November 13, 2009

Elusive Flavor

Cuisipro Accutec Razor-Sharp Stainless-Steel Deluxe Dual Microplane Grater

Aside from the name of the product (which looks like it was created with a grater), I found this sentence in the product description odd: "Unlike other graters that are dull and tear food, this grater features incredibly sharp blades that virtually glide through food, preserving its fresh flavor."

Does tearing food instead of slicing it really change the flavor? Is flavor skittish? Do you have to sneak up on it or it'll fly away?

Still, I do really want one of these. It just looks a lot easier to use than other graters and zesters. Santa, are you listening?

Posted at 10:05 AM | Comments ()

May 26, 2009

Boo, California!

Fact: The CA Supreme Court ruled last year that defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman was sexual orientation discrimination.

Fact: The CA Supreme Court ruled this year that CA voters have the right to amend the state constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Conclusion: The CA Supreme Court believes that it’s okay for CA voters to legalize sexual discrimination.

The system is broken.

Posted at 01:41 PM | Comments ()

October 30, 2008


Okay, here's my question to proponents of California Proposition 8: What are some of the bad things that could happen if couples of the same sex are allowed to marry? I've heard people express the opinion that it shouldn't be allowed, and I've even heard them give reasons, but I've never heard anyone speak of any consequences of allowing same-sex marriages.

I think this is an important question. It's fine to express a dislike of something, but if nothing bad will ever come of it, I would have a hard time justifying enacting legislation to stop it.

I did read an article that expressed the feelings of a married couple who felt that marriage should be about having babies. They claimed to not have any problems accepting gay couples, but they felt that marriage should only be between a man and a woman because its purpose is to create offspring. I don't agree with that opinion, but I would still like to hear them word their opposition to gay marriage in terms of possible bad future consequences.

If the purpose of marriage is to create offspring, then maybe they are concerned about the human population? If so, do they really think that the human race will be wiped out if some married couples do not produce children? I just don't get it.

Please name some bad things that could happen if gays are given the same opportunity to marry as everyone else.

Posted at 03:53 PM | Comments ()

October 20, 2008

Cigarette Pollution

What is the proper way to dispose of a used cigarette outdoors? Certainly throwing it on the ground is polluting, but throwing it into a garbage can even after stubbing it out doesn't sound very safe.

I just want to know how to properly chastise smokers when they throw their butts on the sidewalk.

Posted at 12:24 PM | Comments ()

October 02, 2008


Whoa. As I was reading an email from Brina about checking out a song called "AEIOU" by Charlotte Sometimes, the song "Charlotte Sometimes" by The Cure came on my iPod.

I have 10,000 songs on my iPod.

Posted at 03:23 PM | Comments ()

August 11, 2008

Georgia vs. Ossetia

I haven't been able to figure out why Georgia doesn't want to let South Ossetia be independent (or part of North Ossetia in Russia). But I guess I've never understood it in Taiwan or even The South during the Civil War.

It seems to me that if a bunch of people living in a certain area want to claim to be their own country or part of another, why shouldn't they be allowed to?

Posted at 04:04 PM | Comments ()

February 12, 2008

Food-Time Awareness

If I set out chips and dip for a party and then don't put them away before I go to bed, when I awaken the next day I usually throw them out because they're probably "bad". However, if I stay awake the whole night, I'm fine with eating them all night and even the next morning. It's almost as if the food stays good as long as I'm there to monitor it. But if I leave the food alone while I'm asleep, only then will the microbes and bacteria sneak out and destroy the food.

Posted at 08:45 AM | Comments (1)

February 05, 2008

You'd Think I'd Be in Favor of Random Voting

I think that people should have to explain their votes on their ballots. If they just say, "I picked the one on the top," their vote shouldn't count.

I don't understand the whole momentum phenomenon. How can momentum be a deciding factor for a voter? And yet if a candidate starts emerging as a winner, it does seem that people start jumping on the bandwagon. Sometimes it seems that it's of utmost importance to some people to have voted for the winner. It's almost like a bet. They consider their vote to be a guess of who's going to win, not an endorsement of a candidate that represents their values.

"I picked him because I saw a lot of his supporters jumping up and down with signs today." Nope. Disqualified.

"I voted for him because a lot of the early states seem to be going his way." Sorry.

"I voted the way I did because I want the war in Iraq to end, I believe that every adult should have the right to marry the person they love, and I want universal health care." Okay then.

