Friday, June 30, 2006

Are You A Sociopath?

You Are 44% Sociopath

You're not a sociopath, but you're very prone to antisocial behavior.
Other people's opinions matter little to you. You live your own fringe life - for better or worse.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

How Abnormal Are You?

You Are 64% Abnormal

You are at medium risk for being a psychopath. It is somewhat likely that you have no soul.

You are at medium risk for having a borderline personality. It is somewhat likely that you are a chaotic mess.

You are at medium risk for having a narcissistic personality. It is somewhat likely that you are in love with your own reflection.

You are at high risk for having a social phobia. It is very likely that you feel most comfortable in your mom's basement.

You are at medium risk for obsessive compulsive disorder. It is somewhat likely that you are addicted to hand sanitizer.

Oh my God! I keep a HUGE pump bottle of hand sanitizer by my desk at work! How did they know?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Caveman Could Do It

Okay, I’ve been watching this GEICO commercial for a few months now, and I have to say it -- it bothers me. I’m not sure if they show this commercial in all markets, so this is how it goes:

A GEICO auto insurance spokesman tells the viewers that they can get an insurance quote in as little as 15 minutes by calling GEICO’s toll-free number. He concludes his spiel by laughing and saying, “It’s so easy, a caveman could do it!”

The commercial then cuts to the same spokesman sitting at a table in a fancy restaurant. With him are -- wait for it -- two cavemen. The cavemen are wearing business casual and they speak perfect English. The GEICO shill apologizes to them and says, “We had no idea you guys were still around.”

“Next time do a little research,” says one caveman while the other snorts derisively at GEICO-dude.

The waiter comes to take their order. The caveman who snorted says, “I’ll have the roast duck with the mango salsa,” and the other one looks pointedly at GEICO-dude and says, “No thank you, I don’t have much of an appetite.” The commercial concludes with the GEICO guy looking embarrassed and we’re supposed to feel his pain as he presumably suffers through a meal with these two hostile minority reps.

Someone must like the caveman commercials because this is the third one. There’s one where a caveman is a “grip” working on the set of a GEICO commercial and when the actors drop the “a caveman could do it” line he drops the boom mic he’s holding, shouts, “NOT COOL!” at the director and actors and storms off the set. In another one, two cavemen are at home in front of the TV (are they roommates? Lovers?). They see the GEICO commercial, hear the “a caveman could do it” line and they react with bewildered WTF? expressions and remark, “How condescending.” The restaurant commercial is a sequel to the “roommate” commercial, which isn’t shown anymore.

The problem I have with the GEICO cavemen commercials is that the humor hinges on the viewer agreeing with GEICO that it’s funny when white men disrespect people. The cavemen are a stand-in for everyone who’s not a white man and -- ha ha ha! -- the cavemen should realize that they’re inferior and they shouldn’t be offended when GEICO disses them. But if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a white man treating you like shit, you’ve been the cavemen in this commercial. And maybe you've suspected that this is how you were viewed -- as subhuman. And that’s not funny.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Above the law

From AP:

WASHINGTON - Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record) thought he had a deal when President Bush, faced with a veto-proof margin in Congress, agreed to sign a bill banning the torture of detainees. Not quite. While Bush signed the new law, he also quietly approved another document: a signing statement reserving his right to ignore the law. McCain was furious, and so were other lawmakers.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is opening hearings this week into what has become the White House's favorite tool for overriding Congress in the name of wartime national security.

"It's a challenge to the plain language of the Constitution," the committee's chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa, said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I'm interested to hear from the administration just what research they've done to lead them to the conclusion that they can cherry-pick."

Apparently, enough to challenge more than 750 statutes passed by Congress, far more than any other president, Specter's committee says. The White House does not dispute that number, but points out that Bush is far from the nation's first chief executive to issue them.

Okay, this is scary. He’s officially above the law. Even his own party is worried.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Defensive Driving

I took a defensive driving class yesterday so that I could get a discount on my car insurance. It was six hours of boredom, but you always leave with some interesting tidbits.

The booklet I was given had the following stats about steep DWI penalties:

  • Alaska: Takes away your car.

  • Japan: You lose your license forever.

  • Australia: The names of drunk drivers are printed under the heading “He’s drunk and in jail!” [I assume this is in a newspaper.]

  • Bulgaria: A second conviction results in execution.

  • El Salvador: No second chance. Execution by firing squad.

