Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Occupy DC Update

Yesterday was the day when the bid show down between Occupy DC and the Park Service was supposed to take place. At noon yesterday the Park Service was going to start enforcing the no-camping rule at McPherson Square. It just so happens my office is practically across the street from the park.

I went out about 10 minutes after noon. There were more protesters than usual in the park. There were a whole lot of media in the park. But they weren't all that many police in the park. In fact it didn't deem like they were enforcing the no-camping rule at all.

Occupy DC did put up this huge tent over the statue of General McPherson called the tent of dreams. The Occupy DC slogan was let us sleep so we can dream. No one seemed to be removing anything as noted in a Post article:

A good many protesters opted not to remove their stuff at all. As the noon deadline set by the police approached and then passed, the stuff that had enabled the protesters to endure a winter in Washington — the fox-den hidey-holes of cold-weather whatnot — remained defiantly inside tents. To the office dwellers who came to the park to see what would transpire as the deadline approached, the site looked little changed from the encampment that had sprung up in early October. It was muddy and cluttered. Protesters rallied at the center of the square, engaging in call-and-response chants, and digging in their heels for a stand-off with police that, as of mid-afternoon, had not occurred (the mood was reportedly less raucous and more zen over at Freedom Plaza, the site of Washington’s second Occupy encampment).

It remains to be seen what if any impact the no-camping rule is going to have.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Charlie Brown and Linus Get in Some Play Time

It's the first video of Charlie Brown and Linus.

No Wonder the Post Office Is Going Broke

I got a letter in the mail the other day. It was not addressed to me. The address had the same house number as mine. But the street address was 18th Street NW. The zip code wasn't mine either.

The Post Office was 28 blocks off in trying to deliver this piece of mail.

It took me a couple of days to remember to stick this back in the mail so it would get to the right address. I finally mailed it again last Wednesday.

On Saturday what show up on my doorstep, so to speak, but this same piece of mail. Delivered once again incorrectly to me.

I'm going to mail it yet again and see what happens. This time I might actually do it at a post office near work. This will make it much closer to the actually address. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Great Builder Using Marshmallows

When Denis and Ed were here we had brunch with our friend Lis. We all went to Stoney's and had something to eat. Lis and I had brunch while the guys had lunch. We then went back to Lis' for a visit with her husband Frank and son Ian.

Here is Ian using marshmallows to help build some shapes. The last picture Ian is telling us how to play a game using the jigsaw like pieces nearby.

We had a great visit!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Smile

It's a bright sunny Saturday. What better way to celebrate that than with Peanuts.

Down With a Cold

And a bitch of a cold at that.

It hit me hard on Tuesday. It's really slowed me down which is why there hasn't been much up on the blog.

I was taken over the counter cold remedies like they were candy. I felt better for maybe 30 minutes after taken a dose and then back to feeling like crap. Over the course of Friday evening things started to get a little better.

And, since I am finally feeling better, I hope to play catch up over the next few days with the blog.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Danger Will Robinson, Danger

If you are of a certain age you will recognize that line from the TV show Lost in Space. The line of course came from the robot who accompanied the Robinson family when they got Lost in Space.

The actor who provided the robot's voice Dick Tufeld died this past week at the age of 85:

In "Lost in Space," producer Irwin Allen's futuristic retelling of the "Swiss Family Robinson" story that aired on CBS from 1965 to 1968, actor Bob May wore the Robot costume and Tufeld provided the voice.

Besides warning young Will Robinson of impending danger, Tufeld's Robot uttered other lines that became catchphrases for faithful viewers — including "That does not compute" — and needled the antagonistic Dr. Zachary Smith with barbs like "Dr. Smith is a bubble-headed booby."

I always enjoyed watching the show.

Here are a couple of clips.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2Political Episode 68

2PP068 - 18 January 2012

2Political Podcast Episode 68- is now available. You can listen to it or download it from the podcast site, 2political.com. You can leave comments there as well as download or listen to any episode (you can access the five most recent episodes from the list on the right side of my blog).