Posted at 09:02 PM | Comments ()

October 08, 2007

That's Entertainment

Deputy fired 30 shots from rifle in killing 6, officials say

I was reading the above article on CNN about a sheriff's deputy in Wisconsin that shot and killed six people, when I came across this part of the story:

Jenny Stahl said her daughter, Lindsey, was the youngest victim. Link: Watch the victim's mom describe her grief.

Is that something that we really need to watch? Obviously the woman consented to having her grief videotaped, so maybe it's just the wording of that link that gets to me. Gather around, everyone, and be entertained by grief!

Posted at 12:51 PM | Comments (1)

September 19, 2007

Why Do They Call It the Blues??

A prisoner of the musical tastes of the carpool driver, I had a chance to listen closely to the lyrics of Elton John's "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues". Bizarrely, he doesn't actually explain at all why the color blue is involved.

Posted at 08:54 AM | Comments (3)

July 31, 2007

Spelling Lesson

Brina likes how I explained to her how to remember how to spell the word "Berkeley". I said, "Just put an 'e' everywhere you think there might be one."

Posted at 03:30 PM | Comments (1)

July 17, 2007

Postcards from the Edge

For the past couple of weeks I've been receiving a lot of spam emails with this type of subject line: "You've received a postcard from a Friend!" Or: "You've received a greeting from a Family Member!" The From line usually says or, etc. Going on the assumption that if these were legitimate they'd have more accurate, personalized subject lines, I've just been deleting them.

Today I got one from with the subject, "You've received a postcard from a Worshipper!"

Pshaw. My worshipers never send me postcards.

Posted at 01:18 PM | Comments (3)

July 02, 2007


Forced desegregation of schools is supposed to ensure that the racial mix of a particular school reflects the racial mix of the neighborhood it's in. Isn't it? That makes sense to me, but I feel like that's not actually how it's defined.

It seems to me that if students were allowed to attend any school they want, and not be barred because of their race, then schools would automatically take on the racial mix of their neighborhoods. And I think that's a good thing. Forced segregation was a problem because black children were not allowed to attend certain schools because they were black -- even though they may have lived in the school's neighborhood. Clearly wrong.

But I think it's too big of a task to force schools to have more ethnically and racially diverse makeups than their surrounding neighborhoods. The real issue is that neighborhoods are rarely diverse. If we want to have truly multicultural schools, then we need to solve the problem about where people live. The school thing is just a symptom of that problem.

Posted at 01:39 PM | Comments (1)

May 16, 2007

Don't Make Me Come Back There

Couldn't we pull the troops out of Iraq, see how it goes, and then go back if needed? Sure there's a cost of moving the troops around, but there's also a cost associated with leaving them there. What's the ratio? Maybe it's something like bringing the troops home and then redeploying them later costs as much as leaving them there for a year. Right now the war seems kind of open-ended -- it could go on for another 4,5, or even 10 years as far as I know.

To lessen the costs of moving the troops around, maybe we could leave all the equipment there. Let the Iragis use it for a while, for themselves. When things calm down, we bring the equipment back. Or they can rent to own.

Using this method, when we leave we should have explicit reasons laid out for going back. An example might be an exact amount of casualties. Let's say that after we leave, violence escalates. Maybe the rule would be something like: When the average amount of daily casualties increases by 100% after the date of withdrawal, we go back. There could be several different reasons. The point is that they should be explicit. They should be the things that people are worried about happening if the troops all left today.

One criticism I've heard about withdrawing from Iraq is that the bad guys will think that they've won. They'll think that they scared America away. So what? Let them think that if they want. Why can't we just say: "Look, this has been going on for a long time and no one is really getting anywhere. We're tired of all of the killing, and we want to bring our people home. If that's 'winning' for you, fine. You win. Oh, but we'll come back if things get out of hand. So if you want to live your lives in peace like the rest of us, you'd be smart to just let everyone get back to their daily lives. Thanks."

Posted at 09:46 AM | Comments (4)

April 06, 2007

Where Was the Ship?

What is the real dispute in the Britain-Iran issue? Is it that both agree on where the British ship was, but the British claim that that spot is in Iraqi territory and the Iranians claim that that spot is in Iranian territory? Or is it that neither side agrees where the exact spot of pickup was? I haven't seen this addressed in any reports.

