Drooling on the Pillow

Friday, May 20, 2005

If It Had Come Up 'Possum I Doubt I'd Have Posted It 

Via Velociman


What is your animal personality?
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Schundler For Governor 

According to the latest Quinnipiac University Poll, cited by Steve Kornacki at PoliticsNJ, Doug Forrester has opened up a 39% lead on Sluggo for the New Jersey Republican Gubernatorial nomination with a month to go until the primary. Sluggo is currently tied with Todd Caliguire at 0%.

I think it's time Sluggo threw his support to Bret Schundler which will bring him up to 33%, just six percentage points behind Forrester.

To my supporters I say, 'Thanks, Mom.'

To everyone else, Schundler is the only one in the race with his head screwed on tight on the subjects of taxes and spending. He came out of nowhere with a bunch of nutty ideas and won three elections for Mayor of Jersey City (6% Republican). Facing a $40 million budget gap in 1993, he bundled and sold investors the city's non-performing tax liens. This innovation generated revenues and boosted tax compliance from 78 percent to 99 percent. It also gave average homeowners a $1,200 annual property-tax reduction.

He's got some more nutty ideas for the people of New Jersey. Here's a couple:

Require state and local politicians to get voter approval if
they want to increase per capita spending by more than
1.3 x the rate of inflation.

Increase state funding for New Jersey school districts,
counties, and municipalities that keep their spending
within the above limit.
I don't know if Schundler can beat Corzine, or as DynamoBuzz calls him, the Human ATM. I know Forrester can't. I'll be voting for him and I encourage everyone else to.

Don't worry. Sluggo still has his eye on 2009.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

And Each One a Gem 

Sluggo hosted his 10,000th visitor this afternoon.

I'm Just a Blogger, But . . . 

I was reading a story in the Daily News on the way to work about the fiasco that was the Rock 'n' Roll Retirement Home where, starting in 1988 a series of fundraisers, benefits and backers were going to build a home for aging rockers along the lines of the Actor's Home in Englewood.

Joey Dee was the dreamer, but a lot of hustlers became associated with it. Nobody knows just how much money was raised, but by the time everybody started running for cover in 1999 none of it was left.

This paragraph caught my attention:
. . . the foundation was lucky to have two partners
experienced in fund-raising: Dr. Allen Haimes, a Florida
dentist, and his wife, Judith Richardson Haimes, who
had made news two years earlier when she won a
million-dollar lawsuit against Temple University Hospital
on the ground that a medical error during surgery caused
her to lose her psychic powers.
Ah-ha, I thought, another tort reform horror story and started to dig around.

It took about thirty seconds to discover that there were only two accurate points in the paragraph: her husband is a dentist and the lawsuit made news.

Numerous sources state that she never claimed her psychic powers were destroyed and the judge, in any case, specifically barred the jury from considering it. She had warned the doctors she was allergic to iodine, but they injected her with a tracer. She had a severe reaction and never had the CAT scan the newspapers claimed she claimed robbed her of her powers. What she did claim was that headaches, etc. rendered her unable to pursue her livelihood, which happened to be 'Aura Reader.' At which she, apparently, did quite well. Also left out is the fact that the damages were reduced to $1 by the judge and the verdict was later overturned anyway for reasons unrelated to her claimed powers.

Well, it's a small thing. But the News is a big paper. Kinda makes you wonder about the rest of the story.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


I never heard of ZabaSearch before today. If you want to get a little creeped out go here and plug your name in. There's quite a bit of information there, including a satellite image of your house. ZabaSearch gets you down to a hundred yards over your head. $20 gets you the image without the logos.

Twenty more gets you a search of criminal records.

The spell checker rejects ZabaSearch, of course, and recommends Kafkaesque.

I-I-I-I-I-I-I Hate New Yooooork 

When I quit acting, going on ten years ago, I suddenly discovered that I hated New York. I also suddenly put on fifty pounds. Both of those events I've come to believe were just manifestations of a deep sense of failure. I wanted nothing to do with the scene of the crime and I wanted to disappear.

As far as leaving New York goes, I hooked up with the Goddess around the same time. She wanted to live in the City and I wanted to move to Montana. We compromised and moved a quarter mile out of New York to Jersey City. She's making noises about moving back in now. I encourage her to buy lottery tickets. When it comes to disappearing, though, I know I've succeeded at something. A woman came into the office today, a pro bono client, board member of a dance company. We were in class together for a good while no more than 10 years ago and hung out together a good deal. She smiled and was as sweet as she always was, but had no idea who I was. It's a talent.

