Friday, August 30, 2002

how much food does a man need - i am fat, gigantic, enormous and overweight. as an incentive to lose weight, jenny has offered to go to las vegas with me as long as i lose 20 pounds. at the official weigh-in this morning--after i had done my business--the scale showed that i weighed 191 lbs. this is almost exactly what i weighed before russell was born. back in 1995, i lost 30 lbs. in one month after telling my blind date over the phone that i weighed 150 lbs. at the time, i weighed 180. after a month eating nothing but watermelon and crouching over an exercise bike, i reached my target weight just in time for the blind date.

believe me, i don't plan to use the same drastic measures as before, but the incentive this time is even more compelling.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

hating ‘anti-hate’ campaigns - why do san francisco politicians, representing the most liberal electorate in this country, find it necessary to preach racial and ethnic tolerance to their constituents? after all, isn’t this the city that regards urinating and defecating in public as a form of expression? didn’t san francisco voters recently agree to grant health insurance coverage for city workers undergoing sex change operations?

every time i turn my head while walking in san francisco, i see a new poster or billboard imploring me not to hate muslims, arab-americans and people of color. and you just know that these liberal politicians are incredibly disappointed that we ‘racist’ americans—the roughly one hundred or so conservatives still living or working in san francisco—haven’t yet assaulted any arabs and muslims since the september 11th terrorist attacks. these sanctimonious fools live for the moments that they get to denounce other americans for their ‘hate’ and lack of righteousness. to me, it seems these 'stop the hate' rants are always aimed in the wrong direction.

thankfully, i don’t know any americans who hate muslims and arab-americans, not even among my jewish friends. i do hate the people responsible for september 11th, and i would hate them no matter their race, creed or national origin. tell me, does that qualify as a 'hate crime'?

Sunday, August 25, 2002

all the photos that's fit to print - a number of you have pointed out that my choice of 'before' and 'after' photographs of the newly-painted house was liberally biased, since the 'after' photo was taken on a cloudy day and was not subject to computer enhancement. your concerns about fairness with the photographs are valid, so i have taken another photo of the house, and posted it here. unlike the new york times, i am willing to admit my mistakes and make corrections as necessary.

Friday, August 23, 2002

What Would Janet Reno Do? - A child living in a Communist country disappears on the way to the United States, and then resurfaces alongside relatives living in the East Coast. The relatives, also refugees from Communist tyranny, announce their intention to seek asylum for the child. Unfortunately for the child, one parent remains back at home and is unable to speak freely with American immigration authorities. Sound familiar?

No, it's not Elian Gonzales, but Jia Yukun, a 12-year-old Chinese girl who disappeared from San Francisco International Airport earlier this month and later turned up with relatives in Massachusetts. Her timing is better than Elian's, for if she had arrived on America's shores back in 2000, she might have found herself facing the barrel of a machine gun and 200 heavily armed INS officers trying to force her out of the country. Look for the John Ashcroft's Department of Justice to handle the situation differently from Janet Reno, whose strong-armed tactics eventually cost Bill Clinton's hand-picked successor Al Gore the 2000 Presidental Election. The irony of it all.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

this gold house - when it comes to decorating the house, i normally trust jenny's good taste and allow her free reign to do as she pleases. she's done a great job over the past two years with her various projects around the house, from sewing a new sofa cover to remodelling the kitchen. however, i'm beginning to think she went a bit over the edge with her latest effort, which was to get the house painted a different color. see if you agree with me by viewing before and after photos of the house. the painters just finished painting yesterday. for good measure, i've also included a couple of pictures of russell.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Return of the Iraqi Baby Milk Factory – Remember the famous Iraqi Baby Milk Factory attacked by American warplanes during the Gulf War of 1991? Yeah, the one with all of the freshly painted signs and the factory workers’ lab coats emblazoned—in English—with the words “Iraqi Baby Milk Factory”. CNN and reporter Peter Arnett were the only ones fooled at the time.

