Sunday, February 26, 2006


Just back from a concert. I'd like to attempt to convey what I thought for most of the night. Going to a concert alone is something I've done only one other time (Mustard Plug at the American Music Cafe was the first time I've done that), and I've noticed that, coupled with not having a roommate, travelling to, attending and leaving a concert can be a nearly meditative experience. Except that there's beer falling on you and people screaming for an encore. But other than that, it's damned meditative.

So, in chronological order:

  • I didn't realize that I still have at least some conceptual problem with being on a train that's raised above street level. But I can't deny that I had kind of a shocked reaction to a dog running under the tracks. It might just be that I'm not cool with dogs and transportation, as there's only been, what, two(?) years since I ran out on New Year's Eve dressed like a buffoon, trying to catch that stupid dog only to have him run into the path of a truck whose driver thought the best thing, rather than slowing down, would be to attempt to "straddle" him. I still have no idea how he (the dog) got out of that alive.

  • On the subject of canines, the Bow Wow Lounge, which is just off the tracks of the Red Line is just freaking huge. For what's billed as a grooming salon, I can't imagine what's going on inside that requires the space that the buliding takes up.

  • The Olympic Closing Ceremonies were held today, meaning I can stop caring about Short Track Speedskating until February 2010 when they'll be doing that in Vancouver. Before that, though, are the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, and I think I might try out. If only because I can't fathom how I covered the 1.473 miles from the Belmont stop to the Beat Kitchen at 2100 W. Belmont being passed only once by a bus, at about 2000 W. Belmont (that is, about a block from where I was going). Clearly, I must be some kind of Superman, and will be trying out for all of the track events in Beijing.

  • The previously mentioned Kitchen of Beats (as opposed to the previously Soviet Kitchen of Beets) really doesn't want me to see any ska bands. Three weeks ago, they wouldn't sell me a ticket online or over the phone, and told me to just show up at the door. I was promptly turned away from the sold-out Toasters concert. This time, I fixed the issue I was having with the online purchasing system, bought the will-call tickets and showed up at about 6:15 for the 6:00 show, knowing that I had a spot reserved (they couldn't turn me away, as they account for all of the will call customers in their fire-code estimations) and content with the fact that I'd missed a bit of a band I'd never heard of (more about them later) who were opening for the band.

    Me: Hi. I've got will call. Murphy.
    Guy at Door: We're opening doors at 7 now.
    Me: Curses! Foiled again.

    It didn't actually prevent me from seeing the show and in my wanderings (as I didn't really feel like being in a crowded noisy bar for 45 minutes), I found a truly astonishing number of vodkas being sold in bottles shaped like rifles and stood outside. Worse things have happened. Also, I feel less like a schmuck this time, as I purchased online, and people were turned away. Good for me.

  • Flashlight Brown. Fairly standard stuff. Nothing too adventurous, aside from the devotion to finishing precisely the set they had previously decided to finish, screwing up the intro to the fourth song in their set five times before the guitar player finally changed the guitar that was acting up.

  • The Slackers were quite impressive, playing a very long set, revisiting some stuff from as early as I can recall listening to their music, and just an overall good act. Not much commentary here, other than it was hot, and I happened to be close to a wall, which meant that every time I was actually getting into a song, twenty people wanted to get out of the front and decided to proceed by shoving me to the side. :(

  • It's funny how shows tend to make me think about an incredibly diverse array of topics, most having nothing to do with the show at hand. Mostly how busy I am and how I really shouldn't be doing something as childish as attending a concert when there's purification of compounds to be completed. This time, I was distracted at several points by the idea that I'll never see the guy that introduced me to the Slackers (and the rest of ska) again. But that's enough of that morose stuff

  • I was passed much earlier by the bus on the way back (twice, actually), but walked the 1.whatever miles back. Good for me.

