Sunday, December 30, 2007

A semi-whirlwind

So, there haven't been any updates on the reno's because there hasn't been any work. There was one small problem. I asked our contractor, before he started, to seal the room. He didn't. So I asked him again. And again.

Now, in his defense, he didn't catch on that we were actually pulling down the ceiling when he took the job, so when I said seal the room, he might have wondered why I was talking about the animal that hunts fish.

Anyway, after asking him four times, the room is finally sealed. We don't need to go into it, and they can enter through a door. It was to be the perfect reno. Alas, twas not to be.

The time has been tough. When he decided to start 2 weeks late, we contemplated putting it off, but we went forward anyway. What the hell we thought? How bad will having only half a house be?

Having only half a house (well, less actually) has been an adjustment.

Right now, our 'family room' is the little guest room upstairs. It has the tube, and the computer. It has a bed, turned sideways to pretend that it's a couch. It's a bed. And we're not hanging out in the family room. I've been calling it the 'en suite'. But really, it's a bedroom. And it's been going on for two weeks since we lived in it.

Now, we're not looking for people to feel sorry for us. We have a fairly big house, with lots of room. That we even have a room is a sort of bonus. With another child looming, our en suite will soon become Autumn's suite.

Anyway, we're looking for some serious activity this week. But then again, the ways things have gone so far, he might not think he ha to come to work in '08.

Happy New Year.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

15 billion a month


Take a look at that number. That's how much a Senator thinks the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ('member that one?) is costing. The senator in this clip is a Republican from Alaska. When a Republican speaks like this, you know the excrement has hit the fan.

Remember those quant days when guys like Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz said that Iraqi oil would all but pay for the war?

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Christmas part 1

So, there haven't been any updates on the reno's because there hasn't been any work. We knew that, and went along with it anyway.

On Christmas:

When I was little, we used to go to a pub called Bramalea Place on Christmas Eve. The pub is a traditional place to go in English culture. There's singing, dancing, and even better, a Santa Claus for the kids. Pubs are great places to find the perfect beer-bellied guy to be Santa.

Bramalea Place has long since closed, but my dad's new pub is our new meeting place. It has all the good beers on tap, and it draws lots of friends of my parents. It also has it's own version of a Santa.

Autumn wasn't sure of Santa in any way. But, she went up. She got a couple of toys. We had a nice time. Autumn ran around with her sippy cup looking to have a cheers with anyone who was interested.

Then we moved to Aunt Tracey and Uncle John's for the annual carol singing. That will come in the next post.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Day 4 -- nothing to report

, originally uploaded by hockeygrl93.

Meg took this. If you click on the shot, you can see more of our house. Thanks Meg for coming over.

With Rhona back, we're now doing good cop bad cop. She's the good cop. I'm the, really-you-didn't-understand-the-assignment bad cop. As a team, i think we'll get through this. But I'm not making any promises.

The house is dustier than I hoped it would be. But things are moving. And that's good. We'll see what other barriers get thrown our way.

I'm an optimistic guy, but something's coming.

Our ceiling

After roof is torn down, before anything else is done.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


A long time ago, I had surgery. My roommate in the hospital was Mike Ford of the band Moxy Fruvous. You might have never heard of them. They sang some really fun songs along side some really powerful tunes.

This is a song they sang in 1992 about the first gulf war. It's updated for this one.

They also sang a hilarious song called Green Eggs and Ham. Autumn would love it. i would love to find it.

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Reno's day 3

There is nothing to report. Honest. Rhona and Autumn are back home, so Rhona can sort of be there and handle all the issues that might pop up. We're getting the lights placed.

It's going to be a long slog. We'll keep you posted.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The reno day 2 – twilight zone

You have a dropped ceiling in your living room. Meaning, there is almost two feet of space between the drop ceiling and the real one. You think people did it save on heat, but it’s a worthy trade off to make your living room perfect.

So, you decide to hire a contractor. You get a couple of quotes, then go with the one who seems to be the most together.

You hire him. He starts a little late, but you can live with that. Then, on day two he calls with a problem. The problem, he says, is that they did a shoddy job framing the drop ceiling. You agree. To replace the dropped ceiling, he says, I’ll need to frame it better.

You look for a camera.

Did he just say that to replace the drop ceiling you hired him to remove, he would have to frame it better?

After three meetings, meetings in which you and your wife talked about how your furniture would look in a bigger room – how your fireplace would look when it didn’t dwarf the wall – how you couldn’t wait to have an extra almost two feet room, in your room, he didn’t realize you wanted two more feet of room in your room.

Did that just happen, you wonder?

You calmly tell your contractor that you want the ceiling removed, not replaced. You want him to get rid of the framing of the drop ceiling, and put a ceiling on the ceiling, where it should go. You say this as clearly as possible, half expecting a candid cameraman at any point.

After you think you’ve cleared things up with your contractor, you call your wife to ask her if you’re nuts. She tells you you’re not, which is a relief.

But still. You can’t help but wonder what your room is going to look like. It dawns on your that you hired someone to do a job and that he didn’t know you hired him to do. And you have a contract, which is fairly vague.

You think you’re being had. But maybe you’re just in the mist of the single largest misunderstanding in the history of contracting. And things will work on. In the meantime, your dropped ceiling is gone. Your room looks big, but really messy. You see the potential now in the room. You’re geeked, but still looking for candid cameras.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Reno: more than a city in Nevada

The reno's day 1.

You can't say it starts well. When we decided to do the room, we sort of had a number in our heads. When we got quotes, all the people came in under. We picked a guy, then we began adding stuff.

But it was sort of off the cuff adding stuff. Lets add this. Oh, and this. All the while, we hadn't gotten a new price.

until the morning of the first day. We added enough to add about 80% to the bill. We're good at adding. Thus, something that was going to cost X (where x is a lot) now almost costs 2 * X.

We're good. Anyway, day one went smoothly after that. There's a huge hole in the ceiling, and where there was once a wall, there's a hole. Lucy and Romeo are acting clearly weird, but that's to be expected. Lucy's post is on the couch in the living room, barking at anything that moves in front of our house. She can't do that now.

We'll keep you posted on day 2. That's today.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Year in review part 2

This is part 2 of the year-in-review. Here's part one.

It’s good to be a walker in the summer. Because mom, Lucy and Autumn take long walks around the city in July. They walk to Delaware park and hit every playground in a five mile radius. They walk the streets and mom takes a good deal of photographs. Autumn gets a sandbox, and the little courtyard at our house becomes our little playroom. Mom and Autumn are really bonding, and she’s really clingy. At the first moment of fear, panic, or pain, she runs to whoever is closest for a hug. It’s truly awesome.

Milestone: Autumn eats a blueberry. Every other food takes second place to her new fav.

