Monday, September 29, 2008

L'Shana Tova

Happy Rosh Hashanah to all of my Jewish friends and readers and to those with a Jewish soul. May you have a happy, healthy and sweet new year. I know that it is tough with the economic problems that we are experiencing and with the current political issues with Bush still in office and McSame and Palin running to think about having a good year, but we have to. I find at times that we have to be happy to be alive and healthy and just laugh or you will end up crying all of the time. So look on the bright side at least you are alive and not a Republican.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Palin does SNL again

In case you didn't see the Palin skit on SNL last night here it is. Tina Fey does a great job of imitating Palin's interview with Katie Couric. She even has the rambling answers that go nowhere and answer nothing down perfect.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chimpy on mute

I am waiting for the season premiere of Criminal Minds to come on and they said it would be seen in its entirety and it damn well better be or I am going to hunt someone down. Anyway, so Chimpy is on mute and I can't help but think, I know he is probably trying to justify why his cronies who are losing money hand over fist need this 700 billion dollar bailout, that this is the only way to save the economy, but what about the non-corporate world many of us could use a bailout too. Maybe we should just follow the bible like these fundies always want us to do and forgive all individual debt. All debt is supposed to be forgiven every fifty years according to the Torah so why not start this year. All individual debt is forgiven and we go on with our lives. Oh yeah, that is not part of the Bible that the fundies conveniently forget about like the other ideas that are inconvenient for them like the laws of Kashrut, not coveting your neighbors wife and the prohibition against murder (the death penalty or this current war come to mind here). And only the corporate world needs to be bailed out, how could I be so stupid and think that maybe helping individuals get back on their feet may help our economy a helluva lot more than rewarding irresponsible corporations and investors?

Is this supposed to be some way of getting the public to demand a bailout since Congress does not seem to be just laying down and letting BushCo. ram the plan down their throats?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Political Fallacy

I saw the image above at Mock, Paper, Scissors and it got me thinking. My first thoughts were, why does McCain need so many cars and homes for just he and Cindy? Why do they need a pick-up truck? Why does he need three golf carts, one I understand maybe, but three? So I went through the usual liberal thoughts on what a rich asshole McCain is and he is and I will never ever ever vote for him.

But then I started to think about Obama. We get this image that he is a regular guy, that he is not a rich asshole. He only has one home and only one car. Hmmmmmm.... well maybe they only have one car because Michelle only needs one car for her and the two girls, OK. And they only have one home, in Chicago, because, well, Michelle and the girls live there and that is Barak's primary home. But then where does he live when he is supposed to be in D.C. for Congress and how does to he get to work? Ya see, we think of Obama as this regular guy, he does not have a lot of homes and cars like McCain, but he still probably has a condo in D.C. or the surrounding area. Maybe he rents this condo and maybe he owns it, but either way, he has a residence in DC. And where ever he lives, I am relatively certain that he is not taking the bus or Metro to work. So either he has a car in DC, he rents a car or the Congress provides a car for his use, but then who is paying for this car if he doesn't own one and who is paying for his residence in DC if he doesn't own one?

We like to think of our presidential candidates as just like us. We like to think that they have jobs like us and houses like us and cars like us, but this is simply untrue. In order to be involved in politics on the national level, you have to be wealthy. You have to have the money to put into getting your campaign started. You have to have the money to keep yourself going if your campaign struggles and supposedly you should have the money to be able to afford to go to these fundraisers and such. So you have to be wealthy. It bothers me when we try to think of candidates as anything other than wealthy. While we struggle to pay bills and many are struggling with mortgage payments, neither of these candidates has these issues. Maybe Obama grew up in a family that struggled, but he has not had these same issues in many years. So lets face the fact that neither of these men are working class and both are in the upper tax bracket and worry more about their policies and not their financial situations.

What about the vegetarians?

I had a school district wide training today. It was not the greatest training. The keynote speaker was good, but the break-out session was too crowded and really didn't add anything. But my real issue was with lunch. They provided lunch for us, a boxed lunch. Ok, but it was all meat, ham, roast beef or turkey. What about the vegetarians? I am not a strict vegetarian, so all I did was take the meat and the cheese off (cause it was processed American Cheese yuck) and ate the bread and the one tomato and some lettuce sandwich, but still... This is for the whole school district, close to a thousand teachers and you do not think that anyone might not eat meat or you think that since you do not eat meat you should have to buy your own lunch rather unlike anyone who will eat meat and so they provide lunch for only the meat eaters. Hell, even if you are not a vegetarian you might not want processes lunch meat. One of the other teachers is pregnant and women who are pregnant should not eat processed meats, she remembered to bring a PB and J sandwich with her, but still is this fair. What if she forgot her own sandwich or thought there would be a non-meat option? Damn carnivores only thinking of themselves.

