Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Retirement

Julian Bond is retiring from teaching at UVA in May. I am amazed he taught at UVA for 14 years, he commuted from Washington DC twice a week to do it. I remember being so excited to have the opportunity to be taught by an actual historic figure. I was not disappointed.
Thank goodness I had the opportunity to learn from his wisdom and to hear his unique voice.

Workouts and cookies

So I am still exercising three times a week, I am about a 1/2 mile behind in the ten miler training, but I am extremely grateful to be doing what I am doing.

With that, I will now list all the yummy cookies I have made this Christmas season!
These first three I got from Washington Post Food section last week (12/14), two pages devoted to Christmas cookies!
Ginger Chews I doubled the recipe and made them small- really delicious.
Midnights
Laura Bush's Cowboy cookies I have to respect a woman who makes this delicious cookie.

No fail fudge- the first time I made them, I failed, but the second batch turned out well.
Peanut Butter Cookies- all the non-chocolate cookies are for Chris
Oatmeal Scotchies
Rolled Molasses Cookies- except for this one, I had a special request for these (very easy to accommodate the request).
Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans- YUMMY.

I have also made a fair share of pumpkin bread (with and without chocolate chips)
So far I have mailed or given them to relatives in TN and FL, Grandma, colleagues of Chris and brought some to the meeting last night. I still have neighbors, US Post person, and my own colleagues. I want to have some for Christmas on New Year's Eve too (so much family, so little time).

My children have really helped to keep my Christmas spirit up, I have been known (shock) to get morose this time of year, but the children are so excited that its contagious.
Favorite quote so far "wheresd weindeer mommy?" (not a spelling error) I never quite know what to say to that, but thanks to all those who have reindeers lit up on their front lawns, he loves them. Every morning when David wakes up, he plugs in the Christmas tree lights, when he goes to grandma's he immediately wants to turn their lights on. When he understands the concept of presents in the future, he will be jumping out of his skin for Christmas. My cup runneth over.

Frontline-creditor issues

Since we dont get Directv anymore (I miss TIVO A LOT), we end up watching a fair bit of PBS. Last night I watched Frontline. I had seen ads for the show and I thought I would enjoy the show.

The topic of last night's rerun was "The Secret History of the Credit Card." I actually learned something useful from the show. Boston Globe reviewed the show when it came out, it sums it up well. The host interviewed all sorts of people, the Banking industry lobbyist, interim head of the Office of the Comptroller of Currency- an obscure Treasury Dept office that "ensure(s) a safe and sound banking system for all Americans", Christopher Dodd, Senator from CT, some advocates for credit industry and debtors, and of course the 'typical' American credit card user.

I learned a few things:
1) 55% of Americans pay off their entire balance every month (YEAH!)- this is a much higher number than I thought. At the same time, the average American household carries about $7,500 worth of debt (ugh).

2) READ that unreadable contract that comes with your credit card because it may have THIS lovely provision called universal default- meaning if you default on any of your outstanding debts (default can be defined as loosely as a late payment depending on the contract governing the debt) THEN this default triggers default with your credit card company even though you are not currently late.

3) Andrew Kahr plays the role of a 'bad' guy PERFECTLY- apparently he had several ideas to increase credit card profits including (but I am certain not limited to) reduce the minimum monthly payment from 5% to 2% and 0% introductory rates. Evil genius. The bankruptcy legislation will change the minimum monthly payment sometime next year. Because Kahr did not want his clients revealed I thought I would do a simple google search; I found this

"In documents obtained by The Chronicle earlier this year, Providian founder Andrew Kahr wrote that, in lending to the kinds of high-risk customers Providian specialized in, the "problem is to squeeze out enough revenue and get customers to sit still for the squeeze." (emphasis mine)

And another tidbit: (quoted from the SF Chronicle)
"In a March 1999 memorandum to Executive Vice President David Alvarez, he wrote: "Making people pay for access to credit is a lucrative business wherever it is practiced. . . . Is any bit of food too small to grab when you're starving and when there is nothing else in sight? The trick is charging a lot, repeatedly, for small doses of incremental credit."

THINGS I KNOW AND HOPEFULLY YOU DO TOO.
1) Common sense legal information- read all of your contracts, you have the right to change contract terms (the offeror may not accept those changes- but then do you really want to do business with them?). If you sign the contract, you are assumed to have read AND understood the terms of the contract so you will be held to the terms.

2) New bankruptcy legislation went into effect in October- making it more difficult for middle class Americans to seek a clean slate through bankruptcy. Acc to Frontline show, the three main reasons people seek bankruptcy are a) illness b) divorce c) laid off.

Editorial- I love banks, I am in this house because of one, I got my degrees because of them (and the federal student loan program, see #1 below) and I appreciate the way credit cards help me by itemizing my spending helping me to keep track of where I spend my money. I understand the notion of protecting banks from 'runs' or devaluation (frankly, I dont know what macro/micro factors affect banks) BUT consumers need protection far more than banks. Banks inherently have money therefore are powerful, consumers need money therefore are not in a powerful position (see above quote from Alvarez) when negotiating contract terms.

The bankruptcy law is the antithesis of consumer protection to benefit creditors. Voters file bankruptcy, credit card companies are not voters but appear to have the ear of Congress because of the power (money) they spend. I understand voters run the corporations and are employed by them, but why provide more cover for the industry? The industry is so corrupt that after filing for bankruptcy, the debtors routinely receive many offers for cards from the same creditors whose debts were wiped clean in the bankruptcy.

This is old news of course since the law has been in place for awhile now. It is the Christmas season so I will now go forward and spend. With this entry- I conclude some may want to help me get satellite tv back so I can stop watching thought-provoking maddening shows on PBS and start watching Reno 911 and Weeds again, I would welcome such help. :)


___________________________________
1.An entry for another day but relevant today: Senate debate focused on student loan changes that would save $12.7 billion over five years. Under the provision, student loan interest rates would be locked in at 6.8 percent and could not be refinanced as commercial rates fluctuate. Private lenders would continue to be able to borrow money at a rate guaranteed to generate a profit.Currently, any time the student loan interest rate is higher than the bank's guaranteed rate, the bank gets to keep the extra profit. Under the budget bill, that windfall would have to be returned to the federal government, a change that should yield $18 billion in savings. "They could give students a lower interest rate, but their choice is to keep interest rates high," said Luke Swarthout of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. "They're asking students to pay for tax cuts."

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Tikki!

Fellow UVA alum Tikki Barber is getting press in the Washington Post (good press at that). The WP reports that Tikki is an MVP candidate among NFC East leaders. Isnt that exciting? The Post has a graphic demonstrating how hard Tikki is working, it shows Tikki gained 46% of the Giant's yardage over the course of this season, while the next person has gained 42%. Fascinating.
Tikki makes me proud, especially if he helps the Giants beat the team who must not be mentioned this weekend.

One down

PA judge decides "no intelligent design in classrooms" So many funny jokes to make, so little time.
Thank goodness. Intelligence design is not a theory. Theory follows TESTING and Analysis (remember this- hypothesis, testing, conclusion, analysis, (bunk) theory, law). I am all for a philosophical debate, but scientific? I was a history major for a reason.

I want to believe, really...

Through all this talk of domestic spying without a warrant, (not really though because the calls originate outside the country) I have tried to remain calm. When the President is earnest, I want to believe him.

Two problems:
1)this article, detailing the FBI's "surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations that involved, at least indirectly, groups active in causes as diverse as the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief". The article states the documents are heavily redacted therefore sometimes context is impossible to discern.

