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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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   Grand Dragon of the Federation
Tuesday, January 11 2005
Throughout the day news trickled in about the various newspaper articles that had been written about the freakshow at the Ulster County Legislature last evening. The writing of objective newspaper articles is a difficult task, and not even the big boys at the New York Times can be counted on to get it right. (Gretchen says that she's been quoted in both the New York Times and in the New York Post, and only the New York Post ever got her quotes right.) The question, then, is what happens when a strictly farm-league newspaper like Kingston's Daily Freeman covers a strictly farm-league legislature like the one for Ulster County. With material like the kind witnessed last night, it doesn't seem like it would take a particularly gifted writer to paint a fascinating picture of paranoid Neanderthals predicting the imposition of a vegetarian state should they lose complete control over the tax dollars given to them by the county. But no, the local papers completely botched the coverage of the issue. For example, in the Daily Freeman was an article written by Hallie Arnold entitled "Pheasant Funding Flies," which made the claim that the conflict was over whether money should go into funding a program that included "raising and releasing pheasants into the wild." There was no mention of canned hunts for lazy hunters, a delicious detail that makes the difference between a compelling story and just another grey tempest in the local teepot. As written, the article gives the impression that the people opposing the funding are radical extremists, which is identical to the message of the Ulster County Sportsmen's Federation To win this fight, we're going to need to find a better writer at one of the local newspapers. Maybe the problem is that the editors at all the local papers are also members of the Federation. Call me paranoid, but I wouldn't be surprised if that federation infected local government and media at all levels. Maybe no decisions in this county happens at all unless the Grand Dragon of the Federation signs off on them personally from his throne in Boiceville or Kerhonkson (or some other suitable hillfolk village).

Tonight I got back into watching Queer Eye for the Straight Guy because of some advertising I'd seen for a new show called Queer Eye for the Straight Girl. The show tonight lay a little outside the usual formula, because it dealt with an unusually somber issue and a guy whose life couldn't fundamentally change. The subject was a straight guy about to be shipped off to Iraq on a tour of duty that would last for a year and a half at the minimum. So the fab five bought him a bunch of nice things, redid his cramped appartment, and went on to apply their magic to his wife as well. In the end the "lucky" couple were treated to a night in a fantastic roof-top condo overlooking Central Park. But since the story line was so inherently sad: a guy being separated from his wife and young daughter for a year and half spent fighting a war that those who can understand can't explain. Instead of their usual goofing around and witty repartee, the fab five were reduced to voicing vaguely-condescending platitudes that everyone utters these days upon encountering a poor sucker in the military. "We're really proud of you and the sacrifice you're making for our country." That kind of thing. It's not the kind of show that the fab five do best, and it was such a downer that Gretchen couldn't watch it. I didn't sit still for the whole thing myself either, even though I was kind of intrigued to see the formula play out under these different circumstances.

The home improvement project for today involved the creation of a new upstairs branch circuit leading all the way back to the upstairs circuit breaker box. This circuit went to a single new outlet in my laboratory just on the other side of the wall from the circuit breaker box and it only involved stringing only about three feet of 12 gauge romex. Despite its modest goals, it was a difficult job because I couldn't find the snake tape and I had to pull the wire through a wall full of fiberglass insulation. In the end, I managed to use a single piece of eight gauge copper wire as my snake tape.
But you're still left with the question, why did I need a new circuit, and why was it only to a single outlet? I needed this circuit for my electric hot water pot, which draws ten amps when it is heating water. Back when I had that pot hooked up to the general laboratory circuit (a 20 amp circuit), I could only count on having about ten amps continuously available, since half of it might or might not be taken up by the heating of water. But as of today this is no longer a problem. (When I lived in the Shaque in Virginia, the whole building was on a single fifteen amp circuit, and I use to occasionally trip that circuit when I'd be heating water and running the electric space heater at the same time.

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