And since my niece is graduating from high school today, I'm feeling very very old.
She's also feeling better, if behavior is any judge. She's back to bouncing around at 10:00pm, demanding her Milk Bone cookie in no uncertain terms.
Ryan's post. James Poniewozik's post at Time magazine. Alan Sepinwall's post at the New Jersey Star-Ledger. (Thanks to Jon at Dodger Thoughts for the pointers to the latter two. Update: He's added three more links to some professional TV watchers -- EW, Variety, and the Chicago Tribune.)
Two hours? Two hours!?! I'm gonna have to watch half of this in the kitchen where I smoke!
1. How did Ben get off the island, since last we saw he was turning the gear to make it move?
2. How did Locke get off the (moved) island? And when? And why is he called Jeremy Bentham?
3. Does Penny know her father and Ben are in a battle for the island?
4. Why do all Ben's Others so readily transfer their allegiance to Locke?
And one (maybe) answer: the date on Jin's tombstone is the date of the plane crash because the survivors are all lying about their experiences on the island, so the story had to be that he died in the crash.
Has anyone else noticed that the media hasn't cited that old chestnut "No one has won the Presidential election from the US Senate in umpty-ump years" lately? Give 'em credit for noticing something, anyway.
Apparently USA Baby, as well as having a poorly-designed website (see below), doesn't feel it's necessary to match its customers' baby registry to its inventory either. The company has two stores on Oahu, but when we called to determine whether it had the items we wanted on hand, we were shocked to learn that neither store had them and that there were no prospects of getting them before the baby shower.
Fortunately for us and for the recipient, there's a company called Baby Emporium in town which does have the car seat and stroller we want.
A few weeks ago my kitchen TV's DVD player quit. The drawer wouldn't open. The 13"-inch television in that room is on a 30-inch wide cart, and its footprint is such that one of the newer slim-line players won't work unless I put the TV on top of it, which I don't think is ideal. Thus I hadn't looked very hard for a replacement yet.
I happened to be at Radio Shack yesterday looking for something else and noticed that there was a Philco player about a foot wide on sale for $29.95. Well, I know serendipity when I see it, so I bought it. I brought it home, removed the cables from the old player and attached them to the new one, and then put in The Last Waltz to test it. Somehow I hadn't gotten around to playing that film before, so this was my first look. I was very amused that the first screen you see after selecting "Play" displays the following text:
"Caution. This film should be played LOUD!"
Senator McCain's faith in the private sector and the overarching ability of the free market to provide the best solution to absolutely everything is touching, considering that he's never been on a private payroll in his life.
He's been there ever since.
I grew up in a military family and spent two-plus years in myself. I don't have any argument with his background or employment history. What I do have is a suspicion that it's been expedient for him to espouse the conservative small-government free market mantra, although he's never had any experience in a world without a government paycheck or heavily-subsidized health care.
When he claims that government shouldn't do things, bear that in mind.
Bush, today at Arlington:
Today, we gather to honor those who gave everything to preserve our way of life. The men and women we honor here served for liberty. They sacrificed for liberty. And in countless acts of courage, they died for liberty. From faraway lands, they were returned to cemeteries like this one, where broken hearts received their broken bodies -- they found peace beneath the white headstones in the land they fought to defend.
It is a solemn reminder of the cost of freedom that the number of headstones in a place such as this grows with every new Memorial Day. In a world where freedom is constantly under attack and in a world where our security is challenged, the joys of liberty are often purchased by the sacrifices of those who serve a cause greater than themselves. Today we mourn and remember all who have given their lives in the line of duty. Today we lift up our hearts especially those who've fallen in the past year.
Memorializing the dead, Bush-style:
. . .although the Pentagon and the current administration will go to great lengths today to talk about the pride we should all feel in the fighting women and men of this country, increasingly onerous rules of engagement for the news media and the military make it difficult for the few remaining reporters and photographers to do their job: showing soldiers doing theirs.
