Sunday, November 30, 2008

At the Big Lobster

Jon at the Big Lobster
Originally uploaded by jongrantham
We haven't seen as many "big" objects this time through Australia, but this was one of them. This was on Saturday's drive to Adelaide. The Internet access in the lounge at the Adelaide Hilton is doled out in 15 minute chunks, but at some point we'll break down and spring for the in-room access. At that point, I'll post more pictures.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving in Australia

We had a quite non-traditional Thanksgiving (again). We drove out of Melbourne, visited the National Wool Museum in Geelong, picked up the Great Ocean Road where we saw some amazing deserted beaches, and ended up at our B&B where our host used a stick to keep a horny koala away from a mother trying to protect her cub.




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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Arriving in Melbourne

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We got into Melbourne yesterday. We planned to burn most of the rest of our Marriott points for a couple of nights here to recover. That's quite a flight. After checking into our hotel, we walked to this espresso bar/pasta joint and had some of the best pasta I've had in quite some time.

Tomorrow we pick up the car and head out on the Great Ocean Road.

Friday, November 21, 2008

EuroQuest 2008

EuroQuest 2008
Originally uploaded by Eric E Haas
I didn't end up in too many pictures this year, but here I am playing Dominion, a game I was less than overwhelmed by.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Teddy

I sit here a couple of hours after having Teddy put to sleep, and I can't come up with any good sentences. I have been crying a lot. I am very grateful for Christina, who has taken "Love Me, Love My Dog" to such awesome extremes. I don't know how I would have gotten through today without her. Also, I don't know how I would have gotten through the last twelve years of my life without Teddy.

He made it past 16 years, which is quite impressive for a dog of his size. I've been consoling myself looking at some pictures of him. Of course, most of these are of Teddy in his later years, after I got a digital camera. But it thrills me to remind myself of what spirit and energy he maintained throughout his entire life. I can only hope I make as impressive of an "old man" as he did.



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Friday, November 14, 2008

Red state?

Despite the Obama win, some parts of North Carolina are as I remember.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Android's Dungeon Endorses...


Four years ago, I gave you my endorsements. I'm here to repeat that feat.


Barack Obama. Top Three Reasons:

  • The Courts. I saw a story that said that when Bush entered office, half of the federal judges were Republican appointees. Now it's something like two-thirds. That's getting way out of balance -- see the recent Supreme Court ruling that said that a woman who had been discriminated against could not receive back pay because her employer successfully hid from her the fact that she was being illegally underpaid.
  • Foreign Policy. I actually think Obama would disappoint a lot of people who expect a ton of multilateralism. I think he'll listen to what other countries want, and then do what he thinks is best for America. But we need a President who will actually listen -- if we want other countries to listen to us.
  • Taxes. The Bush tax cuts did not help the economy -- look at how much better things were under the higher Clinton tax rates in the 1990s. They did, however, succesfully redistribute wealth towards the wealthy and away from the wage-earner. As someone who earns an income (albeit a nice one), I'd like to see the American worker treated better by the tax code. The American capital-gains-earner has had his day.

Plus they gave us a cool yard sign.


Steny Hoyer. He continues to disappoint in a number of ways (bankrupcy bill, FISA, bailout), but his opponents are even worse.

Judge of Circuit Court/Judge of the Court of Special Appeals at Large

"I tend to think judges should stay in office unless they embarrass themselves significantly. In fact, I'm not sure we should be voting on them." That's what I said four years ago. I could not Google anything embarassing about these folks, so back to office they go.

Board of Education

Running unopposed, so I see no need to vote.

Constitutional Amendments

Question 1 is the early voting question. While I'm generally in favor of early voting, I think far too little attention has been drawn to the problem with absentee ballots. Namely, they undermine one of the main principles of our democracy -- the secret ballot. It's too easy to buy or coerce votes with absentee voting. Since this encourages both absentee and early voting, I'm going to have to vote no.

Question 2 is the slots question. I figure if you're going to take money from poor people to spend on schools, why not do it directly, instead of only picking on the poor people with gambling problems, and giving half their money to gambling companies? Gambling is fine for a trip to Vegas, but it doesn't belong as a neighborhood phenomenon. No.

Ballot Questions

These are at the county level. In the past, I've had trouble getting details on these (and hence voted no), but this year, someone on our town mailing list pointed me towards a useful page on the League of Women Voters web site. So here we go.

  • Question A: More money for libraries. I really like libraries. Yes.
  • Question B: More money for public safety. If public safety officials need new kitchens (among other things), someone is going to have to make an attempt to convince me. No.
  • Question C: More money for county buildings. Homeless Shelter, Courthouse, Health and Human services...they've put some pretty important buildings on there. Yes.
  • Question D: More money for roads. We need better roads around here. Yes.
  • Question E: More money for community colleges. I'm probably being a snob here, but I don't see the return on investment to the community. No.
  • Question F: Raise the phone tax from 8% to 11%. The people who want me to vote no have called me 3 times. Yes.
  • Question G: Expand public notice for County Council legislation from 5 days to 10. Anything that helps us keep better track of the County Council has to be good. Yes.
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