August is hot. Not only that, we’re realizing that Autumn doesn’t sleep through the night. More times than not, she’s up at somewhere between 2:00 and 3:30 AM. We contemplate the whole ‘cry it out’ thing. She wins every time. On paper, the ‘cry out’ method seems so simple. She’s go to sleep, and from there, we will get to fall asleep. In practice though, it’s horrible. She coughs and sputters, and cries and wails in such pain that we cave and give her what she needs/want. We’re getting better. We go camping for the first time. Mom gets a new camera and takes a ton of great pictures.

Milestone: Autumn says ‘ball’ and means it.

By September, Autumn is running around everywhere. Our child-proofing on the go strategy leads to a couple of minor mishaps, but for the most part, she contained. We can take her out for dinner, but there’s a risk. Case in point, a night out at our local pizza joint, Casa Di Pizza. After furiously eating some pasta, she takes a good long look at us, and vomits all over the place. Mom grabs her and contains most of the vomit on her sweater while dad collects dinner suddenly to-go. Ten minutes after throwing it all up, Autumn is back to her happy little self. Rhona and I spend a wonderful weekend in Cleveland for our five-year wedding anniversary. We have a fantastic and grown-up weekend with dinners outside on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Milestone: Rhona and Matt celebrate 5 years of marriage.

In October, we learn that we’re pregnant, due date May 31st . October, however starts with Rhona feeling incredible cramps and pain in her belly. After a day of doctor and specialist visits, Rhona is admitted to the hospital for observation. No one can figure out the reason for the pain, and the tests they can perform are limited because of her pregnancy. They rule a lot out, but the waiting and the stress is enough to send us all over the deep end. Not knowing is the hardest part. Having Rhona in the hospital, even overnight, had me thinking about life without her. It’s something we can’t have. We need mom more than ever. She was released, and to date, doesn’t feel the same pain as she did early in the month. October ends much better with Autumn trick-or-treating as a cow.

Milestone: She says MOO when you ask her what a cow says, unless of course she is wearing a cow costume.

November sees the pregnancy progress more smoothly. Mom can’t rest as often as she’d like thanks to our little peanut. But mom is doing a wonderful job making it all happen. This is the month she takes her final comprehensive exam for her masters, and passes. It’s official: mom simply has to complete her thesis and will officially have a Masters degree in Student Personnel Administration. We’re incredibly proud of the work, time and effort mom put into earning this degree (six years of part time schooling). We celebrate with a big turkey dinner on her birthday (which is also Thanksgiving).

Milestone: Rhona passes her exam.

Rhona finishes her thesis and officially completes all requirements for her Masters degree. December sees us mom and dad giving each other our one big Christmas present. We are getting our front room in our house renovated. It’s called the living room, and it is in fact the room we live in. Meaning, when the renovations start today! We’ll be confined to the other rooms in our house – except for the dining room, which contains all of the living room furniture. Chaotic yes, exciting definitely!

Milestone: We write this year in review.

We have been looking for the perfect house. Not being the right time to find it, we are taking steps to make this one OUR perfect house. It’s a house filled with laughter, dancing, hugs and kisses. Autumn makes the days seem, at the same time both hard and long. But they are also rewarding, exciting and fulfilling. There is no doubt in our minds that staying home with Autumn was the right decision for us.

Have a happy holiday. And if you ever want to follow the action on a more day-to-day basis, contact us. We’ll show you how.

Happy Holidays!

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Shovel not-ready

So, this morning I shoveled. Then, stupidly, I left the shovel on the front porch. It was kind of a crappy shovel, but it got rid of the snow. Anyway, we took off for the day, and when I got home, we were shovel-less.

Someone took it.

Now, on the face of it, that's alright. But here's the rub. Someone went into our courtyard, and took my back-up shovel. So we have no shovel.

So, I took off to Home Depot looking for a shovel. They were closed. Went to Wegmans, they were sold out. So, I have no shovel.

Did I mention that there's two feet of snow?

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

The year in review, part 1.

January began a new chapter in our lives. For January was when Rhona went back to work and left Autumn in daycare for the first time. Leaving your 7 month-old day with what amounts to strangers is one of the most difficult things to do. However, Autumn loved it. And we really do feel really comfortable with the people we leave her with.

Still, she’s very little. Looking at her, in that room, and walking away is a hard, hard thing to do. But it’s at daycare where she tries different foods. Plays with other kids and learns to be social and sharing. She loves daycare, and we have learned to love it too.

Milestone: first flu shot and reaction.

February saw a right of passage, we think. Early in February, a much more active Autumn managed to kick her crib in such a way, that she partially broke it and managed to fall out. It’s hard to explain, but suffice it to say, when I heard her wail, I knew something was up and ran in to see an empty crib, but still heard her crying. Not only had she fallen out of the crib, she’d rolled under the crib. Looking back, it’s a remarkable set of circumstances that came together to make this happen.

Milestone: She stood up for the first time.

March saw a couple of prolonged sick days for Autumn. She had pink eye. And she was home from daycare almost every week. We actually had to call in the newly retired Granddad Hames to come and stay. It meant two things: Granddad had to change a poopy diaper for the first time in over 30 years. But more importantly, it meant the forming of a bond between Autumn and her Granddad. We are lucky to have parents who help us out on both sides. Grandma and Grandpa Cadenhead help us out a lot looking after Autumn. And Nanny and Granddad Hames come over and stay to give us overnights. But when Autumn got sick in March, we needed a prolonged overnight. Enter Granddad Hames and Grandma Cadenhead. They worked together to soothe Autumn, give her fluids, and help her get her strength back. Seeing your parents with your child is one of the great moments of life.

Milestone: she walked with a walker.

In our household, April was almost entirely about the Buffalo Sabres hockey team and their playoff run. We actually got cable television just to watch the games. Rhona and I had moments where we would jump for joy, hugging and dancing around the table. We got Autumn into a nice bedtime routine that still is essentially the same. A bottle, a bath, and a bunch of stories (I think I know Green eggs and ham off by heart). She became much more mobile.

Milestone: Responds to ‘What’s in your mouth?’ by sticking out her tongue.

May is the last month that we were a two-income family. Mom decides to leave her job to spend more time at home with Autumn (and work to finish her Masters degree). For the month, mom continues to work, but we know the end is near. You can see Autumn really starting to walk without the aid of the walker. We take lots of video of her movements. This month, we’re completely invested in the Sabres (hockey team) playoff run, which comes to a dramatic and painful end. Even Autumn gets into it, staying up a little late to watch the first period of the games. A little girl is really starting to emerge.

Milestone: Autumn stands without the aid of a walker.

Before she turns one-year old later in June, she’s officially a walker. And a climber. She climbs the stairs entirely on her own (and learns how to get back down them). The smile on her face when she walks to us is priceless. This is when she really begins bonding with Lucy, our dog. Lucy is crazy. However, when Autumn comes to hug her, pull her tail, pull her ears, she doesn’t do a thing. Lucy sits beside Autumn at dinner, hoping Autumn will share. And Autumn shares. We’re lucky that Lucy is calm around Autumn. They are truly best friends.

Milestone: Autumn turns One.

Stay tuned for part 2. Coming to this blog soon!