At the same time however, the documents proport to link some benign non profit organizations (Greenpeace) with some extremist organizations such as the Earth Liberation Front concluding Greenpeace may have links to domestic terrorist activities. My conclusion- if the FBI is not monitoring you today, it will be soon, no matter how benign your activities are. Since I was a history major, I have vivid recollections of Julian Bond detailing the FBI's surveillance (this is a hard word to spell) of civil rights groups in the first 70% of last century. I had hoped we had moved beyond such things. Everything that is old, is new again- but not in a good way.

Problem 2)Foreign Intelligence Service Act- is designed to allow the Executive branch maximum efficiency in obtaining a warrant.

This interview with James Bamford enlightened. Bamford states the FISA court has, in its thirty year history, rejected fifteen requests for warrant (out of about 15,000 such requests). Moreover, there is also an appellate option if the government is rejected (only used once in the history of FISA) and finally the Supreme Court has jurisidiction if the first two tribunals did not give the government a warrant. The Court is to hear it immediately, in camera and ex parte, finally the government has never needed to take all "three bites of the apple" in their pursuit of a warrant.
Moreover, FISA permits warrantless surveillance for the first 24 (then EXPANDED to 48) hours before obtaining warrant.

UM... this is pretty flexible. I like it, it is reasonable, oh, and CONGRESS passed it so it has this oversight thing about it that I respect and appreciate (since it is a constitutional mandate). I am not a big fan of secret executive orders.

Constitutional rights are the Founders protections for its citizens (that is us), therefore should not be marginalized haphazardly. So while the President is earnest about protecting the country (make no mistake, I AM too), he should move within the wide parameters established by Congress instead of making it up as he goes along (then making up rationalizations after the fact).

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Bruyneel Reacts to Split

Cycling News reports on Bruyneels reactions to the split between the Pro Tour and Grand Tour.
Bruyneel is Team Discovery's manager, Lance's former team, although I think he is still on contract till next year so it is his current team.
"Bruyneel analysed the business model of professional cycling with an astute observation, saying, "Do you realize that Pro Cycling is the ONLY top level professional sport where teams' revenues are generated only by sponsorship? All other major sports, above all football (soccer), have a huge amount of revenue from TV rights. In cycling, these rights are held by race organisers, and they don't want to share this revenue stream with anyone. But I believe they should, because the main actors on the stage of cycling, the stars and the other riders, are who are generating this TV money for the race organisers. It's the guys who are suffering, the guys who are on the road, trying to win a bike race who make the spectacle that people watch on TV, who generate the ratings so race organisers can have a revenue stream from TV advertising. It's just logical and fair that the cycling teams and riders get a slice of the TV money cake. And this revenue stream to the teams and riders would raise cycling to a higher and more professional level." "

I hate the split, I want them to find a way to make cycling a world wide phenomenon, like soccer. Unfortunately the current leaders of the bureaucracy cant get it together.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Vuelta a Espana

The Vuelta's route was announced this week. SO far no is complaining abou the course (my enthusiasm for this race has waned since Heras's positive EPO test and he won the race several years in a row -3?-). The Vuelta usually comes at the right time though, after summer vacation and a dearth of international road races.

From cycling news:
Stage 1 - August 26: Málaga - Málaga, TTT, 7,2 km
Stage 2 - August 27: Málaga - Córdoba, 167 km
Stage 3 - August 28: Córdoba - Almendralejo, 220 km
Stage 4 - August 29: Almendralejo - Cáceres 142 km
Stage 5 - August 30: Plasencia - Estación de Esquí La Covatilla (Béjar), 178 km
Stage 6 - August 31: Zamora - León, 155 km
Stage 7 - September 1: León - Alto de El Morredero (Ponferrada), 148 km
Stage 8 - September 2: Ponferrada - Lugo, 173 km
Stage 9 - September 3: A Fonsagrada - Alto de La Cobertoria, 206 km
Rest Day - September 4
Stage 10 - September 5: Avilés - Museo de Altamira (Santillana del Mar), 190 km
Stage 11 - September 6: Torrelavega (Oscar Freire Velodrome) - Burgos, 165 km
Stage 12 - September 7: Aranda de Duero - Guadalajara, 162 km
Stage 13 - September 8: Guadalajara - Cuenca, 170 km
Stage 14 - September 9: Cuenca - Cuenca, ITT, 33 km
Stage 15 - September 10: Motilla del Palancar - Ford factory (Almussafes), 175 km
Rest Day - September 11
Stage 16 - September 12: Almería - Astronomical Observatory of Calar Alto, 145 km
Stage 17 - September 13: Adra - Granada, 167 km
Stage 18 - September 14: Granada - Sierra de la Pandera, 153 km
Stage 19 - September 15: Jaén - Ciudad Real, 195 km
Stage 20 - September 16: Rivas Vaciamadrid - Rivas Vaciamadrid, ITT, 28 km
Stage 21 - September 17: Madrid - Madrid, 150 km


I am always looking for ways to watch all major bike races on tv- if you have a special way let me know. We have our ways (mostly using the internet and recording to DVD), I would love less cumbersome ways.

Apprentice ending Recap

I did not watch this season's episodes; three times now I watched enough of the end to know how was fired. I watched last season and enjoyed it, but I just dont have the time to watch it anymore. The first episode I caught the last five minutes of four people were fired (a massacre), the next two people. Then last night, Don hires Randall, a star by anyone's calculation. So Randall is celebrating. Rebecca is respectfully clapping and is pleased for Randall; Don had called her "outstanding" and really up against any other winners she probably would have won (I didnt watch all the seasons or this one, she seemed impressive including 12 weeks of a broken ankle and using crutches in a 13 week season and still making it to the end). SO Don says,
"hey Randall...(compliments Rebecca a lot) if you were me, would you hire Rebecca?"
Randall says "the show is called the Apprentice, not Apprentici so there should only be one"
SMACK.

Not sure why Randall wants this job he already runs a company where he earns more than 250,000 a year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

update-about time

Sadly the show at the Paramount on Saturday night did not live up to my expectations. I had hoped for Christmas/holiday/recognizable music, unfortunately that was not the case. I did appreciate the one jam between a cellist and a violinist. The musician called it bluegrass with a cello; pretty cool. Tonight it is a Christmas Carol. Terri Allard is playing on Friday night. The Paramount is fun, I recommend seeing a show or two there, it is even good if my expectations are not met. I DO wish they would do something about the stage; make it more interesting when musicians are playing. But what do I know?

The ten miler training has been railroaded- I feel injuries coming on; depressing really. I am still exercising, but taking it a lot slower, walking that is. I got up super early this AM to walk and it felt good.
I am considering adding a ride on my bike on the trainer in addition to my outdoor workouts. I love my new bike (thanks Extreme Sports- although not as grandiose of a bike as Craig just got) but I find it extremely difficult to get on it with the two boys and the cold weather- maybe in the Spring.

The fire department had a holiday (Christmas?) party for the volunteers on Sunday. A good time was had by all including the boys who were seen running and laughing throughout the restaurant. Volunteer firefighters and rescue folks GIVE a lot of time, it was nice to have some recognition of the families for their efforts.

To all those POOR law students who are studying soo hard for their exams- good luck, study hard and for goodness sake pick up a commercial outline and study with a group, you dont have to do it all yourself. First year, first semester exams are the worst, it gets a lot easier, although still very intense. At least Christmas is around the corner.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Breaking News

Cycling News announces the Grand Tour organizers have split from the Pro Tour. This cannot end well for road racers in contention.

