August 25, 2004

So this is how it ends

Somehow, I always thought that when Michele gave up blogging, she would go out with a bang. Sure, it could just be a break. Or maybe this is really the end. I, for one, will miss her.

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Rounding down

Rounding down: an idea whose time has come, but it will never catch on.

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Kerry in a nutshell

Jonah posted this over at the Corner and I'm reposting it here in its entirety:

I haven't read any of the John Kerry biographies, mostly because I haven't had a chance but also because someone said that if I jabbed a spoon into my eye I wouldn't have to.

So, here's how I see John Kerry through my one good eye. He went to Vietnam out of a mix of ambition and patriotism -- hardly an uncommon mix. He idolized JFK and he was a good liberal off to fight what was, until then, a liberal war. He was disillusioned by what he saw, but eager to get his credentials while there (hence the rather rapid accumulation of Purple Hearts of dubious merit). When Richard Nixon was elected, he suddenly saw that that the war was a loser for aspiring liberal politicians. I base this point almost entirely on the fact that not once have I heard Kerry refer to Vietnam as LBJ's or JFK's war but I've heard him denounce Nixon ad nauseum. Indeed, the "I was in Cambodia" line usually seems framed as a slap against Nixon, even though he wasn't even sworn in yet.

Kerry comes home and, partly because he's from Mass. partly because he has horrendous political instincts and partly because all of his liberal friends back home have turned anti-war, he assumes that being anti-war is a great career move. So he switches and switches hard. Obviously, real conviction is part of the story too. But since he seems to have wanted to be president from the womb, his conviction is always shaped through the prism of his ambition. So for the better part of two decades, Kerry runs on his anti-war, anti-military credentials.It slowly dawns on him that anti-Vietnam credentials may have played well to get him elected in the most liberal state, they don't win that many points in the states necessary to become president. Indeed, neither does the 20 year Senate record he amassed. So, suddenly, he's running for president as if his entire career is nothing but a parentheses and his qualifications are based almost entirely on the fact he "reported for duty" thirty years ago. Now that that duty is being scrutinized, he's getting the flop-sweats because he has absolutely nothing else in his record or his personality that would help him get elected president in 2004.

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My results

Libertarians for Bush have a quiz for you to try. My results did not surprise me:

Your Economic Issues score is 80

Your Social Issues score is 85


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August 24, 2004

Revised blonde Michael Moore supporter joke

A Michael Moore supporter was speeding in a 35 mile per hour zone when a local police officer pulled her over and walked up to the car. The officer also happened to be a Michael Moore supporter and she asked for the Michael Moore supporter's driver's license.

The driver searched frantically in her purse for a while and finally said to the Michael Moore supporter policewoman, "What does a driver's license look like?"

Irritated, the Michael Moore supporter cop said, "You dummy, it's got your picture on it!"

The Michael Moore supporter driver frantically searched her purse again and found a small, rectangular mirror down at the bottom. She held it up to her face and said, "Aha! This must be my driver's license" and handed it to the Michael Moore supporter policewoman.

The Michael Moore supporter cop looked in the mirror, handed it back to the driver and said, "You're free to go. And, if I had known you were a police officer too, we could have avoided all of this."

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Strengthen the good

I've decided to take time out from my fits of pique over this year's presidential election by linking to something that exists to help people: Strengthen the Good. Excerpt:

The Idea & Call To Action

Create a network of bloggers who raise awareness of “micro charities”—charitable opportunities that are simple, personal, non-bureaucratic, and inspiring. Charitable opportunities where someone can feel great about giving $1, or even just from reading the story of the charity, it’s sponsors, and it’s beneficiaries.

I’ll find them, if you’ll link to them. Every third Sunday night at Strengthen The Good I’ll post about a micro-charity with enough detail that people can qualify the charity and feel good (or even inspired) by what the charity stands for and who it benefits. I won't ask for donations; the mission is only to raise awareness.

Great idea, and I'm glad to be a part of it. And here's the first worthy cause: Hurrican Charley Disaster Relief Fund.

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Is our children learning?

Maybe not, but we can make certain that their poor widdle self-esteem doesn't get bruised. Apparently, having papers graded with red ink was deemed too harsh, so some schools are switching to "friendlier" purple. Funny, I thought that red ink really illuminated the mistakes I made. I must have been misinformed. My teachers were just attacking me and I never knew it. Barf.

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August 23, 2004


What would Cosell say?

