Archive for January, 2005

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What Dog Are You?

January 31, 2005

Take the what dog are you? quiz. (It’s at the bottom.) Apparently I’m a St. Bernard.

You think?

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Think Of The Children

January 31, 2005

Abstinence-only sex education programs, a major plank in President Bush’s education plan, have had no impact on teenagers’ behavior in his home state of Texas, according to a new study. – Texas Teens Increased Sex After Abstinence Program

This isn’t the only study that shows no positive effects from these programs. If you care about young people and want them to stay unpregnant and disease-free you must support what works – comprehensive sex education and the easy availability of contraception. People with a contrary view are invited to join me in reality asap.

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Hallelujah, the Mac is back

January 31, 2005

In recent years, the home computer has increasingly become a digital entertainment center; people use it for the Web, they use it for e-mail, and they use it for photos, movies and music.

The Mac is not just good at these few tasks: It’s the best there is. There’s simply no arguing that Apple’s built-in software and operating system make for the single most powerful photo, music and movie system you can buy.

But the things that the Mac is good at make up just one part of the story. There’s a flip side — the increasingly obvious failings of PCs running Microsoft Windows. – Salon.com Technology | Hallelujah, the Mac is back

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Can I get a Starbucks?

January 30, 2005

I do not live in Milwaukee. I live in Waukesha, a city of 65,000 people. I like it here quite a bit but I do have a few questions. Let’s start with this one. If I live in a city of 65,000 affluent suburbanites why can’t I get a fucking Starbucks or something here? Seriously, I’m pretty out of luck when it comes to getting a decent cup of coffee on my way to work in the morning. Espresso? Forget it. Not happening. According to The Onion new Starbucks are opening in the rest rooms of existing Starbucks. But here? Nary a one to be seen.

Listen, I’m not even aiming that high, okay? Starbucks isn’t exactly the Mecca of my coffee drinking experience. I much prefer going to Alterra. But at least Starbucks is passable. They know how to make an espresso better than I do at home and that alone makes them an improvement to stopping at the Kwik Trip convenience store for a travel mug full of something which, in spite of being labled “Kona,” is barely coffee at all.

Okay, I’ll admit two things to you. First, there is a Starbucks with a Waukesha address. But it’s so far on the other side of town that it’s practically in the next one over (Brookfield). Totally unacceptable. Second, there are at least two cafes in downtown Waukesha, one of which is within walking distance of my house. But they aren’t on my way to work and I can’t seem to understand their hours. I think they’re closed like 23 hours a day. And Sundays, too. Clearly they’re of no help.

Can I not get a decent espresso drink on my way out of town in the morning? At an establishment that’s actually open once in a while? Do you realize how much of a killing you’d make selling lattes and cappuccinos to me and my fellow suburbanites if you situated yourself between our homes and the expressway? I myself would spend $10 a week, easy.

PS. I know there’s supposed to be an apostrophe in “Starbucks.” But there isn’t one. Take it up with them, not me. And while you’re complaining about that please tell them that there’s this cool place called Waukesha, Wisconsin where they can come and make some money.

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Nerd Cred via Tolkien Exhibit

January 28, 2005

Here’s me establishing my nerd bona fides by attending a J. R. R. Tolkien exhibit at work. Now I don’t have to be embarassed about the fact that I am a Tolkien enthusiast but haven’t bothered to see the collection even though it’s right down the freakin’ hall from me. The look on my face? that would be me going “holy crap this is cool!”

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Atheists Not Equally Patriotic – Just The Way It Is

January 28, 2005

“…they are fearful that I will then say that you’re not equally as patriotic if you’re not a religious person,” Mr. Bush said. “I’ve never said that. I’ve never acted like that. I think that’s just the way it is.” – President outlines role of his faith – The Washington Times: Nation/Politics – January 12, 2005

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10 Years, Old Friends and a Woman I Never Met

January 27, 2005

I saw a beautiful young woman last night. I didn’t know her. She was dead.

I had received an email from an old friend two days before. It was a funeral announcement for the young woman. Because I could not remember ever meeting her I at first wondered why he had included me on the distribution list. But when I read the announcement carefully I saw it. She has been engaged to marry my best friend from high school. I knew I had to go.

I realized with some amazement and shame that I haven’t spoken to my old best friend in ten years. A current friend asked me why. What could I say? I started a family and he didn’t; I stopped hanging around the same places; our lives took different paths. So although we lived in the same city we didn’t keep up. Next thing you know it’s ten years later. Just like that.

And now here I was looking down at the woman who was lying disturbingly still in the funeral home where the service was held. And I didn’t know her. The man who used to be my best friend had met, fallen in love with, planned to marry, and now lost her all without me even knowing she existed. Thus not only was her early death a startling and tragic reminder of my own mortality, but it also spoke to me of how fast life goes by and how easy it is to let people slip out of your life unnoticed.

I didn’t have much time to talk with my friend. I just hugged him and told him I loved and missed him. I also told him that I would call to invite him over for dinner soon. While I was there I ran into other old friends, too. I got to spend some time talking with them. It was like a strangely somber high school reunion of sorts, with so many faces I hadn’t seen in many years.

Old friends sometimes drift apart. Everyone knows that. That’s just the way life is. But I don’t believe it’s something that should happen without me knowing it. So I’m going to make good on my promise. I’m going to call my friend and invite him over for dinner. Maybe he’ll want to tell me about the woman. Maybe he won’t.

These kinds of experiences – the tragic death of a young person and also the sudden realization that ten years have come between me and a friend – remind me not to take life for granted. But if I’m honest with myself I have to admit that, after all the carpe diem existentialist bullshit, I’m going to take it for granted anyway. Because no matter how hard you try to hang on to life, to squeeze every drop of goodness out of it, in the end it slips on by, some of it wasted, some of it not. You do the best you can. That’s all any of us can do.