Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year Cont'd

It's just past 10, and it's time for bed. Fatherhood has put an utter and final end to New Year's Eve.


Ali G Junior wishes you a Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A Good Man is Gone

Jerry Orbach - The best joke teller ever.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

NY Times Letter

I will always post my letters to the editor of the Times. Here's today's. (For what it's worth, I have had 2 letters published so far)

Dear Editor:

The front page of the Dec. 28 paper struck a nerve with me. Above the fold there was continuing coverage of the crisis in the wake of the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Below the fold was the story about giddy Wall Streeters and the return of their massive year end bonuses. The bonus for Goldman Sachs' COO was $4.5 million MORE than the entire United States government initially pledged for the earthquake relief effort.

I am flabbergasted that our government's initial response to one of the greatest natural disasters in my lifetime is less than a Wall St. Christmas bonus. There is something seriously wrong with the picture this paints about us as a society and a people.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Question about childrens fashion

I noticed recently that many of my daughter's trousers contain pockets.

What does a 5 month old use pockets for?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Down, boy...

Everybody over at one of my favorite blogs, Eschaton, is freaking out about this weird pause in Bush's press conference the other day.

Look, I dislike this president as much as anybody, but, c'mon, this is nothing. We've got way better shit to hang this guy with. We look like a bunch of conspiracy freaks peddling this.

Here is the link to the video. Judge for yourself.

Saturday, December 18, 2004


Doing a little Christmas shoppping today I wandered into J&R's DVD store. Among series 2 & 3 of Starsky & Hutch, Northern Exposure, The Office, SCTV, etc, was this:

Too Close for Comfort: The Complete First Season.
But it least it starred Jm J. Bullock, the best character on tv since Larry on Three's Company

This country really is going straight to hell.

I'm starting to see a pattern

I am beginning to see the pattern of the old USSR repeated in this country. We basically forced them to spend their whole nut to keep up in the arms race and it destroyed them.

Think about now:
1. Iraq: $200+ billion
2. Prescription drug benefit: $450+ billion
3. Social Security Privatization: $2 Trillion??
4. Permanent Tax Cuts: $1+ trillion
5. Repeal of Inheritence Tax: $50 billion + PER YEAR
6. Missile Defense: $800 billion
I'm not even adding Homeland Security costs.

These assholes are digging a hole so deep we can never climb out.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Too Clever by Half

Thomas Schaller is usually right on the money, but I have to think he's being a little out there with this article.
Maybe he's just pulling my leg.

Granted, Karl Rove is a smart (Evil Genius) guy, but this gives him a little too much credit. Especially because it makes Alberto Gonzales, the next AG, look stupid.

It sure has been fun reading all the new stuff on Kerik this week. Kind of makes you wonder what the &%$@! the NY press corps was doing when Rudy nominated this bozo to be Police Chief.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

A Little Baseball Thought

When I first saw that Pedro was coming to the Mets, I thought, "What an ungrateful..."

But then I remembered that The Red Sox:
1. Are simply dumping Derek Lowe, who was their absolute savior in the post season.
2. Placed Manny Ramirez on waivers last winter. He went on to an MVP type season this year.
3. Traded Nomar at the beginning of the stretch drive
4. signed David Wells

That said, they beat the Yankees, so I'll never, ever hold a grudge against them.

Fatherhood Lesson #308

Tonight, I let my wife put the baby to sleep, and I spent that time opening a nice bottle of Shiraz and finishing most of a glass.

A lesson learned is a lesson earned indeed.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Why this blog is aptly named

Tonight I was in charge of putting our daughter to bed. She has a habit of screaming and flailing just as we enter the sleep chamber and tonight was no exception. I did my best to remain calm with her as she melted down, sobbing uncontrollably. This went on for 15-20 minutes, and I eventually called in the cavalry. Mum popped in and had her silent as a mouse within 5 minutes.

Ah, a mother's love. And a father's blog instead.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Stupid is as Stupid Votes

Here's another for the "No Shit Sherlock" department:

WASHINGTON - Michael Leavitt, President Bush's choice to be secretary of Health and Human Services, may have to cut billions of dollars from the government's mammoth health programs for the elderly, poor and disabled to pare the budget deficit.

All those poor bastards (and I mean that literally in this case) who voted for this man will get what's coming to them. Unfortunately, so will the rest of us.

Monday, December 13, 2004



Monday Child Blogging Part 1

Screaming baby advice solicited

When I am trying to put Grace down for the night (mother usually handles this job) she often goes into crazy screaming and sobbing (she's 5 months). Any advice to calm her?

