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Wednesday, December 31, 2003


Dying on December 31st has always been one of my big fears. (Dying the day before my birthday or in a completely humiliating way, a la, falling airplane waste crushing me to death are the others.)

The not-at-all-appropriately-named Dailywire :) expounds on this subject a bit more, here, but when you die on December 31st, it's too late to get in the montages for the year in which you die, but no one is going to put you in the montages for the new year because it happened so long ago and in the wrong year.

Embarrassment of Riches

Ladies and gentlemen of the blogoshere, I present to you…. Da da da daaaa….Flex-dollar Spending Woman.

Due to some severe miscalculations and unforeseen assignments, I was left with $852 in my flexible spending account as of December 18. For those of you unfamiliar with this program, basically the federal government lets you pick a number, any number and then allows you to spend that amount, tax free, for medical expenses--- but any amount leftover at the end of the year goes to Uncle Sam. A Brewster’s millions scenario but over 365 days.

Now last year, I blew through my flex spending account by mid-April. I bid too low and ended up paying the price with after-tax bucks. No good. So last December, determined not to make the same mistake I bid twice as much!

That would have been fine, except I ended up assigned to two, nay, three hellish cases and was unable to schedule a planned surgery or visit the many exotic doctors that I circled in my Provider book ( seriously, what is the difference between an opthamologist and an optometrist?)

And so, on December 18, I faced the daunting task of spending more than 800 dollars on medical services without suffering through any painful procedures.
God bless my friends and their many suggestions:
“Laser-Eye surgery!”
“Ooh, buy up contact lens solution and sell it half price on the streets.”

Given the many holidays smack dab in the middle of my 13 day medical marathon, there were many who said it couldn’t be done.
“It can’t be done,” they’d say.

And certainly this was no task for any mere mortal…. But for “Flex-dollar Spending Woman,” no problem.

That’s right, mild-mannered Dawn Summers blogs by night, but by day --- she gets expensive, relatively painfree medical services.

Day 1: I went to the dentist for x-rays, got a teeth cleaning with the oral hygenist, visited the optometrist and bought a pair of glasses: $10
Damn managed care.

Day 2: I went to the pulmonary specialist for refills on my asthma medicine. She said I was progressing wonderfully from my near-fatal relapse in 2002, and cut me back to one inhaler.
Good news, but I was banking on her for at least four prescriptions… however, she did recommend I follow-up with an allergist, hooray!

I called the allergist to set up an appointment for the next day, but they would not see new patients during the last two weeks of December. Not realizing she was dealing with a bona fide superhero, the secretary kept hawking some dates in January.
Finally, she relented and said if I could get to the office in the next hour, the doctor would see me.
Fifteen minutes later, I was in the waiting room filling out the new patient forms. He was good for the co-pay, but then decided to give me samples of the medicine instead of prescriptions to “see how I reacted” blah blah blah…

All in all I spent $65, but I managed to score a return appointment with the allergist for the following week, being a brand-spanking, shiny return patient and all.

Day 3: I had a session for deep-tissue muscle, back, neck and thigh therapy.
Gotta love the Swedes: $75

Days 4 and 5 were unproductive weekends, lousy no-goodnik doctors. Why don’t they work on weekends??? People get sick on weekends. People die on weekends. People need to spend flex dollars on weekends.
I was feeling pretty discouraged now. Suddenly that whole “buy lots of contact lens fluid and sell it on the street” idea didn’t seem so crazy.

Day 7: Returned to the allergist. He recommended HEPA filters for my apartment, gave me a painful allergy test L and wrote TWO prescriptions!!!
The cost: $588

I then took a big gamble, I made a New Year’s Eve appointment to return to the dentist to repair a couple of fillings. If all went as planned, I would spend all the money on the last possible day --- but since I was waiting until the last day of the year, if anything went wrong, I would forfeit more than 100 dollars.

The big day arrived! Today…. would Uncle Sam beat me? I showed up for my dental appointment 3 minutes early… ten minutes later I was in the chair. Mouth-washed and bibbed up… here he comes.
“Sally, bring me the flaxalator… the saw-y thing”
Gulp. Saw-y thing? Who is this guy? Did he say ‘saw?’ Hmmm… Uncle Sam could actually use that hundred bucks for …
“You know, Dawn… this is going to be tricky. The way the previous filling is set-up, I would have to…. Blah blah blah bloopie, bloopie, bloopie … so I would just leave it alone until it’s bothering you.”
I rip off the bib (sweaty, knuckled fists of fear beat paper everytime!) Leap out of the chair and head for the exit.
The elevator ride down was very calming, but, as I left the building I felt defeated, cheated, bitter.
Gray Davis, I hardly knew ye.
As I headed to the subway station, I realized I wasn’t very far from the eyeglasses shop I visited on Day 1.
Credit card in hand, I rushed over to the shop and surprise! They were open on New Year’s Eve.
“Hi, I was in here last week, to buy a pair of glasses. I got a pair that my vision insurance pays for, but would it be possible to buy another pair or prescription sunglasses? Maybe something in Gucci or Burberry?”
Now, I would be lying if I said the saleslady’s eyes, spun round in her head like a Vegas slot machine and changed into flashing dollar signs --- but dude: cha-ching!
For the next twenty minutes I was trying on frames and getting oohed and ahhhed by the fantastic salesteam at Fulton Street Eyewear, until I finally settled on a pair for 150 bucks!

Sure, I spent twenty bucks more than I had left in the account, but take that, Uncle Sam.

Now, for the moment in the dance of jubilant excess, where I wonder who really benefits from this “use or lose it” flexible spending plan. And give a shout out to all the starving children in China and Appalachia who do not have Hepa filters at all.