Well, apparently Reuters doesn’t remember that incident and fell hook, line and sinker for another Iraqi deception. There sure is a whole lot of baby milkin’ goin’ on in Baghdad, isn’t there? Has anyone ever wondered why whenever the Iraqis show off a suspected chemical or biological weapons site, it is always a baby milk factory? Did you also notice that the Reuters reporter, Huda Majeed Saleh, has the same last name as the Iraqi Trade Minister (Mohammed Mehdi Saleh) showing off the latest baby milk factory?

Iraq Shows Baby Milk Store at Reported Weapons Site
Tue Aug 20, 6:08 AM ET
By Huda Majeed Saleh

TAJI, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraq showed reporters a warehouse stuffed with baby milk and sugar on Tuesday to repudiate a U.S. newspaper report that the building was being used to produce biological weapons.

Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh met international media at a warehouse in the Taji area northwest of Baghdad, which U.S. intelligence officials quoted in the Washington Times newspaper last week said was a biological weapons facility. But instead of weapons and sophisticated labs, reporters on Tuesday found baby milk and sugar which had been bought under Iraq's oil-for-food deal with the United Nations.

Seriously, it’s good to see that Saddam hasn’t lost his famous sense of humor. The scary part is that a Western press agency like Reuters would report this as fact.

Monday, August 19, 2002

we are experiencing technical difficulties - my iraqi laptop is dying. i only have about 200 megabytes of free disk space left, and my 'shift' and 'caps lock' keys no longer work. i don't feel like spending the money, but i just might need to bite the bullet.

since i don't feel like writing much without all my computer keys working, i think i'll post some pictures of russell here. he's now two months old.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Planned Rodenthood or Not In My Liberal Backyard – Leave it to those wacky liberals in Berkeley, California to come up with innovative solutions to deal with their wild raccoon problem. The LA Times reports that the Berkeley City Council will vote next month on an ordinance to neuter wild raccoons [requires registration].

Frustrated residents of woodsy Berkeley are at wits' end over a raccoon invasion. They've tried scaring them. They've tried catching them. And now they want to make it really personal--they want to neuter them.

In what officials say could be the first ordinance of its kind in the nation, Berkeley city councilwoman Linda Maio wants captured raccoons to be sterilized before being let back into the community.

“Of course people are going to say, 'Oh, this is liberal, crazy Berkeley at it again,' " Maio said. "But I'd like to ask those people what the alternatives are. Should we all just go out with our shotguns and start shooting them?"

There are better solutions than the one proposed by progressive liberal Maio:

1) Include a ‘Raccoon Acceptance' course in its Diversity Training program for Berkeley employees and residents
2) Build a government-funded raccoon abortion clinic so that they can exercise their reproductive rights
3) Provide same-sex partner benefits to homosexual raccoons
4) Classify raccoons as “disadvantaged minorities” and enroll them as students in the University of California at Berkeley
5) Use raccoons instead of paper coffee cup sleeves at all Berkeley coffee houses

My father-in-law had his own raccoon problem a few years ago. He solved it by trapping the offending creature and then using it as an ingredient in his homemade soup.

Monday, August 12, 2002

And Now a Word From Our Sponsor - I just started my subscription to the Atlantic Monthly and I'm happy to say that it's worth every penny of my hard-earned $19.95. For starters, the magazine recently appointed Washington Post columnist Michael Kelly as editor, and he's done a terrific job in recruiting new writers from a broad political and social spectrum. Current events, history, science, religion--the Atlantic's got it all. The useful, yet concise Book Review section is a refreshing change from the plodding, uninformed New York Times Book Review.

I've just read excepts in the Atlantic from William Langewiesche's upcoming new book, "American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center". For a while, I didn't read Langewiesche's work because I was afraid that it would depress me by focusing on the gruesome aspects of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Eventually I gave in and I became hooked by the author's stirring writing style and focus on the heroism of the survivors. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of the September 2002 Atlantic Monthly.

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Weekend Warrior - For the first time in three years, I paddled with a dragon boat team in competition--this time at the Oakland International Dragon Boat Festival. I found out on Thursday that the Dragon Warriors had an open slot on their Number Three boat, and I immediately accepted the offer to paddle with the team on Saturday. I know a good number of the veteran members of the team, so I felt comfortable joining them, if only for a day. Brett was supposed to go with me, but he wimped out at the last minute, citing a need for more sleep.

