and Another Thing…

In reference to the fun Democratic presidential nomination throwdown, Hillary Clinton is taking it in the shorts in the media for a letter some of her supporters apparently sent to House Headmaster Nancy Pelosi:

Pelosi has not publicly endorsed either Clinton or Barack Obama in their hotly contested White House battle, but she recently said superdelegates should support whoever emerges from the nomination contests with the most pledged delegates — which appears almost certain to be Obama.

So I wonder what Pelosi thinks superdelegates are for. If they should always go with the party flow, what the hell is the point of having superdelegates in the first place?

Here’s another possibly ham-handed display on the Clintonistas’ part that I find myself agreeing with. My word, I can’t tell you how much that’s going to disappoint Pop.

Not Buying It

I’m not a particular fan of Hillary Clinton, but the idea that she’s hurting the Democratic Party by not conceding is horseflop.

  • First and foremost, maybe it’s wishful thinking but I hope it doesn’t matter what she does–I’ve got my money on whoever gets the Dem nominationObama over McCain as voters notice he’s old, cranky, waterboard-y and happy to soldier on in Iraq.
  • My understanding is that the damage being done is Clinton and Obama criticizing each other down to the wire, and that the preferred outcome for Dems would be their being able to unite behind Obama right now. But any question about the nominee also means Richard Mellon Scaife and His Swingin’ Swift Boaters have to either divide their attention between the two, or wait the thing out like everyone else, which leaves them less time to do their damage down the stretch. That’s a bad thing for the Dems?

    The party got neatly behind Kerry in 2004, against a widely mocked, wounded, significantly incompetent incumbent on the Republican side. All that unity worked out real well.

    Unfortunately, the Democratic party continues to suck. When Dem-controlled Congress isn’t rolling over for Bush on Iraq, they’re pulling their own pathetic popularity numbers and not exactly energizing the masses with their efforts. They shoulda won the last Presidency going away… this time, there’s no excuse for it being a contest (which, like I’ve said, I hope it’s not).

  • Ma’am, you just take all the time you need.

  • You want to see an underdog? How about a guy who has his top ad consultants quit on top of being seven figures in debt and lagging behind actor Joe Don Baker in New Hampshire popularity polls? Those are John McCain’s press clippings from August 2007.
  • Even if she doesn’t get the nom–and I agree there’s very little chance of that at this point–maybe she’s got something else on her mind. Is she trying to look as widely supported as possible to further bolster her bonafides for Obama’s Vice Presidental selection? Does she want to get as many delegate votes as she can so when people just look at 2008 delegate counts after President Obama leaves office in 2016 she’ll look like the default choice? Maybe she was all ready to quit, but then she thought about those fantasists who would support Al Gore over her if Obama somehow gets Kwame-cized sometime over the next couple of weeks, and she wants to remain in the driver’s seat just in case. Beats me, but she might have an angle here she cares to exploit.

Everyone knows Clinton badly wants to be President; in many ways she’s built her entire life around this campaign. It’s easy for all of us to give her the sage advice to bow out, but let’s try laying off a little bit, letting her define her own damn exit strategy with her own money, and save our derision for the non-Republicans of America rather than Hillary Clinton if her sticking around as long as she chooses proves to be any kind of factor at all in this year’s elections.

Schroedinger’s Whopper

I really like Whoppers. I like the flame broiled kind, but I really like chocolate coated malted milk ball kind. If you keep sucking, first all the chocolate comes off, then the malt ball collapses into a whey singularity. Every now and then, however, you get a stubborn Whopper what won’t crush — a chewy Whopper.

I hate these. I don’t even like chocolate that much, so if the malt ball doesn’t collapse then the disappointment is… crushing. However, my wife loves the chewy Whoppers and is, at best, lukewarm about the normal ones. You’d think this would be a match made in heaven, like Jack Sprat and his wife.

Unfortunately, detecting the chewy Whoppers has a pretty destructive observer effect. To put it unnecessarily geeky terms, the Whopper exists in a quantum state of superposition, both chewy and crunchy, until I have eaten it. At this point, my wife is no longer interested in the Whopper, chewy though it may be.

And so it goes. It feels like we’re so close to having my crunchy yin harmoniously complementing her chewy yang, but the problem is no closer to being solved than the day it was first identified.