Tuesday, December 30, 2003

President, Hillary most admired

Hee hee "President Hillary"

My question:
who are the people responding to this poll?

Monday, December 29, 2003

Enough said.

I post this without comment. If you are a lawyer, were a lawyer, want to be a lawyer, know a lawyer, watch lawyer shows on tv go read it.

Good News for I. P. Freely

Paris Hilton is now the Number 1 fake name for pizza deliveries.

Sunday, December 28, 2003


In October, Laura Bush addressed an audience at the National Book Festival gala. In the speech, the first lady claimed that although she wouldn't usually share something "so personal," she would share with the crowd a poem written for her by President Bush. The poem:
was widely reported in the media. Of course, what wasn't mentioned was that the President didn't write the poem at all.
On Meet Press today, Laura said that although he didn't write the poem that she said he did, "a lot of people really believed that he did," she said. "Some woman from across the table said, `You just don't know how great it is to have a husband who would write a poem for you.' "

Mrs. Bush laughed as she recounted the story to Tim Russert.
I laughed too.
How amusing that people continue to believe anything that these people say.

Hysterical in fact.

Saturday, December 27, 2003


The NYT thinks so.

"The two are sons of established blueblood families dominated by powerful fathers. They attended top prep schools and Yale. And they settled far from traditional power enclaves, reinventing themselves as archetypes of their chosen new homes, President Bush in swaggering Texas and Dr. Dean in outdoorsy Vermont.

They were known for hard-partying, hard-drinking in their youths, but those days ended when they simply gave up alcohol as adults. Each man's character was shaped by the loss of a sibling: for the president, a sister who died of leukemia at age 3; for Dr. Dean, a younger brother who disappeared in 1974 in Laos while on an around-the-world trip.

And although each has a distinct political style, as governors they developed reputations for carefully bridging the political divide between liberals and conservatives, a skill that has thus far eluded them on the national stage.

Other, deeper similarities are apparent only to those who have spent significant time with each man: temperaments prone to irritation; political skills that play better in small groups than on television; rock-solid confidence in their own decisions.

In addition, each man is seen as being his own worst enemy on the campaign trail, President Bush for mangling his English and fumbling answers, Dr. Dean for creating unnecessary crises by speaking his mind too swiftly."

I think Gephardt is behind this, first they accuse Dean of racism, then weak foreign policy skills, now this... for shame...what next? Baby eating?


It worked for the black-out, ey. So why not mad cow, ey?

Friday, December 26, 2003

Scrooge This

I love the holidays.

Each year, I inevitably discover one more irritating act to add to my thank-goodness-for-gun-purchasing-waiting-periods list.

For instance:

Thanksgiving ’82 realized I really don’t like my perfectly nice three-syllable name shortened to a mono-syllabic half sneeze or made into a two syllable nursery rhyme a la “Dawnie.” And I still don't care whether or not I hurt "Grandma Hall's" feelings when I poured my milk on her cranberry sauce after she called me that for the third time.

Christmas ’84 discovered I hate when I get into trouble because someone ignored my advice.
I repeatedly warned my ten-year-old cousin Alex that our four and a half year-old cousin Jon was too little to ride our two wheeler, down suicide hill in the dark of night. (Oh my gosh, I used all the 'to' homonyms, correctly, in that sentence! Ms. Cattell would be so proud. )

Does he listen?
“C’mon he’s almost five. When I was five I could do the hill backwards on one wheel.” I believe was his cogent retort.
Of course, Jon ends up pinned beneath a now-dented Huffy, with two scraped knees and a gash in his forehead on Christmas Eve.
Alex and I then get grounded for the next three days.
(Contract this scenario with others getting into trouble because they ignore my advice, which actually amuses me. Like when my best friend parks in front of a movie theater at 6:45, in a parking spot that isn’t legal until 7 p.m., despite my protestations that we wait fifteen minutes. Of course, when we got of Jurassic Park two and a half hours later, the car had been towed by the lovely NYC Department of Transportation.)

Thanksgiving ’89 my favorite radio station decided to play all “holiday songs” starting on Thanksgiving day through Boxing Day. Realized I hate all “holiday songs” (Notable exceptions are the Adam Sandler Hanukkah song (only the first one) and that Snoopy and the Red Baron song.)

Christmas ’91 I had my first family dinner where all my aunts, cousins, mom’s close friends and their children were in attendance. Realization: I hate them all. Self-explanatory.

Christmas ’93 my friends got their early acceptance letters and decided they wouldn’t tell me because it would hurt my feelings since I hadn’t gotten accepted yet. I found out and ever since I am highly annoyed when people try to protect me from their good news.
I hate pity. Besides, I got my acceptance letter the next day, so there.

New Year’s ’95 stood in Times Square for four hours waiting for the ball to drop. Gave up at 11:31 p.m. due to frost-bite, exhaustion and hunger. It occurs to me quitting is a perfectly acceptable option and screw anyone who says otherwise.

New Year’s ’00 decided to try parasailing with some small boat company in Negril, Jamaica.
As I was strapped into my harnass, all my days in tort liability/personal injury class came flooding back --- causing immediate panic and non-stop screaming. Realized I do not like people telling me to ‘calm down’ when death is clearly imminent.

Christmas ’03 --- realized I hate people who tap my car window with their rings. Now, I don’t know how else you are supposed to get the attention of a driver who has the windows rolled up and is loudly singing the Evita soundtrack--- but there has got to be a better way than rapping a 5 pound gold ring in rapid succession on my newly washed, finally paid for driver-side window.

Bah humbug.

Thursday, December 25, 2003


Go, Jesus, it's your birthday.

Go, Jesus, it's your birthday. We gonna party like it's your birthday. We gonna sip Bacardi like it's yo birthday, and you know we don't give a f--- it's not your birthday.