This episode was recorded a week ago. It was delayed, then lightly edited, because Arthur is in the midst of a big home reorganisation and refurbishment project (he hopes he didn't make any editing mistakes…). After Special Days, we talk about the Republican presidential nomination sweepstakes. We talk about Romney’s elitism, then about the general issue of income inequality. Thanks to some comments, we get to expand on these and other topics.

Please leave a comment (anyone's welcome—agree or disagree!), or you can ring the 2Political Comment line on 206-350-3982.

Links for this episode:
International Hot and Spicy Food Day
as well as more here, too.
Please explain – Arthur’s blog post about the child poverty documentary that he mentioned.
Romney’s delusion – Arthur’s blog post on income inequality
Arthur’s blog, podcasts and videos can be accessed here.

Get 2Poltical Podcast for free on iTunes

Monday, January 23, 2012

South Carolina Shakes up the Race!?

Some quick thoughts on Saturday and South Carolina.

Romney took a thumping on Saturday.

Gingrich won by 12 points.

What’s interesting is once again Romney was in this 25-30% zone.

Romney’s speech after SC talked about the right to create wealth not about helping people get jobs.

Here's an understatement from Romney:

Romney said the South Carolina campaign “was not a great week for me” and acknowledged that the focus on his wavering comments about his tax returns contributed to “a setback.” He said he would release his 2010 returns and a 2011 estimate online Tuesday.

The question is does this really shake up the race. Or will it be just a blip on the screen to Romney winning the nomination. I'm still not entirely sure one way or another.

There is another debate tonight maybe that will help set the tone. The problem is that after Florida there's a gap between contests. Also a lack of debates which Newt tends to use to his greatest advantage.

One thing I do know for sure there will be great deal of mud flung around from now on. As everyone is going to go all out to score points with voters.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Little Wintry Mix

Friday night into Saturday morning, DC had a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain. As it turned out there was not much accumulation. I went out later in the afternoon to do a little shopping. I encountered the usual idiots out on the road. These are the people who refuse to clean off their entire car of snow.

Thus on several occasion large chunks of the wintry mix flew off cars. In once case I'm taking about something three to four feet square. Thankfully these didn't land directly on any car. I've never understood why someone can't take the extra five minutes or so and clear off their entire car.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Made the 5 Minute Chocolate Cake

Last night I made the 5 minute chocolate cake. It was indeed very easy to make. Although I think it took a little longer than 5 minutes. It doesn't exactly taste like cake. It reminds me more of a cross between a cake and a pancake. I didn't add the chocolate chips which I'm pretty sure would make it better. I might also add a little more cocoa to make the chocolate taste pop more.

All the dried ingredients added.

All mixed up an ready to go.

In the microwave.

This is how it looked when I took it out of the microwave.

This is how it looked out of the cup.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Etta James Passes

So sad to hear today that Etta James died today after a long battle with leukemia. At Last is such an iconic song. Here she is singing it later in life.

What an amazing voice and talent.

Etta, you will be missed

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Linus Stretches Out

The State of the Race

Perry's out. He seemed to have very little support in South Carolina so it’s hard to see how this helps Newt, whom Perry endorsed earlier today. But it’s one less person to split the anti-Romney vote.

Big to do in the press about how Santorum really won Iowa. Can’t see how this makes any difference:

Former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) won the Iowa caucuses Thursday — 16 days after the last vote was cast — when the state Republican party said a final count showed him 34 votes ahead of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Biggest problem for Romney is the story about his finances. The rate at which he pays taxes is very much in play. Also the reports of the money socked away in the Grand Caymans. This is the problem he’s facing:

“His personal finances are a poster child of what’s wrong with the American tax system,” said Jack Blum, a Washington lawyer who is an authority on tax enforcement and offshore banking.

And if that idea takes hold, Romney will be in trouble. The take from the Romney's campaign is that they did nothing wrong legally. But it’s the perception that matters more than anything else.