Yes, the message seems to be, we honor the dead, but do not show them in your pictures. Of course, we care deeply about the wounded, but you now need their signed permission to depict their sacrifice. As the number of reporters and photographers has gone down, the efforts to control those who remain have gone up.
Has this country ever had a more hypocritical liar as its President?
If a company was designing a website registry which would let friends purchase gifts an expectant mother had listed as ones she'd need once the baby arrived, would it not make sense to show images of the prospective items on the online order page so the buyer could see what the hell it is he or she is buying?
USA Baby doesn't think so. If you want to see the item, you'd better write down the product number, exit the registry section, and search the "Products" section of the website. If you've got more than one item you'd like to see, keep a list of the item numbers.
How dumb can you be? USA Baby, please go to the Amazon website and look at a random wishlist. That's how it ought to be done.
Does everyone know about NASA TV?
The lander has been on the surface of Mars for slightly under 30 minutes as I type.
Update: Go over here to see a photo of the lander settling toward the Mars surface under its parachute.
NPR had a story this morning about the gadgets Q offered James Bond in the movies and the inspiration they provide to the real-life agencies. I can see the utility of a dead rat with a hollow abdomen, but I'm glad I had finished breakfast before I heard it.
I had another thought, though. I'm trying to figure out whose music royalty statements I'd most like to have: Monty Norman, who wrote the James Bond theme, or John Williams, for "Star Wars" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Which would you prefer?
Apparently I'm one of the few who thinks that Senator Clinton's remark about the RFK assassination was not a coded message to hit men everywhere.
Kennedy was killed the night of the 1968 California primary, which took place in June. The point she was trying to make was that there's no reason not to keep running into the month of June.
I'm about her age. I call up moments in the past by using historical events. I suspect she remembers June of 1968 as the month RFK was killed, and from there she remembers where he was and what else had happened that day/month. It's perhaps unfortunate that she actually mentioned the murder rather than merely saying "Bobby Kennedy won the California primary in 1968, in June," but that's how memory works.
But because she mentioned the assassination the right-wing loons and their enablers in the media have gone berserk, as though she'd suggested that she'd put a contract out on Senator Obama.
Give me a break.
I took her to the vet again today, and the news is good. The stitches have closed up the wound quite well; only one staple failed to hold. The leg's been rebandaged and I have to take her back on Monday for a re-check.
Six years ago I described her first few car rides. She's become an old hand at it now, although she still doesn't sit up on the seat and poke her head out the window. I kinda regret not having started her on the rides when she was a lot younger; I suspect she'd have gotten a real kick out of them when she was three or four.
Did anybody besides me breathe a sigh of relief that "Lost" wasn't on tonight so I could go to bed unpuzzled on a Thursday night for a change?
General Petraeus testifies before the Senate.
Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in the war in Iraq, said that he expects this fall to recommend additional cuts in U.S. troop levels there.
He said that he plans to make an assessment by September, when he would move to take over the U.S. Central Command, if he is confirmed for that position, as is expected.
Oh, whoopee. We've heard this song before. Essentially it would just be bringing troop levels down to what they were before the surge.
Not enough, General.
Hard to believe that a network which calls itself "The Most Trusted Name in News" could allow an invited guest to use language like this about a sitting US Senator and Presidential candidate, but apparently sexist remarks and five-letter words about women don't rise to the level that racist remarks and six-letter words about African-Americans do.
From TPM Election Central (video at the link):
On CNN a few moments ago, analyst Jeffery Toobin argued that Hillary was right when she said in an interview that coverage of the race has been "sexist," buttressing his case by pointing to a recent newspaper column suggesting that Hillary is a "white bitch." Toobin, unsurprisingly, took issue with this, saying that it was "appalling" that this was considered acceptable.
GOP consultant Alex Castellanos, someone who presumably was on CNN's panel because he'd been invited by the network's producers, disagreed.
"Some women, by the way, are named that, and it's accurate," Castellanos said. He went on to buttress his case by pointing out that Hillary is "abrasive, aggressive, irritating."
Castellanos, by the way, is an advisor to the McCain campaign.