The best thing about dragon boating is not actually racing, but hanging out with the team before, between and after the races. During a day of racing, a dragon boat team is out on a boat for only about an hour, so the rest of the day is spent relaxing, socializing, and gorging out on the huge spread of food that every brings to share. Since I "retired" from dragon boat paddling three years ago, I've found that I especially miss the social outlet that dragon boating provided--not to mention the exercise that I desperately need. Perhaps I can make another comeback next year.

Tomorrow, I return to work after a two month hiatus. It will be strange to wake up again to the sound of an alarm, and to have to wear more than the shorts and t-shirts that have been my wardrobe during my parental leave. Getting a paycheck once again will be nice, but I will miss the relaxed feeling I had hanging out at home with Jenny all day. Most of all, I will miss seeing Russell grow up from morning until night. Tomorrow, Russell will be two months old.

Friday, August 09, 2002

Barf Alert - Leave it to two of my least favorite organizations—the New York Times and the consulting firm McKinsey & Company—to conclude that the Fire Department of New York City could have done a better job in responding to the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September 11. In an article dated August 3, the NYT reports that the FDNY's efforts were "plagued by problems in radio communication, lapses in discipline and a lack of coordinated efforts with the Police Department, according to a draft report by an independent consultant [McKinsey]."

At AT&T, Salomon Brothers and Wells Fargo, I’ve had the misfortune of working with a multitude of McKinsey consultants, and I know exactly what a McKinsey employee would have done that day had they been at the WTC. When the planes hit the building, the first thing a McKinsey consultant would have done is commandeer a taxi straight to Bergdorf Goodman, where he would buy a pair of Façonnable underwear to replace the shit-stained pair he was wearing. Then, the McKinsey consultant would check into the nearby Plaza Hotel and order room service, billing all to the client, of course. Finally, the ethically-challenged CEO-wannabe would have purchased a one-way ticket to Switzerland—where he either went to boarding school or received his MBA—and rested easier knowing that he wouldn't have to fight in any War on Terrorism

Perhaps feeling guilty about its latest hatchet job, the NYT reported on the very next day that a group of FDNY firemen actually made it to the 78th floor of the WTC’s South Tower, which was the second building hit by a hijacked plane—a truly incredible achievement. But the NYT had already shown its true colors by parroting the contents of the McKinsey report, thus casting their lot with their summer neighbors on Martha’s Vineyard.

As far as I am concerned, the reporters and consultants at these companies aren't fit to hold the jock straps of the brave firemen that served and died that day. These extraordinary men—all of them willing to risk their lives—walked into a blazing, 100-story skyscaper in order to save people they didn’t know, and now a group of pin-headed, PowerPoint-obsessed dweebs is telling the FDNY how to do its job. My advice to both McKinsey and the New York Times is the same as a famous headline once printed on the front page of the NY Daily News: "Drop Dead".

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

There's No Place Like Home - We returned home this afternoon from our relaxing mini-getaway in Sonoma, a short 90-minute ride from good 'ol Oakland. The highlights of the trip were some outstanding meals at the finest restuarants in the region, including Chef Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen, Bistro Ralph and In-N-Out Burger. Believe it or not, the last one was Jenny's idea, which I heartily endorsed. At both fancy restaurants, our dinners were cut short by little Russell's crying spells which at Ralph's forced us to miss dessert. Fortunately, we were prepared the next night at the Dry Creek Kitchen and ordered our desserts to go (I had the cheesecake).

We also treated ourselves to massages at the hotel spa and purchased mementos of our first "vacation" with Russell in tow. Jenny bought an end table for the living room and a blown-glass chicken for her mom. I continued my French antique kick with a purchase of an antique match-holder, which you may view here. Marie Brizard is a French maker of liquers and apertifs.

While we were having lunch at a deli, Jenny overheard the conversation of two middle-age, white males at the table next to us. Apparently, they were Healdsburg residents (a.k.a. limousine liberals) and not big fans of President George W. Bush. One of them ranted on about the Bush administration curtailing civil liberties and encouraging citizens to spy on one another. At this point, I began to carefully observe the behavior of the two suspects. When they finished their lunch, they promptly threw the contents of their trays--which included an aluminum can and a plastic bottle--into the trash bin, completely ignoring the "Recycle Cans and Bottles Here" bin next to the garbage. I made a mental note of their appearance, and then reported their misdeeds to the Sierra Club.