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Mission not Accomplished

Back home and no sighting of Tom Poston, although I learned from my friend Tim Saccardo that he was working on the same lot I was on. It felt too seedy to stalk him. But he probably would have enjoyed the attention.

I was introduced to (I originally wrote that I met her, but that is more involved than our brief encounter) Allison Janney on the set of The West Wing, but she seemed uninterested in a friend of a co-worker. Can't say I blame her. She didn't seem to interested in the attention. Must be a generational thing.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Does Delta Know something We don't

On my flight back to NY today, Delta posted connection information on a screen.

One of the connecting cities was listed as:

Kiev, USSR. (Gate 9 I believe).


Thursday, December 09, 2004

LA Dreaming

Spending a couple of days in LA,I have decided what is the greatest celebrity spotlight I could ever hope to have here:

Tom Poston.

I had a false sighting earlier today. I'm still depressed it wasn't him.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Father Says Nothing

Sorry for the dearth of Posts. Busy, busy, busy.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Read His Lips

Jerry Falwell was on MTP Yesterday. Here's what he said (with a smirk I might add):

"Well the fact that he's a gay Republican means he should join the Democratic party."


Saturday, November 27, 2004

Mr. Potter

Watching It's A Wonderful LIfe tonight, I couldn't help bu notice that Old Man Potter looks just like our VP.

Just a thought.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Colin Powell - Loser

I'm sick of people apologizing for Colin Powell ("the only moderating influence on the administration." A good man in a bad administration." etc. etc)

He had his chances to be honorable. He blew them. And they still fired him. He's a shitty judge of character and he can go home and work on his Volvos. And I don't want to read his book either!

And don't try and say "he's a good soldier."

The Exact Opposite of Post Thanksgiving Shopping

Spent the day babysitting. Grace & I went on a very long country walk, where she slept against my chest.

A couple of fedings and diaper changes later, I was in heaven.

A simple day where all I spent was time.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

New Father Tip of the Day

When returning home from work, make sure you always kiss your wife before kissing the baby. The baby doesn't seem to mind, and your wife will always appreciate it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Nobody likes a Sore Winner

Here is an excerpt from the Times about Tom Daschle's farewell speech in the Senate:

In the Senate, the Democratic leader, Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who lost his re-election bid, delivered a poignant farewell speech that brought him a standing ovation.

"It's had its challenges, its triumphs, its disappointments," Mr. Daschle said of his 26-year career in Congress, which included a decade as the Democratic leader. "But everything was worth doing."

Mr. Daschle is the first Senate party leader in more than half a century to lose a re-election campaign. His emotional talk, in which he also urged his colleagues to find "common ground," was attended by nearly all of the Senate's Democrats, who gathered him in their arms and hugged him afterward.

But only a few Republicans showed up, and Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, who broke with Senate tradition to campaign against Mr. Daschle in his home state, South Dakota, did not appear until after Mr. Daschle finished speaking. The scant Republican showing provoked Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey, to speak out. "I don't know why, why in the closing days, some element of comity, some element of grace, some element of respect for a human being, could not have gotten some of our friends out of their offices," Mr. Lautenberg said.

Well, Frank, it's because they are assholes whose mothers did not raise them right.

A great idea. Get involved.

Here is a link to Manhattanville College's My Soldier Program. Basically, you sign up, adopt a soldier, and get guidelines on letter writing and care package preparation, plus a few goodies.

In this age where idiotic yellow magnets on cars count as public service, this is a really great idea. I signed up and I hope you will too.

Our Leaders

I really have nothing to add to this story.

Talk about inside baseball

I get a mention on a blog that people actually read.

In case you are stumped, I'm the guy they call Chris S.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

I Watch Fox So You Don't Have To

Did anybody find it ironic today that not only did Fox News Sunday spend an entire segment on the Clinton Library opening (no other morning news show devoted one single cathode ray to it), but they brought in Bill "Double Down" Bennett to present the conservative side, and he proceeded to say that Clinton's presidency was defined by his immoral behavior.

Pot - meet one armed, split your aces, Luck be a lady kettle.

Sophie's Choice 2004

I have a serious quandry and I need help.

I received in the mail today a come-on from a charity for money. As a guilt inducing thank you, they enclosed self-adhesive return address labels for my convenience.

I often get labels in the mail and have no problem using them, but these labels gave me pause.

