Bike

In honor of Earth Day, for which our local bus company (which carries bicycles on a rack) will let you ride for free, pieces about the bicycle.

(Picture from http://drunkcyclist.com/.)

Bike to Work in Albany, New York is Friday, May 16th 2008. Plan now.

Nice Racks.

Learn How To Fix Your Own Bike.

The Puma Glow-in-the dark Folding Bicycle for safe commutes.

What a Fred is.

‘Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery’ cartoon strip.

Your typical bike commute:


ROG

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10 (More) Things About Me

I’ve been tagged by the Crone Report, who I’ve known since the mid-1970s at college. According to Ms. Report, the rules of the game are thus:

Post 10 random things about yourself.

Choose five people to tag and a reason you chose them and make sure to tell them.

Don’t tag the person who tagged you.

She’s right that I’ve probably done this before; hope I haven’t repeated these (and if so, not too often). These are in chronological order, from oldest to newest.

OK, here goes:

1. I fell down the flight of steps between my grandparents’ apartment and ours when I was three. There’s still a scar there under my lower lip where hair does not grow, giving me soul patch potential before the term was invented.

2. In high school, I was president of our Red Cross club.

3. In May of 1972, the US mined Haiphong harbor, thus, we believed, escalating the Viet Nam conflict. There was a demonstration at the draft board in Kingston, NY, and the board closed in anticipation of our arrival, though it was a peaceful protest. The next day, the front page of the newspaper, the Kingston Freeman, had a picture of me and a couple other people sitting in front of the building. The quality (or reproduction) of the photo was so poor, though, that I didn’t even recognize myself.

4. My college friend Alice and I were hitchhiking from New Paltz to Hornell, NY to visit a friend of ours who had been injured in a fatal car crash. Some guy picked us up west of Binghamton and proceeded to give us a lecture about the sin of miscegenation; we weren’t a couple. We wondered what his reaction would have been if he knew she was a lesbian.

5. As a direct result of the person who tagged me, I went through a brief period of wearing berets. But not red ones.

6. Six women and I went skinny-dipping.

7. I worked as a telemarketer. But in those days, we only called people who had had a relationship with the product; e.g., people whose TV Guide subscription had lapsed or the annual for those people owning encyclopedias.

8. I once drove a car from Schenectady to Albany, about 10 miles, without a license or even learner’s permit. The owner of the car was too drunk to drive. (The statue of limitations on this has passed.)

9. I saw Anita Baker perform at the Palace Theatre in Albany in the late 1980s. Afterwards, my friend Karen introduced me to her – very pleasant woman – and we were allowed to go backstage, where boxing champ Mike Tyson and “Ironweed” star Jack Nicholson were hanging out. (The story of Ironweed by William Kennedy was based on Albany, and part of it was filmed in the city.)

10. I did not do it often in any case, but the last time I drank alcohol thinking that I might get inebriated was on my 39th birthday. My friend Marion, who was in the choir and a book club with me, died on March 4 of that year of cancer. Her husband asked me to be a pallbearer and the funeral was on March 7. Worst. Birthday. Ever.

OK, the dreaded who to tag:
Eddie, so he can get out of the rhythm of posting music videos;
Librarian 2008, because she needs to put more personal stuff on her blog;
Uthaclena, because I’m curious whether any of ours will intersect;
Kelly, because she seems always game for a game; and
Anthony, because it would give me an opportunity to know him better.

ROG

Ketchup

When we got home from our vacation Friday, I checked the phone messages (only four – two junk and two for an event that’s now past), and turned on the TV (DVR 99% full!) I could delete a few shows we saw during the week, which got it down to 92%, and I thought I’d watch some while unpacking. But then something fell off the back of this humongous piece of furniture where the television resides and unplugged the TV. This meant moving the furniture, which meant removing all the LPs (yes, LPs), VHS tapes and DVDs from the beast, plus photos and other items; fortunately, the two drawers, each with dozens of tapes, pull out. I could plug in the TV, and I recovered my cribbage board which had fallen previously, but this meant that I had to also recover…the Barney DVD that had fallen some months earlier. By accident. Really.
Unlike the Barney cassette, which I don’t mind, the DVD is a game show with an audience of children…and adults. There’s something really creepy about WATCHING grown-ups feign (I think it’s feigning) the same enthusiasm as their kids. I mean, it’s OK for them to BE that enthusiastic; I just don’t want to see it.
***
Checked my e-mail. 524 new work e-mails. One was a link to this stupid internal Microsoft video for stupid Vista:


