.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Doctor recommended for optimal cerebral hygiene 

My thoughts, exactly?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

July 7, 2004, I posted a rather mean comment to a jekyll post trashing an entire decade of pop music - the 80's.
Ugh. Sorry, but I had all I can take of Flock of Seagulls/Tears For Fears/The Cure, etc., when I was in high school. My heart was drawn to The Who and The Rolling Stones, but I pretended to like 80's pop music so I could look to all the girls at the parties like I was a fun guy.

Excuse me, but I think I'm going to be sick.

I felt bad for slamming my t-floss colleague. I really did. Of course I didn't delete the comment, but I felt bad.

Rolling Stone is currently running an interview with Elvis Costello.

Are you a man of impulse?

I'm terrifically impulsive, but I see things through. I'm very patient. Maybe I have a misplaced belief in my own immortality. I believe I can wait out any fashion. I waited out the whole Eighties. Those fuckers all went away eventually, with their stupid haircuts and synthesizers.
I felt entirely vindicated. After all, this was Elvis Costello. His music credentials are unparalleled, having covered everything from punk to rockabilly to country to classical.

Just look at where he grew up:
Between five and sixteen, I lived in Twickenham [in London]. The Rolling Stones were playing nearby, at the Station Hotel in Richmond. The Who were at Eel Pie Island. The Yardbirds lived in the next street. They had a van with YARDBIRDS written on it. I'd see [Fleetwood Mac guitarist] Peter Green in this record shop I used to go to - looking like Jesus in his rugby shirt and long hair.
Within seconds of reading that I had an immature 'I told you so' post composed in my head. I salivated at the thought of bragging about my superior taste in music. I reached for my copy of The Who's Tommy for what would be the soundtrack for my moment of glory. I felt great...

...until I read on.
I was living in rock & roll central, although I didn't think so at the time. I was into American stuff and the Beatles. I never paid attention to the Who after I Can See for Miles. I've never heard Tommy. I don't own a copy of Who's Next. I don't own any Led Zeppelin records.


Birds of a feather

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Don't ya just love it when you stumble upon two items on the internet from two different sources the same day that unintentionally allign perfectly?

The phrase "whisper campaign" is not in frequent rotation in my vocabulary. While I may have read it somewhere sometime, I never thought about it much until today, when I came across it twice during my morning perusal.

Josh Marshall starts things off with a post referring to an Atlantic Monthly article about Karl Rove's history of using this sleaziest of sleazy political manipulations.
So now we get some details about how the Rove treatment works -- and not just speculation, but with descriptions from former Rove staffers who helped organize some of his trademark whispering campaigns.

An article out this week in The Atlantic Monthly focuses specifically on a series of races Rove ran in Texas and Alabama in the 1990s.

The Alabama races in particular haven't gotten that much national press attention in the past. And one of the most lizardly passages in the article describes how Rove launched a whispering campaign against one Democratic opponent suggesting that the candidate -- a sitting Alabama state Supreme Court Justice, who had long worked on child welfare issues -- was in fact a pedophile ...

Then, a friend forwarded me a September 16th article, by Mary Jacoby in Salon, in which one of George W. Bush's professors at the Harvard School of Business reflects having had Junior Bush in his class.
Students who challenged and embarrassed Bush in class would then become the subject of a whispering campaign by him, Tsurumi said. "In class, he couldn't challenge them. But after class, he sometimes came up to me in the hallway and started bad-mouthing those students who had challenged him. He would complain that someone was drinking too much. It was innuendo and lies. So that's how I knew, behind his smile and his smirk, that he was a very insecure, cunning and vengeful guy."

These are dark days indeed, when people like this are running things. As the polls show the race for the White House essentially tied, it becomes more and more surreal, harder and harder to understand how all this is going on relatively unchecked by the American people. The latest thought that has me banging my head against the nearest available brick wall comes when contemplating the folks who say that they just can't make up their minds about who to vote for. It's hard enough to understand how anyone could see GW as worthy. For these folks I have pretty much decided that they are beyond reach. But how can anyone be on the fence?

Editorial Note: My apologies for linking to two sites in one post that require, not simply registration, but paid subscription. Quoting the salient passages at least gives me a coherent post, but I would, of course prefer that you could easily get to the content I refer to with more ease. Personally, I'm not subscribed to either, though I have been considering Salon for some time. I loved Salon when it was free, and I have not found any site that offers close to the quality and selection of content without charging a subscription fee. Believe me, I've looked.

Misplaced concern for security

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Stepped-up screening procedures at Los Angeles International Airport that were designed to make flying safer have created another potential vulnerability: long lines that are a "tempting target for terrorists," security experts said Friday.

Rand Corp. researchers recommended in a 47-page report that airlines and federal officials spend $4 million a year to add skycaps, ticket agents and screeners to speed travelers through lines in terminal lobbies and on sidewalks and into the secure gate area — where they would be less vulnerable to attack.

"We think this should happen right away," said Donald Stevens, a senior engineer at Santa Monica-based Rand and lead author on the highly anticipated study.

The report found that if airlines and the federal Transportation Security Administration, which manages screeners at the nation's airports, hired 5% more personnel at LAX, lines and potential fatalities could be reduced by 80%.

- LA Times
user: latimes18485
password: latimes18485

Typically, I let stupidity pass without too much comment because let's face it, stupidity is everywhere. But am I wrong or is this not the most narrowly focused security measure to come out of a think tank like Rand? Unbelievable. Are they that hard up for brains? We need to be thinking better than this.

While hiring five percent more personnel may reduce potential fatalities by 80 percent, why airports? If I am a terrorist I am looking at an airport for its planes not its visitors. If long lines are a tempting target for terrorists, which I highly doubt, there are plenty of places that have far more people than airports for terrorists to hit. Just because it is an airport does not mean terrorists are not thinking elsewhere.

Really, lines, long lines are a terrorist target? For crying out loud, at some point in the future I have got to renew my driver license. Why hit an airport when the DMV will do?! I want to be safe there too.

Seriously, if the same security concern existing in one place exists elsewhere, then address all aspects of the concern. Easing the minds of those with post-traumatic 9/11 disorder who simply cannot tolerate an airport queue is patchwork thinking and not exactly cost-beneficial when spread across to all lines in America. However, an extra five percent hired everywhere would certainly help wipe out unemployment. And that'd be good for the economy, right?! Oh, now I understand Rand's thinking.