Hmmm...apologies to 50 cent are probably in order.... and to Jesus.

Definitely apologies to Jesus.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Nancy Pants

A couple of nights ago I watched the Showtime biopic, "The Reagans." A couple of things jumped out at me, right away ---
First: Judy Davis is an amazing television actress. Lifetime should immdiately sign her to a multi-movie deal for any number of their women in distress movies of the week, especially since Nancy McKeon is now otherwise gainfully employed.

Second: Boring, boring, boring. There's just no pop to the film in the beginning...it's a big snoozer -- couldn't they show him on dates with Shirley Temple or on the set of his movies...ooh and a cameo by Jane Wyman would have been priceless!

Third: The Reagans were absolutely awful parents. There's this scene where Michael Reagan comes to visit and Nancy's two children just stare at him in disbelief. Nancy, then goes to Ronnie and says "You should talk to them, Patti is positively ashen." Ronnie replies "Mommy, you're better at this kind of thing than I am."
Nancy then cooly saunters over to young Patti and says "That's your brother and his sister Maureen is your sister."
I was in hysterics. Imagine what Dr. Phil would say...
Yesterday, I read the People magazine article about the present-day Reagans and how they struggle with the former President's illness. Patti has a piece in the magazine about how she and her mother have reconciled ever since the death of her half-sister Maureen. At the end she adds that she and her mother read the script for "The Reagans" before the movie's release and her mother commented "I'm sorry for the way you were portrayed." Now, I know Patti takes this as a kind gesture from her mother, but having just finished the near-three hour flick, I have to say --- the only person that came off really badly was Al Haig and Nancy Reagan.
Sure Patti is shown doing drugs, but who could blame her???
Nancy is the one that is painted as an egotistical, controlling, wacked-out, prima dona --- so unless there were substantial edits to the script the only person that should be pitied is Nancy.

Well, and maybe Ron for that inexplicable 20 seconds when his 8 year old self is shown prancing around the Governor's residence.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Free Lenny

OK, so he's dead, but still...this is good news.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Why Do We Hate Them?

Listening to the news last night was a veritable color coded roadmap to hysteria. We're at orange again.
Basically, that means we are supposed to live our lives while glancing over our shoulders every once in a while.

Tom Ridge suggested that an attack may come around Christmas.


Now, I'm too young to remember it first-hand, but I remember tapes of Walter Cronkite saying:

"Goodnight, it's Christmas Eve, it's seven o'clock and there's peace in the world. Don't know if there'll be peace in the world tomorrow night but we know, tonight, Christmas Eve, there's peace in the world."

Christmas was the big annual time-out. Those were the rules of engagement.

Sadly, the rules have changed, the world has changed, now my friends have changed.

I read once that change is one thing, change for the better is another.

Here's hoping for the latter.

Coffee Tawk

Parcells leads his fourth team into the playoffs, is he the Pat Riley of football? Discuss amongst yourself.

John Carney... Is he the Bill Buckner of football or Scott Norwood of the 21st century? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Sunday, December 21, 2003


At one time or another, all my close friends have gotten the following call from me:

"Hey, I'm walking through a desolate area. I'm going to keep talking to you until I get to safety, if you hear the cell clatter to the floor or my muffled screaming, call 911."

or this one:

"You know, we should probably have some kind of codeword, so that if we are ever kidnapped and replaced with doubles, we can tell which is the real one of us. I was thinking "Shreveport." (Don't worry, I'm changing it now.)

Recently, I had conversation number one, with an old acquaintance and let's just say it was less successful than I had anticipated.
After repeating my location and describing my outfit, I did the quick quiz:
"OK, so where am I again?"
"Umm... Brooklyn?"
"Yes, but where specifically?"
"Ummm...hold on...(laughter)"
"What's so funny? Hello? Life and death here."
"No, right -- My boyfriend is wearing lights on his head and dancing around without pants. (more laughter)"

I waited a few minutes for the hysterics on the other end to subside and repeated my location and attire.

"Albany and Prospect. Red jacket, pink sneakers," she finally repeated.

Phew. Suddenly, a group of ten teenagers came pouring out of a local bodega... I ducked into a stairway and hid behind the stairs. They were shouting obscenities at once another (best I can tell, the feud was about some kind of incestous relationship between a cat and its mother)

I stayed very quiet, and could hear my friend saying "hello? hello?" over and over on the other end of the phone.
Finally, when they moved a little further up the block, I replied "All clear, I'm ok."

Now she really starts laughing.
"Tell him to stop that dancing around."
"No, that's not why I'm laughing."
"Then, what?"
"Well, I heard lots of yelling and you didn't answer when I kept saying hello...but I still didn't call the police."
Hmm... she had a point
"Well, why didn't you call the police?"
"I don't know. But I'm glad I didn't"
"But I could have been dead."
"Well, you're not."
I fired her (or she quit) and decided the boyfriend would be better suited for the all important job of 911 caller.
I was wrong.
"I'm still alive."
"Good. But [Dawn], if the situation changes and you are not still alive. I want you to call immediately."

Saturday, December 20, 2003

When will this end?

Can the press please stop encouraging him? I've got dinner riding on his quitting soon.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Public Library Blogging

Now, for the non-insane post of the day. I grew up on a block with a public library. I've never been sure if I became an egghead because I spent so much time here or if I spent so much time here because I was an egghead.
Your modern-day chicken conundrum.
Over the years the library went from my free babysitter, to the place I could check e-mail when I came home from college, to the place I borrowed videos from when I was broke in law school.
Now, it's where I blog!

