log (2005/05/20 to 2005/05/26)

The dog trots freely in the street
and has his own dog's life to live
and to think about
and to reflect upon
touching and tasting and testing everything
investigating everything
without benefit of perjury
a real realist
with a real tale to tell
and a real tail to tell it with

That's Lawrence Ferlinghetti, in a Coney Island of the Mind.

I don't normally Get poetry all that much, unless it's Robert Service or I don't know Ogden Nash (a bit of talcum is always walcum) or perhaps Cummings (the boys, I mean, are not refined).

But after an unaccustomed glass of single-malt Scotch after dinner this Ferlinghetti cat is kind of fun to read, in a semi-loud voice, to the no doubt admiring household.

Most of A Coney Island of the Mind proper resists casual Webification by virtue of typography.

Tamed again
By or against the obsessive
And aggregated street;
Just one last shard
of holy tinder.

(That's just me.)

Or, to put it yet another way:

Subject: I hope you are doing okay. monkish

And as in monkish thought he stood, the foolybear, with eyes of flame...

So I've been reading up on this "nucular option" that's in the news and everything. Quite a Nomic the U. S. Senate is, eh? Makes me wish I were still playing Agora; wonder if they're talking about it over there.

I've been reading the Senate Rules themselves (which are quite short and contain all this complex stuff only between the lines), and some FindLaw articles and stuff. Sounds like what the Nucular Option actually looks like is something like:

Republican: Mr. Chairman, I ask you to rule that we've had enough debate on this here fine upstanding judicial nominee, and it's time to vote.

Dick Cheney: So ruled.

Democrat: I object to that ruling, on the grounds that Rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate clearly requires a three-fifths majority to close debate.

Republican: I move that we table that there little objection until sometime in the next geologic era.

Fifty-one Republicans: Yea.

Dick Cheney: Okay, on to the voting.

My! I can see why they'd be sort of reluctant to do that.

If I hadn't exhausted my week's supply of indignation, I'd write to NPR or WNYC or somebody and complain about the fact that their news people keep pointing out that the Democrats have allowed the confirmation of all but 10 of 200 Bush judicial nominations, but they never mention that the 10 that they've blocked are all appellate nominations, of which there were only 30.

So it's really at least as much like 30% as it is like 5%.

But these things are all so petty! Have the roboservitors bring the swan-chariot around, and we'll go take in the moons of Saturn. It's just harvest time, and I hear the ambrosia is particularly fine this season.

So the bathroom is all constructed except for the sink (due to be hooked up on Monday) and the shower door (two weeks). M and I did all the priming and almost all the painting today (it's a small bathroom; so there's both not all that much to paint, and not all that much room to move around in while painting).

And it's Recital Weekend and the little daughter did two dance performances today (the one we're actually going to is tomorrow), and M helped out at the lobby desk for one of them (while the little boy and I were shopping for paint and brushes and rollers and stuff), and the little boy had his first bass lesson with a new teacher who seems very nice (and makes housecalls!).

The little boy was so tired (having had not much sleep last night because of a sleepover, and then helping me with paint shopping and priming and masking taping) that he fell asleep on the bed while I was priming. So now he's all awake and crazy and bouncing off the walls at 10pm, and the rest of us are ready to collapse into little heaps (hm, actually the little daughter has just picked up her viola and is playing something fast and vigorous; maybe it's only M and me who are exhausted).

Speaking of duped naive citizens, I sent this email off yesterday:

To: Joe.Seehusen@lp.org
cc: Chair@lp.org
Subject: Member disappointed by misleading "Kill the Death Tax" mailing

As a long-time Libertarian Party member, I was very disappointed to open this envelope from the LNC and find that the party is wasting funds on spreading misinformation about the estate tax, and on working for its repeal. Frankly, if the 2% of multimillionaires who are subject to this tax want it repealed, let them spend their OWN money on the campaign. Many of them got rich by abusing the power of government for their own purposes anyway. Please focus the limited resources of the party on issues that actually impact more than a tiny fraction of Americans.

The mailing contains numerous misleading statements and outright lies; frankly I found it insulting. The statement that "when you die, 40-50% of your savings are confiscated by the federal government!" is simply untrue for the vast majority of people who will get this mailing. With an exemption of like $675,000 and marginal tax rates of between 40 and 60 percent, the actual tax rate doesn't reach 40% until the estate is worth over three million dollars (and that's after deducting mortgages and other debts). And because of the deductions the majority of family farms and businesses don't pay even a penny of it.

The statement in the mailing that "40-50% of your savings are confiscated" is so far from the truth that I wouldn't be at all surprised if the FEC or another party could successfully sue the LP over it! That'd sure help the party's bottom line.

I'm no fan of taxes, obviously, but the estate tax is far far down on my priority list to eliminate. If you must go after taxes, go after the Alternative Minimum Tax at least; it hits SOME middle-class people. Or go after more basic civil rights issues like "Real ID" and the "Patriot Act". Using the party's resources on a cause that only a multimillionaire could love, and lying about it in the process, is not a good idea.