Obama Opens Cans of Worms, Whoop-Ass

If you haven’t seen Democratic Presidential Nominee* Barack Obama’s speech on race relations, and you can find 37 minutes to do so, you should. It’s an extraordinary speech. What was so extraordinary about it is that it was not remotely a politician’s speech. He resisted the urge to simplify a complex issue and distance himself from a friend who, when presented in 30 second clips, comes off as an extremist to the working class whites Obama needs to win over. He resisted the urge to patronize. He addressed a complex issue head-on, and talked about the semi-taboo subtext of black/white relations – that many whites think there’s no problem, and many blacks still have a big chip on their shoulders. The speech has none of the qualities that cause people to dismiss him as “form over substance.” I’m just not used to politicians speaking so directly about issues that can’t be described in a soundbite.

Incidentally, as I listened to the speech, I came to the conclusion that Obama has hired Aaron Sorkin as a speechwriter. You could close your eyes and picture Martin Sheen giving a similar speech. However, it turns out that he has hired Swinger’s star Jon Favreau as his lead speechwriter.

The silver pen behind the silver tongue.

Until now Obama’s really positioned himself, without actually saying it, as a “Post Racial” candidate. But this Wright thing really seems to have shaken up working class whites. It all really seems to be about trust… like wild deer, they had finally been coaxed into taking food from Obama’s hand, but Wright is the loud noise that scared them off. They seem to be concerned that Obama is a Manchurian candidate – either a Muslim extremist masquerading as a Christian, or a Black Panther masquerading as a friend to the whites. And all of that goes to show you that we’ve still got a long way to go.

So this speech, this direct acknowledgment that there is justified black anger directed at the USA when the politically expeditious thing would be to shore up the Pennsylvania vote by denouncing his pastor in 30 seconds or less, is really a breath of fresh air. And so he’s become the only politician who’s worth 37 minutes of my time.

*Barack Obama is the Democratic Nominee for president. It’s done. Over. Clinton’s actions since she was mathematically eliminated from winning without destroying the Democratic party have caused me to regret that I voted for her in the CA primary.

Flamin’ Hot Funyuns

“Dr. Rothenstein!”
“What is it Jenkins? Can’t you see I’m trying to complete a Sudoku?”
“Sir, I think I’ve had a breakthrough on the Flamin’ Hot Funyuns!”
“Give it up, Jenkins. The Flamin’ Hot Funyun is your white whale. You know as well as I do that, despite our early successes with Doritos, Cheetos and even Pretzels, Flamin’ Hot Funyuns have always proved frustratingly elusive. The alliinase enzyme in the Unyun extract interferes with the Flamin’ Hot binding agent. You’re wasting your gift on this quixotic pursuit.”
“No sir! It came to me last night as I was writing up our results on the canned cheeseburger. We’ve been going about it the wrong way. By including Flaming compound in the pressurized Funyun bag unbound, the alliinase enzyme breaks down into its harmless constituent aminos without compromising the freshness of the Funyun. The Flaming compound then binds during transport!”
“Of course!”

“You know, Jenkins? I kind of thought these would taste better.”


(out of 5 Pochaccos)

Stupid Marketing Tricks

Washington Mutual, everyone’s favourite cuddly fuzzy bank, has a new marketing campaign built around the term “Whoo hoo!” The bank across the street from our house has the banner prominently displayed.

Whoo hoo in the hell thinks this is the correct spelling of the term?

I discover from a Google search that this isn’t the first time the question’s been asked, but what jackoff decided that the utterance “Woo hoo” (W sound, and then H sound) should be spelled with more than one ‘H’?

Let’s work through this: ‘who’ has an essentially silent w. ‘whoooooo’ is how the sound an owl makes is frequently written. In neither case will you get anything sounding like the first part of Homer Simpson’s commonly-used exclamation of enthusiasm.

Meanwhile “Woo whoo!” actually would be a phonetically acceptable way to write the phrase, but then you’re introducing an additional letter that doesn’t serve any purpose and needlessly inflating the length of your marketing campaign’s tagline by over 10%.

Let’s all save some electrons and stop putting w and h together anywhere when we mean to say ‘woo hoo’.

NIN, Ghosts I

You might have heard that Trent Reznor pulled a Radiohead and released his new album, Ghosts I, for free. (Actually, it’s even free-er, since you don’t have to pay credit card charges.)

