Monday, December 31, 2007

Time to freeze the donuts

The only thing I miss about the Chicago area is Dunkin Donuts. So last night as we were waiting to board our plane at O'Hare, I bought a half dozen: two Jelly, two Boston Creme and two Chocolate Frosted Cake. Those are my three favorites; I got one to eat now and one of each to freeze. Call it the Great Donut Experiment of 2008. I wrapped each of the three donuts separately in foil, sealed them in their own container and put them in our freezer, which reads 0 degrees F. Check back in a week or so, when I'll thaw the first of the precious discs of doughy, creamy goodness and find out if it's possible to enjoy them more than a day or two back in California.

Monday, December 24, 2007

2007's rant of the year

Nursing bras: they all suck. What's going on here? A woman wants her bra to be three things: supportive, flattering and comfortable. With a nursing bra you're lucky to get two out of three (flattering is never one of those), which is still bad, despite what Meatloaf says. I've tried dozens of nursing bras, priced from $12 to $50 and none of them are satisfactory. They ride up too high or too low or the straps show. Why can't someone come up with a decent nursing bra? I love nursing my baby and want to do it as long as I can. But I don't think that should force me to wear crappy underwear for a year...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Automatically becomes portable when carried."

That was the statement printed on the cardboard surrounding a CD case we saw today at Big Lots. I really should have taken a picture.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sobering stats on teen pregnancy

The rate of teen pregnancies went up last year for the first time in 15 years. No one knows why yet. A guy from this org was on NPR the other day and was asked, predictably, if abstinence-only education could be blamed. He said abstinence-only had been pushed for at least five years, so that can't really be the main reason. So it's a mystery until experts can delve into data on contraception rates, abortion rates, etc, among the teen pregnancy groups.

Beyond that here's some old but still staggering news:
* Half of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. Yes, HALF. You read that right. HALF! One out of every two!!!! Sadly, 40 percent of these end in abortions.
* Three in ten females will have had at least one pregnancy by the time they turn 20. Again, yes, you read that right: 30 PERCENT. THIRTY!! Three-zero! Nearly a third of these end in abortions.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yeah, this is what we need

"The FCC has never attempted such a brazen act of defiance against Congress," said Democratic Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein. "The law does not say we are to serve those who seek to profit by using the public airwaves.

"The law says we are to serve the public interest," Adelstein continued. "And the public has repeatedly told us they are not interested in further media consolidation."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

One in five Americans...

can't point out the U.S. on a world map? I know a kindergartener who can name all seven continents!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Well, this has been quite a week: The Cubs signed a splashy free agent for the second year in a row. They finally said good-bye to Mark Prior. And Sammy Sosa wasn't accused of using steroids.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Aerosmith's actually making news!

And the sex appeal of Steven Tyler continues to elude me (see comments).

Sunday, December 09, 2007

What I want for Christmas

A combination GPS, heart rate monitor, cyclecomputer, cell phone and MP3 player. Might as well throw in a 2-mp camera. Of course it would upload all my ride data to some web software to track my routes, speed, calories burned, etc.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Holiday madness

Here's our holiday party schedule:

Today: an afternoon open house with our friends in San Jose
Tomorrow: "glugg" (some kind of authentic Swedish beverage) fest at our
friends' house here in RC
Tuesday: auction/holiday party at Open Gate
Thursday: hubby's company party
Dec. 15: the mothers' club annual holiday extravaganza (games, crafts,
cookies, pics with Santa, etc)
Dec. 17: playgroup cookie exchange

We're contributing to the madness by having a NYE party at our house, but only so that we don't have to find a babysitter.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


There hasn't been a melt-down like that since the Cubs were in the LCS.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


That was one of the most pathetic displays I have seen. And in 25 years of Cubfandom, I have seen some pathetic displays.

On the plus side, I won't have to worry about changing my license plate.

Friday, October 05, 2007


It's not like the Dbacks are THAT much better than the Cubs. They only won five more games this year. The Cubs could have done that if Zambrano had taken Barrett out for a beating in April instead of June. It would just be nice if it looked like they were at least trying.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Cubs are, um, in the playoffs?

Yes, it's true. The Cubs have, uh, won the NL Central and are actually going to play in October (and not in a terrorist-attack-extended season). No, I can't believe it either. Right now I don't feel in a position to predict the outcomes of any of the games, or the series. But I do believe that it will go to five games, and Derrek Lee will not let a ball go through his legs ala Durham/Buckner.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

You know the fan. Leave him alone.

Tribune columnist Rick Morissey is a voice of reason the Bartman issue:

The Cubs are in the playoffs for the first time since 2003, when an anger-mismanaged left fielder named Moises Alou, a flustered pitcher named Mark Prior and a jittery shortstop named Alex Gonzalez brought Chicago to its knees in new and acutely painful ways.

But outsiders and dumb locals who should know better will put the blame on Bartman this week when the Cubs start their division series....

It will be lazy, cheap and mean-spirited.

Don't give in to it.

Friday, September 28, 2007

This lady needs a kick in the head

I know this is old news, but she still does, nonetheless.