The labels have the cartoon character Ziggy on them in holiday settings (with a big scarf on, at the very full mailbox, carrying a huge group of packages, and one with some sort of stuffed animal which is only Christmas-y as he is wearing winter clothes).

What do I do? Use them only for bills? Try and trade up for Family Circus labels?

Please advise.

Like shooting a Yacht in a Barrel

A Presidential Yacht? Sure we used to own it when Nixon was President, but A YACHT????

Last time I looked, most of the Red States were landlocked.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

A way to avoind ANY Taxes

The recent story about how the Bushies want to do away with dividend and capital gains taxes got me thinking.

If you were a person working for a corporation (or if you had your own corporation), could you simply request to be paid in stocks, which you then sold, creating a capital gain and not old fashioned income?

This could become a way for those in the right situations to avoid any taxes on their income.

I'm no accountant, but it seems like a big fat loophole if it ever passes.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Sex Sells Always

After all the handwringing and apologies, I guarantee Desperate Housewives will see their ratings climb substantially this week.


This is the worst column about our voting machines. from the Washington Post, no less.

So I wrote her a letter:
Dear Ms. Applebaum,

Your column of November 16th was not your best (this is the nicest way to say that).

We must have transparency in our election process. The fact that for profit corporations have control over the election process is scary enough, but when they can't see to provide us with a paper trail to THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL THING WE DO AS CITIZENS, your flippancy on the issue is foolish.

Do I trust my phone bill every month? Mostly, yes, but I check it thoroughly every so often, BECAUSE I CAN. With e-voting, I don't have that option.

Think about this: If tomorrow, your bank said that it no longer would provide you with the option of a paper record and you simply would have to trust them, what would you do? Would this fill you with confidence? What if when you went to Nordstroms they told you that you would no longer get a receipt, but to trust their computers.

I am not suggesting that the election was hacked. But I am suggesting that I am not comfortable with a voting system that provides with no alternate backup. WHY CAN'T YOU SEE THIS?

Sure you try and backpedal in the last two paragraphs, but the damage is done. I repeat. Voting is the single most important thing we do as citizens. To intimate that because I simply want a record of my vote that I am a conspiracy theorist is pathetic. I simply want to know that my vote counts and can be counted.

I look forward to hearing form you.

Chris Swartout

Gobble, gobble, gobble.

But I Voted to Keep Fags from Marrying!!!!

Lots of chatter today about the White House plan to change the tax code.

The 2 big red flags are:
1. The elimination of state & local tax deduction on your federal return.
2. The elimination of employer deductions for health care coverage of employees.

The Proposed benefits are the elimination of taxes on savings & investment (i.e. dividends & caiptal gains).

In plain English, if you are Paris Hilton you now have a few extra million to play with. If you are a worker, you are fucked. Your employer will no longer have any incentive to provide you with health care coverage, and you will make up the difference. Also, your federal tax bill will go up as there will no longer be a deduction of your state (and city if you live in New York City) income taxes.

Welcome to moral values, suckers!

Surprise, Surprise (Spoken in A Gomer Pyle voice)

One of the advantages of having a Republican Congressman is all the needling you get to engage in. That said, I'll be sure to let you iknow if my property taxes suddenly go through the roof.

I called my Congressman, John Sweeney (NY 20th) this morning to ask him if he voted for the Tom DeLay Rule. His office staff didn't have an answer for me. So I called again this afternoon and was told he had been in meetings all day and they still didn't have an answer.

Pretty cowardly,but not unexpected. I anxiously await may e-mail from his office.

Come to think of it, if you want to contact your congressperson, just click here to find them. If you don't know who your congressperson is, then you need more help than I can provide here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Specter of Things to Come

On NPR this morning I heard a story about a minister who was holding a prayer vigil outside a Senate building to ask God not to put Arlen Specter in as Chaiman of the Judiciary Committee. He essentially told Bill Frist that if he allows Specter to become chairman, don't expect any support from evangelicals when Frist wants to run for Pres. in 2008. According to the story, it looks as though Specter will survive, but it got me thinking about the state of politics in the Senate and also the perceived clout of evangelicals on the GOP.

The House, due to years of redistricting, is essentially no longer competitive. This has allowed people like Tom DeLay to rise to power, as the center is gone. Congress is largely a polarized institution.

