Thursday, November 09, 2006

Oh yeah, there was an election, wasn't there?

Some thoughts on Tuesday's election:

Schwartzenegger was re-elected. I voted for Peter Camejo, the Green candidate. Eh. I didn't really follow or care much about this election, but I'm not surprised that the unwashed masses voted for the movie star.

Actually, of all the top California state officers up for election, only two candidates I voted for won election: Jerry Brown (Democrat) for Attorney General and Steve Poizner (Republican) for Insurance Commisioner. Coincidentally, those two elections are the only ones (for top California state officers) where I didn't vote for the Green candidate. Oh, and my local Assembly person, Lori Saldaña (Democrat), whom I voted for, also won re-election.

For U.S. Senate, I voted for Todd Chretien (Green) against incumbent Dianne Feinstein (Republican) and I voted for incumbent Susan Davis (Democrat) for her House seat. Both incumbents won, but that's expected when there was no real controversy for either election. I have a strong distaste for Feinstein, especially regarding her seeming disregard of the 1st amendment (re: funding of California Missions and her sponsorship of a flag-burning amendment), but also for her willingness to cater to Republicans. But, it could have been worse - at least the Republicans didn't win.

For all those congressional elections that I couldn't vote on, I'm glad that the Republicans were swept from power, but I don't expect much out of the new Democratic leadership. By making promises before the election to not pursue impeachment proceedings against Bush, they've shown that they are willing to ignore our constitution and let Bush and his administration get away with their crimes. My only hope is that they plug the leak of our civil rights, if they don't have the balls to revert the damage already done.

Moving on to the propositions, I voted with the majority on 1A, but my No votes on 1B through 1E (all bonds) were countered by a population that apparently thinks that money grows on trees. My opposition to almost all the bonds on the ballot is not because I don't think that the projects they fund have merit; it's because I think that approval of bond measures sends the wrong message to our elected representatives. I am so disgusted with California politicians because part of their job is to figure out how to spend our tax dollars but, instead, they pawn this job off to us. Like Libertarians, I believe that bond measures are bad, but unlike Libertarians, I also think that our state taxes are too low. We should be able to fund the projects that need funding and I want my elected representative to actually do some work and figure out how to best spend my tax dollars. As it is, special interests push these bond measures and the ones that win are the ones that have the best advertisements. It's simply disgusting.

I voted for the $2.60 per pack cigarette tax (prop 86) and for prop 87, a tax on oil producers to fund alternative energy research and production, but both propositions lost. I am heartened, though, by the 48% and 45% Yes votes on those two measures. However, of all the propositions, prop 85 was the one I cared about the most - I am very happy that this "parental notification" measure failed, although I hate the fact that San Diego county voters voted in favor of it.

Speaking of San Diego, Jerry Sanders got his way with propositions B and C, both of which I voted against, but the fools that keep trying to put a commercial airport at Miramar lost on prop A, which I also voted against. I live in the flight path for Lindbergh field and would love to see that change, but anyone that thinks that the military is going to give up Miramar is chasing windmills. The better location to replace Lindbergh field, in my opinion, is Brown field, but our local politicians proved themselves gutless when that option was put on the table.

I had a gum graft today

My Molar (115_1514)Two years ago, I had a molar extracted and a bone graft in preparation for a dental implant. Long story short, the first implant failed, the second implant required an additional bone graft, and what should have taken less than a year took a year and a half. But, finally, after 18 months, I received my new tooth.Smile

That was 7 months ago.

Yesterday, I went to my dentist's office for my regular cleaning when the hygienist noticed that the gum on the buccal (cheek-side) of my implant was "interesting". Interesting is not a good word to hear from a dentist. It seemed to be a bit swollen and there was a fistula. So, they referred me back to my oral surgeon to have it checked out.

That same afternoon (still yesterday), I saw my oral surgeon and he was perplexed. After a brief discussion, it was decided that, perhaps, some bone graft material was trapped in the gum and the best solution would be to cut open the gum, clean it up a bit and stitch it back together. So, I scheduled my appointment for the next morning (this morning) and left with a feeling of dread.

So, I arrive at my appointment this morning, the assistant prepares my gums with some topical numbing agent and I'm brought into the surgical room. My oral surgeon administers some local anesthetic shots and begins digging around in my mouth. Luckily, I couldn't feel a thing during the whole process.

Afterwards, the doctor explained that my strong gum tissue had receded around my implant and had left behind only weak gum tissue, no bone graft material had been found, but that he had taken some spare strong gum tissue from just to the right of my last molar on the same side and placed it over my implant where the tissue was missing. This is known as a gum graft. He also placed some putty over the grafted gum and surrounding tissue to protect it while it heals. He then sent me home with painkillers and instructions to come back in a week to have the putty removed and to not chew on that side of the mouth until then.