The head of transportation in this country said this live, on an actual news show, while talking about transportation funding:

MARY PETERS: Well, there's about probably some 10 percent to 20 percent of the current spending that is going to projects that really are not transportation, directly transportation-related. Some of that money is being spent on things, as I said earlier, like bike paths or trails. Some is being spent on museums, on restoring lighthouses, as I indicated.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Identity theft victim chases down theif

This is quite a story. But the most outrageous part is that the woman is not going to jail. I guess our prisons are too full of people who do things like sell pot to hold the criminals who are doing actual harm to innocent people.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

Another reason lawns are bad

From the Economist:

It all adds up

As spring turns to summer, across America millions of small engines are coming to life, cranking out power and puffing out smoke as they mow America's lawns, whack its weeds and trim its borders. Each engine by itself has little effect on the atmosphere, and most are operated only for short spells. But together they contribute a lot of air pollution, a matter on which the federal government and the states are starting to focus.

Small engines--those under 25-horsepower--are much cleaner than they were 20 years ago. But unlike cars and lorries, they are largely uncontrolled; and their carbon-dioxide emissions, combined with escaping fuel vapours and leaking oil, make them remarkably dirty machines for their size. For example, regulators in California estimate that using a chain-saw for two hours produces as much pollution as ten cars each driving 250 miles--though the outdoor-power-equipment lobby, of course, vigorously disagrees.

Under the federal Clean Air Act, California is the only state that can set its own regulations, although other states may adopt them. California has been phasing in regulations for small engines since 1990. For years Senator Kit Bond of Missouri, determined to protect jobs at two factories in his state, blocked an effort to apply those standards nationally. But recently a compromise, allowing the federal Environmental Protection Agency to proceed with proposed new regulations, was reached. The small-engine lobby concedes that stricter regulations were inevitable, and that a national standard would make sense.

Other tactics are being tried as well. The South Coast Air Quality Management District, which covers Los Angeles and Orange County, is offering residents a $399 electric-powered lawnmower for $100 if they trade in an old petrol-burning lawnmower.

Alternatively, America could always give up lawnmowing altogether. Las Vegas residents are encouraged to abandon the unnatural practice of growing grass in a desert and let native plants re-establish themselves. And some have done what so many sweat-drenched people pushing a lawnmower in a Midwestern heatwave long to do; they have paved over their lawns and painted the concrete green.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sopranos series finale (SPOILER!)

This is really what I kind of expected would happen. It's never been about the satisfying conclusion with this show.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Too many tests

We've just finished test time again in the schools of California. The mad frenzy of testing infects everyone from second grade through high school. Because of the rigors and threats of No Child Left Behind, schools are desperate to increase their scores. As the requirements become more stringent, we have completely lost sight of the children taking these tests.

For 30 years as a teacher of primary kids, I have operated on the Any Fool Can See principle. And any fool can see that the spread between what is developmentally appropriate for 7- and 8-year-old children and what is demanded of them on these tests is widening. A lot of what used to be in the first-grade curriculum is now taught in kindergarten. Is your 5-year-old stressed out? Perhaps this is why.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

America's greatest thinker speaks out on BushCo

Bob Costas: 'Inescapable Fact' That Bush Presidency 'A Tragically Failed Administration'

Some people may wonder about the [political] feelings that I've expressed, and I won't get into all the particulars. I think it is now overwhelmingly evident, if you're honest about it, even if you're a conservative Republican, if you're honest about it, this is a failed administration. And no honest conservative would say that George W. Bush was among the 500 most qualified people to be President of the United States. That's not based on political leaning. If a liberal, and I tend to be liberal, disagrees with a conservative, they can still respect that person's competence and the integrity of their point of view. This administration can be rightly criticized by a fair-minded person smack in the middle of the political spectrum on a hundred different counts, and by now they're all self-evident.

The blogger who posted this goes on to talk about how incredibly qualified Dubya is because he
1) got a degree from Harvard
2) got a degree from Yale
3) flew planes in the National Guard
4) is married and never divorced

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Don't eat Chilean sea bass

As (Chilean sea bass) became the top-selling fish at restaurants across America, fleets of industrialized fishing vessels – many of them pirates – set out to meet the burgeoning demand...

TSA missing thousands of badges

Yeah, this is a little old. But can they really keep us safe if they can't keep track of their own badges (not to mention a guy with TB who's on the no-fly list)?

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Creation Museum

From the Economist:

The Creation Museum

Keeping the word
The triumph of faith over experience in Kentucky

Dinosaus are monstrously exciting. Alas, museums with dinosaur exhibits tend to indoctrinate visitors with Godless evolutionary theory. So parents who believe that every word in the Bible is literally true have nowhere to take their tots for an uncorrupting fix of Tyrannosaurus rex.

Until this week. The Creation Museum opened in Petersburg, Kentucky, on May 28th. Here impressionable youngsters can watch awesome animatronic dinosaurs interacting with primitive humans, just as Genesis implies they did, shortly after the beginning of time one Monday morning in 4004 BC.

The museum's aim is to teach visitors how to answer attacks on the Bible's authority in geology, biology and so on, while providing a "family-friendly experience". The founder, Ken Ham, raised $27m from thousands of pious donors to build it. The exhibits are as whizzy as any in a theme park. But starting with scripture and trying to force the facts to fit makes for odd science.

The museum says that, if Noah took two of every animal on his ark, he must have had dinosaurs. Could dinosaurs have fitted into a boat only 300 cubits (about 135m) long? "It is likely that God brought young adults. Being smaller, they would be easier to care for."

The attention to detail is superb. In one exhibit, tiny human figures about to be engulfed in the rising floodwaters are shown throttling each other, to remind visitors why they deserved to drown. The flood killed off most dinosaurs, of course, but the descendants of those Noah saved survived until quite recently, which is why legends of dragons pop up in so many cultures. They were probably hunted to extinction by chaps like St George, says another exhibit.

