Saturday, August 20, 2005


OK, I'm falling way behind in my goal of at least ten posts per week so I'm going to do one of those cheating posts where I point to several other blogs with articles that I find interesting but don't have any real comments on:
  • Roscoe writes about a veteran that lost his in-state tuition benefits for going to Iraq. I wonder if there isn't more to the story, because as I understand it, people in the military can declare any state they want as their home state. Did the guy in this story declare some other state as his home state for tax purposes or anything? Enquiring minds want to know.
  • Monday Afternoon has some brutal honesty to offer the Democrats.
  • Back of the Envelope has some news that you really should have heard on TV but probably didn't. More significantly, he got an instalanche over it and if I had linked to the story a few days ago and sent a trackback, I would have gotten some instaspillover. Doh.
  • American Scientist has solved the vexing problem of mattress flipping (link from Master of None).
  • La Shawn Barber believes in eye-for-an-eye justice in cases of marital infidelity. Sort of.
  • Thursday, August 18, 2005

    parents and shopping

    Well, my parents went home yesterday. They were visiting from last Friday until yesterday, which is part of the reason I didn't have time for blogging. The plan was that they were going to help me shop for furniture for my new apartment. Mom was going to do the color coordination and Dad was going to help me put it together.

    It was pretty much a disaster. Saturday we visited Ikea because almost everyone that I mentioned furniture shopping to recommended it. They must all be punished. First of all, Ikea designs their stores so that you can't just go to the sections that you want. They create a winding path through the store and force you to walk through the entire damn building. We went through the top floor first and had to ask a clerk how to get out of the store without going through the entire bottom floor as well.

    We didn't buy anything the first day because we thought we would have to rent our own truck. On the way out we saw signs indicating that Ikea would deliver, but by then I was too tired to care, so we just left. We talked about it, and decided to go back the next day and pick up the things we had picked out the first day. After another interminable trek through the store, we got to the warehouse, only to find that two of the three items were out of stock. It's just as well because it looked like the checkout line was about an hour long and I would have abandoned the merchandise long before we ever got to the front of the line.

    The next day we decided to go to Scandinavian Designs. The furniture was clearly better quality but there was nothing that I really liked that was within my budget. I picked out some furniture that I wasn't too wild about, just because I wanted the process to end. Also, I wanted my folks to see the results because they had put in so much effort. Unfortunately, Scandinavian Designs doesn't let you just go pick up you purchase. You have to order it and pick it up a week later.

    I decided not to get the stuff. None of it was my first-choice anyway so there was little reason to get it if I couldn't get it that day. The only advantage would have been that it put an end to the shopping. Actually, that is a pretty substantial advantage, but I really didn't like the color. I only like dark colors for furniture and this furniture was cherry, which is a pretty light wood. Why is dark-colored furniture so hard to find?

    We did pick up some floor lamps, bathroom fixtures and a few other things at Target and some bed frames at a neighborhood mattress shop (I already had the mattresses). I'm still without dining-room furniture or any living-room furniture except for a couch that I moved from the previous place.

    So, here I am, a week's worth of horror behind me and untold days of furniture shopping still ahead.

    But I'm still glad my parents came, not only because I enjoyed their company but also because they gave me all kinds of useful information that I, as a mere 44-year-old couldn't be expected to know. Things like the proper way to close window blinds, what kinds of carbohydrates to avoid, how to lock my front door, when to turn the heater off, and how to merge onto a freeway. My dad has, however, apparently given up his efforts to get me to drive slower and has resigned himself to my habit of eating one thing at a time from my plate, and my mom has apparently given up trying to get me to cook.

    It's slow progress but it is progress.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2005

    serving sizes

    John Stossel investigates serving sizes. Food lables are designed to be as misleading as the government allows. What else would you expect?


    The latest Storyblogging Carnival is up at Fiddle and Burn.

    My entry is kind of short this time. I had to struggle just to get that out. Hopefully I'll have some more spare time soon.

    Air Enron

    Various other bloggers have recently, made fun of Air America by pointing out the contrast between their crusade against Enron and funny business their own company was involved in. I didn't think the two things were comparable, but now Michelle Malkin reveals that Air America has actually engaged in the sort of paper shenanigans that got Enron in so much trouble (although on a much smaller scale).

    I wonder what Al Franken is going to say about that? No doubt he will come down on Air America with all the fury, spite and hostility that he aimed at Enron. If so, there is also no doubt that he will find a reason to blame Bush for it, just like he blamed Bush for Enron even though all the wrong-doing happened under Clinton and it was the prosecutions that happened under Bush.

    Monday, August 15, 2005

    The Times and Air America

    Patterico reports that the NY Times has issued a correction for misquoting Al Franken but has not explained how the error happened. And an explanation is definitely required. Here is the doctored quote from the Times:
    "I don’t know why he did it," Mr. Franken said, according to a transcript of the broadcast made by the Department of Investigation. "I don’t know where the money went. I don’t know if it was used for operations. I think he was borrowing from Peter to pay Paul."
    And here is the actual as presented by Patterico with the changes in bold:
    I don’t know why they did it, and I don’t know where the money went, I don’t know if it was used for operations, which I imagine it was. I think he was robbing Peter to pay Paul.
    Every one of the changes helps Air America:
  • changing "they" to "he" makes this a bad behavior by one fall guy rather than a conspiracy that might bring down several powerful Democrat activists.

  • leaving off "which I imagine it was" removes an admission of guilt and lets the Times continue to play this as just an accusation.

  • changing "robbing" to "borrowing" removes the criminal implications and lets the Times continue to pretend that only right-wing bloggers suspect there was anything criminal going on.
  • Any of these changes alone might be excused as a mistake, but when there are three mistakes and all of them work to Air America's advantage, that's a trend.

    Finally, as Dwilkers points out in the comments, the Times has still not corrected one "mistake": the mistake where they said they got this quote from an official NY government transcript. Apparently there is no transcript.