Wednesday, March 31, 2010

got a few minutes?

check out this slideshow

here's one of my favorites, but there are several classic gems:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

let's assume that Obama plays chess

And not checkers.

We are already seeing that the insurance companies are finding loopholes and excuses to continue to raise rates and deny coverage. They must be smirking at their successful manipulation of the final bill, which delivers to them 32 million new customers, some of whom will be subsidized by taxpayers. Sweet.

However, just suppose that public outrage hits a tipping point, as abuses and outrages continue to hit the news. Who gets the blame?

Congress, certainly, but perhaps the Insurance corporations will be finally recognized (hello? media? yeah, right) as the source of Our Misery. In which case, Obama gets to say "we made a great first step, but now it's time to recognize that Big Insurance has no real interest in supplying actual Health Care, so let's have a true Public Option...".

So, in my grandiose fantasy, Obama has been merely following a "give them enough rope" strategy. Could it possibly be so?

"Sarah Palin's Alaska" show

I heard that this is to be a new program, coming soon. Wonder if they will talk about this?

Monday, March 29, 2010

the Germans (bless their hearts) had the perfect word

Schadenfreude (see Wikipedia, in case your Deutsch is a little rusty).

an inconvenient fact

Thinking about the frenzy among Republican Attorneys General, to repeal the Health Care 'reform' law as unConstitutional. Oops.

Friday, March 26, 2010

more on Cantor story

It just keeps getting better and better. Turns out:

"Later Thursday, however, Richmond police said in a news release that the bullet had been fired into the air around 1 a.m. Tuesday. It finished its random arc back to earth at a sharp downward trajectory, breaking a window pane on the bottom floor of the two-story brick building where Cantor’s campaign leases the top floor."

Got that? Cantor's campaign consultants lease an office on the top floor, and the random bullet broke a window on the bottom floor.

Yes, this event was sure important enough to bring anti-Semitism into the stew.

Pathetic clown.


"Tear down this Government" (but wait until I get my check)

Heard this on KPOJ this morning, too, as reported on TalkingPointsMemo. Should we be surprised?


The Washington Post today has a profile of Mike Vanderboegh, the 57-year-old former militiaman from Alabama who last week posted a call for people to throw bricks through the windows at Democratic offices around the country to protest their votes for Health Care Reform. Whether the people who actually did this over the last week did so in reaction to his call to arms is not clear. But he's happy to take credit and others are crediting him too.

But Vanderboegh really is a classic exemplar of scream-at-your-TV tea-partyish extremism. A radical libertarian, champion of getting big government off the people's backs, his day job? Vanderboegh lives on government disability checks down outside of Birmingham, Alabama.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

eric cantor

Now that it's becoming clear that the bullet not only was NOT directly fired into the building, but the building houses political consultants that Cantor uses, NOT his campaign office.

Two words come to mind (besides 'total idiot'): 'Reichstag Fire'.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

better get used to this story

tick, tick, tick...

Barney strikes again

Just heard the 'rest of the story' about the recent epithet shouted at Barney Frank.

The idiots yelled 'Fascist faggot' at him, and Barney simply replied 'I am not a Fascist'.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

uh oh

On Friday, former militia leader Mike Vanderboegh called for anti-Democratic vandalism across the country to protest the health care bill.

Vanderboegh posted the call for action Friday on his blog, “Sipsey Street Irregulars.” Referring to the health care reform bill as “Nancy Pelosi’s Intolerable Act,” he told followers to send a message to Democrats.

“We can break their windows,” he said. “Break them NOW. And if we do a proper job, if we break the windows of hundreds, thousands, of Democrat party headquarters across this country, we might just wake up enough of them to make defending ourselves at the muzzle of a rifle unnecessary.”

Sound familiar?

anyone else having computer derrangement today?