The debate about the origins of everything is presented even-handedly. Some people trust God, accept that the universe is 6,000 years old and will go to heaven. Others trust human reason, think the Big Bang happened 14 billion years ago and, having abandoned God, are quite likely to start browsing the internet for pornography or commit genocide. Vistors are spared graphic examples of porn, but there are some nasty pictures of lynched black Americans and of Nazi concentration camps.

The museum has humorous touches, too. Fragile displays are labelled "Thou shalt not touch! Please". Unfinished exhibits carry the apology: "This space is still evolving". And, apart from the supercilious ape-descended journalists at the opening, the crowds seem to love it. Ben, from West Virginia, says he is delighted to be able to take his children to a museum that stands up to secularism, even if, at four and two years old, they may be "a bit young to take it all in".

Friday, June 01, 2007

We, as Bay Area news consumers, are completely screwed

From Grade the News:

Sixty more newsroom positions – almost one in four -- are to be eliminated at the San Jose Mercury News this summer after a layoff moratorium negotiated with the local Newspaper Guild expires, Grade the News has learned.

John Bowman, executive editor at the San Mateo County Times until last week, said the staff reductions were discussed at an April meeting he attended at the Mercury News along with top editors of MediaNews, which now owns every paid daily newspaper around the San Francisco Bay but the San Francisco Chronicle. The proposed cuts would affect 24% of the 250 member Mercury News staff.

Mr. Bowman said he disclosed the layoff plan and resigned as executive editor of the Times because he was fed up with MediaNews' policies of trying to run newspapers short-handed.

"They're way past the point of diminishing returns, of penny-wise, pound-foolish," Mr. Bowman said of MediaNews' operations in the Bay Area.


MediaNews' cuts at The Oakland Tribune have deprived citizens of an effective champion against city corruption and mismanagement.

"The Tribune is actually doing a pretty good job of covering things that are important to me, but there are some really important things that aren't being covered right now," (Mercury News business reporter Elise Ackerman) explained. Among those are corruption in city hall and a soaring crime rate. The FBI is investigating a "pay to play" atmosphere in city government, she said, but not the newspaper.

"The Tribune reporters are good and hardworking, but this stuff doesn't get covered in the newspapers because they don't have the staff."

"When a newspaper becomes so weak it's not an effective counterbalance to the incredible arrogance of some public officials, it can't play watchdog for the public," Ms. Ackerman added. "I'm afraid the same thing will happen in San Jose."

Monday, May 28, 2007

We need a new commissioner

...almost as badly as we need a new president.

This Ann Killion column puts it perfectly.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

My relatives on a reality show!

This show ain't gonna win any awards, but it's fun seeing my in-laws and their cute little girl on TV!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Another "Day", another $10 mil for Kiefer

The second best thing about 24 (besides its Keiferliciousness) is that when it ends, it ends.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Green Mall?

I'm not a big Bill Maher fan, but he's dead on with this recent comment:

There's no such thing as a "green" shopping mall. Developers in Chicago are building the first "environmentally sensitive" mall. Yes, nothing says "I care about the planet" quite like a vast, air-conditioned temple to disposable consumerism. Surrounded by 300 acres of concrete. "Look, honey, the Wetzel's Pretzel has organic salt!" Some things are just never going to be easy on the environment.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Chronicle to cut staff by 25 percent

Scary stuff.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Security theater

That's what my husband calls it. He's right, of course. Those folks with the TSA badge-patches are actors (albeit surly bullies of actors who couldn't get actual jobs as rent-a-cops) in a play portraying safer skies.

The TSA must be operating under the assumption that the average person equates hassle with safety. "The more of a pain it is to get on a plane, the harder it must be to hijack/blow up/fly into a building!" So far, the effect on me is that they've unrepentantly stolen one of my son's shoes and confiscated a 4 ounce travel bottle half full of sunscreen.

Friday, May 18, 2007

More evidence that plastic bags are evil

My mother-in-law told me about this when we were at the zoo last week.

The Saint Louis Zoo is sad to announce that our male polar bear, Churchill, died on May 27 (2005). Our long-time resident had undergone stomach surgery by the Zoo’s veterinary staff to remove an obstruction...Surgery showed that a piece of cloth and bits of black plastic trash bag had obstructed the pyloric region.

Nice blog by commenter Michelle!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Brief hiatus

Postings will be few, if they happen at all, this week. The humidity here at my in-laws house in St. Louis makes it too arduous to type, much less think of stuff to blog about.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

O'Reilly uses name-calling about once every seven seconds

From Romenesko:

An Indiana University study finds that Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly calls a person or a group a derogatory name once every 6.8 seconds, on average, or nearly nine times every minute during the editorials that open his program each night. "It's obvious he's very big into calling people names, and he's very big into glittering generalities," says IU j-prof Mike Conway . "He's not very subtle. He's going to call people names, or he's going to paint something in a positive way, often without any real evidence to support that viewpoint."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Top Ten Signs Your Newspaper is in Trouble

10. Covers all news that happens within one block of the office

9. Today's exclusive -- "Nixon Dead!"

8. Reporter sent to jail for refusing to divulge a source... Oh, and he also killed a dude

7. All horoscopes: "Now would be a good time to get out of the newspaper business"

6. Paper's motto: "Suck it"

5. Every "hot" gossip item is about Jack Klugman

4. Managing editor and guy who wheels around breakfast? Same guy

3. Under "Weather," it just reads "Yes"

2. Instead of "Garfield," has a comic strip called "Garfunkel"

1. It endorsed Dennis Kucinich

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Outrage over Reilly case misplaced

Bay Guardian editorial:

In the days following the historic settlement of Clint Reilly's lawsuit against the Bay Area's newspaper barons, the local dailies, the media blogs, and the trade publications such as Editor and Publisher were buzzing with debate and speculation over a few of the agreement's terms.

