And, worse yet, the Audi/VW 5 cylinder engine in the Eurovan is an interference engine. Judging from the voice mail that the service shop left me, I don't think there was any significant engine damage but it's hard to say. They left the message while I was in class in a building with no cell reception and by the time class was over, they'd all gone home for the day.
After heroically losing half a pound over Thanksgiving day, I gained five pounds over the subsequent weekend. I have only a lack of self control to blame. Consequently, I clocked in at 170 on Monday morning. Tuesday wasn't much better, just a hair under Monday's weight. By Wednesday, it was down to a more reasonable 167. I also noticed that I could comfortably cinch my belt one notch tighter today.
Monday's morning mile was 7:45, not exactly stellar. The rest of the week was worse. Tuesday, I did 4 miles in 34 minutes, which is a pretty horrible cruising speed. Wednesday saw the return of taking well over 8 minutes to run a mile. It was also cold out. (Cold enough for water to freeze.) It is time for me to break out the sweatpants. It took me a couple hours to get warm again once I came inside on Tuesday. Wednesday I was greeted back from the weight room by the oh-so-refreshing surprise of an ice cold shower.
Lifting is going very blandly.
Asia Times has a nice interview with Vikas Swarup. (Swarup wrote the novel Q&A which was the foundation for Slumdog Millionaire.)
Holiday traditions at their finest. The most pathetic: ``David Stricker, 49, of Smith Road in Norwood, was arrested after allegedly trying to steal a $4.49 pint of vodka.'' The most pathetic bit of Mr. Stricker's alleged theft is that the store he stole the vodka from isn't a state licensed liquor agency meaning that it's diluted so that it contains no more than 22% alcohol by volume. Probably the stupidest is Rasheay Bowden, ``on Nov. 21, she allegedly put $60 on a gift card without paying for it. The following day police say she put $1,000 on a gift card, also allegedly without paying for it. Then on Friday she is accused of putting $1,350 on a gift card and again allegedly not paying for it.'' Did she really think no one was going to notice?
Man sized jellyfish take over Japan Only Gamera can save us!
The neighborhood I move from back in Ohio does me proud, Dad passed out; Kid outside. In other Norwood, Ohio news, Bicyclist on Interstate Highway arrested. Gotta love my peeps, man. Well, my adopted peeps. I only lived in Norwood for 10 years or so.
Election ends governmental crisis in Honduras. I thought that the ost interesting factoid from the article was this ``election numbers are typically low because most of the one million Hondurans living in the United States do not vote.'' There's also a great sound bite at the end, ```They all promise change, but the one who really wanted to make change was Mel Zelaya,' Ms. Matute, 28, said. `And look what they did to him.'''
The NY Times has an interesting article on abortion. I think the key sentence for pro-lifers is this: ``Not only is this the post-Roe generation, I’d also call it the post-sonogram generation.'' A picture, as it were, is worth a thousand lives. I think one of the most underdeveloped aspects of the abortion rights debate is the changing attitudes of the general public. I suspect that the consistent decline seen in the number of abortions performed per capita in the US is a function of (a) the decline in the stigma attached to having a child outside of wedlock and (b) pictures taken by ultrasound that instill a sense of `wow, this is a real live person!'
Serbia sues Kosovo over independence. It's an interesting gesture, a sovereign nation suing a breakaway region in a court that arguably has no jurisdiction and, even if it did, has no enforcement powers.
Self schooled bone digger from Kenya gets international acclaim. It's nice to see stories like this.
And while we're on the topic of amateurs making good, Susan Boyle's is second only to Snoop Doggy Dog for first week record sales. What were we Americans thinking back in the nineties?
Whatever it was, it certainly wasn't what the man who married a video game character was thinking. What was he thinking?
I think I understand what's going on in this article but I'm not certain. For a number of years now, many political and community leaders, have decried the proliferation of illegal brews that have been turning young men into zombies. It's
reefer liquor madness. Although, they may be correct about the impotent louts bit.
I've been thinking about the minaret situation in Switzerland. I think in the greater context it's much ado about nothing. To begin with, the Islamic call to prayer is already illegal which makes new minarets a bit pointless except, perhaps, as silent protests to fact that the adhan is prohibted. Moreover, this prohibition isn't all that different from the way many Protestant cantons in the country prohibit bell ringing. The latter difference is only a difference in scale.
I think the real issue at hand is being a bit obscured by histrionics on both sides of the debate. Some of the opponents to the ban are shouting that this is (a) a dire threat to freedom of religion and/or (b) sheer racism against Muslims. On the other side of the fence, some of the proponents to the ban are racist and/or intolerant of Islam. But I have hard time believing that the these are the real issues. I think the real question at hand is the place of religious expression in shared public spaces. The call to prayer, for which reason the minaret was invented, is the public proclamation of Islamic doctrine. Some people argue that this is akin to Christians ringing bells. But it's more like evangelical street preaching. The ringing of bells (or even the more traditional knocking on a semantron) is not a proclamation of doctrine. Bells do not inform everyone who hears who is the proper object of worship, who this object of worship's true prophet is, and exhort the general public to come and the blessings that follow from worshiping the proper object of worship.
So the prohibition isn't just a question of outlawing a architectural style that identifies mosques as mosques. Nor is it even a question of the free expression of religion. But rather the question is the public proclamation of religious doctrine prayer within shared common space. While I'm certainly open to the argument that the Swiss are infringing on basic human rights over the ban on minarets, I don't think it is a clear cut argument. In public space, I'm not certain that there is a inherent right to proclaiming this or that religious doctrine at a decibel level that can heard throughout the immediate neighborhood.
On the other hand, one could also argue that given the number of people that understand spoken Arabic, the adhan might as well be a bell ringing . . .
The local cable company started moving some channels to digital only. SyFy, FX and some others were in the first wave. I don't know if this is due to somebody upstream or due to the provider. Nor do I really care. But I am a bit surprised that it's happening so soon. It's a bit rough luck on a good number of people.
I was mildly looking forward to seeing Nick Willing's take on Alice in Wonderland. I thought his take on the Wizard of Oz (entitled Tin Man) was pretty clever. Not brilliant, but certainly clever and fun to watch. Nevertheless, doing so is no longer an option. C'est la vie. I've had larger disappointments.
Some things are just gross. I had a cockroach crawl into my glass of red wine. I didn't notice until I took a drink and felt something in mouth that didn't quite below. I spat it back out and looked at it. It was a roach.
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