Sunday, October 31, 2004

Because someone demanded it!

Hundreds of you--

Well, dozens of you--

Okay, no one has asked me who I am going to vote for. I'm going to tell you anyway.

To explain my vote, allow me to paint a few word pictures for you.

First reason: Outsourcing.

Four years ago, Providian (one of my credit card companies) called me from the United States to complain about how frequently I paid my bill. Now they call from India. "Hi," they say in Apu's voice, "my name is Bob." They asked me if I want to make an instant payment on my card. "I'm not giving anyone in India my checking account number," I say. They never denied being in India.

I just saw an ad for Dell today. A guy called Tech Support from his bed. He spent the entire ad being assured that Dell would always answer the phone. The Dell dude wasn't from India, though, so the ad is entirely fiction, since Dell has outsourced their tech support.

So, all the people who used to work at Dell and Providian are out of work, because the cost of paying them was too much for their employers, and the cost of the long distance calls were cheaper.

This has happened since Bush took office. The man who said he was going to protect American jobs. The only thing he didn't tell us was the only American jobs he was going to protect were those of CEOs.

Second reason: Iraq.

We should have never gone to Iraq.

Today, we should be watching the trial of Osama Bin Laden. But no. We have to make sure the world is safe from Saddam Hussein's (nonexistant) weapons of mass destruction.

Yes, Steve, Saddam and his sons were evil.

But if our job is to eliminate the heads of states that are evil, we need to be in North Korea, Syria and Iran. But we're not.

Third reason: oil prices

Ain't it interesting that 4 years ago, gas was $1.19 a gallon. Today, it's $1.99. Bush is an oil man. He's got to be loving that. (This isn't exactly his fault. Gas prices went through the roof after 9/11.)

Those are the reasons I won't vote for Bush.

But I'm not voting for Kerry either.

First reason: Kerry voted for the war in Iraq and then against funding it. If you can't stand by your principles, you shouldn't be president

Second reason: Kerry called the Bush/Cheney administration a "Do what I say not what I do administration" when it was announced Cheney received a flu shot. Kerry didn't mention that all heart patients, including Bill Clinton, were prescribed the shot by their doctors.

Third reason: Theresa.

Theresa Heinz Kerry, heiress to the Heinz fortune, said that Laura Bush hadn't held a real job since she married Dubya, and didn't have enough of a clue as to what the middle class needed. Of course, Laura was was a school teacher and a librarian. Theresa has worked for the Heinz company--not on the production line, of course, but on the board. And she worked on the boards of other companies. That, I guess, qualifies her to know what the working class wants and needs.

Fourth reason: Kerry's war record.

Sorry. You can't claim to be a war hero and a war protestor at the same time. Choose either one or the other, and I'll be happy.

Those are the reasons I won't vote for Kerry.

So who will I vote for?

Michael Bednarik.

He's the Libertarian candidate for president. He was arrested (along with the Green party candidate) for trying to get into the debates a couple of months ago.

Yes, I know he won't win. But he ought to.

But since he won't--I am announcing a grassroots protest against both major parties!


More later!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Well, it's revenge of the Freedom Fries! Apparently, sales of top US brands, like Marlboro, Coca-Cola, MsDonald's, Ford and others are currently experiencing a decline on the European market, particularly in Germany in France.

"The decreasing popularity of American brands can be explained with growing anti-American sentiments in Europe, presumably caused with the US foreign policy. Jeans, Marlboro cigarettes and Coca-Cola used to symbolize the American dream - the country, where everything is possible. History changed such a perception: the USA and its world-famous brands are now associated with the war in Iraq, multi-billion war costs and scandals with Iraqi prisoners in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison," the article at Pravda says. It also adds that the worldwide trend to healthier lifestyles is also adding fuel to the fire.

The companies cite other reasons, of course. There was a tax increase on cigarettes, stagnation of the European economy, and high unemployment, which causes people to spend less.

Or maybe, just maybe, they don't want our crap anymore.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

I watched some of the lunar eclipse last night. The clouds covered the moon before it ended. I used my tiny digital camera to take photos of the eclipse. I later made a little montage of the images.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Kilt Update

I have not worked on the kilt too much lately. I got the waistband on, and Mom figured out a way to do the belt loops. I cut eight loops and tried sewing one on, and broke the needle! Mom said she would have to buy another needle. She's also going to look for snaps that will close the kilt.

Almost finished kilt, with half of a belt loop attached.  They I broke the needle on the sewing machine.
A broken need on the sewing machine,  Oops!