Please explain to me why the word "bitch" from an invited commentator is acceptable to CNN.
Ted Kennedy has been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor called a glioma.
Gliomas comprise a heterogeneous group of neoplasms that differ in location within the CNS, in age and sex distribution, in growth potential, in extent of invasiveness, in morphological features, in tendency for progression, and in response to treatments.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is by far the most common and most malignant of the glial tumors. Composed of a heterogenous mixture of poorly differentiated neoplastic astrocytes, glioblastomas primarily affect adults, and they are located preferentially in the cerebral hemispheres.
One type of treatment is external beam radiation, in which radiation passes through the brain to the tumor. Unfortunately, this exposes healthy brain tissue to potentially damaging radiation. Another treatment is surgical removal of the tumor, if possible, followed by chemotherapy. All of these treatments are difficult to go through, and pose risks to the patient. Unfortunately, many gliomas grow back even after treatment.
There are several reasons why it is hard to get rid of these types of brain tumors. Some drugs can't get into the brain because of a special filtering mechanism in the body (called the blood-brain barrier). Some tumors spread into (infiltrate) the tissues around them with tiny projections. Many tumors have more than one kind of cell in them, so chemotherapy directed at one kind of cell in the tumor will not kill the other cells.
What's a typical prognosis? Depends on the type. The doctors haven't been specific, but it appears that astrocytoma is the most likely, from the descriptions we have been given.
Gliomas can be astrocytomas, ependymomas or oligodendrogliomas. The different types have very different outlooks.
Astrocytomas can be slow growing (grade 1), moderately fast growing (grade 2), anaplastic astrocytoma (grade 3 ) or very fast growing (glioblastoma multiforme, GBM also called grade 4 astrocytoma).
The prognosis for glioma depends on
* The grade
* Where in the brain the glioma is
* Whether the tumour can be removed surgically
* Whether it responds to radiotherapy or chemotherapy
Few astrocytomas can be completely removed. So, unfortunately adults with a low grade astrocytoma don't always do as well as you might expect. Rates from clinical studies show that between 27 and 85 out of every 100 people diagnosed live for at least 5 years. This seems like a very broad range. It depends on many factors, including where the tumour is and how it responds to treatment. Low grade tumours in adults also tend to change into high grade tumours after some time.
For grade 3 astrocytomas, (anaplastic astrocytoma), about half the adults diagnosed (50%) live for at least 3 years. For the most aggressive grade 4 astrocytomas (glioblastoma multiforme) around 1 in 5 people (20%) live for more than 2 years.
More at the links.
Over the weekend members of the Westboro Baptist Church showed up in Hawai'i at several churches and military bases on Oahu. That's Fred Phelps' outfit, the one that pickets high-profile funerals including military ones. They got a pretty cold shoulder (video clip at the bottom of the page).
What I found interesting was that that local TV station spent a minute or two explaining to its viewers what went on in the newsroom in deciding to cover these people. There were conflicting opinions internally between those who said "don't cover it at all" and those who said "they've got a First Amendment right to speak and we have an obligation to cover news." They even went to the trouble of discussing their coverage with The Poynter Institute, the journalism school which attempts to set standards for the practice of the trade.
Good for KHNL for explaining its decision.
How to make your museum relevant:
Found an interesting insect on your favourite plant, a plant in the forest that looks out-of-place, a colorful lizard or fish, or a piece of limu on the beach that you would be interested in knowing more about, but don't know where to start?
We've developed an online forum to help you interact with Bishop Museum's scientists. We have a flickr group called Ask a Bishop Museum Scientist.
Join the Group, then upload your photo with info (where you saw it, what time of year, how many legs, in a swamp or forest) and see what the scientists at the museum can tell you about it.
The Association sold a bunch of records, including the classics "Cherish" and "Never My Love," which were played at who knows how many weddings at the time. They've since been scorned as "pop" singers, but that's unfair. Here they are playing "Along Comes Mary," one of their first hits. Don't look away at the beginning; the introduction is amusing.