No, no I don't. For $4 million I can think of better ways to spend that money on like... okay, I can't in this cloud of disbelief, but enunciation lessons (and a little deodorant) would go a long way at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

the latest pole results

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Students punished for dorm stripper pole


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Three students at Jacksonville University have been punished for installing a stripper pole in an on-campus apartment and taking pictures as fully clothed women performed on it at a party. A female student who won a dance contest also was disciplined.
About a dozen women competed for a $100 Victoria's Secret gift certificate Sept. 11, said James Foster, a 20-year-old who hosted the party. None of the women disrobed.

Residential adviser Amber Davis said the party degraded women. "There are other ways they can go out and get a girlfriend if that's what they want," she said.

Stripper Pole

i'm aghast. agape. agog.

generally that means i can't believe what i'm seeing.

let's recap: students were punished for "degrading women" who didn't do anything more illegal or immoral than dance around a pole. the women didn't get naked--in fact they were "fully clothed." for their efforts, they had a chance to win a legit gift certificate at a store that millions of women like to shop at.

to sum up and in conclusion: well. the. hell.

frick, i don't know where i'm heading with this, except to say that while the world is going straight to hell, dirty bombs could detonate at any time, iraq is turning into a certifiable CF, and we're on the brink of re-electing monkey moron and his circus fleas...

students are being chastised for a fully clothed pole dance thingy.

please take a moment of silence and look at a scantily clad model, a blog entry about pole dancing, and a web site dedicated to strippers.

i'm going off somewhere to drink.


Friday, September 24, 2004

You know how annoying it is when you're watching something really great on TV and you are suddenly overcome with the munchies? Sure, if it's VHS or DVD you can pause it and make a mad dash for the kitchen. But, even so, it can be kind of a drag. After all, you might be totally absorbed in the show you are watching. You might have met your goal of escaping into the program, finally freeing your mind from fretting over the harsh realities of your everyday life, the mounting bills, the household chores, you might even be unemployed, while George W. Bush says that the economy has turned a corner. Do you really want to snap yourself out of this refreshing numbness?

Don't worry. LG Electronics to the rescue!

Look closely at the image on the left. Yes, that's a TV built right into the fridge. It shall be called FridgeTV, though LG Electronics calls it the LRSC26980. Yeah, FridgeTV is much better.

So I'm at the gym, sweating my ass off, near the end of my 55-minute, 6-mile, 700-calories-burned workout, and what should come on the omnipresent video monitors but an ad for FridgeTV. The commercial shows all these people, none of them with weight problems by the way, sitting in their kitchens, stuffing their faces, mesmerized by FridgeTV. That's right, you need never stray too far away from your fridge full of food and beverages to enjoy your favorite sitcom, soap opera, or sporting event!

Apparently, LG Electronics isn't too concerned that it's been all over the news that obesity is challenging tobacco use as the number one form of preventable death in the U.S. LG even figured out how to remove the little exercise people might get from dragging their sorry butts to and from the kitchen.

You gotta love corporate values.

Patagonia time!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

It's September, the weather is cooling, and you know what to do for the season ahead. Buy your fall fleece, right? Wrong. Even if Patagonia had stores in Argentina, it is Spring in the southern hemisphere. And in Patagonia, the region of southern Argentina, it is time to welcome back the Magellanic penguin, Spheniscus magellanicus, to its desert shores of relatively remote Punto Tombo.

The Magellanic penguin stands about 27 inches (68 cm) and weighs about nine pounds (four kilo) and feeds on fish, krill and squid. Their habitat is the artic shores of Chile and Argentina over a wide range of territory into slightly warmer waters.

In September males arrive in Punto Tombo after a 1500 mile swim from fishing pools off the shores of southern Brazil. Absence from land has been six months for the penguins. Their first duty upon land is to reclaim their old burrows. Some of them are one-half mile inland. The small, protected underground shelter is comfortable for, ahem, parental duties.

Young, virgin penguins must either stake claim to abandoned burrows, win a squatter's battle or fend off a returning owner (unlikely). According to the video I watched, the option of making a burrow was not addressed. Apparently, like Patagonia the clothing chain, Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond and Pier 1 Imports may not be in Argentina either.

A couple of weeks later the females arrive. Amidst the din of welcome hoots and hollers, the female singles out her mate and hooks up again. Sprint PCS' Free and Clear Calling Plan, I imagine. Sometimes the monogamy lasts a lifetime, which can be about 15 years.

For the virgin male, he tries with each wave of arriving females. Rare is he lucky. But his serenade (think of a wolf pup howling at sunrise with a rooster caught in its throat) can attract a female.

After the ritual dance to establish one's commitment to each other and after the burrow passes the female's inspection, the penguin couple throw on the Barry White CDs and get busy for several days.

500,000 penguins (in Punto Tombo alone) making whoopee and the music business can't figure its way out of piracy?! Sheesh.

After the loving is over, the primary duty for the male is to prepare the nursery, a bed of leaves for incubation. The leaves are fetched from the hillsides. It is arduous and after the nest is complete, the male heads out with other males to fish for up to a month. They have little choice. The penguins have no strength and GNC is fresh out of Vitamin E. Besides, the boom box is out of batteries and the females are more into Sheryl Crow by this time. Female penguins are strong and independent.

While the males are out at sea, the female lays two eggs and hunkers down to defend against danger. Hairy armadilloes and kelp gulls will strike at any time. She will try to remain in the nest until her mate returns. Some females can make it, others cannot. Since penguins have the one hatching per year, losing the eggs is catastrophe. (Well, listening to the video, it is, but it may be a premature call. I'll do the math later.)

When the males return, they take up incubation duties, which will alternate every few days. The females take the time to get a drink and feed. Eggs hatch after 40 days. New mouths require increasingly frequent urgent fishing trips, which both parents share.

Penguins learn quickly but many starve in the first few months, some never even seeing the ocean. Parents lose a lot of their catch to the gulls, who have their own brood to raise. After about three months of watching their parents head off somewhere, the baby penguins decide to follow. They have never seen the ocean. They have little choice but to swim on the first day. Some big birds (petrols? I didn't catch the name) with their six-foot wingspans will stampede the babies on the shore and catch them or try catching them in shallow waters. Babies have better chances of survival in the water, but if they are caught, they seldom get a second chance of escape, which is not uncommon (the escape part not the part about getting caught twice).

