Sunday, November 26, 2006

Only Two States...


Funny enough, the state I grew up in (New Jersey) and the state next to Washington where I lived for 14 years (Oregon) are the only states where you'll run into this situation

Saturday, November 25, 2006

How Many People Qualify As Disabled Anyway?

My main mode of transportation is a bicycle. I live in an apartment and when I first moved in, I brought my bike inside the apartment until I saw that many tenants had tied up their bikes in the "breezeway" under a set of stairs.

Our apartment door is right next to these set of stairs and seeing that many rules in the apartment are violated by many tenants, I decided that tying my bike outside my door wasn't in the way of anyone else. It was a perfect place. It was out of my apartment, wasn't in anyone else's way and was protected from the elements. Anyway, Someone else, who did not live in the immediate vicinity had their bike tied up under the same stairs.

Well, a month ago, we got a certified letter with a new emphasis on the rules of the apartment building. They mentioned bike was not allowed to be in the breezeway and about how most of the bikes were abandoned and any bike left outside would be removed.

So, I moved my bike indoors to avoid trouble but I saw that the other person whose bike is outside OUR door had theirs still out there. No big deal until I read a note I thought was from the apartment managers. It was from the tenant from apartment I-7, saying that the bike owner was disabled and to not remove it.

What?!

Give me a break! How disabled can you be if you can ride a bicycle? Oh, I might add that I-7 is on the SECOND floor. No alternative means of getting up there without walking up a set of stairs. I-7 is also a 2 bedroom apartment meaning that there almost has to be someone else up there who can bring the bike upstairs for the time being. The rider in question does not ride the bike much anyway. I've only seen it removed once in the four months I've lived there. It usually just sits there covered in a tarp like a sportscar.

I know I sound insensitive but most people cannot acccept the truth sometimes and they say they're disabled in any situation that would help get what they want. It's the same thing when people say they're allergic to some foods when really, they just don't like it.


Be true to yourself.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Enjoying the Strips?


Let me know by responding to the blog entries. Here's a new one...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Joe Girardi? Joe Girardi?

I'm pissed! Joe Girardi winning manager of the year? With a losing record? A record that was FIVE games worse than the year before? The first losing season for the Marlins since 2002? What the hell?

How do you deny Willie Randolph of the Mets? He improved the Mets by 14 games! He had to juggle 13 starters without a bonafide ace to get the best record in all of baseball! They were the only team to do well in the National league!

I know that Girardi had to juggle a bunch of rookies but they had three winning seasons before he came to the team, they had only one winning season previous in their whole history. How does he get Manager of the year when he got fired? Ahhhhhhh, life ain't fair!

This reminds me of 1988, when the Dodgers got all the awards I felt should have gone to the Mets. Look at David Cone's record compared to Orel Hersheiser's in the Cy Young Award race., Even though Orel had the consecutive shutout inning streak and more wins, Cone had a better winning pct. and much more strikeouts and ironically a better ERA and he wasn't even close in the voting. Third place no less! And look at Kirk Gibson's stats compared to Darryl Strawberry's in the MVP race. Much more home runs, and more RBIs. Ugh!

Anyway, No Mets manager has won Manager of the Year and this is at least the third time they deserved to.

No World Series either.

Sob!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Rudy's Run

Well, it looks like Rudolph Giuliani is running for president in 2008. Can he win? Well, before last Tuesday election results I would have said he could have easily won the general election but would have almost no chance winning the Republican nomination. Now, I think the opposite of both those scenarios is more likely. One thing for sure, I don't want him for president. He blew it for me in 2004.

I have never been a fan of Giuliani. I voted for David Dinkins in 1989 when he ran against Giuliani. I had never regretted a vote more. Dinkins was the biggest disappointment I've ever seen. So, when the the two of them ran against each other again in 1993, well, I was glad I had moved to Seattle at that point. Giuliani won handily, and made some dramatic changes in the makeup of the city with the approval of most of the citizens. I saw some of these changes each time I visited the city, I liked some of them and didn't like others. The city was cleaner but lost a lot of its character. It became bland and indistinguishable from any other area of the United States.

Anyway, Giuliani's second term started off well but he soon became tabloid fodder when his marriage was on the rocks. He had an affair and was something of a joke as his tenure as mayor was coming to an end. Then September 11th happened and his image got the biggest boost anyone could ever imagine. He earned it by being the image of calm in a truly confusing, chaotic day. He acted more presidential than George Bush did, granted he was in the city when the attacks happened, but he had guts and acted decisively. That was the day I thought he would make a great president. My views would soon change.