You also might not have heard this… I hadn’t until I read this article about Reznor making $750k through ultra-premium sales of his latest work, which he produced unaffiliated with any record company.

I’m not a huge NIN fan, but I like some of Reznor’s stuff quite a bit, and I looked around and liked a lot of what he seemed to be doing (wrapping his last release in one of those cool alternate reality games, releasing stuff under CC licenses, offering lots of different formats and price points, etc) so I downloaded Ghosts I.

I’m a believer in this giving-away-stuff-for-free model to some degree–heck, I paid five pounds for In Rainbows. But I wouldn’t pay five cents for Ghosts I. It’s mediocre video game music at best.

(out of 5 Pochaccos)


I don’t have anything in particular against the guy, but I like it when famous powerful people get caught doing some stupid shit, so I’m really enjoying the Eliot Spitzer brouhaha. If you’ve been living under a rock, apparently the crusading New York attorney turned governor is a very big consumer of prostitutional services up and down the Eastern seaboard in his spare time.

Here’s my favourite part so far, though: Spitzer used an alias when he was dickering for hourly rates with the madams and whatnot, and the name he decided to run with was George Fox. George Fox also happens to be the name of a campaign contributor and friend of Spitzer’s. That’s roughly like Mike Vick introducing himself as Algernon Crumpler rather than Ron Mexico when he’s on a herpes-spreading mission.

I don’t know why Spitzer didn’t just make a name up, but I’m following the lead of greatness: next time I call a whorehouse or den of inequity, I’m totally going by “Woodrow R Farmer”.

A Most Disturbing Email

This is a fragment of an email sent to a list I’m on today. Names have been changed to protect the identity of the deranged.

I have a cousin who sets his watch 3 hours and 17 minutes slow because he literally doesn’t want to give anyone the time of the day. This has the effect of rotating the dial 112 degrees, so noon registers as 8:43 — both hands together and pointing at nine. If you pretend that the nine on the dial is the top then it really easy to get used to telling time this way — 3:15 will register as roughly noon, 6 pm will register as roughly as 3:15. If the watch has no numbers then you just pretend that 12 is toward your elbow and it works pretty well.

Aside from not being able to give the time of day, it has other benefits (according to cousin Alvin).
[1] It punishes people who steal the time from you by making them think that are very early.
[2] When caught, you can pretend that your watch must be a little on the blink (because it is slow).
[3] If you know this about cousin Alvin then you can discount a lot of the other things that he says as senseless paranoia.

Clearout of the Woot Closet

You’ve probably seen me talk about around here before. The fact is, I’m an unabashed fan of the site and have wooted way too many times. I’ve had fun doing it, but I’ve ended up with a backlog of woot merchandise sitting in the ‘woot closet’. Now, it’s all top-quality stuff, but I really don’t need as many 2008 calendars and lighted USB cables and wireless keyboard/mouse combos as I end up buying… I generally buy a lot with the intent of giving the extra stuff as gifts, but I also don’t give gifts as often as I used to.

So I’m going to watch the sites and blogs I generally read anyway, and when someone at one of those sites seems to have a need for something in my woot closet, I’m going to mail it to them. Fun, and better than just continuing to let this stuff pile up.

(All except the TeleZappers… Dre and Vivan of Vivandres have special need of those.)


It’s getting to be a long time ago now, but one of my most distinct memories of my scholastic career in the San Diego City Schools system was the soap dispensers in the bathrooms. These dispensers didn’t eject liquid soap (or, heaven forbid, that stupid “foam soap” that seems to be gaining popularity. See, soap lathers when you scrub your hands together vigorously, people. How friggin’ lazy are you that you prefer to avoid doing that?) No, what you got when you agitated these dispensers was this white, grain-y, volcano-ash-y powder.

Most people I know hated that stuff, but I always loved it–heck, I even had the soap dispenser on my Christmas list here back in the day.

Then I got the dispenser, and it sat in a box for a few years. Maybe I subconsciously knew that I was going to be moving to a different place, or maybe I’m just a lazy sack… but no more!

soap dispenser
Skin-rendingly clean!

The dispenser is now installed in the downstairs bathroom and serving up precise portions of powdered cleanliness upon command. I made a lot of use of it while I was cleaning up the garage… the Boraxo soap does an outstanding job of powering through the toughest handborne grime, and don’t let the acrid smell of the powder scare you–that means it’s working.

Stop by anytime and wash up!