  • England: $250 fine, one year suspension and one year in jail.

  • France: $1000 fine, one year in jail and license revoked for three years.

  • Malaysia: Jail. If the driver is married, his wife is also jailed.

I like the assumption for the last one that the driver must be male. Or is Malaysia one of those places where women are considered property and they can’t drive?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Could Battlestar Galactica win an Emmy?

From the New York Times:

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the overseer of the annual Emmy Awards for prime-time television, has revamped its procedures in an attempt to spread the wealth of Emmy nominations — if not the actual awards — to a broader array of actors, actresses and shows.

That could result in some overlooked and new titles — like "Gilmore Girls" or "Battlestar Galactica" — making the list of nominees in the top Emmy categories for the first time when this year's nominations are announced on July 6.

In past years, the whittling of the 4,500 entries to 5 nominees in each category was a two-step process. The members of each academy peer group — performers, directors, makeup artists and the like — voted on the eligible shows, with the top five vote-getters in each category being named as nominees. The winner was then chosen by smaller panels of peer-group members.

This year an interim step has been added. The first vote narrows the eligible shows to a list of 10 or 15 potential nominees, and a specially chosen committee then screens and rates an episode of each of those shows, with the ratings used to narrow the list to five nominees. Then a larger panel of peer-group members, numbering from a dozen to several hundred depending on the category, votes to determine the winner.

Because of the academy's adding both a screening and a committee vote to the nomination process, performers and shows that might not have placed high enough in a popular vote get another chance to impress their peers.

The academy has also expanded the peer group that chooses the nominees for best actor and actress, making directors and casting executives, in addition to performers, eligible to vote. That expands by about a third the number of people voting on nominations in the acting categories, Mr. Leverence said.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Micro-Heroes Phenomenon

I don’t know why it took me so long to notice this, but there are cute little icons of comic book and movie/TV characters all over the web. People like to use them for avatars on bulletin boards. When I saw that everyone on one of the boards that I visit was using them, I started to do some research into where all of this came from. As usual, Wikipedia provided the answer (the writing for this entry is surprisingly poor for some reason):

The original versions of these micro-heroes were made by Donar and widely used as graphics for signature files on the message boards at

Originally, they were based on a template from the site of a company marketing an applet which used Java to make similar graphics. Resourceful fans changed the little people that were originally in the animation, and animated them as their favorite super-heroes.

The company, assuming that these creative animators couldn't have made these micro-heroes without their Java program, sent an e-mail to each of the micro-heroes sites threatening them with legal action if the micro-heroes remained on them. The original version of the micro-heroes soon disappeared.

The problems with the company came about, Donar lost interest in making them and moved on to other projects. Before leaving he started the Lilguyz mailing list and Bobster (Robert Bradley) and Torch (Rich Bellacera) came up with a new template.

Now with the inclusion of new creators (of any and every age), the number of micro-heroes created with the new template far exceeds the original version and includes television and film characters, toys and fictional characters, and new micro-heroes sites continue to appear covering many different areas of interest with creators scattered throughout the world.

The images are pretty adorable and they cover many films and comics, but I haven’t seen any Battlestar Galactica ones, which is a surprise.

[Side note: The writing style isn’t always consistent, but why would anyone ever pay for an encyclopedia again now that Wikipedia exists for free? But the danger is that malicious people will hack the shit out of it, put up bad info and kill a good thing.]

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Former Grimsley teammate admits HGH use

From USA today:
Former Major League Baseball player David Segui revealed Sunday that he used human growth hormone during his 15-year career and confirmed that former teammate Jason Grimsley identified him to federal agents as using illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
I find the Jason Grimsley story fascinating. According to his lawyer, the Feds wanted him to wear a wire so that they could get some dirt on Bonds doing performance enhancing drugs (but he didn’t play with Bonds, so that’s a little odd). According to his lawyer he decided not to cooperate so they raided his house and found out he was on human growth hormone. He was a middle of the road pitcher, not a hulking slugger, not a star. This is yet another sign that performance-enhancing drugs must be rampant. There must be scores of guys just like him flying under the radar. These are guys fighting to make the roster, not guys who are trying to break records.

Now that Segui has come forward, I can't wait to see what happens next. Will the other players Jason named in his statement wait to be outed?