OK. so far today:
  1. My main computer wouldn't power up. I had to unplug everything and jigger the case to make the on switch come alive. It seems to be normal now.
  2. Up at Karen's office, all three of her computers had odd things: one could not recognize the CD drive (loose cable), one lost changes to a Word document (computer was getting automatically rebooted after I uninstalled the horrendous AVG Version 9), and one had a sticky mouse (it was as if Shift-Click was permanently turned on - I pressed the Shift key a couple of times and it returned to normal).
  3. Back home, I am trying to fax a document and perpetually getting a busy signal, despite the recipient swearing that all is well on their end.
  4. So, I decided to scan the document and email it, instead of faxing. My scanning software continually tells me that there is a hardware problem with the sheet feeder, although I was able to do a Copy without issue, using the sheet feeder.
What's wrong here? Why is everything breaking down today? Am I alone here or are devils hassling you today, too?

food for thought

On one of the blogs this morning, someone made this comment, which, I feel is right on:

"The number of Republican votes in favor of the bill that passed is exactly the same number the bill would have gotten if it had included a true Public Option."

Also, I hear Grandpa McCain solemnly promised this morning that the President would not get any cooperation from the Republicans for the rest of the year. So what else is new?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

not one Republican

In the House voted 'Aye'.

34 Democrats voted with them.

It's a first step - the insurance industry is not invincible.

Next stop - the Vatican!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

breaking news: Kucinich to vote 'Yes'

He is coming around to the 'hold your nose, get something passed, then fix it later' thinking, that Bernie Sanders has also adopted, and I am OK with this.

Still, I'm glad I sent $5 his way yesterday.

cool YouTube from Ben

pretty clever


So much promise before the election. So much excitement at the Inauguration.

So much compromise since then.

So much corruption throughout the system. Something is rotten and we all know it.

Pass the damn bill, and try to fix it.

Maybe, in context, Obama will have been a necessary first step, that had to be taken to prepare the way for the Kucinich/Grayson ticket (you remember, the one that ran against, and lost to, Palin/Cheney).

Tick, tick, tick...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

it's nice when things work...

...without having to read the documentation, that is.

I've never done anything significant with SQL Server, but there's a chance that an upcoming project will be an Access front-end to an SQL Server database, so I figured I ought to get the basic development stuff set up now.

I downloaded and installed SQL Server Express and its management tool. It was pretty easy to create a new database, add a table, define some fields, and insert some data. Pretty slick.

The next challenge was to build an Access database that can see (and modify) the SQL Server table, and the obvious way to do that is via a linked table, using ODBC. The one critical step to do this is to correctly define the ODBC data source and confirm that the connection is valid.

However, my efforts to define the ODBC data source failed again and again, as my frustration and dread grew exponentially. I tried every combination of the parms that I thought it wanted, but I got a 'connection failed' message every time.

It was totally frustrating, and that was the state I was in last night, when I headed for bed.

Naturally, at some point during the night, a thought 'occurred to me' (as they say), and, in short order, this morning, I created and successfully tested the ODBC data source definition (hint: the default server-name that Windows inserted was incorrect), I created a proof-of-concept Access database with the SQL Server table successfully linked in, the SQL Server table was copied into an Access table, and I created a form that can display (and modify) EITHER the Access table OR the SQL Server table, based on a parm that I can easily toggle in an Application Constants table.

So, I now know I can build an application with forms pointing to tables on either platform, copy data from one to the other, etc. It may not sound like much, but it opens up a lot of possibilities for development.

Now all I need to do is hope they come thru with the contract!

Your reward for getting thru all the above boring stuff is this.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

now that my anxiety level has decreased...

I can concentrate on getting prepared for tomorrow night's klezmer concert, where I am just a piano player.

It's at 7:30 at the Portland JCC, and is part of Jewish Arts Month. I think we have a fun program planned. I hope Ed took good notes at our one and only rehearsal, so that we don't have too many surprises (like when to end a number, which can be a challenge once you're in there enjoying yourself).

