Archive for December, 2006

Happy New Year

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

It’s party central here at WWR HQ. Fiona is fast asleep, Ewan is nursing, Mrs. WWR is watching television, and I’m putting up a lame new year’s post.

Crazy!

Happy 2007!

Hussein Hanged

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Saddam Hussein has been executed:

Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi dictator who spent his last years in captivity after his ruthless Baathist regime was toppled from power by the U.S.-led coalition in 2003, was hanged Saturday for crimes committed in a brutal crackdown during his reign, a witness said.

“Saddam’s body is in front me,” said an official in the prime minister’s office when CNN telephoned. “It’s over.”

Good riddance.

However, our mission is far from being accomplished, and this bit of good news will not do much in the way of changing that.

Update: See what I mean?

As a noose was tightened around Hussein’s neck, one of the executioners yelled “long live Muqtada al-Sadr,” Haddad said, referring to the powerful anti-American Shiite religious leader.

Update 2: John Cole captures what I was thinking last night, but for which I couldn’t find the words:

Finally, even though I know he is guilty, and deserves to die, I still can not help but look at the pictures of the gallows and get a chill. There is something so final, so irreversible, so barbaric and primitive about capital punishment (in particular, hanging) that I still can not embrace it, even for scum like Hussein. Advocates of capital punishment will tell you that the finality and the barbaric aspect of the act are features, not bugs.

I am not so sure.

Things to Do in Denver When You’re Snowed In

Friday, December 29th, 2006

If you’re more or less housebound like we, the good people of Denver, happen to be today, you could spend the afternoon watching the entire “Left Behind” movie on YouTube.




Alternatively, you could just gouge out your eyes with a claw hammer and have the rest of the day free.

Keywords: Left Behind, Kirk Cameron, eye irritants, torture

2006 Ford Fusion: A Year Later

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

It’s been almost one year since I traded in the 1996 Mazda MX-6 for a 2006 Ford Fusion SEL. Have I been happy with my purchase?

For the most part, yes.

Things I like / love / appreciate about the Fusion: comfortable leather seats with bum-warmers, plenty of room for the family, terrific handling during the few emergency situations I’ve encountered, good optional sound system, spacious trunk that could hold a number of enemies should the need ever arise, tires that make the guy at Discount Tire Co. salivate when he thinks of my having to replace them, and very good highway gas mileage for car of its size and engine type.

Now, for the few drawbacks:

  • It really should come with a factory option for a GPS navigation system. At least for the 2006 model year, you had to buy the Lincoln Zephyr or Mercury Milan to get one, even though the Fusion’s center console is identical and could handle one. It appears that this has been corrected in the 2007 model.

  • While the MP3 disc capability is nice, I wish I could plug in an MP3 player or a laptop to have access to more music / podcasts / recordings of strange bird calls from faraway lands. Once again, this appears to have been resolved for the 2007 Fusion.

  • I’ve picked up a couple small rattles that strike off and on. One of them is in the front passenger door when on well-worn interstate highways at speeds around 20-30MPH (aka a typical afternoon in downtown Denver). The other is somewhere behind the instrument panel and becomes noticeable when the car is stuck in the 1500RPM range, rather than accelerating through it to highway speeds. Neither one is a huge nuisance, and I plan to take it in before the warranty is up to have them (I hope) found.

  • Those tires I love? They positively suck in winter weather. Not that they were designed for making it up icy driveways, of course. So, not faulting Ford or the tire maker for that one – just putting it out there as fair warning.

  • The A/C controls are clunky and designed for either women or men with very petite hands.

  • Twenty or thirty more horses under the hood, please.
Those gripes aside, I don’t regret my purchase, but there’s eight or nine more years ahead in which I might. Currently, though, the Fusion and its brethren could be just what Ford needs to effect a turnaround.

Among other things.

Keywords: Ford Fusion

Yes, but a Doctor of What?

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

I think it says something about theology as a legitimate academic area of study when the commenters, believer and atheist alike, on a Newsweek religion piece offer more substantial thought and commentary than Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, the President of Chicago Theological Seminary.

My personal favorite comes from Chester:

I think the main problem with the thoughts expressed by Dr. Thistlethwaite can be summed up with this one question: What the heck are you talking about? Everything about the big religions reeks of made up nonsense. How can an intelligent person pose these questions in sincerity? Horrors happen and the most profound question you can ask is “What role does my imaginary friend play in all this?” I just don’t understand.