The numbness has worn off and, luckily, I don't feel any discomfort or pain. So, I consider myself lucky and I hope that this is the end of my implant ordeal.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Don't Be Sending Me That Holocaust Denial Shit

I received five copies of a spam email from someone named Michael Crook with the subject line, "DENY THE JEWS HOLOCAUST! IT DIDN'T HAPPEND!" in my Inbox today.

First off, if you want to be an anti-Semite, you go right ahead, but if you want to convince someone else to be an anti-Semite, you might want to at least check your email subject line for misspellings.

Second, why the fuck would someone send me this? Do I come across as someone that would believe that the Holocaust didn't happen or that Jews molest children (one of the claims in the email)? I'll assume that the sender was a Christian, so I'll advise the sender that if they want to assault the Talmud for it's content (the email claims that the Talmud condones "sexual contact with young children", they should read their own x-rated bible for great tales of depravity. No, wait, for that matter, they should read The X-Rated Bible: An Irreverent Survey of Sex in the Scriptures by by Ben Edward Akerley, which I personally own and enjoy.

For the record, yes, the Holocaust happened and, yes, genocide still happens today all over the world. I have no reason nor desire to deny that the Holocaust happened. If I have anything against Judaism, it's the same thing that I have against Christianity - they're both based on the false assumption of a supernatural god and, as an atheist, I am naturally opposed to god-based religions. But, I don't deny their acts or acts perpetrated against them.

I don't know how many Jews were killed during the Holocaust for being Jewish, but I don't deny that 5 million, 6 million, or even 11 million are all possibly correct figures. But, even if it was only 1 million Jews or 1,000 Jews, it was still a tragedy.

I certainly don't agree with Judaism or Christianity on the terms of their "faith", but that does not mean that I subscribe to the beliefs of extremists that deny the Holocaust.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ding Dong, George Stevens is Dead... and Tower Records, too

Not surprisingly, news about San Diego ex-City Councilperson (and Reverend) George Stevens death didn't make it to Central Europe three weeks ago, so I didn't find out about it until today. I was waiting for my fish taco and sashimi salad order at Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill—excellent, as always—when I picked up a copy of San Diego Voice and Viewpoint as something to read while I waited. There on the front page was the news of George Steven's funeral. "Wow.", I thought first. "Good riddance", I thought next.

Mr. Stevens, you see, was not only a Baptist preacher and ex-politician, he was also an idiot who regularly played the racist card while he was on the San Diego City Council. And, after he was termed out of office and his successor was indicted for corruption (but died before trial), he tried to run again for city council for his disgraced colleague's (and his old) spot. Luckily, we were spared another dose of religion and racism when he lost the race (no pun intended).

No, I don't mourn for Mr. Stevens, but I do mourn for something else that died while I was on vacation in Europe. Well, actually, it didn't die yet, but will die in mid-December (probably). Tower Records was sold to some entity as part of a bankruptcy auction and their first act as new owners was to announce liquidation of and closure of all their retail locations. Apparently, the Tower Records web site will remain, but that's it.

I will admit that, except for 2 DVDs that I bought today at 30% off, I haven't bought music or movies from Tower Records in many years. But, prior to the internet and prior to my discovery of used CD stores, Tower Records was my place to buy records and cassettes from when I first started buying music in the early 80s until the early 90s when I finally bought a CD player. I didn't buy CDs there that much, though, but I had (and still have) a huge collection of cassettes, most of them bought from Tower. And, even when I couldn't afford to buy music, I still browsed the aisles at Tower for hours, going through the import section, title by title.

In the age of the internet, it was inevitable that Tower would die. Why buy something at Tower for the full MSRP when you could buy it online or used for much, much less? I don't buy music as much as I used to (and I certainly don't buy DRM-saddled music, like that available from iTunes or any other buy-a-song-not-an-album places), but it was nice to know that, if I wanted to, I could browse through a Tower Records and, if not buy their overpriced product, at least find something that I could look up online and buy at a lower cost later.

I will miss Tower Records. I will not miss old George.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Minor Pet Peeve

I have a pet peeve about pizza places and other restaurants that let you call in your order. If you have a web site that lists your phone number and menu, why don't you put the phone number on the same page as your menu? You get this right when you send out your coupons in the postal mail—the phone number is printed right there on the circular—so why can't you get this right on the web?

I admit it's minor, but still, I hate having to keep one tab open with the menu and the other tab open with the phone number.