Taking Dylan to the airport in 15 minutes, for his flight back to Medford/Ashland. Kudos to the amazing customer service person at Horizon Air, who was unbelievably accommodating in transforming the unused portion of last Sunday's itinerary into a seat on this afternoon's flight, without charging us anything. That was a surprise.

Gotta run...

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

the final word on Dylan

At today's appointment, the doc confirmed that it is indeed a tonsil issue, and he is 99% certain that there is no cancer involved.

Did we over-react by insisting that he NOT return to Ashland the other day, but stay in Portland until we get this figured out? Perhaps.

Apparently, the recovery for tonsil surgery is about 2 weeks for adults, and generally uncomfortable. We are leaving it up to him to schedule the surgery, with the understanding that he will probably have recurring sore throats until it's taken care of.

He is itchy to get back to his Ashland life, so we'll probably put him on a plane in a day or so. Right now, he's hibernating up in his room - seems depressed about having had his plans disrupted by nosy parents.

So it goes.


The things that can be learned from DNA analysis continue to astonish me.

Monday, March 08, 2010

update on the previous mysterious post

I guess now it can be told.

My son, Dylan, who has been living in Ashland for a couple of years, complained about a persistent sore throat months ago. Naturally, we repeatedly told him 'go to a doctor' since we have insurance, etc.

Of course, he never did.

Last Friday night in Pasadena, on the eve of Sylvia's 99th Birthday party, he mentioned that he still had the sore throat. We pulled out a flashlight and looked into his mouth, and were shocked to see a marble-sized mass that was clearly not supposed to be there.

Karen, having represented a number of people with throat cancer and other horrible stuff, fretted all night about what this could be, and we told Dylan that he would NOT be returning to Ashland on Sunday, but, instead, would stay with us in Portland so that we could make sure this got looked at ASAP.

She took him to a couple of places today until she found someone who would look into it, and, to great relief, the first opinion was that it's a horribly inflamed tonsil, not cancer.

Next appointment is tomorrow afternoon, when we'll find out if he needs surgery (probable) or if it can be handled with medication (hard to imagine). Regardless, he's going to be in Portland for at least a few days, but it seems that our worst fears (which you can imagine) are over.


back in Portland

Ben and I flew down to LA Thursday night, and the whole family, Dylan included, returned to Portland late Sunday afternoon.

Saturday was my mother-in-law's 99th birthday party. She's an amazing artist, and it's always a treat to spend time in the house where she lived for 50 years, since just about every square inch of surface has some bizarre painting, ceramic, or 'construction'.

All her neighbors were invited, and as much family as could be assembled were there - about 70 people. Naturally, there were scattered downpours, so the outside time was limited. There was plenty of food and drink, and two astonishingly-large cakes.

For the singing of Happy Birthday, someone had made a huge clay sheet-cake, into which the requisite number of little candles had been inserted. It was lit with a blow-torch and the smoke detectors went nuts - you can imagine the general hilarity.

Since I didn't know 80% of the attendees, I was happy to sit at the piano and play popular songs of the 30's and 40's, my favorite pasttime.

There was only one incident that cast a cloud on the proceedings, and, depending on what happens over the next couple of days, it may become a major topic in this blog, but I hope not.

Enjoy Life, and especially enjoy others whose lives are inspirational.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

rumor just heard on Thom Hartman show

The RUMOR (totally unconfirmed at the moment) is that John Roberts is going to resign as Chief Justice due to medical problems.

Please let it be true.

UPDATE: now the original report is being retracted. Oh well, I felt pretty good for a few minutes.

Monday, March 01, 2010

small satisfactions

With Karen gone for a few days (law conference in San Diego, and then to Pasadena to prepare for her mother's 99th birthday party, this weekend), PLUS the full moon, I hardly slept last night.

Instead, I spent hours (or so it seemed) compiling a list of all the things that had to be done today. There were almost a dozen, and, as of 12:30 pm, all but two are completed, including doing the first major lawn-mowing of the year.

Now, I can coast for a couple of hours.