Friday, September 30, 2005

okay, which is wierder

that fred armisen is on saturday night live or that he's been on the show for four goddamned years and I only found out about it just now? seriously? seriously. seriously? i mean, trenchmouth; bassanova stuff, sally fucking timms. i'm at a goddamned loss.

why do i need the fucking new york times to find this shit out?

okay damnit, damon locks interviewed? really? and references to the sxsw schtick? and chunklet approval? i mean, really. all they were missing was ira say how damned funny he is. except, he's not THAT funny. well, actually I guess he is. which extra sucks for snl. i mean, he is funny, but i've never shit my pants. okay. i've shit my pants, but still, am i getting older? i guess so. shitting my pants will only get easier but right now it seems harder than it should be in situations like this,,,

hard to recapture that, well, i dunno, yout i guess.

a moment is but a moment, and then it's history. or maybe it's memory, or history, or both.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

break my body

donated blood today. yeah, sure, it was kinda cool, but what was really cool was I only donated red blood cells. yeah. like, only the red ones.



totally bitchin'

plus, the phlebotomist (is that spelled right?) said my serum looked really healthy. the right color, not buttery she said. then another one came up and said "wow, you're obviously really healthy".

man, I'm so healthy.

apparently.

anyway,I recommend this process to everyone. it takes longer than donating regular blood, but they essentially get twice the RBC count in one fell swoop, with no futher processing aside from testing the blood for harmfuls. then my blood is ready for someone to use imediately as a full unit. (two actually). I feel fine, though I will admit it is a bit unsettling to see something obviously going back into your vein after it's been in a bag. I did feel a little tingly at the lips and warm in the face toward the end, apparently from the saline and the lower oxygen production level. The rub is that you can't give for 4 months instead of 2, but since they've got two units it's no biggie.

me thinks the whole damned thing is just so cool.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

vera wang

So, there's tons of people out there in the world right? yeah. and some of them have recognizeable names. and sometimes, I dial a wrong number. So it was kinda funny to be trying to reach club quarters in Manhattan and actually dial Vera Wang's direct line. who knew?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

seu jorge

wow. great show. but, what's with all the stupid white people? really, I understand you don't know portuguese, but do you have to shout "hooray!" when he mentions the word favela? do you have to act bored when he sings a politcal song? you embarassed me. and I was having such a good time.

makes me want to hear the song political song for michael jackson to sing.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

one last post on hurricanes

I'm really surprised the rail industry hasn't pushed for federal monies to enable mass evacuations.

It seems like a great opportunity to get massive subsidies. I've always felt that passenger rail systems have been the biggest, most absurd cash cow ever for freight rail owners. If you look at the rail systems in Chicago and SF, the money for rights of way leases are absurd. and Amtrak is even worse. I believe a huge part of why we don't see more passenger rail networks is because we don't pay marginal cost for access to the freight networks. Frankly, if you aren't paying marginal cost and you've got deep pockets you're better off building or buying your own.

Regardless of my rant, I'd be willing to write a proposal for modular passenger systems for emergency evacuation of metropolitan areas via rail. I reckon there's a few billion dollars in it.

turks on armenians

interesting article on turkish opposition to an armenian genocide conference.

the turkish courts banned the conference, with the judge issuing an injunction while stating the organizers are "stabbing turkey in the back" - as if that has anything to do with anything.

will the turks be forced to acknowledge the genocide to get in the eu? my guess is france will force it, and germany will to (because of the large turkish population and their own history with genocide).

what's so strange to me is how little anti armenian sentiment I experienced while I was there - however, turkey is an incredibly factious society...sometimes you just don't encounter a small group of nutsos until they're burning down your house.

the last thing we want to do is live up to people's expectations

this was a quote i heard from the animal collective. they are pretty damned interesting.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

a few more pearls of wisdom on getting on up out the ghetto

Judie Anderson of La Porte, Texas, covered just 45 miles in 12 hours. She had been on the road since 10 p.m. Wednesday, headed toward Oklahoma, which by Thursday was still very far away.

''This is the worst planning I've ever seen,'' she said. ''They say, 'We've learned a lot from Hurricane Katrina.' Well, you couldn't prove it by me.''


followed by this:

Eddie McKinney, 64, who had no home, no teeth and a torn shirt, stood outside the EZ Pawn shop, drinking a beer under a sign that said, ''No Loitering.''