Would Reilly actually get space in the local papers to make his political points every month? Where would that space go? Would it be paid ad space, or would he get it free? Would he be able to appoint a citizen member to the editorial boards of Dean Singleton's dailies (including the San Jose Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times)? Or could the papers' managers reject his nominations?

Back and forth, back and forth. And all of it entirely missed the point.

This was the fine print of the deal, the stuff that, a few months from now, nobody will remember or care about.

You could get the real news from the headline in a blog post by former Chronicle city editor Alan Mutter: "Hearst-MediaNews deal scuttled."

That's what happened here: Reilly, acting with his own money, with no support from the federal or state regulators, broke up a deal that would have put the owners of the Chronicle directly in business with Singleton's MediaNews Group, the owner of almost every other major daily in the region. It would have been the end of daily newspaper competition in the Bay Area.

The Hearst Corp., documents that came out during the suit showed, wanted to combine some printing, distribution, and sales efforts with MediaNews Group. And Hearst wanted to convert an investment in MediaNews into direct stock in the company's local papers. That would have, in effect, made one of the last non-MediaNews papers in the area part of the same business group.

As G.W. Schulz reports in "Beyond the Reilly Settlement," on page 11, if Reilly hadn't intervened, nobody would have known about it until it was over and too late to stop. That's the point here, and that's what journalists, political scientists, and critics ought to be talking about.

Instead, we've heard outrage from some editors over the fact that Reilly might get some space in the papers. It's really a nonissue; he could have bought ad space for his opinions anyway, and all that the settlement did was give him that space free. And a lot of papers ask citizens to serve on advisory boards; Reilly's nominees are very unlikely to change anyone's editorial policies.

Meanwhile, where is the outrage over the original Hearst-MediaNews deal, which would have ended editorial competition the same way the 1965 joint operating agreement between the Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner did?

Monday, April 30, 2007


The last few books I've read have been exceptionally well-written and/or interesting:

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay: Won the Pulitzer for fiction, understandably. I just can't say enough about this book. It draws you into the lives of the protagonists and takes you from Prague to Brooklyn to Antarctica to Manhattan and along the way makes you care about them deeply. With one or two exceptions, it never crossed my mind to doubt that such truly amazing adventures could be happening to real people. (This was a selection from my mothers' club book group.)

The Jesus Machine: How James Dobson, Focus on the Family, and Evangelical America Are Winning the Culture War: Dobson has been one of the most powerful non-elected men in politics over the last two decades. This is an unbiased (really) examination of how and why he got there, and also how the Christian Right became so powerful that it was able to pull off feats like winning Dubya the 2004 election.

Three Cups of Tea: I'm only about a third of the way through this book, but I'm totally hooked. The writing is wonderful and the story is truly incredible. It follows an incredibly fascinating person that I can't relate to at all to a place I can't imagine but makes me want to be along for the ride. (Our latest book club selection.)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

More meat = more heat

As Bigdra points out over at NoE, transportation and electricity aren't exactly the only bit culprits in global warming.

American meat eaters are responsible for 1.5 more tons of carbon dioxide per person than vegetarians every year.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Remember: Beer has food value, but food has no beer value."

Seen on a sign over the bar at Jersey Joe's, where, apropos of nothing, male customers outnumber women 10 to 1.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

2007 deadlier than usual for drivers, pedestrians in San Jose area

The trend runs counter to what is happening statewide, where highway deaths fell 9 percent in 2006, the biggest drop in 14 years. Yet deaths on Bay Area freeways rose 9 percent last year.

"If there were that many homicides, people would wonder, `Where is this crime waving coming from?' But we seem to accept it," (police Lt. John) Carr said.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

More proof the Bush Admin. is evil and dumb

In his attempt to dismiss us, Mr. Rove turned to head toward his table, but as soon as he did so, Sheryl reached out to touch his arm. Karl swung around and spat, "Don't touch me." How hardened and removed from reality must a person be to refuse to be touched by Sheryl Crow? Unfazed, Sheryl abruptly responded, "You can't speak to us like that, you work for us." Karl then quipped, "I don't work for you, I work for the American people." To which Sheryl promptly reminded him, "We are the American people."

Ah, spring in Yosemite!

This was the view from our tent Sunday morning in the Upper Pines campground. We were not really prepared for snow, so we packed up fast and came home.

Matthew woke up in a tent covered in snow and went wind surfing the same afternoon!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Off to Yosemite!!

Schrenk Rap is taking the weekend off for camping in Yosemite!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

'Most E-Mailed' List Tearing New York Times' Newsroom Apart

This is a great Onion article because it really could be true. And I found it on Romenesko, so I was actually fooled for a second.

I also love how the Onion homepage has been redesigned to more closely resemble the NYT homepage.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Guns vs. cars: No contest

There is much hand-wringing, and rightfully so, this week about guns and how 30,000 people a year are killed by guns and how we need to revisit gun control (though not enough angst, me thinks, about how the Virginia Tech shooter wouldn't have had access to the weapons he used if Dubya had signed the renewal of the assault weapons ban, but that's another post).