Overall, a good experience as my first show in Chicago. I'll do it again. Hopefully with something closer to the Red Line than the damned Beat Kitchen.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Hello to you. Monday Roundup.

And once again, I return after however long I've been gone to fill your lives with joy for at least an instant. That might be the instant you close the browser, but it's an instant nonetheless, and it deserves recognition.

Barry Bonds doesn't know if he's going to quit but maybe will, and I can't find it in me to care. Maybe it's the whole Pittsburgh ordeal, but I, for one, grew tired of Barry Bonds pretending to be a martyr for the sport long ago, and his claim that his reason for sticking it out for the 2006 season is a completely unselfish desire to save baseball as a sport seems another attempt to pretend that he's a spotless angel who's done no wrong and is constantly dogged by big mean men in suits with cameras and microphones. I've got to agree with Gene Wojciechowski once again in that if Bonds really does hate playing so much he should get out now.

While I'm sure David Irving knows the law and broke it anyway and is at least now admitting that his major arguments for Holocaust denial are junk, I don't support throwing the guy in jail for having some boneheaded ideas, or writing 30 books about said ideas so that other boneheads could hop on the bandwagon. I don't agree with Irving at all (or didn't, as he's now saying that he was mistaken in denying the Holocaust), but as one who likes being able to say what I wish, I can't approve of locking the man up for what he says, even if what he says is complete rubbish. I imagine this decision will result in a response from electrical engineering professor/Holocaust denier/hack/"No one loves me because I deny the Holocaust boo-hoo" fellow Arthur Butz, but I suppose we'll just have to wait for that.

The Sun Times is filling its pages with the incredibly relevant story that yes, we now think of gas prices around $2.30 as being low, where as last summer, they were high. Whatever. Shock! Please tune in next year for the same story, when we've decided that $75/gallon is a downright bargain.

*Is glad sometimes that he has to wait for the damn train all the time*

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cheney, the Heart, Hamas and Paris Hilton

Evidently, Cheney appeared with Brit Hume today about the whole shooting incident, and was, understandably, "soft-spoken and somber", but does note that "You can talk about all of the other conditions that exist at the time but that's the bottom line and-- it was not Harry's fault. You can't blame anybody else," which is should calm down the crew at the Vaughn Building (end of article). It sort of breaks with Katherine Armstrong's assertion that Whittington was at fault (a view supported by Scott McClellan, and his retelling of the story that Whittington was unresponsive kind of breaks with Armstrong's "it knocked him silly, but he was fine" comment.

But whatever.

He didn't say much about why he waited to comment, merely noting that he believed that, as an expert in the field and owner of the ranch, leaving it up to Katharine Armstrong was best. I don't disagree with having her break the story, in an effort to have everything as well worded as possible by someone who knows what they're talking about, but it doesn't answer her choice to wait until the next day.

Meh. Again, whatever. Guy's apparently sitting up, eating, and plans to do some legal work. Go-go indestructible lawyer, I guess.

In other news, Daley has decided that the book for this spring's "One Book, One Chicago" campaign will involve a delightful tromp through Soviet gulags (last fall's pick was "Pride and Prejudice".)

Explainer goes into how the heart symbol (which, as we all know, looks nothing like a heart) is derived from an early form of birth control, the seedpod of the plant sliphium.

Hamas would like to let everyone know that they're still very frightening sons of bitches.

And, while PETA is usually laughably over the top (as when they tried to force the Packers to change their name to the Green Bay Pickers or Green Bay Six-Packers or violent, I'd say it's about damn time someone hit Paris Hilton with flour.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cheney, the guy he shot, and figure skating

I think this is the first time I've ever had a post requested by phone. And definitely the first time I've written one while a pair of figure skaters dance around to an airy rendition of "Mack the Knife" that would make more sense were the song not Mack the Knife.

Anyway. More with the weapons.