"The organisers announced that they are also withdrawing the eight other races organised by them, namely Paris Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Paris-Tours and the Tour of Lombardy".

The Grand Tour organizes the best races, all those have wonderful traditions. The "luster" is thus removed from the Pro Tour- making it all but obsolete.

Why remove the Grand Tour from the Pro Tour?

"the GT organisers stated that the UCI ProTour series was "not credible on a sports level, because all the 2005 ProTour events - be it one-day or three-week races - are awarded the same number of points.” The statement siad that it was also "unjust, because the teams like Comunidad Valenciana, who won the Vuelta [teams classification - ed.], or Panaria who won Tirreno Adriatico, were deprived of their points because they had no ProTour licence."

While I did not root for the eventual winner of last years Pro Tour title, in the beginning of the season it did make all the spring classics a lot more relevant to one another.

Pro cycling is not in a good position right now and the organizers are not helping themselves with all this infighting.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Paramount News

Yo Yo Ma is playing a second show at the Paramount! Get your tickets now! He is the top of his field and coming to Charlottesville.

The holiday show last weekend was great. I was at the show for about three hours (it was an all day affair). The program showcased local schools choirs, bands and dancers. Best of all it was open to the public for free. The jazz ensembles of Henley (my alma mater) and Albemarle were really fantastic. If you have the opportunity to see them, (not really sure how you would unless your kids were in the bands) definitely go. The band directors have done an exceptional job directing these children.

Christmas prep

So many things to do to prepare: bake cookies, mail presents, write Christmas cards, shop, shop, shop, decorate, wrap presents, pack, drive, enjoy. :)
The snow really helps put me in the holiday mood/Christmas spirit.

At the Paramount the other day a colleague told a patron "Merry Christmas" (after a holiday show). The patron seemed geniunely surprised since apparently it is not PC. Who knew? The patron seemed relieved that she used the common expression and told us to keep using the expression. When did holiday wishes become politicized?

I did not get the memo/email about not using the word Christmas. I suspect no such memo exists and it is the "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" party making things up again.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Yea!

So, Ivan Basso will ride the Giro and the Tour! With Ullrich and Basso doing the Giro- Savoldelli, last years winner and Team Discovery will have a run for their money.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Confessions from last place

So Ten Miler training is going well, in five weeks now I have only missed one run :) I am proud. Alas, I have not been able to get to the group runs on Saturday morning for a variety of reasons (thanks dem Breakfast) but I did run. This week I bought a new pair of running shoes, clunky but not too clunky. I pronate 'severely' the sleepy sales clerk told me. I love when I am special, even if it is for pronating.

Sales clerk had Comm school projects due this week so she couldnt imagine when she would be sleeping again. School is so awesome. I miss it, mostly because when I was in school, I didnt have to pay off these stupid education loans. Apparently I am supposed to be grateful for the education even as a I write checks close to four figures every month to organizations who raise the interest rate two years in a row. Thank goodness I am not bitter. Seriously though I love school.

Today was a two mile run. 20% to ten miles. I was reminded how small this town was when I met a woman who knew Danielle- she is fine for those wondering. She is moving next week, so far we have not been asked to help move. The woman was very nice she waited up for me so I didnt finish a lonely last. I decided even if I did I would accept it with dignity. It is motivational to read other cville runners blogs- they are in shape and love exercising. Scott, ok I cant find the other persons blog, but she runs 10 miles regularly. I look forward to habitually exercising. So far it is still a struggle, perhaps if I exercised more I would like it. I always feel great post-run. WE shall see. I have some great new music for the Iriver to exercise to. Plus the blog permits some accountability.

Today I am volunteering at the Paramount. Paramount is hosting all sorts of local schools to present holiday (Christmas?) shows. Any excuse I have to get downtown makes me happy.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Mistrial Answers

Finally, I know the reasons for the mistrial- apparently a juror overheard some folks discussing the media coverage of the case then proceeded to tell two other jurors. What a gigantic waste of time. Thanks to nbc29 for the update.

Mistrial

NBC 29 reports a mistrial in the three week federal racketeering trial in Charlottesville. Scouring the internet for the actual reason for the mistrial- since no C'ville news outlet currently states the reason.
The closing arguments were rough ('emotional' even acc to the news reports) so the mistrial could be a result of them. I look forward to the answer.

Logical?

Richmond Times Dispatch has this little article about the FEC fining a local firm. Seems the PAC of McGuireWoods failed to file activity reports and received a $4500 fine. The firm cites 'extraordinary circumstances' for its failure to file the reports. The newspaper goes on

"McGuireWoods is part of the legal team for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. McGuireWoods partner Richard Cullen of Richmond is advising DeLay on several fronts. The fine disclosed in a news release yesterday by the FEC did not involve matters tied to the law firm's representation of DeLay, charged in Texas with conspiracy and money laundering"

The PAC and the law firm's activities are two separate entities, but the paper links them. The statement does muddy things, doesnt it?

For one, the PAC? What does a law firm need with a PAC? Probably lobbies on behalf of the interests of McGuireWoods, which are probably similar to the interests of some of its clients. PAcs are regulated by the FEC.

Second, Delay is charged with criminal activities related to elections (however remotely), which of course are regulated by the FEC. The conclusion MAY be drawn: MW law firm is representing Delay in some capacity therefore their PAC must be lobbying on behalf of him somewhere.

Pure speculation of course, no factual basis at all for that conclusion except for the FEC link. I despise the type of journalism Richmond Times Dispatch employs in this article.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Tour of Georgia News

Time to plan your next vacation? What about Georgia in April? It is beautiful and some of the finest riders in the world will be there to take on the Tour of Georgia.

"The race plans to invite fifteen teams from around the world, including defending champion Tom Danielson's Discovery Channel team, Floyd Landis and Phonak, Bobby Julich and Team CSC, Levi Leipheimer and Team Gerolsteiner as well as other UCI international and continental teams."

Tour of Georgia stages announcement:


Stage 1 - Tuesday, April 18: Augusta - Macon
Stage 2 - Wednesday, April 19: Fayetteville - Rome
Stage 3 - Thursday, April 20: Chickamauga - Chattanooga, Tenn ITT
Stage 4 - Friday, April 21: Dalton - Dahlonega
Stage 5 - Saturday, April 22: Blairsville - Brasstown Bald Mountain
Stage 6 - Sunday, April 23: Cumming - Alpharetta

Dodge dropped its sponsorship of the Tour this year. The Tour organizers have not announced the new sponsor although acc to Cycling News the announcement is close. the organizers got a little lazy this year (apparently) because the race is essentially the same as previous years, staying in the North-Central areas of Georgia. One difference is a finish in Chattanooga- which is cool. Even the Tour de France finishes in different countries a few times. The Georgia stage race will be exciting, dont be fooled by the alleged laziness of the organizers. Riders know they have to be prepared for the brutal mountain stages and the wacky weather. I cant wait!

So you say, 'I would love to have a race in Charlottesville' well there is the Jefferson Cup in March sponsored by the Charlottesville Racing Club (who is sponsored by Extreme Sports). Jeff Cup is a great road race in Albemarle County that kicks off (to me anyway) the great road racing season in the Mid-Atlantic region).