''We got no other choice but to stay here. We're homeless and we're broke,'' he said. ''I thought about going to Dallas, but now it's too late. I got no way to get there.''

Where will he stay?

''A nice white man gave me a motel room for three days. Just walked up and said, 'Here.' So my buddy and me will stick it out,'' he said, pointing to another homeless man. "We got a half-gallon of whiskey and a room."



well there you go then.

in which our recession is photographed before it happens

http://gom.rigzone.com/rita.asp

wowzah.

one of those days

you know...when you set everything up perfectly and then someone comes by and ignores everything you've done and messes it all up.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Jim Kunstler is good

I mean, bad, but so good when he's bad.

here's a great line from a rant on Katrina and NOLA:

There has already been one proposal for rebuilding the city, from Daniel Libeskind, whose proposal for turning the World Trade Center site into the set for a German expressionist horror movie won the hearts and minds of the architectural mandarins in New York. Libeskind said that New Orleans should adopt a jazz theme. Wow! Maybe they should think about serving Creole food to go with it.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

johnny, we're sorry, won't you come on home

from the nytimes:

In his casket he wore a black motorcycle jacket, blue jeans and a denim shirt. A pair of shades was tucked into the zipper.

now that is bitchin'.

in which monoculturalism is a mulitcultural experience

we went to the season finale at the stockton 99 speedway, a 1/2 mile track (if that) where we witnessed 1) lots and lots of fat white people, 2) cars going around in circles 3) one black person 4) two mexicans 5) one indian (other than mary) 6) an exercise in sexism (a so called powderpuff race, which featured only women (mostly inexperienced racers) in crappier old stock cars which we're pretty beat up) - replete with sexist references from the announcer and the rabble surrounding us about women drivers 7) a school bus race (contact required) and 8) a post race school bus demolition derby.

I should note a few things:

1) make sure you get directions from jay before you go anywhere far away with him
2) mrs. ramsey, my school bus driver for the 1 year I could handle being trapped in a bus with that woman, would have done very well at the demolition derby.
3) no matter how popular it is with white america, racing around in a circle is really pretty boring.
4) which doesn't mean it isn't hard.
5) I think I would be an okay race car driver, but not a great one.
6) the level of homophobia amongst poor white people is amazing. based on my experience watching fights almost break out in the bathrooms in stockton I am amazed that poor white men don't kill each other just in case they might be gay.
7) finally, TV is the greatest gift for totally boring sports - replay of crashes is the only thing that permits something so boring to be so popular. going to autoraces is, as near as I can figure as boring at watching one person play golf without interruption. If it wasn't for the opportunity to drink coors lite, beat up suspected homosexuals and make fun of women drivers I suspect no one would attend these events.
8) as a bonus great idea to make gagillions of dollars, selling or renting a massive video replay projection system of crashes at small/local racetracks would be an easy way to make some serious money.

rich is funny and spot on in this one

referencing the buck stopping at president bush's desk he says: (about a dime's worth, in Truman dollars).

Now THAT is funny.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

so lame that i've fallen out of the new metal loop

check out this awesome quote from atsuo from boris (when asked about the influence of satanism in metal):

"It's simple to talk about Satan as a symbol, but it's important to consider the deeper meaning of the symbol," he said in one of his rare interviews to be translated into English. "To me, the Devil is not a symbol, but a moment that touches on morals. The moment when a person changes - that is the Devil."

totally bitchin' band I've only vaguely heard of: sunn O))))

wow. totally keiji haino meets loop.

Friday, September 16, 2005

i think i'm turning into a metrosexual

really. it's sad. is it my job? is it because i wear suits and pressed shirts all the time? what? i actually looked at the banana republican website and wanted totally unreasonably fashionable clothes from it.

my god,

what is happening to me?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

ephemera and it's fleeting nature

I'm going to art lunch. this owing to a hidden cancellation of a joint board meeting. note to self: read all of all of the boring emails.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

seriously

is this for real?

more on ebay skype deal

James Stewart of the Wall Street Journal does a pretty good job explaining why the ebay/skype deal is bogus - though he doesn't really get into the why from ebay's perspective (not sure why not)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

this is funny

Q: What is George W. Bush's position on Roe vs. Wade?