I love watching people use computers in the library. The users run the gamut from high schoolers writing their college essays to old ladies making cards for the grandchildren. Yesterday, I sat next to an actor who started punching the monitor when he received an e-mail telling him he didn't get a part (in the library other people's screens are in the public domain.) He was escorted out by the library security guard after three blows...I've helped people write cover letters and showed an old man how to close out of word.
"X marks the spot!" He laughed and said he could remember that.

The library is fun, cool and free.
Uh oh...something tells me the egghead question is not as hazy as it once appeared.


When is HBO going to release the second season of Six Feet Under?
I want it, I need it, I.... arrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Now, give me back my year and a half

Padilla ordered released from military custody.

"In a setback to the Bush administration's anti-terrorism policies, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the president does not have the power to detain an American citizen seized on U.S. soil as an enemy combatant."

Muchas Gracias a Justice!!!

Lately the New York local newscasts have taken to playing a recorded "thank you to *insert sponsor* for paying for the Spanish translation of the broadcast."
A typical one would go "Muchas Gracias a Dodge Motors for sponsoring tonight's S.A.P. broadcast."
Since I learn everything from TV, I would like to say: Muchas Gracias a long-time reader and one-time commenter, Justice, for the Amazon gifts. I was "shocked and totally awed", by the presents and the note; it kicked started my holiday season.
I can't wait to see if they'll find Nemo or not! :-)


Hasta La Vista, Baby.

In a move that shocked some alumni, Dean David W. Leebron announced that he was leaving CLS to become President of Rice University.

Dean since 1997, Leebron had been a polarizing force on the law school campus, early in his tenure. After ending school-wide e-mails and approving merit-based scholarships, reversing CLS's tradition of funding only need-based scholarships, he endured much criticism from the acclaimed Columbia Law School News.

Leebron also oversaw the renovation of CLS's infrastructure and an increase in the school's endowment.

"I have been appointed President of Rice University effective July 2004. I am excited by this new opportunity, but sad that I will be leaving
Columbia, which has been my home for the past 15 years. We have achieved an enormous amount during these years. Our recruitment of
dynamic and accomplished scholars from across the nation (and indeed
the world) has been extraordinary, with eight new faculty joining us in the
past year alone," Leebron wrote in a letter to alumni.

"I can't believe it. I wish I could write the article about this," said a former Law School News staff person.

No replacement for Leebron has been announced.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Dude! Unsportsman Schunsportsman

30,000 bucks?

The NYT reports:

"New Orleans Saints receiver Joe Horn was fined $30,000 by the NFL on Tuesday for making a choreographed cell-phone call in the end zone to celebrate a touchdown.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed the amount of the fine. Horn's agent, Ralph Vitolo, said the player will appeal.

Fining him is one thing, but to me that's very excessive. This is not a murder case, Vitolo said."

Can you hear me now?

My dollar, my dream

Yes, I play the lottery.
I play it anytime the payout goes above 70 million dollars. AND THEN... I play it a lot!
Kashei mocks me, of course (she is very, very mean) and my friends from college call it the "stupid tax," as in a tax on the stupid. The lovely lefties call it the "poor tax."

But the lottery, to me, is none of those things. It's (thankfully) just a game. Not just the number picking and ticket checking, but the daydreaming about what I'd do with the money (a month long stay in Canyon Ranch tops the list!) or where'd I go (or where I'd tell the mean bossman to go.) It's an exercise in hope and promise with just a little bit of superstition rolled in. For a little while I imagine me as my best self, free of the worry and uncertainity of a wall street professional with a crap load of debt in a sputtering economy who lives with her mom just west of the ghetto.
So, although Yolanda Vega may not call out my numbers on TV during the news, I still win everytime I play.
That.... or I'm an addict in denial.
No, I'm not.

I wonder if they sell stock in Diane Sawyer?

Last night's interview with El Presidente was awesome! I thought Bush did well and came off very humble and presidential (I know, I know), but Sawyer was relentless and did some good work cornering Bush on the disclosed intelligence leading up to the war. (It reminded me of Gary Condit's "I can't answer that out of respect for the Levy family" response, except Diane has a better sense of when to move on than Connie Chung.)

Oooh and how great was the look Laura Bush gave him on the "bring them on" comment?

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Any lawyers out there know?

What was the age of consent in South Carolina in 1925?

Sometimes I wish...

Democrats would stop being such nice guys


I will be blogging lightly today. I'm about to go on vacation and I haven't started my Christmas shopping, finished writing that brief point, or finished reviewing 2/3 boxes. I'm screwed, screwed, screwed. Anyway, by way of news: The wizbang poll is over; Clareified lost, lost, lost. :-(
Now, I've got to buy bottles of alcohol and a robot for gifts. See ya tomorrow.

Monday, December 15, 2003

$20,000 bonuses? Brings tears to your eyes...

It's all a matter of perspective.

The Liberal Media my arse or Reason #719 that I despise Katie Couric

"Bottom line General, Is Iraq better off with Saddam Hussein in power or in a jail cell?"

In an interview with General Wesley Clark (D?) this morning.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

It's the eleventh day of Christmas

How about voting for Clareified , instead of the traditional turtledoves?

Or, contributing to the economic recovery, one present for Clareified, at a time?

I'm wondering...

Where Lileks, Taranto and Kashei stand...

Now that the shoe is on the other foot?

I'm Proud to be an American...

As you've all, no doubt, heard by now, American forces (er... I mean Coalition forces) captured Saddam Hussein in a mudhole outside his hometown of Tikrit. What strikes me the most about the operation though, is that these units had orders to kill or capture Saddam. There were loaded guns found with him, but without firing any shots, they simply took him into custody.
The honor in it is quietly beautiful.
Our troops aren't killers, they're soldiers and I am proud of them.
I mean the coalition's troops.