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Autumn got elfed

My mom, Autumn's nanny, elfed autumn. Look:

Go ahead, elf someone.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mood Foods

In a crappy mood? Men's Health magazine tells us, it's what we eat.
Your brain depends on a variety of nutrients to keep itself balanced. Cheetos and beer are not on the list.
Really now? Greasy food doesn't make me happy? (Hint: ever think maybe the idea of 'comfort foods' came from a 50's copywriter dude who meant well?)

Anyhow, they offer a list of moods, and then the snack that's good for the mood. Here's one from the list:

Your Mood:
You've forgotten your last two deadlines.

Your Meal:
Pineapple chunks for a snack or a cup of berries in your oatmeal

Here's Why:
Antioxidants from the most-colorful fruits and vegetables help pick off the free radicals that wear away at your memory. "Because your brain consumes so much oxygen, oxidants do heavy damage there," says Somer.

It goes on to offer snacks for when you're restless, insecure, depressed, anxious and stressed, among others.

I love the word flummoxed. So don't be flummoxed. Start with not missing any deadlines, and eat berries with your oats. Or the right snack.

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What to do when you renovate

We're renovating our living room.

Look at those two words: living, room. It's not only the largest room in our house (more than twice as large as the next biggest), it's truly the room we live in. It'e the room with the TV, the computer, and Autumn's toys.

We're getting it turned into the room we've always wanted. Which is exciting, though daunting, since we can't use it while it's getting remodeled. That said, i thought I would put together the top ten things to think about when renovating your living room:

10. Next time, get it done in the summer. I'm just saying.
9. Bake cookies. lots of them. Or bake a cook. Or cook. You'll be spending a lot more time in the kitchen listening to talk radio, so you might as well cook something good.
8. Hang out in bed. Admittedly, this is wishful thinking. Autumn might be willing to spend about 10 seconds in bed. After that, you're done.
7. Walk. (see #1).
6. Go to a friend's house. True, we have Autumn, so it's bit more than just getting in and hanging out. However, if you read this and you're within a drive, there's a chance you might find us on your doorstep.
5. Cruise around Buffalo in the car. A. This gets Autumn to sleep (see #8).
4. Beg and plead for contractor guy to go faster.
3. Get outta dodge. Head to Canada, drop off Autumn and Lucy at happy grandparent's and go out to dinner in Toront0.
2. Repeat #3.
1. I think you get the message.

Update: our contractor was suppose to start tomorrow. The room we live in, AKA the living room, is empty of furniture.

Only now, he isn't starting until next Monday. ARRRGGHH. Deep breaths are required. And perhaps beer.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

China in numbers

We recycle. We compost. We try, as much as possible to limit our carbon footprint in as many ways as we can. Then you see this and wonder, what will the world look like in 20 years? Here are some highlights of the article. China is:
  • The world's largest consumer of coal, grain, fertilizer, cell phones, refrigerators, and televisions
  • The leading importer of iron ore, steel, copper, tin, zinc, aluminum, and nickel
  • The top producer of coal, steel, cement, and 10 kinds of metal
  • The No. 1 importer of illegally logged wood
  • The third-largest producer of cars after Japan and the United States; by 2015, it could be the world's largest car producer. By 2020, there could be 130 million cars on its roads, compared to 33 million now.
It gets worse:
  • China produces half of the world's cameras, 1/3 of its television sets, and 1/3 of all the planet's garbage.
  • There are towns in China that make 60% of the world's button supply, 1/2 of all silk neckties, and 1/2 of all fireworks.
  • China uses half of the world's steel and concrete and will probably construct half of the world's new buildings over the next decade.
  • Some Chinese factories can fit as many as 200,000 workers.
  • China used 2.5 billion tons of coal in 2006, more than the next three highest-consuming nations—Russia, India, and the United States—combined.
  • It has more than 2,000 coal-fired power plants and puts a new one into operation every 4 to 7 days.
  • Between 2003 and 2006, worldwide coal consumption increased as much as it did in the 23 years before that. China was responsible for 90% of the increase.
  • China became the world's top carbon dioxide emitter in 2006, overtaking the United States.
  • Russia is China's largest timber supplier; half of all logging there is illegal. In Indonesia, another timber supplier to China, up to 80% of all logging takes place illegally.
  • 90% of all wood products made in China are consumed in the country, including 45 billion pairs of wooden chopsticks each year.
  • The value of China's timber-product exports exceeds $17 billion. About 40 percent go to the United States.
  • More than 3/4 of China's forests have disappeared; 1/4 of the country's land mass is now desert.
  • Until recently, China was losing a Rhode Island-sized parcel of land to desertification each year.
  • 80% of the Himalayan glaciers that feed Chinese rivers could melt by 2035.
  • In 2005, China's sulfur-dioxide emissions were nearly twice those of the United States.
  • Acid rain caused by air pollution now affects 1/3 of China's land.
  • Each year, at least 400,000 Chinese die prematurely of air-pollution-linked respiratory illnesses or diseases.
  • A quarter of a million people die because of motor-vehicle traffic each year—6 times as many as in the United States, even though Americans have 18 times as many cars.
  • Of the world's 20 most polluted cities, 16 are in China.
  • Half of China's population—600 to 700 million people—drinks water contaminated with human and animal waste. A billion tons of untreated sewage is dumped into the Yangtze each year.
  • 4/5 of China's rivers are too polluted to support fish.
  • The Mi Yun reservoir, Beijing's last remaining reliable source of drinking water, has dropped more than 50 feet since 1993.
  • Overuse of groundwater has caused land subsidence that cost Shanghai alone $12.9 billion in economic losses.
  • Dust storms used to occur once a year. Now, they happen at least 20 times a year.
  • Chinese dust storms can cause haziness and boost particulate matter in the United States, all the way over to Maine.
  • In 2001, a huge Chinese storm dumped 50,000 metric tons of dust on the United States. That's 2.5 times as much as what U.S. sources produce in a typical day.
  • Currently, up to 36 percent of man-made mercury emissions settling on America originated in Asia.
  • Particulate matter from Asia accounts for nearly half of California's annual pollution limit.
  • Environmental damage reportedly costs China 10 percent of its GDP. Pollution-related death and disability heath care costs alone are estimated at up to 4 percent of GDP.
  • In 2005, there were 50,000 pollution-related disputes and protests in China.
  • China's middle class is expected to jump from 100 million people today to 700 million people by 2020.
Crikey. The only way to stop it is to stop buying from it. See also: You are what you eat. And China and the environment.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

An Eaters Manifesto

I'm a foodie. I like good food. The Turkey we had a Thanksgiving costs 10 times more than Turkey's in the supermarket. It was a no antibiotics, cage-free, hormone free bird.

Stop and think about that. In order to tell you what our Turkey was, i have to tell you what it wasn't. Organic describes food that isn't sprayed with chemicals. Grass fed beef describes food in which the cow ate what it would naturally eat.

Even the word natural has meanings we don't fully understand. Calling a blueberry natural doesn't make sense.

