The Eclectic

Time moves in one direction, memory in another. – William Gibson

Archive for February, 2005

A tough night of TV

Posted by David Leslie on February 27, 2005

After Jean went to lay down with John for the night, I finished my ‘night of difficult TV watching’. Stuff that is tough to watch but helps to give context to events and their impacts on people like you and me.

First up was “A Company of Soldiers” a Frontline report in which a film team was embedded with 1 Battalion 8th Calvary, Delta ‘Dog’ Company, 8th platoon ‘the misfits’.

No matter what your view is of the war in Iraq, you need to watch this in order to understand the situation that our troops face every day on the ground.

Next was “Dirty War” Produced by the BBC and shown first on HBO, the film was then released to PBS in an edited format where I DVR’ed it. The film shows four sides to a radiological attack on London: a first responder from the fire department who’s team had just lost two members in a readiness drill, officers at Scotland Yard working before the attack and after the attack, the terrorist as the plan and carry out the attack, and then the first responders wife who is in the blast area.

It’s a difficult film to watch in its realism. Yet the film did miss on a few areas as point out by a round table discussion with experts in different areas. They noted that their was a near lack of panic among the survivors. That the terrorist went to the trouble of importing the radiation when they could have gotten it in the target country. And that the police were able to stop the 2nd bomb from being used.

Chilling for me was a question posed by the moderator. Your a parent of a small child and a radioactive or biological attack has just happened near your child’s school. Protocol is that you stay out of the area of contamination and those in the area of contamination must stay in it until they are decontaminated. What do you do?


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John’s first X-Rays

Posted by David Leslie on February 27, 2005

Thursday while Jean was working on the guest bedroom, John took a spill off of a little step ladder and hurt his foot. While Jean didn’t see how he landed, she did notice that he wasn’t putting any pressure on his right foot.

A quick run to Dr. Sara’s was in order. Meeting them there, I knew X-Rays were in the bargain. After Dr. Sara’s did her once over, she recommend that we grab lunch and then head over to Children’s Hospital’s outreach center for the X-Rays.

Since Jean and I are trying to have another little one, she had to stay out of the room while I helped the techs in getting John to hold still as they took the X-Ray. The tech who helped me with John put on a lead mini skirt in addition to the lead chest vest. I made a joke about radiation protective fashion. She looked at me and said, I don’t want to fry my ovaries.

The X-Rays were negative so it looks like an ankle sprain. John doesn’t like to put pressure on his foot and has reverted back to crawling. The poor little guy..

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Ellis, Doughty: What is it with posting nudes to your blog?!?

Posted by David Leslie on February 23, 2005

I’m breaking my no personal blogging at work rule for this:

I swear to God, what is the deal with artists posting nudies on their blogs?

This morning I took a break from writing test cases to look up an article Warren Ellis sent out to his mailing list about Hunter S. Thompson’s death.

Now with Warren, I shoulda know better. Warren is out there and has a thing for Goth chicks. Still that didn’t prepare me to see a photo of newly pierced item of the male anatomy (I’m leaving what part out) on his front page.

I’m at work so I freak. Cleared the cache, nuked the history file and start shredding cookies like Fawn Hall and Ollie North the night Congress called to say they wanted the Contra files. I send an email to the security guys and copy my boss in case theres some snooper running.

There wasn’t and my boss thanked me for keeping her in the loop.

And then it happens again…

This time its Mike Doughty’s blog. Mike is the former lead singer of Soul Coughing who is working on his first major label solo disc and he’s been blogging the whole process. He also a budding photographer and mentioned in his blog that his first nude photo shoot is up on the net.

I should have stopped reading at that point. But I’m thinking, “Hey, it’s Mike, he’ll just drop a link to the site”.

Nope, he posted one of the pixs.

Now I know the web is a visual medium. But fellas, give a warning would ya… Please.

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In just a mean mood

Posted by David Leslie on February 22, 2005

Not sure what it is but I’ve been in just a mean, ugly mood tonight.

Like burn the village to the ground meanness.

It’s not like me.