Saturday, December 13, 2003


I know this story is days old now, which in the blogosphere is virtual history, but I came across this post about it, and was struck by the behavior contract. In the contract the boy is asked to write what he did wrong, how he was punished, what he should have done and what would have happened if he did what he was supposed to do.
Now, granted, he is seven, but the spelling errors are glaring.
I wonder if in the midst of all this hub bub about stopping all talk of "gay" in the classroom or his parents' civil rights violation lawsuit, did anyone stop to show him how to spell 'said' or 'mouth?'
School's supposed to be about educating him, after all.

Friday, December 12, 2003

You Gotta Ask Yourself...

Did you Vote for Clareified today?

Dawn hearts Dennis

I don't want to marry him, but I would like to cast my vote for him in the primaries. Will he make it to New York? ABC doesn't think so. They have decided to pull their embeded reporter from his campaign (as well as the campaigns of Braun and Sharpton).

The network issued a long, long... did I mention long? explanation here, that goes something like this: Yeah, we pulled our reporter, but Dennis still has her phone number and e-mail address.

"The day after Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich took ABC debate moderator Ted Koppel to task for avoiding questions that would be useful to voters in favor of questions about endorsements, money, and polls, ABC pulled its fulltime "embedded" reporter from the Kucinich campaign, a reporter who had been given no warning that such a move was coming and who had discussed at length yesterday with the Kucinich campaign staff her plans and her needs for the coming months."

Michael Craig has some suggestions for protests (and the full story) here.

Supreme Court Makes Death Row Inmate Suffer

As a death penalty opponent, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

A Not-So-Simple Look at 'The Simple Life'

I know conventional wisdom on 'The Simple Life,' is that Paris and Nicole are the spoiled losers, who have never done an honest day's work in their lives. Putting aside that Nicole used to figure skate and is now working on an album, all that may be true.
On the other hand, the Leding's do not lead a typical life, much less a simple one. I have never plucked a dead chicken in all my days, I only learned about "in and out burger" about five years ago, I'm still not sure what Kroger's does or sells and Cracker Barrel is a cheese as far as I"m concerned. All that and I grew up Poor'n Pairn. It's just a cultural difference (like the middle aged man at the barbecue who admitted that he's never flown anywhere and wouldn't want to, was America howling with laughter at that?)
Then, I came across this article and while I can't vouch for his statistics on poverty, the rest of the piece is dead on.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Maybe he's going to visit his policies

Daily Wire sends President Bush to outer space.

That's the ring, I've been waiting for!

Now, it may be that he is the great Japanese hope of the long suffering Mets, or that he will be playing the Jeter position, but most likely it was when he flashed that 1986 championship ring and promised me that the Mets would earn another one. For that, I pledge my devotion to Kazuo Matsui and hereby coin the term "Kazmaniacs" for all those who will soon follow me.
It's time to win one for the little boy in Staten Island with a Mets Championship poster on his wall who doesn't realize that 18 years have passed since that day.

(Disclaimer: As with most NY fandom, this devotion will only last if you are successful and win games.)


I went to my company's holiday party at the Ritz Carlton yesterday.
It was, as you can imagine, an extravagant affair with four open bars, two full buffet tables, a huge dessert table featuring an assortment of holiday shaped confections and a monster dance floor.
As I looked around at tables of junior associates chatting with our law librarians and senior partners dancing to 'hip hop hooray' with legal assistants and mail delivery guys, I was reminded why I decided to work here: the people rock!
Certainly, I have been fortunate enough to have some of the people I work with become friends (and more importantly blog readers, commenters and guest posters) but even the people who are, strictly speaking, co-workers, are incredible.
I spend a good deal of time pouring through documents in huge, windowless conference rooms- but when the other people there can passionately debate whether Buffy season two was series' best or not, what more could you ask for? (oh, and yes, it was.)
Or working with junior associates who don't mind singing sitcom theme songs at two in the morning before a court hearing... Yeah, I'm pretty sure "don't mind" was what they said... I was filling out their evaluations at the time and not really listening. (I keed, I keed)
Of course, who could forget watching the special counsel on my case do the Snoopy dance in the partner's office when we were told to take the weekend off. That's right: head tilt, knee raises, fingers in air as he hummed the Charlie Brown theme song.
I've celebrated five birthdays with the people here (strangely enough, I turned 25 for four of them.) I adopted my next door neighbor's plant when he left the firm, well, not so much adopted, as saw it sitting on my chair the day after he left, with a note in his handwriting that said "take care of me"
I've named it Annie.
There's the guy in dispatch who mocks me because I haven't started my Christmas shopping yet, and the cashier who always forgets I understand Spanish as she launches into "secret" conversations with one of the cleaning guys.
Hee hee.
Anyway, the document review room beckons and if I'm late I'll miss all the good gossip about last night's 'after party,' if you know what I mean.
Heh heh heh.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003



What is wrong with this picture?

Girl: "Baby, you want to come read Best of the Web with us?"
Boy: Shh. I'm trying to do your homework.

Can you hear me now?

Girl1: That a**hole hung up on me.
Girl2: Why?
Girl1: I don't know. He said he didn't call to talk to me and I was wasting his minutes.

This takes 'preemptive' war against terrorists too far

Via Cosmic Iguana

You Gotta Ask Yourself...

Did you Vote for Clareified today?



Since my blogroll wasn't long enough....

I've added the Liberal Coalition to it. As some of you know, there was a bit of a brouhaha over at the League of Liberals and large numbers decided to amicably part ways to found the Liberal Coalition. Consequently, I lost track of a bunch of blogs that I really liked, (like fellow Dennis lover, And Then) but now I've got them back!
I'm not in the LC myself, but you can find their members at the end of my blogroll, I've got to figure out how to title them, but it starts with Pen-Elayne.


