Sunday, April 26, 2009

Only a week late: pics of Portland

I was behind with everything last week, including posting pics of our day trip last weekend. So, here they are:

By the time we futzed around and stopped for breakfast and then for coffee and then for gas and then for coffee again and then for every rest stop and then again for coffee, it was almost 3:00 when we got to Portland. Anthony had wanted to see the Pittock Mansion, but the inside closed at 4:00. We found the Portland Chinese Garden which turned out to be a great place. It was a little busy, but it was a really nice spot. After that I suggested that we go up to the Pittock Mansion anyway since the grounds are open until dark. It turned out to be a good choice. We got to wander around the outside of the house and still enjoy the view and the park.

After such a strenuous day we found one of the McMenamins pubs in the city and had some beers and dinner. Anthony and I played a round of pool, which only served to reinforce how bad we each are at it. We didn't care since we were having a good time.

That was our entire day in Portland. We didn't leave ourselves much time to do much, but the day trip was a good one and it was enjoyable to be out of the house.

Friday, April 24, 2009

This is pretty cool

This is an amazing performance by a Chinese group.

What's even more amazing is that all the performers are deaf. It's hard to achieve that type of synchronization when you can hear the music, let alone when you can't.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Live blogging: on the road to Portland

In honor of Anthony's birthday we're heading to Portland for the day. We got something of a late start so I'm not sure how much time we'll have, but it's still nice getting out for the day. I always forget how uninteresting the road between Seattle and Portland is. There's almost nothing interesting to see.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Best teabagging quote of the day

If you've not heard of the conservative nutjobs teabag parties today, I'm not going to educate you in this post. Just use the Google and you'll find all kinds of info. Needless to say, it's a big joke. Anderson Cooper came up with the best quote I've heard so far today:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Being poor is fun! Especially when you're not

Plumbing new depths of cluelessness, the New York Times published an article saying that it's great having to pinch pennies. Except they quote people who seem to be doing so more for the novelty than out of necessity:

Ms. Martin is a real estate investor, her husband is a plastic surgeon, and their home sits on the 12th hole of a Cincinnati country club.
How exciting for Ms. Martin and her rather comfortable family to pretend they have no money and can enjoy getting their DVDs from the library instead of Blockbuster and growing their own veggies. What fun! And maybe they can get in a round of golf while they're waiting for their salad to grow.

Other people they interviewed also had to make dramatic changes. One man canceled his wine club membership and uses his iPhone (on which the cheapest plan is over $100/month) to find cheaper gas. Another woman gave up using paper napkins (a change I made at home over two years ago) in order to save money. What hardships these people have endured.

The NY Times should have interviewed people who have faced real hardships recently. There are thousands of people who have lost their jobs, homes, cars, everything. Many of these people have been reduced to living in tents. Where to get a DVD or using an app on your iPhone is not even on your radar when your entire life exists in a tent. It's really sad, and pathetic, that the supposedly "premier" newspaper in the country is so clueless when it comes to reporting the conditions in the country right now.

Summing up the cluelessness, the woman making the ultimate sacrifice of paper napkins is quoted as saying:
“I recently heard a phrase: ‘Never waste a crisis,’ ” Ms. Sikes said. “I love it."
I wonder how much she'd love it if she were living in a tent.

It's not you, it's your name

More legislative brilliance from the great state of Texas. State legislator Betty Brown (who is possibly related to Buster) has said to Asian-Americans that they should change their names because they are too hard to pronounce. Having more "American" sounding names will make it easier for the Asian populations in Texas to vote, or at least that's her argument. I guess it's easier for people like her (people of apparently limited mental ability) to remember a name that doesn't sound Asian. Then she has the nerve to say her comments are not about racism. So, she is effectively saying that it's not about racism, it's just about their ethnicity. That takes some nerve for her to feel such a sense of entitlement that she would suggest that an entire segment of the population should change their names to make life easier for her and people like her, good Americans with American sounding names.

This woman needs to figure out that almost everyone in this country has a surname with its origins from another country, including a name like Brown. Back when I was in elementary school we were taught that America is a "melting pot", made up of people from all different kinds of cultures and that every culture has combined to make America what it is. Apparently this woman thinks that white people with names like Betty Brown are more American than someone with a name of Asian origin. What a moron.

Friday, April 10, 2009

This picture makes me happy

I don't know why exactly, but it makes me smile. Maybe it's because we have a President and his family in the white house who are real people, not out-of-control hillbillies.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

How does he go up from here?