Heras test results

This is old news by now; Roberto Heras's B sample test results were positive. He of course is in denial, just like they all are after these tests. See recent posts about Tyler Hamilton who continues to deny EPO use. Happily Tyler is half way through his suspension. Heras in order to make a come back will have to confess...I can always hope that these guys are not cheating and are victims of a bad test, right?
It is sad when such great riders feel as though they have to dope. Cycling is one of the few pure sports out there, it will be hard to overcome the tarnish of the cheaters.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Tyler Hamilton

Cycling news has an in depth series beginning today (it is 2 part this is part 1) on Tyler Hamilton's case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. In September the Court held part 1 of the hearing, part two will be on January 10th. Hopefully a final opinion will be issued within thirty days.

Hamilton has defended his innocence since he was first implicated in blood doping. Sadly this article in cyclingnews.com does not help his case. It talks about 'leaked evidence' indicating blood doping beginning in the Spring of 2003 not just at the Vuelta.

I cant imagine going through all of this if I were guilty. I suppose some people have very large egos and think they can get away with it. I hope Tyler did not dope, if he did I hope he admits it, serves his time and comes back to race like Virenque who later won the King of the Mountains 7 times in the Tour de France. A rider can come back from doping, but he/she has to admit it, make amends and demonstrate ability without the doping.

Cville News

Biscuit Run has sold for a lot of money, Cvillenews and the Daily Progress have the story. For my time, cvillenews has the laughs. For my interested readers, Hunter is the one who bought it for the outrageous sum of 46.2 million.

Perceptions Matter

Jeff Rossman's mantra is "perceptions matter" however it's not clear to me if he deals in reality. OK- Jeff is a likeable guy and he works very hard for his cause. But my perception is different than his perception. He believes since several people stood up at a City Council meeting and asked for a ward system to be put in place immediately that it should happen. I disagree. I am not opposed to a ward system.

Last night's City Council meeting was VERY long- the public hearing on the Charter Amendment contributed to the length of the meeting. The City Council ultimately decided not to ask the General Assembly to change their charter to permit ward system of electing school board members.

Jeff's perception is that there is no opposition to the elected school board therefore a ward system should immediately be put in place and furthermore the city council is out of touch. It is easy to be in Jeff's place arguing for something for which there is no organized opposition.

My thinking (not perception) is process is important. A change like the one Jeff's supporters were arguing for is likely to happen and may be the best system. But, an at large election in May fundamentally does what Jeff's referendum wanted.

My mantra is PROCESS MATTERS. That one person stood up at the meeting and professed to be horrified by the elected school board and the aftermath suggests to me there needs to be some education in the community and that the people who showed up last night MAY not represent the will of the silent majority (even if they voted for the referendum).

Jeff had the opportunity to speak three times last night. I do not think City Council by not supporting a Charter Amendment last night is out of touch. Now that we have an elected school board, a deliberate process will be important to make sure the elites (Jeff and co.) dont get their way simply because their voices are the loudest, AND MAKE NO MISTAKE their voices are the loudest. Dont buy into the hype that the Democrats dont want a ward system and the "fix is in" as Jeff suggested. I suspect the opposite is true, a ward system is inevitable. Ordinary citizens (not elected school board lobbyists) do not know what this should look like- I dont either. Hopefully after careful debate, a consensus will emerge, if not I am sure City Council will show decisive leadership and make a good decision as we elected them to do.

Daily Progress account of the evening's entertainment.
Channel 29's thorough analysis.
Cvillenews also has a few things to say- the mystery remains- what does the email say?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Good eats

As I had to be at the Paramount at 4:30 on Thursday for the two Vince Gill concerts I volunteered for, by the time the show started, I was famished. Walking in a daze to find quick, yummy food I happened upon Marco & Luca ' s Noodle Shop. The shop doesnt accept credit cards (but that is ok because everything is so cheap, you probably have the change in your car). The selection is not large: dumplings and noodles. While I sat eating my delicious dumplings, it occurred to me I was glad the shop didnt have a huge menu, the less to choose from the easier for me to make a decision. Decision making has not been my strong suit since the kids arrived.
Speaking of children, I liked that the owners children were playing in the restaurant. Very friendly people with cheap good food. My only fear is that they wont last long- so go eat dumplings and keep them in business.

Update 10 miler

Three solid weeks of running three times a week. :)
Not every run is a struggle, but it is not easy. Running on Locust Ave is fun and challenging- walking the hills dont seem like such a big deal, but there are quite a few. If I think about actually running 10 miles, I want to curl up and eat bon bons. So I have to think about the actual run I am doing. So far, the program is working- every week I feel stronger and can run longer. And I still feel amazing after every run.
Now if we can find time for Chris to ride ...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Job search

The Brazen Careerist column in the Hook has some interesting comments this week. She points out based on a study she read that most people would prefer to have an incompetent leader that they liked than a hard worker who they didnt like. She goes on to detail what makes people like you. Fascinating, really useful.
Then this AM I was reading the Business section of the Post- this nugget resonated. Apparently "friends and family approaches to hiring are common, according to an unscientific poll."
So companies dont hire the most qualified because they hire their friends who help keep the unqualified people in their job even though they are incompetent. I am sure this resonants with all of us. I suppose the moral of the story is simply because people like you doesnt mean you are qualified to do your job...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Downtown Mall

OK we all love it, but two issues today as I head out to volunteer at the Paramount this evening. Why are there no Record Stores on the Mall? Are they still called record stores? There are so many book stores (and great ones) and the Corner has such a bad parking situation, wouldnt it be great if Plan 9 put a store on the Mall? Or any other independent store. I know there is an obscure music shop on Market street (is that still there?) can I buy relatively mainstream music there? THe hunt is on.
Second issue, Sunday nights are not good for the quick take out eater on Downtown mall, as far as I can tell your choice is Christians, which is good but it doesnt accept credit cards and I never have any cash/checks. Even CVS closes at 8 on Sundays, that is very early especially when shows are going on at the movie theater and Paramount where potential customers are.
This is not to complain, merely observations, I love it down there.

Cycling

Jens Voight interview .
Voight is Ivan Basso's teammate on CSC. Ivan of course is my favorite to win the Tour de France. Voight represents riders in the Pro Tour governing body. He has some interesting insights into the Pro Tour, shortening Grand Tour races (Giro and Vuelta mostly) and new markets for cycling races.

I enjoy the Pro Tour idea, it makes things slightly more comprehensible for newcomers like me. Unfortunately for me, the US has no Pro Tour races and only one team (Discovery) among the 20 teams represented in the Pro Tour. (Although I maintain CSC should get more US coverage because it is an American company- the team calls itself Danish-why I dont know). More disasters for fans and potential fans is the lack of coverage by MSM. I plead with WP regularly to report on cycling news particularly Grand Tour events besides Tour de France. I know there is a market for this news having witnessed the mass of racers in the mid-atlantic racing circuit.

Happily the Tour of Georgia has been upgraded to Hors Classe.
"The Tour de Georgia cycling race is now the only Hors Classe rated race in North America, thanks to an upgrade in classification from the world governing body for the sport. The Union Cycliste International (UCI) has approved April 18 - 23 as the dates for the 2006 Tour de Georgia and elevated the event rating from a 2.1 to its top Hors Classe (2.HC) rating, the highest outside of Europe. "In just three years the Tour de Georgia has set the standard as one of the top professional races in North America," said Gerard Bisceglia, CEO of USA Cycling. "USA Cycling is pleased that the UCI has elevated the status so that it receives special attention internationally. The rating is significant to continue the recognition the event deserves from athletes, media and spectators with a global focus,"
I hope some channel covers the racing season next year.