"Israel is the only country that still likes the United States even though it has received billions of dollars in aid from us."
Thomas Friedman

"Two suicide bombers exploded themselves outside a military base in Iraq yesterday, thankfully no one was hurt"
Local Fox broadcast last night.


Am I the only Democrat who is glad that no one watches these debates.
They get so down and dirty. Don't they know they will have to throw their support behind one of the people they are smearing.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Firestone Fortune... er... heir back on the market


Like, Totally

I wonder if he would have preferred 'Guy'


So the Bush Administration is calling for an apology.

To which the Kerry campaign responded: "What the f--k? Those motherf-----s want a what? F--k them. They should work on cleaning up the f----ing mess in Iraq, instead of playing bullsh-t politics. Bastards."

Memories of Ronald Reagan

The GOP has lost the plot when it comes to President Ronald Reagan.
Think I'm kidding?
There's the fight against the movie, the renaming of National Airport, the attempt to dedicate every possible federal project between D.C. and Sacramento to the 40th President.

And now, there's the dime thing.

I'm guessing it's some kind of weird defensive projection, they think because Ronald Reagan doesn't remember who he is, no one else will unless we are eating Reagan Froot Loops, while watching Good Morning, Reagan on Reaganvision before hitting the Reagan expressway for our commute to the Ronald Reagan Government building of Reaganomical Sciences.
Boy, that was a mouthful.
Anyway, to assure the GOP that we good Americans will never forget the Gipper, I offer up one my earliest memories of the GodFather of Soul ... just kidding, just kidding: the Great Communicator.
My mom and her friend dragged me and my best friend to a PTA meeting at our elementary school to figure out a parental response to the Reagan administration's plans to classify ketchup as a vegetable. The auditorium was packed with (mostly) women (parents and teachers) and the school administrators, (principals and the like.) A microphone was passed around the room for participants to voice their outrage and give suggestions.
My best friend and I, along with most of the other kids present, sat on the floor in the back playing jacks. About half hour into the meeting -- I think I had gotten out on fivesies --- I started listening to the conversation.
"Psst! Come here," I yanked my best friend away from the game.
"Guess what? We might not be getting those carrots anymore,"
"What do you mean?"
"I don't know, the President is replacing the vegetables with ketchup! That's why our moms are mad."
I still remember the look of disbelief in her eyes, as she looked at me with the widest grin I've ever seen on a kid's face before or since.
"Really, all the vegetables? Everywhere?"
"Yeah, I think so... but our moms don't want that."
And so the plan to write to the President was born. We would stop our moms and help, well, America.
That weekend, we holed up in my room and wrote:

Dear Mr. President/Actor Reagan (There was a debate about which title was higher, and we didn't want to offend him. (I thought it was actor. Shut up.)

We think you are great. We like kets(c)hup (again disagreement about spelling). We do not like vegetables. The ones in school are cold and yucky. Kets(c)hup is better.
Can you also change the milk? Mr. Sussman makes us drink all of the milk even though it makes us sick. But we can't go to nurse because we are not that sick.
Thank You.

We signed our names and my best friend was supposed to ask her dad what the address was for the President.

She never did, although she kept saying it was in Pennsylvania.

So, there you have it.
President Ronald Reagan, the number one choice of second graders everywhere.


and four bucks will get me a roundtrip pass to work on the subway. But they are mine, anyway... here are the 5 teams, suckier than me (and the four teams that made the playoffs...congrats!)

A special na-na-na-na, and a thumb nose goes out to the Scalia Lions and Force Majeure.

Monday, December 08, 2003



But she did, so: Oh my goodness, Bill Clinton must be smashing a new set of golf clubs somewhere. Oh, and Joe Lieberman has to be on a round-the-clock suicide watch.


Congressman convicted of manslaughter


Father David started his homily on Sunday with the words "Any mad man with a gun can shoot a man's arm off... but it takes a careful, focused surgeon to sew it on again."
Now leaving aside whether the arm will ever be functional again, Father David is right.
By way of further illustration he told the story about Lazlo Toth. In 1972, Toth took a hammer to Michelangelo's Pieta in Rome. He whacked the priceless monument of Mary holding the dead body of Christ, 15 times before horrified onlookers tackled him. Mary's arm and face were damaged. Pieces were strewn everywhere. One New York paper declared the statue ruined forever.
But they were wrong, (and here Father David credits the Vatican's determination) another sculpter was found and less than a year later, the statue was saved and restored. They even discovered a theretofore unnoticed signature of Michelangelo.
Father David's point?
Just because someone comes after you with a hammer, doesn't mean you pursue him in kind. Maybe something more beautiful can be wrought by collecting the pieces, taking your time and putting them back together again.

Quotes of the Day

"If hearts were unbreakable, I could just tell you where I stand."

- Clay Aiken

"I thought I was a self-hating jew, but now, it turns out I'm just a regular anti-semite."

-Krusty the Clown

Sunday, December 07, 2003


I was nominated for "Best Marauding Marsupial Ecosystem Level Blog" over at wizbang. I'm in the Carol Mosely Braun position, so please go vote for 'Clareified.'

Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

I watched almost three hours of Sunday morning television and no one mentioned it. Not even in George's horrible "In Memoriam" segment. The lecter at Sunday mass included the Pearl Harbor dead in the Responsorial Prayer though, so that's something.

I do wonder when 9/11 will get this treatment.


In order to silence critics who insist his campaign is a joke, Rev. Al Sharpton hosted Saturday Night Live last night.

All kidding aside, in the new age of media, where a President's ability to fire off a funny quip and plausibly read a teleprompter, I think Sharpton displayed some real presidential potential.