When fall arrives in March, the penguins sex up (no, not whoopee! again) but head off to Brazil in male and female groups. For six months each group travels, fishes and sleeps in the Atlantic swell. For six months they await one another. And for six months each sex has time to share its bedroom stories.

"Oh, yeah, four times a night. And no Viagra," sayeth the males.
Sayeth the females, "He always cuddles and insists on foreplay."

Sure. I recall one scene in which one couple tumbled into their burrow already in action.

There is a sense of urgency upon the yearly gathering at the nookery. Ninety percent of the previous year's hatchlings fail to return, which by the math means that penguin couples are lucky to have two families in a lifetime. So, losing eggs to predators is tragedy but the odds for one of the hatched eggs even surviving more than year is slim.

Well, that has been your nature lesson. If you're in the northern hemisphere be sure to get out and get your fleece. And should you choose Patagonia, think of the Magellanic's black feathers. Remember dark absorbs heat. Important in the winter you should know. And if you're in the southern hemisphere think of the Magellanic's white feathers for a bathing suit and then head to the beach, enjoy the warm weather, and scan the shoreline for romance.


Magellanic penguin links
Description and characteristics
National Geographic
Patagonia travel


Last night instead of getting hooked on some bad new program for the new TV season, I decided to add Wednesdays to my Tuesdays of learning. I watched the video Patagonia's Tuxedo Junction from the PBS documentary series Hidden World. This may or may not continue. And this may or may not have been part one of what may or may not be my penguin series. No commitment, no promises. That goes to you politicians, too. That goes doubly for you, Candidate Zero. Don't think I didn't see you pimping FedEx/Kinkos. Back to the topic at hand, penguins are one of my favorite creatures, and I've not yet taken the time in my adult years to fully look at some of the varieties. It is time I do, but depending upon what I can find at the library I may opt to look at other creatures. Be warned the three pets I have had have been the Norwegian Elkhound, the Samoyed, and the Alaskan Malamute. What can I say, I like black and white creatures.

news from the 'hood

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

i’m a white boy.

yeah, i play some basketball, and i like a little urban diversity, but i’m still a suburban white boy.

so i was a little surprised recently by a couple of young black women.

here’s how it went.

me, walking alone down western avenue, at the end of pike place place market. up the hill from fisherman’s wharf, in the shadows cast by all of downtown seattle.

it was 7:30 a.m. sunday, and i’d just finished playing ball. i was sweaty and disheveled, and maybe a little stinky. but what the hell, i was heading toward my car to drive home.

anywho, i crossed paths with a couple of 20-something african-american women, both wearing lots of black lycra and sequins. and a leopard-print kind of arrangement. saturday night-wear, i supposed.

they were pleasant enough, but a little rough around the edges…in an early-morning-after-a-long-night kind of way. and one of them was a bit bent to one side—a hip problem, maybe, or something spine-related. nothing severe…she was just a little crooked.

they said “hi,” and i said “hi.” and the non-crooked one asked me for a dollar.

remember, i had just finished playing ball. i had no money. really. and even if i did, i wouldn’t be inclined to give it to either of these two. so i said, amiably, “no, i don’t have any money with me.”

apparently they’d heard that one before.

“you ain’t got any money?”
“no, not today.”
“well, when you gonna get some?”
“uhh…i’m not sure.”
“you don’t know?”
“nah, not exactly.”

the crooked one put her hand on her hip and looked me in the eye.

“do you need to talk about your career, and when you gonna get some money? ‘cause it sounds like you need to talk.”
“nah, i’m good. thanks.”
“you and me could go somewhere, you know, and talk. or whatever.”

it hit me then that these two had, in fact, had a long night, and were not ready to, uh, call it a day.

i smiled, shook my head, said “no, thanks.” and walked on. seven-thirty a.m., sunday morning. slightly bent hooker looking to talk about money.

i love this town.

to die for...

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

i understand terrorism now.

i can completely grasp the mindset necessary to commit unspeakable acts against another human being, or large numbers of human beings.

all i have to do is imagine someone killing one of my children. or my wife. and suddenly i can clearly see myself cutting off the head of the enemy. or taking hundreds of hostages and blowing them up.

i’m not saying such atrocities are justifiable. i don’t condone decapitation. and i despise killing children for any “cause” whatsoever.

but i understand it.

i’m not, by nature, a violent person. i’d much rather catch a basement spider and release it outside than crunch it underfoot. i don’t hunt, and i don’t own a weapon more lethal than an old aluminum bat.

but i know viscerally and unequivocally that i would become a zealous, relentless terrorist, given the right circumstances. everyone has their snapping point: what’s yours?

don’t deny it. you have your limit, beyond which you would coldly plot the deaths of as many as necessary to restore your peace of mind. this reality doesn’t make you a crazed, bloodthirsty killer. on the contrary: the successful slaughter of innocents requires a rational, calculated approach—a lucid state of mind. by this standard, today’s terrorists are completely sane.

it is reasonable that they love their children and their families, and would prefer to live long lives in their company. in other words, prior to the act of killing and maiming, terrorists are much like their victims.

until something sets them off. the trigger may be the result of years of grievous insult—or a single incident, unexpected and galvanizing. either way, what comes next is always the same. people die—and new terrorists are created, each with compelling reasons to kill or die or both.

if i were the parent of a russian child killed by chechen rebels, i’d be plotting right now to kill chechens. just as chechens clearly have their own reasons to kill russians. israelis and palestinians—today, right now, they’re plotting. iraqis, afghans, americans and others have sufficient reason to take the fight to the enemy—and there are countless targets, available and waiting.

the cycle is old and well-nurtured, constantly refreshed by the new blood of innocents. collectively (and rightfully) we condemn the increasing reports of this kind of violence. we cringe and shake our heads grimly. we pretend that we're civilized and beyond such barbaric behavior. we can’t imagine how such things are possible.

we should dispense with such comfortable and convenient lies. because while we would never advocate or excuse terrorism, we understand it very well.

Osama found!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Someone get GW on the phone pronto!

Reason why Osama bin Laden not found to date:
He's actually Cat Stevens!

