Saturday, January 19, 2008

Clinton Tactics

A first-hand account of some underhanded maneuvers by Clinton supporters in Nevada.

One voter who hadn't even finished registering said that she was undecided, and the Hillary operative physically escorted her to the Hillary side. I went to talk to the woman, but she was immediately surrounded by 3 Hillary supporters who would not let me in, and I had to attend to others registering at that point (our operatives were outnumbered by hers 2-1).

This kind of crap makes me sick. No, I don't think Clinton gave orders for any of this, but I don't doubt that it was not discouraged either. Is this really the kind of leader we want in the White House?

Nevada Results

On the Democratic side, Clinton took the race with a 51-45 victory over Obama. The race is certainly not over, but this is not good for Obama. The more Clinton's name is in the headlines as a victor, the more chance she has of building up a solid momentum. The breakdown of voters is interesting and highlights what Obama is going to face in southwestern states. Latinos overwhelmingly supported Clinton. Obama did get a majority of the black vote which should help him in the South if he can continue his support there. Edwards only managed low single digits. He's vowing to stay in until the August Democratic convention, but unless he pulls off a victory or close second in South Carolina, he needs to consider dropping out.

Andrew Sullivan has a brief post about the Latino/Black split in Nevada and a video with some insight into the minds of the Nevada voters.

Romney won the Republican caucuses. This victory is beginning to give Romney a solid lead in delegates. South Carolina could catapult one of the others back into the race, but it is looking more and more like Romney's nomination to lose.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Star Trek Pics

Moviefone has a picture of the Enterprise from the upcoming new movie. It's not the best shot, so it's hard to make a judgment on it. They also have pics of all of the major cast members. Even though I like J.J. Abrams, my expectations remain rather low. I hope I'm proved wrong.

Arrogant Clintons

The extreme arrogance of the Clintons, Bill and Hillary, is one of the most off putting things about both of them and a large reason I would have trouble voting for Hillary. The linked story is about Bill getting quite upset with a reporter over a question regarding the suit brought by Clinton supporters in an attempt to stop the casino caucuses in Nevada. They, of course, did not have a problem with them until a union endorsed Obama, a union that provides most of the staff for the casinos that will be hosting caucuses. They really seem to be baffled that anyone would stand in the way of them getting back into the White House.

Please, Democrats of the nation, give Obama the nomination. It will be better for us all.

The Tomb of Jesus

The controversy surrounding the possible tomb of Jesus first discovered in 1980 just won't go away. Of course something this volatile probably won't ever completely die out. No matter how much evidence is amassed one way or another, someone believing the opposite will refute it and carry the fight on. I personally find the tomb very fascinating and no matter what secrets it may hold they will not affect my spiritual beliefs.

One thing I disagree with from the article, though, is this quote from James Charlesworth, a theologian at Princeton Theological Seminary:

After all, [Jesus's] followers believed he was the Son of God.

The disciples of Jesus and his followers for a few generations after his death did not believe Jesus was the son of God, at least not in the divine way we think of it today. They certainly believed that Jesus was the messiah, that he was chosen by God. They did not believe he was divine himself, however, as this would have been an infringement on their strict monotheism. It was not until later that belief in a divine Jesus developed.

Another Girl

My family's takeover by females continues with the birth of another girl. Earlier this evening, my sister gave birth to Brooklyn Rae. She is a few weeks early, but doing fine. I now have four nieces in addition to my two daughters, three sisters, a mother, and my ex-wife. What have I wrought to deserve such a fate?

I can only hope that my friend, Jeromy, will continue having boys and balance this out somehow.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Armor of God PJs

Wow. Whatever happened to a nice metaphor? I guess I just don't understand the desire for always being literal. Next thing you know they will be peddling plate armor and real swords (they're cross-shaped!).

Did NH Have a Problem With Its Voting Machines?

Lots of theories are being floated as to why there was such a discrepancy between poll numbers and actual results in the New Hampshire Democratic primary. One person has been crunching numbers and thinks there may have been a problem with the Diebold machines.

To my complete (and continuing) amazement, the "diebold effect" on Hillary's votes remains after controlling for any and all of those demographic variables, with a p-value of <.001: that is, there are less than 1:1000 odds for this difference occurring through chance alone, and that's after adjusting for variability in Hillary's votes due to education, income, total population, and population density.

I'm a big proponent of technology especially if it can improve something, however there are times where there cannot be a margin of error. Electing officials is too important for mistakes to occur in the counting of votes. It may not have happened here. Chris is getting feedback from some more knowledgable statisticians. I do think that voting machines need to have paper trails for now until they have a proven track record.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Babysitting Dad

It's not something you typically expect to have to do, but, hey, what's life without the occasional banana peel?

My brother, Shawn, and I took our dad out last night. We try to do it every couple of months at least. We shoot some pool, have some drinks (well, they do, anyway) and just try to have some fun. Last night proved to be more, uh, interesting than usual. When Shawn and I went to pick up Dad at about a quarter to seven, we saw that he had already started drinking despite the fact that Shawn told him to not have any drinks until we went out. Dad has never been able to hold his liquor and we didn't want him falling down drunk an hour after we left.