If both sides agree on the pickup spot location, then the dispute only has to do with the fact that they can't agree on where the borders are. In that case, Iran should allow for the possibility that the British thought they were in Iraq. The solution would be to have some talks about re-defining the borders to everyone's satisfaction in order to prevent this from happening again.

If neither side agrees on the exact location of the pickup spot, both sides need to produce evidence to each other demonstrating their position. Who knows -- maybe the Google Map satellite happened to take a picture at that time. It's too bad that this happened in the ocean, out of sight of land probably. It's sort of hard to revisit and find evidence that a ship was there.

Posted at 02:05 PM | Comments (2)

April 01, 2007


Joss Whedon is only a few years older than me, so surely he was just as much of a fan of The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman as I was. Buffy's last name -- Summers -- must be an homage to Jaime Sommers, the bionic woman. The two TV super-heroines' surnames differ by only one letter and they are actually pronounced the same.

I think that Jaime would have been amused by the Buffy-bot.

Posted at 02:26 PM | Comments (2)

July 17, 2006

Prisoner Exchange

Here's another thing that I'm not understanding. Hamas said that they would release the Israeli soldier they captured if Israel releases the Palestinian women and children that it has imprisoned. What's the story with these women and children? I can't find any reference to them anywhere online. Does Israel really have Palestinian women and children in prison and if so, what are they guilty of?

Posted at 03:40 PM | Comments (1)

July 06, 2006

This is Only a Test

I don't really get why the world is up in arms (pun intended) about North Korea testing its missiles. If we're upset that they even have missiles, that's one thing. But we've known about their missiles for decades. Plus, every country in the world has missiles. If they're allowed to have missiles, why can't they test them? All they're doing is shooting them into the ocean. If we want to bring them up on pollution charges, so be it. Otherwise, I believe that if any country is allowed to have missiles, they should be allowed to test them.

Of course, I also believe that countries shouldn't even have missiles. However, I understand the strategy of the best defense is a good offense. Fine. Just don't shoot them at people. Shoot them into the water from time to time to make sure that they're working, just don't aim them at cities. Cleaning up after them would be nice, too.

Is there something that I'm not getting here? Is testing missiles more worrying to the world than just having them in the first place?

Posted at 11:05 AM | Comments (1)

June 08, 2006

Bad Choices

Upcoming sermon topic on a church marquis on Park Blvd.: "What do you do when someone you love makes bad choices?"

How about: "What do you do when someone you love thinks your choices are bad?"

Posted at 12:53 PM | Comments (2)

March 29, 2006


I'm ridiculously in love with the soundtrack to the movie "Xanadu". I'm not ashamed to admit that it really is a pure love.

I haven't owned the album for many years -- I used to have the LP when I was a kid. My sisters and I listened to the album approximately 2,000 times. We probably only saw the movie once, back in the days when you could only watch movies in theaters. The album had a pink side (Olivia Newton-John's songs) and a purple (or blue?) side (ELO's songs).

I just downloaded the album from iTunes and I've been sitting here singing along, breaking into silly smiles. I could have borrowed the CD from my sister, Jennie, but I heard the song "I'm Alive" and I just had to have the whole thing now.

Listening to this album right now, I can't understand why it's not the number one selling album of all time. This *has* to be more than just nostalgia! These are the greatest songs ever! And if they're not that great, then how did this happen to me?? How did I become so affected by these songs? I feel like they represent everything good about my childhood, and yet they're also so danceable!

"Magic" weaves its way through the corners of my mind as if it were really made by magic.

"Suddenly" makes we want to slow dance with every girl in my seventh grade class.

"Dancin'" is one of the most amazing achievements in music that I've ever heard. Olivia and The Tubes take turns singing for most of the song. Olivia sings a nice, mellow 40's big band style song and then The Tubes do a more 80's big hair rockin' type piece. At first it's interesting because the types of music are so different, but the lyrics mirror each other, often using some of the same words. The tones are completely different, but the sentiments are similar in an odd way. And then! It turns out that the two types of music actually work SIMULTANEOUSLY! The end of the song brings both parts together in a way that just blows your mind. I think this was the source of today's mash-ups.

"Suspended in Time" is a slow song, not as interesting as others on the album. However, I still KNOW ALL THE WORDS. The hell? I tell you -- this album is mesmerizing and it has become a part of the core of my being.

