now at:

We're number 8! We're number 8!

The Transgender and Allies group has moved up to eighth on ActBlue's ranking of donors to the Obama campaign! We've gotten 143 donors as of this writing.

So please join in, if you haven't already. Help make the trans community visible politically. If you still need some convincing, read my earlier post, and my original one from June. Or check out these bloggers' posts: Kate Bornstein, Helen Boyd (also her guest post on feministing), Angie Buhl, Laura Calvo, Lena Dahlstrom, Monica Helms, Andrea James, Dr. Morbius, Veronica Pejril, Riftgirl, Annie Rushden, Autumn Sandeen, Dr. Jillian Weiss. Also, Riftgirl's Sarah Palin video is hilarious.

Just go to Even if you can only give $5, it counts. And it all goes to the campaign--neither ActBlue nor the Stonewall Democrats get anything. (But somebody's been sending in some big bucks: the group's total has increased about $3,600 today!)

6:00 PM (EDT) UPDATE: over 60 donors today, giving over $4,600--pushing us over the $10K mark!

Mukasey does another good thing

U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey continues to impress me. After this, and this, he has now appointed a prosecutor to go after Republicans who may have broken the law by orchestrating the firing of U.S. attorneys for political reasons--particularly for investigating possible crimes by other prominent Republicans.

This is somewhat of a reversal of his previous stance. In an address to the American Bar Association in August, Mukasey stated, "[N]ot every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime." Technically, that is correct. But now he has been convinced that there may have been criminal acts here, as well as violations of the civil service law.

Bravo, Mr. Attorney General!

UPDATE: Already senators are warning Bush not to pardon any law-breakers found.

Trans for Obama Day--a good start

So far today we've added about 30 donors and $1000 for the Obama campaign through the trans page on ActBlue. If just 4 more people make donations we'll move up to the eighth largest group! If you make a donation NOW, you could be the one who moves us up the list!

Just click on:

Here are some other people blogging about the Trans for Obama Day: Kate Bornstein, Helen Boyd, Lena Dahlstrom, Andrea James, Riftgirl, Annie Rushden, Dr. Jillian Weiss.

Assume nothing

From Overheard in New York
Man in elevator on cell: Yeah. That's what I'm paying for, right? Next time just make sure it's a male to female.

Trans-blog day for Obama

Today a number of trans and allied bloggers are renewing our plea to help the campaign of Barack Obama for president. Back in June a group of us sent out a request for donations to the Obama campaign through a specific page on Act Blue, the online clearinghouse for Democratic action, which was set up with the help of the Stonewall Democrats. The purpose of this effort was to demonstrate to the Obama campaign that we trans people and our allies are a significant group supporting him.

As you can see by the donor thermometer above we've had some success. As of this writing we are ninth on the list of groups donating to the Obama campaign through Act Blue. With a little effort we could be eighth. With a bit more, we could be seventh. Click here for my update.

I think (hope) that I'm preaching to the choir when I say that a McCain-Palin administration would be disastrous for the country, and for LGBT people in particular. While Barack Obama is not our perfect candidate, he is head and shoulders above his opponent.

He needs our financial support. The Republicans, the party of money, can always count on large donations from a small number of wealthy people, who want to use our government to increase their wealth, regardless of how that affects anyone else. Democrats like Barack Obama need the support of a large number of non-wealthy people, each giving a little, to counter this.

And as a group, trans people certainly are non-wealthy. If such a survey were possible, I'm sure we would find that the median wealth of trans people is far below that of the non-trans population. Many of us are the victims of employment discrimination. Many of us have to find new jobs, if not whole new careers, after transitioning--and transitioning itself can be very expensive.

So we don't expect large donations (though that would be nice, of course). We're looking to get as many people as possible to donate through the trans page. The number of donors is more important than the amount of money raised.

Everyone's help is needed. Your contribution, even if it's only $5, is needed. Please help. Please demonstrate to the Obama campaign that trans people are significant supporters. We need to be visible.

So go to and make a contribution. Every penny goes to the Obama campaign--no fees are deducted. Do it now, before you forget.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekly free associations

  1. Hearing :: loss

  2. Aggression :: Georgia

  3. Charged :: particles

  4. Traveler :: insurance

  5. Hydrate :: water

  6. Detox :: shampoo

  7. Qualify :: Olympics

  8. Prison :: cell

  9. Frontal :: lobotomy

  10. Pep talk :: halftime

Thanks to Unconscious Mutterings.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Plat du jour

A fan of one of those New Jersey football teams. (The only NFL team in New York is the Bills.)