Anything from current events, campaign finance reform, sports (especially baseball), corporate/political/legal ethics, pop culture, confessions of a recovering comic book addict, and probably some overly indulgent discourses about my 3-year old daughter. E-Mail: sardonicviews -at-
  This page is powered by Blogger, the easy way to update your web site.  
Weblog Commenting by
Saturday, August 28, 2004

Toilet Humor

Article that may only interest me (and probably the wife) from the Wall Street Journal (subs. req'd) on toilet training and the 3 year-old deadline. Seems there is a real impetuous for getting the kid fully trained around age 3.
For millions of toddlers, August is crunch time.

Preschool starts in September, and because of strict no-diaper rules at many schools, toilet training must end.

I've heard about what parents do to encourage kids to go, and I recall a Dave Barry column on the subject that was hilarious. I'm definitely having mixed feelings about starting toilet training for Angie. Probably will happen within the next 6 months.

The preschool deadline is one reason that Procter & Gamble Co., the No. 2 U.S. diaper maker, has developed a new product. It aims to smooth the way for potty training by essentially reversing years of diaper engineering. Instead of instantly absorbing liquid, the diaper holds a small amount of liquid next to a toddler's skin for two minutes or so before drying out.

The P&G product, called Pampers Feel 'n Learn Advanced Trainers, started arriving in U.S. stores in June. The goal is to establish enough discomfort that a toddler notices when he or she has an accident. P&G says feeling the wetness will help toddlers recognize that they should have gone to the bathroom. Of course, the same result could be achieved using regular underwear, but with the Feel 'n Learn diaper there's no mess for parents to clean up.

The idea isn't new: A Japanese company has sold a diaper with a similar concept in Japan for years, and P&G itself tried it in the mid-1990s as part of an unsuccessful diaper line for older toddlers.

Babies used to graduate from diapers at a younger age in the U.S., and still do in some parts of Europe and Asia. People there tend not to make such a big deal of the process, says Kimberly-Clark's Mr. Falk. "Some European cultures don't have a word for toilet training," he says. In rural China, most babies wear underpants with a split in them and quickly learn how to use the toilet.

I think I'll pass on the rural China plan.

ADDITIONAL: Dan Drezner has more on this article, and other suggestions for toilet training in his comments

Thursday, August 26, 2004

It's Not Cute, It Isn't Some Ironic Statement

Maybe it's that I'm now a father and it just doesn't seem that funny to dress your kid up as a pimp or ho for halloween (via Megan McArdle).

It's one thing for adults to do it. I could even accept teens choosing to do so, on some level. But doing it to your kid. It just screams some moral bankruptcy or desire to project your own concepts of "edgy" onto your kid. Ugh.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Various Accounts

I mentioned the shooting of a Palestinian security chief, earlier today. I referred to the guy as a "crony" of Arafat's. The article I originally quoted, actually called him "an old Arafat ally." I think you could use either one and get the point across.

Now, here is how the ever fair Reuters defines the guy,
Rajab, 58, was close to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, but was not widely seen as taking sides in a power struggle that pits younger leaders -- who say they want change -- against an old guard accused of graft and failing to win a state.
Sure he was appointed last month by Arafat after the last guy quit, but just as a favor. He wasn't really on anyone's side over the whole corruption, cronyism and such.

I also mentioned that no one was blaming Israel (yet) for the attack. Well Reuters helps with that at the very end of the article.
Israel's army said it was checking the report of the attack on Abu Rajab. While it has frequently assassinated Gaza militant leaders in airstrikes, it has never killed such a senior Palestinian security chief.
Expect this to be the rumor of the next few days, that Israel was really behind it to stir up trouble in Gaza (as if it needed to) and turn the Pals against each other. The Palestinians are doing fine on their own.

As for the attack itself,
The attack on the three-vehicle convoy appeared to have been carried out by three masked men who emerged from the camp, then promptly fled the scene.
This attack has drawn a noticeable response from Palestinian officials who have ignored any other violence.
The head of preventive security, General Rashid Abu Shabak, denounced the "cowardly crime" as he visited his colleague in hospital and promised the perpetrators "will not escape punishment".

"The Palestinian Authority must take firm measures to put an end to this deteriorating security situation to which no Palestinian official is now immune," he added.
Yeah, now that he knows he could be killed, the perps must be stopped. Looks like actual guns are now being drawn on Arafat and his boys from within.

That Won't Look Good on a Bar Application

The police caught a suspected bank robber when he was trying *ahem* launder the money stained by a dye-pack at a car wash change maker.
He was feeding ink-stained $10s, $5s and $1s into a bill changer, police said.
According to a police report, when Patrolman Daniel Hilfiker pulled into the car wash, Jackson dashed across the parking lot, jingling and dropping quarters from his pockets as he ran.