A: He really doesn't care how people get out of New Orleans.

why are we not up in arms?

I mean, the Bush administration, through the army/national guard of all fucking things, has limited press coverage of body removal to 300 yards (yes, just shy of 1/5 of a mile) - or press members can expect to be sanctioned - what in the fuck is going on in this country? I mean, this is based solely on the administration's spin control not respect for anything.

It's totally offensive that this is not being reported more widely.

Monday, September 12, 2005

things that make you go hmmm

So Ebay is jumping into the voip market. I think this is a desparate move. Ebay needs a 2.6B voip network like a company that runs online auctions needs a 2.6B voip network. Seriously, ebay's model has crapped out and this is their go-go acquistion in a "hot" new area to distract people.
Now, really, do I care about this? No, I don't own any Ebay, though I have used its service (auction, that is) recently and successfully. I just think it's interesting to see them move into telecommunications in such a, well, huge way.
As some have pointed out - if ebay was really interested in improving the commerce chain they could have built a system on the widely available open standards for a tiny fraction of the cost of the skype acquisition. Significantly, the growth rate of Skype was a significant merger condition - tied to 1.5B in additional fund transfer between the two entities. Much was also made of the 150K net adds each month - which seems to be focusing a lot of attention on the amazing (especially when compared to ebay) growth rate of the enterprise. Sure would look good on a balance sheet when the growth of the rest of your company is dying and your stock, which is massivly overvalued, heads to the crapper.

If this don't make you sick...more katrina horror stories

Forwarded from a friend of a friend of a friend (typical internet story) - no clue how accurate it is but I'm not surprised by much of it all - I certainly hope it's not true but I fear it is. (some of the language boarders on hyperbole, and there are references online to their contributions to the socialist worker so who knows...)


Sept 5, 2005

Two friends of mine--paramedics attending a conference--were trapped in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. This is their eyewitness report.

linked to another post here. (thanks greg)

Friday, September 09, 2005

more poop on brownie

Time magazine, which as I remember looks a lot like Newsweek, has this great piece on Brown's attempts to pump up his fake ass resume.

Brownie gets canned

okay, so it's obvious that FEMA was doomed when Bush started cramming it full of morons (Brownie is only one of them) because really, he doesn't care about emergency management. But I do have to wonder how Brownie feels about the entire nation thinking he's a moron and knowing that he basically got canned from his past two jobs for being a dumbass. Oh wait, given his boss, I'm sure he thinks it's all the fault of the press.

The administration has already turned this into a religious event, but I can't believe how totally embarassing the whole thing has been, regardless of their spin. Good thing Karl hasn't been indited yet eh?

in which the owl catches a bug

for some reason, salim's title for this really cracked me up. I guess it's because it reminds me of the Pong song that starts "mommy, why does the owl wear a mask?".

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

shiny blogs of leather

okay, so I'm awkwardly smitten with the ipod nano. it's tiny. it's black. it's got pictures on it. it's also a quarter of 1000 bucks. have i really lasted this long without wanting one and suddenly and rather lamely fallen prey? we'll see. secretly I blame google. it's their fault. if it wasn't for that damned bose base station and my total inability to sell it or give it away...it haunts me in the corner of our apartment "buy an ipod aram" it says. "a shiny black one"

"some ties, some stamps?"

...woulda reminded me of that song by shrimp boat that goes "some tea, some biscuit" except for the tweaked out dude who followed it up with "I'm just trying to get some parking meter money"

umm, can you pay parking meters with meth? awesome! I dunno, maybe if they were better ties. the stamps were self adhesive too, which I guess is plus when you're buying them second hand...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

google becomes uncool

okay, so when someone says "sign up for this service using your phone" it seems reasonable to assuming the service uses your phone, not that as part of the signing up you will be required to provide your phone number. This is, to me, the first sign that Google is asking for personal information that it clearly doesn not need to provide a service - it's just looking for something personal and revealing that it is giving nothing in exchange for. I'm sure down the road they'll have some fancy app but why not wait until then, just for PR's sake - it come across as scummy and dishonest. Bad move that I hope doesn't portend future bad moves in the same direction.

on family and katrina

just learned that my cousin linda's family got slammed in katrina, apparently they got out of the city in their car but had to stop at a hotel in mobile when the storm actually hit. Turns out the hotel was very badly damaged and their car was lost in flooding while they were at the hotel. They ended up hitching a ride to Pensacola where they rented a car and drove all the way to Hotlanta - currently their base of operations. Kinda crazy to think about given what I know of the family, apparently because Linda's particular medical skill isn't in demand she's effectively laid off for at least the next 5 months, maybe longer. sucky.