Michael Pollan got me thinking about this. He has a new book coming out called: In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto.

Here's the book's description:
Because most of what we're consuming today is not food, and how we're consuming it -- in the car, in front of the TV, and increasingly alone -- is not really eating. Instead of food, we're consuming "edible foodlike substances" -- no longer the products of nature but of food science. Many of them come packaged with health claims that should be our first clue they are anything but healthy. In the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion. The result is what Michael Pollan calls the American paradox: The more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we seem to become.

But if real food -- the sort of food our great grandmothers would recognize as food -- stands in need of defense, from whom does it need defending? From the food industry on one side and nutritional science on the other. Both stand to gain much from widespread confusion about what to eat, a question that for most of human history people have been able to answer without expert help. Yet the professionalization of eating has failed to make Americans healthier. Thirty years of official nutritional advice has only made us sicker and fatter while ruining countless numbers of meals.
I love food. And I like the idea of getting tomatoes in December. But I'll admit something: a tomato in December is no match for a tomato off the vine in September. Taste that September tomato, and it immediately vaults into your top five all-time tomato (assuming you, like me, keep a running top-five of most moments).

I'm not suggesting we all change overnight. I'm suggesting we think about our food. It's true, we are what we eat. And if what we eat is completely processed, then we're all completely processed. And that makes no sense.

Think about your food. Start maybe with this book. Not because it will change your behavior, that's tough. Right now, we go to Wegman's. We also go to our little coop (that sources a little more locally), and a local produce place that also sources a little more locally.

We're making an eat local effort. And that is healthy, and normal. It's not really normal to get Asparagus from Peru in December.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

TSN Skins game update

I'm still at the skins game. If you're interested in what I have to say, check out the Curling News Blog.

I especially like this one.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

At the skins game

Here I am. At the TSN Skins game. The first curling game ever in hi-definition TV. It should be an awesome event. I plan to take a lot of pictures. Here's one I didn't take.

The preview was just on the Screen here. It gave me the chills. I'll try to put into words how cool this is. But it will be hard.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

TSN Skins game

This weekend, TSN will unveil the Skins game again. It will be in High Definition TV. Pretty cool.

When you’re watching the TSN Skins game, you’ll be watching an ongoing debate unfold.

A few years ago, Kevin Martin famously gave up a steal on purpose to Jeff Stouhgton in order to get last rock in the last end of a Skins Game. He sent a very clear message that he wanted last rock.

That was the three rock rule.

This is the first skins game with the four rock rule. Four of the best teams in the world will help us answer this question: Would you rather be up one coming home without, or down one coming home with last rock?

Because the skins game is really just the last end played over and over. If you have the hammer, you need two. If you don’t, you need a steal. Essentially the situation in the last end of a one-point game.

There’s talk that the odds favor the team up one with. In a non-Skins game, the team up one without last rock throws it top four foot. If the team that needs two wants to generate offense, they need to throw a guard. In doing so, they leave the team that went first with a free guard on the possible steal point.

I know. It’s all so technical. But I can’t wait to see how the team without the hammer plays the end. I suspect they’ll just throw a center guard and get with it. But they have some options. And in thinking about the options, they’ll let us know if they like the hammer, or if they don’t.

See you there. And I mean that even if you’re watching on High Def TV.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Autumn and the country's of the world

This has become one of Autumn's favorite videos online. I remember about two years ago, seeing it and making it a favorite. I remember thinking that one day, she might love it. The day is here.

And YouTube offers us a bunch of chances to show her old Animaniacs videos.

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Curling in High Defition

This weekend, the TSN Skins game comes back to life. And it will be shown in High Definition TV. As a member of the press, I'll be sure to ask the guys if they shaved a little closer of this event. John Morris likes to sport the "needs a shave" look. Wonder if High Def will cure that?

Anyway, I'll also be blogging at The Curling News blog. Take a look this weekend.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The secret to raising smart kids

There's an article in Scientific American that claims to know the secret to raising smart kids. This sounds more like a theory than a secret, but it makes sense. Here is the key concept:
"Many people assume that superior intelligence or ability is a key to success. But more than three decades of research shows that an overemphasis on intellect or talent—and the implication that such traits are innate and fixed—leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unmotivated to learn."
Thus, telling a child they are 'smart' or 'gifted' will have them come to believe that things will come to them without working for them. Instead, the study says, focus on the effort.

In real terms, this means don't say the following when your kid gets an A.

"Wow, you're a really gifted smart kid. Way to go."

By saying this, you reinforce the notion that results come easy. It's possible (though not guaranteed) that your child will begin to think that things are easy because they are so smart.

Instead, when your kid gets an A, say this:

"Wow, you really worked hard for that A. You have worked hard to become smart."

The A was a result of hard work, and not a result of being gifted. Fact is, we get stuff in life through hard work, not simply by coasting by. The study goes on to say:
"Teaching people to have a “growth mind-set,” which encourages a focus on effort rather than on intelligence or talent, produces high achievers in school and in life. Parents and teachers can engender a growth mind-set in children by praising them for their effort or persistence (rather than for their intelligence), by telling success stories that emphasize hard work and love of learning, and by teaching them about the brain as a learning machine.
There will be times when we'll tell Autumn that she's smart and gifted. That's life. but I think I'll remember this post, and be sure to add that it was through her hard work that she became smart and gifted. To me, that makes perfect sense.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

I made Autumn cry

It happened yesterday.

She was, at that moment, pulling on her mom's hair and laughing. The thing is, we don't want her pulling on her mom's hair. We don't want her pulling in the cat's tail, or the dog's ears either. And i can assure you that the aforementioned mom and pets don't want autumn pulling on the aforementioned things.

So, mustering up the a relatively stern voice, I looked her straight in the eye with a look that meant business, and told her no.

She stopped. Looked at me looking at her all stern-like, and began crying. She turned to her mom, the same mom whose hair she was just pulling, and demanded a hug.

I felt like a big meany. I really did. And for the rest of the day, I was thinking about the look on her face when she noticed that I meant business.

There are gonna be times when she'll do stuff and I'll tell her no, and she'll cry. Like one day, when she's six, she might ask to join the circus. I'll tell her no, she'll think I'm a meany and hate me for a bit. Oh, she'll like me again, assuming I'm fair. Just like yesterday, about 10 seconds after crying, she liked me again. But I thought I should note it.

The first time I made her cry. Add it to the list.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Snow day

We had a busy day today. We went outside in the snow; after getting on about 20 layers.

Then, Autumn went on the sled and I pulled her around. You can't tell from this shot (or any), but she was laughing hysterically the whole time. It was fun.

Winter in Buffalo, NY is nice. We get snow, then it gets warm again. And while we really get Autumn under some layers, she's never really in danger of being cold. Yes, things will get cold in a few months, but that's okay. The early snowfall on a weekend makes for a great day of playing in the snow.

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Where to eat in Buffalo

Part of moving to a new city is being a cheerleader for it. After five years, the shine of Buffalo is wearing off. I don't think this a Buffalo thing. It's easy to get homesick and miss things about other places you've lived.