"I'll take that million dollar watch!"

Preach it, Rev!

(Ooh and did you see FOUR black guys AND a black chick on SNL at the same time! How many miles, indeed.)

Saturday, December 06, 2003

The power of blog

Today marks the beginning of Clareified's third month of operation!
But already I am completely consumed by blogging. I still talk about that time I got Insta-lanched and Andrew Sulliflooded, like everyday. I respond to questions about how I am, with a quick "check the blog."
I don't have thoughts, so much as 'mental posts' anymore.
It's quite exhilarating!
If I get bad service in a restaurant, or someone cuts me off -- I think, "just wait until I log in to blogger, then you'll be sorry!"
Hmmm.... ok, maybe exhilarating wasn't the word I was looking for.... how about intoxicating?
Well, here's hoping for a good third month.
Bottoms up.

Friday, December 05, 2003

First NYC snowfall!

Who's partisan now?

Leading Democrat testifies on behalf of 'embattled' Republican Congressman

Brush with death

Dear readers,
I feel so fortunate to be alive to blog for you today.
As I left my apartment this morning, I heard a strange meowing down the corridor. I locked the door and headed for the stairs, at the bottom, I saw the source of the sound.
A two foot long cat!
I stared at it. It stared, unblinking, at me. I tried to startle it away by stamping my feet, but at that moment, it bolted up the stairs, practicaly lunging for my throat. I ran screaming back to the landing and then dashed up the next flight of stair to the fourth floor. I peered down and the cat, nay more like a possessed Bengalese tiger, paced the floor, licking its lips and snapping its jaws.
I ran to the elevator furiously pushing the down button. I prayed the 23rd psalm, as my life flashed before my "slightly cross-eyes" eyes:
My inspired performance as the "little teapot" in kindergarten, the fight with Marsha in the third grade because she stole all my neon, plastic bracelets, alegbra (man, my tenth grade math teacher was evil.)
I saw it all so very clearly. And then, the wonderful sound of the elevator door opening!
I was saved. I got to the first floor and ran out of the building to the safety of the East Coco Beach streets.
It's not the first time that a quote, unquote cat, had tried to eat me. Years ago, I was on a pro bono trip to New Orleans, and the law school housed us in a flea bag hostel with wild animals roaming every floor. I was on my way to the field office one morning, when I was cornered in the hall. Luckily, my friend Rachel was able to distract it, so that Dan could catch it, allowing me to flee in terror.
Oh, the irony of being spared in my youth only to be eaten in my own building five years later.
I know the beast is still out there, but I'm ok.
It serves as a reminder to be grateful for everyday and stop to smell the roses, because you never know when your ticket could be punched by a renegade housepet.

Thursday, December 04, 2003


About a month after September 11, 2001, Peggy Noonan wrote a piece heralding the return of the "man." The piece is wonderfully written, here's a bit:

" I was there in America, as a child, when John Wayne was a hero, and a symbol of American manliness. He was strong, and silent. And I was there in America when they killed John Wayne by a thousand cuts. A lot of people killed him--not only feminists but peaceniks, leftists, intellectuals, others. You could even say it was Woody Allen who did it, through laughter and an endearing admission of his own nervousness and fear. He made nervousness and fearfulness the admired style. He made not being able to deck the shark, but doing the funniest commentary on not decking the shark, seem . . . cool. "

Funny, right? Poignant. Yet, somehow I always felt something was missing. There's a reason we killed that guy. He was incomplete. Great for the terrible moments, for the boogedy boogedy times, but where was he on an ordinary Wednesday afternoon? Could we turn to him for the simple needs of everyday life?
I've recently become enamored of reading the fatherly blogs: Lileks, King of Fools, et al. I especially love when they write about interactions with their little girls. Like here or this exchange between Lileks and the infamous Gnat. I love watching my friend play with his daughter in the park or walk down the street with her on his shoulders.
Now, it could be the curiousity of a daddy-less daughter.

My parents were high school sweethearts, who married young. They were married for 14 years before I was before I was born. My father, however, was a relentless philanderer but since she thought she couldn't have kids, my mom tolerated his infidelity. A few months into her pregnancy, though, she told him that since they would be parents now -- he would have to make a choice between being a cad or being a dad. He chose the former and she threw him out about seven weeks before I was born.

Thus, I have exactly three clear memories of my father.
1) It was October, and he came by to drop off a present for my tenth birthday. It was a battery-operated, Pac-man video game that looked exactly like the Pizzeria arcades, but was 1/16th the size. Of course, my birthday was in July and I was seven and he didn't bring any batteries. His response: he peered down at me, said "seven? that's it? huh. Well, I bet you're as smart as any ten-year-old." With my neck craned all the way back, so I could see him, my little face beamed with pride as I smiled in assent. "Woah, you're a bit crossed-eyed, aren't you? Boys aren't going to like that." He replied.
2) He came by four years later to ask my mom for " a couple of dollars." I'm guessing she said no, but it definitely ended with her belting him across the chest with my electric guitar. I remember hearing the guitar's final chord as she shattered the neck against his skull with her second swing. (Sidenote: I asked my mom about this incident quite recently and she shrugged it off saying "Eh, what haven't I hit your father with?" )
3) At 21 he called my dorm room to wish me congratulations on my college graduation. My roommate, looking very surprised said "Um, your father's on the phone." I thought she was referring to my newspaper editor who was calling about my overdue column (don't ask) and I answered the phone saying "It's almost done, give me an hour." My father, confused, said "OK, I can call back in an hour" and hung up.