But I'm mainly on about the hating New York thing, now. My iPod is my cloaking shield and I strap that baby on as soon as I leave the house, punch it up to 11 and it doesn't come off til after I walk in the office door. Which is why (this really tells you how un-NYC I am) I hate street and subway musicians. I choose my music carefully and am usually deeply into it. Then I go onto the platform and have to stand next to the drummers or the doo-wop boys or the crippled jazz singer or the Chinese instrumentalists or the Korean opera singer and I have no choice but to turn off my iPod, listen to what they want me to listen to and be in New York.

Hate it. And I never give them any money.

Tonight I was ambushed by the worst of all subway performers. On-train entertainment.

I left the office later than usual, a little after seven so the train was only half full. They were two young men around 15 or so and one who looked like a very small 10 years old. They seemed designed to piss me off. Not only were they performing on my subway car and subjecting the entire car to their boom box, but they were hyping away in the faux-thug lingua franca of everybody in the world under twenty-five. Yo, yo, yo, yo. And they were break-dancing.

Here's the thing, though. They were unbelievable. If you saw Polar Express there's that scene where the waiters on the train are flying all over the car like a Russian dance troup's version of Hello Dolly! That was these kids. Flipping by the poles, flying from side to side with the straps, dancing up one wall and down the other, they were astonishing. And what I like most about them is that it was a show. It was designed for a half full subway car and timed to fit between stops. They filled every available cubic inch of that place and never touched one of the passengers. The big finish was when one of the older boys goes into a back flip and when he gets to verticle up-side down he thrusts out his legs, catches the ceiling and pops back the way he came. That one didn't quite come off and he would have broken his neck if his partner hadn't been spotting for him. But I imagine when he pulls it off it's pretty spectacular.

They were making a fortune. Even I threw them a buck. And then cranked up my iPod again.

Can't Wait to See Hoboken 

Responding to the branding of Montclair which was covered by the Barista, The Prop, of Coffeegrounds has come up with logos for Atlantic City and Newark. He doesn't really need to be encouraged, but we should anyway.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Sign Here, Here and Here. And Don't Forget The Exit Strategy 

Okay, so maybe the Islamists have a point.

Eugene Volokh of the Volokh Conspiracy blogs about a recent case:
Some excerpts from a Massachusetts appellate court just
handed down yesterday

The plaintiff and the defendant were in a long-term
committed relationship. Early in the morning of
September 24, 1994, they were engaged in consensual
sexual intercourse. The plaintiff was lying on his back
while the defendant was on top of him. The defendant's
body was secured in this position by the interlocking of
her legs and the plaintiff's legs. At some point, the
defendant unilaterally decided to unlock her legs and
place her feet on either side of the plaintiff's abdomen
for the purpose of increasing her stimulation. When the
defendant changed her position, she did not think about
the possibility of injury to the plaintiff. Shortly after
taking this new position, the defendant landed awkwardly
on the plaintiff, thereby causing him to suffer a penile fracture.

The mere idea of a 'penile fracture' gives me an unpleasent sensation 'down there', but if we've gotten to the point in this country where ostensible males are suing their sweeties for negligent sex, then maybe we ought to give this Sharia idea a try.

Get a Grip 

I grabbed these links from Billy Budd at American Dinosaur. They speak the plain truth concerning Newsweek and the swirling Koran.

I think most people would agree that if some interrogator did flush some pages during a session he should be reprimanded. It's the kind of thing we'd be smart to avoid. By all means, take a weekend pass from him.

But isn't the real point that a small group of lunatics half a world away are aware that they can get our national panties in a twist by killing a few dozen people and issuing one of their 'smite the infidel' press releases? Isn't the proper response 'Sorry. Please go away now'?

Of course Newsweek acted irresponsibly and with malice to the administration. That's what they do. Of course the Islamists pretended we had done something heinous like, say, decapitate innocent hostages. That's what they do.

But do the rest of us have to play along?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Thank You and Good Night 

This is a true story. It sounds for all the world like a chick flick, but it happened exactly this way.

I must have been seven or eight years old. We lived in Tarentum, a little town on the Allegheny about twenty miles up from Pittsburgh. It was my father's home town.