And yet, this is my home now, so one way to bring back the shine is to focus on what we like. So here, in no particular order, are the places we love to eat in Buffalo.

Given the chance, and unlimited funds, we'd eat there every week. The specials menu is truly astonishingly good. We went last week, and it was great. I had the Duck Salad and a piece of Bass that was incredible. It was covered in capers, which I didn't think i liked, but tried. Truly awesome. Rhona had an eggplant salad and the Jambalaya Pasta. If you go, get the fruit cup for dessert.

India Gate:
They don't have a website, but they have a Buffet every Wednesday. The buffet offers a great variety of veggie and meat dishes, all at a relatively low level of heat. to get hotter food, order from the kitchen. Go there with 4 or more people, order a dish each, and create your own buffet. Start off by ordering the Indian tea (it takes a few minutes), then sample some Indian beer. The rice pudding is an excellent ending.

We all shed a little tear when Kuni's on Elmwood closed it's doors. that was the location of our first date in Buffalo, and one of the finest Sushi restaurants I've ever eaten at. Then, Kuni's To go opened across the road from our house, and things got great. I personally love the Sashimi platter. I do however miss the Hot, Hot, hot Salad, but you can't have it all.

Pappa Jakes:
This one is for Rhona, however I will tell you that the meatloaf sandwich is worth the price of admission. They claim to have the best french fries in Buffalo, along with a nice assortment of beers on tap.

Saigon Cafe:
Another Elmwood strip restaurant, and another gem. The Tom Yum soup is excellent, as is the entire menu. Our friend Michael T calls is his favorite place in Buffalo. it's great for takeout, and eat in. I make a fairly mean coconut milk based curry at home, but I'll agree they do some things that are nice.

Falafel Bar:
This is our go-to take out place when we need something to eat for dinner. It's located in a tiny little place that has some serious history. the wraps are huge and really quite filling. The rice pudding is wonderful and served hot. Rhona likes the Lentil Soup. If you can't find something on this menu you'll like, you're just not trying.

So there you go. Those are the places we like to eat. There are others, but these are the ones that came easily. We don't get out as often as we'd like, but we did go to Hutch's last week. And we'll likely hit India gate soon. I drool every time I walk past Kuni's.

And notice. Not a single place was about Chicken Wings.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

If you like it, mixx it

From today on, if you like something you read here, feel free to mixx it. Mixx is a cool new social bookmarking site. We'll see how it goes.

(p.s. don't mixx this post)

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Children with low self-esteem want more consumer goods

Materialism in children appears to be linked to self-esteem, with their desire for consumer goods mounting as their self-esteem declines, says a U.S. study.

We talk a lot about Autumn and materialism, and getting a bunch of stuff at birthday's and Christmas for her. We thought about making "No made in China" rules, or no plastic rules, but worried about imposing a belief system on people who are just trying to be nice. That said, I would like to think of a way to help curb her away from being ultra-materialistic. To me, it's okay to want something, it's just not okay to live your life defined by having it, or not having it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This is so clever

It's called Dear Rockers. And if you've ever stolen (or borrowed) music, it's your chance to give back.

Are you taking my picture?

Are you taking my picture?, originally uploaded by MRHames.

As you can guess, mom took this.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Evolution is slow

I read once that we're evolving out of our little toes. We no longer need them for balance, or for gripping a tree branch.

I tell you this because I think I broke the little piggy that goes to the market. AKA, the little toe.

I cracked it on the table yesterday at lunch. It hurt like crazy, but I thought it was just a simple crack of the toe. We stub our toes all the time. What's the big whoop? Then, later whilst cleaning the kitchen, I took a stutter step and came down hard on the foot that had the dodgy digit.

And holy did I cry like this:

At my yelp, Rhona came running. I would like to say that i am a tough guy. But that friggin hurt. I iced it, and now I'm limping like a gimp.

It only hurts when I walk.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Turkey Hangover

(photos below)

Ask Autumn what a sheep says, and she'll belt out: BAAAA! Then a big smile. Ask her what a Turkey says, and she'll look blankly at you.

That's kind of good, seeing as how we cooked a 22 pounder yesterday.

Yes, Thanksgiving was on Thursday. But the Canadians in our family had to come from, well, Canada, and American Thanksgiving is just a Thursday with Football in Canada. Thus, we eat bird on Saturday.

It worked out to 2 pounds of Turkey per person. On the surface, one would think that's a bit much. To me though, the whole idea of Thanksgiving dinner is leftovers. Turkey soup. Turkey sandwiches. Turkey anything, really. So last night, with some wine and beer in me, I vacuum sealed up a bunch of Turkey for later. Sometime in January, I'll pull out a piece of turkey, and boom. Leftover heaven.

But enough of that, here are some Autumn shots.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Radio, as defined by Autumn

When Autumn learns certain words, Radio, Telephone, TV, her definition of these words will be entirely different from the way we think of these words.

Take Radio. Currently, Autumn can listen to the radio on a radio (yes, they exist), but more and more we can 'listen' to the radio online via podcasting. At home, we listen to This American Life, RadioLab, Car Talk, and The Curling Show all online. (You really will like all of these. No matter who you are.)

Now. how far away are we from a radio that can connect to the internet and pick up podcasts of your favorite shows? The technology exists. And since it does, I think we're in a golden age of radio. Where, instead of tuning into news-like shows that seem repetitive, you can pick other shows you like and listen to them when you want.

The next revolution is the elimination of the hour show. With the exception of The Curling Show, above, the shows we listen to are Made for Radio. They are hour shows and have acts to keep the shows moving through the hour. Not so with the curling show. It can be 10 minutes, or 20. It's dependent on the content, not a radio schedule. And soon, shows like This American Life might realize there's more of a market for snippet podcasts and create shows that work like that.

Just think: in your car, you hit wireless hotspots all the time. Why not have a wireless radio? Or whatever it is that Autumn calls it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

This calls for a joke

You've seen the ad that goes: apply directly to the forehead. Right?

Some enterprising ad guy (and it would have to be a guy) could have some fun with this:

Monday, November 19, 2007

Autumn was on

On Saturday, the fam high-tailed it to Brampton for the Santa Claus parade. I personally think it's too early to start thinking about Christmas, or the holidays, but whatever. Mid November it is.

We bundled the peanut up and took her out. Being a little child, she loves car and trucks with lots of lights. The parade delivered.

Then we we got back, Autumn delivered. She danced around aunt Tracey's house. She learned to cheers people, walking up to everyone there and clinking her little play teacup to their drink. She laughed. Hugged and smiled her way through the crowd and the night.

She was a perfect little baby. So much so, that I can't wait for another time to unveil her on a room full of people.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


She's a tiny baby. Her mom and I aren't exactly what you would call tall. So it's to be expected. Here is the first of many shots that will depict her peanut-ness.

bring on the rain

Eyes on the top of here and the tips of her toes. Take a closer look. And yes, it's raining today in the Buff.

