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here we go again

Friday, December 29, 2000

another year has come and gone, and if it's anything like the ones that preceded it, I'll remember it mostly for the bland loss, arbitrary misery, and chronic regret that served as its main ingredients and the squandered opportunities, failures of nerve, inexplicable oversights, wanton double-crossings, and blind impotent rage that seasoned it. Call it by its rightful name: politics. We were taught two basic lessons in the '90s: that reality can be tricky and that people, especially powerful people, routinely exploit that trickiness in the service of personal gain. The just-past, seemingly Endless Presidential Election From Hell That Almost Wouldn't End was the graduate course in the same material and it may have the ultimately salutary effect of making skepticism as American as hot dogs and apple pie. Which is to say that Campaign 2000 was in fact teaching Americans a highly useful and relevant civics lesson, if perhaps not the one that the talking heads have in mind when they dilate on the "wildest election ever." Everyone needs a place of safety to retreat to when times get tough. I've got mine; do you have yours? Well then, Happy New Year!, 'cause we're all gonna need it in 2001. Finally, this year is the Third Millenium changeover. For calendar purists, it's a one-in-a-thousand chance to get things right. For cities whose parties flopped a year ago, it's a chance for redemption. Get ready or not, for the Real Millennium, as opposed to the boisterous but mathematically incorrect celebrations that swept the globe when the Year 2000 arrived. The number was nice and neat. But under the widely used Gregorian Calendar, which started with the year 1, only 1,999 years had elapsed since the start of the first millennium. The Third Millennium doesn't begin until this coming New Year's Eve gives way to Jan. 1, 2001.

Around The Garden Center.
Last weekend, the bitter cold really settled into the midstate Pennsylvania area. Wind chills dropped to -30°F and it seemed worse. Spit froze before it hit the ground, and that's cold. I kept up my daily routine of feeding the birds and making sure their heated water tub was filled and clear of debris. Makes me feel good to know that those hundreds of birds have a place to come for food and drink. Mom & Dad feed the many deer at their home with dried ears of corn gathered from an adjacent 6.1 acres of land I purchased this past Spring, and I take care of the multitudinous local birds at the Garden Center complex. Natch.
Many of the hundreds of tropical and houseplants, damaged from the cold two weeks ago, have already turned black and died, as of last Saturday. (The freezing temps crystalize the water in the plants' cells and explode the cell membranes, thus Killing the plant.) Depressing and costly. Next year, I'll not stock Winter tropicals or foliage and just let the Main Greenhouse freeze-out with the other 6 Retail and Production Greenhouses. The financial loss isn't worth the trouble anymore to sell retail during the off-season. I surely don't need the small income or the huge hassle.
On Sunday, Christmas Eve Day, after going down to the Garden Center to feed Pickles and do some paperwork, I went to Mom & Dad's for Christmas Dinner #1 in mid-afternoon. We had raw veggies, baked (Lancaster Cty Kunstler) whole ham, candied sweet potatoes, white sweet shoepeg corn and mincemeat pie w/ vanilla ice cream. Delicious, wow. I did some "maintenance" work on Dad's IBM 450 Aptiva computer: Norton Space Wizard, WinDoctor and Speed Disk. All okay now, and running great again.
As a kid growing up under my family's good Christian influence in Huntington, WVa, and Arlington Heights, ILL, I remember watching Dickens', "A Christmas Carol", Frank Capra's, "It's A Wonderful Life" and Valentine Davies's, "Miracle On 34th Street" every Christmas Eve and Day for many, many years. Those were quality shows, which are almost unavailable today, except on CD or VCR tape rental. And although it's not "PC" (screw that shit!) to say it these days: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.
Even with the few errant clouds over the mid-state, at around 12:30pm, I could clearly see the Partial Solar Eclipse on Christmas Day. Glad I did, as I "probably" won't be around when it re-occurs in 2307AD. But there are some more coming in 2001; here's a list for those so inclined.
On Christmas Day, I slept in until 11am, made Eggs Benedict for breakfast and then went down to the Garden Center to feed Pickles and survey the cold damage to the Main Greenhouse plants. Later, I went to Jeff & Denise's for Christmas Dinner #2, at around 5pm. I took along the remaining 7lb container of Roasted Winter Squash & Apple Bisque that I'd made a few days before. We had roasted turkey breast, garlic mashed potatoes, succotash, filling and a sweet potato dish. Plus, plenty of Cabernet Sauvignon "holiday vino". Yum.
Back to work on Tuesday; hell, I'd forgotten that most of the region, if not the Nation, will be taking this week off as well. The roads were empty coming to work and the few people I did see were all talking about what they were doing during their "Holiday Vacation". Oh well, no rest for the weary, the rest of us who have to work.
On Wednesday morning, I saw the warnings posted: a major ice storm is maybe headed to the Mid-Atlantic Region by the weekend. A possible Nor'Easter. I don't mind the snow, but I hate the ice. As if I didn't have enough damage already to my Main Greenhouse and plants, this might finish the job. The snowblower is gassed-up and ready to go, the JD SkidLoader has the plowing bucket on it and I'm ready to operate, and I've notified two local plowing companies in case it's too deep (~20" or more) for me to handle it with my equipment.
I finished gathering, grouping, inventorying and tallying up the damages to the plant material in the Main Greenhouse, and it's grim: 30% losses (so far) totalling $3,800 plus ice and wind damage to the poly (6-mil plastic) covering on the roof (~$500), caused by sliding ice from the recent storm. In the coming days and weeks, more will continue turning to mush, then black and finally dying from the cold damage. The insurance adjustor stopped by Wednesday afternoon to review the damage and claim; we'll see what happens.
Happy 10th Anniversary to The World Wide Web, as we know it today. BTW, Tim Berner-Lee invented the Web, not AlGoreBoreLiar. FYI, but I'm sure you knew that.
Gasoline prices have again dropped to $1.44.9/ gal (89oct) here in York (PA), while natural gas has risen to record levels nationwide. Up from $.52/CuFt to $.93/CuFt since March, I just took delivery of 1,000 gallons of LPG (Liquid Propane Gas) this week to top-off my 3 x 1,000gal tanks. Some folks are really going to be hurting from oil and gas increases.
Another of the many, many, many reasons I don't fly: economy class syndrome death. 'Nuff said.

