poisonwood's Diaryland Diary

Date: Mar. 21, 2008 . Time: 7:24 p.m.

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What a day.

7:24 p.m. - Mar. 21, 2008

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toxicology

The autopsy of Ryan Shay came back indicating death by natural causes. The toxicology report was completely negative. While his death was a terrible tragedy, it is inspirational to know that there are some professional athletes who are not drug users.

9:39 a.m. - Mar. 19, 2008

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a more perfect union

The WSJ has an interesting and I think balanced article about Obama's speech. I heard part of it and was once again struck by the face that Obama is an excellent speaker. Many of his words were moving. Others, such as the following were far less compelling:

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother...who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

I can sympathize with the "white grandmother" comment, though my own grandmother is not particularly racist or sexist. I can't say the same about many elderly folks I'm related to, though. HOWEVER, one's grandmother is not the same as one's pastor. I would not hesitate to renounce my own pastor if he said something I vehemently disagreed with on a regular basis. In addition, age excuses a lot; this is what excuses, at least partially, our elderly relatives. The pastor does not have this excuse.

Nor do I think it's particularly appropriate to say he can't disown this guy any more than he can disown the black community. That statement is ridiculous! What is he trying to say?

I liked this bit:

The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Rev. Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning.

Our society *is* amazingly segregated - both by race and gender. In my case, Obama's statement is rather incorrect. The church I occasionally attend is actually a lot more diverse than my workplace. I do not work with ANY black people OR women on a daily basis - not a one. There are 3 women engineers at my company other than myself - all in different groups - and I believe one black engineer. The company is getting big enough that I actually don't know everyone anymore. However, the church I went to growing up had virtually no African-Americans in attendance.

I also have to agree with this writer that using his grandmother as a sacrificial lamb was rather tasteless. She is apparently still living.

6:01 p.m. - Mar. 18, 2008

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test

This "test" only takes about a minute. Try it!

8:38 a.m. - Mar. 18, 2008

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on spitzer and stalin

A different take on the Spitzer fiasco.


Lavrenti Beria, the head of Joseph Stalin's KGB, once quipped to his boss, "show me the man and I will find the crime." The Soviet Union was notorious for having accordion-like criminal laws that could be adjusted to fit almost any dissident target. The U.S. is a far cry from the Soviet Union, but our laws are dangerously overbroad.

B and I were just discussing entrapment with respect to the senator who, as far as we can tell, was entrapped when he tried to pick up an agent in an airport bathroom. Coincidence that he in particular was caught? I doubt it. I find that guy, while not particularly likeable, sympathetic. The man appears to be gay. He is a hypocrite. And he is being punished for being secretly gay and a hypocrite? Not admirable, but not against the law.

In this case, prostitution is against the law, at least in NY it seems, and I think it is a serious crime. Nevertheless, it seems very possible this guy was targetted and I think it's debatable whether it's a more serious offence than a DUI. Would he have been forced to step down if he'd gotten a DUI? (And avoided Gibson-style bigoted rampages, naturally.)

Also, the WSJ continues to love bashing Obama. Personally, I figure being a female veep candidate in '84 could probably leave a chip on one's shoulder. I'm too young to remember that piece of history, personally.

As far as the election goes, the bone I'd like to pick is not counting Florida. Since the power of Iowa and New Hampshire really gets my goat, it makes me mad that moving up ones primary to get a slice of the spotlight results in disenfranchisement. We'll see what happens, I guess - now, and in November.

10:39 p.m. - Mar. 13, 2008

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GLD or what

A while ago, I decided to diversify my portfolio by buying what I thought was gold. I figured it would be good insurance against a downturn. I invested in the mutual fund TGLDX, which is described as:

"The Gold Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of its net assets plus borrowings for investment purposes in gold and securities of companies located throughout the world that are engaged in mining or processing gold (“Gold Related Securities”). The Fund may also invest in other precious metals (“Other Precious Metals”). However no more than 20% of the Fund’s total assets may be invested directly in gold bullion and other precious metals."

I should have read the description more carefully before I invested. Since I invested in April '07, the fund has gone up all of 0.7%.

Meanwhile, the "stock" GLD, which is like buying gold directly, has gone up more than 40% in the same time period. Of course, now it seems insane to actually buy GLD since the price is so high. Grrr. I wish I had bought GLD in the first place.

6:14 p.m. - Mar. 12, 2008

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middle seat

New fees for checking multiple bags. I love the last sentence:

US Airways says if you pay fees for baggage handling and the airline doesn't deliver, it will consider refunding fees on a case-by-case basis, likely depending on how long you have to wait for your bag to be found and delivered. United, however, says it won't refund baggage fees even if it loses your bag.

6:29 p.m. - Mar. 11, 2008

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great lakes

Those Great Lakes are no joke. Beautiful photos.

6:20 p.m. - Mar. 11, 2008

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calorie counting

I've been trying to lose 5 to 7 pounds for a while now - maybe 2 years. On the one hand, I haven't gained any weight. On the other hand, I really haven't lost an ounce. This despite going from running an average of about 5 miles per week last fall to averaging 20 to 25 miles per week this spring.

In high school, I weighed between 115 and 120. I still remember when my body changed. It sucked. I got really slow all of a sudden, and I couldn't figure out why. In retrospect, it's really obvious, but I was clueless at the time. It just took a while to adapt to my new body.

I went to college at 115. While doing crew, eating like crazy and lifting weights 5 hours a week, I went up to 130. I stopped lifting weights and dropped down below 120 again. While in Ireland, I dropped down to 110. (Moving there is certainly one way to lose weight.) Back at GT, I picked up a few pounds again. I probably graduated at 120.

I don't know what happened at Stanford, but as of 12/2005, I was up to 135. I've been trying to get back down to 125 ever since. These days, I'm about at 132. My body seems determined to stay within a pound of 132. The only time it changes is if I get sick. Then I lose a couple pounds which come back as soon as I'm well again.

Anyway, I know weight is all about calories in minus calories burned. It's really just a question of counting them. I really don't want to do that, though. I've been working on the cutting-out-things scheme - dessert, soft drinks. My weaknesses are cheese and bread. I love cheeses, and I prefer to enjoy them with bread and wine. What I really need is a faster metabolism.

6:07 p.m. - Mar. 10, 2008

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