Ho hum. The Dodgers won, Big Brown won, the dog is recovering (again) from a trip to the vet (this time, at my suggestion, the vet stitched the wound together). Tigger was still pretty anesthetized when I brought her home yesterday afternoon and we worried about her most of the night, but today she's better.
In other news, I found the Jack Reacher thrillers at the library, and I'm trying to read them in order. It's compulsive.
Reacher reminds me a little of Travis McGee, without McGee's grounding in Fort Lauderdale. He's an interesting character.
Our tradewinds have disappeared for the past few days, and as a result we are seeing a lot of haze from the ongoing eruption at Kilauea on the Big Island.
Case in point, a few minutes ago. That's from the end of my driveway; there are mountains 20 miles beyond the end of that cul-de-sac.
Whoopee. Today I filled up the gas tank for $3.84/gallon and got a fund-raising letter from John McCain.
Life can hold no more.
The face-off between the survivors and the freighter people begins.
Oh my. We see all the (known) survivors in one place (nice touch to have a Coast Guard P-3 with Barbers Point on the nose be the plane ferrying them back to Honolulu), but how do they all manage to get together?
Jack (who makes it) with Sawyer (who doesn't*) traipsing through the jungle, Kate and Sayid (who both make it) surrounded and led off by the baddies, Hurley (who makes it) with Locke (who doesn't) watching Ben (who makes it, although not as one of the Oceanic Six), all converging on The Orchid.
Meanwhile we've got a radio room or something packed full of C4 on board the ship, which has Sun and Aaron (who make it) along with Desmond and Jin (who don't) on board.
And we have all the people still on the beach waiting for Daniel to come back on the Zodiac and ferry more of them off to the freighter.
It should be quite a climax in two weeks.
*All assumptions about characters not making it subject to the movement of the island and or the whim of the writers. Personally I think some of them survive somehow, somewhere or somewhen.
Mom and I had the same thought yesterday about the children killed in the school collapses as a result of the Chinese earthquake: "How many of those were only children?"
Somebody at the NYT had the same thought.
How many parents have lost their only child, and how many are too economically tied to their jobs to have another? I doubt that Chinese employers have embraced the concepts of parental leave, flex-time, or in-house day care.
What a horror.
And Digby provides one.
The endless obsession with process, the horse race, the "math," what they're eating, what they're wearing, what they're playing, runs on and on as if it tells us something truly important about what the citizens want and whether these candidates are giving it to them. Meanwhile we have a war, an energy crisis, global warming, economic dislocation, crumbling infrastructure, fifty million uninsured and huge debt both personal and public among many other things that government must tackle in the next four years due mostly to the massive failure of conservative governance. Apparently, the press feels that whether they wear lapel pins or misremember some event from a decade ago are the best means of finding out what the candidates do about those things. Or maybe they just don't give a damn and are entertaining themselves with high school story lines.
The local used bookstore has a $3 off sale going on at the moment, and I couldn't resist digging through its racks. I really found a winner for $6: Neil Young's Live at Massey Hall 1971. Young's voice was at its peak back then, and it's shown to its best advantage here on this 17-song acoustic performance. It's just Neil on stage with guitar or piano, and it's beautiful. The recording quality is spectacular; from the technical point of view it might be the best live album I own. Many of the songs were brand-new, and you have to be impressed with the hometown Canadian audience; you can't hear anyone squalling for familiar material, even though ten of these songs hadn't yet been released (five of them showed up on Harvest). This is part of Young's new Archives project, and the CD was released just last year.
1. On The Way Home
2. Tell Me Why
3. Old Man
4. Journey Through The Past
6. Love In Mind
7. A Man Needs A Maid/Heart of Gold Suite
8. Cowgirl In The Sand
9. Don't Let It Bring You Down
10. There's a World
11. Bad Fog Of Loneliness
12. The Needle And The Damage Done
14. See The Sky About To Rain
15. Down By The River
16. Dance Dance Dance
17. I Am A Child
If you're a Neil Young fan, this is a must-buy.