Pork for Christmas, Everyone?
The new federal budget's top 11 most egregious items are out of control, once again.
Financial news this holiday season has been dominated by stories of skin-flint consumers. Al Goreís deferred presidential dreams and lackluster corporate earnings reports have put stock markets on a bumpy ride. The NASDAQ has become a double black diamond ski run and the swift ride downhill has left investors feeling the worse for wear. Retailers ranging from the soon-to-be history Etoys.com to the stalwart Wal-Mart are reporting sales well under what they expected. Even Las Vegasí gambling revenues are down.
But there's one group of Americans who still feel plenty rich and arenít the least bit hesitant to throw cash around: federal legislators. That's not just because they boosted their average annual pay by $3,800, up to a grand total of $145,100. Itís because itís not their money theyíre spending, but yours and mine. Congress and President Clintoon finally agreed on the last details of the 2001 federal budget in mid-December. Unsurprisingly, theyíre giving away more than anyone claims to have wanted. Last February, President Clintoon asked for $624 billion in discretionary spending. In April, Congress passed a budget resolution authorizing $605 billion. By mid-December, they had agreed to split the difference Washington-style by appropriating $634 billion, a new record.
Thereís enough pork ó specifically, highly dubious spending programs earmarked for the districts of influential legislators ó in the bills to keep America barbecuing until next Labor Day, when the next cycle of budget battles is set to start. Sen. John "Psycho" McCain (R-Ariz.), whose staff scours each appropriation bill, estimates that Congress will disburse more than $24 billion worth of pure, 100 percent pork this year. That's nearly 4 percent of all discretionary spending.
Last year set a record by more than $3.7 billion over the previous high, and this year will top that total by $3 to $5 billion. Even members who claim to be fiscally conservative are competing for pork. They feel like suckers if they donít get a slab of bacon for their districts.
What follows is my subjective list of the Top 11 Most Egregious Pork Projects for 2001. With so many examples to choose from (supplied graciously and freely by Citizens Against Government Waste and Sen. McCainís office), itís no easy feat to narrow the field down. But hereís a start:

11. The Catch-All. $1 million for crab research in the Bering Sea, $750,000 for bottle-nosed dolphins, $700,000 to allow the University of Idaho to post its jazz collection on the Internet, $400,000 for the Southside Sportsman Club, $250,000 for the Swiss Center of North America, $176,000 for the Reindeer Herders association, and $100,000 for the "Trees Forever Program."