San Francisco Grand Prix

Two of many pics taken with my phone on Sunday:





I've got more, hopefully I can get some of the better ones up.

other highlights included seeing Toshio Hirano (aka the japanese yodeller) at the top of the hill too. it makes me happy to see him out and about. I strongly recommend checking out his cover of peach picking time in georgia on his website - well, actually you should just see him live.

maynard g. krebs

Yup. Dead. Back in the day they posted a picture of Bob Denver as Maynard G. Krebs on the door at the empty bottle with a ball point penned "we [heart] aram" on the picture. It really looked a lot like me. wish I could find that picture, here's the one I found that was closest. Sorry for the crappy website to link to but the pictures are better despite the crappy popups etc.

honky dory

Okay, so Bowie's been stuck in my head lately, and I just watched almost famous again this weekend, but the funniest reference to bowie I've ever seen came in the form of a typo I just saw on the internet:
honky dory
wow. that's way funnier than anything I've come up with lately.

I've already got a shaggy dog joke worked out that involves Pushkin and the Russian diminutive of familiarity.

Everything's honky, dory.

Babs on lazy black people

"What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overhwlemed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (chuckle)--this is working very well for them."

Wondering who? George's mom, who's looking more and more responsible for the willie horton campaign.

"this is working very well for them"???? Can someone please punch this lazy hag? Or better yet, rip her entrails out with a claw hammer. Seriously, then we can claim it's working out very well for her while she lies in a hospital bed recovering. It'd be a fine day if she were to ever be so lucky. No wonder our president has no clue.

On Straw Men and Hay Dudes

Okay, so every once in a while I come up with something that I think is funny. Not in a chuckle for a minute or even laugh really hard sort of way but, like, enduringly funny.

So in reading Salim's post about jargon around the office this morning I was very happy to note I have created an alternative to the "Straw Man" - yes, we function in a creative bureaucracy (as opposed to just pushing papers) so we do create straw peoples (as a few women I work with call them; though I think given they're put up just to be knocked down it's the men that should be upset with the term). I can't stand the term. Nor can I generally stand the meetings in which we discuss them. So I've come up with a necessarily Californian alternative:

The Hay Dude.

It's natural for folks to say "hey dude" in California (well, a lot of places ever since the Big Lebowski came out). And given that the past 15 years or so has seen dude become an expression that applies to anyone, regardless of gender (or sex) I think it's a significant improvement on the PC tip to boot. Plus it's funny, which makes the meetings a bit more tollerable.

Now, the people I work with know that I come up with crap like this all the time so they just take it in stride; but it does have some stickiness, and I do believe more folks are using it around the office, hopefully not just around me.

Significantly, I work with folks that are, well, generally older. It's hard for them to think of dude as just something regular folks say (it doesn't help that I'm the one that coined the phrase, being one of the least regular folks in the office) but I'd guess in offices with younger people there might be some more acceptance and therefor some more traction. Who knows, people may adopt the hay dude; maybe the PUC will have been indrectly responsible for something other than rolling blackouts.

SPUR report on MUNI

Jay's report on Muni is finally out!

I'm glad to see it's final form. In all fairness I'm not a SF resident, but I do use Muni quite a bit, given that I work in SF and that many of my friends live there and many of the places I like to spend money are there. My standard public transport has now migrated from BART to Golden Gate Transit. The difference between the two systems is pretty interesting. Some day when I have more time I'll go into the details but check out Jay's report first. Some good insights.

Monday, September 05, 2005

open space

I can't really emphasize enough how spectacular the open space in our back yard is - great hiking and good biking right there. the air back there has a charge to it that is hard to qualify...almost spiritual. it eminates either from the ground up through you or from the air around you into the center of your being.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

more house guests

Deanna Varagona and Bobby Bare Jr. crashed at our place last night - after a great show at the bottom of the hill. First Time I've met Bobby, got very good vibes from him, helps that he's a bike fan ;) - wish we had more time to hang before they split for eugene.