Day and nights

This morning, Autumn just kinda sat in her crib in the morning and chatted away happily. She doesn't speak real words, but I get the sense that in her head, she's saying stuff. Blah, blah, blah, she went on.

Sometimes, we'll just sit there and listen. Other times, like this morning, we'll stop doing stuff just to listen.

Of course, there's a point in the morning where talking to yourself gets old, and that's when she cries, but it's not a meltdown cry. It's a signal to us to spring her from her crib and start the morning. As soon as got near her door, she stopped chattering. I opened the door, and she had a big smile on her face.

Since that truly was a great moment, i wanted to list the 5 cool moments of this week, in no order.

1. We went swimming at the gym at lunch yesterday. the gym is 5 minutes from work, so i took an early lunch and went. She loved it. The smiles went on for miles.

2. Eating. This is a touch and go situation. She eats pasta, and yogurt. But on Monday night, i got her to eat a feat by applauding every time she ate. And the smile on her face? Priceless.

3. Tickling her feet. There's nothing better than a baby's laugh. Especially if it can turn into a full-blown giggle-fest. She loves to have her feet tickled. She actually hates socks.

4. Any bath time. Bath time is where is your belly button time. Any bath time is fun time.

5. What does a sheep say. On Halloween, we dressed her up as a cow. And even though she knows what a cow says, she never did a moo. But a sheep? She really gets into the sheep thing. She throws her heart and soul in the the BAA! It's awesome.

She's awesome.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Practice your vocabulary, feed the world

Seriously. Each time you get a word right, you feed someone a grain of rice. not a bad diversion.

Torturous logic

Been away for a few days curling. Didn't even check e-mail. I just saw this from ALAN DERSHOWITZ, who writes in the Wall Street Journal an article called "Democrats and Waterboarding" with a subhead: The party will lose the presidential race if it defines itself as soft on terror.

Right off the bat, something interesting. Since we know that Democrats are the party on record against waterboarding, that means that being 'soft on terror' appears to mean not torturing.

Also, in Dershowitz's world, Republicans appear to be okay with torture, specifically waterboarding. Now, that might seem like a logical fallacy for me to make that leap. Just because he says that being against torture means being soft on terror, and we all know that Republicans aren't soft on terror, so they must be for torture.

But then, in the article, he makes two incredible statements:

Copied verbatim:
"Although I am personally opposed to the use of torture, I have no doubt that any president--indeed any leader of a democratic nation--would in fact authorize some forms of torture against a captured terrorist if he believed that this was the only way of securing information necessary to prevent an imminent mass casualty attack. The only dispute is whether he would do so openly with accountability or secretly with deniability. The former seems more consistent with democratic theory, the latter with typical political hypocrisy."
Emphasis mine. So, he's advocating that Democrats should be for something that he's personally against. Perhaps it's this bizarre position that gets him tied up in rhetorical knots because the very next paragraph in the piece goes like this:
"There are some who claim that torture is a nonissue because it never works--it only produces false information. This is simply not true, as evidenced by the many decent members of the French Resistance who, under Nazi torture, disclosed the locations of their closest friends and relatives."
To recap his argument: I, Alan Dershowitz am advocating that Democrats follow the policy of the Nazi government which proved that torture (which I am against) works.

The shorter version: "Hey Democrats, why are you against something that was good enough for Hitler?"

Holy crap, that's gotta be the weirdest argument in the history of arguments.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Buffalo V Ottawa

Tomorrow, I’m on my way to Ottawa to go curling, and I’m going to wear my Sabres sweater.

I don’t care that Ottawa is off to the best start ever and the Sabres aren't.

See, it’s cyclical.

Two years ago, they’re awesome, we beat ‘em.

Last year, we’re awesome, they beat us.

See? We have them right where we want them.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

War in Iran countdown

If there's a war with Iran, France is in!

"[President Nicolas Sarkozy] received a standing ovation during the first address by a French president to both houses in more than a decade."

Freedom Fries are off the menu. Congress is back to serving French Fries and wars in the middle east.

Funny, but because I'm weird

"But it's thought that since the MRSA strain is in pigs in Canada, it is likely in pigs in the United States also, because there's international movement of pigs from Canada to the United States." (emphasis mine)

This is from an article in Salon that basically suggests that the strain of Staph (MRSA) that is going around right now (it's in Autumn's day care) might be a result of the antibiotics that are fed to the pigs we eat. I know, that's a heady subject. One that people with little kids should seriously consider. But come on, 'there's international movement of pigs from Canada to the US'. That's just a funny sentence.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pot/Kettle black

Dana Perino is the White House Press Secretary. She speaks for the president:

Q: Is it ever reasonable to restrict constitutional freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism?

MS. PERINO: In our opinion, no.

Look: it's possible that the things the Bush Administration are doing to chip away at American's freedoms are in fact going to protect us. Perhaps the ability to listen to our calls, hold us indefinitely without charge, rifle through our e-mails will ensure the safety of all of us.

But to suggest so boldly that these things fit the Constitution? Either Ms. Perino hasn't been paying attention, or she really does think what her boss is doing is constitutional. Take a look:

First Amendment
: In September, a federal judge ruled that the FBI’s use of secret “national security letters” to obtain citizens’ personal data from private companies for counterterrorism investigations “violate[d] the First Amendment and constitutional provisions on the separation of powers.”

First Amendment, Fourth Amendment: In Aug. 2006, a federal district court in Detroit ruled that the Bush administration's NSA warrantless wiretapping program was unconstitutional, violating the “separation of powers doctrine, the Administrative Procedures Act, the First and Fourth amendments to the United States Constitution, the FISA and Title III.”

Article I: Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in June, then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales attempted to justify the administration’s detainee policy by claiming, “There is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution.” (Article I, Section 9, Clause 2 of the Constitution reads: “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”)

Article II: In June, House investigators revealed that Vice President Dick Cheney had exempted his office from an executive order order designed to safeguard classified national security information by claiming that he was not an “entity within the executive branch.”

having fun

having fun, originally uploaded by MRHames.

This is my desktop image.

Monday, November 05, 2007

check this out

"The cost of the average used car in Europe is now cheaper than the cost of gasoline to drive it for a year– talk about razor and blades businesses."
Interesting perspective on oil. How is gas so cheap when oil is almost $100 per barrel?

Fall back

We set the clocks back yesterday, but as we feared, Autumn didn't get the memo. Her 'afternoon' nap came at 11:00AM. She fell sound asleep on the way home from the grocery store.

And even though we tried to keep her entertained and awake, bedtime came at 7:00PM, and we were pushing it. Fact is, autumn can't tell time. Her body though, can. She's accustomed to certain moments in the day. Nap time. Bath time. Bed time. We're pretty good about making them at the same time, so when this whole arbitrary clock thing happens, she didn't get the memo.

Meaning, this morning, she was up at 5:00AM. Do you think that telling her that it isn't 6:00AM works? Nope.