"He was leaving a trail of quarters," Lakewood police Lt. Tony Ciresi said.

Hilfiker grabbed Jackson by the hood of his jacket. It peeled off and thudded to the ground. In the left pocket, police found $226.50 in quarters and, in the right, $231 in quarters.

Besides 23 pounds of quarters weighing him down, Jackson was toting $1,040 in ink-stained bills in a plastic bag. Police said they found $1,145 more in tainted bills in a tan bag in the glove box of a Cadillac Catera that was registered to Jackson and parked at the car wash.

The suspect along with his wife and 2 others were arrested and charged. They are suspected in at least 2 other bank robberies in Northeast Ohio that netted around $100,000. In a way, that's what makes this so bizarre. They were smart enough in their planning to pull off multiple bank robberies without being caught or suspected, and even figuring out a decent, albeit cumbersome, way to launder some of the money -- but get caught like that. Trying to run with 23 pounds of quarters in your pockets.

The suspect Steven Jackson, claims he is a law student at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State U. Good luck with that.

UPDATE: Yes, he apparently was going to enter his second year. His classmates are stunned.


Glass or Aluminum, It's Still IC

Pittsburgh Brewing Company is giving up the glass for Iron City Beer. The beer of Pittsburgh will only be sold in aluminum cans and now aluminum bottles.

They say it will get the beer cold faster and keep it cold. Considering the way IC tastes, I doubt it will affect taste much.

The Next Step

Looks like the violence against Arafat's reign from within is going to the next level.
Gunmen opened fire at a convoy carrying the deputy Palestinian intelligence chief on Wednesday, seriously wounding him in the chest and killing two bodyguards, Palestinian officials said.

The shooting was the latest unrest in Gaza, which has seen a wave of kidnappings, protests and other violence over the past month.
The Palestinian officer, Tareq Abu Rajab, was traveling in a two-vehicle convoy in northern Gaza City when shots rang out, witnesses said. One of the vehicles flipped over.
Rajab is an old Arafat crony. Even the Palestinians aren't trying to blame the Israelis (yet) for the attack. In fact, the officer is getting shipped to an Israeli hospital for better treatment.
There was no immediate word on who carried out the shooting. Security officials said they had opened an investigation.
Wonder if the Palestinian security will do as good a job with this investigation as they have on finding out who attacked and killed members in an American convoy?

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Will See This Movie

I still haven't seen Spider-Man 2 this summer. Since Angie was born 2 years ago, I have been to 1 movie : LOTR-ROTK (That can't be right? Can it? Yes. Checked with the wife, who has been to a few more.). I've probably explained before, that what little free time I have, I would rather do more social or active events -- like go to a Pitt football game.

Well, this much is certain. I will see "Team America" when it comes out in the theaters in October. Everytime I read something else, it just sounds better and better.
In "Team America," they take aim at sanctimonious right-wing nut-jobs and smug Hollywood liberals alike.

Alec Baldwin, for example, emerges as a villain almost as evil as Kim Jong Il. Sean Penn and Danny Glover take up arms to fight beside Mr. Kim, with Mr. Penn crying "Die, conservative!" before blowing away a Team America member.

Mr. Kim, for his part, feeds the international weapons inspector Hans Blix to his sharks. (They used real sharks for that scene.) But not before he croons a song about the solo life of an absolute dictator: "I'm so Rone-ry."

The American agents are barely more sympathetic. Along with Gary, a leading American actor recruited to their cause, the team wears glittery red-white-and-blue outfits and drives a Humvee as a pulse-pounding, patriotic anthem laced with expletives and exclamation points plays.

The current version of the film is a guaranteed NC-17, with surprisingly graphic scenes of puppet sex.
Looks like I'll have to see it in the theaters, because there would be no way I could watch the DVD with the kid around.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Price Gouging

Well, the wife ordered a 5 X 7 of the photo of Angie and I that appeared in the July 17, Sunday edition of the News-Herald. It arrived today, and to be fair it is a high quality print. The wife feels good about it, so my annoyance at the cost washes off her, and so I turn to my blog to bitch about it. I scanned it into the computer at the highest dpi setting I could -- 1500. The resulting file size was 18.1 MB. Barely had enough memory in the computer to do a little cropping and straighten out the image in Elements. Still can't believe they charge $20 for the image. The image was processed and sent to us from Found their prices, and assuming that the paper gets some discount, the News-Herald turns at least 100% profit on each photo ordered. What a racket. Posted by Hello

What Alice Said

A friend of mine, Howard, is a huge Alice Cooper fan. Howard embraced golf shortly after he learned that Cooper played. Howard is also reasonably liberal, so I don't know how he feels about Alice Cooper being a registered Republican (via Judith Weiss). Cooper has this to say about the mix of politics and rock:
"When I was a kid and my parents started talking about politics, I'd run to my room and put on the Rolling Stones as loud as I could. So when I see all these rock stars up there talking politics, it makes me sick.