As you've all undoubtedly heard by now, the vice president kinda sorta shot a guy. I've heard a lot of terms that appear to be slight euphemisms for shooting a guy in the face and chest, including "peppered," "sprayed" and whatever else you can come up with to lighten the fact that the VP fired a shot gun at a man.

Did he mean to? Absolutely not. No one's contending that. Not being a hunter myself, my understanding is that this is relatively common (though certainly not something one expects when they sign up for quail hunting), but it's not like the VP did something no one's done before. Whittington stayed back (a no no in quail hunting according to Explainer, which clarifies the standard practice of walking three abreast while you're shooting things), and when Cheney saw some quail fly overhead, he turned to where they were flying (which happened to be where Whittington was looking for a quail that had been shot) and pulled the trigger, hitting Whittington. The owner of the land claims it's more or less all Whittington's fault, which isn't the case here. It was an accident, and there's no shame in admitting that yes, Cheney might not have had the best hunting sense about him when he pulled the trigger. The guy lived, and is expected to be fine (and gets to honestly claim to have been shot by a sitting vice president, which has got to be some kind of honor and proof of how tough as nails you can be as a 78 year old lawyer). But placing all of the blame on the guy who was shot isn't right either. Neither he nor Cheney was being Captain McSafety here. Why pretend Cheney had no fault in the matter? It's clearly not as though Cheney runs around middle America shooting everything in sight, or even as though he's not a perfectly safe hunter. But why not say "Hey, I made a mistake. He's ok. We're done here."

It'd be a non-issue if Cheney's people (not the White House, as Scott McClellan is quick to point out) didn't wait as long as they did to tell anyone about it. It took a full day for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times to get on it, and they were before the rest of the nation? Is this the same country where we're constantly obsessing over which "I'm too young to be a has been, aren't I?" celebrity will be leading the Mardi Gras parade in a partially revived New Orleans and still, after how long, give a damn what Jennifer Aniston thinks about the end of her relationship with Brad Pitt (the divorce was finalized in October of last year)? Had Cheney come out an hour or two after the incident (after taking the understandable time to make sure his friend was ok after such a terrible accident) and simply said "There's been a hunting accident. Everyone's ok, and we'll keep you posted with how this guy is doing. I'm going to go somewhere now," that'd have been the end of it.

I just don't see why they felt the need not to tell anyone, I guess. The guy's ok, Cheney should pay whatever penalty the state of Texas lodges against this kind of stuff (evidently he's being warned for failing to buy a $7 stamp, which is more or less irrelevant), and use this as a message to hunters to be really remarkably safe when there are other people about.

So. Long story short:

Cheney shot a man in Texas. The man's ok. That's good. Why all the blaming the man (who definitely deserves his share) and no blaming the guy with the gun? Also, why the coverup for such non-news that'll get buried beneath what sippy cup Angelina Jolie buys in preparation for her kid anyway? Say you made a mistake, however common it might be, and tell hunters to not shoot each other.

And no, Michelle Malkin, I don't believe "the biography of a man who has served this country so well and so honorably for so many years will be overshadowed by a single, ill-fated hunting mishap." That's rather remarkably speculative, no? It'll pass. Now is not the time to start speculating about overshadowing that hasn't happened yet.

UPDATE: Whittington had a minor heart attack after some bird shot entered his heart. The Tribune is speculating as to why they might have waited while hunters criticize Cheney for shooting before he knew what was beyond his target.

EDIT: As I said, figure skating's on. You can completely crash into the wall and almost break your leg and still get a silver medal? What kind of crap sport is this? Good for Michelle Kwan for getting the hell out of this wacky, wacky world of "It doesn't matter if you completely screw up everything. You get a medal."

Monday, February 13, 2006

Olympics, I

And here I am, trying to get through the day despite several setbacks, and just an overall bad day. This was not helped by the fact that clocks and schedules are a more or less an abstract concept to the CTA, something to be grinned at slyly before abandoning them all together.