Notice how you never see them together?  Posted by Hello

L'Shana Tova, Jeffrey

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

When I was younger, I was once temporarily pissed off that Gentiles get to have wild parties and champagne for New Year celebrations, while all I got was hours in the synagogue and some apples and honey. Then, I realized that I was always going to the Gentile parties anyway, so what did I have to complain about?

A week ago, I ran into an old friend, a guy I'd met in Israel in 1996 who was so taken by my descriptions of my home town of Bellingham, Washington, that within months of his return to the U.S. he moved here from Boston. We had not seen each other in a while and he invited me to his house, he said, to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. I hadn't been very active in anything Jewish for a long time outside of the occasional Shabbat service, observing Hannukah at home, and attending a Seder at the Unitarian Fellowship every year, so I was happy to have this opportunity to mark, at least in some small way, the Jewish New Year.

We get to his home and proceeded to notice some very odd things that, slowly, over the course of the first hour or so, built to a full-on crescendo of uncomfortable suspicion. The first anomaly I detected came after blessings were said over the wine and bread. My friend proceeded to pray, out loud, a kind of free-form, improvised kinda thing, thanking God for everything and asking for blessings for his family and ours. I couldn't quite place it at the time, but there was something awfully familiar about it.

I knew very little about my friend's wife, what her religious affiliation was, so the next thing I noticed that was odd, in and of itself, didn't cause me to jump to any conclusions. All around the home, as I took it in, there were quotes from the New Testament written with crayon on colored craft paper. His wife, I concluded, must be Christian and they must have found a workable, mutual acceptance of their separate religious faiths. Nice.

Then, all of a sudden, they dropped the bomb. My friend, not his wife, asked, "What is your relationship with Jesus Christ?"

The question took me so by surprise that I became unable to say a word for the next hour or so, while my wife graciously fielded questions and tried to fend off the onslaught of proselytizing without getting angry. They bombarded us with stories of miracles they had witnessed, visions, exorcisms, etc., trying to prove to us that Christ is the only truth.

When I couldn't maintain my silence any longer, I blurted out, "Do you know what really bothers me? I'm not disappointed that you have abandoned Judaism. I'm very happy for you that you have this new-found, passionate faith. It's that we are here being non-permissively preached to when your invitation was to come celebrate Rosh Hashanah with you. I feel manipulated and lied to. And, what's worse, despite the fact that we haven't seen you in quite sometime, we have not been able to simply talk about our lives. You have not asked either of us anything like, say: So, what have you been up to? How are your careers going? How's parenting going? Did you do anything fun over the summer? Nothing."

The next day, I discovered that another friend of mine, Jeffrey, who lives in Tacoma, Washington, is fighting for his life, under treatment for throat cancer. Jeffrey is one of the dearest, most selfless men I know, and yet his family has been hammered with health problems. His young daughter has to have insulin injections for diabetes, his wife had a benign uterine cyst that, though it was not life-threatening, destroyed their chances of ever having another child, and now it was Jeffrey's turn.

The interesting thing is that, amidst the well of anger that came up for me about Jeffrey's illness, I had these thoughts: Ok, my newly Christian friends. Here's a chance for your beloved Christ to show his stuff. You want to prove to me that 'through Christ anything is possible'? Have him heal Jeffrey and we'll talk.

dad in the 'hood

Friday, September 17, 2004

i went for my inaugural run around the neighborhood a couple days ago. ordinarily i wouldn’t have waited so long to take a first running tour, but extenuating circumstances extenuated themselves, so the run had to wait.

a few observations…

this is not a “tough” neighborhood. it won’t ever be mistaken for the ‘hood.

though it’s within shouting distance of downtown seattle, the only sign of street cred is the proximity to the railroad tracks to the east. yup, some of the railroad cars definitely have graffiti on them. further north there’s a whole lot of “water cred.” that’s where the fishing terminal is, see, and some of those guys on the boats look pretty serious. if they were a gang they’d be “the eviscerators.”

the people strolling along the water-view boulevard are unambiguously suburban. high on the bluff, their homes survey a broad expanse of elliot bay. the water is dotted with sailboats, and washington state ferries endlessly trundle out and back.

these “view properties” are not inexpensive. i’d go so far as to say they’re lavish and luxurious. we do not live in one of these homes. rather, we live in a smallish, bungalowish brick house, away from the water and away from the views. it’s sort of the “bad part” of the neighborhood, by comparison.

here’s the thing: part of the reason we wanted to live near downtown was for the urban diversity. what i saw on my run was a whole lot of white folk.

don’t get me wrong, white people are okay. i’m one of them, so i can’t be too hard on us. but suburban white people are prone to being kinda milquetoast and blasé, and i don’t care to have that rub off on me. to paraphrase cleavon little in ‘blazing saddles,’ “where the black people at?”

today i found at least one place: the local community center, playing hoops. along with some asian people, some latino people, and some white people. Everybody is walking around showing off a little somesome, trying to prove they’ve got game. i’m not talking about some young kids firing up 3-pointers every time they touch the ball. no, these guys (and one strong young woman) go straight at you, and you either D up or get the hell out of the way.

the gym has an attitude about it…but it’s mostly a non-threatening attitude. nobody there will advise you to “step off, bitch.” instead they play you straight up and sincere and everybody gets some respect.

so even with its well-manicured views and its trappings of caucasianality, my ‘hood has a little street cred after all. i like it.

Headline of the day

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The headline is from Reuters, but the copy has been altered for maximum comic effect.
Germans Struggle to Digest New Hitler Film

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germans struggled to digest a powerful new film about Adolf Hitler that was set to open in cinemas on Thursday amid a raging debate about whether the dictator can be portrayed as anything less than the world's greatest evil. Meanwhile, the filmmakers are disappointed that their fellow Germans actually thought that eating the film would help with what they describe as Germany's need, as a nation, to finally be forgiven for the atrocities of the Holocaust.

The Downfall's writer and producer, Bernd Eichinger, said, "These acts, this eating of the actual celluloid, is more than enough proof that the shame most Germans carry with them from that period in history can often lead to ridiculously irrational behavior. If they wish to be forgiven, they must first forgive themselves. Besides, we'll have new copies of the film out to the theatres in days."

I could riff on that all day, but lo, I needs must take my leave. Thanks, Reuters.

Rain Revisited

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

A while back, I posted musings loosely addressing the legendary rain of the Pacific Northwest, my home.