I also discovered that the search committee I’m on for the PR position in my office has four interviews on Wednesday and Thursday; so kind of them not to schedule them for Monday. I also found out, in an e-mail that only arrived Friday afternoon, that a presentation that a colleague and I offered to the Association of Small Business Development Centers was selected for us to present at the ASBDC 2008 Annual Conference: Blogging with the SBDC – Implementing Web 2.0 Technologies at Your Center. Which means I’ll be going to Chicago in September. I’ve never actually been to Chicago; being at O’Hare does not count, so that’s rather cool.
***
I’ve been trying to catch up on reading some blogs. Ken Levine wants people to vote on some komedy kontest. I learned from Mark Evanier that Kelly Bishop was in the original cast of A Chorus Line; she already looks like a younger version of Emily Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. Evanier also has a cat named Lydia, darn those Marx Brothers. And I’ve discovered how Mike Sterling posts every day:

***
Sometimes, I just love spam. In addition to all those kind offers of getting me free money or increasing the size of…well, you know, there are these:
Dear Gmail Account Users,

We hereby inform you that our system has developed database error so we need to access all accounts in other to save and keep them active even till after a new database is introduced to Gmail .
Gmail Team advices you update your account details to verify and keep them valid and undeleted.
PLEASE PROVIDE US WITH THE FOLLOWING
USERNAME:……………………………
PASSWORD:……………………………
VERIFY PASSWORD:………………….
ALTERNATE EMAIL ADRESS:……….
DATE OF BIRTH:…………………………
COUNTRY/TERRITORY:…………………
After the details are given your account will be upgraded and safe for your use.
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO CONTINUE USING YOUR E-MAIL AS SOON AS THE MAIL IS RENEWED AND ACTIVE.
To reply just “CLICK” on the REPLY tab in your browser.
Please bear with us.

I didn’t need the REAL notice from Gmail – Warning: This message may not be from whom it claims to be. Beware of following any links in it or of providing the sender with any personal information. – to detect it as fraudulent. I’m guessing though that if they actually got native writers/speakers of English, they might fool a few more people. “our system has developed database error”? “we need to access all accounts in other”? “keep them active even till after”? Spammers, thank you for today’s entertainment.

ROG<

Barack and Hillary QUESTIONS

When I was on vacation in Virginia this past Sunday, I turned on the TV and happened to catch the last 45 minutes of Barack Obama’s Q&A with CNN on religion/faith/values. I thought he seemed most impressive and comfortable; I didn’t see Hillary Clinton. Then I catch the local news tease asking if the Dems have a “prayer” of dealing with faith issues. The story itself noted Clinton’s and Obama’s “struggle” talking about religion (in general, it was implied) and then showed the clips of Hillary and Barack talking about abortion (she said that the potential for life began at conception, Barack noted that he did struggle with this particular issue).

It seemed that abortion is still THE issue when it comes to matters of faith, at least according to that broadcast. A related issue in the media also seems to be that the Dems are FINALLY talking about religion in 2008, when, in fact, John Kerry for one was, I thought, quite eloquent in speaking about his faith and how he acts on it in a 2004 debate; since he didn’t talk about it often, and because he didn’t oppose abortion, he was perceived as somehow inauthentic.

So my questions:
1) Did you see or hear any of the Clinton or Obama pieces on race? If so, what did you think?

2) Regardless of whether you actually saw them, what was your perception of how they did based on what you read in the newspaper or heard on radio or TV? I’m interested in sources of your info, too, if possible.

3) How SHOULD candidates be talking about faith and religion, if at all?

4) I also caught much of the ABC News debate on Wednesday, and I thought they both were fine. Mostly it reminded me that either of them is a better choice than John “not so straight talk” McCain, who had ducked the faith debate. Did you see the Wednesday debate, and what did you hear about it, whether you saw the debate or not?

ROG

Words

I’ve inadverently borrowed from Eddie in that most of the posts this week were ones I had started, even finished, some time ago in Blogger but for some reason never posted. Those of you using Blogger to write posts can understand this: Blogger date-stamps the written entry, and unless you change it, it’ll stay there with that date from a couple months ago.

So I went through my unpublished entries for the past few months and decided to post them this week, including thaty one on autism that I thought I had published. Why is that, you may ask? Because I was away on a trip to Williamsburg, VA. More about that anon.

Anyway, thanks to the masked blogger who posted for me these past four days.
***
The Annual Mensa Invitational was a couple months ago, for all of you wordies. I really do love this stuff:

Here is the Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational which once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are the winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus : A person who’s both stupid and an a**hole.