I am very interested in your thoughts on this matter, and some explanation of the thinking behind this mailing. I am very tempted at this point to exit the party entirely, but I am hoping that this was simply a one-time misjudgement.

David M. Chess

(Note that that's my 'writing to the Libertarian Party' voice, which is subtly different from my weblog voice; don't let it worry you. I do realize that "2% of multimillionaires" should, strictly speaking, be something like "2% of Americans (all multimillionaires)", for instance.)

On the one hand I think to myself "heck it was just one bonehead mailing and we've been a big-L Libertarian for so long that it's part of our self-image and all, and we shouldn't get upset just because the party is doing one thing that's unlikely to benefit us directly"; on the other hand I think "how many blatant self-serving lies does it take before we lose trust in an organization: more than one?".

Ah, well. No reply from them yet; maybe they'll redeem themselves. Or maybe one of my readers will explain to me why I'm wrong to be annoyed. *8)

So there's this site called "the Democratic Underground" ("DU"), that has pages and forums and stuff where naive citizens, duped by the corrupt and cynical leaders of their political group, devote time and effort to increasing the power of those leaders, under the impression that they are helping to improve the nation.

And there's this other site called "the Conservative Underground" ("CU"), that has pages and forums and stuff where other naive citizens, duped by the corrupt and cynical leaders of their political group, devote time and effort to increasing the power of those leaders, under the impression that they are helping to improve the nation.

One of the forums on CU is devoted to making fun of the people who post to DU. Recently there was a thread on that forum on the topic of a "virtual march on Washington" that had been announced on DU; this led to discussion of what DU people's feet must look like, since they "never leave their basements". One wag posted an image of an odd-looking foot, saying that it must belong to a DU person. Another wag replied that no, it was too tan to be a DU person and, probably after googling for "pale feet", posted a link to a perfectly innocent picture of my feet, and the first wag commented that they obviously belonged to a DU person ("DUmb-ass"), because they were "fat, lily white and no sign of work".

As with so many other forums, these people post images by just embedding an image tag pointing to an image on some other web site. So these particular people were not only insulting my feet, they were using my own web site and bandwidth to do it.

Needless to say, those CUers' insulting remarks are now posted directly under a picture of George "Dubya" Bush. (That one where he's making the monkey-face.) As of this writing, no one had noticed. See if it's still there! (Down a few screens.) And in any case, I took a picture.

Insult my feet, will they?

(It wasn't a very good picture of my feet; the lighting was bad, and it was at a funny angle. And it doesn't show the soles, which have just slabs of healthy macho-looking calluses.)

A reader writes in memoriam:

Let us pause for a moment and remember Plurp, who has been constantly attacked by eagles for a year now.

Indeed! Think of Mia.

Extreme coolness: someone pointed me at Plogress, and I now have RSS feeds in my reader for both Senators and my Congressperson. All government officials should be required to have regularly updated weblogs. (At the very least it would eat up lots of their time and keep them out of trouble.)

Also very cool: Amptoons has a posting about a couple in 1868 who was so cool that a judge ruled that anyone that interesting couldn't actually be married.

In the referer log, we find that our Scalia analysis from last week has got some people actually linking to us. There's a Slashdot journal (what's a Slashdot journal? Slashdot has journals?), and flutterby and Enthusiasm, and quicklinks on Mark Pasc (and thence on some number of Python-related metanews sites), and on Thoughts, Arguments, and Rants. We love fame!

Also from the reflog, and much more confusingly, we find a copy of an August 2004 edition of the log on this page about call centers, and a link to the main log on this page about 'Iranian Sexy Weblog'. The web is such an odd place...

Best tea:



Earl Grey. Hot.

Sweet Tea by Buddy Guy

almost, but not entirely, unlike

Tea at the Huntington Library and Gardens, and not just for the scones and roses; but otherwise, Darjeeling, Silver tip Oolong, Keemun for black teas, Jasmin Pearls for Green. And I'd pay to read your blog; I'd even send tea!

The best tea is the one that comes with sympathy



I hate to admit it but Jean Luc turned me on to Earl Grey.

Tesco's own

The best tea? Travis Tea

Plain black tea (any brand, hot or iced) with equal parts vanilla & hazelnut syrups. Tastes just like a graham cracker!

(jasmine, btw)

russian cyber attack war exploiy

Some people like green tea, but I like mine brown. Yes, brown is definetly better. Much, much better. I wouldn't want my tea to not be brown. I would be sad if someone changed it from brown to another color. Brown!

it's the princple of the thing


Quite an assortment! (And thanks for that typo report.) (And the very kind endorsement!) Tea drinkers take note.

I find most teas too bitter for my taste (being more of a hot cocoa guy, as regular readers know). Not just real tea, Camellia Sinensis, but also your typical Celestial Seasonings hippy herbal infusion. But that vanilla and hazelnut thing sounds interesting. Also that pizza thing. (It'd probably help if I could smell, sigh.)

Funny no one mentioned Iris Chacon!