If You Can't Say Something Nice...

If You Can't Say Something Nice...
Say Something Vague

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Give 'Em The Old Razzle Dazzle

With yesterday's announcement that we should be on alert because of a raised national terrorism threat level, I couldn't help but think of the words to the song Razzle Dazzle, from the musical Chicago. Sing it if you know it!

It's all a circus, kid. A three ring circus.
These trials- the whole world - all [politics].
But kid, you're working with a star, the biggest!

Give 'em the old razzle dazzle
Razzle Dazzle 'em
Give 'em an act with lots of flash in it
And the reaction will be passionate
Give 'em the old hocus pocus
Bead and feather 'em
How can they see with sequins in their eyes?

What if your hinges all are rusting?
What if, in fact, you're just disgusting?

Razzle dazzle 'em
And they'll never catch wise!

It's like: prison abuse? unemployment? a terrible economic situation? a lying administration? Noooooo. Look over here! Look over here! Non-specific and suspicious terror alert!

Especially when there doesn't appear to be any good reason to have issued the statement in the first place.

Per the Center for American Progress's daily progress report for 5/27/04: Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge has decided not to raise the national threat level. Ridge, who chose not to appear at the press conference, said "there's not a consensus within the administration that we need to raise the threat level." Ridge added "there is absolutely nothing specific enough" to warrant a change. His account was corroborated by an administration official who admitted to the NYT that "There really is no significant change that would require us to change the alert level of the country." Ridge "appeared to be seeking to diminish the alarm" about the increased possibility for a threat this summer.

Later in the progress report, they add: BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR EUROPEAN-LOOKING PEOPLE: The information provided in the press conference was of little use to the average person. Ashcroft said the al-Qaeda operatives in the United States are likely to be European-looking, in their late 20s or early thirties, traveling with their families and speak English well. So if you see this man, let the authorities know immediately.

Whew, European-looking. Well that narrows it down, particularly in the U.S. Thank goodness!


Something else I've been wondering about is the oh-so-prepared-for-and-lauded June 30th deadline for handover of power in Iraq to an undisclosed authority. We are going to give the Iraqis partial sovereignty. Let's deconstruct that phrase, shall we?

Sovereignty --
1. Supremacy of authority or rule as exercised by a sovereign or sovereign state.
2. Royal rank, authority, or power.
3. Complete independence and self-government.
4. A territory existing as an independent state.

But then we modify it with the adjective 'partial'.

Partial --
1. Of, relating to, being, or affecting only a part; not total; incomplete.

Hmmmm. Oxymoron, anyone?


And, finally, Mike Axeen brought this site to my attention and egged me on to include it on my blog. Now, I'm not supporting everything on the site, mostly because I haven't read anything but this front page, but I will admit that they do make a few good points. Such as:

Why did the conservative intelligencia, which by definition doesn't trust the federal government to run the school down the street, expect the United States to be able to rebuild an entire society?


|| Stephanie 10:30 AM

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Thank you my computer-geek friends! Thanks especially to Ryan for suggesting Ad-Aware. In its first run-through it detected more than 300+ spyware files. Whoa! I also put the Google toolbar up, per Amanda's suggestion. It says it's blocked 20 popups so far. A few have gotten through, but it's significantly down. Oh, and thanks to Mike for the SpyBot recommendation. 102 problems found. Yikes. My machine has been seriously infected!


I talked to my new boss on the phone today for all of maybe 10 minutes before my cell phone died. He seemed nice, but I can't say for sure. Oh, and I don't have his phone number to call him back. Way to look flaky, huh? Although, why he called my cell instead of my office phone, I'm just not sure...


I FINALLY finished that pink scarf for The Boy's niece that I started way back around Easter. I got sidetracked with the baby blanket. So I took a couple days off from the blanket and finished the scarf. It's really inconsistent, but it's for a 5-year-old, so I'm not overly worried. Back to the baby blanket. Oh, and I'm starting a belt for me. Because I've yet to make anything for myself. Just something that can be loosely draped, made with Deco Ribbon yarn in black.


Speaking of the baby blanket, I mentioned to the mother of the woman who owns The Knitty Gritty that the blanket may end up being a Christmas gift. She looked at me with a wicked little smile on her face and remarked that he could throw it into the back seat of his first car by the time I finish this thing. Gee, thanks.