3. Intaxication : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the Person who doesn’t get it.

9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon : It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really
bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido : All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.) : Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its
yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for
common words. And the winners are:

1. Coffee , n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted , adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate , v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade , v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly , adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent , adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph , v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle , n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence , n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash , n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle , n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude , n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon , n. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster , n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism , n. The belief that,after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent , n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

ROG

Autism Speaks and other charities

Friends of mine have a daughter who is autistic. They forwarded this e-mail:
I just got word that this band, Five for Fighting, is generously donating $0.40 to Autism Speaks for *each time* the video is viewed. The funding goes toward research studies to help find a cure. When you have a moment, please visit the link below to watch the video and pass it along to your friends and family. It is a great heart tugging video.
They are aiming for 10,000 hits, but hopefully we can help them to surpass this goal.
Link to the site.

Immediately, my Spidey sense started tingling my investigative librarian nature kicked in, probably prompted by this story in the local paper about how poorly some veterans’ charities are doing in delivering monies to actual veterans, as opposed to fundraising and overhead.

In any case, I couldn’t find any “40 cents” reference on the What Kind Of World Do You Want? website that hosts the video, but I did discover that Five for Fighting IS involved in hosting videos on the What Kind… site, where people can donate money by watching said videos to the end.

There are five entities, including Autism Speaks, that will benefit from this program, and I wanted to know if they were legit. Gordon found me some info on Autism Speaks from the Better Business Bureau and Guidestar. (Thanks, Gordon!)

Ultimately, though, I decided to take the plunge and join the American Institute of Philanthropy, the national charity watchdog cited by the newspaper article about the vets’ charities.

For the five entities on What Kind, here are the AIP results:

Augie’s Quest (www.augiesquest.org) Not listed. This is a group dealing with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) named for a friend of John from Five for Fighting. It may be too new to be listed in the AIP’s December 2007 booklet.

Autism Speaks (www.autismspeaks.org) GRADE: B-. About 62-74% of monies go to services; a document Gordon provided said 75%, which would have pushed them into the solid B range.

Fisher House Foundation (www.fisherhouse.org) “Supporting America’s military in their time of need, we provide ‘a home away from home’ that enables family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful time — during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury.” GRADE: A+.

Save the Children (www.savethechildren.org). GRADE: A.

United Service Organization (www.uso.org). Yes, THAT USO. GRADE: C+.

As one of my friends writes, “‘Overhead’ costs are what bugs me a lot with many charities. It is nice to see $$ go to those in need, and not administrative costs.”

ROG

Farce or Habit

I was never much on the use of drugs. I’ve tried marijuana, though not in a very long time, and it generally just made me sleepy. Most other things I was too scared to do at all.

So, I was fascinated to find in my spring 1982 journal’s back cover this short exhortation:

As we all know, most cartoonists (as well as other creative people) often consume mass quantities of dope.
This stimulates the free flow of ideas which would otherwise remain untapped in the subconscious –
Some of the ideas are even good.
Unfortunately, most drugs are illegal.
This seems petty, arbitrary, and unfair, particularly for the cartoonist, since he or she, unlike the business person at a 3 martini lunch, is unable to deduct this purchase as a business expense for income tax purposes.
Why such discrimination? we’d like to see it stopped!
Write to your Congressperson today.

Seriously, I have no recollection of writing it, but it’s in my hand, complete with a correction – I changed the word expenditure to purchase because later in that sentence, I wrote expense.

I mention this as a defense for Barack Obama over this issue. Sometimes, you DO just forget.

ROG

I'm WASABI

Your Score: Wasabi

You scored 50% intoxication, 75% hotness, 75% complexity, and 75% craziness!

You are Wasabi!

You’re pretty much insane. You’re probably from another planet, even. When you’re around people, you go straight for the crown chakra and get them all tingly. You’re often imitated by those who want to be like you, but you’re definitely one of a kind.

Link: The Which Spice Are You Test written by jodiesattva on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

ROG

I’m WASABI

Your Score: Wasabi

You scored 50% intoxication, 75% hotness, 75% complexity, and 75% craziness!

You are Wasabi!

You’re pretty much insane. You’re probably from another planet, even. When you’re around people, you go straight for the crown chakra and get them all tingly. You’re often imitated by those who want to be like you, but you’re definitely one of a kind.

Link: The Which Spice Are You Test written by jodiesattva on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

ROG