Lost

Sadly, my perfect recording system failed during the Lost hour. We caught bits and pieces of it. I am still not clear how we learned Goodwin (Godwin) was 'other' despite searching the web to locate good recaps. EW has the best sardonic recaps (you may have to subscribe to get the reviews), I highly recommend those. TVWithoutPity has ok recaplets the day after the show and lengthier ones usually the day before the following weeks show.

Reading all the buzz about last night's show I am firmly in the Ana Lucia hater camp. Admittedly, I suspect the producers want me to feel that way. The other camp (no pun intended) believes the John, Jack and Sayid group are annoying and hate them. Not sure how you can continue to watch the show and hate that group. I didnt like Ana Lucia from the beginning because when we first saw her with Jack at the airport, I knew she would be alive on the island and I dont want her to end up with Jack. I like the complex relationship between Kate and Jack. Next week's previews look like Kate is going to be over the top to see Sawyer...how else will Lost survive without fits and starts?

The little I gather the others take 'good' people like the children. The others have not taken people in original camp therefore are they all bad? Good and bad being all relative.

Next week I will be diligent in recording properly (and plenty of room on the DVD RW).

Good Divorce?

I am on my lawyer soapbox. (only information, not advice, you should contact a lawyer if you have a legal problem):
Custody is court determination of what is best for children.
Parenting is deciding between two people who cannot live together anymore, what is best for their children. Sometimes, divorcing parents dont know that a court doesnt have to determine custody. An agreement about custody, visitation and support issues can form the basis of an Agreed Order and easier transition for everyone involved. The people who win in divorce battles- lawyers (and thank you).

Good divorces appear to be moving into the mainstream. Uproar over recent studies and books confirm what most children of divorce know- no such thing as a good divorce.

Lets be honest, people are still going to get divorced, amicable separation and divorce is preferred. I hear many folks say they are not themselves upon separation, it is an inherently selfish, introspective time (I suspect). Children/dogs/houses/401(k)'s become the next battleground for the fighting couple.

However, if the spouses can agree not to do anything crazy (a big if) there is a possibility of agreement on even the most contentious issues. Seek advice from an attorney (I am always grateful when an adverse has made such a consultation). Friends who are not family law attorneys are not good sources of advice, the law changes rapidly. Hopefully the attorney will provide a realistic assessment of the situation, be wary of an attorney who tells you things that seem too good to be true (not that there are any of us like that).

Negotiations are a back and forth; if at first you dont succeed, dont close the door to further negotiations. Also, you cant have everything. Virginia is an equitable distribution state. No matter what you think of your case, a court may not and probably will not see it entirely your way (no matter how terrific, expensive your attorney is).

There are some awful situations out there so clearly this is simply my opinion, not legal advice. Your situation may or may not be conducive to negotiation/mediation.

Torture Redux

For years (ok my whole life) prior to this Bush administration, I never considered torture an issue. I do not remember the Vietnam War and Gulf War I didnt really seem like war in the traditional sense (few POWs, POWs grateful to be caught, no POW terrorist allegations, never used the term 'unlawful combatant'). I assumed like most high school/college students that US followed the Geneva Convention against torture. Moreover, I was taught US held the moral authority against torture.

Briefly the arguments we may have been taught: United States seeks to be the standard by which other countries judge their own actions; we dont want our soldiers to be victims and perhaps if we dont torture, our enemies wont torture; finally, can democracy really prevail when torture is permitted against enemies (which can be defined as anyone in the minority of the democracy)?

Fast forward to this week's news. Newsweek has cover story about torture featuring John McCain, the Senate continues its debate on the prohibition of torture, cruelty, and inhumane treatment, and Iraq military is accused of torturing Sunni captives in Baghdad. Iraq Minister says that last bit is exaggerated "saying only a handful showed signs of abuse." Oh good, I feel better.

McCain poignantly balances the intelligence community needs with the reality of using this methods to gather the intelligence. It simply doesnt work. The administration demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature in assuming cruel interrogation techniques will make the US safer. From McCain's website: "Nevertheless, the administration has held that the prohibition does not legally apply to foreigners held overseas. They can, apparently, be treated inhumanely. This means that America is the only country in the world that asserts a legal right to engage in cruel and inhumane treatment. What this also means is that confusion about the rules becomes rampant again. With this simple amendment, we can restore clarity on a simple and fundamental question: Does America treat people inhumanely? My answer is no, and from all I’ve seen, America’s answer has always been no"

I will even give the Bush administration the benefit of the doubt that they are not purposely trying to anger me with this issue, they sincerely believe it will help. Two issues remain, what about our international obligations under the Geneva Convention AND the safety and wellbeing of our captured soldiers?

This administration has shown contempt against all things related to international obligations (germ warfare, aid for poor, Kyoto treaty, ICC jursidiction over peacekeepers. The United States has a history of rejecting anything that smacks of foreign control over American policy. The Geneva Convention was different.
In order to protect our soldiers, the United States must follow the spirit and wording of the Geneva Convention against Torture. In order for our values to spread, we must be the standard against which other countries judge, we must not carve out niches for opportunities for torture.

I would like this issue to go away again so that my children do not have to know a United States that would seek to torture in their name for their security.

Giro d'Italia

Giro officials rolled out the stages of next year's race. According to cycling news, climbers love the race course.

"Giro organiser RCS had planned a split final day, with an 11km mountain time trial on the Ghisallo, to celebrate the inauguration of the Ghisallo museum on the same day. The time trial was to be followed by a 116km road stage into Milan." ProTour officials have rejected half stages, the organizers say they will celebrate the inauguration another way.

Wonder where you can watch the Giro in May? Stay tuned...certainly Chris will find a way to get it online.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Ten Miler Training III

I am now officially up to a mile, which as Chris pointed out is a third of the way to my 5k race on New Year's Day. I feel good starting my third week on the program. I love the commercials for Ragged Mountain Running Shop, a good Charlottesville institution, not sure whether the shop had commercials before, but this one is cute.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Ratings so Bad, Show so good.

This is just sad. From CNN, Arrested Developmenthas finally met its maker. Too bad, I really enjoy that show. I cant imagine people are going to remain loyal to Prison Break for the next six months of reruns.
Lisa DeMoraes talks about the demise of Arrested Development in her column this morning (although first you have to read about Terminator).
I look forward to the rest of AD episodes.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

School Board News

Acc. to NBC 29
"On November 21st, Charlottesville city councilors will hold a public hearing on the subject of ward systems"

The voters have to be involved in the setup of an elected school board every step of the way. Let's see how sausage is made and go to the City Council meeting to be part of the process (I hope it isnt too gory).

Recruiting for quality school board candidates needs to start now- do we have any suggestions? Has anyone expressed an interest? How does the City feel about a ward system? The current Council is at-large.

The Registrar, Sheri L. Iachetta is quick to point out the Justice Department has to approve any changes in the at-large/ward system- does anyone have any doubt they would approve any changes?

When was the last time the Justice Dept rejected a localities system based on civil rights concerns?. According to MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN CITY OF CHELSEA,MASSACHUSETTS AND THE UNITED STATES "The usual and appropriate remedy for at-large methods of election that dilute minority voting strength in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act is the drawing of districting plans that do not dilute minority voting strength" The Memorandum of Understanding between the locality and DOJ requires the locality to institute a ward system for its school committee so the Hispanic vote is not diluted. Looks like DOJ would approve of a ward system so long as the minority vote is strengthened not diluted. Would this be a positive change for the City?