The USA Today article would have us believe that he just started taking HGH this year. But let's play "what if". What if someone else hooked him up years ago with HGH and/or other substances. Jason played for a bunch of teams. There are a lot of people he's been in contact with who had unexplained breakout years or who have had careers that lasted (maybe) a little too long. There are also people with addictive personalities (see below). There were the guys that looked a little too big. And there were guys that had fallen off that would've been looking for a way to stay in the game while moving from one team to another, year after year.

I'm wondering if some of the following people may be on his list:

  • '89-'91 Phillies: Lenny Dykstra, Mike Schmidt (blasphemy to some, I know).
  • '93-'95 Indians: Albert Belle, Glenallen Hill, Carlos Baerga, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Sandy Alomar, Eddie Murray, Dave Winfield, Tony Pena, Orel Hershiser, Dennis Martinez. [I would look really closely at the Indians of the mid to late '90's.].
  • '96 Angels: Jim Edmonds, Chili Davis, Troy Percival, Tim Salmon.
[Notice the gap here for '97-'98? He was injured and out of the game. This is when he'd have been really tempted to get juiced so he could get back in.]
  • '99-'00 Yankees: Chili Davis (again), Paul O'Neill (sacrilege!), Shane Spencer, Darryl Strawberry, Roger Clemens, Mike Stanton, Andy Pettitte, Jeff Nelson, Glenallen Hill (again), Roberto Kelly, Dwight Gooden, Chuck Knoblauch.
  • '01-'04 Royals: Carlos Beltran, Jermaine Dye, Chuck Knoblauch (again), Benito Santiago, Juan Gonzalez, Jose Lima, Kevin Appier.
  • '04-'05 Orioles: Rafael Palmiero, Melvin Mora, Miguel Tejada, Sidney Ponson, Sammy Sosa, B.J. Surhoff
  • '06 Diamondbacks: Tony Clark, Luis Gonzalez, Shawn Greene.


Monday, June 19, 2006


On Thursday I went to a Yankees game for the first time since 2001. I stopped going because it got boring to go to the games by myself and have to bond with strangers so that no one would take my seat when I had to go to the restroom.

But anyway, I went.

The first order of business was, how am I going to get there? Ever since I got my first car in 1989, I’ve driven to the games when I go. I used to go to the games with my father and we’d take public transportation. It was fast going, but hellish on the way back as people were stacked three or four deep on the subway platform.

[WARNING: Skip this part if you don’t like to hear about racial profiling or the lack thereof.]

I think parking was about $5 when my father used to take his car back in the 70’s. On Thursday it was $13. That didn’t bother me. I’ve paid way more than that for 1 hour of parking in midtown Manhattan. What did bother me was the young white people openly getting toasted in the parking lot. The reverse side of my parking stub clearly stated “Drinking of alcoholic beverages on sidewalks or in parking lots prohibited. NYC Parks Rules & Regulations A35 56 RCNY 1-05 (F).”

Cops were standing right outside the outdoor parking lot and they could clearly see the tailgating and drinking. Why was it okay for them to get openly plastered? If the parking lot was filled with young black and Hispanic men drinking liquor, wouldn’t they have been arrested? An open container of liquor gives a cop “probably cause” and he can search you, arrest you, give you a summons, etc. This was par for the course under Giuliani, at least in minority neighborhoods. Is this a “Bloomberg is soft on quality of life issues” thing, or is it a case of the cops in general feeling that drunken white youths aren’t a problem?

[End of double standard observations.]

As always, as I approached the park it seemed both larger and smaller than it appears on TV. I entered the gate with about 15 minutes to spare before the first pitch. I picked up a Bud in a plastic bottle. It was $7.75 for a 16 oz. bottle. Later I got a $5 hotdog. Still later I got a hamburger and fries for $12.50. I bought a $40 Yankees shirt for myself and a $30 creeper for baby Orlando. Then I got a Coors light for another $7.75. The ticket itself (Main reserve) was $55. You do the math.

It was worth it, though. The weather was good, not too hot, not too cool. Melky Cabrera hit his first homerun. Bernie hit a homerun. A-rod hit a homerun, but we booed him anyway. And we lost the game to the Indians. I’ve forgotten the score already.

Good times.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Grandfather's Day

A picture of my father and baby Orlando. ;)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Alphabet Meme

Vancouver Voyeur gave me the letter “T.”