Granted, I much rather have Giuliani as president than the man who stole the White House from Al Gore. If Al Gore had been president when the events of 9-11 happened (Though I think they would NOT have happened with Gore as president) Giuliani would have easily beaten him for president in 2004 and I would have been okay with that. Instead, George Bush Jr. was in the White House and was running for re-election. The convention was in New York City, and Giuliani was to give a keynote speech. That's where he lost me.

On September 11th 2001, Giuliani saved the Bush administration. He was there when the city was burning. Bush was nowhere to be seen. Who knows what Bush was doing? We didn't see him that day and from all appearances, was hiding somewhere, we don't really know, we're not allowed to find out. So, Bush owed Giuliani big time. Heck, Giuliani should have ran against Bush in 2004 either in the primary or as a Democrat, his views are more moderate that Bush's. Instead he bowed done to Bush and made what I felt was a disgusting statement at the Convention.

He said "For me, when I arrived there and I stood below the north tower and I looked up, and seeing the flames of hell emanating from those buildings, and realizing that what I was actually seeing was a human being on the 101st, 102nd floor that was jumping out of the building, I stood there, it probably took five or six seconds, it seemed to me that it took 20 or 30 minutes, and I was stunned."

"At the time, we believed that we would be attacked many more times that day and in the days that followed. Without really thinking, based on just emotion, spontaneous, I grabbed the arm of then Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, and I said to him, 'Bernie, thank God George Bush is our president.'"

I was livid. This election disgusted me enough when they smeared John Kerry's military record and mocking his medals by wearing purple heart band aids in the same audience. But thanking God that George Bush was president, when even at that time it appeared that if anyone else was president 9-11 could have been prevented. To see the second Republican kiss up to an unworthy human being like that (John McCain did it earlier that convention) made me more partisan than I had been in awhile. We got stuck with four more years of Bush and a war with no end in sight thanks to Giuliani and McCain. And they want my vote? I don't think so. They are not heroes.

The funny thing is that now, most people are angry with Bush, so much so that they may give McCain and Giuliani a chance in the Republican primaries. I think that the republicans will realize they need a moderate like Giuliani and a maverick like McCain to win over Democrat voters who don't want to put Hillary Clinton in the White House. I used to think that either McCain or Giuliani would be shoo-ins if they got past the primaries. But I think 2008 is not their time. I think both passed their opportunities.

McCain's best chance was in 2000. He would have been a welcome change for many people from Bill Clinton. He was a straight talker, An Arizona Republican in the Barry Goldwater vein. He would have made a great one term president. Guiliani's time was 2004. He was not going to take on an incumbent from his own party, and though he is a bit liberal on some issues. 2008 is a different story for both guys. John McCain is getting a bit too old, he'll be 72 in 2008. He also appeared weak in the 2000 primaries in defending his honor against attacks by Bush. He went full circle by supporting almost everything Bush wanted and lost any "maverick" points. As of now, it looks like that Hillary Clinton is a shoo-in to win and I couldn't be happier. I can't think of any Republican who can beat her. She has already been through the ringer enough to handle any attacks against her. This can change however, most likely it will be someone no one has mentioned yet.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Dirk hunt part 5


Someday I will gather these strips together and put out a booklet, for now, click on the picture and enjoy it in the meantime.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Okay, That's a Relief

As I stated in a previous blog entry, I wasn't registered to vote this year, the first time I didn't vote since 1994. That year I had just moved to Federal Way, Washington and the Republicans took control of congress. That year every Republican who ran won, and 50+ Democrats lost. This year every Democrat won re-election and the Republicans lost 30+ seats and control of both the House and the Senate.

I'm happy but I'm not gloating. Back in 1994, a tax increase and a little stronger gun control was all that was needed to get the bums out. This time it took a disasterous war that even Bush is saying is going to continue another two years plus. It took almost 3000 deaths of our soliders and perhaps hundreds of thousands of deaths of people whom we're trying to spread democracy to. If we threw Bush out in 2004 it would not be as bad. But somehow the American people thought he was worth keeping in.

I was thinking about how we got here. In 2003, Bush hoodwinked the American people in supporting a war in Iraq. People believed Saddam Hussain was connected to 9-11 and Bush did nothing to dissuade that line of thinking. We thought that Saddam was a threat, talking about building a huge weapon arsenal against his enemies, including the US. We didn't think it through though. Saddam was weak, he had almost no power. We kept him in check throughout the 90's. He tried some mischief but we would stop any action he would take in the "no-fly" zone. He was like a bear in a cage.

