Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Another Tag And A Rant..
Maybe I should get the rant out of the way first.

We Americans Don't Have A King?
From the NY Times..

In an executive order published last week in the Federal Register, Mr. Bush said that each agency must have a regulatory policy office run by a political appointee, to supervise the development of rules and documents providing guidance to regulated industries. The White House will thus have a gatekeeper in each agency to analyze the costs and the benefits of new rules and to make sure the agencies carry out the president’s priorities.
Does not matter that his party does not control Congress, he just chose to make an end run around them. He just decided by executive order that he will appoint political lackeys to oversee an agency. A job that civil servants have been doing.
Spork says it well
Imagine, if you will, that you go into the hospital for surgery and being old that the operation will be performed by an insurance adjuster. That's what we're talking about here.
There is no stopping this man, and I doubt that our democratic congress has the will and the gop in Congress just pretend to be unhappy with dear leader. The votes will tell the story.

Five Random Things About Me..(You mean you have to read some more about me? Enough already! ;))

While reading beach bum's blog, I saw that he has tagged me to mention 5 random things about myself. So here goes.. 5 more in addition to the ones from yesterday.

1. There is no vegetable that I cannot eat, except well ..Okra, also known as ladyfingers. I think it was the whole appearance of it when cooked that made it slimy, so that the pieces would slide over each other with that icky stickiness. I still don't eat Okra though I have tasted it a few times, prepared in a different way.
There was another one. Yes folks "was" is the other term. I could not bring myself to eat eggplant (brinjal) either. Again it was the way it might have been made such that it's pulp in all it's pulpy greyness could not make it look palatable no matter how it tasted. I was picky as a kid and my mom is a great cook so I don't know what quite happened there. But I have grown to love this vegetable, credit for that goes to the lovely *A*. When we were dating she was horrified that I did not eat eggplant and she promised me that would change. And when that girl sets her mind on something watch out world!
I was confident I would beat back the "eat eggplant forces" but I succumbed when one day she made this veggie that I could not identify, there was a small serving of it on the plate. She said I had to try it, it was a kid of mashed veggie. And I did.. it was delicious.
I said.. So what is it?
She smiled.. "Eggplant!"
"OMG..OMG!" Me in mock horror.
She said "Get over it!" and said in Hindi something akin to .. "Gotcha!".
She.. "I have two brothers who always fell for her "tricks".
So folks that was the day I loved eggplant, I even make a decent stuffed eggplant dish.

2. Most people don't like going to the dentist. I am weird that way, it feels like any other visit to me like say getting a haircut. I have no clue why, so if i am getting my cleaning done, I sort of close my eyes and drift of in a place somewhere between sleep and not quite sleep. I have no idea why I do that and how that happens, maybe it helps that I have always been to good dentists who have excellent dental hygienists too?

3. Two movies that moved me enough that I had tears in my eyes.. Gandhi and Schindler's List.

4. While I can cook and am not great at it or anything, for me some simple every day dishes can sometimes be intimidating, unless I have a recipe. If I have one I can even experiment but without one at times I feel like a deer in the headlights..I freeze.

5. As a kid I used to be mortally scared of swallowing pills, I was sort of sickly as a kid so I would have to take some every time I had a fever or the cold or something. No matter what the very nice family doc we had, and my mom or dad tried, I had this mortal fear of the pill getting stuck in my maw. I was petrified, it was so bad the only way for me to take my pill was for it to be crushed and mixed with honey and then fed to me in a spoon. I would endure the bitter taste of most of those meds, but I would not swallow a friggin pill! Even my younger sis could do that. All exhortations of "she can do it and she is younger than you!" would not work! Till one day miraculously I tried and it went down smooth as silk. "That was easy wasn't it?" my mom would say. And I probably said to myself the child's version of "WTF Sanjay.. you wuss!"

To those of you who may not know it.. the "Ass" is the symbol of the democratic party, while the elephant is that of the republicans.
Now that tee shirt in this pic makes a lot of sense eh?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Five Things You Did Not Know About Me...
I am doing this based on a similar post by Rose. So here goes..

1. I have a slight bump of my forehead, it is hard to see. It is mostly scar tissue me thinks. No, I did not get it from bumping in to something cos I was distracted by a chica across my field of vision. It happened way back when I was in school. I was in science class and we were doing some chromatography experiments. We needed a particular grade of filter paper for it. I could not find it so one of the lab assistants told me to get it from a shelf that was about 3 feet above my head. I looked and there I saw the filters. As I proceeded to pull the box off, a part of me registered that it was too heavy. And before I knew it something heavy landed on my forehead and then glanced the bridge of my nose.
Folks it was the head (weighed a few pounds) of a centrifuge that someone had decide to store on top of the box where no one could see it. Of course there was shock and blood and a trip to the ER to get myself stiches. A few more inches and I would have had a broken nose. I still have a habit of touching the scar when I am in deep thought.

2. If I am sitting for a while say 30 mins in my chair and get up and walk around say to get to the printer or something, clicking sounds emanate from various parts of me. Mostly my ankles, feet and sometimes my knees. Daddy old joints I tell ya! I can hear them but they usually are gone by the time I have walked 10 steps or so. I wonder why no one at work as remarked about how I sound like a creaky old machine! ;)

3. I remember every woman that I ever have had a crush on since I discovered the amazing being that is a woman. I remember most of their names and faces from back then. I have no idea where most of them are, but there are times I have wondered about that. My first ever "crush" was this tall, lissome woman I used to see from our home on the 4 th floor in Bombay as she walked home from work after getting of the train near where we lived. For a while it became a routine to watch her. I still remember the first outfit I saw her in, black pants and a white and black striped top. I was like 10 0r 12 at that time. I can still recall this almost 3 decades later. Oy!

4. If you see the pic in my profile or the couple others I might have posted on this blog, you may or may not have noticed that I have pretty short hair. It has never been more than an inch long. That and I have had facial hair (a goatee) for most of my adult life. But there was a time when it was different, not so long ago when I was in NY, for a brief period I was clean shaven and had hair that was almost touching my shoulders. And the hair tended to curl once it grew. I have a couple of pics of that time, but I have to scan them in and I don't have a scanner. Oh well some day. I was surprised at how different I looked, *A* did not like that look, she said it made me look like way too young. Oh well.. someday I might get around to putting those pics up.