He was a chiropractor at the time. He did a lot of things in his time, but for a few years there he was a bone-breaker. And a good one. I haven't spoken to him in more than twenty years so there's quite a salad of issues there, but I have to admit, when it came to chiropractics, he knew what he was doing.

About a block away I had an aunt, or she might have been my father's aunt, or more likely second cousin, but she was called Aunt Mid. She ran a beauty shop out of her house, converted from a closed-in porch. She would give me all her old equipment when she was done with it which was loaded with tubes, blowers, wires and dials and I would make space ships with the parts. Another aunt, one generation farther back, lived in the same house and she loved to sun-bathe nude in the grape arbor in the back yard. I loved to cut through that yard to my friend's house on the next block and there's a few images there I've been trying to get rid of for all my life.

The third woman who lived in that house was the only one whose genealogical relationship I'm sure of; my father's grandmother on his father's side. This was around 1955 and she was in her late nineties so she was almost certainly born during the Civil War.

Three old ladies with paper skin living in an enormous house on a cobblestone street. I spent some time in the beauty shop as Aunt Mid watched me while my mother was downtown shopping, but further back into the house I seldom ventured. It was as Victorian as Prince Albert's shorts.

So one day my mother gets off the phone and says that Aunt Mid wants to see me. When I get there Aunt Mid takes me into the sitting room where my greatgrandmother is perched with an enormous book in her lap. She pats the horsehair sofa next to her, and, as Aunt Mid brings a tray of tea, she opens up the book and starts showing me pictures.

When I was a kid I loved three things; baseball, maps and old pictures. Even today if there was a cable channel with only old film stock I'd watch it all the time. I don't know why, but the moments taken from lives and places that are irrevocably gone made me burn with something. They looked so real, but they couldn't be because they didn't exist anymore. It was something about the difference between what having their picture taken meant to them and looking at the pictures meant to me. For them it was stopping life for a moment to put it in their pocket; for me it was rummaging through the pockets of clothes stored in the attic. I was alive. They weren't. The sun was shining, the water gurgled. But it was gone.

She took me through every picture telling me who the people were, where it was taken and the eventual fates of every person in the pictures. Summers on the lake, on the shore, in the mountains. Handsome men, full of themselves and wiseacre boys looking for trouble. Girls dressed up for a party or putting on theatricals on the lawn. Some of the boys died in The War and I guess she must have been talking about WWI, although it certainly could have been the Spanish War. Train trips. A college graduation picture with about fifteen women.

When we got to the end of the book she closed it and had Aunt Mid replace it on the top shelf and I went home.

That summer she called me over every few days and we'd have tea and look at another album. I started to recognize faces and remember relationships and that just knocked her out. She'd call in Aunt Mid, point to a face and ask me "Who is that?" And I'd say, "That's your daughter Mary's first boyfriend. Charlie." And they'd clap and laugh like I was a chimp with a yo-yo.

At some point we got to the bottom shelf and then the last album and the last picture. She patted my hand and sent me home and died a couple of days later.

I sure wish I knew what happened to the albums as I still have a few dozen of those images in my head. They were my family and the people that knew them and, aside from the pictures I remember, now they really are gone.

The Birth of a Libertarian 

The Metropolitan Diary is a feature of the New York Times I generally find almost as irritating as The Ethicist. It's a once-a-week section where readers tell fey little stories of the charming and wacky things that make up Life In New York. In reality, they're little advertisements for the correspondents' sophistication and hard-wired irony.

I liked one of the stories today, though.

Dear Diary:

Ordering stamps online - what a concept! No lines. No dollar
bills jamming the self-service machine. No walks to and
from the post office in the rain or snow or gloom of night.

About 10 days after placing my first online order for a roll of
stamps and some postcards, I found in my mailbox a pink
slip notifying me that there was a package being held for me
at the post office. The sender: the United States Postal
Service's Stamp Fulfillment Center.

What? I now need to stand on line at the post office to claim
my order for stamps that I placed online so that I would not
have to stand on line at the post office?

The final indignity was that the postal clerk would not release
the package until I produced proof of my identity.

Phyllis Ilie

What did strike me as charming was Ms. Ilie's faith in the intention and ability of the USPS to make her life easier. Gone forever.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Pat Buchanan 

Is this a great country, or what? Any knucklehead can get up on his hind legs and make a jackass of himself. If that's what you have in mind, though, you better be a Democrat. You might get a presidential box at the convention. If you're a Republican, however, you might find that people take your words seriously. And respond.
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