10. Lord of the Flies. There just arenít enough bugs in Senate Majority Leader Trent Lottís home state. Appropriators in charge of the Agriculture bill decided to spend $5 million to raise insects in Stoneville, Mississippi.

9. Island Pig Roast. The Pineapple Growers association in Hawaii received a $300,000 stocking-stuffer from Congress this year. Itís hard to imagine why taxpayers in less hospitable climes should pick up that tab, rather than the association's three corporate members: Dole Food Hawaii, Del Monte Fresh Produce, and Maui Pineapple Company.

8. Mistake on the Lake. Residents of Cleveland, Ohio will certainly be grateful to Congress for the $500,000 itís spending to restore a carousel in the city. Thatís one merry-go-round that will take all Americans for a ride.

7. Memorial Pay. Considering how well the Veterans Administration runs its hospitals, itís easy to see why Congress would give the VA $250,000 to host the Sixth International Conference on "Sport and Human Performance Beyond Disability."

6. Safe Bet. Gambling revenues are down in Las Vegas. One reason people may be spending less is that they actually have wait at the airport for their boarding passes. Not for long. Congress will cut University of Nevada-Las Vegas a $2 million check to help develop a system for distributing boarding passes at hotels. It may just save travelers 30 minutes ó thatís an extra half-hour they could be gambling.

5. Tarheel Baby. Pig shit is certainly a problem in North Carolina (just as bullshit is a problem on Capitol Hill). Sympathetic legislators are sending $500,000 to North Carolina State University for a Swine Waste Management research project.

4. Admiral Byrd. A Byrd in the Senate is better than two Bushes in the White House. At least thatís what Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginiaís leading industry, tries to prove every year at appropriations time. Thereís plenty of swill in the federal mug for the Mountaineer State, including $150,000 for a documentary film project titled "The Appalachians."

3. Fishy Project. Established in 1866, Long Islandís Southside Sportsman Club was once a fishing retreat for the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, Adlai Stevenson, and the Vanderbilts. In 1974 it was handed over to the state and became Connetquot River State Park. This year the feds are getting involved, sending it $400,000 for historic preservation.

2. Roasted Nuts. No word on whether Southwest Airlines, famous for serving only peanuts, lobbied for the $400,000 that Congress will send to the National Center for Peanut Competitiveness in Griffin, Georgia. Somehow I doubt it.

1. Green Eggs & Ham. The Housing & Urban Development/Veterans Administration bill is a gigantic honey-baked ham for members of Congress looking to send a little something special back home. Sen. McCain reports that it took 46 double-spaced pages to list all the pet projects in the bill, far more than any member could actually read before casting a vote. Included among those 46 pages: $550,000 for a monument to Dr. Seuss in Springfield, Mass.