So where is it coming from?

Few areas to look at:

-> Frustration levels between work and trying to get the family budget on track

-> Spring can’t get here soon enough so I can burn some of it off on the bike.

-> I’m tired

-> I’m feeling like I have little to no control

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Why political Junk mail causes me to rant

Posted by David Leslie on February 22, 2005

Jean got an email tonight that just pissed me off to no end.

See, the thing was a forwarded message of what could only be discribed as pure bullshit. Cheesy subject line, an article with an outrageus quote from the ACLU with a counter qoute from a Marine officer without any kind of citation or evidence that this in fact had happened. Throw in two badly photoshoped photos and there you have it.

But here’s the rub. Not only could you tell by just reading it or looking at the photos, but a 10 sec Google search popped at least 5 sites noting that it was a hoaks. Snopes’, the home for the best hoax news on the net had it for over 2 years and still it was forwarded to Jean.

90% of this kind of crap comes from people who think there is such a thing as ‘Liberal Media’. When I get something like these I can’t help but think “My God, what’s worse? That this person believes this shit or that this person is allowed to vote in the first place.”

To these people allow me to say, Forget the media, worry about the crap you spew from your damn inbox.

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I’ve been feeling frustrated at church.

Posted by David Leslie on February 7, 2005

Much like John Stewart’s unbridled rant on the thrid disc of American the Audiobook towards the media, I’ve been feeling the same frustration towardes the church.

I mean, Time magazine just published a list of the 25 most influential evangelical in America. 23 of them were rich white people. 24 if you count the lone Catholic priest. Jesus never owned a swatch of land and we’ve have Christian leaders in the Church who are millionaires. Christian leaders who work for the President ranging from fund raising to policy. How did this happen?

Take issue 1 here in Ohio. State’s going broke to the point we’re cutting healthcare to our poorest, schools are going on 15 years of funding mess but at least now Gays can’t marry because the churches turned out to vote up issue one.

We can’t just help people to help them. No, it’s got to be a ‘minstry’. We need to go on ‘missions’. How about we help people first then worry if they know Christ later.

The music.. Oh how I hate praise songs. There isn’t much depth in all of them put together. Most are like a really bad pop song and should never be sung by a congregation. Go old school and mix in a hymn.

I’m tired, my butt hurts.. I know I’m going to write more on this later..

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The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: A Short History of Deanism

Posted by David Leslie on February 6, 2005

This might just be the best written op-ed on why Dean as DNC chair is just going to mean more years of GOP control in DC. But hey, look at it this way, we won’t win but we’ll be soo much smarter than they are.
The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: A Short History of Deanism

A Short History of Deanism

As you may recall, Ralph Kramden was a member of the Raccoon Lodge in “The Honeymooners.”

Back in the 1950’s, tens of millions of Americans were members of fellowship associations like the Elks Lodges, the Rotary Clubs and the Soroptimists. These groups had lodges or chapters across the nation, where the affluent and not so affluent, the educated and not so educated, would get together once a week or so for schmoozing and community service.

But as Prof. Theda Skocpol of Harvard has demonstrated, these fraternal associations lost members in the 1960’s. Instead, groups like NOW, Naral and the Heritage Foundation emerged as the important associations in American life. But these groups were not like the old fellowship organizations.

Many of these groups were formed to champion some specific cause. Instead of relying on a vast network of local chapters, they tend to organize their work from central offices in New York or Washington, with a professional staff. They raise money through direct mail appeals or by asking for foundation grants.

These new groups are dominated by experts – people who live within the network of grant officers, activists and scholars. Being a member of one of these organizations doesn’t generally involve going to a local lodge once a week and communing with your neighbors; it involves sending a check once a year and reading a newsletter.

Furthermore, as Skocpol observes in her book “Diminished Democracy,” these new organizations tend not to bring people together across class lines. In 1980, at a time when about 15 percent of the electorate had a college degree, roughly 80 percent of the members of the Sierra Club and Naral were college graduates.