With Ivan slamming into the Gulf Coast as I write this, I am reminded of just how glad I am that it rains so much here.

Let's look at the options:
Northeast: Ice Storms that shut down the power grid when you need heat the most, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, Rudy Giuliani

Southeast: Hurricanes, okra, theme parks, the KKK

Midwest: Tornadoes, arctic like winters in the north, Mississippi River floods, bible-belters with guns, lots of pig poop

Southwest: Earthquakes, 100+ degree heat in the summer (All together now, "But it's a dry heat!"), theme parks, Arnold Schwarzenegger

Any questions?

Sometime during my first week living here, I got out of my car in a parking lot somewhere and started running in the rain to get to the shelter of the building that I had some business or another in. As I passed someone he called out to me, "Don't you know you just get wetter that way?"

While I have not done the research to either prove or disprove this claim, that comment did open my eyes to something that, when it rained, was happening all around me but I had failed to notice. No one ran in the rain unless they were jogging. There were way more hoods or rain hats than there were umbrellas to be seen on the streets of Bellingham, and no one acted as if the rain was harmful to them in any way.

I'll take the 6-7 inches per month in November, December and January.

After all...
Can you hear me?
That when it rains and shines,
It's just a state of mind,
Can you hear me? Can you hear me?

- Lennon/McCartney

a vote for bulimia

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

voters say they’re sick of politicians.

i’m sick of voters.

though they’re still vastly preferable to those who don’t bother to be counted, most voters are a waste of a ballot. face it, y'all don’t know what you’re voting for or why. you make your decisions reflexively, based on party affiliation. you don’t know what the local issues or initiatives are, and you sure as hell don’t know who you just picked as a judge.

all you "know" is that taxes are bad, and anyone who even hints that more money may be needed should be politically crucified.

you must be extremely talented thieves, ‘cause you sure don’t want to pay for anything.

you don’t want to pay teachers a living wage, or see any new schools built. anywhere. ever again. if a new school did manage to build itself, it’d be full of kids sitting on the floor looking at each other, ‘cause they’d get no money from you for desks or books or elmer’s glue.

you don’t want to pay for police or fire departments. you’re pretty sure roads are fixed by the pavement faeries, and public transit is an insidious scheme by welfare queens to siphon cash from the far corners of your coin purse.

what are you happy to pay for? weapons of mass delusion. guns for urban guerrillas. people who want you to worship their god, and would be happy to teach your kids His views on science. the right of women to have back-alley abortions. the right of the government to monitor who you sleep with and what you do with him/her/whoever when you’re not sleeping.

oh yes, you’re lining up to pay for these life-affirming, all-american programs, either proactively or by default, because you don’t stand up to say, “no more.” rather, you sit down and turn on the television. football, followed by a must-see, all-new episode of “fear factor.”

you’re sanguine about being stripped of civil liberties, because the current administration says it’s for your own good. and who are you to question them? if you’re not with them, you’re with the terrorists, by god, and anyone who says otherwise is un-american.

when did we lower the bar so dramatically? when did it become okay not to know what you’re voting for, as long as you get out and vote? when did we bury the premise and the value of the vote under so much rhetorical offal that even when we go through with the act we feel dirtier and more stupid than when we started?

when did voting become the civic equivalent of nailing a ten-dollar whore?

so go ahead, sport your “i voted” sticker, whistle a happy tune, and congratulate yourself for helping keep america great. then get back to sneering at politicians and complaining about your taxes.

proud to be an american voter. yay.

whew! that was a killer f*ck!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Two guards testify they saw Olson, client having sex

Despite former public defender Theresa Olson's explanation that it was only a "hug gone bad," two King County Jail guards testified yesterday that they saw her doing much more than that with her client, a man facing triple murder charges, in a jail meeting room two years ago.

"I thought I saw two individuals having sex," said King County corrections officer Leander Glenn.

Olson is accused of having sex with client Sebastian Burns, later found guilty with friend Atif Rafay of killing Rafay's father, mother and sister in their Bellevue home.

rest of article

(note: this post features the word “fuck” several times. if you find this word offensive, i don’t know what the fuck to tell you.)

theresa olson is a fucking idiot.

and this story is a fucking laugh riot.

where to begin? how about with the “hug gone bad.” for the record, there’s no such thing as a bad hug. because like a kiss and a sigh, a hug is just a hug, no matter how you parse it. it’s a brief embrace to express affection or consolation or some such noble sentiment. a hug may lead to other things, but that’s on you. don’t try to pin your jailhouse frenzy on an innocent hug, you slutty little con-monger.

moving on to officer leander glenn. he “thought he saw two individuals having sex.” i don’t know where leander is from or what his experience is, carnal knowledge-wise, but generally when two or more people are bumping uglies, it’s pretty easy to spot. you’ve got bare butts and legs akimbo, and a universal vocabulary of guttural sounds.

officer glenn, did you witness these things? yes? then miss theresa and the murderer were copulating.

we’re all adults here. we understand how quickly things get out of control when our compatible parts start rubbing up against each other. your brain (may) occasionally tell you, “this is a bad idea,” but your body says, “shut the fuck up,” and the rest is personal history.

we know this and we accept it. we may tut-tut when people get caught rubbing compatible parts with someone they shouldn’t, but still, we understand how it can happen. all of this is true—but who among you would ever (ever) consider rubbing parts with an accused triple murderer?

yes, good judgement often leaps out the window when the clothes start flying…but if you were heading inescapably in that direction and your lust bunny whispered, “oh, by the way, i’m accused of killing three people,” wouldn’t that throw a bucket of cold water on your flaming engorgements?

(if your answer is no, then what exactly would it take? seriously.)

but fine, let’s assume you’re really horny, and by golly the accused murderer will have to do. innocent until proven guilty, after all, and damn that’s a big torpedo. once again, who among us hasn’t gotten busy in a place usually reserved for nonsexy behavior? it happens, and it can be really (really) great when it does…

but. not. in. a. prison. you fugging moron. prisons have guards and bars and video cameras. and you, madam, are supposed to be a public defender, with many years of education in institutions of higher learning. did you misunderstand and think you were a pubic defender?

you can’t blame the murderer—it’s not like he’s a rock of self-control. i mean, the guy terminated three people, what was he gonna say: “no, thanks. i know you’re my only hope of beating this rap, but i just don't think it would be prudent”? when you’re looking at three consecutive life sentences, what’s another couple years for nasty behavior?

no, theresa, it’s you who will take the fall for this one. your career, your personal credibility, not to mention your chance with the future mr. right. (imagine trying to explain this escapade on a fourth or fifth date.)

all gone. poof! traded for a bad fuck with a really bad person.

no offense theresa darlin’…but you are a fucking idiot.