Is Romney still the nominee? Yes, in all likelihood. He’s probably going to win in S.C. and in Florida too. After those two contests it’s hard to see who stays in the race. It will be next to impossible for anyone else to raise any money.

The delegates don’t start piling up until March and April so it will take a couple more months for Romney to get the needed delegates to win the nomination.

Does Ron Paul stay in? He certainly seems to have the money. He also seems not to have anything else to do. It’s possible he still gets his 15-20% in each of the contests. But from April on (I believe) the primaries are winner take all. But Paul still causes problems for Romney.

So it seems that Romney has the nomination all sewed up but as we say in my family we'll see.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Not Very Much," Really Mr. Romney

Another awkward moment for Romney.

Well perhaps that’s not exactly the way to put it. More like not realizing the way he says things will make an impression on people.

I’m of course referring to his rather flip remark about the amount of money he earns from speaker fees and characterizing it as “not very much.” Not very much to the tune of $374, 000. Yeah not very much. This from the Post:

What “little” non-investment income Romney has had, he notes, has been from his book, which he gave away, “and then I get speaker’s fees from time to time, but not very much,” he told reporters at a gathering in Florence, S.C. Maybe in his world. Romney’s financial disclosure forms, according to the New York Times, show that he earned $374,327.62 in speakers fees from February 2010 to February 2011, averaging $41,592 a pop. By some measures, that alone would nearly qualify him for being in the low end of the so-called “one percent.” One speech would earn him an amount that’s more than three-quarters the amount of the median household income in the United States.

This is similar to the I know what it's like to be worried about loosing my job.

I guess he's trying to show that he knows what people are going through. But to me it just shows how out of touch he is from ordinary people.

At the Newseum

As promised here's some pictures from Denis and Ed's visit. Last Friday we went to the Newseum. We got there a little after 11. We decided to eat lunch first. The food in the cafeteria was amazing. I had a shrimp and salmon pasta dish with roasted veggies and some corn bread. Wow it was great.

After that we saw the 4D movie and then went on our way to see the Newseum.

First picture is Denis taking a small break. We were in the place for about 4 hours and we could easily have stayed longer. Second picture is Denis and Ed. Last picture is Denis getting bundled up from the cold. It was a rather cold and blustery day. Thankfully we didn't do all that much walking around.

What if Twitter had been Around during the Civil War

The premise of this exhibit is what if the events of the Battle of Gettysburg had been Tweeted.

More from the Civil War Exhibit at the Newseum

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The 5 Minute Chocolate Cake for One Person

Jennifer sent this along to me. I think it looks really great!

I'm going to try it out a little later this week (hopefully the recipe works). I'll let you know how it goes.

4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug (MicroSafe)

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.

Pour in the milk and oil and mix well..

Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.

The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
EAT ! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world?
Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!

Less Than Stellar Customer Service

Last Monday DC had a little snow. Accent on a little. It was pretty. On some grassy areas there was a small amount of accumulation. This gives you the weather conditions for what happened next with DirecTV.

I came home from work. Turned on the TV. I wasn’t able to get all of the stations. I got a blank screen with a message saying searching for satellite signal. I was able to watch a little TV. Then the screen froze. Suddenly I couldn’t get any station to come in.

There was still a very small amount of snow coming down. But not much. I thought I would try and reset the receiver and maybe I could get the signal back that way. I hit the reset button and it starts. But when it gets to the part where it is accessing the station line up I get the searching for signal. I try to reset again. The same thing happens.

Now the fun really began. I called DirecTV for help.

It actually didn’t take all that long to get someone on the phone. The conversation started with me explaining the type of weather we had. As described above it wasn’t all that bad. The women from DirecTV asked if the dish was covered in snow. I said it was on the roof so I couldn’t see it but I added I doubted if there was much snow on it since we didn’t have much snow.

We then went through a series of tests to see if the receiver was properly connected. Then we ran the reset again. And received the same searching for satellite signal. The woman said well the problem could be the “bad” weather in DC. (Yes all that snow and that thick cloud cover that sure would be a good reason to loose the satellite signal.)

