Archive for December, 2008

A Year Full of Things to Say

The following is a collection of quotes that I thought were worthwhile from the year that was 2008. I’m sure I missed a bunch of them (sorry about that), but here is what I put together:

January

“We’ve paid a lot of attention to states that some other candidates haven’t paid a lot of attention to. Time will tell what the best strategy is.” – Rudy Giuliani, candidate for President, after receiving but 4 percent of the vote in the Iowa Caucuses (cnn.com, Jan. 3).

“You don’t always win.” – Rudy Giuliani, bowing out of the race after similar results in the states he did pay attention to (msnbc.com, Jan. 29).

“Well another silver… I’d rather have a gold, but I got another silver.” – Mitt Romney, after finishing second in the New Hampshire primary (bbc.co.uk, Jan 9).

“This is an entry I would have preferred not to have published, but there are limits to what we can control in life, and apparently I have passed one of those limits…all the tears in the world aren’t going to bring me back, so I would prefer that people remember the good things about me rather than mourning my loss.” – US Army Major Andrew Olmsted, my childhood friend and the first American soldier killed in Iraq in 2008 (posted posthumously on andrewolmsted.com, Jan. 4).

February

“I’m very happy that the vast majority of the U.S. Senate agreed that we have to change the economic direction of this country, and we’ve done that.” – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, after passing a $170 billion economic stimulus package (CNN.com, Feb. 7).

“I will not aspire to neither will I accept — I repeat I will not aspire to neither will I accept — the position of President of the Council of State and Commander in chief.” – Fidel Castro, stepping down (nytimes.com, Feb. 19).

“It was a defining moment. It showed that a very disparate group of individuals could act with real solidarity — and that packed real economic power.” – UC Berkely Professor Harley Shaiken, discussing the Hollywood writers’ strike (latimes.com, Feb. 13).

March

“Five years into this battle, there is an understandable debate over whether the war was worth fighting, whether the fight is worth winning, and whether we can win it. The answers are clear to me: removing Saddam Hussein from power was the right decision – and this is a fight Americans must win. Because we acted, the world is better and the United States of America is safer.” – President George W. Bush (guardian.uk.co, Mar. 19).

“I have acted in a way that violates my obligation to my family and violates my or any sense of right or wrong.” – NY Governor Elliot Spitzer (nytimes.com, Mar. 10).

April

“It is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betray in this way their mission…to these children. I am deeply ashamed, and we will do what is possible so this cannot happen again in the future.” – Pope Benedict XVI (foxnews.com, Apr. 15)

May

“I have described Ted Kennedy as the last lion in the Senate, and I have held that view because he remains the single most effective member of the Senate.” – Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), in response to the news that Senator Kennedy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor (latimes.com, May 21).

June

“Well, this isn’t exactly the party I’d planned, but I sure like the company.” – Senator Hillary Clinton (D- New York), conceding the Democratic Presidential nomination to Senator Barack Obama (abcnews.com, June 7).

“I think I can invoke personal privilege and say this news division will not be the same without his strong, clear voice… He will be missed as he was loved — greatly.” – Tom Brokaw, on the passing of Tim Russert (cnn.com, June 13).

“Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.” – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (cnn.com, June 26).

“Death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time.” – George Carlin, who passed away June 22nd.

July

“Because of their size and scope, Fannie and Freddie’s stability is critical to financial market stability. Investors in our nation and around the world need to know that we understand how important these institutions are to our capital markets broadly, and to the U.S. economy.” – Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr., on the bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (treas.gov, July 22).

“Today we are taking a strong step toward creating a healthier future for California.” – California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, on the legislation banning trans fats in that state (usatoday.com, July 25).

August

“In 2006, I made a serious error in judgment and conducted myself in a way that was disloyal to my family and to my core beliefs. I recognized my mistake and I told my wife that I had a liaison with another woman, and I asked for her forgiveness.” – John Edwards, after previously calling the story of his affair “just false,” “completely untrue,” and “ridiculous” (cnn.com, Aug. 9)

“Listen up America…” – Comedian Bernie Mac, who died on August 9th of complications from pneumonia.

