Thursday, July 31, 2003

Marriage = ?

Can anyone tell me what is wrong with two people of the same sex getting married? I haven't heard one good argument -- heck, the only argument I've heard is that it is immoral. Who does it hurt when two people who love each other have a ceremony and then enjoy the benefits of marriage that the rest of us enjoy? President Bush is trying to find a way to outlaw gay marriages because he feels threatened that countries like Canada are allowing it and our own court system is supporting issues that may lead to allowing gay marriages. At the same time, he is proposing to spend $300 million to nudge women on welfare toward the altar. According to Republican supporter Sen. Rick Santorum, "The fact of the matter is, marriage is a very important tool for economic survival, when you have two people in a family it makes it easier." Grassley said promoting marriage is "just a no-brainer." Apparently, though, not if those people are of the same sex. So, it's worth it to spend $300 million dollars to get 16-year old pregnant girls married, but it should be illegal for two 30-year old women in love to marry. That makes sense.

The ever-enlightened Vatican is chiming in now. According to Pope John Paul, "Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behavior...but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity...Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children." If the catholic church could only be so strongly agains child molestation...

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Blogathon 2003

This is really cool, I'm just sad that I missed it this year. Some people have organized a Blogathon and it's third annual event took place on July 26 this year. Here's a quote from their website explaining what it is:

Now, remember when you were in school and you would bowl for charity? And for every pin you knocked down you got, say, ten cents? Or run for a dollar a mile? During the Blogathon, people update their websites every 30 minutes for 24 hours straight. For this, they collect sponsorships. Pledges can be a flat donation, or a certain amount for every hour the blogger manages to stay awake.

People can just blog about whatever, but a lot of people have made it fun by having themes. For example, Pet Rock Stars wrote songs for 24 hours straight. They periodically posted lyrics, MP3s of the work so far, etc. The Search for Love in Manhattan posted 48 funny (one every 1/2 hour) haikus about the perils of gay dating. aesthetically dot org took truth or dares from sponsors -- donate $5 to the charity and give a truth or dare. Hello My Name Is Shashi wrote about a different washed-up or overrated celebrity every half hour.

It was started in Portland by Cat Conner in 2001. In 2001, it raised $20,000 for charities. In 2002, it rasied $50,000. This year, it raised a whopping $101,753.80. Amazing!

I'll have to think of something good to do for next year. Please post suggestions as a comment to this blog entry!!

Vegetarian Test Meal In Portland

According to the craigslist portland website, a new kosher vegetarian restaurant will be opening in Southwest Portland soon. On August 10, you can attend a test dinner to sample dishes that they have on planning on the menu. For $14.00, you can have Tomato & Cilantro Brochette, Chinese Cabbage Salad with an Almond dressing, Gourmet Lemon Moroccan pasta with roasted red peppers, NY Style Cheesecake with a pecan & brown sugar crust, and microbrew tasting. Sounds like a deal!

"The State" On DVD

Remember that hilarious sketch comedy show, The State? According to The State's official website they are working on a DVD collection that will include commentary, interviews, unaired material, etc. In the meantime, watch Michael Ian Black on Ed and Tom Lennon, Ben Garant and Kerri Kenney on the new show Reno 911.

Another interesting note -- did you know that Michael Ian Black toured as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle?

DEAL: Free Subscription to GamePro Magazine

For you gaming fans, GameSpy.com is offering a complimentary 1-year subscription to GamePro magazine. Just give them your name and address and you're set.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

[UPDATE] I'll Take Assassination for $1000, Alex

Guess what? They killed the Policy Analysis Market program! I should have bet on the program being killed before it even started. They quickly took the PAM site offline, so the link I posted previously will not work anymore.

So much for the $600,000 they already paid to launch the program. That's okay, the government didn't have anything better to spend your money on, right?

"...and we would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those pesky Democrats..."

I'll Take Assassination for $1000, Alex

The government is once again allowing the people of the U.S. to profit from the atrocities performed elsewhere in the world. Starting Friday, you can sign up to bet on potential terrorist events! Called the Policy Analysis Market (PAM), you buy a "futures contract" that predicts whether an event will occur. For example, you could spend 25 cents predicting that Yasser Arafat will be assassinated. If he is, you get $1! I'm not exaggerating; this event is an ACTUAL example on the website. Of course, since being exposed by two Senate Democrats (including Oregon's Ron Wyden), they have taken the examples off of the website.

This wonderful program is brought to us by the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) who started the Terrorism Information Awareness program that allows the government to compile and analyze your financial, travel, credit card, and health history.

Your taxes have already paid $600,000 for people to have fun and make money off of death and destruction. They plan on spending $149,000 more this year and want $3 million for the program next year and $5 million the year after. Money well spent, eh?

For more info, here are a couple of articles about it from the Baltimore Sun and
New York Times.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Talk About A Bad Day

Ever have one of those days? How about getting run over by a van, then having that same van crash while being driven to the hospital?

Surprisingly, they think that alcohol was a factor. I have a feeling they were drinking Molson Dry. According to Molson's website, "MOLSON DRY is an exceptionally popular beer that brings out of the ordinary experiences to beer drinkers..."