5. I am a registered organ donor. There is also a little sign on my drivers license, and that in the event something ever happened to me and I were to pass from the living, any organs I have that might be of use to the long waiting list of organ recipients are to be taken. I was thinking about what this 5th thing that you did not know about me was. And while looking around the web, I saw this ad here. So any of you who have held back from becoming an organ donor for whatever reason and may feel inclined to be one, it's pretty easy to do. You will most likely be able to register at your local department of motor vehicles.
This is an ad by the Thai red cross, pretty direct eh?

Toons From Bob Gieger's blog..

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Notes From The March...

More pics at Watertiger's and Spork's blogs and here and here.
It felt good to go out there and have my say. Apparently the November election results have not sent the right message to the White House, but it's not a surprise.

We did get late to the march and missed the speeches, which was fine by me. The number of people to me who felt they had to come out there and march for their beliefs is always moving. People of all races and backgrounds, young and old, babies in carriages older folks in wheelchairs, veterans. People energy! The overwhelming sentiment based on the signs is for impeachment. Now only if our Congress gets it!

Oh there were counter protests too. Like about 25-40 people in an area along the route of the march. Cops stationed to keep the groups separate. Of course there were the standard signs accusing the marchers of being hippies (grow up already you dolts.. have you looked at the definition of the word?) and worse Al Qaeda sympathizers and unamerican. About 25-40? Is that the best they can come up with? But then again lets not forget the war-p0rn group or those advocating "war all the time" (even against the wrong country) are in a minority. I have pics of these folks too but am not gonna put them up.

I also read the most excellent "Imperial Life In The Emerald City" by Rajiv Chandrasekharan. It tells you what went wrong during the early days of the post war occupation. This is where the causes of failure in Iraq lie in addition to the deception perpetrated upon us by this administration. This book helps you understand why even 150K troops won't make a difference.
Ok tired of reading? Wanna see the pics and the signs people carried (which are always fun to read)?

There is also a bit of a personal note here. We met some folks from Eschaton who we knew only via their comments. One of them is TJ, we knew that she and her family had lost their home to Katrina and they had to begin anew in N.Carolina. The whole family had been thru a lot, and it was nice to see her and her kids come up from N.C. to march. So this photo essay sort of begins with them.
How in the world do you spend a Trillion dollars on a war based on lies thats cost us so much in lives and prestige and not do enough for our own countrymen who have suffered and continue to do so in New Orleans and the gulf coast?

Need I say more?

More Signs?

A Young Webb Supporter..


Err they ain't grownups kiddo!

More Of The Crowd.

More heh!

He has indeed!

What people think of the "surge"?

Some of the fellow Eschatonians..

End of the day.. a day well spent, waiting for the train..

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Off To D.C.
Update: I will have pics and a short post up by Monday. Kinda busy here today, also one of our local theatres has some of the Oscar nominated movies on. I missed Babel, and have to go see it. Plus our buddy Dan who was also in D.C. is gonna stop by on his way to CT, that and things to be done around the house.

I will be soon on my way with the lovely Watertiger, HoneyBearKelly and a bunch of fine Atriots (people who hang out at Atrios's blog ...Eschaton) to the anti-war march in our capital. More about the march here.
I hope to have some pics up after I get back.
At the home of the charming and lovely NYMary, I found this..

Friday, January 26, 2007

Wheee.. It's Friday!

Which means it's time for the Friday poetry word

As Mona decreed 'tis "pitch". The idea being if you choose to participate you use the word in some form in your Friday post in the form of a story, a picture or a poem or anything else. I intended to participate as I had missed the last two weeks. My reason being " I am too tired!"
Get a hold on yourself fella.. you ain't folding so easy this time!
That was my inner voice.. one of you had no idea eh? ;)
To make the process more fun, it was so cold that the friggin overhead cable for the train snapped (so they said), delaying me by another 40 mins at the end of a longer than normal day.
So by the time I got home it was almost 8 pm. So I am like how am I gonna get a post about the Friday word written.
Well nothing that a nice glass of Shiraz won' fix right?
So I present to you this little ..err ....

Enveloped in darkness

Mind racing

Sleep a stranger

I barely heard the low pitch

Of her flux

But in the barren confines of my mind

Her coming to me was like the slowly growing roar

Of an oncoming train

It was like clockwork

Never to be missed...

She was... my innermost fear

Pitching a stake thru me...yet again.

On A Lighter Note..

Funny Air Traffic Controller Conversations.. link

A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll out after touching down.

San Jose Tower Noted:
"American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are not able, take the Guadeloupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport."

A Pan Am 727 flight, waiting for start clearance in Munich , overheard the following:

Lufthansa (in German): "Ground, what is our start clearance time?"
Ground (in English): "If you want an answer you must speak in English."
Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany . Why must I speak English?"
Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent): "Because you lost the bloody war!"

A Collection of Fabulous Come-Back Lines link

Man 'So what do you do for a living?'
Woman 'Female impersonator.'

After hearing a pick-up line:
Woman 'I like your approach, now let's see your departure.'

Man 'Hey, baby, if you come home with me, I can show you a really good time.'
Woman 'You know what your problem is? Your mouth is writing checks that your body can't cash.'

Man 'You know, I'd really love to travel to exotic places with you.'
Woman (tries to ignore him)
Man 'You know what? I also love sex. What do you say to that?'
Woman ' really love sex and travel?'
Man (nods his head smiling)
Woman 'Then go take a effin' hike!!!'

This beauty from David Letterman...
"President Bush now has the lowest presidential approval rating since Richard Nixon. Now, here's another coincidence. Nixon had a dog named 'Checkers.' Bush plays checkers with his dog"

Thats Access For The Handicapped?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

All Over The Place...

Yep thats me. Its starting to be crazy busy at work and I sometimes may not have the the time to think about non-work things (like a blog post) or put much thought in to it. I guess that can serve as an excuse to do a post like the one here, all fluff and no substance.
I have substance? heh! ;-)

Funky USB Drives..

Most of you folks are probably familiar with the humble USB drive, sometimes called the thumb drive.
But hey who says USB drives have all got to look so boring and staid?

One can always have a bit of fun with them. Here are some that are pretty strange. More here.

This USB drive comes with the bible on it. The connector is hidden inside the bible so you have to use a little sliding switch before you can use it.The holy bible drive []

Jeremy Harrington is the man behind this really nice Star Wars Chewbacca USB drive. It’s not a geeky little Chewiw mimobot - this is the real thing!