Monday, September 22, 2008

What happened to customer service

GG and I have been thinking about getting a family plan for our cell phones. It makes no sense for us to each have our own cell phone plan when, 1. neither of us uses even close to the number of minutes that we each have and 2. we are paying like thirty dollars more a month than it would cost for the two of us to get a family plan. The contract for GG's cell phone plan has expired so there is no problem with her switching to another company. My plan on the other hand is still in effect, but I was thinking that I might be willing to pay the early termination fee if I had to, but that it might be best to stick with the same company I already have. We had been looking around at the different companies and the plans that each has and also trying to figure out which has the best service and would work best for us. We finally decided that it would be one of two companies, the one I was with or a new one. So first, on Saturday we went into the retail store for the one I am with and the sales person was rude and really obnoxious. I asked first, if I up graded to a family plan if that meant I had to have a new contract, he looked at me like I was stupid and said well yes of course. So then I asked since I had to have a new contract could I get a new phone because I am starting to like my phone, it has really bad battery life and I wanted one with a better battery life. He said he had to go look at my account and then he could tell me. He looked up my account and said that I could not get a new phone till January. "This isn't that long of time though." Also, the salesman said even if I got the new contract adding GG to get a family plan, this date would not be affected. So I was going to have to wait a few months for a new phone. GG and I then added that I could get a new phone with another company and pay less per month for a family plan. His retort was that but "we have the only national network and we are the best network." Hmmmmmmm well most of the companies are now national and you can get signal most places. The places where you can't get service is pretty much uniform where it doesn't matter which company you are with, they are just too rural, at least this seems to be my experience. So we left and he did not even really try to keep us. He lost two consumers. As GG and I talked about it, if he had tried to keep us he may have had success. If he had said, hey I know that you are not due for a new phone till January, but since you are upgrading I will work with you and you can get one. Or I can't give you a new phone, but I can give you a credit on your first bill. Or I can get a nicer phone for the other person to encourage you to stay with us. But he didn't do any of this, he seemed to not understand the customer service is about making sure people stay with your company or at least do not think you are horribly obnoxious and an ass. This is not the first time I have had bad in-store service with this company, in fact all but the first time I have gone into the retail stores for this company, I have had to deal with obnoxious, annoying salespersons.

So, GG and I have gone with another company where the person at the retail store was friendly and helpful. He answered all of our questions and when he didn't know the answer to something he went and found the answer. We also mentioned that we were thinking of getting the phones online and he agreed with our logic that since we could get phones free from online that would have costed us some money in the store that this was not a bad idea. He did add that if we got them online, we would have to return them by mail if something went wrong, that we could not take them into the store for service, which is not really a big deal for us, but was really helpful to know. He also was not obnoxious and actually seemed to want our service and did not act like we were doing him a favor by coming into his store. This salesman was there to help us. I should have known that the new compnay would have been had better service based upon this survey from J.D. Power.

The lesson here, customer service is still important and if you cannot be personable than maybe you should work in a dark basement where you don't have to come in contact with others. I know not everyone's experiences are not the same, but I can only go on what I have dealt with and can only hope that the new company will continue to live up to my positive hopes.

NOTE: I am intentionally not naming the companies I dealt with, but just in case you want to know the bad company rhymes with berizon and the good company rhymes with b-mobile.

Friday, September 19, 2008

YouTube Fridays

Theme songs from shows I can remember watching as I was growing up and really liked. Both of these shows are from the same time frame, basically the early '90s. Also, I have been informed that GG did not watch either of them.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Alaska speaks out against Palin

NOTE: I got this in an email from my mom and wanted to share it with everyone. I am sure many if not all of you have seen it already, but in case you haven't here is a message (email??) from a women in Alaska about an anti-Palin rally that was held recently in Anchorage. Also, if you have not seen the email yet and want it either to pass along to others or to see all of the pictures, I just picked some of my favorites, just email me and I can forward it on to you.

[The] Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was to be held outside on the lawn in front of the Loussac Library in midtown Anchorage. Home made signs were encouraged, and the idea was to make a statement that Sarah Palin does not speak for all Alaska women, or men. I had no idea what to expect.