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

An Analysis of Netflix's DVD Allocation System

Sounds like a good thesis, eh? Well, this guy did all the research you need. Using some automation scripts he wrote, he analyzed how Netflix decides who gets what movies. It's so geeky and cool -- he links to the raw data he collected, Excel spreadsheets, etc.

The results? In short, if you don't rent much (that is, you don't cost Netflix as much), you have a better chance of getting a popular movie.

LESLEY: This is for you

Who can resist free ice cream? Especially free ice cream mixed up with chunky goodness on a cold slab of marble? Cold Stone is offering free ice cream this Thursday from 5-8pm!

Friday, July 18, 2003

It's The Cat's Meow

If you live in Japan, you will soon be able to translate what your cat is saying! Based on the attitude of most cats I know, I don't know if this is such a good idea. If they are restricting game software sales to young people, maybe this software should be restricted also -- the results may be R-rated!

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Emmy Nominations

The Emmy Nominations were announced this morning. Six Feet Under leads the pack with 16 nominations. I've heard this show is really good and it's on my Netflix list!

Most of it is pretty boring -- just the same people who always get nominated. Following is what I found interesting...

I am really happy to see Tony Shalhoub (Monk) nominated for Lead Actor In A Comedy Series. Monk is a great show and he does a fabulous job. Monk also got a nomination for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music. It was great! Why did they change it this season?!?! Everwood also got a nomination in this category. Who am I going to root for?

Once again, Buffy has no major nominations. One for Visual Effects and that's it.

Lucky was nominated for Writing For A Comdey Series. That's a great show -- check it out!

Door to Door got quite a few nominations (12!). That was a great TV movie about an amazing guys from Portland.

I can't believe My Big Fat Greek Life got a nomination (Outstanding Cinemetography). Outstanding? I didn't even see anything as good as mediocre in that show!

David Duchovny was nominated for Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his character on Life With Bonnie. He did a great job as Johnny Volcano. His best work since the first couple of years of X-Files...

For a complete list of nominees, go here: 2003 Emmy Nominees (requires Adobe Acrobat)

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Halle Berry = Estelle Getty?

Anyone who knows me knows that I think TiVo is the greatest invention ever (well, after the Salad Shooter). Here's a hilarious article about TiVo by a humor columnist:Are We Not Men? We Are TiVo

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

ABCNEWS.com : Timeline of the Iraq Uranium Allegations

Okay, I've been avoiding writing about the "uranium from Niger" situation because it just makes me so angry. I'm sure you all know how I feel. It is so blatantly obvious that the white house continues to lie to us day after day. Tenet is playing the scapegoat and is keeping his job because of it. See "The First Casualty" post I did back on 06/25/03 to see how Tenet has been convinced to go along with whatever the White House wants him to say. Anyway, there is an interesting (although incomplete) timeline on the ABC News website. It includes the fact that in September 2002, Tenet and top aides made two presentations on Capitol Hill where they doubt the credibility of the Niger incident. Yet, on 7/9/03, Rumsfield says it was only "within recent days" that he learned that the uranium report was bogus. Blatant lie or head in the sand? I'm leaning towards the former.

Friday, July 11, 2003


There was a great article about a great company in the July 7, 2003 issue of the Portland Business Journal. I knew the subject of the article, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, had great coffee, but this article further impressed me. I have summarized some interesting points below, but I recommend reading the whole article. [Note -- you will have to register with the site to read it...but it's free!]

Duane Sorenson opened Stumptown Coffee Roasters at Southeast 45th Avenue and Division in November 1999 thanks to a loan from his sister and the financial support of Don Younger. You may recognize the Younger name as being the owner of Portland's Horse Brass Pub. In addition, Younger bought Stumptown its first espresso machine.

Although Stumptown has since opened 2 more stores and a roasting facility, most of the roasting is still done at the Division store with a roaster dating back to 1919. This is the oldest coffee roaster in commission in the country.

Some other interesting facts from the article:
*75-80% of their coffee is organic.
*They don't serve drip coffee - they use a French press. (or a Freedom press for you Republicans out there).
*Pays well above fair-trade pricing for his coffee from a family in Guatemala. He even paid for that family to visit Portland last year.
*USA Today named Stumptown one of the top 10 coffee houses in the United States and National Geographic named it one of the top four places in the world to have a cup of Joe.
*Largest donator of roasted coffee to the Oregon Food Bank.
*Sorenson married to his high school sweetheart and has a 1-year-old child (sound familiar?)

What are you waiting for? Go support this place!

It's a Wrap

In sad news, the man who brought us slices of individually wrapped cheese has died. Arnold Nawrocki's invention allowed cheese to be stored for a period of up to six months instead of a week.

In tribute, I will be eating one of my favorite breakfasts tomorrow -- a bagel with an individual slice of cheese melted on each half.

Thanks Arnold!

Thursday, July 10, 2003

The Greatest DVD on Earth

This is so cool.