A really weird little USB drive that has one thing that is really unique - it features moving parts. As soon as you plug the humping dog into your computer it starts humping it. The humping dog USB memory []

Turnstile Art..

This picture is taken by an artist as people went thru the turnstiles in NYC subways. The subjects were not aware they were being photographed. More at Bill Sullivans page here
I found these amazing.

Talking About New York...

From overheard in New York

Conductor: If you do not fit through the physics of the train, please step aside -- this train is not made of spandex.

--F train

Overheard by: BellaFrancine

Suit to female companion: You'll stick your tongue up my ass, but you won't share my toothbrush because of germs?!

--Renaissance Hotel, Times Square

Overheard by: Big Larry

Other Subway Hobos Can Smell That It's My Territory

Chick #1 grabbing a pole on crowded subway: Ew! This pole is wet!

Chick #2: Huh?

Male stranger: Yeah, I just finished licking it.

--N train

Overheard by: Pamela

Ewww indeed!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Tag And The State Of The Union Address By Dear Leader

I was tagged by the not-so artful dodger a while back. I have a couple more to do later. But here goes...

If I were an animal/ bird: A bald eagle, the national bird of the United States. I absolutely love it. It’s a beautiful majestic bird. An interesting fact.. One of our nations founding fathers Benjamin Franklin was opposed to the eagle being our national symbol. Here is what he had to say as per Wikipedia.

For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest country of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country...

I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.

If I were a vehicle: A hybrid, preferably a Toyota Prius. What the car says about me (and *A*)... it says, I don’t care for power, don’t mind paying more for technology that is a bit more expensive than a conventional car but which does reduce carbon emissions and is fuel efficient. When we first bought it there was a waiting period and the Prius was not that common. Now I see a lot more of them around. Our neighborhood has about 4 of them including a Honda hybrid. Toyota plans to up with a plug–in hybrid where you can drive the first 40 or so miles purely in electric mode. I get about 52-55 miles per gallon (mpg) in the summer on a mix of highway and local driving and less in the winter, around 42-45 mpg.

If I were a comic character: Batman. He has no “special” powers it just his own abilities.

If I were a city: I would be NYC without a doubt. I love NYC, having lived there for a couple of years. It’s got people from all over the US and the world. It has culture, the arts, music, restaurants and things that are uniquely New York. There ain’t another place like New York period.

If I were an art form : I would be abstract. For, you do not always have to depict everything as it occurs in the natural world. I want at times to be reduced to my bare essentials. Is that a reduction? Now now.. bare essentials has nothing to do with clothing or lack of it ok? I guess it's a Victoria's Secret line of lingerie?

If I were a color: Yellow. It signifies warmth, caution and intellect. Apparently too much of yellow also cause exhaustion and ya too much mental activity. I can identify with that.

If I were a film star: It would be Matt Damon. He does not have great looks and he is very underrated as an actor . He just morphs into any role so effortlessly, it is amazing to watch.

If I were a vegetable: Potato. Simple, unpretentious and goes with anything. I can eat anything that has potato in it, and I never tire of it.

If I were a fabric: Cotton as that famous line from “fruit of the loom” goes... It’s the fabric of our lives.

If I were a gizmo: a computer that had broadband access to the internet. I can surf, read blogs, the news, bank, communicate, work and also make phone calls and of course play games online.

State Of The Union Address

I know some of you cannot bare to watch dear leader, so instead I present this video that I found at Atrios's blog. BTW he makes a a special mention of the blogosphere. :)

Well if you got a laugh out of it, thats good eh?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Ten Things I Love That Begin With "A"

I read a post at Lotus’s place that listed her 10 favorite things that began with the letter “B”. I loved it and offered to do something similar if she assigned me a letter. She assigned me “A”. Surprisingly I had some difficulty coming up with 10 things I love starting with that letter. Anyways here’s what I came up with.

1. *A*. The love of my life, friend, soul mate, wife and my companion of many years. She is my rock and the reason why I sometimes have it together. She is like the person who makes you feel that it will all be ok, just cuz it’s her you are with. Sometimes nothing has to be said.. just the feel of her against me or a look or the sound of her voice does wonders. I try to be as nice, gentle and giving a person as she is and I never quite manage it. It’s obvious who the better half here is.

2. America. My home. I heard someone say on the radio once that naturalized citizens sometimes love this country more than people born here. I am not sure if it is always true. But I love this place. As has been said America is more of an idea rather than a place, but it has been fraying lately. The gross mismanagement by this administration and the lack of will of politicians to make hard yet sensible decisions has put this country on a path which often makes me wonder how it’s all gonna work out.

3. All Things Considered (ATC) NPR’s afternoon news program. It’s not high on my list of 10 things I love that begin with “A”, although it's listed 3rd. I mostly consider National Public Radio to be “National Polite Republicans”, a big part of that has to do with their complicity (for whatever reason), in enabling the war in Iraq like the rest of our media with a few exceptions. Having said that, on the way home, rather than listen to music or crappy talk radio I prefer listening to ATC. Well, I am a news junkie.. not a surprise there eh?

4. Apple.. Computers made by Apple. I am a Windows guy, but after we got the dual core Apple IMac with the latest OS on it for *A*, I have to say I am a fan. There is a lot Microsoft can learn from them in terms of innovative user interfaces, features and a more secure OS. That and the ipod. The iphone in my opinion while it is a nice looking device is way too expensive and looks as if it could break easily and has no support for broadband.

5. Annie. (Not her real name, but it begins with an “A”). She is the daughter of “N” who is *A*’s brother who passed away a little over a year ago. I have always been able to spend time with her every year for the past few years I have visited India and the kid has a special place in my heart.

6. Anjeer (figs). That’s the Indian name for that fruit. This summer I made some Anjeer ice cream from fresh figs that came from a farm store a couple of miles from our home. I did not realize how much I had missed eating this fruit. I have memories as a kid about this fruit from India. We used to go from the muggy, humid and hot Bombay during the summer vacations, to the warm and dry confines of Pune where we would spend time with an uncle. Pune is about 200 km from Bombay on the Deccan plateau and we would take the train up the Sahyadri mountains, where the train would often stop or slow for a green light or to test the brakes on those steep inclines. I remember my parents buying fresh Anjeers from local village folk who would swarm to a stopped train to sell various fresh fruits. It is a memory that has stayed with me for ages. This is where I first tasted figs.