And yet 41,000 Americans are killed each year in automobile crashes. That's about three-and-a-half Virginia Techs a day. And millions, of course, die each year of diseases caused by obesity and inactivity, which can be largely attributed to the sedentary lifestyle our car culture has enabled. Yet no hand-wringing there. No calls for more public transit or fewer roads. No outcry for expanded bike lanes or walkable cities. I guess it's easier to call for stricter gun laws when only 38 percent of American households own firearms, while 60 percent of American households have at least two cars. For most Americans, you'll have to pry the steering wheel out of their cold, dead hands.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Retailers drop invasive species

This is pretty progressive stuff, especially for a Midwestern mega-chain like Meijer that sells guns alongside groceries and baby clothes.

Monday, April 16, 2007

More on the values of Religious Right politicos

Regent University, founded by the televangelist Pat Robertson to provide "Christian leadership to change the world," boasts that it has 150 graduates working in the Bush administration.

Unfortunately for the image of the school, where Robertson is chancellor and president, the most famous of those graduates is Monica Goodling, a product of the university's law school. She's the former top aide to Alberto Gonzales who appears central to the scandal of the fired U.S. attorneys and has declared that she will take the Fifth rather than testify to Congress on the matter.


Consider George Deutsch, the presidential appointee at NASA who told a Web site designer to add the word "theory" after every mention of the Big Bang, to leave open the possibility of "intelligent design by a creator." He turned out not to have, as he claimed, a degree from Texas A&M.


Or there's the case of Claude Allen, the presidential aide and former deputy secretary of health and human services, who stepped down after being investigated for petty theft.

Divorce vs. Gay Marriage: The Dobson perspective

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Good forbid some college kids have fun!

Can't people just learn to relax and take a joke?!?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Score one for the reader (finally)

This week a judge recognized Dean Singleton is out to screw the average Joe (whether he works for a newspaper or not) in order to fatten his own wallet.

MediaNews and Hearst had sought to dismiss Reilly's suit, arguing that individual readers have no stake in antitrust laws because they suffer no harm from any alleged reduction in newspaper competition.

Oh that's interesting. As a reader, I shouldn't give even a little rat's ass if my local paper is going down the crapper.

But U.S. District Judge Susan Illston said federal law recognizes the public's concern in maintaining competition and diversity in the news media....

law shows that "Congress values the existence of separate sources of newspaper content in a community, and that loss of separate sources injures consumers," Illston wrote.

More generally, she said, a consumer in a market that is threatened by anti-competitive activity has the right to sue for antitrust violations.

So, good luck to Clint Reilly, who should get a plaque or something for trying to help the rest of us get decent news coverage of our area.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Terry Gross sucks

No one, except for maybe Neifi Perez and George W. Bush, gets more success and acclaim for doing a crappy job than she does. Terry Gross is a terrible interviewer. If you're on the radio on stations all over the country and have a famous radio show, you shouldn't be using "um" and "like" in every sentence.

She is the queen of the painfully obvious statement. Such as saying something to Sacha Baron Cohen like: "Your humor is based on making other people feel uncomfortable." And that's not nearly the worst.

She is so freaking pretentious and overrated. The way she says "Frr-ESH Aairr" is enough to deserve banishment from the airwaves.

I would love to have someone comment on why they (or others) think Terry Gross is such a great interviewer.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Cubs snowed out

You read that right -- snowed. Why do people live there again?

Tribune staff reporter

April 11, 2007, 11:27 AM CDT

With a fresh blanket of snow on the field and the aisles as slushy as a convenience store drink, the Cubs opted to cancel Wednesday's game with Houston and reschedule it for the night of July 12.

A Cubs spokesman said the team is able to add another night game to the schedule because it kept one date open in case ESPN wanted to add a Sunday night game.

Manager Lou Piniella, holding his first press briefing in his new office at Wrigley, was realistic about the decision to cancel the game.

"You couldn't play today," he said. "And the weather for (Thursday) doesn't look all that promising. … You'd like to play, but you can't do anything about the weather."

The Cubs already have a scheduled off-day for Thursday, so Piniella and pitching coach Larry Rothschild decided to rearrange the rotation, moving Carlos Zambrano up to start Friday's game against Cincinnati, with Wednesday's scheduled starter, Rich Hill, moving to Saturday.

Ted Lilly will now pitch Sunday instead of Saturday, and Jason Marquis and Wade Miller will round out the homestand, starting against San Diego on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

"What we're trying to do is keep everybody pitching as much as we possibly can," Piniella said.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Baseball announcers

Ah, it's that time of year again. The crack of the bat, the cry of the peanut vendor and the nails-on-a-blackboard sound of major league baseball's TV and radio announcers. Like every season, I am amazed by how bad most of these guys are. This is the major leagues, people!

Of course, part of the problem is that many color men are former players, and as a rule, those guys just aren't that bright (see yesterday's post -- and if you have ever heard Ron Santo on the radio, you know what I'm talking about). But still. There are only 30 major league teams. Assume there are a couple TV guys, and a couple radio guys, and throw in a couple more for the middle innings or whatever, and that's only 180 guys. One hundred and eighty people get these jobs, out of the 300 million Americans. And we baseball fans have to listen to people like Bob Brenly butcher the English language?