The show was really good, Tom Heinl was great - totally funny but more importantly a great singer - got that boom to his voice like Johnny Cash and simple and driving song structure. Quite good. Eric aka Crooked Fingers was also great - I never was a huge Archers of Loaf fan, but always respected them and what they were doing - and was happy they were doing well for themselves in the mid 90s. Turns out some of them are still doing good things and crooked fingers is proof. Wish I could play guitar like that too.

Bobby's set was loud, but his songs are great - good dynamic song structure, good lyrics and generally good stage presence (I think my favorite part was the discussion about the meta-encore - where they didn't go backstage to do coke and eat strawberries off dolly parton and kenny rogers before reluctantly coming back to adoring fans to rock out for one last song).

Anyway, two thumbs up for all of them.

Wish we had more time than the wee hours and a quickie breakfast (and dinner with deanna). All so rushed on tour - don't miss that part.

finally, some money to be made

this from the nydailynews:

The Navy announced yesterday that Vice President Cheney's former company, Halliburton, which has handled much of the repair work as well as support services for the U.S. military in Iraq, was hired to restore power and rebuild three naval facilities in Mississippi that were wrecked by Katrina.

Thank goodness!!! I was beginning to think this might have been a disaster! Luckily there's been an opportunity to redirect some of that money being spent on NOLA to Halliburton. I was begining to think this was going to be a total loss.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

kayne west tells it like it is

and NBC freaks out about it:

this is from the washington post:

West was not scheduled to perform; he was one of the blah, blah, blahers, who would read from scripts prepared by the network about the impact of Katrina on southern Louisiana and Mississippi.

West and Mike Myers had been paired up to appear about halfway through the show. Their assignment: Take turns reading a script describing the breach in the levees around New Orleans.

Myers: The landscape of the city has changed dramatically, tragically and perhaps irreversibly. There is now over 25 feet of water where there was once city streets and thriving neighborhoods.

(Myers throws to West, who looked extremely nervous in his super-preppy designer rugby shirt and white pants, which is not like the arrogant West and which, in retrospect, should have been a tip-off.)

West: I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says, "They're looting." You see a white family, it says, "They're looking for food." And, you know, it's been five days [waiting for federal help] because most of the people are black. And even for me to complain about it, I would be a hypocrite because I've tried to turn away from the TV because it's too hard to watch. I've even been shopping before even giving a donation, so now I'm calling my business manager right now to see what is the biggest amount I can give, and just to imagine if I was down there, and those are my people down there. So anybody out there that wants to do anything that we can help -- with the way America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible. I mean, the Red Cross is doing everything they can. We already realize a lot of people that could help are at war right now, fighting another way -- and they've given them permission to go down and shoot us!

(West throws back to Myers, who is looking like a guy who stopped on the tarmac to tie his shoe and got hit in the back with the 8:30 to La Guardia.)

Myers: And subtle, but in many ways even more profoundly devastating, is the lasting damage to the survivors' will to rebuild and remain in the area. The destruction of the spirit of the people of southern Louisiana and Mississippi may end up being the most tragic loss of all.

(And, because Myers is apparently as dumb as his Alfalfa hair, he throws it back to West.)

West: George Bush doesn't care about black people!

(Back to Myers, now looking like the 8:30 to La Guardia turned around and caught him square between the eyes.)

Myers: Please call . . .

At which point someone at NBC News finally regained control of the joystick and cut over to Chris Tucker, who started right in with more scripted blah, blah, blah.

"Tonight's telecast was a live television event wrought with emotion," parent company NBC Universal said in a statement issued to the Reporters Who Cover Television after the broadcast.

"Kanye West departed from the scripted comments that were prepared for him, and his opinions in no way represent the views of the networks. It would be most unfortunate if the efforts of the artists who participated tonight and the generosity of millions of Americans who are helping those in need are overshadowed by one person's opinion."