7. All of you. I mean all of you readers of my little blog. I love all of you, I appreciate that you care to leave comments and I read every one of them. I also love reading each of your posts and how each of you brings something different to the table.

8. An equal music… By Vikram Seth. We had this book for the longest time on our bookshelf. I finally got to reading it a couple of years ago. I felt myself living thru the highs and lows of the principal character. It is an amazing book.

While a music student in Vienna, violinist Michael Holme falls in love with pianist Julia McNicholl. They play together in a string trio, but when Michael has a nervous breakdown because of tensions with his stern and demanding violin teacher he abruptly leaves Vienna--and Julia--without warning. When, after some months pass, he tries to contact Julia again, he gets no reply. Ten years later, still in love with her, he meets her again in London when she attends a concert he is giving with his string quartet, the Maggiore. Still a performing pianist, she is now married to an American banker, has a child, and because of an auto-immune disease, is gradually going deaf. Unable to resist the power of their past, they begin to see each other again, this time under the shadow of Julia's marriage and her tragic hearing loss. Julia agrees to tour Vienna and Venice with Michael and the Maggiore Quartet and for a brief, magical time everything seems possible.
9. Akshay (forever, also the name of a Hindu god). He is my nephew (sis’s son). I am not as close to him as I used to be maybe he is almost 20 now, and like a lot of kids in India, all he has in mind is excelling at school. I am not sure if that is necessarily a bad thing, but as a kid he has had to witness things in his parent’ marriage that no one should have to. So maybe the focus on studying hard has a lot to do with that.

10. Appetizers. Last but not the least. I am not sure how some of you feel about appetizers. For me they are often the part of the meal I love the most. The small portions help too, as does the possibilty of being able to sample multiple treats.

I have one other tag to complete, will get to it in a couple of days. If any of you want to take up this tag, please let know in the comments and I will assign you a letter.

UPDATE: Dear leader will be giving the SOTU (State of the union address) tonight. I will watch with some alcoholic beverage to go along. The state of our union while not quite dire is surely very troubling.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Book Review
The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Hardcover) by Lawrence Wright (link)

The events of 9/11 are well known, as is some of the history and the genesis of the evil people behind it. Unless you buy in to the simple rhetoric of “They hate us for our freedoms” you will always have questions about why a bunch of people hate us so much.
As a reasonably informed person, I thought I knew about Al Qaeda and some of the other organizations that preceded it (Muslim Brotherhood). A few months back while I was at home, I was listening to “Fresh Air” on public radio. The host had Lawrence Wright on and was interviewing him about his recent book “The Looming Tower”. As I listened to the interview I was completely fascinated by what I was hearing. The name Lawrence Wright was also vaguely familiar. It later hit me….he writes for the New Yorker magazine. I had to read this book and I finally managed to get to it after a 2 week wait from our local public library. When I started reading this book, I could not put it down and every spare minute I had was used to finish reading it.

Books based on history are not always a gripping read. However Wright manages to make this like an edge of the seat thriller. It has a compelling narrative and it takes us from the initial impressions of a religious Egyptian scholar who visited a post war booming America, to the days after the tragic events of 9/11 brought upon us by Al Qaeda. Like a lot of Americans, I had not heard of the name Sayyid Qutb. I had not heard of the name either till I read the author’s earlier articles in the New Yorker and then this book.

It’s a fascinating story about how a middle aged single writer and educator in post war America underwent a transformation. He saw a spiritual wasteland that was America, devoid of a soul. His trip to America in the late 40s radicalized him, a radicalization that was further evident as he became a part of the Muslim Brothers railing against Nasser of Egypt after his return. The chapter culminates in his hanging by the powers that be in Egypt, but not before he pens a couple of books that would inspire his vanguard.

Part of that vanguard are Al – Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden (OBL). The author presents fairly details portraits about both these men and their families. We get to read about the rise of Bin Laden’s father from a poor man in Yemen to Saudi Arabia’s biggest construction companies. We learn about transformative experiences in the lives of both of Al Qaeda’s top men, including people like OBL’s gym teacher who influenced him and Zawahiri’s imprisonment following Anwar Sadat’s assassination in Egypt and his torture.

We also learn about the regimes of the countries that these two evil men inhabit at different points in their lives, whether they are the corrupt, decadent Saudi dynasty and the Egyptian rulers Nasser, Sadat and Hosni Mubarak. We see their attempts to use the leaders of Al Qaeda (or their precursors) for their own selfish purposes when it suits them and help create a monster that would soon be beyond their control. We read about how the leaders of Sudan almost leave OBL penniless after he leaves Sudan for Afghanistan. The book then moves on to the explore the genesis of Al Qaeda, and the coming together of OBL and Zawahiri for various reasons, and their relationship with the Taliban. We also read about some of the mythical stories about the exploits about these mujahids during and after the Russian occupation of Afghanistan and their eventual targeting of the West especially America.

I read with a chill how the successful attack against the USS Cole brought plenty of recruits and cash to Al Qaeda and the formulation of the terror cells that would eventually carryout the attacks of 9/11.

As often happens events, missed opportunities all have unforeseen consequences. This happened with the pursuers of the Islamic extremists in both the FBI and the CIA. I read with sadness how both the institutions missed the rise of Islamic radicalism and the lack of communication between the two agencies which caused a number of clues that would have helped prevent or disrupt 9/11 to be never shared. The professional rivalries, the jealousies and the personalities of dedicated agents all of whom loved what they did but just could not overcome some of these problems, either institutional or personal. While some of the names like Michael Scheuer, Richard Clarke might be familiar to some of us. The person that fascinated me the most was John O’Neill a veteran FBI agent, who see the radical Islamist threat (especially OBL and Al Qaeda) in way almost no one ever does. It’s his life’s mission to get OBL, which consumes him even after he leaves the FBI. We learn about the man his professional and flawed personal life. Tragically, he happens to be in the towers that fateful day in his capacity as head of security for the company that manages the WTC properties.

I found that the book informed, educated and also outraged me. Outraged.. because of the numerous clues about 911 that were missed due to bureaucratic wrangles. I still think a lot of people just don’t understand that there is more to why they hate us. They do hate what they see as our decadent, selfish ways and yes they do hate our policies and our support for Israel and now the occupation of Iraq. But the theme of humiliation is also big for them as is the desire for revenge, all of it justified using a reasoning that comes from a twisted reading of the Quran. This is aided and abetted by their own sick logic or that of obscure clerics who justify attacks against non- Muslims as well as those on women and children both Muslim and non-Muslim.