The upshot was that a technician would be dispatched to “fix” the problem. Before I could find out what day someone would be out I had to decide on two for lack of a better way of putting it payment options. The first was a monthly $6 fee which would cover any problems I would have with the receiver or dish or whatever. The other was a $50 one time fee. Actually it was a visit fee if there were any other problems found they would be extra.

I opted for the $50 fee. All of the times conflicted with when my friends were going to be here for their visit. So I said I’d call back. About an hour or so later I tried the TV again and everything was up and working.

I’m working on what to replace DirecTV with. I’d hope to do Verizon. Hoping that FIOS would be available in my area. No such luck. The areas that don’t have FIOS, Verizon partners with DirecTV. Well so much for that. There is the possibility of Comcast but I’m not a huge a fan of them either. I will continue to look into getting something else.

Hopefully in the next few months DirecTV will be a thing of the past.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Linus and Charlie Find Their Spots

Linus and Charlie have started to find their favorite spots in the house. Linus likes to lie on the couch and Charlie likes my desk chair.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Playing Tour Guide

I have some friends in town. I've been playing tour guide the last couple of days. They got in on Wednesday night. I left a little early from work. They took a bus from Dulles to L'Enfant Plaza. I met them there. Also had another friend show up. We went and to Starbucks and had something to drink and sat and chatted for awhile.

After that we took the subway to my house. We got settle in and went to an Ethiopian place for dinner. Very good food.

After that we drove around and saw the monuments at night. It was a rather cold rainy night so we stayed in the car but still got to enjoy seeing them.

They were on their own the next day. I had to go to work. Met up with them after work. They had met up with other mutual friends. We all went to the National Portrait Gallery and spent a couple of hours there. It's great that the Gallery stays open until 7 each night.

We said goodbye to those friends and then headed to DuPont Circle to met up with our friend from Wednesday. Had a great dinner at DuPont Italian Kitchen.

Yesterday I was off and we all went to the Newseum.

I have to say I like playing tour guide. It's fun to show people around the city.

I'll have some pictures later.

Monday, January 09, 2012

The Romney Disconnect

A gaffe from Romney on firing people? I don't think so if you take the quote in the right context:

“I want individuals to have their own insurance. That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep you healthy. It also means that if you don’t like what they do, you could fire them.”

So the idea that he likes to fire people is a bit much. His rivals are using it against him. Romney says it's being taken out of context. This is pretty funny coming from the guy who took a comment by then Senator Obama completely out of context and put it in an ad attacking the president.

He did add this interesting comment:

The speech came a day after Romney said he had personally feared losing his job. “I know what it’s like to worry whether you’re gonna get fired,” Romney said Sunday at a campaign rally in Rochester, N.H. “There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.”

That may indeed be the case but I think it is fairly safe to say that Romney wasn't worried about money if he lost the job. The idea that he's on the same level of people that loose a job is laughable.

This guy is a millionaire. If he lost a job, he wasn't worried about paying the mortgage, getting food on the table or supporting his kids. Not like the people who did loose their jobs in the great recession.

I'm not saying that rich candidates don't understand these problems. But Romney's attempt to say he's one of the middle class is too much.

Monday Smile

I know exactly how Lucy feels about this. I'm not a big New Yea's person so once Christmas is over I feel a big let down. This is a very funny series.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Is Romney Inevitable?

That Romney will win New Hampshire is more or less a foregone conclusion. Yes, something could happen but what exactly to change the almost 20 percent lead is hard to say. Romney is also ahead in South Carolina by 10 points.

Granted South Carolina isn't until Jan. 21 and things could change but Romney will have a great deal of momentum coming out of New Hampshire even if he is expected to win there.

The nomination process is spread out this time. It will take a little while to win enough delegates to get the nomination. This could and the emphasis is the word could allow some other candidate to catch on and challenge Romney. But who might that be. Of those left the only one that hasn't shot to the top and then dropped like a stone is Santorum. The problem Santorum has is that he doesn't have enough money, at least right now, and little if no organization. It also seems he's running into a little bit of trouble in New Hampshire with his social positions:

On Friday, he was aggressively heckled at a wild campaign stop at a restaurant. The event was forced into the parking lot after a fire marshal deemed the building too crowded. As Santorum spoke, he was interrupted periodically by shouts.