So, as spine-chillingly nobel as Noonan's "strong, silent" man is, I'm glad he's not all there is. Now we have touchy, feely daddies who let their daughters put their hair in ponytails and run around the house playing monster with their kid's prekindergarten friends. I like the men who stay home with their children in their arms as they wave mommy off to work. Not to take anything away from the men who left home and family to go to burning buildings and war zones, never to return, but I am hopelessly fascinated by those who stayed home and held their kids close. Those who worried and teased and watched and loved. Years from now, those kids will know who their daddies were, they'll know that he loved them. They'll have a relationship with a man, not a medal or a shield or a dusty video game.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Fallen Idol

Gosh, has it been fifteen minutes already?


This blogger votes yes. Not only, is the endzone a gloat-free zone now, but they are causing a ref to forfeit *half* his salary for one bad call? Dude, I've never played football, but it seems to me if you are able to catch an oddly shaped ball, while running backwards and then outmanuever a dozen really, really beefy guys to score -- you should be able to do a little dance, make a little love, and get down all you want.
And if a ref makes one bad call, maybe his penalty should be equal to the representative percentage of all the calls he made through the whole game -- or something like that, I ain't no mathematician.
Do players have to forfeit half their game salary when they play like crap? (Yeah, I mean you Kerry Collins... Curtis Conway... entire 2002-2003 Knicks) Nope -- we just fire the coaches.
Bah humbug.


I don't have Rick's stylistic flair, but I do have a question for those who don't definitely know the answer:

Who is older Whoopi Goldberg or Kim Basinger?


What's so bad about deficit spending? Can't we just print more money? Why don't we let each state print its own money, too? Hmm... can I print my own money?


Why don't we pull U.S. troops out of places that don't need them (Germany, Japan) or relocate them from places that other nations are willing to man and send them to Iraq or whichever country is next to be liberated?

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

DEMOCRATS = 'The Party of Treason?'

Well, almost 50 years ago, Senator Joe McCarthy said so.

The article is about the Senate censuring McCarthy for behavior that brought ill-repute to the Senate. There is some very funny exchanges in it, including a bit about how the drafters of the censure motion forgot to include the word censure. I love American history, so I heartily recommend reading the whole article. But, it's the NYT and requires registration, so I'll reprint a bit here.

Shortly afterward Senator McCarthy left. He had been in the Senate chamber only briefly, coming in after the final roll-call on the ultimate vote had started. He said "present" instead of voting on the issue that is bound to have a marked effect on his political career.

Later, outside the chamber, reporters asked him if he felt he had been censured.

"Well, it wasn't exactly a vote of confidence," replied Mr. McCarthy, who was still wearing his right arm in a bandage for the bursitis that had interrupted the censure proceedings for ten days.

"I'm happy to have this circus ended so I can get back to the real work of digging out communism, crime and corruption," he continued. "That job will start officially Monday morning, after ten months of inaction." He was referring to a coming inquiry into alleged Communists in defense plants.

He had referred to the session as a "lynch party"--one of the remarks for which he was condemned in the Bennett amendment--and was asked if he felt he had been "lynched."

"I don't feel I have been lynched," he replied.

He expressed his disappointment that the Democrats had voted "straight down the party line, even though they had declared before it started that this was to be a judicial proceeding."

Among Democrats the view was that he might have received a number of their votes if he had not condemned the whole Democratic party some months ago as "the party of treason."

Who knew the RNC was cribbing notes from the playbook of Senator Joe.

Also, where have I heard that "lynching" comparison before? Oh, yeah.

Stupid, stupid Pilgrims

If I've said it once, I've said it... well, once: dial-up blogging bites, bites, bites. I was almost tempted to use that audioblogging feature, out of sheer frustration.

I know, the holiday seems worlds away now, but I thought I'd take this opportunity to share with you what I learned on my Thanksgiving break.

1) Never go to a grocery store the night before Thanksgiving.
Now, this may seem obvious, but the shelves are empty, thereby inciting violence among shoppers scrambling for the last scraps on the shelves. The lines are long, the cashiers are bitter and well, evil seeps in through the ventillation slots.

2) Vermicelli is not the same as Spaghetti.
A related lesson: when your mother stands in the hallway angirly holding the two boxes of spaghetti, and asks "Does this look like Vermicelli?" Do not, I repeat, DO NOT say "Actually, yes." That is not the right answer and you will be sent back to the grocery store.

3) The only thing worse than #1 is going back to the grocery store on the night before Thanksgiving. It's like being in hell and somehow getting out, only to be flung from Paradise into the eternal fire again. Not pleasant.

4) Do stand in the line with the good magazines. I was able to read Cosmo and Essence from cover to cover. I highly recommend the "Why I stayed" article about Cookie Johnson (Magic's wife). [Sidenote: The answer isn't, 'well my husband was rich and all the experts thought he would be dead in 7- 10 years.' At least, not in so many words.]

5) Do not stand in the line with the good candy. No one needs to know how many Caramello cubes they can eat in an hour. 29.
Stop judging me.

6) I will hit a little girl. What? She tried to cut me in line. The line!

7) I am easily intimidated by little girl's scary older sister. Hey, she had to have been like 12 or 13.

8) I love Clay Aiken. See American Idol Christmas.

9) I love Justin Timberlake. See his guest-hosting of SNL (his Ashton Kutcher and Jessica Simpson imitations were to die for .... and the duet with Kermit, well.... love him.)

10) There are 50 days in the "all I can do not to kill myself" holiday season from the day before Thanksgiving to February 15th.

11) Ooh, 45.


I'm usually anti-violence, except when it comes to New York asserting its superiority in the tri-state area. That's right, Pennsylvania -- no matter how hard you push that "quad-state" crap, it's only three.


JJ Abrams needs to cancel his contract with the red wigs company.

Monday, December 01, 2003


Fantasy Football sucks.

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