But avoiding subjects of school for a moment, I'm amazed at how effective NBC's presentation of the Olympics is in getting me to pay attention to sports that are far, far outside my interest zone. For example, last night I found myself enthralled by short-track speed skating (watching mostly because I'd heard that something had gone wrong with Apolo Anton Ohno's run, whoever that was). Before yesterday, I'd not realized there was a short track speed skating event, or how it might be different than regular speed skating, or what the point of doing 13.5 laps around a track was when the first eight appear to be somewhat of a throwaway, pace-keeping event. And then, five minutes in, I'm already cursing the commercial breaks for separating me from the EVENT. Six minutes after that, speed skating's been bumped for snowboarding (Curses!) and a few minutes thereafter, I'm an avid snowboarding fan.

Basically, what NBC's done (which I'm quite sure they've done for the other Olympic games) is to compact a sport I'm unfamiliar with into short enough blocks to satisfy my attention span without actually having to know anything about the sport. It speaks to the level of impatience and indifference that likely persists throughout society today, but I'll leave the commentary about the relation of fast-food to fast skating out for now.

Two more things, also about the first few days of the Olympics:

1) I'm not really sure what my position is on snowboarding. As a member of the generation that was subjected to an endless supply of commercials for oddly yellow soft drinks and the prefix "X-", I have what I believe to be an innate attraction to things that combine the ancestry of the Olympic games as a cultural phenomenon with "Ten in 2010" by Bad Religion. Still, I can't really see how this is much different than figure skating, which I'm not particularly interested in, if only because my limited schedule allows for very few events and watching someone in a leotard flipping around on the ice doesn't make the cut. Both are performance based events that are judged by six people who, I presume, have some sort of expertise, and I can't really separate them, other than to say that one involves big bulky snowsuits, while the other involves commentary by Scott Hamilton.

2) Grandma Luge, the sole participant from U.S. Virgin Islands, broke her wrist and won't compete. She wasn't going to medal anyway, but I'm all for 52-year olds going down a slide at 80 miles per hour. That, also, rocks.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Oh for the love of all that's sacred.

Working hard at climbing the corporate ladder, but no new clients seem to need your particular services as an advertising whiz? Only $15 dollars a month nets you a ton of new accounts. They might be orcs though. Are there orcs in World of Warcraft?

EDIT: Wikipedia says yes. Oh for the days that being out of the loop meant you didn't know the last name of that chick those Ninja Turtle guys were hanging out with.

It was O'Neil. And she wore some yellow stuff. That's all I've got.

Hooray for nonsensical posting!

EDIT 2-Electric Boogaloo: In light of Wojciechowski's "Stop the whining" article, I thought it'd be a good idea to post a happy little comic detailing what I believe it was like for most of the fellows on from the general Washington area. The two are connected only by the fact that they both reference the whining, and the fact that I hadn't posted Wojciechowski's yet. Though I'd like to point out that the entry that goes along with this comic written by Jerry Holkins does, at least, acknowledge that Seattle made mistakes last sunday.

Once again, Super Bowl Champs \m/

RCN and Headaches

You know what I love? Sitting on a phone for forty minutes. I did that twice today, the first time to cancel my cable service after they tripled the cost of my cable and internet this month and the second time to find out where I should take my cable box. It turns out the person who canceled my cable didn't actually do so in a manner that, you know, did anything, but rather took the time to fingerpaint a picture of a giraffe. A poor picture of a giraffe. With big thick legs. And it's grey and has no neck and a trunk. So an elephant. Anyway, I'll have to call back again tomorrow to see if these schmucks can get the message that I don't want their crappy cable service and, while I'll pay for what I used this month, I'm not paying $130 for cable and internet.

You know what, I might even be willing to pay that this month if I never had to deal with these incompetent pricks anymore.

I swear I won't make fun of his name.

If you're not attending Northwestern right now, or working for them, or aren't a reader of the Tehran Times, stories put out by the Mehr news agency or the Chicago Tribune, you're probably not even aware of the controversy surrounding one of the faculty.