I can't sing along with "Whenever You're Away from Me" without getting a little teary. Don't ask my why Gene Kelly agreed to sing and dance with Olivia for this movie, but the lyrics are really special to me.

"I'm Alive" is essential ELO. They're dreamy. It's such an earnest song. It makes you wonder how anything could have been more wonderful than living in 1980.

"The Fall". You know what? I can't sing along with either Olivia or ELO. They're all sopranos. I have to sing falsetto for the whole album. It's not pretty, but I can't help it.

"Don't Walk Away" is also a sad song. It's easy to sing back up for this song because you just have to repeat everything that Jeff Lynne says. Okay, maybe this isn't such a great song either. But how does this album have such a hold over me?

"All Over the World" has a list of cities that are fun to sing along with. There's also a robot voice. This is a fun song. The lyrics are a little goofy, but it makes you feel happy to sing. "I got a message on the radio / But where it came from I don't really know". Why would he suspect that it's not just a radio announcement? "All over the world / Everbody got the word". It makes no sense, but you just sing the hell out of it anyway.

"Xanadu", the title song, is where they all come together. This is a beautiful song and it makes you realize that the movie should have just been thrown away unreleased, and the album could have just been an interesting concept thing. I made the mistake of seeing the movie again several years ago. I should have just kept the magic in my mind unsullied. According to Olivia, filiming began without a finished script and it was written as they went along. It shows.

I can't fully explain why this album means so much to me. I almost don't want you to listen to it if you know nothing about it. I'm afraid that you won't get it. How could you? Maybe you had to be there at that time, being a kid in the late 70's, feeling the magic of roller skating, and then listening to the album non-stop. Whatever the reason, I don't think that any music will ever come close to meaning what Xanadu means to me.

Posted at 08:59 PM | Comments (1)

December 09, 2005

Reading Articles Without Ads

I listen to NPR in the mornings on the way to work, but I get most of my news from online sources throughout the day. Google News aggregates stories for me, but it's a little disorienting to read five different stories on five different online news sites. One thing many of them have in common, though, is that the articles themselves are usually bombarded on all sides by ads. And a lot of the ads have moving parts. Also, there are often ads between paragraphs of an article. Ugh.

Now the first thing I look for on these pages is a "Printer-Friendly" or "Print This Page" link. Clicking it usually results in another window opening up with a barebones, mostly ad-free version of the page suitable for printing. That's what I wanted in the first place! Not only does it print better, it's easier to read. So instead of reading the regular version, I can read the printer-friendly version. And when I forward particularly interesting articles to friends, I always give them a direct link to the printer-friendly version. However, I usually have to dig around in the source code to find it.

In general, I don't like "Printer-Friendly" links. It's very easy for developers to code pages so that they just print out friendly without making the user click on a link. But now they're going to look at their stats and say, "Look how many people are clicking the printer-friendly links! People love printing our articles! Let's keep doing it this way!" When really all we're doing is sneaking past the ads.

Posted at 09:48 AM | Comments ()

October 29, 2005

Remake it Right

Movie remakes get done a lot, but usually the originals were already pretty good. I guess it's fun to revisit the movies that we love in a slightly different way, but how about remaking the crappy movies? Do them right this time! Maybe it's a little disrespectful to the makers of the original movie, but I think that everyone that was involved with the making of say, Xanadu, can agree that there's a lot of room for improvement.

Posted at 06:28 PM | Comments ()

January 10, 2005

C is for Kookie

The letter "C" is stupid.

It feels weird trying to explain to a non-native English speaker that there are rules to explain when a C makes a K sound and when it makes an S sound (having to do with things like whether or not the C is followed by certain vowels, for example). And that you just have to memorize the inevitable irregular cases.

The next question is always, "Then why don't you just use a K when it makes a K sound and an S when it makes an S sound? Why use the C at all?" Why that would be... perfectly logical, come to think of it.

However, there is another weird use for a C -- CH. The CH sound doesn't really have anything to do with the C sound or the H sound. But if we got rid of the letter C, we'd have to do something about the CH. I suppose we could keep the C as long as it's always followed by an H, but hey -- why don't we just use the C by itself for the CH sound! Aha! Let's try a few words:

chop = cop
lunch = lunc
church = curc

It looks weird, but I think we kan handle it. Let's all work together and uses K and S instead of C, and use C for CH. Maybe it'll katc on.

Next week: "ough"

Posted at 10:52 AM | Comments ()