We went to a local bar and it seemed like it was going to be just a normal night. We played a few games. Shawn kicked both our asses at pool since he plays quite a bit. A few hours roll by. I'm thinking it's about time to call it a night because I'm feeling tired and I have to work in the morning. Dad looks ready to fall asleep. Then they came over.

There had been two girls playing at a table next to us. One of them, Kelly, came over and started talking to Shawn. She thought she recognized him and she said his name sounded familiar. After playing question and answer, she remembers that she knows our sister, Sharie. They did not go to school together, but met through some guys they knew. She brought the other girl over, her sister, Jessica, and introductions were had. Shawn asked them if they wanted to play doubles and they agreed to after they finished their doubles game with another pair of guys.

A few minutes later they came over. And Dad came to life. Now, my dad is charming, lady-killer when he's sober. When he's drunk, he's over the top. Suddenly there are two twenty-something girls at our table and turns his charm up to 11. Before I know it, he's smacking one on the butt, calling them endearments, telling dirty jokes, blowing kisses, and so on. Of course, the whole time he's smiling and laughing and clearly having a good time. He's 71 years old. My brother and I are apologizing to the girls, but they just laugh and say he's cute. Yeah, cute, because he's 71 freakin' years old! If I was acting like that I would have been slapped and thrown out by the bouncer.

I tried cutting Dad off a couple of times, but if I turned my back for a second, he managed to get himself another drink. I went through the rest of the night red-faced. I told Kelly at one point that I might have to have the "son-father talk" and I wasn't looking forward to it. Finally, about eleven-thirty everybody was getting tired and Dad was nearly falling-down drunk. He said he had to go to the bathroom. When I asked him if he could get there okay, Jessica offered to walk him there. I groaned and rolled my eyes. They both said over and over that they didn't mind him at all and thought he was "hilarious," "cool," "a hoot," and an assortment of other complimentary terms. I was thinking more "drunken, dirty old man," but, you know, different perspectives and all that.

Kelly said that she and her sister had fun and wanted to exchange numbers so that we could all hang out again some time. My brother and I dragged Dad out as soon as he got out of the bathroom. After we dropped our dad off, I told Shawn that if she calls, she's probably going to ask, "Is your dad coming?" and insist that he does. It is funny, but more so in retrospect. For most of the night I just felt embarrassed.

I suppose the other somewhat amusing anecdote unrelated to my father was shortly after Kelly and Jessica came over to our table. About the only words out of my mouth so far have been, "Hi, I'm Shane." I'm not the gregarious social animal my father is, far from it. I'm wearing jeans and a t-shirt that says "I do all my own stunts." I'm fairly clean-cut, no strange tats or funky hair-do. Kelly pipes up and says, "So, are you one those, uhm, Dungeons and Dragons guys." A brief moment of silence passes as I think, what the hell? Nodding, I say, "Uh, yeah. I didn't think I had a sign on declaring it." "You just look like it," she says.

I didn't realize we D&D players had a "look." A little dorky or maybe average looking is what would come to mind if I had to describe myself, but I'm not sure my first thought if I saw me on the street would be "Roleplayer." I would have expected someone to hear me talk a little bit before they figured it out. Not that I'm embarrassed about it. I enjoy it and could care less what anyone else thinks about it. I just don't expect it to be the first question from someone who has just met me.

Music Likes

Messing around with iTunes a few weeks ago, I came across a feature called MyTunes. Apple has some code for a couple of widgets that allow you to display recent purchases and "favorites" (artists you've purchased) from their store. Being a big music fan, I thought I might add them to my page just for the hell of it.

It is not a comprehensive look at the music on my computer as any physical CDs I purchase are not listed. It's kind of cool, though, so check it out. And feel free to mock me for anything such as Whitney Houston or Josh Groban that you see floating across the screen. They're balanced by Metallica, Slayer, Priest, Iced Earth, and so on.

But you can still make fun of me.

Batshiat Crazy

My good friend, Jeromy, sent me a link to this video. It reminded him of someone and I had the same thought when I watched it. This lady sounds like my ex-wife.

Besides my ex, this video brought a few other things to mind:

A true "dark-sider" if ever there was one.

A thought on being crazy.
David Mills (Brad Pitt) in Se7en talking to John Doe (Kevin Spacey). "I've been trying to figure something in my head, and maybe you can help me out, yeah? When a person is insane, as you clearly are, do you know that you're insane? Maybe you're just sitting around, reading "Guns and Ammo", masturbating in your own feces, do you just stop and go, 'Wow! It is amazing how fucking crazy I really am!'? Yeah. Do you guys do that?"

Scandal's awesome song, "The Warrior."

A picture worth at least 997 words.

I know what I am going to say a prayer of thanksgiving for tonight.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Weekly Music Video

One of my favorite songs ever: "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure.

I'm a Warlock

One of the teachers at my daughter's private school is the cousin (or some such) of one of my sister's friends. She told my sister recently that my ex-wife told her that I am a warlock. Yes, she said this in all seriousness and honestly believes that I am an Satan-worshipping, magic-using, force of evil. I have to admit that it would be really cool to be that, but, alas, I am not.

Weekly Secret

An amusing one this week.