The Senate, however, is more collegial. I would imagine most Senators (I would NOT include Frist in this group as he is just a lap dog for Bush) don't want outsiders (even ministers) blackmailing them into doing their bidding. The election of 2 fringe right Senators, Coburn of OK, and DeMint of SC are signs that this way of doing business is slowly coming to an end, and we will be treated to the same kind of politics that the House employs.

If the Senate GOP becomes beholden to the religious right, then one of two things will happen. My favorite option is that they will overreach, and will be punished by the voters, hopefully beginning in 2006. However, after this election I am less optimistic. Option two is that they will cement their hold on power and we are in for a very long time in the wilderness.

But as I said I am an optimist and I feel reasonably certain that they will overreach.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Oh, Rush... did you see last night's game?

Donovan McNabb's line on the night:
15 for 27 - 345 yards
4 touchdown passes, 2 for over 50 yards
not to mention the 15 second scramble followed by the 60 yard completion to Freddie Mitchell.

Am I "real" American?? Fuckin' A Yes!!!!

Why is it that because I live in New York and I voted for Kerry that I am not considered a "real" or "everyday" American? The idea that the Bush supporters are the "real" Americans is pathetic. My football loving, Sportscenter watching, lawn mowing/leaf raking/bar-b-qing self takes offense. I'm a real American who just happens to think this administration is run by a bunch of crazed jackals.

Read Digby's post for a more eloquent view on this matter. Hell, you should be reading Digby every day anyway.

DeLay of Game

Proving yet again that controlling the government works, Congress is set to change the rules regarding whether an indicted member can hold a leadership position.

You see, currently, if a member of the House is under indictment, then they become ineligible for a leadership position. This rule was put into place when Democrat Dan Rostenkowski was indicted in Illinois in the 90's.

Seems like a reasonable rule, unless the Republican Majority Leader is about to be indicted in Texas on corruption charges. So it's time to change the rule. Kind of reminds me of the US vs. USSR basketball game in the '72 Olympics.

Tom DeLay - Innocent until and when proven guilty.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Binge & Purge

The lesson of the day is that if you plan to embarass the president, MAKE SURE HE ISN'T RE-ELECTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I feel so safe already with yet more yes men on the payroll.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

On the Turntable/Cd Player/Ipod

The Finn Brothers - Everyone is Here - Listen here or Here

Most people remember Neil Finn from his days leading Crowded House (and before that with brother Tim in Split Enz). And most people underestimate him because of it. On first listen, Crowded House sounds like innocuous pop, pleasant but disposable.

I believe he is as good a pop songwriter that we have seen since you know who (Hint: NOT RINGO). Lyric, melody & harmony are always crafted carefully & beautifully. He's Richard Bausch with a guitar. And those bridges are perfect.

This new record is filled with beautiful brotherly harmonies, not exactly Everly, but seamless. Jon Brion & Mitchell Froom are on hand to provide the right amount of musical mayhem.

Just buy it and be sorry you missed the tour (as I did - only a newborn could keep me away).

I Regret my error too

David Brooks apologizes to John Kerry in today's NY Times:

Not that it will do him much good at this point, but I owe John Kerry an apology. I recently mischaracterized some comments he made to Larry King in December 2001. I said he had embraced the decision to use Afghans to hunt down Al Qaeda at Tora Bora. He did not. I regret the error.

I apoligize to David Brooks in today's Swarty's weblog:
When I read Bobos in Paradise, I thought you were an okay guy. When the Times hired you, I figured, it could be a lot worse, he's the "reasonable" conservative voice. I apologize to you that I thought those things. Take your lazy generalizations and shove them up your ass.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Saving Private Ryan from America

66 ABC affiliates, covering a third of the country refused to show a Veterans Day airing of Saving Private Ryan because they were afraid that the FCC could fine them because of the film's violent content and language. The stations were nervous because of the fine levied in September resulting from Janet Jackson's breast baring incident during the Superbowl.

I wonder if these same 66 stations will refuse to air the heartwarming Mothers Day lesbian three-way on ABC's Desperate Houswives.

Put up or shut up.

Found this listing at Craigslist:

Straight male seeks Bush supporter for fair, physical fight - m4m

I would like to fight a Bush supporter to vent my anger. If you are one, have a fiery streek, please contact me so we can meet and physically fight. I would like to beat the shit out of you.

Here's the link -

I think that speaks for itself.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Laying the groundwork for 2008

Gotta hand it to W. He nominates Alberto "I'm Ok, torture's OK" Gonzalez to replace Ashcroft as AG. Already the Dems are caving (I'm talkin' to you Pat Leahy).