Apparently I have a tendency toward anxiety. So says my new psychiatrist. Technically I've known this for my entire life, but I sort of thought it was normal. I mean, I assumed being a worry wart was kind of a congenital defect and therefore inescapable (if you've met my dad, you know I ain't got nothin' on him). Turns out that's not so much true. In fact, she says it may border on a disorder, and she wants me to take care of it because it's not good for me. It's robbing my life of joy. Huh.


Well, I'm going to go now. It's quiet as a tomb around here. I certainly won't be downloading any games, that's for sure!! But I am enjoying the latest issue of Vanity Fair. Did you know how liberal this magazine is? I :heart: Vanity Fair!

|| Stephanie 3:08 PM

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Okay My Computer Savvy Friends

Help me, please!!

I have absurd amounts of popups on my desktop whenever I go onto the Internet and am fairly convinced that I have inadvertently allowed spyware and adware onto my work computer. I thought I got rid of it by eliminating hotmail, but it's now worse than ever--perhaps from a game site. I also do my banking at work, online, and am terrified of giving away my bank account or credit card information to one of these despicable sites. How, oh how can I get rid of this @#$%^&*() intrusion into my working (and blogging) life??

|| Stephanie 11:23 AM

Kathryn, baby, this one's for you!

|| Stephanie 9:19 AM

Friday, May 21, 2004

The Myth of Infallibility

This week the political landscape has gotten to me more than usual. Generally information like that which has come out this week brings out my political passion. It usually makes me want to rant and rave on my blog and to anyone who will sit still long enough to listen to me. But I'm just feeling so disillusioned.

I'm disillusioned that our country is doing so many horrible things in the world and it's all in my name. And yours. And yours... I'm disillusioned about the levels of corruption that are daily becoming more and more apparent. I'm disillusioned that our leaders seem to have completely lost their morality, and thus destroyed the U.S.' reputation and credibility globally.

I've been pondering a theory that I call "The Myth of Infallibility". The essence of my theory is that our country was founded with precautions in place in order to ensure our diversity and freedoms. In doing so we had to embrace and accept pluralism. People were then at a loss as to what to do with their former belief in our leaders as divinely appointed (i.e., kings and queens). So the holdover from that is our attempt to constantly force our leaders to fit a certain mold. The result of which is our refusal to accept all of the horrid things that they do until it becomes just too overwhelming. We can be bombarded on a constant basis with the horrors of abuse, underhanded behavior, secrecy, violence, etc. and still maintain that they are basically good people who somehow just went wrong.

(I'm not writing this well, because it's still sort of half-baked, but I'm sure you see where I'm going with this)

My position is that this myth of infallibility is false. Our leaders are only human. They don't possess any of the divinity that God (or a god, depending on your beliefs) does. They are susceptible to all of the evils of this world. Moreso, perhaps, because of the corruptible nature of power. I think that we have to look at our leaders in a realistic way, with our eyes wide open. I know that John Kerry is not the most charismatic candidate around (boy howdy, do I know that), but his message is much more humane than that of willful, stubborn Bush. "Staying the course" is just a nicer way of saying, "I hold all the cards and I can have my own way, so nanna nanna nanna." He and his administrators can do whatever they want because the American public has long been caught up in this myth that leaders always know best.

Is it best to bankrupt the most powerful country in the world? Was it best to opt out of international treaties? Was it best to cultivate isolationism? Was it best to engage in unilateral, unprovoked war with an ill-prepared, sovereign country for their oil resources? Is it best to now demand cooperation from the world with the Iraq situation, but not share the spoils of war? Was it best to toss the Geneva Convention out the window as a 'quaint' but ultimately unimportant document with no relevance today? Was it best to send young, poor, untrained soldiers to die in battle for the ideology of a few? Was it best to lie to the American public about the reasons for doing all of these things?

How I wish I could wake up from this nightmare!

|| Stephanie 2:45 PM

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Hodge Podge

I have been working at home for the last two days where I only have dial-up, so sorry for the non-blogging.

Monday I went to the allergist (Dr. Sugar!) where I had the scratch test. Have you heard about this? You lay on your stomach while they 'scratch' your back with a host of allergens to determine what you're allergic to. It turned out for me that it was testing 103 allergens. Oh, and the 'scratch'ing? More like stabbing. They have these little needle things and they prick your back according to a grid that they write on your back with a marker. I was sure that after leaving there I would look like I had been sleeping on a bed of nails.