Books

Driving all over Virginia yesterday, I had the opportunity to listen to NPR a lot.
Two books really piqued my interest. The first story described the book Silver Spoon is an Italian cookbook with over 1200 pages/2000 recipes in it. This is apparently one of the staples of Italian cooking, the cookbook that everyone gets for the wedding. The cookbook sounds like a great tool for all kitchens, although it appears to have some rather obscure food (zucchini flower-its all the rage, but where do you find them?)

The other story on NPR involved the book- Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel (photography) and Faith D'Aluisio.
The authors followed families all over the world for a week to see what they consumed. At the end of the time, the families posed for pictures with a week's worth of food. Fascinating stuff. The best food the authors had, acc to the NPR story was in Greenland where the seafood was very fresh.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Arson.

Arson interrupted a conference I attended last week in Virginia Beach. The Hilton hotel did a good job trying to placate us hungry, cold guests even though it had nothing to do with the fires.
Three fires were set on three different floors. I stayed on the 14th floor, where one fire was, another on the 6th and the 2nd. Pretty scary really since the police had to go room by room to look for the suspect(s) who they feared were still in the hotel. Officials still have not arrested anyone.
The sprinkler system did not go off in my room despite the fire being caddy corner to my room (it was started in the maid's area where extra towels etc are kept). I was impressed with the sprinklers.
I was on the second floor (I didnt see anything except employees with fire extinguishers) when the fire started. NOW- I go everywhere with my cell and wallet. Thankfully I did have my room key so when I was allowed to my room 4 hours later, I could retrieve my 'necessities'
Otherwise I had a fabulous time at the beach. I got to run on the sidewalk (this Saturday I run a mile!) and hang out with fun colleagues, oh and I learned a lot!

Yeah TV!

Lost is new tonight. The start of sweeps month for the series. Looks like a suspenseful show.
Gilmore Girls last night seemed to be what fans have been waiting for. Television without pity recapleter gives it an A- BTW- I dont get the WB, but since I am addicted, I get my information on the internet
Prison Break- I read a USA Today blurb that this show will have a cliffhanger (shock!) then not have another new show until ... MAY (sweeps)! SO I am rolling back my addiction to this show. TV EXECS- DONT DO THIS TO FANS-it is rude. I have not watched Monday's show so I havent read the article I hyperlinked here.
SO far I havent fast forwarded through too much of the collision on General Hospital- but I can see it getting old quickly.

Cycling

Roberto Heras who won the 2004 & 2005 Vuelta a Espana has been suspended by Liberty Seguros because he tested positive for EPO in his A sample. He denies using EPO; as does Tyler Hamilton. Tyler knows how expensive, time consuming trying to establish innocence is, proving a negative is hard to do.
While I am not a Heras fan since he abandoned US Postal, he is clearly a talented rider, I hope his B sample is negative so he doesnt have to endure the horrible appeals process. It has been years since Hamilton's alleged positive sample- the suspension period will be up by the time the decision comes down.

Some much to say

I have been extremely busy this week therefore I have lots to say, but not enough time to say it.

Yeah Tim Kaine! While I wouldnt have choosed him as my heir apparent, I am grateful he won. Kilgore was a truly uninspired choice for the Republicans.
I see a bruising primary battle in 2010 for both Dems and Republicans if McDonnell wins. If Creigh wins, I hope he can appeal to the whole state in the next 4 years. Bolling is not a good choice for Virginia. How did so many people who voted for Kaine, vote for Bolling. Byrne and Bolling are polar opposites, so are Kaine and Bolling. I suppose I answered my own question.
Yeah David Toscano- was there any doubt.

Is the day after the election for thinking of the future elections? Or is it for celebrating/mourning the just past election? I say let us have a moment or two to breath, Christmas shop, gather for Thanksgiving, then lets get down to the business of politicking again. Even the Senate Judiciary committee set the Alito hearings for January, surely we can put aside campaigning for next year till then?

Well to answer the question for the elected school board- probably not since Schilling will no doubt bring his ward system proposal again at the next City Council meeting. As for other offices lets take a break.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Election Day 11/8/05

The ads will go away after today. We can enjoy radio and tv again after today. I voted, did you? I actually volunteered this morning at the polls. I really enjoyed meeting some folks who voted and volunteered early. Jennifer Brown came to my polling station and shook hands with some voters. I appreciate it when unopposed candidates take the time to campaign.
I always have a good day when I can exercise my constitutional rights.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Sweeps

Soap sweeps start at the beginning of November, February and May. This month on GH will likely be full of action and drama. I am looking forward to prime-time sweeps storylines too- especially Lost.
Having said that, I will be without my DVD recorder (so sad I dont have TIVO anymore) for the coming days. At a conference in Virginia Beach at the new Hilton. I am hoping the hotel is awesome. I get to run on the board walk on Thursday morning (yeah). There will be lots of business to attend to, but hopefully a lot of reconnecting with folks I havent seen in awhile. Stay tuned...

Monday, October 31, 2005

Charlottesville School Board Referendum

Next Tuesday’s (11/8/05)election includes an important ballot initiative on whether Charlottesville should have an elected rather than appointed school board.
This is a relatively well blogged/reported story. Cavalier Daily says yes to the referendum. Cavalier Daily reminds us that the local NAACP endorsed the elected school board referendum. Waldo discussed it on his cville news blog, with many comments.
My two cents:
Jeffrey Rossman authored the initiative and spearheaded the signature drive to get the referendum on the ballot.
Some reasons and rebuttal for an elected school board follow.
· Democracy for democracy sake (Rossman is after all a professor of 20th Century Russia)

· Creigh Deeds sponsored the bill to permit change from appointed to elected school board so it must be ok for Charlottesville since he is our State Senator (and a Democrat).
- Vote for Creigh Deeds for Attorney General!
- Back when this legislation passed, Deeds did not represent Charlottesville.

· If school board members aren’t willing to run for office then perhaps they are not willing to do the hard work of managing the school system.
- On “Wake-up Call with Rick Moore” (now available as a podcast) Brian Wheeler stated the cost of his election to the School Board in Albemarle County was close to $10,000 (he is at large member)
- Steve Koleszar (Now running for Delegate in the 58th district) stated it cost him to run three times about $1000 each time, although he may have run unopposed twice.
- The cost associated with a contested election and the hard work of campaigning are barriers to good, hard-working people entering a school board race.

· School Board is a governing body not an advisory body like the Planning Commission therefore perceptions of accountability and responsiveness matter, even if the reality is the appointed school board is responsive and accountable as well.
- Waldo pointed out in the above article that City Council frequently doesn't reappoint unresponsive school board members.
- Former County school board member Charles Martin, who is not actively opposed to the referendum and lives in the County so wont be voting on it, stated the main jobs of a School Board is to choose a superintendent, create a strategic plan and make sure the plan is being followed.

· Diversity on the school board isn’t an issue in Charlottesville since the progressive electorate will elect a diverse group of people.
- This is in response to Albemarle County’s elected School Board lack of diversity.
- Kevin Lynch, who has not taken a position on the referendum but frequently is the opposition in these panel discussions, reminds the progressive voters of Charlottesville that it takes a lot of work to convince good people to run.

The main problem as I see it with all of this is the energy and focus of the electorate (no matter how progressive) is on administration NOT on actual education of real students. I fear the trend in Charlottesville is “No Child Left Behind”ization (if I can make stuff up), where what matters is numbers NOT teaching and educating. Further politicizing of the school board will not make educating students any easier. Speaking of slippery slopes, very few people vote, even in Charlottesville. It is not a stretch to imagine idealogues getting elected to any school board with a small minority of votes.

