Tonight’s score:

* Political surveys or recorded advertising calls : 3
* Trick-or-treaters : 2

I suppose it doesn’t help that it’s about 35 degrees and pouring rain. But still, to have more of those idiotic recorded messages (“Hi, this is Governor Owens…”) than kids looking for handouts is truly sad.


Last night we all went to a Harry Potter theme Halloween party. Imagine a room full of people dressed mostly in black (since everyone at Hogwarts wears black in some form) with about half a dozen little Harrys running around… what a riot.

Both Kyra and Alex had their names drawn in a contest, and they were rewarded with prizes from a big pile of unbelievable toys. As a parent I could only smile with pride as they both picked… eyeball whoopie cushions.

That’s right, kids, the fun never stops when you have a little farting eyeball to drop on the chairs of unsuspecting guests! The kids thought it was an absolute gas (ha ha) but unfortunately the craftsmanship wasn’t up to the challenge, because as they continued to “test” them by literally jumping on them, each of the poor eyeballs blew a hole.

Too bad, because you never know when you need a farting eyeball…


The other night we had a pumpkin-carving party with our friends the Larsens. Of course we brought The Great Pumpkin over to their place, although it involved a wheelbarrow because it was simply too heavy to carry three blocks.

When I sliced into that puppy I learned that the skin was almost six inches thick in some places. Yikes. Needless to say it was quite a job to carve, but I carried on the tradition of doing a standard set of triangle eyes and nose, with a three-tooth mouth. It may not be exciting, but it’s a “classic”.

After we’d wheeled it back home, where it continues to dominate the front porch, it certainly dwarfs the other “standard” jack-o-lanterns we have.


Did you know that some decent paying jobs in the medical field can be had with as little as three months training?  The medical industry is one of the most stable and rapidly growing businesses in the country.  Check out this opportunity to start a new career!

That was a spam that caught my eye (subject: “You can be a doctor!”). I guess I’m in the wrong field…


The Department of Homeland Security took a few minutes from its busy schedule of oppressing innocent airline travelers to combat a problem that has been plaguing America for centuries. With decisive action, they marched into Pufferbelly Toys (yes, that’s it’s real name) in rural Oregon and demanded that the owner remove the Magic Cubes from the store shelves.

“What are Magic Cubes?” you may ask. Indeed, they are sinister objects that will probably bring about the destruction of Western civilization– at least in the eyes of our friends at the Department. In fact they are knock-offs of the world’s most popular toy, the Rubik’s Cube. But according to the two Homeland Security agents who confronted the owner of Pufferbelly Toys, they were in violation of the Rubik’s Cube patent and therefore a threat to national security or something.

The owner complied with the request, the agents left, and she called the makers of the Magic Cube to explain the situation. They assured her that the Rubik’s Cube patent had expired several years earlier, and therefore the Magic Cube was not in violation and could certainly be sold. She promptly returned the items to the shelf for sale.

One might think the Department would sort of laugh off this incident as an over-zealous attempt to rid the world of evil, but oh no— Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for Homeland Security, said this:

“One of the things that our agency is responsible for doing is protecting the integrity of the economy and our nation’s financial systems and obviously trademark infringement does have significant economic implications.”

Aboslutely deadpan.

So there you have it. The Fed is pouring billions of dollars into the Department in hopes of safeguarding Americans from terrorist activity, and now we learn they’re going around enforcing trademark infringement (which, best of all, turned out to be completely false anyway… thanks for doing your homework, guys!).

What a bunch of idiots.


From a collection of 2004’s Scariest Halloween Costumes comes this gem– the protester from the Republican National Convention who is corralled by New York City’s finest for daring to show up and condemn Bush.

As a side note, Bush must be very proud because today he was awarded the Scariest Film Villian of the Year, narrowly edging out contenders like Gollum. Go George!


Seen on Slashdot:

“In a stunning admission that post Ptolemaic science may in fact be an acceptable realm of study, the Vatican announced today that it is entirely plausible that gravity, in fact, exists. This reverses nearly two thousand years of Christian theology which until now had answered such questions with ‘God says so, case closed, now go home and make more Catholics.'”


I was reading some riotously funny 419 reverse-scam stories today, and realized I haven’t gotten any of the classic 419 e-mail messages for a long time now. No more “PLEASE TO HELP ME DEPOSIT SUM OF $33,500,000 THIRTY-THREE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS U.S.” requests, no more widows of poor Central African diplomats, no more government coups leaving hundreds of millions of unclaimed reconstruction projects.

Funny how when the spam filters are working, you sort of miss the cheesy old-fashioned entertainment spam.

Naturally I still see some now and again about how I can refinance a quarter-million-dollar loan for $200 a month (on what, a 120-year repayment plan?) or enhance my, ahem, manliness and girth. But those aren’t nearly as funny.


I’m so proud of my new homemade bumper sticker.


Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian candidate for president, was responding to questions and said this beautiful quote:

If the current leadership continues in power, they’ll continue their efforts to snuff out what remains of American freedom in the name of national security, health security, job security, [and] social security.


The phone just rang, and Alex ran to answer it. He listened for a minute and then hung it up. A little confused, I asked him who it was.

“It was some recording telling me to vote for George W. Bush.”
“So, are you going to vote for George W. Bush?”
“Nope, I’m going to vote for John Kerry.”
“Because he has a canary named Sunshine.”

The Kerry campaign would be thrilled to know they’ve got another seven-year-old voter on their rolls.


There’s little doubt that I’ve become terribly cynical about our entire system of government when I see quotes like the one below, and agree wholeheartedly with them.

“Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.”

— George Bernard Shaw


We finally picked The Great Pumpkin and put it on the front porch with our other (normal) pumpkins.

The pumpkin weighs almost 90 pounds, and I’m sure it’s going to be a hoot to carve…


“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”

— Carl Sagan


It’s so much fun getting the mail these days. As we enter the final few weeks of the election campaigns, it seems like every day the pile of idiotic political flyers increases. Most of them don’t even have any real content; they just have pictures of cute smiling kids and say things like “Vote for Stan Yarby… because his opponent is a loser who wants to put these kids on an express train to Siberia.” No mention of issues, no sir! It’s just a contest to see who can fling the most last-minute mud.

With that in mind, I decided to make a couple of political postcards myself. I figure they’re even more to the point, and would probably influence the voters who actually read these things.


“The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.”

— David Friedman


Today I received my copy of “You Never Know”, a CD released by my friend Annelise LeCheminant. She’s been working on her music for years, and finally went out, hired a producer and some studio time, and recorded an album. She started her own record label to distribute it and manage concert bookings, and suddenly she’s in showtime!

The album is fabulous, and perhaps it’s even cooler because she’s a friend and she’s on her way to the “big time”. When she hits platinum (perish the thought!) I’ll be able to brag to my friends that I knew her before her name was a household word.

Go ahead and buy a copy from her web site. It’s all fruity goodness.


From the “If I Was President” department…


I just caught a link to costofwar.com, which is a site that “tracks” the cost of the conflict in Iraq and offers various tidbits of wisdom and information. It also has a comparison function that lets you see what could have happened if the money for the war ($140 billion at the time of this writing) had instead been used for, say, public education. Nearly three million teachers could have been hired; seven million four-year college scholarships could have been offered. Since the school Alex and Kyra attend just had its science program slashed (again), I’m particularly sensitive to the waste of government money on programs that don’t truly serve the public good.

A thought-provoking quote that sums up the mission of the site:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

— President Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953


“You cannot make a man by standing a sheep on its hind legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position you can make a crowd of men.”

— Max Beerbohm