Monday, August 05, 2002

Road Trip - I have only one more week of parental leave, so Jenny and I have decided to make the most of it by going away for the next couple of days. We're heading to Healdsburg in Sonoma County for a stay at the new Hotel Healdsburg. There are some nice restaurants close by and the town is full of antique shops for us to check out. It's also in the middle of Wine Country, but since neither of us drink, we won't be going to any wineries. Yes, we are going to bring the baby, so things could get interesting.

Both Jenny and I have noticed that little Russell has become more irritable in the evenings. The pediatrician called it "evening colic", but she could give no explanation why he cries uncontrollably for a couple of hours per night. We've attempted to calm down the little boy by feeding him as much as possible before bedtime, but that doesn't always work. Jenny's started to just let him cry himself to sleep at times, but I feel guilty about letting the poor boy wail away. However, it does seem to work at times.

Friday, August 02, 2002

Our First Jewish, Black-American President - At a fund-raiser for a Jewish-Canadian charity, Bill Clinton—who avoided serving for the US in Vietnam and "loathed the military"—said he would take up arms and "fight and die" for Israel if Iraq attacks the Jewish state. In front of a wildly-cheering audience in Toronto, the former President said, "If Iraq came across the Jordan River, I would grab a rifle and get in the trench and fight and die."

Just when you try to quit hating the man, he makes a remark like this. I could have spent my entire two months of parental leave writing down all of the lies he's told to us. This one takes the cake, so some comments are in order.

First of all, Bubba is in need of a geography lesson. Iraq is east of Jordan, and the Iraqi Army would have to march across the country of Jordan to get to the Jordan River which borders the West Bank. This scenario is about as likely as hell freezing over, so I wouldn't hold my breath waiting to see Bubba toting an M-16. He was the target of some high-velocity ashtrays and lamps in the White House, so he probably figures he is now qualified for combat.

If the unlikely should happen, and the Iraqi Army does invade Israel, then expect Bubba to use some Clintonian word parsing to weasel out of his promise. Note that he doesn't say he would fight and die for Israel--he could have meant he would fight and die...for Iraq. Or he could have meant the Jordan River--in Utah. It also depends on the meaning of the words "fight and die"--perhaps he said "fight and dye [his hair]". The reporter could have also misheard Bubba saying "take flight and lie", which sounds more plausible for Clinton. The possibilities are endless.

P.T. Barnum allegedly said: "There is a sucker born every minute". The fact that all these morons in Canada spent big bucks ($1000/plate) to listen to this pandering, lying sack of dung proves that Barnum was right.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

My Father, the Terrorist - I dropped my parents off at the airport (SFO) this afternoon, nearly 90 minutes ahead of the planned departure time for the flight back to Newark (NJ). That may sound early to you, but the airlines today are asking passengers to arrive at the airport at least one hour and in some cases up to three hours before departure time. In the past ten days, my parents been on airplanes or at airports for nearly a full 24 hours! Unfortunately for them, flying is becoming an increasingly unpleasant experience, mostly due to the ridiculous demands of the government morons in charge of airport security.

My parents are both senior citizens—my father is 77 and my mother is 68—and aside from infants and children under five travelling without a parent, are probably the least likely candidates to hijack a plane. But ignoring common sense, airport security personnel have twice in the past week selected my father on which to perform a full luggage and body search. For reasons of political correctness, the government security bureaucracy has chosen not to use racial, criminal or ethnic profiling to screen passengers as potential threats. As a result, security guards not even qualified to work at Taco Bell or Wendy’s—now government employees, thanks to recent legislation—are searching Grandma and Grandpa for weapons, making a mockery of the entire process.

Former Senator and Presidential candidate George McGovern gives his two cents on the lunacy of the current system in the Wall Street Journal. However, McGovern and other liberals like him deserve most of the blame, since they espouse the heavy-hand of government and political correctness that is at the root of the airport security problem. He gets no sympathy from me.