Oh wait, it gets better. They then took the 16 allergens that I responded to and injected them into my arm (in another grid pattern) to be doubly sure about what I'm allergic to--intradermal. Ouch!!! Turns out I'm allergic to dogs, dust mites, and cats. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love cats. Argh! So poor little Puff Kitty can no longer sleep in my bedroom anymore. And he's going to have to be cleaned twice a week. And I have to wash my hands everytime I pet him. The doctor also gave me a nasal spray and Zyrtec. I am feeling a bit better, so I guess he must know what he's doing. I'm still congested, though, and it's a possibility that I may also have a sinus problem. Oh goody.


Abu Ghraib = Camp Redemption? Oh, puhhh-leeeze. Back to the (Christian) religious symbolism. Greeeat. That oughtta go over well in Iraq.


I know now what it's like to be Jenny Smith. This week everyone I work with is in Chicago for a tradeshow. So I'm sitting here posting to my blog. I also caught up Tuesday on all my tv shows on tape (Crossing Jordan, Law & Order, Joan of Arcadia, the Frasier finale). I also read a book. And did some knitting. Now, lest you call me a slacker, I was sitting there in front of my computer, with all of my projects completed, waiting for an email from one of my many bosses to tell me what to do. Nada. So I kept my computer logged on and checked my mail every few minutes. What else could I do?


Oh the news is just astounding and overwhelming. How the Bush Administration can have approval ratings as high as the low 40s is beyond comprehension with everything that has come out or is coming out. Golden child Chalabi is no longer going to receive his $300,000+/month stipend from the U.S. for 'helping' us. Hmmm, how many manufacturing jobs do you think that represents? Some are proposing that Chalabi and the U.S. are only pretending that they are no longer best friends forever so that Chalabi can get appointed as a leader in the new Iraqi government. A U.S. friendly leader. Of course, many are suggesting that the June 30th turnover is all a fraud (no! really?) and the U.S. will still run everything. [sigh] I don't even feel like crawling up on my soap box. How sad is that?


I'm going to go wait some more for work assignments. [sigh]

|| Stephanie 11:01 AM

Monday, May 17, 2004

Just A Quickie

In response to Kathryn's post re: The Passion of the Christ from last Friday, I would like to relate a funny from last week's Kevin & Bean morning show on KROQ.

Ralph Garman (Entertainment Reporter) was doing his bit on 'The Showbiz News' and he talked about the TPotC DVD. He reported that there was a problem with the DVD.

3 days after you buy it, you find the case open on your shelf and the DVD is nowhere to be found.

Heee heee.

|| Stephanie 12:38 PM

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


Take comfort in the strength of our leaders, folks.

Robert Jeffers, by way of Atrios, sums up the ongoing photo debacle and its origins quite nicely:

The story changes so fast you can't keep up with it.

They first learned about this when the "courageous" soldier took the pictures to his superiors. And the pictures were all "personal."

But then stories came out that the pictures were ordered by MI for "intimidation" purposes.

And the ICRC reported it had told the Admin. about these problems months ago.

And it was limited to a handful of "bad apples." Except the same thing happened in Afghanistan.

And the photos were staged, not "snapshots."

And they knew something was up in November, but they fixed it. But they were surprised by the allegations in January.

But no one knew about it. But everyone knew about it, because there was a breakdown in command.

But there was no breakdown. And the Geneva Convention has always applied.

Except when it hasn't.

And we've always followed it. Except when we didn't.

And we don't abuse prisoners. Except when we do. It's not "American." Except it is expressly sanctioned by military regulations. Except it can only be sanctioned by the DoD, because Rumsfeld keeps tight rein on everything.

Except he doesn't. Because this was authorized in Iraq, not in Washington. Except it couldn't have been, because Rummy runs a tight ship.

Except he didn't know. But don't call it "plausible deniability." Because there's a chain of command.

Except Rumsfeld doesn't know what it is. He only knows about the PR campaign he's been conducting since these photos went public.

But he isn't lying. He just doesn't know anything.

But it's okay. Because he's doing a great job.

Even though everything is a shambles.

Oh, November, you just can't come fast enough!

|| Stephanie 11:33 AM

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Is It A Bad Thing...

to select a doctor based on his name? I have an appointment later this month with an allergist named Dr. Mark Sugar. Hee!

|| Stephanie 4:40 PM

What Time Is It?

Time to get a watch! Oh, wait, I just did. Yep, finally broke down and got a watch on my lunch break. At the recommendation of both Jenny and The Boy I went to Fossil. First I checked them out online, and then I went to South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa to check them out in person. Here is the one I got. I like it.

