just procrastinating

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Check out these maps at A9.com (whatever that is), which are only available for some big cities. They have pictures that were taken on each side of the street. Definitely way cool to see some old places where I used to live.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Global Warming
Time Magazine has a big global warming article this week that made me doubt my current position (Bring it on!) for a moment or two, at least until the end of the article, which provided no opposing viewpoint and breathlessly concluded:
Curbing global warming may be an order of magnitude harder than, say, eradicating smallpox or putting a man on the moon. But is it moral not to try? We did not so much march toward the environmental precipice as drunkenly reel there, snapping at the scientific scolds who told us we had a problem.

The scolds, however, knew what they were talking about. In a solar system crowded with sister worlds that either emerged stillborn like Mercury and Venus or died in infancy like Mars, we're finally coming to appreciate the knife-blade margins within which life can thrive. For more than a century we've been monkeying with those margins. It's long past time we set them right.

Whatever. Even in Virginia it's kind of chilly, so we'll probably move further south...or the south will move to us.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Not much going on around here for the old blog as of late. But anyway here's something: I was at Giant (supermarket) on Saturday morning and this concerned looking woman ran out from behind the butcher counter towards a group of employees standing around and said, "Curt fell down, get help". I was nearby, so I went with them to take a look for a moment locked eyes with a very sick looking man. Curt was in his 60s I'd say, and I figured he was having a heart attack.

But there plenty of people that worked there looking after him, so I thought I'd just mind my own business and get back to shopping. Still, I thought that if I was having a heart attack, I'd probably want to chew on a aspirin or two, and the folks in the butcher department probably wouldn't have thought about that. So I went over to aisle 14 and picked up some aspirin and headed over to the scene again. This time there were about 10 people around Curt, who now was unconscious. I spoke with someone nearby and she said there was a medical person there taking care of him, so I figured my services were no longer needed, and he couldn't chew the aspirin at that point anyway.

I wondered if that might have been that poor bloke's last day. We'll all have our own someday, but it's strange when it plays out in public. It reminded me of this time I was in O'Hare airport in the connecting tunnel between the United terminals and this man was getting CPR at the end of the moving walkway. His wife and daughter were standing there, almost in a trance. It was clear that he wasn't going to make it, since they were working pretty hard on him and he wasn't responding. They had opened up his shirt and his fat belly jiggled around as they pushed on his chest. It wasn't a very dignified ending. The saddest part was that they were heading toward Terminal C, which meant that the vacation never even got started.

Anyway, so I went back to Giant yesterday to see how this guy fared, and thankfully he was fine. Turns out he was just really dehydrated, which means he was either really hung over, or that he had a serious case of diarrhea. And if it was the latter, which I bet it was, that tells me more about the sanitary conditions in the Giant meat department than I'm prepared to deal with.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Walk the Line
We rented "Walk the Line" over the weekend. Reese Witherspoon as June Carter was very good, but I'm not sure if it was Oscar-worthy. It's almost as if she won because the expectations of her were so low from movies like "Legally Blond" that this performance seemed like more of a breakout than it actually was. As for Joaquin Phoenix, it takes guts to go up there and try to sing like Johnny Cash and he did as good a job as anyone could.

But that being said, the movie seemed a little dull to me, kind of like Johnny's music. I never really got into it. I know it's cool to like the man in black, but his stuff just never clicked with me.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Old Navy
My wife and I went to Old Navy to pick out some semi-disposable maternity clothes since she's 26 weeks into it now and...well I'll just leave it at that. Anyway she got like 4 shirts and 3 pairs of pants and I picked up a sweatshirt that was on sale for $10. Total Bill: a shockingly low $100! A lot of stuff was on sale, but jees that's cheap.

So I used this occasion to talk about how great globalization is, and if this stuff was all made in the Carolinas instead of Myanmar or Pakistan it would cost twice as much. Sure, those folks had to lose their jobs, but those jobs sucked and now they all work on pit-crews for NASCAR or at the local Piggly Wiggly. Win-win I say. And since the child labor laws were less stringent in those countries you can get the kind of detailed embroidery that can only be produced by tiny fingers working 14 hour days. (OK, I kid, I kid).

When we got back home and looked at the receipt we realized that the reason it was so cheap was because the checkout lady only charged us for about 5 things, instead of 8. Oh well, my point was still valid!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I've been waiting for Seth Stevenson who writes about advertising in Slate to comment on those new Volkswagen ads that tell us to "Make Friends With Your Fast". Well today he did, and I'm actually surprised that he gives them an A-. That doesn't mean he likes them, but he thinks they are going to be effective for the target, men under 25. I hope he's wrong because I hate those ads and I can't really understand what the stupid "Fast" character is saying half the time. I think they are a disaster and bad for VW's image, but maybe I'm out of touch with that demographic.

Monday, March 06, 2006

I couldn't quite stay awake for the whole Academy Awards, since there really is no well defined end point for these, and I usually end up just giving up hope that they will get to Best Picture before midnight. So I was happy to see this morning that "Crash" had won, if only because it was the only movie that was nominated that I've seen. I do want to see "Munich" at some point and suppose I'll have to check out "Brokeback" as well, but a lot of the movies this year just did not appeal to me.

I also saw "March of the Penguins", which I found to be one of the more depressing movies that I have ever seen. Those penguins...I don't know how they do it. What's the point really? Back and forth, always hungry, year after year.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I Fought The Law
Well, not really, I just got back from court for my expired tags, and since I renewed them, they dismissed it. I could have just paid the $81 fine and not have to sit in court for an hour, but I figured it would be a good excuse to get out of the office and see how my tax dollars are being spent.

I sat through about 20 or so cases, most were speeding or DUI, but some were actual criminal cases. For these the defendants weren't even there, they were at the jail and appeared onscreen. One of them was a 20ish girl and I felt kind of bad for her because she just looked miserable. I'm not even sure what she did but she was in the pokey because she had missed her court date apparently because she had been ill. Sitting there you sort of get a little more sypathetic to liberals: sure, these folks have done wrong, but when they get a felony conviction, a big fine and jail time they end up losing their jobs and we the taxpayers end up paying for their housing and meals.

There were a lot of U Va students there, most of them were on speeding charges and some chose to plead "not guilty". These were kids who clearly thought they were way smarter than these local yokel cops. Right. I used to be that 21 year old who thought some clever thinking might sway the judge, but not anymore. One guy in particular, a tall Indian kid brought in a sheet with the specs of the radar gun that the cop used and attempted to convice the judge that the radar gun could have been picking up another car. The officer then said, "Buy you were the only car on the road." Oops, that'll be $90.

After about an hour of not being called, an officer came up to me and saw me with my registration in hand and asked who was the officer that pulled me over. I said, I thought he had left, and this officer looked at my ticket and said "Oh, no he's over there". To which I thought a clever but inappropriate response might be, "Well, I can't tell one pig from another." He showed the officer my registration and said I was free to go.

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