The rules are as follows:

  1. Come up with 10 words starting with a letter that either you choose yourself or that someone chooses for you.

  2. These words must be meaningful to you and you must give an explanation of why each word is important to you.

The letter “T.”

  • Talk: I’m not much of a talker. It’s a really great day for me if I can get away with only saying a single sentence like, “I’ll be back.” I vastly prefer to write or send email. I feel I can’t be misinterpreted this way. Naturally, this irritates the shit out of many (probably most) people.

  • Think: I’m always thinking. I hardly ever do anything impulsive. If it looks impulsive to an outside party, it’s really a calculated risk on my part.

  • Time: Having a child at age 40 has made me very obsessed with time. When did he last eat? When was his last bowel movement? When is his next doctor’s appointment? Will I be able to leave work at a decent hour when I go back to work? How many hours is he sleeping? How many hours of sleep does my 71-year-old mother need to function? Will my mother be alive to see her grandson graduate from college, or even high school? Will I?

  • Tip: As in “tip the scales.” I so need to lose weight.

  • Tired: I get bored with things really quickly nowadays. It’s very disturbing.

  • Touch: Oh my God, I HATE when acquaintances freaking touch me. ARRGH! It’s so irritating. Keep your hands to yourself. Say what you gotta say. Don’t paw at me.

  • Tough: I’m from Brooklyn. Don’t start.

  • Trial: As in “trial and error.” I like to try new things. I’m not afraid to make mistakes, as long as no one knows about it. ;)

  • Tune: As in “tune out.” I have a tendency to ignore things and ignore people if I find them incomprehensible or difficult.

  • Turn: I don’t wait my turn. I’ll skip you if you hesitate, and I usually don’t notice until after. Oops. That’s, like, an only child thing. Orlando will probably do that too.

If you would like to play the game leave a message in the comments and I will respond in the comments with your letter.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Putting Star Wars to the MythBusters Test

For anyone who’s ever pondered the science of Star Wars, there’s an article on the official Star Wars site in which the MythBusters guys from Discovery channel tackle the following questions:

Can you survive overnight in a blizzard by gutting a dead animal and getting into its carcass?
"It would have to be a pretty big animal, but have you ever smelled the insides of a dead animal?" Belleci asks. "I think I'd rather freeze to death."

Can electricity make your skeleton visible from the outside?
"Only if you have a sufficient midi-chlorian concentration," Imahara smiles. "I'm convinced they're bioluminescent."
"I wish!" Savage says. "But I think you need a bit of the Force as well --preferably the dark side."

Could you drive a Podracer at 900 mph or more without a windshield or face mask?
"No way would that be possible!" Savage says.
"Just don't spit," Belleci jokes.

Could you pilot a submarine through a planet's core?
"If it were possible to have a water core at the center of a planet, then perhaps, but the pressures would be significant," Imahara explains. "That would have to be some submarine."
"Would the inside of a planet be water?" Savage asks. "I don't think so."

Could you survive a 50-foot fall into a snow bank like Luke Skywalker did?
"It's plausible, depending on the exact conditions," Imahara explains. "You could survive, but you'd be pretty badly hurt. Let's just say you probably wouldn't be jumping up on a tauntaun and riding to the next outpost, if you know what I mean."
"Actually, a couple of people have survived falls from thousands of feet into snow banks," Savage says. "So, yes."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Orlando: Owww!

I had my 2 month wellness visit today and I got four shots!


The doctor also kept pulling me around, as you can see in my picture. :(

I’m very sleepy, but at least I haven’t gotten a fever. Mommy is cuddling me, so I feel better.

I weigh 12 lbs, 1 oz. and I'm 22-1/2" long now.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Vaccination Dilemma

I’m nervous about the vaccinations Orlando is supposed to receive at his two month wellness visit. On Tuesday he’s supposed to get a bunch of shots -- DTaP, Hib, Polio (IPV) and Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. I was disturbed that the brochures handed out to me by the pediatrician had a phone number and website for the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, just in case Orlando is one of the unlucky ones that gets permanently hosed by the shots. It’s great to have that info upfront, but it makes it seem like the incidence of mishaps may be increasing.

I was vaccinated for just about everything. I was vaccinated as a child, vaccinated again for college despite showing evidence that I’d gotten all my shots, then vaccinated yet AGAIN when I entered the Army, ‘cause they don’t care what you say.