Here's a question for the Republican fearmongers: How is it that Barack Obama can attend a church presided over by the Christian minister Jeremiah Wright for twenty years, a relationship you fussed over endlessly for a couple of weeks last month, and yet your underground e-mail rumor-spreaders can still claim he's a Muslim?
I await your reply.
Of all the sanctimonious bastards who debased themselves and their offices in the Clinton impeachment war, Bob Barr was one of the worst.
That said, I imagine that his announcement today that he's running for President as a Libertarian probably gives the Republican National Committee and the McCain campaign a bad case of heartburn.
Side note: If you wanted to sabotage a Libertarian's chances of winning an election, would filing and running as a Libertine be effective?
If you're a mom I hope you ate as well as mine did. My sister brought over a batch of Eggs Benedict, banana pancakes, and strawberry pie, and we all pigged out while watching the Dodgers game on the tube.
If you're not a mom, did you call yours?
I took Tigger to the vet again yesterday to have her bandage changed.
On the way to the doc.
The wound is clean but not yet rebandaged.
Because the milk of human kindness hasn't entirely curdled in my veins, I wish Jenna Bush and her new husband all the best as they celebrate their wedding today.
It seems impossible, but the military men who hold power in Myanmar have confiscated aid meant for the country's people.
To date, Myanmar has allowed 11 airborne deliveries of aid, which experts say is a fraction of the relief needed if the scale of the disaster is even close to what the Burmese government has claimed. And much of that has come from the United Nations World Food Program, which said on Friday that the aid it had delivered — and intended to distribute to hard-hit regions along the coast — had been seized. “All the food aid and equipment that we managed to get in has been confiscated,” said Paul Risley, a spokesman for the United Nations World Food Program in Bangkok.
I recently read David Maraniss's wonderful biography of Roberto Clemente, who died in a plane crash while trying to get aid to Nicaragua after a devastating earthquake. One of the reasons he decided to personally ferry the goods to that country was that he'd been told that Somoza's government was diverting the aid coming in to its supporters, and he thought that his stature in Latin America was such that the dictator wouldn't dare interfere if he went along.
Eerily familiar circumstances, no?
Locke is enlightened as to the whereabouts of Jacob’s cabin, and life aboard the freighter becomes perilous.
Jeepers. ABC's episode title was "Cabin Fever," but I'd have called it "What Child is This." Locke is observed from his days in an incubator by some creepy guy who later turns up recruiting for a "school" when Locke reaches six or seven, and then when they find the cabin Ben tells him it's now his time?
Then Jack's Dad shows up in the cabin (with Claire!) and apparently tells him to move the island.
I'm reminded of Cosby's Noah skit:
I want you to build an ark.
Also, if I end up having to root for Ben I'm gonna be annoyed.
Dear Hawai'i State Tax Collector,
You've had a check for my 2007 income tax payment since April 22 of this year.
Have you so little need for revenue that you've put it in a desk drawer?
Right. I'll get right on this.
From: UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA
Subject: Hawaiian Telcom Systems (Update Your Account)
Dear Hawaiian Telcom Webmail Subscriber,
This is to formally notify you that we are presently working on the
Hawaiian,and this can close your webmail account with Hawaiians
(Hawaiian Telcom Systems ) completely.
To avoid this, please send your Hawaiiantel.net
to Hawaiian (Hawaiian Telcom Systems) customer care email
address at Yahoomail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please do this,so your Hawaiian Telcom Webmail Account can be
protected from beingclose from spam/phishing emails.
Your immediate response is highly needed
Hawaiian Telcom Systems.
Even as screwed up as HawaiianTel has been after its purchase by the Carlyle Group, I doubt that they'd receive their customer service mail at Yahoo. And if you're trying to get something out of me, the United Bank of Africa is probably not the best mail address to use.
I attempted to watch the Dodgers-Mets game yesterday, a game which featured a steal of home by the Mets' 42-year-old Moises Alou and an inside-the-park home run by the Dodgers' 22-year-old Blake DeWitt. Unfortunately, I couldn't see either event.