Monday, September 13, 2004

Thank you hjm and spaceneedl for burying my post-o-crap.

Not that I ever got rolling this summer with posts, but I haven't been able to enjoy writing for awhile now. Writing has been like another big love of mine, bodies of water, which I both crave and fear. I crave the soothing effects of a bubbling brook. Crashing waves, morning or night, of a temporal sea or the landlocked lake. Even a storm offshore can calm me. What I fear though is drowning. That and the sea monsters of the ocean depths keep my chest constricted. I can barely swim. Treading water is out of the question. Yet each summer I tell myself I'll conquer this fear. But as this summer closes, the fear remains. Perhaps, leaving this fear allows my love for water and writing to continue. The shared dichotomy is another story.

Another struggle that has been this summer is my toe-dipping with XHTML and CSS. I want to learn it. But I only go in so far before running back. When I finally dived into writing code without worry for ability to stay afloat, pretty much all writing ceased. Writing has been devoid of self-sustaining nourishment. And what with all the ocean horror flicks aired on cable this last month to scare me, like America I must learn how to swim with the monsters if the sea and let them have their space without feeling trapped by the freedoms of occupation. But that too is another story.

This morning (if 11 am can be called morning) I awoke to remember why I don't like to write. Code, that is. My literary creativity gets all shot to hell whenever I am submerged within computer languages. Happened as a kid. Happened in college. Happened in work. Happens now. And coding keeps me from getting sound sleep. If it were not for the side-effects of poor sleep, I'd write code for a living. Last night lasted until 5:30 this morning. Upon falling asleep it was all I could do to not dream of shifting CSS DIVs emptying their content -- overflowing onto the background and then off the screen -- twisting and spiraling like the underwater horror scenes from the Wizard of Oz. What's that? No such scenes? Ahh, but had you visited the cutting room floor in your childhood nightmares as I did you'd be hearing me sing an octave or two off-key my styling of "If only I had a muse."

HJM, I think my muse dumped me for your muse, which also may be why you see that extra hop in her step. ;) FWIW, I've been all over the map with cellular service and I always return to SprintPCS.

Spaceneedl, after reading your Sunday post, I may or may not publish something similar in two weeks, the three-year anniversary of the day I beached the shores of Seattle. Wish I had called it home that day. Maybe I did. I cannot recall. I've been carrying around the idea that Seattle is temporary for so long now that I've forgotten what home is.

Maybe it is time to change that. If I can find the fun within writing again, and I think it is coming back, then everything else usually falls into place for me. You two keep writing and I am sure to remember the joy. Good job, guys!

Oh, and if any plain, brown paper packages arrive at your doorsteps containing mermaid-on-mermaid action, umm, those are for me. Lord knows what the online purchases I coded in my sleep were.

E for effort?

Monday, September 13, 2004

Actual handwritten, cardboard sign held up by obviously distressed man at freeway off ramp Sunday, 9/11/04, Bellingham, Washington:

I won't lie.
I need a beer.

a long strange trip

Sunday, September 12, 2004

two months ago we picked up and moved cross-country.

it wasn’t job-related, this time. we moved for us. and for some others, whom we’ll talk about in a bit.

since 1987 my wife and i have lived in five cities, from one coast to the other, with a stop in the middle. phoenix, seattle, san francisco, minneapolis, raleigh, and now back to seattle.

along the way we picked up some fellow travelers. two cats (one now gone, and another in her place), two big dogs, two children.

in the interim we lived through the loma prieta quake in ’89 (7.0 on mr. richter’s scale). remember the bay bridge world series between the oakland a’s and the san francisco giants? al michaels saying, “i think we’re having an earth—.” yup, that quake.

our apartment in san francisco’s marina district was heavily damaged, so we moved across the golden gate bridge to mill valley. firmer ground, we supposed. for the rest of our time in the bay area, however, i had recurring earthquake dreams. i’d wake up too early in the morning absolutely certain we’d had a 6.5 (thankfully that never turned out to be the case).

the quake dreams stopped when we moved to minnesota, but tornado dreams immediately ensued. something to do with living in tornado alley in the northeast suburbs of the twin cities, no doubt.

minneapolis was not our cup of beer, so we leapt at the chance to move to north carolina. the triangle area (raleigh/durham/chapel hill) is lovely. mountains to the west, the outer banks to the east. the tobacco fields were disconcerting at first, but they soon faded to background. we had hurricanes to think about, after all.

bertha, in ’86, was our introduction to hurricane warnings, but she didn’t compare to fran, who dropped a dozen trees on our house. dennis did us some mischief, and floyd just skirted past us to the east, where he caused horrific damage. just last year isabel got people all riled up, but she fizzled as she came inland. instead, it was last winter’s ice storms that dropped 35 trees on our house and car.

don’t take away from all this disaster banter that i’m complaining. i mean, such things happen, and in each case others were affected far more adversely than we were. at no time did these natural calamities prompt us to look at each other and say, “we’ve got to get out of here.”

it took another disaster to convince us of that. to remind us that life is sometimes short and always fragile.

of all our stops, nowhere did we appreciate our life together more than in seattle. for a thousand reasons, from the physical and intrinsic appeal of the city, to the extravagant natural beauty of the pacific northwest, to the enduring friendships we made during our too-short stay. the emotional roots we put down grew deep and elaborate, even in the long years we were away. despite that, we could never seem to make our way back. miles and years and careers intervened, and at times we nearly forgot how integral this place was to us.

then came sept. 11, 2001, and everything changed. for the first time it occurred to us that we might not make it back to our adopted home. or that we might not get back together. it took 9/11 to open our eyes to the reality that random tragedy is a daily occurrence, and we are no more immune than the innocents who died that day.

in the months that followed, we stopped procrastinating and got a lot more involved with the course of our life. we looked in earnest for jobs and a home and a better place to raise our children. we re-awoke to the fact that if we didn’t take these steps, another 10 or 12 or 15 years would go by—years we would one day desperately want back.

it took awhile, but we’re finally home. our children are off to school, our dogs and cats are busy exploring their new environment. we’re trying to fit too many things into too small a house and too short a day. spending too much money accomplishing too little too slowly.

but we’re here.

and that fact is our small memorial to the people who died on 9/11 and the people they left behind. they no longer have the chance to do the things they always said they’d do. for the time being, we have that chance.

we’re taking it.

