bren & jess

healthy

The kittens had their first checkup (with us) today. Totally healthy. How nice. Tobydog was sweet as can be, but not the healthiest dog. Poor guy. To have pets that don’t need to regularly take medicine, or to have ultrasounds, or anything else, is wonderful.

Now if they would only stop sleeping on my head.

clear

Here’s a clear article on Social Security reform. I’d quote it here, but the whole thing is important. Just read it.

And another.

UPDATE: Apparently, it wasn’t so clear

The Washington Post incorrectly reported Thursday that the balance of a worker’s personal account would be reduced by the worker’s total annual contributions plus 3 percent interest. In fact, the balance in the account would belong to the worker upon retirement, White House officials said.

Still, I don’t see how it fixes the "problem" with Social Security. How does this keep the system solvent? Those are the details I’m interested in. What cuts are they planning?

r & d

Just about all of my husband’s purchases are highly planned. He does his homework. Take our camcorder for example. He researched what sort of options he’d want and what sort of tapes he’d need, if it would be compatible with our DVD recorder, and so on. With a model in hand, he then researched prices until he found the very lowest one. The result: a camcorder that works just right for us.

So when Brendan heard that Iron City, a Pittsburgh beer, was starting to be distributed in Maryland and Virginia, he was on it. He was searching and searching for a way to get it. He had his mom look at Thanksgiving when she was in Sharon (an hour or so west of Pittsburgh); and he did a full web search. Until he found out that there’s a beer and wine store in Vienna, called Norm’s that was carrying it. So he and Glen would take a drive out to Vienna and pick up a couple cases when we ran out, and we’d have it for game day.

You have to understand, specialty beer is a little hard to come by sometimes in Virginia. Since beer and wine are available for purchase at the grocery store (which is nice), there’s only so much variety. Norm’s is nice because they have domestics that I like — Prankster, Magic Hat — and imports like Young’s.

So yesterday when we were at Costco, we were a little caught off-guard to see a stack of cases of Iron City for sale*! There’s no telling if they will have it next time we need it; there’s still a case and a half left (because we had to be prepared in case we needed to have a Superbowl party, but we’re not talking about that), but it’s a hell of a lot closer…

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*And also Smithwicks’ which is another favorite of mine.

depressing news

I want to believe this isn’t true…

One in three U.S. high school students say the press ought to be more restricted, and even more say the government should approve newspaper stories before readers see them, according to a survey being released today.

The survey of 112,003 students finds that 36% believe newspapers should get "government approval" of stories before publishing; 51% say they should be able to publish freely; 13% have no opinion.

Asked whether the press enjoys "too much freedom," not enough or about the right amount, 32% say "too much," and 37% say it has the right amount. Ten percent say it has too little.

on that note

I love Hank Stuever. In today’s Post, he called Ashcroft "God’s own Neil Sedaka." His whole article is good; funny at first:

It feels like your pew is missing its hymnal. You need to shape up, sit up, get with the program, and don’t even think about giggling. Everyone is looking uphill, booing at the arrival of John Kerry on the Jumbotron screen, cheering wildly for . . . Dan and Marilyn Quayle, who have arrived via a time machine that seems always set to keep on redelivering them to this celebratory morning and vantage point.

and then serious:

At Eighth and E streets NW, about 1:20 p.m., a bunch of kids come running around the corner by the Ginger Cove restaurant, past the Penn Camera store. The protesters are wearing black hooded sweatshirts, and red leotards, and gas masks, ski masks, goggles, and for a second you don’t know if they’re running toward something or away from it until you see cops chasing them, too, and weapons being drawn and arms flailing. Everyone has a camera or a picture phone or a digital recorder. Bystanders scramble out of the way. The crowd flows down toward the FBI building. Snipers watch from above.

I’m glad I stayed at home.

don’t they know we will make fun of this?

I’m in pain, some guy is singing John Ashcroft’s "Let the Eagle Soar" song right now at the inauguration, as the President and the First Lady make their way through the bowels of Congress. The only part that wasn’t too awful, was when ABC got the sound screwed up and all I could hear was the echoes of people walking through the hall. But now what’s-his-name is singing about the letting the Eagle soar from rocky coast to distant shore. At least Ashcroft isn’t singing it himself. Ah, according to Peter Jennings, the song was a special request from Vice President Dick Cheney. Maybe he’s not a robot after all?

was that you?

I think I saw one of my neighbors on the Metro this afternoon. But I’ll never know, because I was too scared to talk to him. All I had to do was go up to him and say, "Thomas?" I kept looking, trying to figure out if it was really him. How sad is that? If it really was him, I’ll feel bad; and if it wasn’t then who cares, because it was just some random guy on the Metro.

perhaps

Maybe you thought I had disappeared; not to worry, I haven’t. We haven’t. I was out of commission early in the week, with an awful stomach virus. A stomach virus so potent, it had it’s own article in the Post this week.

If you’re still eating breakfast while you read this, or catching a quick bite for lunch during work, that is good fortune and bad. Looking at life positively, it means you are not suffering from the miserable sickness that is the subject of this story. A couple of paragraphs of description, though, and there’s no guarantee you won’t start feeling queasy.

How else to explain the sledgehammer effect of an affliction with such a grossly apt moniker as "winter vomiting disease"? This highly contagious stomach bug, which mimics many aspects of food poisoning, is a norovirus that hits hardest this time of year.

For 24 to 48 hours, it lays waste to its victims.

I’ve been spending a lot of time playing catch-up at work. (In fact, I’m at work right now, waiting for a simulation to run.)

But the big news is that we added two little members to our family this weekend.

Meet the kittens. They are two little purr-boxes.

She takes a bit,

but he revvs right up. Aren’t they just so cute??

Disclaimer.

Brendan joined the party on January 2, 2004. He's cool now.

Jessica has never been cool. She is OK with that.

And just so everyone is clear, what we say here is not endorsed by either of our employers.