Rossman and referendum supporters sincerely believe an elected school board is better for democracy, voters and taxpayers. I am not so sure it follows that it is best for children and the community.

IRS information

Rich mentioned this helpful subscriber based information. IRS will send you regular email on "Important upcoming tax dates What's new on the IRS Web site Recently added Tax Forms and Publications IRS News Releases and special IRS announcements"
As you will quickly see, it is not easy to keep track of every aspect. Thanks Rich for the tip.

Ten Miler Training

For all those interested, I did get up this AM and complete my second day of training. I feel good. The early morning sunlight helped a lot. I really enjoyed placing the check mark next to today's training.

Supreme Court News

From CNN
From the Third Circuit Alito is appointed to the Supreme Court. Desperate times, desperate measures- an indictment of Friday, an appointment on Monday. Could this truly have been a deliberative process to select this man? He is a minority in one sense- his last name starts with a vowel, hey just like Justice O'Connor.

Ivan Basso News

I totally disagree with Ivan's decision to skip the Giro d'Italia. He is skipping the Giro to focus on the Tour de France. I understand two majors is a huge commitment. BUT my thinking is Basso did extremely well in both of the races, why would he change his training this year?

Basso to skip Giro, concentrate on the Tour CSC's Ivan Basso has confirmed that he will skip the Giro d'Italia this year. "I want to totally concentrate on the Tour de France," he said. Basso is considered one of the favourites to win the Tour in 2006. He plans a new race program leading up to next year's race. "I have set new goals for the spring and plan to start in one or more of the Classics," he added, especially thinking about Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

I love opportunities to see Ivan racing, so it is mere selfishness on my part. I heard talk last night from Sean that Jan Ullrich may race the Giro. I sincerely doubt it since Basso isnt going to be there and Italy would eat Jan for lunch. (I would love to see it though). Sean was right about Basso so I reserve the right to be wrong.

One thing I did learn this weekend- Lance is not a good actor. However, I enjoy any opportunity for cyclists to be part of the mainstream culture so I loved it.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Film Festival Part II

Last night I had the good fortune to usher at the Paramount for two of the Festival's movies. The first one was "Nine Lives" directed by Rodrigo Garcia. A discussion followed the movie, the discussion featured Sissy Spacek, Kathy Baker, Garcia, and two producers. The movie is not amusing, but the discussion afterwards was a lot of fun.
The second movie was Ice Harvest directed by Harold Ramis. I had the opportunity to leave when the show began, but the first scene shows John Cusack and Billy Bob Thorton. Oliver Platt is also in the movie. The movie was introduced by Ramis so I knew it was a comedy. As I mentioned to a few others I rarely watch anything serious nowadays.
The movie is dark (think Bad Santa but worse). I enjoyed it mostly because I am easily entertained and loved the actors in it. Not a Christmas movie you want to bring anyone high with Christmas spirit- unless you get a kick out of such things. There are some great laughs in it. The movie comes out around Thanksgiving.

STFD

Chris is a volunteer fireman. So we get to listen for "the call" on his pager 24 hours a day. This week two calls came in on two different days both of course in the middle of the night:
"Vehicle in structure" Last nights call was followed up with a call for assistance in "extrication"

PEOPLE do not run into the buildings, stay on the road. Dont drink and drive in Virginia- it is big big trouble.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Ten Miler Training

The Charlottesville Track Club graciously provudes training for those of us who want to participate in the Charlottesville Ten Miler (held on April 1, 2006 next time). I am in program 1, meaning I have not run any discernible distance for a long time. Today we walk/ran 3/4 of a mile. I am very proud- one has to start somewhere. Mark (owner Ragged Mountain Running Shop) is hilarious, he talked a lot this morning (apparently that will not always be the case).
The real test will be Monday when I have to get up early and run by myself. I am looking for running partners (beginners) to assist with this project. I dont have to run/walk far but will the motivation be there? I really am happy right now because it feels so good to exercise, if only I could bottle this feeling to remind myself how good it feels to exercise.
Wish me luck!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Fighting Words

I love when Lance fights the French
During the rollout of the Tour de France stages, head honcho (HH) failed to pay homage to Lance and his place in the history of the Tour de France. Instead HH was rude and disrespected Lance. I look forward to SNL this weekend when Lance and musical guest Sheryl Crow surely will have some fun skit mocking the French failures in the Tour.

Prosecutors Rock

Patrick Fitzgerald is awesome. I am listening to his briefing. The evidence is so compelling. Patrick Fitzgerald is a stand up guy who took his job very seriously AND I am grateful for it. My only complaint- if this announcement was one year ago today.

Beach House Cooking

Yesterday's WP's Food section had a great article on writing a cookbook. This is something my family and I have kicked around to support our beach house habit.
Let me explain- every year we go to Sandbridge. If you have never heard of it, dont bother reading about it. We love Sandbridge, but our families are getting bigger and every year it seems we need more space or people commit and back out (thus increasing the financial burden on some). It seems all the beach houses now have pools, hot tubs, ping pong whatever...crazy amounts of amenities. We started going when I was 19 or something. Now I have two kids and a husband. I never saw the benefit of a pool until I had children. I still enjoy the beach and we still spend lots of time in the sand and surf, but at night when the kids are in bed, I get to swim with abandon in the lit warm pool. Also it is a controlled environment for the kids. All I am saying is now I see the benefits of a pool at the beach.
Parenting is an exercise in reversals from "why would anyone need a pool?" to "we will pay thousands more for a pool!" of course there are other more keenly felt reversals (tv, junk food, natural birth) but the pool is the issue.

We have maturely discussed other options for affording Sandbridge. Sandbridge is now so expensive. We use to rent a three or four bedroom place for $1100 a week right in front of the beach access. Now Virginia Beach allows the developers to come in a build HUGE condos right next to the wildlife preserve yet we can not get enough of Sandbridge. There is talk of Outer Banks or other places. But we are squatters now, we come because we always have and we want to.

I lived in Greenwood growing up, I loved Greenwood Crozet, Batesville, and Afton LONG before it was cool to love those places. I look at what everyone loves and thinks is so cool now and wonder what is happening to the places I love? Some of the places are unrecognizable- the ridges are no longer tree filled forests, they are homes with driveways (pools) and cars. The roads have lots of cars on them and the schools are jammed. Downtown Crozet is so great, but I still loved it when it looked like a dump.
I dont think the cookbook is going to work out since none of the contributing editors have signed onto the yahoo group. Eating at the beach is so great-all the energy I expend allows me to really enjoy all the delicious food we make.

The beach remains, the food remains and the company remains, perhaps progress isnt so overwhelming after all.

Tradition

From Cycling News:
No more beer tents in Cyclo-cross
"The UCI has banned cyclo-cross races from passing through beer tents, one of the hallowed traditions in many Belgian events. The decision was made on the grounds that it was unsafe, on the basis of remarks made by Richard Groenendaal last year about the difference in inside/outside temperatures and the danger of being hit by beer glasses. However, Groenendaal said that his comments were not intended to be taken that way."
How is the sport ever to get more fans if they keep taking away the really fun stuff? Pity the rider who gets hit by a beer glass.
Cyclo-cross is a great event, if you have an opportunity to attend a race, go.

If you think you had a bad week...

NYT's on Bush's bad week.

John Danforth is quoted "There's all this talk about the Republican base and the conservative base of the Republican Party, and the conservative base of the president and how it's important to play to the base and please the base and fawn over the base, And look what it gets President Bush. It just gets him a kick in the rear. That's what they've done to him, and they've done it to him at a time when he's vulnerable, and they've done it at the expense of a perfectly fine human being."