"If you're listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you're a bigger moron than they are. Why are we rock stars? Because we're morons. We sleep all day, we play music at night and very rarely do we sit around reading the Washington Journal."

Craig Lyndall has his own thoughts about the rock and politics -- especially as presented by -- or as he calls it, bait and switch.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Party, Puke, Sick, Alcohol

But not in that order.

Friday night was great. My folks came in from Pennsylvania for a weekend visit. Angie was in great form. She remembered them and played with them. She didn't go running to the wife or me. My dad, especially, was just thrilled. His granddaughter was finally playing with him and not squirming away when he hugged her.

Then Angie came down with a cold. This one hit quickly. She woke up during the night, then was coughing in the morning. By Saturday afternoon she was fussy, clinging to her mommy, and screaming at the slightest disturbance.

With that as the backdrop, the wife and I tried to get ready to go to the party. The grandparents still wanted to watch Angie for us. I knew the wife was feeling guilty as hell about going. I'd been looking forward to it all week, so I was feeling a little selfish and wasn't so bothered. It just meant that we couldn't stay as long as intended.

A few minutes before we were to get out the door, I was holding Angie while the wife was in the bathroom. That was when she threw up on my shirt. A few times. Nothing to do but hold her against me, trying not to let any drip to the floor or my pants as I walked to the kitchen sink to clean her and then myself. Naturally, Angie was screaming and squirming. Lots of fun.

Got Angie calmed down, changed my shirt, pushed the wife out the door and we deserted our daughter -- and I forgot the camera in the process.

Every year the party is different. One of the key differences this year was the time. The party started early -- around 7pm. I'm not complaining. The wife and I were actually quite grateful. Dawn and Eric have an infant son so they had to start the party a little earlier. Of course Dawn and Eric had several children down in the basement during the party. If I knew they were supplying a babysitting service for the party... well, next year.

Another strange thing, was the competing party at the house next door. Strange. A bunch of middle-aged-white-guys who still think they're a band performing bad covers of overplayed rock songs from the 60s for their family and friends.

Despite that, the party was excellent. George -- who did a great job co-hosting and preparing the mojitos and mai-tais --, Anita and Dave, Craig, Bruce, and Jack were there. I met a new blogger. Plenty of other people at the party, but we didn't have as much time to interact with everyone. The wife and I had to leave after a couple hours. With Angie not feeling well, so there was no closing out the party for me this year.

The wife, who doesn't drink, drove home since I drank for both of us. Angie was in a decent mood, all things considered, when we got home. The grandparents wouldn't admit it, but they were ready to turn her back over to us by that point.

He's Getting Tan, Rested and Ready

The Cleveland area's favorite drunk is hard at work in the Betty Ford Clinic avoiding jail time drying out. He is also available for interviews, vowing to return and be active in politics once more.

In his fall from grace, even more details of his condition are disclosed:
But when Thomas J. Coyne Jr. stepped out of public office three years ago, he seemed to slip into a free fall - a fall that rudely ended in the middle of the night last Sunday when police found him passed out, drunk and nearly naked, on an asphalt driveway.

He was curled into a fetal position, his urine-soaked pants pulled down to his ankles, his polo shirt bunched under his head.

I think it is safe to say that in the age of Google searches, having your name linked to the phrase "urine-soaked pants" is not a good thing. While he has no recollection of the time between 11 pm and when the cops came for him around 3 a.m. (hey, we all have blackouts), it turns out he got to that guy's driveway by walking. He apparently wandered off after leaving a restaurant completely blitzed (been there). So, how does a man with a good amount of money, but not a fortune afford to fly out to California on no notice and get into Betty Ford? Have very rich friends foot the bill --

Coyne's friends John Zayak and Tony George meet with him at the Ohio City Deli. A repentant and fearful Coyne acknowledges his drinking problem and his need for treatment. George and Zayak help make travel arrangements to get Coyne to the Betty Ford Center in California.
The entrance fee to Betty Ford was $21K. His political comeback should be a spectacle.


(Copyright © 2002-2005 Chas Rich All rights Reserved.);
Home  |  Archives