We'll have a few more days of this. But man, did you ever think the clock going back would have this much meaning?

Friday, November 02, 2007

You. Can't. Be. Serious.

Zogby Poll: 52% Support U.S. Military Strike Against Iran.

That's 52% of likely American voters favor starting another war against another country that didn't invade or attack the US. Holy smokes. Look around people, according to Zogby, more than one out of every two people you see wants to start another war.

More Hockey, less heroes

A writer's strike looms. If they go on strike today, and that seems likely, it means no Daily Show next week. It means, depending on how long the strike goes for, a looming freeze in the Heroes season.

But thankfully, the Sabres write their own scripts every night.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween, a scary night

We dressed up Autumn in her cow costume. We went for a walk to meg's and the jody's. Since Autumn wasn't going to eat any of the chocolates, we focussed on showing her off. In order to keep her happy, I carried a stash of little pretzels, which she decided were the greatest things ever.

Back home, she sat on the front porch with mom and I and handed out chocolates to the hundreds of kids that come by. I don't mind giving out chocolate bars to people who aren't dressed up. We live in the 'rich' section of town.. so it's sort of expected. I think overall, Autumn enjoysed it. She watched the kids come to the door, smiled, looked cute, and then tried to run away.

She never once told us what a cow says. But oh well.

Later though, she had a bad night. Up a lot, she had a hard time getting to sleep. I think she'll most likely sleep a lot today. And then perhaps tonight, she'll sleep well again.

Still, we're through Halloween. Bring on Thanksgiving.

(Sorry it's sideways, blogger is being grumpy)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The country I live in

Oh and

Can I just say that the Loonie costs 1.04 cents US to buy? Wonderful news to Rhona and I, who got married 5 years ago, and exchanged the money we got. In essence, we 'lost' 60% in 5 years.

I know that math seems wrong, but it right. Honest.

Monday, October 29, 2007

NFL in London

The NFL played a game of "American Football" at Wembley Stadium in London on the weekend. This headline, from Sky News, got my attention this morning:

"Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder has admitted not knowing people speak English in London."

That's awesome. He did go to Florida State. But I guess he didn't take geography. I suspect the people from Florida State will not want to use him to tout their scholarly wares.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

What does a cow say?

For the last three weeks, we've been asking Autumn what a cow says:

"wwmoooo". She laughs.

This is the reason:

Thankfully, Saturday was a pre-Halloween test-run. And while this part wasn't the highlight (as you can tell), things got better. We walked up and down our street as all the stores offered candy to other little costumed kids. The people in the stores handed us chocolate bars knowing good and well that our little cow wouldn't be eating it -- we would be. It's almost extortion, really. Anyway, as you can see, things got better.

As you might have guessed, she never once told us what a cow said. Until we took off the costume.

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's about time: politics

From a speech on the senate floor this morning, this is proof that my $25 was well-spent on Senator Dodd.

Mr. President, for six years, this President has demonstrated time and time again that he doesn’t respect the role of Congress nor does he respect the rule of law.

Every six years as United States Senators we take the oath office to uphold the Constitution. Our colleagues on the House side take that oath every two years. That is important.

For six years this President has used scare tactics to prevent the Congress from reining in his abuse of authority. A case and point is the current direction this body appears to be headed as we prepare to reform and extend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Many of the unprecedented rollbacks to the rule of law by this Administration have been made in the name of national security.

The Bush Administration has relentlessly focused our nation’s resources and manpower on a war of choice in Iraq. That ill conceived war has broken our military, squandered resources and emboldened our enemies.

The President’s wholesale disregard of the rule of law has compounded the damage done in Iraq and has made our nation less secure and as a direct consequence of these acts, we are less secure, more vulnerable and more isolated in the world.

Consider the scandal at Abu Ghraib – where Iraqi prisoners were subjected to inhumane and humiliating acts by U.S. personnel charged with guarding them.

Consider Guantanamo Bay. Rather than helping to protect the nation, the prisons at Guantanamo Bay have instead become the very symbol for our weakened moral standing in the world.

Consider the secret prisons run by the CIA and the practice of extraordinary rendition that allows them to evade U.S. law regarding torture.

Consider the shameful actions of our outgoing Attorney General who politicized prosecutions – who was more committed to serving the President who appointed him than the laws he had sworn to uphold.

And consider, of course, the Military Commissions Act – a law that allows evidence obtained through torture to be admitted into evidence.

It denies individuals the right to counsel.

It denies them the right to invoke the Geneva Conventions.

And it denies them the single most important and effective safeguard of liberty man has known – the right of habeas corpus, permitting prisoners to be brought before a court to determine whether their detainment is lawful.

Warrantless wiretapping, torture – the list goes on.

Each of these policies share two things in common.

First, they have weakened our ability to prosecute the global war on terrorism – if for no other reason than they have made it harder, if not impossible, to build the international support and cooperation we need to fight it.

And second, each has only been possible because Congress has not been able to stop this President’s unprecedented expansion of executive power, although some in this body have tried.

Whether or not these policies were explicitly authorized is beside the point. In every instance, Congress has been unable to hold this Administration to account for violating the rule of law and our Constitution. In each instance, Republicans in the Congress have prevented this body from telling this Administration that “a state of war is not a blank check.”

And those aren’t my words, Mr. President – those are the words of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor who was nominated by Ronald Reagan.

And today, it appears that we are prepared to consider the proposed renewal of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – a law that in whatever form it eventually takes will almost certainly permit the Bush Administration to broadly eavesdrop on American citizens.

Legislation, as currently drafted, that would grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that helped this Administration violate the civil liberties of Americans and the law of this country.

Mr. President while it may be true that the proposed legislation is an improvement on existing law, it remains fundamentally flawed because it fails to protect the privacy rights of Americans or hold the Executive or the private sector accountable if they choose to ignore the law.

That is why I will not stand on the floor of the United States Senate and be silent about the direction we are headed.

It is time to say “no more.”

No more trampling our Constitution.

No more excusing those who violate the rule of law.

These are our principles.

They have been around at least since the Magna Carta.

They are enduring.

What they are not is temporary. And what we do not do in a time where our country is at risk is abandon them.

My father was Executive Trial Counsel at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals during 1945 and 1946.

What America accomplished at those historic trials wasn’t a foregone conclusion. It took courage – when Stalin and even a leader as great and noble as Winston Churchill wanted to simply execute the Nazi leaders, we didn’t back down from our belief that these men—as terrible as they were—ought to have a trial.

We did not give in to vengeance.

As then, the issue before us today is the same.

Does America stand for all that is still right with our world? Or do we retreat in fear?

Do we stand for justice that secures America? Or do we act out of vengeance that weakens us?

Mr. President, I am well aware that this issue is seen as political. I believe that Democrats were elected to strengthen the nation – elected to restore our standing in the world.

I believe we were elected to ensure that this nation adheres to the rule of law and to stop this Administration’s assault on the Constitution.

But the rule of law is not the provenance of any one political party – but of every American who has been safer because of it.