Arizona State University has decided that Barak Obama is not worthy of an honorary degree when he speaks at their commencement ceremony in May. So, apparently getting a law degree from Harvard, being the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review, being an Illinois state legislator, being a US Senator, and then becoming president of the US (not to mention the first black president in US history) isn't a long enough list of accomplishments. I guess being president, an office that only 43 other people in history have held, is not enough. What exactly does ASU expect an honorary degree awardee to have accomplished in his/her life? Once a person reaches president of the US, how does one go up from there? Sounds like ASU, a well-known party school, has a rather high opinion of itself.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Blame the women

This article would actually be funny if it were satirical, but it's not. The author is being serious, and based on some of the comments he's not the only one who feels that way. Why is it that conservatives, who are and have been led by white straight christian men, can't see that they are mostly to blame for the current problems with their own movement, not to mention many of the current problems with our society? They somehow feel the need to blame everyone except for white straight christian men. They blame gays, lesbians, blacks, hispanics, women, illegal aliens, legal aliens, all foreigners, liberals, libertarians, and anyone else who isn't a white straight christian male. It's just sad how delusional these conservatives can be. They are perpetual victims, even when they are the ones in power (like for the last 8 years).

It's shocking to me that the author of this piece (who believes strongly in his opinions that he wrote the piece under an online pseudonym) would find fault with things like helmet laws that protect life. I thought conservatives were pro-life; at least they are when it comes to laws trying to control what women do with their own bodies. But, somehow that interest in protecting life only applies to unborn fetuses. Once you're born, you're apparently on your own. Passing laws to protect children under the age of 18 from sever injury or death is not a christian goal apparently, and somehow goes against being christian/conservative. And, apparently we have women to blame for the horrific "overprotective" laws that protect children. I just don't understand why christian conservatives claim to want to help people, but are against anything that actually protects or helps people (unless you count unborn children). In the end they are only in favor of what helps them politically, no matter how much harm it actually does to others.

Continuing with the lack of logic, it's apparently women who are responsible for tugging at our heart strings and making us worry about global warming. Who cares if the oceans rise and inundate almost every coastline on earth? Who cares if the ocean currents are disrupted resulting in major climate shifts in heavily populated areas of the world (such as the northeaster US or northwestern Europe)? It only matters that we are apparently being emotionally manipulated, so global warming is therefore a non-issue. Accordingly we should choose to ignore it.

How stupid does the author have to be to not realize that no matter how an issue is presented, the issue is still the issue? It wouldn't be a problem if conservatives' opinions affected only themselves but they want want their delusions to apply to all of us. It seems like they're running out of arguments when they are reduced to saying that we should ignore issues like global warming because women were given the right to vote.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This guy gets it

Why is it so rare for progressive and/or democrat politicians to really stand up for what they believe in? It's way too common for conservatives to defend their beliefs and make sure the world follows them by making their opinions into law. Democrats and so-called progressives in federal and state legislatures seem a lot less comfortable standing up for their beliefs. They seem to be more interested in toeing the line down the middle of the political spectrum, afraid to piss anyone off. That being said, it's wonderful to see someone like Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal stand up for what he believes and refuse to go along with the conservatives and their agenda. He "gets it", and isn't afraid to say so. Good for him (and for the rest of us).

I love the line "You've already lost." It's really true, although the conservatives will fight tooth and nail to keep society from changing. I do believe that theirs is a losing battle in the long run, but it will get even uglier before it's over. And I doubt the battle will be over in my lifetime.

Monday, April 6, 2009

If atheists ruled the world

Following a theme from my post a few days ago I found this video:

The guys are reading word-for-word posts left on far-right conservative web sites. There are many more that have been collected here. Most, if not all, defy all logic and reason. Worse yet, many of them accuse all liberals of defying all logic and reason while doing so themselves. As my friend Chris said, you can lead a fundie to logic but you can't make him think.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Weekend this and that

Just wanted to drop a few lines here since it's too easy to get into the habit of not writing anything. Well, a "few lines" with me is usually a couple of pages...

There hasn't been too much to report, and that's OK. I'm still obsessing over tires, but when it comes time to buy I'll do what I usually do and go with my gut instinct and end up bring right in the first place. But, it gives me something to do and process so it's OK. I received in the mail the leveling kit I ordered. It will lift the front of the truck so that it's level with the back of the truck. It looks like it's going downhill all the time, so I'm looking forward to having it level. Now the challenge is finding someone local who can do it. I have one place I found but it seems kind of expensive so I need to do a little more digging. Once that is done I'll get the tires put on.

We did some house cleaning this weekend, and it was definitely due. It's amazing how dirty the house can get, and how nice it is when it's clean. I still have to go upstairs and clean the shower in my bathroom, but I'll do that just before I take my shower tonight. Real exciting huh?

Anthony starts school tomorrow...yay! He was able to get approved for "commissioner approved training" through the state which means they play for his tuition the first quarter and then pay him the equivalent of weekly unemployment benefits for the two years he's in school. I think it will be good for him to get more training and be able to do something different when he graduates. It should open up more opportunities for him than he has now. Plus it's not a bad way to ride out the current economy spending it in school.

Sadly I don't have lots more to report, but I guess that's good. I'm hoping we get back over to the boat in the new future and start getting it ready for the summer. We're going to have a lot of cleaning to do outside, and we need to have it hauled out to have new bottom paint put on. Those should all be easily doable. Just more things to do of course, but oh well.