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How to run a campaign

That is, if you want your candidate to lose. Check out this timeline. Excerpt:

Now there were many more things that I could have added in but I think you get the idea. Whoever is running the Kerry Campaign has no clue, no strategy and no control over the message that the campaign should be getting out. They pinned their hopes on presenting Kerry as a decorated war veteran and pretty much nothing else. That strategy is coming back to haunt them in a big way.

With the Swift Boat ads doing damage to their candidates credibility - the Kerry Campaign now wants to focus on issues but the questions raised by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth remain unanswered and claims of wanting to run an issues oriented campaign ring hollow when one considers that the DNC was pretty much issue free.

"I'm John Kerry and I approved this message."

Okay, the last bit is from me. Mheh.

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And so it begins

The first Carnival of of the Recipes is up. Lots of good looking stuff to gorge myself with. I'd better up my weekly running mileage.

In an unrelated note, Beth blew my cover. Now people won't yell "Geek!" at me when I walk by. Ah, who am I kidding? Of course they will.

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Maybe she'd like some cheese with that whine

Well, well, well. Turns out that the US men's basketball team isn't the sole repository of petulance at the 2004 summer games. Svetlana Khorkina complained that the "fix was in" for the women's all-around gymnastics competition. Excerpt:

Khorkina did not think Patterson was a deserving winner.

Asked if the American was a worthy opponent, she said: "I've seen a much tougher opposition than her. Let's see how long she can remain on top. Can she keep going and compete in two more Olympics like myself."

Maybe Carly Patterson will never win another gold medal in her life. However, the Whiny Asshat competition has already been won by the Russian. For life.

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August 20, 2004

Thought for the day

I cannot vouch for the authenticity, but here's an email and a picture that I received from someone, theoretically from Wisconsin:

The picture was taken on Route 38 in Racine County, Wisconsin.

Here I was thinking that Wisconsin was rather anti-Bush and pro-Kerry.
Could I have been mis-informed?

It's a warm fuzzy feeling to be from the Badger state if there are folks
there who think like whoever installed this ceramic art.

Gotta love it. It is so much better as a graphic, especially in full view of the travelling public and all over the internet.

Pass it on, unless you are inclined to give a, excuse the pun, crap for the Johns.


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August 19, 2004

Pumpkin cheesecake

Originally posted at my old site and I've been too lazy to move my archives. So here it is reposted:

Jennifer posted a recipe for caramel apple cheesecake over at Munuviana. Despite not being a Munu person/thingy/whatever, I'm posting my old recipe for pumpkin cheesecake. The recipe was originally for 4 cheesecakes(I used to work in a commercial kitchen), but the quantities have been scaled back for a single cake. When I cooked for a living, almost no one else made pumpkin cheesecakes. Now, it seems like everyone and their brother makes their own, including the big warehouse stores such as Costco. Whatever. This recipe is the best.


1 7/8 pounds cream cheese(worried about the fat? Use some Neufchatel)
5/8 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
5 eggs
3/8 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
5/8 cup sour cream
1/8 cup rum
1 Tbsp vanilla

Approx. 30-49 ginger snaps
Approx. 1/4 cup butter

1) Grind up ginger snaps and mix with enough melted butter to bind together

2) Cream together cream cheese, brown sugar and sugar. Beat eggs and add to
cream cheese mixture.

3) Add flour and the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. I suggest using the
beater attachment on your mixer, but it's up to you.

4) Grease a springform pan(10" preferred, but 9" will also work). Press the ginger
snap mixture into the pan to form the crust. Pour mixture into the crust-lined
pan; gently shake to remove air bubbles. Bake in 350 degree oven in a water bath
until the center is set.

***Note: If you have trouble with the cheesecake cracking, lower the temperature of
the oven to 300F and bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake
sit in it for about 45 minutes. Chill before serving.

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An idea whose time has come

Carnival of the Recipes. I may not be a cookbook author, but 16 years of cooking in a commercial kitchen gives me a little ammunition. I plan on submitting recipes weekly. And making/eating the recipes from others. Woo Hoo!

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Health can be a tricky thing

So I heard recently that Venomous Kate had resumed blogging, which to me sounded like good news. Then I stumbled onto this post. Apparently Kate has been suffering some really horrible GI problems. Having been through similar issues, although nowhere near as severe, I can certainly sympathize with her distress. While she's got more tests upcoming, Kate has started medicating herself with exercise. She has more energy, she's lost weight and her symptoms have lessened. Imagine that.

