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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Site of the Week
A link to a website makes a cheap post, but I'm doing it anyway as a public service. Website designers, take note... this website's got style! It's the kind of website JibJab would create if they were in the restaurant business. You'll need Flash Player to get the full impact. Pay special attention to the little details, like the restaurant's awards. Good stuff.

Buckle your seat belt and click here.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Bean of Mystery
So Bean is not a contributor anymore. What am I to make of this? Surely he has not run out of things to say. Has he moved on to the Next Big Thing in anonymous communication, whatever that may be, and left the primitive Coffeehouse behind, just as we turned our backs on LPs and DOS when CDs and Windows became dominant?

Maybe Bean has fallen out of love with the Coffeehouse. It doesn't seem possible; he was once its most prolific contributor. Look at June 2005 - that was commitment! Perhaps he's left our blog for another... some vile seductress of a blog that preys on Jewish doctors that like math puzzles.

No, Bean is loyal! Perhaps Bean loves the Coffeehouse too much. Perhaps his departure is a self-motivated act to end a posting addiction cold turkey. Or perhaps Ball-n-Chain pulled the plug on him. She wouldn't, would she?

Maybe it was one of the others, although I don't honestly believe Ralphie or Nomad would kick Bean out, in spite of all the hateful words that have passed between them.

I think the answer to this riddle lies deep within the inscrutable Dr. Bean and, like the Abominable Snowman, we may never know the truth.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The baby’s fingernails were pretty long – she was scratching herself and Mrs. Ralphie, too. So Mrs. R asked a nurse for a file or some clippers. “We don’t give those out,” came the reply. “Oh,” my wife said, “then can you or one of the other nurses do it?”

“Sorry, we’re not allowed to cut the babies’ nails.”

“Oh… can maybe a doctor do it or something?”

The nurse replied, “Actually, no one on staff is allowed to cut anyone’s nails at the hospital.”

Mrs. R. found this rather strange. “You mean even a doctor can’t cut even an adult’s nails?”

“That’s right.”

“So, you people here can slice open someone’s heart, but you can’t clip someone’s nails.”

“Um, I guess so.”

“What it there’s a hangnail emergency?”



First thing Mrs. R. did when she was discharged: go down to the salon on the corner to get a manicure from a high school dropout.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Quick prayer note
While I was at the hospital today I learned of a woman who almost died - she had to be resusitated - while giving birth to triplets on Tuesday. Please pray for Avigail Ilana bat Sara Reizel. (For the non-Hebrew inclined just go with Abigail)

The family is also requesting that people recite Psalm 31.
Saturday, June 24, 2006

So spoke the newest member of the Ralphie household, at 5:43 pacific daylight time, Saturday, June 24, 2006 (Shabbat Shlach). Mother and baby are doing fine.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
AT&T rewrites rules: Your data isn't yours
The new policy says that AT&T - not customers - owns customers' confidential info and can use it "to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process."

The policy also indicates that AT&T will track the viewing habits of customers of its new video service - something that cable and satellite providers are prohibited from doing.

This is disturbing to me, as an AT&T via SBC via Pac Bell customer. I'm in the market for a cell provider, and was in the process of choosing between AT&T (Cingular) and Verizon. I think I'll go with Verizon.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
This post is culled from an email I sent to the prestigious and well-dressed PT:

One of my biggest pet peeves is talking in shul. I'm not saying I never do it, but it annoys me nonetheless, on general principle. So when people do it at especially obnoxious times, like when they are finished with shmonei esrei but not everyone else is (and the repetition has not started), it really, really bugs me. These people are trying to daven! You are distracting them! And the people I sit near talk a whole lot (no, I don't sit near Bean). But I don't do anything about it. I have been known to shush at times, but I don't want to be a "shusher." And I've never moved to another seat because I don't want to insult anyone (in general these are really nice guys) and besides, I really like my seat. It's a good seat. So I just kind of stew. After all, these guys should know better!