The Year of The (Pick One) Genome.
Forget the screwed-up presidential election. History will remember 2000 as the year in which the genomes of three important multicellular organisms were completely sequenced. I find this stuff fascinating.
March saw the publication of the genetic sequence of that great laboratory stalwart, the fruit fly Drosophila, which weighed in with 13,601 genes.
In June, Craig Venter of Celera Genomics and Francis Collins of the National Human Genome Research Institute announced at the White House that a draft version of the human genome had been completed. Bubba Clintoon emceed the announcement ceremony, and again tried to take credit for the success on "his flawed watch" as criminal president.
And just a week ago or so, researchers published the first analysis of the complete genome of a flowering plant, the diminutive weedy mustard plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. Its genome is the longest yet officially published, coming in at 25,498 genes located on five chromosome pairs. However, since 70 percent of its genome appears to have been duplicated, Arabidopsis is believed to have fewer than 15,000 different genes. It turns out that this kind of extensive genomic duplication is common in plants and seems to provide some evolutionary insurance against unpredictable environments. If a plant has many variants of a gene, one of those variants might give it the edge it needs to survive a disease or a drought.
All this genomic information will spur the pace of biotechnological progress. The more gene sequences researchers have to compare, the more quickly they can learn the function of specific genes. For example, researchers in the Arabidopsis Genome Initiative compared a list of 289 human disease genes to the whole Arabidospsis genome and found that nearly 50 percent had matches in the plant's genome. This kind of information can help scientists figure out more quickly what the specific genes do and how they go wrong.
Why sequence Arabidopsis, as opposed to a more obviously useful plant like rice or maize? Arabidopsis is a tiny plant which grows and reproduces rapidly, making it ideal for laboratory work. Scientists can easily vary environmental conditions such as pest attacks, salinity, and water availability to find out which of the plant's genes do what. In fact, researchers plan to figure out exactly what each of Arabidopis' 25,498 genes do by 2010. Another advantage is that Arabidopsis' genome is also only 115 million base pairs long, compared to around 400 million for rice.
Despite obvious surface differences between a mustard plant like Arabidopsis and grasses like rice and wheat, flowering plants are remarkably similar. Most of developmental and physiological processes in Arabidopisis, as well as the genes controlling them, will have counterparts in crop plants.
"Rice is wheat is maize," is a truism among plant physiologists. The International Rice Genome Sequencing Project, launched just two years ago, plans to complete sequencing the rice genome by 2004. Last August, Monsanto gave a boost to the rice project when it announced that it would allow researchers to have free access to its already completed draft sequence of the rice genome.
The next big genomic milestone will be the publication of the complete human genome, Homo Sapiens. Both Celera Genomics and the International Human Genome Project submitted their human genome sequence manuscripts in the first week of December. Joint publication of those papers will most likely occur in early February.
The exact number of genes that it takes to make a human being will not be known for a couple more years, but the estimates of somewhere between 80,000 and 100,000 genes are way off the mark. It appears now that the human genome consists of between 30,000 and 40,000 genes. Consider that it takes 19,099 genes to make the tiny nematode worm, Caenorhabditis elegans. We're twice a worm. Nice, huh?
This is fascinating because a full-grown C. elegans is made up of exactly 959 cells, while humans have trillions of cells. The difference between a human and worm is clearly not dependent on the difference in the number of genes, but on the number of proteins that go into making up an organism. For decades, the "Central Dogma" of biology has declared "one gene makes one protein."
Now, genomic science is about to overthrow the Central Dogma. Human beings are made up of some 120,000 different proteins, which means that on average one human gene must be translated into 3 or 4 different proteins. The between simpler organisms and complex organisms appears to be that the genes of more complex organisms can be read in various ways rather than in only a single way. It's findings like this that promise to make February an exciting month.