Why should Bush be any different than any other perfectly fine people?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Snacks

C-villes Voter guide helpfully includes everyone's favorite snacks.

Kilgore- Dairy Queen Blizzards (I can get into this)
Kaine- trail mix (this screams boring to me)
Potts- popcorn (but not as boring as this)

Creigh- fresh fruit
"Bob"- malo cups (I love the quotes) And for those who dont know what malo cups are- well me neither and I cant find a link for them.

McCrystal- cheetos (yummy- orange fingers and all)
Toscano- chocolate covered coffee beans (that is where he gets his energy)

Koleszar- peanuts and chocolate chips (good blend of protein and sugar)
Bell- peanut butter sandwiches (a very good lunch- but snack?)

Torture and Politics

Torture is not just sitting in traffic, law school exams, custody cases or insomnia. Seriously torture is degrading, cruel, illegal and horrific- all to gain information. Information that is suspect at best. Why does this administration want to condone such barbaric acts? There are standards of behavior, I want the United States to be a model not the dregs.
I want to protect our soldiers from potential abuses on the battlefield. The example the Bush administration is setting does not bode well for those soldiers who may be captured in war. Apparently there is a distinction in the current debate about the acts of the CIA and the military's. UM...I dont think our enemies will make that distinction. See below for articles and columns on the lastest dustup.

NY Times article reviewing the history and current state of negotiations with respect to the exemption Cheney wants for the CIA to essentially use torture for 'certain' detainees. From the article:
"The Senate defied a presidential veto threat nearly three weeks ago and approved, 90 to 9, an amendment to a $440 billion military spending bill that would ban the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of any detainee held by the United States government. This could bar some techniques that the C.I.A. has used in some interrogations overseas."
Here is hoping that the majority prevails in this situation. The 90-9 is even a override majority- wouldnt that be great?

Richard Cohen has an column today about his trip with McCain to Vietnam where he (McCain) went to the spot where he was tortured by the enemy during the war. The column talks about the many soldiers who support McCain's stance.

WP Editorial yesterday
NYTimes Editorial

I thought I should get a fair and balanced approach so check out this Fox news blurb.The Fox news clip begs the question- why do Alaskan voters continue to vote for Ted Stevens? The man is mad.

Stages of Tour Unveiled

BIG NEWS today- and I dont mean pending indictments, White Sox winning the World Series or Harriet Miers withdrawing.

According to Cycling News (.com) Tour de France stages were unveiled today AND no team time trials (TTT) in the 2006 Tour.
Look for the mountain top finishes to be must watch days (Stages 11,15,16). Stage 11 and 15 are thrilling because of the history on those mountains. Stage 11 has Col du Tourmalet a brutal climb in the Pyrnees Mountains. Stage 15 has L'Alpe d'Huez as the finish. Watching the cyclists climb L'Alpe d'Huez is mind-boggling (how do they do that?).
I think the 2006 Tour de France will prove to be one of the most exciting Tours in history since Lance will not be dominating the field. The competition will be fierce since lots of riders want to get a win now that Lance has retired.
Of course I will root for Ivan Basso (CSC), Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Davitamon) for the sprinter's jersey and Rasmussen (Rabobank) for the polka dotted jersey (King of the Mountains). I will not be upset if Tom Danielson or other Discovery or CSC rider makes it a good competition.

According to CyclingNews Discovery Team (Lance's team-but he is not riding in 2006) will own this Tour since there is no TTT. I have my doubts- perhaps the training will be dominated by Lance and his strategy, but during the actual race without Lance, the team may find it difficult.

The Stages
Prologue - July 1: Strasbourg ITT, 7 km
Stage 1 - July 2: Strasbourg - Strasbourg, 183 km
Stage 2 - July 3: Obernai - Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg), 223 km
Stage 3 - July 4: Esch-sur-Alzette - Valkenburg (Netherlands), 216 km
Stage 4 - July 5: Huy (Belgium) - Saint-Quentin, 215 km
Stage 5 - July 6: Beauvais - Caen, 219 km
Stage 6 - July 7: Lisieux - Vitré, 184 km
Stage 7 - July 8: Saint-Grégoire - Rennes ITT, 52 km
Stage 8 - July 9: Saint-Méen-le-Grand - Lorient, 177 km
Rest Day - July 10: Bordeaux
Stage 9 - July 11: Bordeaux - Dax, 170 km
Stage 10 - July 12: Cambo-les-Bains - Pau, 193 km
Stage 11- July 13: Tarbes - Val d'Aran/Pla-de-Beret (Spain), 208 km
Stage 12 - July 14: Luchon - Carcassonne, 211 km
Stage 13 - July 15: Béziers - Montélimar, 231 km
Stage 14 - July 16: Montélimar - Gap, 181 km
Rest Day - July 17: Gap
Stage 15 - July 18: Gap - L'Alpe-d'Huez, 187 km
Stage 16 - July 19: Le Bourg-d'Oisans - La Toussuire, 182 km
Stage 17 - July 20: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne - Morzine, 199 km
Stage 18 - July 21: Morzine - Mâcon, 193 km
Stage 19 - July 22: Le Creusot - Montceau-les-Mines ITT, 56 km
Stage 20 - July 23: Antony (Parc de Sceaux) - Paris Champs-Elysées, 152 km

Of course the Tour is but one race in the season; cycling news also reported that Ivan Basso may not ride in the Giro d'Italia. I hope he rides early in some Spring Classics if not in the Giro.

Nothing Like Slime in the Morning

Marc Fisher reminds us why many people are alienated by the political process. Click for the story in today's Washington Post. Warning: You might feel sick if you read it during breakfast.

The end of baseball

Ugh- so depressing to have baseball season over in this fashion. The White Sox simply prevailed, their pitching was so much better and they hit the long ball when it counted most. Houston just couldnt get anything done. I love baseball even the boring games, but I wish this Series could have been more competitive.
I start 10 miler training on Saturday. That should keep my occupied until April (the start of baseball and cycling season).
Congratulations White Sox fans!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Film Festival Weekend

Tomorrow starts the Virginia Film Festival www.vafilm.com. The theme this year is IN/Justice. Lots of great movies and guests coming to town. I am volunteering at the Paramount on Saturday night, so I hope to see/hear some of the goings on.

Baseball

I am trying not to have a favorite team in the World Series. Alas, tonight I am rooting for Houston so that baseball can go on for a few days more. Having said that I suppose I have been rooting for them. I love Biggio and Bagwell's stories and the fact that a Texas team had never been to the World Series before Houston. SO tonight, I will wholeheartedly support the Astros-hopefully it will not be for naught. Crede has been unbelievable for the White Sox. The White Sox have some serious drive. They can wait one game though.

Waldo's Influence

Waldo wants more Charlottesville bloggers, so here I am. I have big plans, lots of thoughts as well as hectic life. I will try to post regularly since I know how annoying it is otherwise. I am not the most detail oriented person so no grammer comments, substantive issues are welcome and appreciated.
Today I went to Montessori Community School on Pantops to observe. Observation is the first step to applying. It is so beautiful up there. My mother lived in the brick house in the mid-80s, wow things are different. The development isnt too ugly up there, although the landscape looks jarred from the intrusion. The school is a real haven from the harried goings on below. It is nice having a coffee shop on this area. I believe a CarMax and another car dealership may go up around that area. That may be what puts the development into non-useful mode. Why do we need another car dealership in Charlottesville?
I look forward to the dialogues that blogs create. Thank you to Waldo and this great community.