“What about equality for the gays?” one man shouted and, after Santorum opened with a request for respect, the man continued, “How much respect do you have for gay people, Rick?”

But the main thing that has to happen to stop the Romney bandwagon is that someone has to win. And win pretty big I'd say. I just don't see where that happens.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Guys Watch Football

Charlie and Linus have a favorite spot to watch football. The loveseat in the living room. There was a little disagreement on who would get to sit where.

Looking for Cough Medicine

I have this cough that won't seem to go away. I've had it on and off for about three weeks or so. I think it comes in part because the weather's changed. It's drier in my house. I'm sleeping with my mouth open and my throat becomes dry. That leads to the cough.

I had some cough medicine at home. In fact I had three of four bottles of the stuff. I took some and it actually did some good. I then looked at the bottles and found that three out of the four bottles had surpassed their expiration date. So I tossed them.

I went looking for some more. It turns out just about every damn bottle of the stuff is cherry flavored. I hate cherry. I'd rather eat dirt than eat or drink anything that is cherry flavored. Yet I wasn't able to find a bottle of cough syrup that wasn't cherry flavored. Except for kids cough syrup which wasn't exactly what I was hoping to loose.

I will continue my search for a non-cherry flavored cough medicine. In the mean time, I hold my nose while I'm taking the stuff and hope I don't gag on it.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Battle in the Bathtub

The guys have discovered the bathtub. Linus really likes it. And then Charlie came along and they battled for who'd be tops in the tub.

Iowa: It’s a Tie

And it means the campaign goes on.

Santorum certainly became the conservative flavor of the month the anit-Romney at just the right time.

Romney won but by only 8 votes. Essentially it was a tie. Once again Romney faces the problem of a ceiling he seems unable to break through. The 25 percent ceiling. He did better with evangelicals than last time. But there is still the problem, which the media continues to ignore, that Romney is a Mormon and many evangelicals simply will never vote for this guy. The reason is they don’t think he’s a Christian.

Santorum faces the problem of trying to define himself as something other than the far far right ideologue that he is. He also has little or no organization in the upcoming primaries and very little money. The money part will change. In fact the money part probably started changing last night. The organization part is something that will take time. Time that Santorum might not have. One thing working in his favor is that primary process is strung out over several months. The opening primaries will award delegates proportionately. Only after April (I think) does the winner take all contests kick in.

Romney will win in New Hampshire, that’s a given. In all likelihood that will be dismissed by the media because Romney is expected to win there. What is important for Romney in New Hampshire is to win really big. His goal should be to crush those that remain in the contest. He also has to turn his attention to destroying Santorum the way he destroyed Gingrich in Iowa. What I mean to say is the SuperPac that the Romney campaign has no interaction with.

Newt certainly didn’t take kindly to what happened to him in Iowa:

“We were on a path to have a real policy debate ... and then we got diverted by Romney and his negative campaign, and also Ron Paul, to some extent,” Gingrich said on MSNBC Wednesday morning. “So now we have to go back and figure out how we are going to run in an environment where clearly you have two guys who are willing to say things that are not honest, and who have millions of dollars to pay for doing so.”

I feel a little sorry for Newt but only a little. Since Newt is responsible for this type of campaigning. It started with him that idea of completely destroying an opponent. It wasn’t enough to beat someone on the issues it was important to destroy that person’s reputation. A take no prisoners scorched earth policy. Well Mr. Speaker, pay back is a bitch and now he knows what it’s like.

It will be interesting to see how things play out in the next few days.

GW Women's Basketball

Monday I went to a GW women's basketball game. They played cross town rival American.

There was a pretty good crowd considering it was the last day most people had off for the holidays.

GW ended up winning 60-49 but at one point American was within 3 points. It was a very entertaining game. You can read more about it here.