Bush wanted to be tough, wanted targets (buildings, palaces) that looked cool when we bombed, because Afganistan's bombing looked like an interstate highway project, hardly sexy.

2003 looked good from a military standpoint. We toppled Saddam statues, we had film footage of cheering Iraqis, we had a proud president standing abourd an aircraft carrier in front of a banner "Mission Accomplished" , the war went on. We got some of the infrastructure we destroyed back on line, we killed Saddam sons, the war went on. We captured Saddam himself in a humilating way, disheveled in a hole in the ground, the war went on. They had elections, democratic elections that even we didn't have in 2000, the war went on and on and on.

So, when Bill O'Reilly asked do you want the US to win the war, I ask haven't we already won it? I mean what else is there to do? Steal their oil to pay for the war? I mean, Bush had the audacity to make tax cuts in a time of war, so how is this 300 Billion dollar and counting war going to be paid for?

We won the first gulf war by merely taking Saddam Hussain out of Kuwait. Poppy bush's approval ratings were through the roof! But he lost his re-election bid a year and a half later. I can't help but feel that Boy George wanted to show up his dad by actually capturing Saddam. I can't help but feel he kept the war going beyond its natural conclusion to win re-election. After, he won that I got confused at why we're there still. I got my answer when he was leaving it up to his successor to figure it out. No matter who wins, if we're still there the next president is screwed. If a Democrat wins, Bush can spin it that it was their failure, not his. Whatever. Our presense there now means at the very least we lost not militarily but morally. Any comparisons people make to past wars in our history fails to point out that we are the agressors and the agressors had lost World War II, World War I, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War (Okay, maybe not the Civil War)

The only war to compare this to is Vietnam. I'm sorry. The casualty rate isn't there yet but the reasoning of why we're there is similar, the fact it will involve two presidential administrations is the same and it was started by two Texans.

I'll shut up now.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Christmas is Coming...Batten Down The Hatches!


Yes, Christmas is coming, that means we'll probably be treated to more of the "War On Christmas" crap we went through last year courtesy of Bill O'Reilly. I love the myth that it's an attack on Christmas when retailers call a Christmas tree a Holiday tree. Bill, aren't you a capitalist? Should not the retailers try to expand the market on trees to consumers who celebrate Hanukkah, Kwansaa, and other holidays?

One of his targets was funny enough, Target stores. He rightfully attacked them for eliminating the Salvation Army bell ringers, but to be honest with you they can be annoying, especially at the entrance at a stand alone Big Box retailer.

He then attacked them for "forcing" their associates to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". Bill, I have news for you, unless it's December 25th (The errornious day of Christ's birth) it's not Christmas and Target isn't open. Jewish people shop too, and if you said "Merry Christmas" to a Jewish person, it could lead to an uncomfortable situation. I'm just saying.

He also said they had no "religious" cards available which was utterly false. I did a very unscientific research project, I closed my eyes and grabbed a card and lo and behold it was one that featured the Nativity. I did it once again and it featured the "Christmas" star. The third time I grabbed it it was a secular Peanuts card without Linus sermonizing.

Last year as, I was shopping, I heard some nasty exchanges of "Merry Christmas" between retailers and customers as though they were oppressed people trying desperately to save a a dying tradition. This is absurd if Christmas was eliminated, most retailers would go bankrupt lacking enough revenue to survive. No one is killing Christmas.

Of course, Bill O'Reilly attributes the "War On Christmas" to the "Politically Correct" (Whatever That Means) crowd. He's offended by "Happy Holidays" and even "Season Greetings" and thinks this is a recent phenomenon. Oh contrare. I am 40 years old and some of my earliest memories involve seeing Season Greetings banners hovering over Main Streets of towns across New Jersey, it was an annual ritual that had to have occurred before I was born. That's a long time Bill, for a war to be going on without your notice.

This routine of Bill O'Reilly is really about taking what is already a Christian dominated country and shoving it down the throats of those who don't celebrate the birth of carpenter from 2000 years ago. In recent years I have noticed a general progression towards Nativity scenes in public places. They are more readily available now than in anytime in my life. No one is stopping you from celebrating Christmas. No one is stopping you from spending thousands of dollars on electricity illuminating your joy at celebrating a carpenter/philosopher. I've seen the Nativity scene in more places than ever. Curiously, the one place I see it less is in front of churches. It used to be it was always in front of a church but for some reason I don't see it as much. I could be wrong, but if Bill has a complaint he should start in the churches.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Newark Museum

I had the pleasure of being at the Newark Museum today. They had an exhibit featuring the masters of the american comic strip. It featured Winsor McCay, George Herriman, Chester Gould, Charles Schulz and many others.