West's comments would be cut from the West Coast feed, an NBC spokeswoman told The TV Column. (The Associated Press later reported that only his comment about the president was edited out.) The show was live on the East Coast with a several-second delay; someone with his finger on a button was keeping an ear peeled in case someone uttered an obscenity but did not realize that West had gone off-script, the spokeswoman said.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

great interactive maps

The NYtimes has been getting better and better at their maps.

This one shows a lot of what is going on in NOLA, including breakdown by race and income. Very impressive given the short time frame. Obviously someone worked very hard on this.

okay, so I should let everyone know:

I've always hated NOLA. I've only been there once and it bummed me out. I hate that it's a tourist trap, I hate that it's got the most corrupt police force in the United States, I hate that it's a totally corrupt political town (my friend Art had a bomb threat when he ran for an HoR position down there, apparently it's pretty common when people outside of the machine run), I hate that it's basically unpoliced with the exception that poor black people aren't allowed where the tourists hang out, (other than that it's a free for all in either area), I hate that people go there just to drink girly drinks. The list goes on. I've hated it ever since I read about the kid in that Cormac Macarthy book getting his ass beat there. Never stopped, never will (I ALMOST stopped hating it when Quintron Robert moved there and bought a house for 20K, but not quite).

So it got wiped off the map, so what - it's basically been Detroit for longer than Detroit has been Detroit, and now, now it's finally become Detroit as Detroit became Detroit. Serves them right. So, in coversations this week I've been getting more and more vocal about how much I hate NOLA - it's basically an apartheid state in America and everyone should know it. I told people that the looting makes perfect sense, given how totally lawless NOLA has been and how basically everything is a total loss anyway. Then I read Ana's piece on how the AP had a picture of a black kid with a trash bag and some food and they called him a looter while AFP had a picture of white people leaving after "finding" food in an abandoned grocery store. It just makes me sick. There's even an AP picture of one white person and a black person leaving the same broken into store - it describes the white person and looking in her shopping bag and the black person as jumping out of the broken window.

The basic point is that there was no plan to move poor people (who else lives in NOLA?) - If you don't own a car you deserve to die. Dem's da breaks, sorry kid.

The quotes I've read about the whole thing are amazing, but not the worst of it.

It turns out that there was never a plan to get people other than car owners out of the city - and by the way NOLA's per cap income for blacks is under 12K, vs. 31 for whites. Several housing projects have sub 15K household incomes. what steps were taken for people that clearly can't afford a car? Well, I guess if you were lucky enough to survive, the hope will be they can capture a picture of you looting the last bits of food left in the city - or maybe some water that's clean to drink. Then they can arrest you for it in the future.

Yesterday I predicted that we would get a Detroit like scenario in NOLA, it turns out that it's here already - apparently people have been firing guns at helicoptors, medivac coptors have refused to land because hundreds of people have been on the hospital landing pads, and some of them have guns. Today apparently people are setting fires all over the place and shooting at Army helicoptors - the mayor (who ran on a "reform" ticket issued an "SOS" whatever the hell that means - A quote from the NYTimes piece on the lawlessness:

''We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals who are getting beaten,'' Compass said. ''Tourists are walking in that direction and they are getting preyed upon.''

Lest you wonder who would be so concerned about the tourists, that's right - Compass is the Cheif of Police.

the article also mentions the police have lost total control:

"About 15,000 to 20,000 people who had taken shelter at the convention center to await buses grew increasingly hostile. Police Chief Eddie Compass said he sent in 88 officers to quell the situation at the building, but they were quickly beaten back by an angry mob."

Finally, a quote about the helicoptors:

''Hospitals are trying to evacuate,'' said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Cheri Ben-Iesan, spokesman at the city emergency operations center. ''At every one of them, there are reports that as the helicopters come in people are shooting at them. There are people just taking potshots at police and at helicopters, telling them, `You better come get my family.'''

Ahhh, the big easy. The expression "you get what you pay for" does come to mind. That reminds me - it turns out that one of the sections of the levee that collapsed was just repaired by the Army Corps of Engineers, turns out that funding for the program was cut by the administration - likely diverted to more important countries - turns out they didn't have the resouces to finish the job. Whoops. Maybe that's why George ended his vacation early - because if everyone knew it was his fault (well, probably dick or karl's but you get the point) they'd be really mad he was vacationing all the time.