DemocRAT Slimeballs.
How many democRATs are in prison vs Republicans? Lots. Too many to count; they're all corrupt. And Bubba Jeffy Clintoonista is pardoning them by the dozens: garbage criminals like Rostenkowski and Schaffer, the McDougal whore and others yet to come. DemocRATss are the most corrupt sons and daughters of bitches to walk the planet. They should all die a horrible death in prison at the bedside of a 450lb inmate named "Bubba", who makes them fetch his crotchless pantyhose and cigarettes at midnight. I'd enjoy hearing the screams in pennance for their crimes. A CD would be nice.
The filthy stinking Clintoonoid Bitch, Hitlery Rotten Clintoon, is checking out a $4.4million house which the two-dollar slut can't afford, to be "hostess with the mostess" for the lowlife lib-dem slimeballs for the next 4-6 years. She actually thinks that someone else will buy it for Her moronness, and give it to her.
Think I'm being too hard on this arrogant, lying, adulterous criminal bitch? Quit your bed wetting and whining, lib-dem scumbags. Then read this about her.
The Irrev Fat Al "interloper Jew scum" Sharp-scum is also a crook and criminal, in addition to being a bigot and racist pimp, like Irrev Jesse "Hymietown" Jack-scum, his so-called "mentor". And he's a big benefactor of the Clintoons in NYC; remember all the lowlife pols who met with him and "received his blessing" for black voters? Here's his criminal story.
Think I'm being too hard on the race-baiting idiot bigot filth, Jack-scum and Sharp-scum? Quit your bed wetting and whining, lib-dem scumbags. Then read this about them.
Good riddance to this loudmouthed lib-dem racist bigot bitch, who's now dead. May she rot in Hell where she truly belongs.
Multimillionaire "Sex in the City" star, Sarah Jessica Parker, is worried that President-elect George Bush's brand of "compassionate conservatism" won't take care of her needy relatives. "I'm worried about the kind of cuts he might make in domestic programs that mean something to a lot of people, including people in my family who depend on certain things from the government." Aw gee whiz, stupid bitch; ever heard that "charity begins at home"?, you ignorant whore. Worth an estimated $30million, her relatives depend upon welfare and government handouts. Speaks volumes for lib-dem slime, doesn't it?
An $8million advance for another book of lies and spin, from Hitlery Rotten Clintoon, the criminal bitch senator-elect from NY. What a f*cking joke. Thank God the stinking Clintoon filth will soon be gone. Well, actually, they'll never be gone unless Lee Harvey Oswald returns to a hero's welcome.
I like W's "corporate approach" to government, in theory. We need to get the filthy little lib-dem minions of techno-crats and bureaucrats outta there; they're lowlife scumbags and tend to muck it all up. We'll see how it shakes-out, after Jan 20th.
Of course, the moron Bubba Jeffy Clintoon is doing all kinds of damage to US business and industry before we get rid of the lowlife criminal sonofabitch.
After this idiotic statement from shit for brains Billy Boy Bubba Gates, ersatz co-founder of Microsoftie, I'd say he's a f*cking socialist, and not a true capitalist. First of all Gates, you dumb commie moron, it's not my responsibility to care for the world and its minions; I don't have the resources. You do, shithead, so dole the bucks out and quit whining and wetting your bed and wringing your bony hands, moron. Just do it and quit grandstanding. Sounds like you and Hitlery Rotten Clintoon share the same proctologist.
Hey lookie here: Kwanzaa ó the false holiday conjured up for gulliable American blacks invented in the mid-60's by Maulana Ron Karenga (aka Tyrone Leroy Johnson) ó is in full swing. Just grab your dashiki, gold lamee' skullcap and Col Sander's 10lb tub of chicken wings, and you're in business. You've got 7 days to smoke some crack, hold up some elderly citizens, steal some TVs and rape a few women. Enjoy, bro's!
Here's the most corrupt, fat stupid piece of shit lib-dem filth in American Government: Teddy "The Chappaquiddick Murderer" Kennedy, who flies on private jets owned by wealthy backers and companies with key issues before the Senate. Just like his entire corrupt stinking family, he should be in prison. All the Kennedy are criminals, lowlifes, drunks, liars, pedophiles, murderers et al.
Over a year ago, I said that this was gonna happen: the bottom-feeding lawyers and lowlife government were going to sue the auto industry because some morons whacked themselves by driving inappropriately. Now it's happening to Ford and their Explorer SUV. Personally, I think it's a piece of junk and it's dangerously-constructed, but I digress. First, the same vermin went after the legal Big Tobacco industry. Then they went after the legal Gun Manufacturers. Now it's cars. Soon, it'll be the food industry. Hopefully, some judges will dismiss the illegitimate cases.
Don't think the government meddles in your life? Guess again. They've just had their asses slapped for interferring in TV shows with an anti-drug message. The White House morons doled out $25million to the networks for including a strong anti-drug message in TV shows; now the government must be identified as a sponsor. Face it: the stinking government is everywhere and it'll get worse if it isn't curtailed and reigned-in.

Death Penalty On Holiday.
Instead of halting executions during the Christmas and New Year periods, the death chambers should be working overtime to rid the US of the subhuman filth. But alas, it was a quiet period. I scanned the eNewspapers dutifully, longing for some report of an execution, but none occurred, anywhere. Too bad.
But ó oh, be still my beating heart ó the next best thing happened: an off-duty cop shot and whacked two armed robbers at his mother's deli in NYC. Luvit! Nice job! Made my week.