Despite the amount of drugs injected in me (smallpox and Anthrax shots too, by the way), I’m obviously not dead. And, naturally, I don’t want to be the asshole whose child gets sick from a totally preventable disease like Mumps. Still, I’m very concerned about the growing anecdotal evidence that the rising rate of children diagnosed with autism (it’s now 1 in 166) may be linked to the vaccines that are being given to American children. This link is refuted on the CDC’s site, of course.

I must say that after reading what the CDC had to say on the subject my hesitancy about vaccinating is mostly gone...

Anyway, if there’s anyone out there reading my blog that vaccinated their child on a different schedule than the one recommended by the CDC, or had their pediatrician “un bundle” the vaccines, please leave a comment on my blog and tell me about the experience.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Modeling Scam

I received a letter in the mail from “Ad Kids,” a personal management firm that claims it can help my son find work in print ads and television commercials. I was all set to try this (‘cause he’s really cute), but I decided to Google them and find out if they’re legit.

They’re not, of course.

I found major dirt on them at It turns out that Ad Kids is connected to, another agency notorious for scams. Ad Kids will interview the parents, ask for $595 upfront to sign the child to a five-year contract, then they never get a call back. I found other complaints about the company at and I now know that I should never pay upfront for an agent, photos, etc.

Oh, by the way, a child abuser is somehow connected to Ad Kids. Great.

Thank God for Google!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Redneck Birthday Party

I guess this is cute...

No, fuck it. Who am I kidding? This is scary.

I clicked on a Google ad on one of the Star Wars sites I visit and it took me to Birthday Express, a site where you can buy party accessories, primarily for kids’ parties. They have the typical stuff you’d expect like Dora the Explorer, X-Men, Disney Princesses, etc.

Then there’s the John Deere theme.

John Deere!

I know little kids like trucks and shit, but, honestly, what kind of kid would choose a John Deere theme for his birthday party? That screams redneck. Look, you can even get a tractor piñata! And there’s a DVD for kids featuring all of their products in action.


I know it's all about product placement, but this is too blatant. Imagine a Toyota-themed party for your baby. Or Black & Decker. Ick.

The only thing worse than this is the Special Forces theme where you give all the little kids camouflage and the little green army men. And you buy a tank piñata.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I have to go back to work!

My maternity leave is coming to an end all too soon. I have to go back to work on July 6.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Daniel in the lion's den... Not

From Reuters:

KIEV - A man shouting that God would keep him safe was mauled to death by a lioness in Kiev zoo after he crept into the animal's enclosure, a zoo official said on Monday.

"The man shouted 'God will save me, if he exists', lowered himself by a rope into the enclosure, took his shoes off and went up to the lions," the official said.

"A lioness went straight for him, knocked him down and severed his carotid artery."

The incident, Sunday evening when the zoo was packed with visitors, was the first of its kind at the attraction. Lions and tigers are kept in an "animal island" protected by thick concrete blocks.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Orlando's Baptism

Orlando was baptised on Sunday. It was his first time in church and he did very well. He didn't cry, even when the priest dumped about a gallon of water on his head and roughly rubbed his hair like he wanted to cause brain damage.

He was very calm. He was mostly interested in the stained glass windows. After the mass we had a little party for him at my aunt's house. He was not interested in taking a nap there, so he slept pretty well last night.

I was going to upload an image of him, but Blogger is messing up a lot today.

EDIT: Finally got the picture posted!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

500th post

This is my 500th post!

Time sure flies. I really need to redesign this blog. A few months ago I mentioned that I was going to migrate to WordPress, but I never got around to it, mostly because it’s a daunting task to migrate everything and I didn’t have any great ideas about what I wanted the new site to look like.

I found some nice templates today by accident. I liked the look of a site linked to the Catholic Ragemonkey site mentioned by Nicole in her comment on yesterday’s post and that led me here.

I may go with this one if I make the move to WordPress.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Goth-O-Matic Poetry Generator

For the tortured souls who aren’t creative enough to express their angst without outside help I present The Goth-O-Matic Poetry Generator!

Here’s my poem:

Alone in Darkness

The night falls in a heavy, suffocating cloak, cold and alone are we.
The light for which you sacrifice yourself
Flares once, then dies,
Crushed by the all-encompassing dark.
All hope must surely perish.

Your heart desires no more.
How could you cause such hurt?
Shadows surround us, crying,
We are fallen.

Boo hoo! Didn’t that make you cry?

Thursday, June 01, 2006