Granted, I get exposed to the low end of the curve because Chicago's teams have arguably the worst announcers in the biz (the Sox have un-arguably the worst announcers EVER). I know this because I pay the extra cash every season to get the satellite package that lets me watch every single ballgame, so I have listened to pretty much all of them. And listening to the Giants game the other day I noted that those guys can barely put a sentence together.

What must it be like to listen to a minor league game on the radio? It has to reduce your IQ by a point an hour or something. Then again, maybe something is keeping the good ones out of MLB, something like the chuckle-head ex-players getting these sweet gigs.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Sliding into first base

As I was listening to yesterday's Giants-Dodgers game, I heard a description of Jeff Kent sliding into first base. This has to be one of the least intelligent moves in all of sport (aside from pretty much any move in boxing, of course). For those who aren't aware, the rules of baseball require the runner to run from home to first and touch, but not remain on, first base. So the idea is to run as fast as you can for those 90 feet and not slow down until after your foot hits the base. Sliding is only required when you're trying to avoid a tag (at second, third or home) and when you need to stay on the base. Sliding is not going to get you to first any faster, and you don't have to avoid any tag. So why do players do it? I can only conclude that it is because they are dumb (for excellent example, see Kent above and associated facial hair). They are simply of below-average intelligence. Which may be why most announcing teams are so bad (more on this tomorrow).

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

More problems with the Merc

It's becoming ever more obvious by just reading the paper that Dean Singleton now owns it. In the last week we've noticed two typos in section front headlines -- first the biz section, yesterday a sub head on the front page -- above the fold!

To summarize: at this point, the Merc is about one step above the Fremont Argus.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Something fishy at the Murky News

This morning I was actually reading the print edition of the paper when I came across this story on the front of the local section. It seemed at first like an ordinary story about modern parenthood and kids' over scheduledjou lives, but then I opened to the jump on Page 6 and was created almost two full pages of of full-color ads for various summer camps! I think this would seem suspect even to the less media savvy of the South Bay. Dozens of giant ads right next to a story about the same topic? Close reading of the story itself reveals a rather one-sided view of parents scheduling each week of their summer vacation with video-game camp or Mandarin immersion overnights. I guess it's necessary for dual-income parents of school-age kids. But whatever happened to spending some summer weeks at Grandma's house? My kid's only a year and ahalf, but I know he -- and Grandma -- would love that!

Friday, March 23, 2007

"I support separation of church and hate"

That's the Bumper Sticker of the Day, seen at the Flower and Garden Show.

Also on the same car: "Partnership for an idiot-free America."

Alas, I fear both are pipe dreams.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Baltimore Examiner publisher uses his paper to sell his home

The utter absence of journalistic ethics in the Anschutz-owned Examiner chain from coast to coast is amazing.

The Baltimore Examiner recently ran a full-page piece (with four color photos) on a home that's selling for $606,000. What the paper didn't disclose is that the person trying to sell the "prime property," as it's called, is Examiner publisher Michael Phelps. The paper called on the guy who owned the house before Phelps to describe all of its charms, reports Laura Vozzella.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Drain Hetch Hetchy, Lungren says

Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River, believes it's time to restore Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park by draining the reservoir that has been a source of clean water for San Francisco for more than 80 years.

"Rep. Lungren is the first member of the U.S. Congress to come out in support of this," said Ron Good, head of Restore Hetch Hetchy. "It's a breakthrough."

Lungren's endorsement of draining the 360,000 acre-foot reservoir is being announced in an opinion article the conservative Republican is sending to area newspapers. The cost of the valley's restoration is estimated at as much as $10 billion, although Good said environmentalists believe the cost will be far less.

Congress would have to approve the work, however, and that's where the big rub is. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has been longtime opponent of the restoration idea. No other Bay Area Democrat in Congress has endorsed the idea, especially House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco.

But Lungren is not exactly striking out on his own, either. The Bush administration has included $7 million in the Interior Department's 2008 budget to study restoration.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Celebrity sighting!

We finally saw our first celebrity on this weekend's visit to SoCal! It was this guy, who apparently played the brother on Everybody Loves Raymond. He was at the Subway in Malibu with his kids (well, I assume they were his kids and not just some random kids he borrowed) and a Bernese mountain dog puppy. Since I've never seen the show, I never would have recognized the guy if my brother-in-law hadn't pointed him out. He was actually wearing funny glasses and a hat. And apparently he does a lot of voice work.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Movie reporters too neat

If I'm an opossum who has been recently displaced by construction work, I'm going to the nearest newsroom and making a home within the work space of one of the cops or courtroom reporters. You could burrow a basketball-size hole, feed off half-eaten ham sandwiches and birthday cake and raise a nice opossum family.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Judges go after reporters

First amendment doesn't apply in Kansas and Minnesota, apparently.

The Midwest is a scary, scary place.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Two words: Box turtle

Santorum in talks to become Philly Inquirer op-ed columnist

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum says his talks with the Inquirer are "informal" and the column "may or may not happen." Publisher Brian Tierney confirms "low-level discussions" with Santorum, but puts the chances of the politico's column ever appearing at "one out of 1,000. We'd probably be more likely to have Dan Rather write a column for us. Seriously. And I'm not being facetious."

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Fang's prove once again to be bumbling idiots

AsianWeek Editor at large Ted Fang said Tuesday he regrets publishing a controversial column titled "Why I Hate Blacks" in this week's edition but has not decided whether to keep its author, Kenneth Eng, on his staff.

To read an excerpt of the column, click here and scroll down to the 2.24.07 post.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Lost sucks

Just wanted to put that out there, in case you didn't know.