The other part of the book that will stay with me for a long time are the ones that deal with some of the fiendish things that the regimes in Egypt and Saudi Arabia have done and continue to do so, which made me wonder how much better are they than the terrorists? They are our allies purely because their interests are best served by aligning with us and for us with them. They will make you think about the call to spread democracy in the middle east and why they ring hollow to a lot of people.

All in all this book is must read if any of you feel so inclined.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Laid Low...

Not sure if my lack of a Friday post was ever noticed. I was laid low first by a mysterious virus that caused a fever 100.5 and no other symptoms other than chills, and then it was gone. Part deux of laid low was I strained my back in the weight room. After a day's rest some naproxen and countless hot and cold packs the pain is gone and am almost good as new. Ready to become a couch potato this weekend and face the rigors of watching the NFL conference championships on TeeVee. ;)

Things Boyfriends Say (link)

Coors Light.

"If you gave me a car made of diamonds and blowjobs all day I still wouldn't drink that beer."

Low and lazy.

me: Your fly is open.

Vegan bread.

me: So you're all right with vegan bread?
e: I wasn't aware that there were any animals in bread, unless grain has become a form of life that must suddenly be preserved.
me: I'm going to make you a meal that's nothing but vegan bread, yellow mustard and flat Coke.
e: Why don't you just cut off my thumbs and call it a complete evening.

Political Cartoon.. (link)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

New Yorker Cover..Illegal Brands...Undergarments Of A Different Kind
New Yorker Magazine Cover (Issue of 1-22-07)
Got this in the mail yesterday. The cover is by Anita Kunz.

Says it all eh?

Funny Illegal Brands... link
These are funny and sorta creative I guess. More at the link.

Underwear Of A Different Kind..
Warning: While there is no nudity in the link below, you may be better off clicking on the link while you are not at work.

This is from the blog of Amused and Bemused at the American Inventor Spot. A couple of samples...

Underwear With A GPS Tracker? (creepy eh?)

These "forget-me-not panties™ have built-in GPS and unique sensor technology. Merchant says:

"Ever worry about your wife cheating?
Want to know where your daughter is late at night?
Need to know when your girlfriend's temperature is rising?"

This amazing device will answer all of your questions! These panties can give you her location, and even her temperature and heart rate, and she will never even know it's there! Unlike the cumbersome and uncomfortable chastity belts of the past, these panties are 100% cotton, and use cutting-edge technology to help you protect what matters most." Underwear here and more to the story here).

..this one is a hoax, it was part of an online contest to see whose site generated the most traffic!

Trust The Japanese To Come Up With Something Like This Eh?

The "No! Shopping Bag Bra" is the inspiration of a eco-friendly company in Japan to address the problems of wasting plastic shopping bags.

When the bra is being worn, the “shopping bag” portions are folded away inside the bra cups, where they serve as extra padding. The bra quickly converts to a shopping bag by removing the bag portions from the cups and connecting the hooks on the bra’s underwire. The lace cups serve as decoration along with the shoulder straps, which are disconnected and tied to the top of the bag as ribbons. (Underwear here)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I Got Nothin!

Avocado dip shortage on superbowl sunday? ;) kidding..
Approximately $480 million worth of California citrus fruit has been destroyed in four nights of below freezing temperatures that damaged at least 50 percent of the total crop, and catapulted the billion-dollar industry "in the category of a disaster," Bob Blakely of California Citrus Mutual told CNN.

Avocados grown in Ventura County have also been damaged by the record-setting cold weather, but no financial figures related to the impact on that sector are yet available, said Lyle.

I heard some of this on NPR. Apparently the single biggest consumption of Avocados happens on Super Bowl Sunday..all those dips!

John McCain Just Another Politician...

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (AP) -- Sen. John McCain said Tuesday he hopes to patch things up with conservative Christian leader James Dobson, who recently said he wouldn't support the Republican's presidential bid under any circumstances.

In a radio interview with KCBI, a Dallas Christian station, Dobson argued that McCain didn't support traditional marriage values and said he has prayed "we won't get stuck with him." Dobson is founder of Focus on the Family, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

"I'm obviously disappointed and I'd like to continue and have a dialogue with Dr. Dobson and other members of the community," McCain said Tuesday during a stop in Columbia.

It’s called sucking up Sen McCain, which I know politicians do, but I wish our idiot press would stop calling him a “Maverick” or a “Straight Talker”.

Easy Way To Nirvana...
And I present another cliche about India. ;)

Might as well throw one more out there..
From here

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tuesday Wanderings

Woman leaves wallet on plane, disembarks, then goes back to empty plane at NY airport, triggers alarms, confesses to airport personnel.. Nothing happens!

When I do, he shakes his head. Let me get this straight, he says. Unauthorized, you open the gate door to the airplane. You set off a very loud security alarm. You wait a few minutes, and then take it upon yourself to enter the empty aircraft. You spend some time moving around its interior. No one sees you there. You leave of your own accord. You exit the way you came and you stop the alarm from ringing. And you confessed this, chapter and verse, to airline personnel and nothing happened?

Yes, I say. Exactly so.
Well I am not sure why nothing happened, but would it be different if the person in question was Muslim?
Oh and do you feel secure already with how easy it was for her to get to the plane?

Arranged Marriage..

I read this piece in the NY Times Sunday mag after *A* pointed it out to me. It’s short and I did not want to copy and paste it here. It is about the attempts of an American born and bred woman who is Indian by ethnicity to try and find a match for her pretty, well educated Indian cousin (Neet) from India. It talks about how the author and her dad set about trying to find her a suitable match based in the US under the notion that helping her come here would broaden her opportunities (this despite the author Chandra Prasad being against arranged marriage).
I did smile when one of the prospects was described as “healthy” which is code for being large. I can recall the first few years after being married on visits to India, how some well-meaning relatives were concerned that I did not look “married”. That was their way of saying well you have not put on weight.

I tried to explain to them that for me staying in shape was more important than getting to the rather common sight of paunchy Indian men "looking happily married".

I could also identify with Chandra’s feelings of guilt at having tried to find a suitable match for the cousin (Neet) who seemed reluctant or in no rush to get married. I understood the well meaning part of the whole thing, trying to get her a chance to seize opportunities that many here take for granted.