From the Dust Bin

Sunday, September 12, 2004

The Basement Tapes

by Bob Dylan & The Band

In the summer of 1967, The Band – Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel & Levon Helm – rented a house in West Saugerties, New York. The music recorded in the basement of that house almost single handedly altered the current of Rock & Roll. The house was affectionately called Big Pink, and though the eponymous Music From Big Pink, released by The Band in 1968, is most often credited for this sea change, the genesis can more accurately be traced back to the collaboration between The Band and Bob Dylan, which had begun on my first birthday, August 28, 1965 at a Dylan gig in Forest Hills, New York. Formerly known as The Hawks, the backing band for an early 60’s R&B front man Ronnie Hawkins, they were hired to back Dylan on his infamous first electric tour of North America and Europe. During the tour, they were so often referred to collectively as nothing more than “the band” that was backing Dylan that the name simply stuck.

Eric Clapton has oft been quoted as saying that Music From Big Pink changed his life. As the story goes, at the time that he heard the album, Clapton was in the British psychedelic group Cream, a band known for their pop sensibilities, blending power trio rock with electronic guitar effects and generally spacey compositions. It was 1968 for crying out loud; only a year after Sgt. Pepper, and rock music was all atmospheric and influenced by hallucinogenic drugs and pop art. Regardless, though Cream was at the height of their success and Clapton was practically worshipped as a guitar god, legend has it that he disbanded Cream after he heard Music From Big Pink. In actuality, it didn’t happen as sudden as that, since they released one more album in 1969, but the writing was on the wall.

So, in the “Summer of Love”, in the midst of a year that saw the release of Cream’s Disraeli Gears, The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper, as well as debuts by Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Velvet Underground, The Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan and The Band were hanging out in the basement of Big Pink essentially turning their backs on the prevailing trends, retreating to some musical dark hollow, setting up a still and brewing a grand cocktail of Americana hooch. Guitars with no fancy electronic effects, mandolin, bass, drums, organ, piano and the occasional horn. That’s it. From the honkytonks to the front porch, the music stirred with ghosts, telling tales both profound and nonsensical. There was nothing else like it coming from any of the major pop artists of the day. For The Band this was simply what they did. For Dylan, who was such a trailblazer, it was a necessity.

Though The Basement Tapes was not released until 1975, bootlegs circulated for years, becoming the most famous unreleased recordings in music history. Putting this phenomenon in a present day context, it is almost impossible to conceive of such a body of material having been recorded yet not released immediately. Yes, there are no “hit singles”, yet all the elements that were to be found on Music From Big Pink were in place here. Dylan’s name alone would have fueled an album culled from these sessions at least to critical acclaim.

Perhaps Dylan was not ready to share the spotlight, the name above the title, with The Band. The songwriting and performing appear to have been done in a completely collaborative manner, as evidenced by the rotating roles the musicians assumed; from song to song there were frequent changes in lead singing, the drummer playing the mandolin, the bassist playing the guitar, the keyboard player playing the saxophone, etc. Consequently, there’s no way that a representative sample could have been put together as solely a Dylan album. In fact, it would take until the 1974 and the live album Before The Flood for Dylan to share top billing with The Band. It was the success of the 1974 joint tour that finally inspired the release of The Basement Tapes.

If I didn’t know anything about Dylan and The Band and listened to The Basement Tapes for the first time, it would seem the most natural thing if someone told me that these were field recordings, Alan Lomax-esque documentation from some obscure American backwater, laid down by guys who no one had ever heard of. I am fond of actually visualizing this scenario as I listen to undiscovered classics like Odds And Ends, Goin’ To Acapulco, Please, Mrs. Henry, and Nothing Was Delivered. I recommend you do the same. It’s a helluva lot of fun!


Thursday, September 09, 2004

Tonight the NFL kicked off its umpteenth (85th?) season with the Mayflower Colts led by the fabulously overrated Peyton Manning against the Tom "He's won two Super Bowls" Brady-led New England Patriots at Gillette Field in Foxboro, Mass.

As a kid I could throw the tightest spiral but couldn't imagine taking the knocks required to be a QB. Soccer and hockey (where my small size actually benefited me) are more my sippy cup of Tang. So, like baseball I never played organized ball, but I did follow both sports as a fan and endured all the cockamamied theories from those whose career experience is based upon bygone eras of playing nth-string in high school. I use nth-string because sometime in college I learned that anybody who wanted to be on the high school football team merely had to show up for practice. There were no cuts like in my sports or in baseball.

Where baseball has slowly awakened with the help of the Moneyball revolution, football still seems to be stuck in the dark ages. Granted, there are twenty-two players who are nearly all involved in each play and that football can be a very complex game but some "simple" things seem to escape analysis.

[Note to self: Not sure how football can even compare to baseball's sabermetrics but where you are going to go with this post?]

When it comes to football I don't know squat, as I've alluded, but I sure do love to watch the NFL (well, Weeks 1, 2 and 3, some of Monday Night Football, the occasional Vikings game, and the middle of the playoffs) and Satruday college football games on the West coast when living in the dreary Midwest (IOW, nap time).

So, I'd watch more football but I am quickly reminded and turned off by pro football's time management, fourth quarter/fourth down decisions, and the reliance upon setting up the ground game through the running back (overrated).

Tonight, already Game One of the season, I looked into some of this a little.

...and once again I've run out of steam to write anything more than a long lead but I'll at least let this go published as is...

Two places to go: RBs are overrated and safermetrics.