I just bought another bit of fabric, a desert storm camouflage, that should make an interesting kilt. but before I get to it, I want to make a second urban camouflage kilt, and see if I can do better. Then I'll work on the desert camo kilt.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Dad's getting much better. He's doing his Aunt Audrey imitation (picking up dishes, pans, silverware, etc., scraping them across the counter, and dropping them from 1 inch back onto the counter) in the kitchen every morning an hour before I want to wake up.


I mentioned it to Gary, and he said, "Great for him, tough on you and the Z monster."

This morning, I got up to use the bathroom at 5:45 am. Dad was already up fixing his breakfast. (He had to be at the fairgrounds at 7am to get his flu shot. See below.) I went back to bed and he spent the next fifteen minutes moving dishes around the kitchen. As soon as I decided that I would get out of bed and get ready for work, about 6 am, he finished. Well, I was up already . . .

Speaking of flu shots, why is it that the flu vaccines we need are made in the UK? Could it be that the US pharmaceutical companies are too busy pumping out highly profitable male enhancement pills, eczema cures, asthma drugs and other things (with possible, sometimes fatal, side effects including nausea, dizzyness, drowsiness, high blood pressure, blindness, hearing loss, immune system problems, and savings account drainage. Please see your doctor if you have an erection that lasts for more than four hours.) that they can't be bothered with merely potentially life saving things like flu vaccine? Just a theory.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Moe on Chasing the Sun

Over the weekend, instead of sewing my kilt, I worked on this drawing. I originally sketched this in my Chasing the Sun sketchbook, and finally decided to try to draw it full size (17 inches x 22 inches).

"Kawamatsuri" means river festival.  In Isahaya Japan, way back in the 50s, the river flooded and killed a bunch of people.  Every August, they have a festival to  commemorate the event.

I drew this based on Isahaya's annual Kawamatsuri, or River Festival. Originally Lydia (in the lower right corner) was going to be on the bridge, which is why the guy in the background is waving. But I felt like the drawing needed something in the foreground to give it depth. (And just for the fun of it, I put Roy Harper into the picture--the guy with the beard at the tent on the right--Next to him is Akina Toriyama; and I put in Yoshi's brother--the guy in the black suit--from a story I wrote for the "Plainsight, Texas" strip I've had had at the back of my mind for twenty years. It's really tough when you have to explain the in jokes.)

Thursday, October 14, 2004


I am honestly confused about how to react to this story. It seems that Wal-Mart, the folks who don't have a problem paying minimum wage to their employees, who forces manufacturers to reduce their prices (forcing companies to outsource), has decided that CDs cost too much.

Now the country's largest record store, Wal-Mart wants the record companies to reduce prices or they won't be sold at Wal-Mart. According to the article, "Last winter, Wal-Mart asked the industry to supply it with choice albums -- from new releases from alternative rockers the Killers to perennial classics such as Beatles 1 -- at favorable prices. 'We're in such a competitive world, and you can't reach consumers if you're not in Wal-Mart,' admits another label executive. " And, "making sure Wal-Mart is happy remains one of the music industry's major priorities. That's because if Wal-Mart cut back on music, industry sales would suffer severely -- though Wal-Mart's shareholders would barely bat an eye. While Wal-Mart represents nearly twenty percent of major-label music sales, music represents only about two percent of Wal-Mart's total sales."

So, if Wal-Mart stops selling records, a long shot, to be sure, record industry sales will implode, forcing the RIAA to sue more 12 year olds for downloading music, and causing declining sales, right? (Bear in mind that the record industry lost a class action lawsuit recently that charged they had overcharged on CDs since the 80s. I even got $20 as part of the settlement.) And Wal-Mart still doesn't have to raise wages!


Who should I be upset about? Somebody help me!

Here's a photo I found on the Internet. I didn't create, but can't remember where I found it. So if you made it, drop me a line and I'll link to you.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Yes, Virginia, there is a media bias

For years, right leaning pundits have been complaining about the liberal bias of the media. The left has always said that any such bias is a myth, and we need to do something about Fox News because it is definitely biased.

Last month, Dan Rather proved that the liberal, or at the very least Democratic, bias does, in fact, exist. Rather aired a story about Bush's guard service during Vietnam, using documents his own research department thought to be fake. After being called on the report, Rather said he stood by his story. Shortly before the documents were debunked, he said that if the report turns out to be false he would take complete responsibility. After they proved to be false, Rather said he was sorry that the documents fooled "us."

I heard a commentator say that this whole fiasco took the C for "conscientious" and left BS to stand for the network. He also said that CBS and Dan Rather have had interviews or reports on almost every anti-Bush book that has been published since the beginning of the campaign, but not one pro-Bush book.

I still don't know who I'm going to vote for, but I know what network I won't be watching.