It also reminded me of the time when we received a picture and a brief letter from *A*’s aunt. The picture was of her daughter (who incidentally is a stunning and smart young woman). Her letter requested us to help find a suitable match for her here in the US. As someone who is not a believer in “arranged marriages” I was naturally reticent to do anything. That coupled with the fact that we were not plugged in to the local Indian community made it easy for us to not do anything.

I am not sure I could have vouched for anyone in particular had I even known them either. Incidentally they found a match for her in India and she is married and has a kid now too.

Pork Flavored Stamps

From here
Stamps released in China to celebrate the Year of the Pig taste of sweet and sour pork. When you scratch the front of the stamps, it smells of the popular chinese dish and when the back of the stamp is licked it tastes of the dish too.

And This Might Totally Turn You Off Eating Pork/Beef..
Link via Boing Boing

The Daily Mail has an article about "farmyard freaks" -- livestock that has been genetically engineered to make them totally docile.

Factory farming techniques, most commonly used with pigs and chicken, often involve keeping animals confined in cramped conditions.

For pigs, who are highly intelligent, these conditions can lead to stress and aggression.

However, GM scientists are actively investigating ways to remove the stress and aggression gene from animals, effectively turning them into complacent zombies.

The professor said it might become technically possible to produce "animal vegetables" - beasts which are "highly prolific and oblivious to their physical and mental status".

Monday, January 15, 2007

Blog Break?
(Update: Some of you thought I am on a break, but I am not. The 3 days I did not blog was my mini-break. I am back with my usual crap ;-))
I guess that is what one could call the mini – hiatus. Thursday evening I felt as if I had hit the proverbial wall. I was too tired to blog although I had a few thoughts floating in my head. While on Friday I read a lot of the blogs, I realized I was at a point where I probably needed a bit of a break.

Nothing big,, but several things competing for my time and with me always trying to pack in as much as I can. Well *A* had to work this Saturday and Sunday so I had to take care of some of the stuff around the house including the usual grocery and other shopping. Is Costco always crowded or what? And there was also playoff football, and since we are both ardent football fans we were both glued to the Teevee on Saturday and Sunday. Heck I did not even turn on my computer. And let me tell you that almost never happens.

I did manage to find out thanks to CNN, that there had been a “miracle in Missouri”. Now don’t get me wrong I am glad that they cops found the 2 missing kids, due to some sharp work on their part. But that was all CNN kept harping about. It’s like nothing else in the word mattered or nothing else was going on.

Educator-in Chief?
And then our joke of a president decided to grace us with more of his crap. This was on 60 minutes on CBS. While I did watch his speech last week, I was not gonna watch this interview again. But CBS, does have a transcript and here are some choice bits.

Not at all. I think, I think I'm proud of the efforts we did. Uh, we liberated
that country from a tyrant. Uh, I think the Iraqi people owe the, the American
people a huge debt of gratitude. That's the problem, here in America. They
wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that's significant enough in

Ahh there it is you Iraqis, you should be more grateful to America for bombing your country to the stone age and helping foment a civil war. Guess what the power outages, general chaos, death squads, bombings..and all that? Fuggedaboutit! Show us some gratitude dammit!

Pelley: How can you escalate the war when so many people in this country seem to
be against it?
Bush: Uh, I, uh, I'm going to have to keep explaining. That's
why I'm doing this interview with you. Uh, Scott, uh, sometimes you're the
commander-in-chief, sometimes you're the educator-in-chief, and a lot of times
you're both when it comes to war. (smile)

That’s right America, all we need is more explanation from the educator –in-chief. So you see it’s our fault that we don’t fall in line behind the “king”.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thursday Blah!

Did our ignoramuses move up North? ;-) link
A school program to fight childhood obesity that includes yoga is drawing complaints from some Christian parents in the Quesnel area in B.C.'s Cariboo region.
They say yoga is a religion, and shouldn't be taught in public schools.
Chelsea Brears, who has two children in the school system, said her son was asked to do different poses and "to put his hands together."
Brears, a Christian, said she doesn't want her children exposed to another religion during class time.
"It's not fair to take prayer out, and yet they're allowing yoga, which is religion, in our schools."

Heh.. Yoga has a spiritual/religious component to it, going back to it's origins. But its not a religion in the pure sense of the word. You can practice yoga anyway you want. Hey, think of Jesus if you want when you fold your hands and meditate or relax. It has been modified by people here in the west to suit their particular flavor. Idiots!

Burqa + Bikini = Burqini. link

CRONULLA, AUSTRALIA – It's a sweltering day, and the beach is packed with suntanned bodies.
Girls in swimsuits lounge on the sand while their boyfriends cradle surfboards.
Mecca Laalaa is the lone exception. Instead of a barely there bikini, she's in a burqini
- a top-to-toe two-piece lycra suit complete with hijab, or Islamic head covering.
Loose enough to preserve Muslim modesty, but light enough to enable swimming,
the burqini, taking its name from the burqa, is at the forefront of a dramatic shift
within Australia's iconic surf lifesaving clubs.
No longer wanting to be associated only with bronzed, blue-eyed action men,
Surf Life Saving Australia is attempting to better reflect the country's multicultural mix.
Ms. Laalaa is one of 24 young people of Arab descent who signed up for a 10-week surf
lifesaving-training course.
"Normally, I'd wear cotton trousers and a top but they get very heavy in the water.
This meets our cultural requirements," she says, preparing to go out on a beach patrol.
The burqini that she wears was specially designed to allow Muslim women like her to join
one of the surf lifesavers clubs.
I guess whatever floats your boat eh?

Funny Ad For A Film Festival..
What if Pedro Almodovar directed basic instinct?

Out Of Control "Surge"
From here..
Student studying energy, to another: Do you think this a controlled or uncontrolled nuclear erection?

International School of Milan

Getting racy eh? link
It Strains Credulity How Many Different Kinds of Difference Exist

Guy: I can't believe they used an Indian family for that commercial. For the love of God, their last name was Kumar-swami!
Queer: What kind of name is that? They definitely should have used a white family.
Guy: It was a Verizon commercial, for Christ's sake. If you want to get racy, use a black family. But Kumar-swami -- that is just too much!

--Fordham University, Rose Hill

PS: Dear leader's speech was watched with more calmness than I thought I could muster. Nothing new other than the possibility of going after Iran, but that is not new either.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wacky Warnings..Jon Stewart.. Shrub's Upcoming Iraq Speech..Nerd & Edible Sutras..

Wacky eh? Link

A washing machine complete with a warning not to put anybody inside has been given an award for the "wackiest warning" by a US lobby group.

The Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch says the tendency of Americans to sue companies has gone too far, encouraging absurd warning labels on products.
But others say warning labels can play a role in protecting the public.

An engine manufacturer which warned "Never use a lit match or open flame to check fuel level" won second prize.

Warnings not to dry wet mobile phones in microwave ovens and not to iron lottery tickets tied for third place.

Honorable mentions went to a phonebook which advised: "Please do not use this directory while operating a moving vehicle".

Jon Stewart... Link.
The link has a nice essay at common dreams about Jon Stewart's Gandhian struggle.
Jon Stewart wages a daily satyagraha, an on-going nonviolent struggle in which he clings to the truth, Gandhi-style, making us laugh as he gets us to think. As a result, Stewart, on his fake news show, often does a better job revealing what's going on in the world than the real news media. That's why so many young people turn to his show for their daily news, and that's why I'm glued to the boob tube every night.
Now, let me be the first to say, Jon Stewart is no Gandhi. Moments of profound wisdom are interspersed on his show with fart jokes and penis humor only a twelve-year-old boy could really enjoy. And I'm writing with tongue at least partially planted in cheek, as I sincerely doubt Stewart ever gathered his writers together and proclaimed, "Hey, kids! Let's put on a Gandhian show!" One of the beauty's of Gandhi's method, however, is that anybody, even a late night comedian on basic cable, can use it, albeit in this case unwittingly.
Think about the underlying truths hiding in what appear at first to be casually tossed off one-liners: "War-in many ways it's the only remaining obstacle to peace." Or (as a professor this one's my personal favorite) on the Iraq Study Group report: "I'm glad they got a study group together, but the test was three years ago."

I also liked one of his memorable exchanges from the daily show...

When Anderson Cooper told him CNN has a "sense of mission," Stewart asked, "When's it gonna show on air?" His tenacity in holding on to the truth as his interviewees try to spin it showed clearly when he debated marriage with Bill Bennett:

JS: Why not encourage gay people to join in that family arrangement if that is what provides stability to a society?

BB: Well, I people are already members of families. They're sons and they're daughters.

JS: So that's where the buck stops? That's the gay ceiling.

BB: Look, it's a debate about whether you think marriage is between a man and a woman.

JS: I disagree. I think it's a debate about whether you think gay people are part of the human condition or just a random fetish.
Preznit's Iraq Speech

Well we know what he is gonna say, but the thing that bothers me.. He is gonna propose a 1 billion dollar jobs program for Iraqis. To put this in context, we are cutting money for public housing in the US. While driving home I heard on the radio that the public housing authority in Philadelphia is laying off some 300 hundred workers which includes police officers, case workers and maintenance folks. The reason? They have gotten only 75% of the normal amount that they get from the federal government.
Not a surprise that the poor are getting shafted is it? The rich must get their tax cuts because they are so burdened. Iraqis get job programs while our own citizens get screwed. I am gonna watch his speech but I will have some wine or something to ease my pain of having to watch, but watch I must.

Nerd & Edible Sutras..

The last in the series I promise. Link..

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Why Do I Need A Title For My Post? Feh!

Recycle My Cell Phone?
Our consumerist, use and discard culture does not often stop and think about the things we use and then throw away. Well, we recently upgraded our old cell phones, which we have had for more than a couple of years. So after wiping them both clean (deleting numbers/messages and all that good stuff), I decided I would go to the local cellular phone provider and have them recycled. I mean I have done it before. The phones prior to these old phones were recycled simply by walking to the local cell phone store (then in Connecticut) and dropping them off for recycling.

So I was like, this should be easy. I show up at the store and ask the young lady at the store “Where can I drop these phones off for recycling?”

She.. blank look .. “What do you mean recycle?”

Me.. “You know instead of just dumping these in the trash and eventually in to a landfill, these should be recycled for parts/reuse and so on?”

She.. “Oh.. we don’t do that here:

Me.. “ I thought most cell phone stores have a drop of box to recycle them?”

(I am assuming that this provide would be like my old provider)

She..” You could donate them to a womens shelter?”

Me.. Thanks.

I guess I could do that, and am sure there are a number of other places to recycle. Our own city has a facility where you just drive in and drop off electronics for recycling. I also found this site that offers a list of locations for your zip, where you can just drop off your phone. And this drives me to ask you folks. What did you do? Wanna take the poll on the right? ;)

Wind Turbines

Saw this site about wind turbines. Some great pictures here, including the process of putting up a wind turbines at sea.
This also reminded me of a survey I was picked for (randomly) by the University of Delaware as a part of an effort to gauge the willingness of the citizens of Delaware to putting up wind turbines off the shores of the DE coast. It was pretty interesting actually. Other than the standard question and answer format, they had a couple of computer generated images of what a wind turbine farm might look like, say 10,20 and 40 miles from the coast. It also had questions about whether I would visit the beach if, I could still see the wind farm from the beach. There were other questions too.

No guesses where I fall on this. I wish we invested in things like these instead of the almost 2 billion a week that is vanishing in to the bottomless pit of Iraq.

BTW: I have been to Denmark and its’ amazing to see these wind turbines at work. The Danes are actually pretty big exporters of wind turbine technology.

I am hoping to visit Denmark again this year and will hopefully have more time to explore that lovely nation and meet our friends Marie & Thomas.

Now We Have Bunny Sutra

I had this post with a pic about kawasutra (scroll to the bottom if you missed it). Well it was an ad by Kawasaki for bikes and the positions you could assume with it. Guess what we now have a bunny sutra watch from swatch. Not just that they even had an ad in Times Square NY.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Monday Silliness

  • In Kentucky, 50 percent of the people who get married for the first time are teenagers.
  • Einstein couldn't speak fluently when he was nine. His parents thought he might be retarded.
  • About a third of all Americans flush the toilet while they're still sitting on it.
  • Research indicates that mosquitoes are attracted to people who have recently eaten bananas.
  • A sneeze zooms out of your mouth at over 600 m.p.h.
  • Condom - made originally of linen - was invented in the early 1500's.
  • The first known contraceptive was crocodile dung, used by Egyptians in 2000 B.C.
  • Only 55 percent of all Americans know that the sun is a star.
  • The sound of E.T. walking was made by someone squishing her hands in Jello.
  • Even if you cut off a cockroach's head, it can live for several weeks.
  • In 75% of American households, women manage the money and pay the bills.
  • Lee Harvey Oswald's cadaver tag sold at an auction for $6,600 in 1992.
  • Hypnotism is banned by public schools in San Diego.
  • In 1980, a Las Vegas hospital suspended workers for betting on when patients would die.