BTW, Peyton's Colts lost again to New England.

test your sanity

Thursday, September 09, 2004

america is insane.

that's the only explanation for polls indicating americans will re-elect george w. bush in november, thus returning control of the asylum to the head inmate.

this is not the act of a rational electorate. by definition, it is madness to compulsively repeat the same act and expect a different result. so, either americans are insane...or they approve of the last four years of bush administration ineptitude.

but if they do, in fact, endorse four more years of lunacy...they must be insane.

either way, those voters clearly are incompetent to manage their own affairs, let alone those of the entire country. legally, such a result would be invalid, and a guardian would be appointed. anyone want to volunteer? (note: volunteers will be considered legally insane.)

look, is it reasonable or rational to bring back a commander-in-chief who, upon learning of the 9/11 attacks, lingered in an elementary school classroom, waiting for someone to tell him what to do?

does it make sense to support a president who could not, or would not recall any mistakes made by his administration in the years since 9/11?

for those of you uncertain of your mental status, the compos mentis answer to both questions is, “no.”

in a courtroom, those judged not guilty by reason of insanity are still put away for a long time. where can we send millions of americans who, contrary to all logic, will still vote for a nutcase and his cronies in november?

of course: france. that’ll drive ‘em crazy.

Muse released, in recovery

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Bellingham, WA (AP) - After several weeks of a dramatic hostage situation, local man, HJM, reports today that his muse has been released by the five wireless service providers in his area. HJM had been in negotiations with the five companies as he attempted to choose which to give his business to. He claims that the excessive amount of time and energy it took to engage in this process amounted to nothing less than the kidnapping of his muse, and an inability to post to his blog - Transcendental Floss.

"I know everyone probably thinks I'm a nutcase for making these accusations, but believe me, I did my best to rule out every other explanation," said HJM. "I tried dietary changes, Zen meditation, I even met with someone who channels the spirit of Studs Terkel - I swear, I didn't know that Studs was still alive!" HJM continued, explaining that he blames all the companies for their "horrible" customer service and "confusing" rate plans, causing him to spend countless hours on the internet and the telephone trying to find a deal he could afford. The effort, he said, left him unable to write anything for his website. "I won't even go into the disruptions to my family life. This morning, my son asked my wife who I was."

Four of the five wireless companies, refused to comment on the incident, but Cingular's Senior Vice President of Public Relations, Denise Snodgrass, said in a press release, "We feel that we are the industry leader in customer service, and we resent the accusations Mr. HJM has leveled at Cingular. It appears that Mr. HJM may need professional help beyond what should be expected from our Customer Service Representatives."

Asked how he managed to finally gain the release of his muse from captivity, HJM said, "I just decided not to get a cell phone. There are more important things in life. Transcendental Floss readers will see me back at work soon."

help me...

Thursday, September 02, 2004

i have a problem.

i’ve become a political bigot.

i’ve become one of those people who doesn’t want to reach across the aisle for fear of accidently touching one of “them.”

this problem became painfully apparent to me in the last couple days, during which a very nice, capable young man was doing some work at our house. the kid was polite as could be, very conscientious, and excellent at his job. he offered to do a couple extra things, over and above what he was there to do because, he said, his company wanted to provide a high level of customer service.

ordinarily this kind of attitude would be enough to make me swoon with appreciation and to find any pretext to use the company again.

except that during the time he was there, in the course of casual conversation, it became obvious that this person’s political and social ideology were not consistent with mine. for example, i found that he had some pretty intransigent views about a woman’s role in the world. if i were to forced describe them, i’d say his views were, uh, “traditional.” this is what women do. this is what men do. strife in relationships results when these roles get confused.


i never directly questioned or contradicted any of his casual remarks. did i watch the convention coverage last night? no, i did not. boy that was some speech so-and-so gave, did you read about it? no, i saw the headline today, but i didn’t have time to get into the article.

wrong convention. wrong party. not my interpretation of said speech, which i had read about and found annoying.

mind you, we didn’t ever engage in a big, long political discussion. under different circumstances i might have found a dialogue interesting, or revealing, or educational. but in this case i intentionally avoided the opportunity because (get this) i thought this otherwise upstanding young man might sabotage the work. or that he would stop volunteering the little peripheral details of the job.

nothing he did or said would lead a reasonable person to leap to this conclusion. i leapt of my own accord. it wasn’t a big jump, either. it was more like a short step off the curb. into the path of an oncoming bus.

that bus, i think, might be personal integrity…which makes me intellectual roadkill.

i’m a political bigot. and that’s a problem.

Muse Held Hostage

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Bellingham, WA (AP) - A local man has contacted Bellingham and Whatcom County law enforcement agencies, reporting that his muse is currently being held hostage by the wireless phone service carriers in his area. HJM, a resident of the Historic Fairhaven District, claims that difficulties in negotiating a fair deal for a 2-line, shared-minutes plan amongst the 5 major companies - T-Mobile, Verizon, Cingular, AT&T, Sprint PCS - has resulted in his complete inability to post to his blog - transcendental floss.

"It's like they have kidnapped the very essence of my creativity," HJM said in a statement released to the press. "My head hurts, actually."

The centerpiece of HJM's complaint regards what he refers to as, "a marketing conspiracy." As an example, he cites a deal from Cingular that he alleges actually eliminates the savings for choosing a plan with fewer "Anytime Minutes". HJM said, "It only costs $10 to add a second line to a $60 per month plan offering 850 Anytime Minutes, but it costs $20 to add a second phone to a $50 per month plan offering only 600 Anytime Minutes. They both cost $70 per month. It makes no reasonable sense!"

When contacted, Cingular officials would not comment on HJM's allegations.

Meanwhile, HJM claims to be continuing his shopping regardless. "I simply have to get this over with and hopefully wrest back control of my life. I'm fairly certain that I will be unable to write anything of any discernable value until I have the phone I seek and a plan that I can live with."

A New Look!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

To heck with the build stages, I tells ya. The redesign is almost complete, and it is alls I can do right now. I've no more time -- well, so little -- to give to design-storming (design + brainstorming) for this here blog, so the build template goes live. Of course, there are a few elements that could withstand further revision and a few type details that could be ironed out with a deft touch, but all in all this is the direction for transcendental floss.

For primary content, new links are what I call oyyo (oranjellowelloyorange). Visited links are khaki, which is the color of the framing wrapper. The links in the sidebar differ only in their color scheme (off-white for new links and softer green (than the sidebar background) for visited links). Upon hover (or mouseover) all text links within the entire template, whether new or visited, become underlined for purposes of clarity. [edited 02 sept 04]

If something is broken (or appears to be) please leave a comment along with your browser and OS and respective version numbers. Thank you.

NOTE The "transcendental" color block in the masthead is subject to occasionally change upon refresh.