"Next Wednesday! If you miss this episode, you won't know what everyone's griping about the next day!"

Does anyone give a crap about Jack's tattoos or the Thai chick he nailed on vacation? I didn't think so. "Secrets revealed" my ass.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Global warming will flood airports, parts of SF and 'burbs

If you live on the Peninsula (i.e., San Mateo, Redwood City, etc.) east of 101, you are hosed.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Airlines are evil

Someone is actually trying to do something about it!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

West Wing gets it right (as in correct)

While watching an old episode of The West Wing the other day (I plan on doing this and pretending it's real until we have an administration that doesn't give me nightmares), I saw the president lecture a Dr. Laura-like radio host who points out that the Bible says homosexuality is "an abomination." He reminds her that the Bible also says that death is the appropriate punishment for working on the sabbath, touching the skin of a dead pig and wearing clothes made with two different kinds of thread. Of course, the character in the show had no response to this. As a matter of fact, I've never heard anyone on the right, real or fictional, explain this.

I'm also still waiting for someone to explain to me how my marriage is damaged when gay people get married.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

More dumb abstinence stuff

The administration also has budgeted another $241.5 million for abstinence-only programs in 2007. Kirby compared California and Texas, two states he said were similarly populous and were home to many Hispanics, a group whose teen pregnancy rates are high.

"California took a very progressive approach," he said. "Texas pushed abstinence and made it a little more difficult for teens to receive contraceptives. Pregnancy did go down between 1991 and 2004, but Texas had the second-lowest decline of all states, 19 percent. California had the second-greatest decrease, 46 percent.

"What's really sad is that Bush is trying to take some of the policies that didn't work in Texas and implement them nationwide."


Claire Brindis, a professor of pediatrics and health policy at UCSF ... believes comprehensive sex education should be required, rather than merely permitted, by the state.

"Because there are so many myths out there," Brindis said, and teens grow up in a culture dense with sexualized mass media.

"One myth I've heard is that a person can't get pregnant the first time, and by the way, 20 percent of teens do. I've heard that if your boyfriend drinks Mountain Dew you won't get pregnant, or if you have sex standing up. Or if you sit on a cold sidewalk after you have sex -- I heard that in Southern California.

"I see in my work how early childbearing is both a result of poverty and how it contributes to an endless cycle of poverty. There's a lot of people who believe knowledge is dangerous, that if you give kids more information about condoms they'll go out and have sex.

"But isn't it better," Brindis asked, "to give young people and our large immigrant population the tools to plan? I can't think of anything more moral."

Saturday, February 10, 2007

News Flash! Morons run the Examiner

Here's my reply:

As a resident of San Mateo County and a consumer of Hetch Hetchy
water, let me respond to your sarcastic editorial implying that
proponents of Hetch Hetchy Valley restoration all live outside the
Hetch Hetchy service area.

Your editorial demonstrates a gross misunderstanding of the facts.
First, the O'Shaughnessy Reservoir isn't "mammoth." It's the 20th
largest reservoir in California, and one of nine in SF's system.
Second, draining the reservoir will not reduce the amount of water
flowing to customers. Advocates of Hetch Hetchy restoration propose
moving the water closer to the people who drink it and returning the
valley to its originally intended purpose – the enjoyment of every
Third, you are incorrect in saying Hetch Hetchy is "adjacent" to
Yosemite. It is, in fact, INSIDE Yosemite National Park. Uncovering
Hetch Hetchy Valley, which John Muir considered a second Yosemite
Valley, is doable and would right a century-old wrong.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

America's favorite architecture

An interesting list of the most-nominated buildings listed as favorites by architects. Yankee Stadium and AT&T Park (Giants) are on the list above Fenway Park? Fenway is far more interesting than any other ballpark, and AT&T is just a copy of Wrigley.

Then there's the Astrodome. Please.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Something good in the federal budget!!!

Of course, the Wicked Witch of the West is already screaming her shrill warnings about the end of western civilization (i.e., San Francisco) if restoring Hetch Hetchy is even considered.

Immigration officials harass moms at school

Thank goodness the government is working so hard on national security. Those Mexicans in our schools were a real threat.

And Redwood City schools didn't need the ADA money those kids were bringing in. Not at all.

Update Feb. 8: Immigration officials claim it's all lies.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The redder, the greedier

This graphic from The Economist is pretty interesting. Sure, you could say that the red states are cold, but so are a lot of the Eastern blue states. When it comes right down to it, this is evidence of the red staters buying into Bush's ridiculous argument (until the State of the Union) that global warming doesn't exist, or isn't man-made. I'm amazed at how people have bought into that, since it's purely economic on his part, and not in any rational way ideological or Biblical.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

MediaNews considers buying SF Chron

This would pretty much mean the end of Bay Area journalism.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More legislation in search of a problem

Sally Lieber doesn't have a monopoly on goofball legislation. This guy thinks that people who have just lost a family member in some sort of newsworthy event aren't aware that they can just tell the reporter to go away; he evidently believes that they are under the impression that they are obligated to talk to a reporter just because he or she starts asking questions.

And, in fact, time and again I have witnessed this phenomenon of reporter-as-therapy. People are almost always more than happy to talk to someone about their loved one and any crime or injustice that resulted in their death.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sergey wants the world to have more reporters

Let's see him put his billions where his mouth is, buy some newspapers (or start some) and pay "professional journalists" what they're worth. Since that's never been done before, it seems an innovator like Brin would be eager to dive right in and try.