The rally was organized by a small group of women, talking over coffee. It made me wonder what other things have started with small groups of women talking over coffee. It's probably an impressive list. These women hatched the plan, printed up flyers, posted them around town, and sent notices to local media outlets. One of those media outlets was KBYR radio, home of Eddie Burke, a long-time uber-conservative Anchorage talk show host. Turns out that Eddie Burke not only announced the rally, but called the people who planned to attend the rally "a bunch of socialist baby-killing maggots", and read the home phone numbers of the organizers aloud over the air, urging listeners to call and tell them what they thought. The women, of course, received some nasty, harassing and threatening messages.

I felt a bit apprehensive. I'd been disappointed before by the turnout at other rallies. Basically, in Anchorage , if you can get 25 people to show up at an event, it's a success. So, I thought to myself, if we can actually get 100 people there that aren't sent by Eddie Burke, we'll be doing good. A real statement will have been made. I confess, I still had a mental image of 15 demonstrators surrounded by hundreds of menacing "socialist baby-killing maggot" haters.

It's a good thing I wasn't tailgating when I saw the crowd in front of the library or I would have ended up in somebody's trunk. When I got there, about 20 minutes early, the line of sign wavers stretched the full length of the library grounds, along the edge of the road, 6 or 7 people deep! I could hardly find a place to park. I nabbed one of the last spots in the library lot, and as I got out of the car and started walking, people seemed to join in from every direction, carrying signs.

Never, have I seen anything like it in my 17 and a half years living in Anchorage. The organizers had someone walk the rally with a counter, and they clicked off well over 1400 people (not including the 90 counter-demonstrators). This was the biggest political rally ever, in the history of the state. I was absolutely stunned. The second most amazing thing is how many people honked and gave the thumbs up as they drove by. And even those that didn't honk looked wide-eyed and awe-struck at the huge crowd that was growing by the minute. This just doesn't happen here.

Then, the infamous Eddie Burke showed up. He tried to talk to the media, and was instantly surrounded by a group of 20 people who started shouting O-BA-MA so loud he couldn't be heard. Then passing cars started honking in a rhythmic pattern of 3, like the Obama chant, while the crowd cheered, hooted and waved their signs high.

So, if you've been doing the math… Yes. The Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was significantly bigger than Palin's rally that got all the national media coverage! So take heart, sit back, and enjoy the photo gallery. Feel free to spread the pictures around to anyone who needs to know that Sarah Palin most definitely does not speak for all Alaskans. The citizens of Alaska , who know her best, have things to say.

A bunch of pictures:

In case you ever wondered...

In case you ever wondered what I looked like, this is whom a parent and her daughter think I look like:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

YouTube Fridays (late edition)

As the kids in the classes I am in would say, boogie para abajo (boogie down in Spanish), so that is what I am thinking about this weekend and what these two clips will be about, boogieing down.

Andrew Sisters- Boogie Woogie Boy of Company B

KC and the Sunshine Band- Shake your Booty

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ukele Rap

Saw this video this morning and thought it was really funny.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Looking for a few good Jews

Dothan, Alabama wants you if you are Jewish and they are willing to pay. If you move there, become active in the synagogue and live there for five years you do not have to pay back the $50,000 they will give you for just moving there in the first place. That is right, get paid $50,000 to move to podunk Alabama and all you have to do is stay there for five years you do not have to pay it back.

Pros: It is $50,000 just for moving there
Con: It is living in podunk Alabama in the middle of the Bible Belt.

Pro: Small town life could be good.
Con: It is living in podunk Alabama in the middle of the Bible Belt.

Pro: It is only 80 miles from the Florida beaches.
Con: It is podunk Alabama in the middle of the Bible Belt.

Pro: There is no snow.
Con: It is hot as hell in the summer and it is podunk Alabama in the middle of the Bible Belt.

Pro: No traffic jams.
Con: Probably no jobs either and it is podunk Alabama in the middle of the Bible Belt.

Overall, I guess if you were willing to live in the middle of nowhere Alabama in the middle of the Bible belt, it would not be so bad to get paid to do so. I am not sure it is for everyone, but if you are Jewish and need money and want to live in the Bible Belt, this is the way to go.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