There was a sister show in New York about comic book artists, but with the New York City Marathon going on, I felt a trip to Newark was more prudent because I am more a fan of the Strip than the Book.

There is not much to do in downtown Newark on a Sunday, It STILL has yet to fully recover from the riots of 1967 but there are efforts to make Newark a destination stop. The museum is worth the trip and at seven bucks a bargin. The cartoon exhibit was excellent feature original artwork from McCay, Herriman, and E.G. Segar. What a delight to see how these masters worked their craft and how depressing it is as a wannabe cartoonist to realize how hard it is to be that great.

There was a healthy crowd to see the exhibit and the rest of the museum featured many works by American artists including Warhol. They have a bonafide Buddist Temple on the third floor.

So, the Newark Museum, come for the cartoons, stay for the Buddist Temple.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I thought I'd never see...

It was cold the other night as I was riding my bike home from work. Not that cold, mind you, but really cold in what I saw that night. People were playing softball under November lights! I know that baseball is America's past time along with apple pie and Chevrolet but this is an astounding to me. I also saw a father play catch with his son all decked out in late fall clothes today. In November! After the World Series!

Still, When I was growing up and I wanted to get together to play baseball, I would have a hard time encouraging my peers to play if it was after August. Once Football came upon the horizon, None were interested in playing America's pastime. So, I am encouraged at the prospect of playing pick up softball sometime next year in the area. I guess I'll try to find an "over 40" league now that I'll BE over 40 next year.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Stem Cells

The recent flap involving Michael J. Fox supporting a Democrat that wants to expand stem cell research to hopefully cure Parkinson brings up some interesting questions.

Now, I'm for any stem cell research that doesn't involve cloning. Most people against fetal stem cell research points out that adult stem cells are doing the job nicely. Well, that's because they had a head start in research, but the cells aren't complete enough or hold enough information to be fully useful.

I saw a commercial featuring TV's Patricia Heaton talking about how poor women are selling their eggs for research and that the procedure is harmful to them. Where's this happening? I mean if a woman wants to sell her undeveloped eggs it should be her right. Does Ms. Heaton condemn menstrual periods? How far does her anti-choice agenda go? "Every sperm is sacred!" Let these women make money if that option is open to them, they were never going to be babies.

Now, I don't understand why it's preferable to dispose of abortions and miscarried fetuses without trying to do research to help lives. It's just waste.

However, the one main source of stem cell research would involve In vitro fertilization. This is the procedure people use to get pregnant through artificial means. It involves the fertilization of eggs from the woman and the blastocysts being preserved for potential use. It can involve hundreds of blastocyst samples. Now when the couple decide to have the babies they have the blastocysts placed in the uterus. The rest of them go .....Where? No one is expected to have a hundred babies,
so what do we do with the rest of the blastocysts?

Okay, you can figure out where I stand on that, but my question is where was the outrage at all this potential "abortions" happening when people were lauding In vitro fertilization in the first place? Have you ever heard of bomb threat at In vitro fertilization clinics? There was some controversy over the first test tube baby but that was a "Frankenstein" thing. Do the opponents of fetal stem cell research think that all the blastocysts will find a womb to be placed?

I don't expect there to be a cure for Parkinson in Michael J. Fox's lifetime, science can be slow but I think we should make use of what is available to use. If someone who has a collection of blastocysts doesn't want the scientist to touch them that is their right. But don't prevent those who do want to donate the blastocysts to scientists

Hulk vs. Godzilla

I'm watching a commercial that talks about the virtues of a high quality picture screen for Philips electronics when I noticed that it featured the Incredible Hulk from the movie of a few years back. I thought it was strange, because the movie didn't do all that well and I haven't heard anything about a sequel being made. Were they talking about the picture quality being soooo great that you can easily spot the fakeness of the computer generated monster? I dunno, it just seemed weird to feature a character from a movie that really wasn't iconic enough to make people forget Lou Ferrigno.

The weird thing is that this is the second time in recent months that a commercial featured a computer generated representation of a character that is better remembered as a man in costume. A Doritos ad recently featured Godzilla. No, not the Japanese icon we all love but the "edgy" size matters 90's version that no one really cared for. That movie came out 8 years ago and no sequel is on the horizon. If he was an actor I would assume he needed the work but who is it now that needs the work? The CGI company?

I guess these commercials seem strange to me is because usually these type of commercials have a synergy aspect to it. They usually are there to hype an oncoming movie and the various tie ins. I got used to this schtick. I guess I should be glad that in both cases it is limited to one commercial but the cynic in me is wondering what is really being sold to the consumer.