The decline of fraternal associations and the emergence of these professionally run groups for the educated class diminished communal life. The change also reshaped politics.

Since the 1960’s there has been a breakdown in the machinery that allowed Americans to work together across class and other divisions. The educated class has come to dominate, and the issues of interest to that class overshadow issues of interest to the less educated and less well off.

But the two major parties were affected unequally. The Republican coalition still contains some cross-class associations, like the N.R.A. and the evangelical churches, which connect corporate elites to the middle classes. The Democratic coalition has fewer organizations like that. Its elite – the urban and university-town elite – has less contact with the less educated.

Not coincidentally, Republicans have a much easier time putting together electoral majorities.

The story doesn’t end there.

Over the past two years, what we might loosely call the university-town elite has come to dominate the Democratic Party not just intellectually, but financially as well.

Howard Dean, in his fervent antiwar phase, mobilized new networks of small donors, and these donors have quickly become the money base of the party. Whereas Al Gore raised only about $50 million from individuals in 2000, John Kerry raised $225 million, including $87 million over the Internet alone. Many of these new donors are highly educated. The biggest groups of donors to the Dean and Kerry campaigns were employees of the University of California, Harvard, Stanford, Time Warner, Microsoft and so on.

They tend to be to the left of the country, especially on social and security issues. They may not agree with Michael Moore on everything, but many enjoyed “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Perhaps they are among the hundreds of thousands of daily visitors to Daily Kos and other blogs that savage Democrats who violate party orthodoxy.

Many Republicans are mystified as to why the Democrats, having lost another election, are about to name Howard Dean as party chairman and have allowed Barbara Boxer and Ted Kennedy to emerge unchallenged as the loudest foreign policy voices.

The answer, as Mickey Kaus observes in Slate, is that the party is following the money. The energy and the dough are in the wing, which is not even a wing of the party, but the head and the wallet. Only the most passionate and liberal voices can stir up this network of online donors from the educated class.

Howard Dean may not be as liberal as he appeared in the primaries, but in 1,001 ways – from his secularism to his stridency – he embodies the newly dominant educated class, which is large, self-contained and assertive.

Thanks to this newly dominant group, the Democrats are sure to carry Berkeley for decades to come.

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Day 2 with the new rear

Posted by David Leslie on February 4, 2005

Given everything, the pain from the new rearhole is not as bad as expected.

The worse parts when it came to the day of surgery was getting there 2 hours early and Jean having to remove the tape from my rear that was holding in the packing. Other than that I slept a ton and eat chicken soup.

I opted not to watch the State of the Union. It was going to be a sales pitch for Bush’s plan to undo the New Deal. Even with pain meds, I couldn’t do it. So we watched Iron Cheif America as Ming dropped Bobby Flay in battle duck.

Today was when the soreness took up with me. Half tabs of vicoden kept things from getting too bad. Plus I was able to have three bowle movements with no more pain than what I had been having post op.

I read Batman: Year One by Frank Miller which I enjoyed so much that I hope they stick with it for the new Batman flick. I also read, cover to cover mind you, The Man who Japed by PK Dick. I haven’t done this in forever so while it was a short book, it was still a book.

The downside is that I went to the store with Jean and over did it. Sorness doesn’t like a ton of walking. Sitting isn’t that bad but I’ve got to shift from time to time and I do have pain meds in me. Also Jean is getting a cold. This means she snoring pretty hard. So between her and the boy flopping, I’m not getting much sleep.

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My new rear

Posted by David Leslie on February 1, 2005

For the past few months, I’ve had a pain in my rear. Make that rectum to be exact. To be honest this goes back to when I was in college. I had a tear aka fissur that I picked up after a nasty round of food posioning. The Doc didn’t think much of it and neither did I. But over the years it has gotten to the point that I am now opting to have it taken care of by the last option… Their going to cut it out.

Much like your lips, the rectum is made up of the same tissue..

Think about that the next time you tell someone to kiss it..

So the process is cut the fissur (mine is in two locations internal and external) and then let everything heal.

So send prayers since this time tomorrow, I’m going to be one sore fella

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