Anyway, one shabbat a couple of weeks ago, the talking was especially galling. I don't recall why exactly. But after davening is done, after adom olam and the whole bit, the rabbi goes onto the middle bima to make kiddush as usual. But it is just too noisy. He's waiting. And waiting. Everybody is talking, doing their own thing, barely even looking at the rabbi. That was it. I got up on the bima and slammed the shulchan a few times. That's usually all it takes, but I was really angry and found myself screaming, "Kiddush!" The noise settled down to a dull roar, and the rabbi thanked me and made kiddush.

At kiddush everyone asked my wife what was wrong with me, am I going crazy, etc. Someone came up to me and nicely asked if I had yelled, "Shut up!" Apparently someone thought I'd said that and this woman, who knows me (sort of), said I would never do that. She's right, but just barely.

If I had said something nicely to the talkers earlier, would I have cooled down and ultimately saved myself some embarassment? Possibly. But I'm getting worked up now just writing aobut it. Will I say something the next time? Probably not. Because I'm a ninny. A self-righteous ninny. A self-righteous, fishing-for-compliments ninny.

Cross-posted at The Jewish Connection.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
John Kerry's Plan for Iraq
...to not simply abandon Iraq, but to toss out the sovereignty of its freely elected constitutional government and invite the terrorist states of Iran and Syria to help make decisions over Iraq's future.

I can't come up with adequate language with which to insult this guy. Thank God he's not the president.

SA 4203 . Mr. KERRY submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 2766, to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2007 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe personnel strengths for such fiscal year for the Armed Forces, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

On page 437, between lines 2 and 3, insert the following:


(a) Withdrawal of Troops From Iraq.--

(1) SCHEDULE FOR WITHDRAWAL.--The President shall reach an agreement as soon as possible with the Government of Iraq on a schedule for the withdrawal of United States combat troops from Iraq by December 31, 2006, leaving only forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces.

(2) CONSULTATION WITH CONGRESS REQUIRED.--The President shall consult with Congress regarding such schedule and shall present such withdrawal agreement to Congress immediately upon the completion of the agreement.

(3) MAINTENANCE OF OVER-THE-HORIZON TROOP PRESENCE.--The President should maintain an over-the-horizon troop presence to prosecute the war on terror and protect regional security interests.

(b) Iraq Summit.--The President should convene a summit as soon as possible that includes the leaders of the Government of Iraq, leaders of the governments of each country bordering Iraq, representatives of the Arab League, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, representatives of the European Union, and leaders of the governments of each permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, for the purpose of reaching a comprehensive political agreement for Iraq that addresses fundamental issues including federalism, oil revenues, the militias, security guarantees, reconstruction, economic assistance, and border security.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Edible euphemism
"KFC" has a new item on the menu: "Famous Bowls"

Freshly prepared with layers of your KFC favorites - a generous serving of our creamy mashed potatoes, sweet kernel corn, bite size pieces of all-white meat crispy chicken, topped with our homestyle gravy and 3-cheese blend.

All the KFC favorites you know and love served in a convenient easy-to-eat bowl!

Or, as we used to call such a concoction when I was a kid, leftovers.
Carpool lane
A former co-worker visited the office today with her new baby. She was excited because she took the carpool lane all the way in from Orange County. You know, because the baby is another person.

That strikes me as, well, cheating. Isn't the point to reduce the number of potential cars on the freeway? You know, to relieve traffic.

Then again, if you drive a hybrid or other alternative fuel car you can use the carpool lane, too. So maybe the point is to reduce the total volume of emissions? You know, to reduce pollution?

Either way, the baby doesn't help you much.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Zarqawi's Dead!!
Rejoice! Woo Hoo!!!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Dental hijinx
I chipped a tooth this weekend. Here's a handy multiple-choice quiz* to see if you can guess how it happened:

a.) Uppercut to the chin sustained during barroom brawl
b.) Grasping an iron bar with my teeth while suspended over a shark tank
c.) Biting into a soft oatmeal cookie

*Fun fact: In Israel multiple-choice is known as an "American Test."

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