September

“That was a movie star. Unlike the shallow media-hyped types of today, Paul Newman was a real heavyweight on the screen and in life. We still have him on film and his good humanitarian works live on.” – Discussion forum posting by “alphaman” (nydailynews.com, Sept. 27).

“We tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.” – Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, accepting the Republican nomination for Vice President (npr.org, Sept. 3).

“I lied under oath … with the intent to mislead the court and jury and to impede and obstruct the fair administration of justice.” – Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was sentenced to four months in jail for attempting to cover up an extramarital affair (detnews.com, Sept. 3). I’m sure that Bill Clinton and Tom Finneran would be shocked to know that lying under oath brings jail time.

“After your nation won its freedom in the Rose Revolution, America came to the aid of this courageous young democracy. We are doing so again as you work to overcome an invasion of your sovereign territory, and an illegitimate, unilateral attempt to change your country’s borders by force that has been universally condemned by the free world.” – Vice President Dick Cheney, in response to the Russian invasion of Georgia (latimes.com, Sept. 5).

October

“Rest assured I am committed to do what is in the best interest of the residents of this district.” – Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson, D – 2nd Suffolk, after being indicted on bribery charges (boston.com, Oct. 30).

November

“We were left with a set of very bad choices. There was no rabbit we could pull out of our hat today.” – Bernard Cohen, Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation and Chairman of the Turnpike Authority board, after unveiling toll increases intended to raise $90 to $100 million (boston.com, Nov. 15).

“Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country, and I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.” – Senator John McCain in his concession speech (nytimes.com, Nov. 4).

“It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.” President-elect Barack Obama in his acceptance speech (news.yahoo.com, Nov. 4).

December

“I don’t know what they’re talking about – conspiracy. He didn’t attempt to extort anything from anybody. As to the statements to the FBI agents, that’s a setup. To me, it’s just a lack of real credibility in the case that they go out of their way to create something.” – Attorney Barry P. Wilson, discussing the bribery charges against his client, Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner (boston.com, Dec. 9).

“It appears that at least $15 billion of wealth, much of which was concentrated in Southern Florida and New York City, has gone to ‘money heaven.”’ – Douglas Kass, head of the hedge fund Seabreeze Partners Management, speaking about the arrest of former NASDAQ chairman Bernie Madoff (cnbc.com, Dec. 23).

“I never thought I’d see
A sight so ugly as a fallen tree
A thing of beauty so proud and tall
Now a pile of rubble after the fall.”

– start of a poem, by Frances Kiely of Clinton, about the December 11th ice storm in Central Massachusetts (Item, Dec. 16).

The Day to Day Grind Tim 31 Dec 2008 1 Comment

Dammit

I just read that Mark Teixeira signed with the hated New York Yankees. Unbelievable. Sure, the Sox didn’t necessarily need him, but he would have been a nice foundation there at first base for years to come…now I have to hate him and his JD Drew-like countenance. I wouldn’t even mind so much, but I have this fear that he’ll be kicking our asses for years to come (I just love saying, “years to come,” apparently). I would have felt badly about trading Mike Lowell after signing him to a hometown-discount contract (see: Arroyo, Bronson), but Teixeira is just so good. Damn.

When Sabathia signed, I didn’t sweat it because we didn’t really need him; when Burnett signed, I was relieved because I didn’t want him; but this one smarts.

I hope Theo and the Trio have something else cooked up. How about a trade for Jake Peavy?

The Day to Day Grind Tim 23 Dec 2008 3 Comments

Hot Flashes

Random thoughts as the holiday season approaches:

I love clichés. One of my favorite is the one that says, “Don’t like the weather in New England? Wait a minute, it’ll change.” It’s on the level with “Working hard or hardly working?”

But, if you had seen a school-age kid walking down the street on Monday, as the temperature approached 60 degrees, and asked why he or she wasn’t in school, the answer would have been, “Ice storm.”…

…I bought a pair of shoes a while back. One of my co-workers – who is admittedly more stylish than I am (as if it was possible to be less stylish) – looked at my shoes and said, “Nice shoes, I would wear those.”