We are in tortillas heaven

I have recently become addicted to tortilla chips and usually have a bag of them in the house to just munch on when I get hungry, sometimes with salsa (especially the really good homemade salsa from GG's mom), sometimes I get stuff to make guacamole, but most of the time I just take a few out of the bag and munch on them. I have always been a fan of tortilla chips and when I wanted something to snack on, they were one of the options I would look for sometimes, but they shared time with pretzels and potato chips. Well, since I moved here to the Chicago area, it has become almost always tortillas and rarely potato chips and pretzels have really faded away in the snack food preferences. I blame my most recent love of tortilla chips on two factors. One, GG also really likes tortilla chips and so this snack is something we can both enjoy. Two and honestly far more importantly, there are a lot of really really good tortilla chip companies in the area. There is of course Frontera Grill products which are made by Frontera Kitchens, Rick Bayless's company. Bayless has three restaurants in the Chicago area and his chips are really good, but I don't even usually count him when I think of tortillas in the Chicago area. I think of him as a more national product, which I am not sure is fair as I am not sure he is really is national. But he is a chef on PBS and I used to watch him when I was still living in NC so somehow he has lost that local appeal for me. But his chips are really good and I really want to go down to all three of his restaurant at some time, not on the same day though obviously. The next chip company is Del Rey Tortilleria. These are great local chips. They also have at least two stores in Chicago in which you can watch them make the tortillas and buy them pretty cheaply. The next ones are a bit thicker than the others, but again are just really good, El Ranchero . The final chips and my favorite of the bunch are El Milagro. These chips come in a paper bag while the other ones are in the regular cellophane bags. The paper bags give them a nice distinctive look. I have no idea if this actually makes them that much better, but I do think they are the best. Although, I do have my preferences any of these chips are better than any of the national brands, Doritos, not to name names or anything. So if you live in the Chicago area or are visiting the Chicago area, you should get a bag of any of these chips if you have never tasted them before.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Youtube Fridays

This song is dedicated to the new cat, Kali. She is a bit of smelly cat, she has some gas issues among other things.

Smelly Cat- from the TV show "Friends"

This song is dedicated to my mom, whose birthday it is today.

Happy Birthday- The Beatles

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Question of the day, well sort of

As I was watching Sarah Palin's speech last night, yes I watched, don't ask me why, I started to wonder a few things? First, how could anyone ever think that she would attract the same voters that Clinton did? Two, is Todd Palin afraid to hold the baby too long as at the beginning of the speech he was holding the baby, but then after a few minutes he gave the baby to the youngest daughter? One of the older daughter is usually holding the baby, but this time the baby was given to the youngest daughter who looked like she was all of 8 or 9, but I am not sure how old she is really. Three and most seriously, I know that Palin's oldest son will be serving in Iraq soon and Biden's son is serving in Iraq, so are either of these children actually put in any kind of danger? Are they like Prince William (I believe that is the right royal son) who served in the military and even we sent overseas, but was also carefully guarded and never really on the front lines. So are sons and daughters of Congress people, governors and other high profile political officials actually placed in harms way or are they very protected in what duties they serve even if they are sent overseas? I honestly do not know the answer to this question and am not trying to be a smartass, I really did start to wonder about this last night, aske GG I asked her the same question last night.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Finally we get to hear from Gov. Palin

In addition to the speech she will be giving tonight at the Rethug convention, she was nice enough to create this vlog so that we can all get to know her better.

Into the scrum I go

I am finally getting into the fray about Palin. Up to this point, I really didn't feel like I needed or wanted to do this as so may other lefty bloggers were doing it better than I could have, but I decided to put up a post about this article. McCain is defending Palin and saying that this vetting controversy is "faux media scandal designed to destroy the first female Republican nominee for vice president" and that the media is just an ol' boys club that is trying to destroy Palin. I am not so sure I can totally disagree about the mainstream media being male centered and male run, but so is the GOP. Just because you now have a female VP nominee, does not mean you no longer an old boys club. We still live in a patriarchal society where men are valued over women and a female VP does not seem to be as impressive to me as the fact that Democrats had a viable presidential candidate. I did not see any females even mentioned for the Republicans when it came time for possible presidential nominees. McCain is also saying that Palin is subject to gender bias in the media, yeah no shit Sherlock. I didn't hear him speaking out when Clinton was viciously attacked by the media and by other candidates. Where was McCain standing up for women earlier in the presidential campaign? Am I supposed to believe that if Clinton had become the presidential nominee or even the VP nominee McCain would not have been launching all kinds of sexist ads and comments toward her? Of course not, he would have been firing as many dirty shots as he could.

The other issue, of course, that keeps coming up is the lack of experience for Palin. Former Governor of Massachusetts Jane Swift is now being quoted as saying that Palin is more prepared to be the president of the U.S. than Obama. And on what planet is this women living? How does six years as the mayor of Wasilla and four years as governor of Alaska give her that much experience? Although Alaska is a large state geographically, it is one of the least populous states and really how do you compare a short span as a governor to the same amount of time working in Washington as a Senator? Where is Palin's foreign policy experience? What is her policy on healthcare, energy, the Iraq War, or Social Security? McCain is not a young man, knowing her views on these issues will most likely become very important.

UPDATE: Sorry I gave Gov. Palin more years as a Governor than I should have. She has had only two years, not four.