I'm a firm believer in the benefits of regular exercise. I used to be a gym rat. Back when I was a full-time college student and a full-time employee, I still managed to average 1-2 hours a day of exercise. Consequently, I never managed to put on any weight. However, after child #1 arrived, I kind of slowed down, spending all of my free time at home with my family. I figured that family time was more important than silly old exercise. The thing is, I managed to bulk up to the tune of 20+ pounds the last couple years. And no, none of it was muscle. I finally figured out that fat plus little exercise equaled shorter life expectancy, which kind of plays against my spending time with my family. And child #2 is almost here. My time isn't about to become more free.

So I started running again. No gym to worry about, no time wasted driving. Just head out the door and get started.

I used to love running. Less than 10 years ago, I completed my 6th half-marathon. I ran only for fun; I'm slow. The once-a-week long training runs were great. They gave me time to think about things while my legs were on auto-pilot. I used to debug my computer programs in my head while running.


Now imagine my horror at how my body responded when I hit the road again.

First step: not too bad.

Second step: this hurts a little.

Fifth step: I think I'm dying. Please make it stop hurting.

Each day I had a run scheduled, I did it. And it hurt like Hell. Then a funny thing happened. I had a run of 50 minutes one evening and not only did it NOT hurt, it felt pretty darned good. Not surprisingly, I've shed 15 pounds the last couple of months. My clothes fit better, I feel better and I don't snore anymore. For the record, I didn't start snoring until I passed the magical 215 pound mark, which I guess is my Mendoza fat line. A side benefit is that I've got more clothes to wear now without having to buy any. Call me an optimist, but I knew that sooner or later I'd fit into my regular stuff again.

Anyway, stop by Kate's place and wish her well. She's got a very special test upcoming involving the flexible sigmoidoscope. I remember that I really, really hated that freaking test. Ten years ago, they didn't sedate you either. Or maybe it's that they didn't sedate ME. Regardless, go by and wish her well.

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Dog bites man

So Microsoft's much ballyhooed SP2 fix for Windows XP doesn't work; hackers are able get around the fixes. I'm telling you right now: embrace the Penguin.

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A cardiologist's dream

So the "Fat Darrell' has been named the best sandwich in the country by Maxim magazine. It contains, french fries, fried cheese and fried chicken strips. And don't forget the marinara. It wouldn't be healthy without that. The article also mentions the "Fat Mojo", which is a Darrell with honey instead of marinara. I'm betting that I can guess name of the sandwich if lard were used instead.

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Caption this

"Does this suit make me look fat?"

::squeeze, squeeze:: "Doesn't feel fat"

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Big cojones

Let me get this straight: John Kerry is complaining about how the President lets others(527 groups) do his dirty work. Um, are you fucking kidding me, you sanctimonious, pretentious hypocrite?

Update: Dean, as usual, provides a more eloquent dissertation on the subject.

Update: John Cole provides ample evidence of Kerry's disingenuousness, and he does it while remaining pretty even-tempered. Someone has got to tell me how to manage that when confronted with such egregious nonsense.

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Wanna bet what the South Korean male gymnasts are saying today?

Maybe this: HAAAAMMMMMMMM! And it's pronounced Hahm, not Ham.

After teaching class last night, I purposefully turned off the radio in my car so that I wouldn't hear any Olympic updates; I wanted to watch the men's all-around competition without knowing in advance who won the darned thing.

Anyway, Hamm had performed well during the first 3 rotations. He actually led at that point. Then disaster struck: he fell during his vault. Not a big step, not a stumble. Hamm fell off of the mat onto his ass. I'm not a gymnastic judge, but I've developed a pretty good eye over the years; usually I can make a good guess as to what the final score will be. So when Hamm's bottom hit the floor, I looked at my wife and said, "That isn't just first place he lost. He may not even medal now."

However, I should have known better. Whenever the US team was in dire need of a big score, Hamm had provided. Apparently, he performs better when coming from behind. So he hits the parallel bars and pulls in the second highest score in this year's competition for the men, a 9.837, which moved him up from 12th place to 4th. Did I mention that he had dropped to 12th after his fall? No? Well, pretty strong move back into medal contention.

The final apparatus was Paul's strongest, thie high bar. And he performs a nearly flawless routine, finishing up by sticking the landing. His final score, another 9.837, vaulted him over two South Korean gymnasts into first place, becoming the first US male to win a gold medal in the all around gymnastics competition.

I've watched lots of athletes over the years. Lots of times, when one of them stumbles, they just give up, finishing with a puny effort. Watching Paul Hamm made me remember why I enjoy watching sports: skill, hope and determination combined into single moment, which an athelete has spent his entire lifetime working towards. To me, that's what it's all about.

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