This leads to my next observation. I don't know if any of you SoCal locals have been to SCP in Costa Mesa, but I have to tell you that it's not my favorite place to go. Mostly because I am not rich enough to shop there. I feel so uncomfortable when I go in because of the plethora of high-end shops such as Prada, Fendi, Baccarat, Tiffany, Christian Dior, Hermes, Chanel...they scare me. I feel like the shopgirls are looking down on me, judging my clothes, my hair, etc. I prefer going to Ross or Kohl's where I look much more put together and can afford just about any single item in the store. I can't afford a key chain at Chanel.

So I'm walking around the South Coast Plaza Village (ooh la la, the newer addition) and it was this incredibly surreal experience. Women in shoes that probably cost as much as my car payment. Purses that would do in my Visa balance. Hair that has been highlighted, styled and glossed. Some are even dressed down and sloppy in their $200 Diesel or Earl jeans and flip flops. I was behind a woman pushing a stroller. A Peg Perego stroller. The kind that Gwyneth Paltrow has. (I actually REALLY like that stroller. I hope their still around when I have kids.) Not exactly cheap. Eeek! Get me out of here! Needless to say, I didn't spend a whole lot of time browsing.

[sigh] Deep down I'm just a peasant.

|| Stephanie 2:32 PM

Monday, May 03, 2004

It's Bun Boy And The Boob-Light Girl!

Ever been the passenger in a car at night and found yourself needing to see your knitting or book in the dark? Well, now you can, with the amazing Boob-Light!

Yes, folks, I have invented the Boob-Light. Last night, on the way back from Vegas, I wanted to knit after nightfall. I discovered that I could take my Book Light, clip it to the V of my t-shirt, in my cleavage area. Voila. The Boob-Light. Suddenly knitting in the dark is no problem. Thank you, I live to serve.

On the drive back we stopped in one of those little desert cities that exists for you to gas up your car, find a snack or pee. While there I saw a large billboard that proclaimed "You are now in Bun Boy country!" I remarked that I hoped Bun Boy was a benevolent ruler since we were now in his country and at the mercy of his people. My own Boy has decided that he would like to retire the title The Boy and become Bun Boy. According to The Artist Formerly Known As The Boy, Bun Boy is much like the Dough Boy, but you poke his tushy rather than his tummy. Were we getting a wee bit punchy by this time? Possibly.

We finally got back home around 10 p.m. It was 84 degrees in Anaheim at that time. I never thought I would prefer the weather in Vegas. We were unconscious by 10:30. Today I don't feel really good. I feel achey and like I'm running a low-grade fever. I don't know if I'm just suffering post-trip tiredness, or if I'm coming down with something. Urgh. Also, the really fast drop in elevation that comes with the return trip from Vegas (20,000' to 4,000' within a few miles) made my ears really sore. I stretched my jaw out to make my ears pop and now today my jaw is really, really sore and it hurts to chew. Great. Maybe I'll go home early today.

There's not much for me to blog about since most of my readers were there to experience it with me this weekend. All, that is, except for one -- hi Mom! So, briefly, a few of my favorite moments, in no particular order:

1) Dinner at Bahama Breeze and discussing the new Twilight Zone Tower of Terror opening soon at Disney's California Adventure. I believe it was Lisa (but I may be wrong) who explained that the Tower was a sheer 13 foot drop. Heh. Jenny pointed out that it would be much more economical to simply jump off a ladder in your own yard.

2) Amanda's bee-u-ti-ful wedding. (Duh.)

3) The adorable little boy at the reception (I think it was Jared's little nephew) who was all decked out in dress slacks and a little vest. He was running around with a flashlight, explaining that it turned both on AND off. Jenny asked him if he had to pay extra for that. Heh.

4) Jenny asked the aforementioned adorable little boy what his name was. He said something really fast. Jenny asked him again, and he said it again. If I didn't know any better, I would swear he said Tyler Durden. Somehow I think a fivish-year-old was probably not trying to be funny by using what could be perceived as an obscure cinematic reference.

5) Shopping with Jenny at The Aladdin. That was fun. It's been awhile since I got to spend that much time with my dear friend Jenny.

Well, I'm too tired and achey to think of much more. I did have a great time, though. Yay! I hope you had a good weekend, too.

|| Stephanie 1:10 PM