Muslim Slime.
I've always been tolerant and respectful of other religions; me being raised a Methodist in the midwest, I had plenty Jewish and Catholic friends. It was only within the past 15 years that I'd heard about the wacko morons who populate the Muslim-Islam religion. It all started with that lowlife towelhead Ayatolla Khoemni in Iran, when our US Embassy's hostages were taken in '77. Since then, I've hated and despised the two-faced lying shitfilth Islam religion.
Here's another example of their innate religious hyprocisy: Killing Christians who don't want to convert to their pork-sucking dogshit religion.
Then, there are the racist idiot bigots from the Nation of Islam, featuring the wacko Louis "Calypso" Farra-con-man, and the murderous Muslim who whacked his girlfriend, and the list goes on for the hatred those ignorant sand idiots have for the West.
A large thermonuclear weapon up their collective billion towelhead asses would quickly solve the problem with that subhuman Muslim scum filth and the hate they preach and murderous acts they perpetrate. And what better time to exterminate those lowlifes than when they're praying to their f*cked-up false god, Allah The Scumbag, during their un-holy month of Rum-A-Dumb.

Execute This Filth.
Here's a subhuman piece of idiot shitfilth who needs execution for a '61 murder. For those lib-dem morons of you without a calculator, that's 39 f*cking years the lowlife murderer's been on death row at $70,000 per year. By my calculations, that's $69,999 more than it's worth to keep the piece of shit alive, per year, irregardless of what he thinks he's done to "rehab" his-own-damned-self. He needs to die for his crimes.
The murderous white trash piece of shit, Timmy "OKC Bomber" McVeigh, is back in the news, asking a federal judge to halt his appeals and set an execution date. Hey Timmy, you lowlife subhuman piece of filth, I have my .9mm and .357 magnum ready for your empty head, at any time. I'd be glad to waste your sorry ass, you scumbag.
A stinking liberal appeals court has freed a confessed and convicted triple murderer on a technicality, unless Texas retries him within 120 days. Once again, the filthy lib-dem courts interfere with Justice. And people wonder why the Death Penalty isn't that great of a social deterrent anymore.
The subhuman filth who did this ó scroll down halfway and look at the 2 injured baby girls ó should be executed upon capture; no trial. At churches on Christmas Day? I have no f*cking sympathy for such cowardly scumbags.
Either this guy got in a "lucky shot" or he'd whack Mikey "The Psycho" Tyson in the ring: A man suspected of punching another man to death outside a Manhattan strip club has turned himself in. He deserves the death penalty, either way. It was murder.
I'm truly sorry to see a decrease in capital punishment executions both in Virginia and Nationwide; there are still 3,700+ pieces of subhuman filth languishing on death row needing to be executed.
Here's 7 escaped convicts ó including two murderers and two rapists ó who are suspected of Killing a young cop and robbing a sporting goods store on Christmas Eve. The escaped convictsí rap sheets are a litany of evil. If they'd been executed as proscribed, none of this would have happened. Hey lib-dem filthf*ckers: you go to the dead cop's family and explain "why" they're loose and Killing people, moron scumbags. Me? I would have put .9mm's in each of their empty criminal skulls. End of problem.
I never liked Dumb Bugger Melon-head's (John Cougar Mellencamp) music anyway, and now that he had a pedophile in his band at the time, I like it even less. The lowlife piece of subhuman shitfilth should be executed upon capture, even if in Thailand.
Take a look at this thing guy; would you hire that? He or it belongs out in the woods eating bark and dirt, not in an office doing software testing. After murdering 7 people last Tuesday, he belongs in an execution chamber with all kinds of needles putting death juice into his veins. No trial, just a quick execution for this piece of white trash shit. Now there are 7 additional families in mourning for the New Year.

Media Inspiration.
This site rocks, plain and simple. A group of like-minded designers have scoured the web to bring us lucky viewers over 600 examples of challenging, creative web design. From goofy font archives to modem-crushing Shockwave demos, stock photo exhibits to facegenerators (just look), this eclectic collection of online eye-candy features something for everyone. If you're not sure where to start, check out the top-rated sites. But make sure you have some SDRAM and high bandwidth in reserve.

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