Mr. President, I know this bill hasn’t even been reported out of the Judiciary Committee yet.

But I am here today because if I have learned anything in my 26 years in this body—particularly during the last 7 years—it is that if you wait until the end to voice your concerns, you will have waited too long. That is why I have written to the Majority Leader informing him that I will object to any effort to bring this legislation to the Senate floor for consideration.

I hope that Senator Leahy is able to remove this language – he is a dear friend and I know his respect for the rule of law runs deep.

But if he cannot, I am prepared to filibuster this bill.

President Bush is right about one thing: this debate is about security. But not in the way he imagines.

He believes we have to give up certain rights to be safe.

I believe the choice between moral authority and security is a false choice.

I believe it is precisely when you stand up and protect your rights that you become stronger, not weaker.

The damage that was done to our country on 9/11 was stunning. It changed the world forever.

But when you start diminishing our rights as a people, you compound that tragedy. You cannot protect America in the long run if you fail to protect our Constitution. It is that simple.

Mr. President, history will likely judge this President harshly for his war of choice and for fighting it with a disregard for our most cherished principles.

But history is about tomorrow. We must act today to stand up for the Constitution and the rule of law.

Mr. President, this is the moment. At long last, let us rise to it.

Question from Right Field

If you write a check to yourself from one bank and deposit it in another bank do you have to endorse it? I, Matt Hames, write a check to Matt Hames, sign it with Matt Hames, and then deposit it into Matt Hames' account using a Deposit Slip that I, Matt Hames, fills out.

So, thoughts?

Turns out, you do have to endorse it. Thus, I'm telling the bank that yes, I endorse the check to me, made out by me, in front of you.

Banks are stupid.


A President who didn't get elected the first time, who may not have actually won Ohio (and the Presidency) the second time, with a 25% approval rating, who has managed to do absolutely nothing of substance in 6 years, is about to start another war that just might make things in the Good old USof A a little less stable.

Here's the thing: the war in Iraq, the one that Paul Wolfowitz promised would pay for itself (he was wrong, and for being so wrong on the numbers, they put him in charge of the world bank), will most likely end up costing each of us (Autumn included) $8,000. that being said, outside of a little outrage, the war really doesn't impact us. We get up, go to work, come home, watch some tube, play with Autumn, and repeat. In Iraq, of course, there hasn't been normalcy for a long time, but that's a whole different point.

The point is, when war in Iran comes, and it will come in the next few months, that's when things change. Don't believe me? The Senate already almost unanimously voted to call Iran's Army a terrorist force. Even Chris Dodd, the guy I think has recently showed leadership, voted for it. And thus, one day soon, Iran's army will engage the American Army, either because the American Army enters Iran, or some other reason, and President Bush will come on tv and announce tactical bunker busting munitions (with nuclear material in them) and launch them on Iran. And then, all hell will break loose.

Consider for a second. This whole war on terror came from 19 guys based in Afghanistan, most of them Saudi Arabian (none of them Iranian or Iraqi). The response has been to invade then leave Afghanistan. Invade and stay in Iraq. And now most-likely, invade Iran. All the while, the guy who claims responsibility for the whole thing is somewhere in the country you left, or in Pakistan. To think that people in Pakistan and India will sit back and continue to watch America run willy-nilly around western Asia is like thinking Iraq's oil will pay for this war.

I wonder when the day comes that Autumn's country won't be at war in her life. I'm afraid it won't be soon.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More on Amnesty

Or should that say moron amnesty? This is a simple chart from the guy I guess I support. And while it might seem like I'm a one-issue guy, I'm not really. This is called leadership. And when it comes to leadership, actions matter more than words. Even though Obama is now against Amnesty, and there's no doubt Hillary will eventually be against it, neither one showed leadership. In my humble little Canadian opinion, that's what's needed from our leaders. Some leadership. So, here's the thing. Click on it to find out what to do, if you want.


This blog is an unprecedented tool for connectivity. And it's merely one tool. I've tried to set my parent's up with Skype, a free internet service that lets you call each other, using your computer, to talk.

Then there's Flickr and Tabblo, more places to share photos of Autumn. There's YouTube and LiveVideo, where you can watch videos of Autumn.

On the surface, this seems like Autumn's life is an open book. But that's clearly not the case because a few blog posts and a few pictures don't constitute her life. But they constitute a level of connectivity that seems at once huge and minuscule at the same time.

What tools are you currently using to connect to people? To friends? Are you using anything?

This is how I stay connected. This seems like a good thing for England in the next World Cup.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Washing out mouth with bar soap

At the search engine Dogpile, you can monitor in real time what people are searching for. I was just there grabbing a screen shot for something I'm working on when I noticed someone searching dogpile for "Washing mouth out with bar soap".

I got my mouth washed out with soap for saying this word. The simple fact is, I have not said this word in front of my mom since that day. In light of this fact, it's hard to argue against 'washing mouth out with bar soap.' Somewhere, someone must have said a dirty word.

I gave money to a Senator

I don’t blog too much about politics these days because it makes me sad. My congressman voted to repeal Habeas Corpus when his party wasn’t in control of congress and his vote didn’t help them repeal a writ that’s been on the book for almost 1,000 years. Outside of helping my sister understand Bruce Springsteen's rants, there's not much a blogger can do.

Plus, the current congress is a complete do-nothing congress. They are trying to ride a coattail of discontent from voters about the Republicans. It seems they are sitting back and doing nothing on purpose so that things are as bad as possible in 2008. Don’t stop the war and then call it the Republican War in Iraq. Don’t fix the assault on the constitution and call it the republican assault on your freedoms.

The current batch of Presidential contenders are very uninspiring. They debate, and the debates are boring, staged, and silly. The national press attacks democrats for stupid things. Hillary for her laugh. Edwards for a haircut. Obama for a lapel pin. Meanwhile, on the right, one of the leading contenders is another actor who plays the role of good-old boy, even thought he’s a millionaire former lobbyist turned actor.

This week though, I got inspired. Senator, and Presidential Candidate Chris Dodd actually did something. In the on-going FISA scandal, the President is accused of spying on Americans since just after 9.11 with the help of the telecom companies. A federal judge has already ruled that these companies knowingly broke the law. so they went to congress to get retroactive immunity. A decidedly un-American thing.

Anyway, since the Dems don’t seem to want to find out if the President was illegally spying in Americans, a group of lawyers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the telecom companies. This is a good resource to read about it.

Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller, who personally took immense amounts of money from telecoms, crafted a bill last week that would give the telecom companies retroactive immunity.

And Chris Dodd stopped it. So I gave him $25. And you can too. Go, give him $5. Tell him to stand up for the constitution. Show him that real leadership isn’t saying the stuff you’ll do, but it’s doing something. Maybe Clinton and Obama will get the message. Perhaps Edwards can talk about it (even though he’s not a sitting Senator.)

It's a sad day when you need to reward senators for doing their job. But that's where we are. So reward him.

Monday, October 22, 2007