I speak, of course, of Electrical Engineering Associate Professor Arthur Butz, whose interests are digital signal processing, long walks along the beaches of Evanston, and Holocaust denial. Of course, his recent comments in support of Iranian President Ahmadinejad aren't the first time he's expressed these views. That would be in what's considered by some to be the seminal work of Holocaust denial, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry. Incidentally, that was published in 1976, two years after he received tenure, proving once again that tenure more or less means you get to do whatever the hell you want, from publishing books in no way related to your research or field of expertise on why you think the Holocaust didn't happen (though, regarding his comments in the Mehr news agency's story, it should be clarified that he doesn't deny that the Holocaust happened, but rather denies that the extermination of millions of Jews during the second World War didn't happen. I'm not quite sure what the difference is, but thought I'd give the guy a chance to explain himself here) to running around naked with a meat cleaver. Flipping through it (or rather, clicking, as it's available as a PDF,) he doesn't say that his book in any way reflects the opinions of Northwestern and at times rails against the University, merrily commenting that he should, perhaps, "look for Northwestern's gas chambers for white males," at the end of the third supplement to the book, published in 1992.

In response to his recent comments in the Tehran Times and Iran's semi-official (?) Mehr News Agency, the president of Northwestern has issued a somewhat scathing statement regarding Butz. I agree with Bienen that Butz comments are an embarrasement to Northwestern, the implicit allegation that Holocaust Revisionism is a poorly conducted "science", making up claims and then searching for evidence to prove them rather than analyzing what the evidence suggests, often relying on the absence of evidence to equate to evidence of absence, and outright rejecting any eye witness reports (including that of Rudolph Hoess) that disagree with their beliefs. However, in a nation where the freedom of speech (and, more fundamentally, the freedom to think what one will), it's impossible to take him to task for what he's saying. It's possible to prove him wrong, and expose the chicanery that goes along with what he's saying, but as an individual, if Arthur Butz would like to believe the Holocaust didn't happen, then fine. Let him. If he's made it clear that he's not expressing the views of Northwestern, and Northwestern's come out to say that they'll not punish him as long as he maintains the whole "this is outside my role as a Northwestern Faculty member" that's fine. He's not teaching it in the classrooms, he's not claiming the beliefs are anything but his own, that's fine. Northwestern probably loses a few students who, hearing of it, decide that they're not going to attend a school where one of the faculty is a "revisionist", but whatever. That's their choice.

There's just one issue that came to light concerning Northwestern's recent decision to retire Pubweb, a service through which Northwestern hosts personal web pages. He can say that his views do not represent NU all he wants. The higher-ups at Northwestern can insist the same thing. But as long as the URL he's using to propagate his beliefs contains the word "Northwestern", it's not true. Yes, it will stop being an issue on December 31, 2006, but that's incidental and, since it's been up and until then, Butz' personal page is lent credence that having "" in your URL brings with it. Removing the page would, essentially, be editing for thought, yes. But it's not consistent with Northwestern's claim that they can do "nothing to stop it." As a non-governmental organization and private school, it is not required to use the First Amendment as a rule to decide who gets to publish on a address. If it decides that a certain web page is costing the school in terms of money, attendance, whatever, it has the ability to disallow the web page to continue. And it's not a restriction of free speech, as it's the one paying for the server. That'd be like saying that if a speaker (and I'm not saying that there's a connection between this example and Butz. It's hypothetical, but interpret it how you will) from the Klan wants to give a speech in one of NU's auditoriums and demands that NU fund his speech directly in providing snacks with Northwestern napkins, private security and an opening performance by scary little white nationalist kiddies Prussian Blue (which, incidentally, is a reference to the "science" employed by deniers of the Holocaust), Northwestern couldn't refuse as it would be a violation of freedom of speech.