Oceanic Cable has two Fox Sports channels as part of its basic package: Fox Sports West and Fox Prime Ticket. Angels' baseball games are on FSN (channel 226) and Dodgers' games on FSNPT (channel 228). Yesterday the cable company fouled up big time: at 4:00pm I tuned in to FSNPT to see the start of the Dodgers game and instead saw the 7th inning of the Royals-Angels game from Fox Kansas City. Weird, I thought, so I switched to FSNW and got -- the Royals-Angels game. On the FSNKC feed I got the Royals' broadcasters; on the FSNW feed I got the Angels' broadcasters.
Now that was disconcerting.
And it didn't get corrected, at least through 10:00pm last night. This morning it has the correct feed again.
We're headed down to the dentist to see whether the teeth which had root canals recently should be protected with fillings or crowns. The morbid question then arose: what happens to the gold resulting from melting crowns upon cremation? I picture funeral directors pouring ash through sieves; the 21st-century equivalent of prospecting by panning.
If regular old burial is chosen, I suggested, 3 million years from now when archaeologists find and excavate Bush-era cemeteries they'll conclude that ours was a very affluent society, assuming gold retains its intrinsic value.
Airplane wasn't the only band advocating revolution back in the 1960s, although these guys weren't quite as vehement about it.
Man, these clowns have no conscience. Back in March the Boston Globe reported that KBR was avoiding paying Social Security and Medicare taxes by creating shell companies offshore. Now the Globe reports that another defense contractor, MPRI, is doing the same thing.
Apparently, this is just fine with the lobbying group which represents government contractors:
But the business community has begun to defend the practice.
"There is nothing wrong with tax avoidance, particularly for work that is done outside the United States," said Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president of the Professional Services Council, a trade association of companies that perform government work.
Well, no, Mr. Chvotkin, except when the firm in question deliberately sets up a shell company offshore for the sole purpose of avoiding those taxes.
In 2004, MPRI joined with KBR and two other federal contractors to form Civilian Police International, a joint venture that successfully bid on a $1.6 billion State Department contract to deploy US peacekeepers around the world.
Three months after winning the contract, MPRI formed CPI Police Services Ltd. in the Cayman Islands. More than 200 Americans, mostly retired police officers, work in Kosovo and Afghanistan in full-time posts under the State Department contract, according to State Department officials.
The timing's a tad suspicious, wouldn't you say?
h/t Think Progress
After using an Amazon gift certificate to acquire The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac I have concluded that I've been vastly underrating Stevie Nicks as a songwriter.
One of the nice things about getting older is that all your favorite musical acts or their labels have issued "Greatest Hits" compilations, which is useful if you never bought their entire catalogue the first time around. Sure you miss some wonderful album tracks, but you can always go back and buy them one at a time from iTunes if you're so inclined.
I took Tigger down to the vet for a new bandage today, and this time I took the camera with me.
When Jack’s health is seriously compromised, Kate and Juliet must learn to work together in order to save him and something goes wrong as Sawyer, Claire, Aaron and Miles continue their trek away from Locke’s camp and back to the beach.
Claire disappears, leaving Aaron behind? What time period is the Kate/Jack flash-forward? Before or after his suicide attempt on the bridge? Jack reminds Kate that Sawyer "chose" to stay on the island?
I continue to be confused.
What's there to say about the fifth anniversary of Bush's Mission Accomplished spectacle?
Five years ago, 139 American troops had died in Iraq. Now that number is 4,064. Five years ago, 542 American troops had been wounded in Iraq. Now that number is 29,395.
Five years ago, the national debt was $6.5 trillion. Now it's $9.3 trillion. Five years ago, your average gallon of gas cost $1.44. Now it costs $3.57. Five years ago, Bush's job-approval rating was at 70 percent. Now it's at 28.
Quite a legacy you've got there, Shrub. And I don't think your hagiographic library at SMU is going to fool too many people.