A contentious confirmation hearing will get him exactly what he wants: The democrats looking like they oppose an Hispanic, followed by his confirmation. Win, Win. With the added bonus that he picks off a few Hispanic swing voters for whoever runs in 2008.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Exit Polls - then and now

The whole exit poll conundrum got me thinking about 2000 when it was argued that the exit polls in FL were wrong. I have always understood the exit polls to be right there, especially in light of the butterfly ballot. Thousands of voters in Palm Beach County left the polls convinced they had indeed voted for Gore, and not that neandrethal Buchanan (I don't care that he's mad at the right).

That's why the exit poll question this year gives me pause. If you feel likewise, give Bev Harris some of your money.

Here's her address:

Maps...get your maps

Here is a new collection of maps showing the distribution of red/blue voters accounting for population instead of just area. Sort of looks like our country on acid. Instead of drunk on Meister Brau.

Thanks to Kevin Drum for the link.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Red State + Blue Television = Big Ratings

Last night, during the commercials for L&O Criminal Intent I switched over to Desperate Housewives to get a sense of what the hubbub is.

The first time I switched, the red haired desperada was eating in a restaurant with (I assume) her shrink. She told him how much she loved sex and also mentioned something about how she never liked a man's scrotum.

The next commercial break, Red was now visiting (again I assume) her estranged husband in a motel room which was clearly shot on a soundstage. She was in a fur coat (in LA?) and of course underneath was a Victoria's Secret commercial. Hubby began to head in that direction before the scene ended abruptly in marital discord.

Aside from Dennis Franz's ass, this is indeed the raciest stuff I have seen on network television. Clearly people are titillated by it as the ratings can attest.

I can't imagine that all these viewers are
A: in Blue States
B: Blue State voters in Red States

Clearly there is an overlap between moral values voters and Desperate Housewives viewers. If we can find out who they are, I think we can win the next election.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Michael Kinsley - Hero of the Day

Michael Kinsley nailed today what I have been trying to express about the whole "moral values" aspect to this election (Perhaps that is why he is the editorial page editor of the LA Times and I am... not).

Here is a snippet:

There's just one little request I have. If it's not too much trouble, of course. Call me profoundly misguided if you want. Call me immoral if you must. But could you please stop calling me arrogant and elitist?

I mean, look at it this way. (If you don't mind, that is.) It's true that people on my side of the divide want to live in a society where women are free to choose and where gay relationships have civil equality with straight ones. And you want to live in a society where the opposite is true. These are some of those conflicting values everyone is talking about. But at least my values — as deplorable as I'm sure they are — don't involve any direct imposition on you. We don't want to force you to have an abortion or to marry someone of the same sex, whereas you do want to close out those possibilities for us. Which is more arrogant?

We on my side of the great divide don't, for the most part, believe that our values are direct orders from God. We don't claim that they are immutable and beyond argument. We are, if anything, crippled by reason and open-mindedness, by a desire to persuade rather than insist. Which philosophy is more elitist? Which is more contemptuous of people who disagree?

My whole problem with the "moral values" argument (besides the fact that its value in winning the election is quite possibly overstated) is that it seems like this revival of religion in American public life is all about the demonization of others, and not social justice.

Think of 2 examples. The civil rights movement was largely led by MLK and other religious leaders. The abolitionist movement was also led by religious leaders (although not completely). These were movements that were about expanding human rights. The current revival is about just the opposite.

Just a thought.

Here is a link to the entire Kinsley piece (Registration required):,1,7784296.column?coll=la-sunday-commentary

Here is another link to a site which expands on these thoughts by a professional:

Strangers know best

If you should happen to pass either my wife or I pushing our crying baby in a stroller on the street, don't tell us exactly what is wrong with her and what needs to be done. Just mind your own fucking business.

Thanks ever so much

On the Turntable/CD Player/I-Tunes

Hem's new record, Eveningland.

Imagine if O Brother Where art thou were recorded in Brooklyn. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Here's a link to their website:

Voting against one's interests

Much has been made of people in the "heartland" voting against their economic self interest. Clearly many did. Did it tip the elction? I'm not so sure.

But many people vote against their economic self interest. Take all those rich Hollywood actors. Clearly they benefit disproportionally from all those tax cuts. We don't give them a hard time for voting against their pocketbooks. They too vote for moral values (anti-war etc.) over checkbook values.

The difference is that no matter who is in the White House, Rob Reiner will always be rich. And he knows that.