I would also add that Dr. Thistlethwaite, while she seems quite genuine in her beliefs, wrote a lot of words that didn’t really say anything. But, then again, that’s kind of like any answer involving myths and deities.

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow…

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

…again…

DENVER, Colorado (AP) — New Year’s travelers jammed the Denver airport Thursday, trying to get out of town ahead of a snowstorm that threatened to close runways and gum up the nation’s busy holiday travel season for the second time in a week.

The storm was expected to dump up to 16 inches of snow on the Denver area overnight, a week after a pre-Christmas blizzard shut the airport for more than two days.

They’re also saying that a second wave of snow Friday night could dump another 10 to 20 inches by Saturday afternoon.

My city, Thornton, seems to have a jump on things. I’m sitting at my desk watching two earth movers plow the streets, piling five-foot berms of old snow and ice on each side of the road.

It’s going to be another long couple of days indoors, I think.

On the bright side, I won’t have to worry about my lawn getting enough water during the dry winter. On the other hand, I may not even see my lawn again until sometime in April.

InBaghdadJournal

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

Bill from INDCJournal is now in Kuwait, prepping for a hop into Iraq to embed with our armed forces.

In recounting his technological wonders acquired for his trip, he seems to have discounted a certain blogger providing email tech support at all hours of the Kuwaiti morning (*cough cough*), but we’ll still wish him well.

Looking forward to some reports from the field, Bill.

Mystery, Me

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

It would appear that Walter has tagged me with a blog meme in which I am supposed to tell you five things you don’t know about me. Alas, if it were to be five things that no one knows about me, they’d no longer be skeletons in the closet, so let’s just go with five things most people don’t know (or care to know, as the case may be).


  1. In seventh grade, I was a participant in the Duke University Talent Identification Program. It let me take the college-prep SAT to see how I would score against college-bound juniors and seniors taking the same test. I beat more than 60% of them. I’m not sure if this means I was a really smart seventh grader or if a lot of people got socially promoted all through high school.

  2. In junior high school, I was once carrying contraband as part of the Brewbaker Junior High softcore porn exchange underground and – reaching into my backpack, without looking, for a textbook – I instead pulled out an issue of Playboy, sent it airborne, and let it land with a pornographic “spap!” on my desk. Thankfully, only one of my friends saw it and I quickly returned it to the comfort and safety of my Eastpak.

    This would not have happened if our booby-underground had relied on magazines wrapped in condoms and stuffed into this orifice or that. However, I suspect the discomfort and doctor’s bills would have drawn undue attention.

  3. I have been involved with women from Canada, Peru, Finland, and England. This makes me an international Romeo, except for all those other aspects about me that don’t.

  4. My friends and I make music, some of it very bad, some of it almost tolerable, and we’ve gone under such names as “Dodgy Lesbian Girl” and “Autistic Zoo,” neither of which is bound to endear us to certain segments of the hearing population.

  5. I inadvertently taught my wee Fiona the phrase “piss off.” Whoops.
Everybody happy now?

The Day After Christmas

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

Ugh.

Still recovering from a turkey breast cooked with bacon, dulce de leche-glazed ham, two types of stuffing, roasted potatoes and parsnips, sauteed green beans, a bottle of Riesling, a bottle of Shiraz, and the terribly decadent and all together good for you Krispy Kreme bread pudding with espresso whipped cream.

(That’s right – a dessert comprised of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, cream, and eggs… there’s the secret to my girlish figure).

(The list above does not include the Christmas eve beer and mulled wine beverages either).

So, yeah: ugh. I need to nap for a couple of days.

Hope your holiday was as joyful and anti-coronary as ours.

Update: This recipe sounds like a tasty variation on a doughnut theme – Bill Nicholson’s Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Butter Rum Sauce – yum! Any recipe where the precise measurement of rum is “to taste” can’t be all bad.

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 25th, 2006

merryxmas2006.jpg

Enjoy the holiday!

Quick Update: One of the ads in the sidebar just now was for something they claimed to be “the perfect agnostic gift.” A click-through revealed it to be a self-published book on, I guess, the meaning of life, but I think the perfect agnostic gift would be an empty box with “God” written on the lid.

Is he really in there? Maybe we can’t ever know!

Quick Update 2: Patrick points out this wonderful holiday gift from the LA Times. I think Patrick and I might disagree on whether it’s an appropriate time for such an article; I think it is – while you’re busy focusing on your Christian beliefs, is it really so bad to ask you to take ten minutes to realize how wrong you are about other people?