More on "pilotless drones"

This from the Freakanomics blog. Interesting theory. Doesn't make the call any less funny.

Friday, January 26, 2007

"Correct me if I'm wrong..."

This is beyond fantastic. It's the funniest thing I've heard since I was reporter and got calls like this on my voice mail. I hope the Chron continues to put these online on a regular basis.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Studio 60

Danny's obsession with Jordan: sweet or spooky? The jury's still out...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


In five seasons of 24 we've never heard peep about Jack's family (other than wife and daughter) and now Evil Bluetooth Man is his brother? And Jack used to bang his wife? Um, ok.

As for the previews for next week, why couldn't they get Donald to play Jack's dad??

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Pressure -- pushin' down on me, pushin' down on you...

Pressure -- of kids' birthday parties, that is. Kudos to these parents for starting this organization, but it's kind of disturbing that there is a need for it. Parents shouldn't have to be told that they don't have to have a better birthday party than the last one they attended. All that said, the website is kind of entertaining, especially the quiz and the examples of out-of-control parties.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Quite a gaffe, Mr. Morford

Mark Morford is one of the more, um, interesting local newspaper columnists. I subscribe to the email feed of his twice-weekly column. This week there was something more interesting to his writings than the usual references to nipples and bodily fluids. Morford's Wednesday column linked to this press release. At least, the first version, which was emailed to me, did. Since I subscribe, I get it before it even goes on the Web site. I read the column as it appeared on the web site in the morning, when it was called "9 Uncommon Ways to Keep Warm." I also clicked on the link to the press release, but didn't have time to read it until much later in the day. When I read the release, I realized that, instead of being about rangers being gagged on the evolution topic, as I had believed after reading the column, it was about a single book for sale in the visitors' center book store. I went back to the Chronicle web site, hoping to clear this up. That's when I realized the column had been edited on line to eliminate that item and was now called "8 Uncommon Ways to Keep Warm." Apparently someone had finally gotten around to editing the column. I haven't gotten around to searching for the paper version, if the column even ends up in there...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bush administration hopes all the reporters' hands fall off

And anyone who actually has to work for a living, he doesn't care about them either way.

"David LaGrande, health and safety director for the Communications Workers of America, the Guild's parent union, argues the Bush administration and its congressional allies succeeded in burying the issue by preventing the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from promulgating ergonomic standards. The precipitous drops in reported MSD injuries in industries such as meat-packing and telecommunications, he says, are evidence only that employers are no longer required to document these kinds of injuries.

Union priorities have shifted, too. LaGrande notes that two of the Guild locals most active on ergonomics, Philadelphia and San Jose, Calif., have been preoccupied more recently with preserving jobs under the old and new owners of their members' biggest newspaper employers."

Monday, January 15, 2007

Marin County-ites show their ignorance

These people have obviously never seen a Habitat for Humanity development, or talked to anyone who owns a Habitat home, and they very likely don't even have a basic knowledge of what Habitat does. They just hear "low-income housing," know they don't want those people in their posh neighborhood, and come up with the traffic excuse to explain their opposition.

Habitat is perhaps the most well-run non-profit I've become acquainted with. The homes are high-quality, the owners are chosen with great care, and safeguards are put in place to make sure the families who live there are stable. Anyone would be lucky to have a Habitat home in their neighborhood.

Friday, January 12, 2007

This is the all-time greatest blog post EVER

A must-read.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

If you don't use your turn signal...

you are a selfish jackass. Don't give me your excuses about how you don't need it when "there's nobody around." Just because you don't see me trying to back my car out of my driveway or pedal my bike through an intersection, doesn't mean I'm not there. If you really can't be bothered to spend half a second flicking your wrist to show your fellow travelers where you are going, you are a narcissist and a borderline sociopath, and you shouldn't be allowed to drive.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Snorter In Chief

A diturbing review of Dubya's free ride.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Pro-lifers whif again

When I heard about this on NPR, I thought that maybe, finally, someone in federal government was going to do something practical about the abortion problem. While giving money to pregnant women and people who adopt babies is fine, why don't the right-to-lifers want to try to prevent unplanned pregnancies -- which often result in abortions?

If right-to-lifers really wanted to make a difference, they'd be handing out condoms in high schools and funding ad campaigns telling people how to use birth control. For reasons I can't fathom, they skip over this step in their head.

We somehow managed to convince people that smoking is bad -- even people who won't quit know it's bad for them. Why can't we convince people that having sex without birth control results in pregnancy?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I hate the freaking TSA

Arthur got these fabulous shoes for his birthday. They are so freakin' adorable.
If you're unfamiliar with Robeez, they are soft leather and openings are stretchy and the soles allow for a little bit of traction for those just learning how to stand up. Again, these are totally soft, nothing hard or stiff or metallic or even rubbery in any way involved.

Enter the Transportation Security Administration.

The TSA chuckleheads at all the airports we flew threw last week actually made us take Arthur's shoes off. Yes, the little soft leather Robeez could be the apparel of the world's youngest shoe bombers. As we come out of the assembly line of terrorist victory (aka, airport security at St. Louis) only one shark shoe comes down the conveyor belt. One has apparently been eaten by the x-ray machine. Bastards.

Grandma will be going home through there tomorrow, and she will check the lost and found, but I'm not holding out much hope...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Examiner (in Baltimore) hires disgraced journalist


(yes, this Examiner is affiliated with the SF version)