From Daily News at DavisDVD: "The Greatest Band on Earth finally comes to DVD on September 9th. Rock gods Jack Black and Kyle Gass, better known as the duo of Tenacious D, hit the home circuit with Tenacious D: The Complete Masterworks. This pulse-pounding two-disc set will feature the entire HBO run of the series, a performance at London's Brixton Academy recorded in November, 2002, the 'Live Short Films' screened during The D's various shows, an intimate portrait of Jack and Kyle and their life of carnal debauchery on the road, behind the scenes footage at two video shoots, and never-before-seen footage of The D's secret backstage rituals. For more information, be sure to check out the official D website."

Discover Music

Ran across a website called Last.fm that looks pretty cool. It streams songs to you and learns what you like to figure out what to play for you next. If it is playing a song you don't like, you can tell it to go to the next song. If you like it, just keep listening. It remembers what you like and don't like and compares this with other users who like/don't like the same thing as you. For example, if it knows I like Celine Dion it will look at other users who like Celine Dion. If a lot of those users also like Anne Murray, it may play me a song by Anne so that I can continue basking in the glory of Canadian female artistry! [yes, I'm joking...]

The interface can be a little buggy, but it's a cool concept. You will need broadband to access this. So much for us country folk!

Deal: Get Toasted

Here's a coupon for a free small sub from Quizno's with purchase of a drink and chips (expires 7/31). I tried one a few years ago and wasn't too fond of it. Being a vegetarian, though, I have different criteria than you meat eaters. Maybe they serve up some tasty carcass! I think it's pretty funny that they base all of their marketing on the fact that their sandwiches are toasted. Is that the only thing that sets them apart? I find the quality of bread and fillings to be more important than whether the bread is toasted. Toasting bread is a good way to cover up stale bread. Not that they do that...

Deal: Massive Brain Freeze

In honor of 7/11, 7-11 will be giving away 5 million free Slurpees. Be one of the first 1,000 customers at a participating store this Friday to snag yours. I recommend bringing 1,000 different costumes and getting 1,000 free Slurpees. Dump the Slurpees into a kiddee pool and dive in for a cool, delicious treat!

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Redneck Games

Yall liss'n here. If any of yall attended our Redneck Olympics a few years ago, this hyar may be of interess ta yo. Weunz could learn sumpin from these folks. Bobbin' fer pigs feet?? Why didn't weunz recon of that??

[I recon that trip ta Tennesee last week is gettin ta me! Ya reckon?]

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

What is this guy thinking?

Reuters reports:

President Bush on Wednesday challenged militants who have been killing and injuring U.S. forces in Iraq , saying "bring them on" because American forces were tough enough to deal with their attacks.
"There are some who feel like that conditions are such that they can attack us there," Bush told reporters at the White House. "My answer is bring them on. We have the force necessary to deal with the situation."

Where has this guy been? Hasn't he noticed that American soldiers are dying from these attacks? I guess he just doesn't care. I'm sure the families of soldiers are happy that he is now egging the Iraqi people on.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Mushy Stuff

I'm struck
by the lightning
of seeing you
you're gone

I was listening to an old episode of This American Life ("Classifieds" 10/11/02 - Episode 223 - Act Four) on the way home from a baseball game last night and the above Chinese poem was quoted by a man who's wife had left him.

For some reason, this poem really "struck" me. I kept repeating it over and over so that I would not forget it. Over time, I came to interpret this not only as a commentary on a long time loss, but even the feeling of being apart temporarily from someone you care deeply about. For example, I constantly think about my wife and my son throughout the day. The "lightning" wreaks havoc on me; on one hand, it makes me feel empty because I wish I was with them at that moment. On the other hand, it's what keeps me going, knowing that I will get to go home and be with them.

Maybe our relationship is different than most, but from the beginning of our relationship 15 years ago, my wife and I have been together as much as possible. We didn't do this because that's what we thought a couple should do, but that's what we wanted more than anything else. I feel like most other couples I know look forward to "ladies night" or "guys night," but when I participate in such events (well, I guess I've only attended "guys nights"), I always feel that I would rather be sitting across from my wife.

The concept of romanticism has changed for me over the years, as well. At the beginning of a relationship, the flowers at every holiday, the extravagant gifts, and the planning of dates like a well-orchestrated symphony are par for the course. I have learned that day-to-day activities are much more meaningful. Flowers are much more effective when unexpected. Imprmoptu acts, such as when my wife tells me I'm gorgeous when I'm just driving down the road or when she surprises me with my favorite delicious Jewish candy make me feel a lot better than any birthday gift ever could.

I guess what I'm saying is that the "lightning of seeing" someone you love can provoke a lot of feelings, whether you will never see someone again or whether you will see them everyday for the rest of your life.

[If anyone knows the name or author of this poem, please let me know.]

Get Scientific

We all know the reputation of the green M&M, but what about the other colors? Does Maroon make you funny? Does Silver make you smart? Perform your own experiments by ordering large quantities of just the colors you want. I think I'll test the following theory: "Does Yellow make you skinny?" Wish me luck.

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