Now, I appreciate the fact that he likes my shoes, but the “I would wear those” line makes me think that it is the only piece of clothing I have ever worn that he might ever consider wearing. Granted, I could understand if he felt that way, but did he have to tell me? Of course, I could just be overly sensitive…

…My wife, The Megger, and I went out to dinner at a local restaurant a while back. We were seated in a booth, and suddenly, the gentleman seated directly behind The Megger sneezed. It was a loud sneeze, so many of the patrons, us included, threw out a “Bless you.”

Then he sneezed again. And again. And again. Then a couple of seconds passed, no more than 10, and he sneezed again. And again.

People in the restaurant began to become concerned, and there was a low murmur of conversation as people craned their necks to see the poor, afflicted man. He continued to sneeze.

I attempted to ignore him and go back to my meal, but The Megger began to giggle. She stifled it at first, but then looked up and saw my horrified face, and couldn’t help herself. Soon, as the cavalcade of sneezes continued to pour into the air, her shoulders were shaking as she laughed into her napkin. I was mortified – after all, the poor guy was obviously suffering – but the giggling was beyond The Megger’s control.

Finally, after about 7 full minutes of sneezing, the poor man stopped, and The Megger was able to regain her composure. And, in the suddenly silent restaurant, someone spoke for all of us – “God Bless You! Gosh!”…

…I am a person who loves weird food. If there is something on the menu that I haven’t tried, or that seems to stick out as different, I will often order it. One of my friends says that I am the guy who would go to a gas station in the Arizona desert and order the sushi, and he’s correct. That attitude is sometimes good, and sometimes not so good.

That being said, The Megger and I went to Europe earlier this year, and I had a chance to experience some strange food. My favorite was treacle tart, a very sweet dessert. I also tried black pudding, which is a sort of a sausage made from animal blood, and although it was decent, I wouldn’t go out of my way for it.

The thing I didn’t like, that was a surprise, was the Irish bacon. It resembled a sort of a ham, but overcooked and a bit chewy. I love ham, and I love American bacon, but I was actively avoiding Irish bacon by the end of our trip.

I picked up some Prawn Cocktail Pringles at one point, which totally grossed out everyone in our car. They weren’t half-bad, actually.

Also, the ham sandwiches there feature the same sort of meat as the Irish bacon, which led to a funny scene. My friend Jen, who is completely picky with food, ordered a ham sandwich at a little Irish pub. She then asked the waitress if the ham was the thinly sliced ham (American deli style), or the thicker ham, or more like the Irish bacon.

The waitress just looked at her for what seemed like a long time, and then replied, as if speaking to a toddler, “Ahm, it’s ham, ma’am.” And then she walked away.

That became a buzzword for our group for the rest of the trip, anytime anyone asked a question, they would get, “It’s ham, ma’am” in reply.…

…Another of the joys of that European trip was being woken up at 5am by an incredibly loud noise – “EEE-AAAAAAW! EEE-AAAAAAW!”

The noise turned out to be the braying of a donkey, which lived and grazed peacefully in the empty lot next to our bed and breakfast. The donkey was put there, we were told, by the lot’s owner, after the neighborhood voted against some building he was planning to erect. Ah, politics…

…Finally, I wanted to talk about Christmas. I have long been a Grinch of the highest order – Christmas stresses me out and therefore makes me grumpy (or, with apologies to Dr. Seuss, it could be my head wasn’t screwed on just right, or it could be perhaps, that my shoes were too tight).

But, I was thinking about it the other day, and Christmas (or whichever year-end holiday your religion sponsors) makes people happy. The economy could be in the toilet, the country could be at war, the weather could be icy and cold and gross, but people will be happy, just because Christmas is coming.

That’s pretty cool, when you think about it. Something like that is hard to think bad things about, so I won’t. Merry Christmas, everybody.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 17 Dec 2008 2 Comments

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