I doubt we'd be hearing about how they couldn't do anything if a pubweb page detailing why a prospective student shouldn't go to Northwestern was put up. They'd take it down in an instant, as it'd hurt the University financially while being funded by the university. If Professor Raindrop Q. McHippie, professor of abstract Mathematics had a page devoted to arguing that ecoterrorism really isn't that bad and maybe it's ok, they'd have the right to do the same thing, of course. But to sit there and say they are completely separate from him is just false.

But then whatever.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Here we go, Steelers. Here we go. Pittsburgh won the freaking Super Bowl

A few quick notes, because I really do need to get something done.

1) On the Officiating: Yes. It was pretty strange. If I were a Seahawks fan, I'd probably be pretty angry, and might even blame the officials for my team's loss, rather than recognizing that the clock management by my team (the Seahawks in fantasy land) was just atrocious, that the second half was dominated by the Steelers, not only in stopping any Seahawk movement, but just overall dominating. Still, the Hasselbeck tackle and the phantom holding... I just don't get. But then, I don't get the Hasselbeck fumble/reversal.

2) More officiating. The Roethlisberger TD. It seemed to me that the ball broke the plane of the end zone, and that, lacking evidence otherwise, the officials correctly maintained the TD call on the field. So I don't see how that's controversial. And yet, I log on to a messageboard and that's all I'm hearing about. Oh, and the pushoff that resulted in turning a Seahawk TD into a Seahawk FG. He extended his arm. That's a penalty. Just because it went against the Seahawks doesn't mean it was a bad call.

3) I can't believe I'm still hearing about how no one talked about the Seahawks.

4) The Antwaan Randle El touchdown pass to Hines Ward was a thing of beauty.

5) I think it's hilarious that one edit on the Pittsburgh Steelers wikipedia page implies that the Steelers "cheated" their way to a Super Bowl victory by having fans that showed up and were enthusiastic. I'll put off for now the fact that that editor has got some spelling issues.

6) Say what you want about the officiating, but you just can't when a game when thirty seconds (!) pass without anything happening at the end of the first and your "hurry up" offense involves tiny passes for short yardage down the middle. You just can't.

7) Enough about the Seahawks or their Fans. The Steelers are freaking Super Bowl Champions.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


So, if you're going to answer phones about buying tickets to a concert, and then tell the person on the other end of the phone that it's probably just better to stop on by because you never sell out, it'd be nice if you were right. I was turned away from a Toasters concert recently, and, while I don't really blame the person who answers the phones or the bar in question (what with fire codes and all), I was still kind of put off by the whole deal, after the day went less than ideally anyway. But whatever. I'm over it, at least tried to go to the show, and was able to console myself by wasting my money on this crap, which rules in an interesting way

But now to the reason I'm posting.

I read ESPN probably more often when teams like, say, the Steelers are a few days away from playing in their second Superbowl since I was born (or, if you're one of those schmucks that doesn't define everything by the date of my birth, their sixth in the Super Bowl era, which is really the era in which you're going to want to play your Super Bowls.) But I've been noticing something. Noticed it on a few messageboards.

The tendency to either laud a team because they're underdogs and it makes you a certain kind of clove-smoking rebel against the "mainstream" who's "hyping up another East Coast team" or write volumes about how little they care about this particular Super Bowl.

Some clarifications.

1) It's hard to take people seriously when they're going on about the Seahawks being underdogs when, two months ago, they were lauded as the only NFC team that could beat the then-invincible Colts. Now, the Seahawks having failed to stumble (the chic prediction when they were more "1st seed in the NFC" than "poor ignored underdog going up against those big bad Steelers"), they've become the awkward target of an organization continually accusing itself of being biased.