Traffic Jam

Hundreds of cars queue aimlessly for the chance to actually get to their destination in Xiamen, south China.

Funny Ad

Friday, January 05, 2007

Friday Fluff
Cos it's Friday and I am so ready for the weekend..

Quick & Dirty Movie Review

The Proposition.

I had read some decent reviews about this movie. And despite being an avid movie fan, I do not manage to catch a lot of movies on the big screen. Also this flick never played at any of the movieplexes in our neck of the woods. So when I got a chance to watch it on DVD, I was rather looking forward to it.

The plot –

Set in the Australian outback in the 19th century, it’s a time reminiscent of the American west. The story revolves around 4 principal characters. Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone) a local lawmaker captures fugitive brothers Charley (Guy Pearce) and Mikey Burns (Richard Wilson) at the scene of a brutal murder and rape. He offers Charley a simple proposition, kill his older brother Arthur (Danny Huston) within 10 days, else Mikey would be hung. Captain Stanley throws Mikey in to a jail cell overlooked by rather sadistic underlings.

Captain Stanley waits out Charley on his homestead with his genteel wife played by Emily Watson. She is a great actress and is no different here. The movie comes to a climactic, violent end. The violence is graphic and brutal and there is nothing cartoonish about it. I could not help but marvel at the how well the director John Hillcoat and the cinematographer Benoit Delhomme have captured the hot, seething desert and the buzzing flies and the sudden short violence along with tempers that snap in no time. The cool desert nights the few times we see them are in mark contrast to the hell of the day. The casting is perfect, as is the background score by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis. I loved the character of a bounty hunter played by John Hurt and how Arthur loves to quote poetry despite the violence of his ways. At one level I think it is also about people trying to, and often failing to dissociate themselves from the violence of their ways wither by choice or by circumstances.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed by the movie but frankly I can’t quite put my finger on it. It is definitely worth a watch for the excellent performances, background score and photography.

Overheard At A Workplace


20-something chick #1: Yeah, can I get a ham and cheese sandwich on fellatio bread.
20-something chick #2: Ummm, I think it's called 'focaccia' bread...

Lafayette, Indiana

Avis clerk: I just love your little beanie!
Jewish guy: It's actually called a yarmulke. I'm Jewish, and all Jewish men wear them.
Avis clerk: Oh! Well, you have yourself a merry Christmas!

Charlotte Airport, North Carolina

Overheard by: Renjeau
Overheard In New York..
I Want to Know How Jealous to Be

A Nutcracker ballerina still in full costume enters elevator filled with women who just saw the show.

Woman #1: Look, we have a star among us.
Woman #2: You were wonderful.
Woman #3: Just beautiful!
Woman #4: What do you weigh, anyway?

--Elevator, Lincoln Center


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Stuff About Me..

I don’t write much about me due to a few reasons. One is some stuff is too darn personal to write about, some is just not worth talking about and not a lot of people really wanna read “Hey I got a haircut, and it’s only a quarter of an inch long”? I mean there is not a lot of styling that goes into hair that is shorter than our dear leader’s attention span is it?

In any case a full head of close cropped hair is fun to feel, or so I have been told.
And this also brought to my mind this girl who used to work at a local coffee shop back in New Haven, Connecticut. It was our place of choice to have our brains get a serious caffeine kick.

So that day I showed up for coffee and she says “Nice haircut”.

I said “Thanks”

She said “Do you mind if I run my hand over it”.

“Sure” I said.

She reached over the counter and did her thing with it. She told me she loved doing that. It just felt nice.

Happened again at the NY dinner that I went to. It used to be shorter than what you can see (picture in this post)

The coffee shop closed sadly enough, cuz a Dunkin Donuts had opened next door and had sucked up all it’s customers. So this mom and pop place got run out of business. Folks can argue that customers decided that Dunkin Donuts place was better. Maybe it was, but I enjoyed the fact that this place used to have cool world music playing and a sense of personal service (No, I don’t mean the girl behind the counter dammit.. ;-)) The coffee I thought was better as well.

I was always impressed by the girl behind the counter too. She worked three jobs, some nights she danced at "the bar" in New Haven, she worked in a hospice and then the coffee shop and she always had so much energy and was always charming and got a smile out of me and my buddies. I remember the day when my car broke down and she happened to be driving in the opposite lane, she stopped to help and get the car started.

While reading Lotus’s blog last month and watching *A*’s reading habits, made me realize how much I have been missing out on reading books. So that’s been the latest thing with me. Most of the weekday reading comes on the train. Well I usually snooze, but I cut out some of that so I can read.

I really feel good about it. It feels sort of empowering in a way. Better than watching mindless crap on the Teevee or playing Madden NFL 07 on the PC eh? But it’s not just a game, football even simulated as a video game is all about chess. You are always trying to outthink the AI or an opponent playing online.

I have also been reading about Modigli’s battle to keep herself motivated to work out and lose weight. I guess different buttons get pushed with different folks. My motivation is staying in shape, some might call it an obsession or my bowing to my narcissist streak ;). But I do identify with her, there are some days when the prospect of changing in to work out clothes and going down to the exercise room is extremely daunting. The rare day or so I have felt beaten up enough to not want to do it. I work out 4-5 days a week and also run on weekends. Ya I am nuts.

I feel the same way about some of the exercises I have to do to keep the rest of my right leg muscles in shape to compensate for the torn ACL. They aren’t long but are easier to do. There is one I do while I am waiting for my train. It involves closing my eyes and standing on one foot for a full minute. As I lose part of my sense of balance by closing my eyes, I move and the muscles in the leg get a work out as I try to keep myself from falling. I usually stand next to the railing on the platform for support..just in case.

I wonder what some of the other commuters think about this strange guy standing on one foot with eyes closed. If I ever get asked gonna tell them it is some mystical eastern stuff, that gives me peace of mind. ;-)

BTW think that one leg routine is easy to do?

Go ahead try it, even better try doing it standing on a pillow placed on the floor. All those muscles in your leg get some serious workout. It took me a few days to get to a minute.

And This One Is Gonna Upset Maggie

who is a big Santa fan. Image courtesy of the site on the pic.

And go read her latest post, it touched me and she does write well too!