2) Fine. You don't care about the Super Bowl because neither the Colts, who were supposed to win it all, then the NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup without Peyton Manning (as he was off inventing faster-than-light travel and winning the Grammy for Best Album of the Year for his grunge rock take on The Transformed Man) or the Patriots (who would later star in their own Saturday Morning Cartoon chronicling their efforts to save the world from a comet controlled by Cobra Commander) are playing the Seahawks. After the Steelers loss in the AFC Championship last year, I didn't care about the Super Bowl last year. But that I had diminished interest last year didn't mean that I'd go around predicting the worst viewership ever, or that the Super Bowl somehow didn't actually count. The funny thing is that one of the posts on the subject was written by a White Sox fan, whose organization went through the same criticism last year (mostly from bitter Red Sox, Yankees, Angels, Cubs and Diamondbacks fans. Not that the Diamondbacks have anything to do with the situation.)

3) The fact that Vegas has the Steelers as 4 point favorites has completely negated the fact that they're the first sixth seed to make it to the Superbowl since there's been sixth seeds and that the first week of the playoffs was the only week they didn't play the "odds-on favorites to win the Super Bowl". Evidently.

4) Kind of unrelated; The media is hilarious. Story of the moment: the Sports Guy starts criticizing the media for criticizing itself. It's very interesting, this whole meta-criticism thing.

No, the Penny Arcade comic doesn't have anything to do with anything.

Note: Mary Kutchko, of Kutchko's Country Garden Center (advertisement!) is incredibly awesome. Hooray for Kutchko. If any of you loyal readers are in the Pittsburgh area any time soon, and it's like... time for gardening to start happening, you'd do well to go there. Or I'll end you.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Sometimes, you have to move a chair.


Quickly, so that I can finish doing what I'm doing. Which is grading.

Or grating.

Sports: It has now become the height of wit among sportswriters to point out that the media has been focusing heavily on the Jerome Bettis story, which strikes me as hilarious, as the people that are being hilarious about repeatedly pointing out that the media sure is talking about Jerome Bettis' hometown a lot are (shock! awe!) members of the media. I'm predicting that by actual gametime, we'll be hearing mockeries of parodies of statements poking fun at the amount of attention that poking fun at the media for covering Bettis' hometown is getting.

That said, I'm remarkably nervous for Sunday, and appear to occasionally resign myself to the worst outcome for the game. While I'm anticipating it, I'll be happy when it's over so that I can stop worrying about it.

News: The governor of West Virginia is proposing what's being called in NYT a moratorium on mining.. Yes, safety needs to be reviewed in the wake of the death of 14 over the past month in these coal mines, and that's of paramount importance. Stopgap solutions aren't. Miners cannot be sent down into mines without being sure of their safety. And the leader of the WV Coal Association has joined in the call for a "moratorium", noting that safety increases productivity. I'm somewhat concerned for the miners that will now have to get by until they can get back to work (and as the article mentions nothing about continuing to pay them, they may be out of luck... though I'll find confirmation on that). Perhaps fining mine owners more than $73 per infraction (in one case) would lead to efforts to maintain a safer atmosphere. While I understand that these kind of regulations are never going to be entirely successful in enforcing behavior, it'd be a start.

Leave the damn groundhog alone. I support the annual event spontaneously becoming a Steelers rally, but I can't imagine a situation which would be analogous to being pulled from a hole by a man in a ridiculous hat while thousands who have surrounded my hole ask me whether or not lighting conditions are conducive to me recognizing that, yes, I have a shadow.

Chicago's got five of the nation's twenty largest bottlenecks, which makes me chuckle, boosted by never having to drive anywhere with just a hint of disappointment at being at the mercy of the guy that's driving the Red Line that decides, ten minutes late already, that he should talk to his friend on the platform for a few minutes.

I'm done now. I believe I may have to move a chair in the very near future. Go about your business.

Edit: So, in the way of an Update, some guy from Borizon called me, told me the people above me have a washer and they didn't actually think that routing the outlet to the washer through the drain of the sink might cause a problem. They've "sent a guy out to check on it", but I'm pretty sure we're not at the end here.