“Yes, I would have voted for the authority [to use force in Iraq]. I believe it is the right authority for a president to have. But I would have used that authority, as I have said throughout this campaign, effectively. I would have done this very differently from the way President Bush has. My question to President Bush is: Why did he rush to war without a plan to win the peace? Why did he rush to war on faulty intelligence and not do the hard work necessary to give America the truth?” — Kerry, Aug. 9

“He now agrees it was the right decision to go into Iraq. After months of questioning my motives, and even my credibility, the Massachusetts senator now agrees with me that even though we have not found the stockpiles of weapons we all believed were there, knowing everything we know today, he would have voted to go into Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power.” — Bush, Aug. 18

(Taken from the Washington Post’s Web site)

So Kerry says that he felt that Bush should have been able to negotiate with Saddam while holding the authority to go to war, but that we should not have rushed to war. And Bush says that Kerry said that Kerry agreed that that it was the right decision to go to war. There is a huge, huge difference between what Kerry said, and what Bush says that Kerry said.

And why did Bush make that mistake? Is it because he’s too stupid to tell the difference?

I don’t think so.

I think it’s because he thinks you’re too stupid to tell the difference.


The wordsmith.org word of the day is “whilom,” which means “formerly,” as in “[H]e quotes the whilom CEO of RJR Nabisco, Ross Johnson . . . .”

So, I’m thinking, whoever heard of that word? If I use that word in conversation, who is going to have any idea what I’m talking about? Where did they even come up with their quoted examples of the use of the word (the above is from the Washington Post, 10/6/1991)?

So, I do a google search for the word, and the entire first page of results is nothing but dictionary definitions of the word, many calling the word “weird” or “difficult” or “brainy”.

So, what is that? Is this even a real word, if its primary “use” is to be a hard-to-know word?

So, how do you know if you’ve found a cool, new difficult word, or a ridiculous, useless word, anyway? I’ll tell you how: if it is useful. If “whilom” just means formerly, and has no “sense” other than the sense of being obscure, then it is useless, since we can do everything we want the word whilom to do, by just using the word “formerly.”

By contrast, an almost equally obscure word, which was also a word-of-the day, is “callipygian,” which is now one of my favorite words. It means, “having a shapely buttocks.” That is a useful word that you can use at least a couple of times a month, and which describes a concept for which there is no other word, and which describes an extremely common phenomenon, for which we most certainly need a word.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that concepts are like crevices in the sidewalk, and useful words fill up those crevices, while useless words pile up for us to trip over.

P.S.: the blogger.com spell-checker has never heard of whilom or callipygian!


In the past week, my air conditioner has broken, my TiVo has stopped recognizing my network adapter and can’t get new program information, My caller ID box has stopped working, I can’t get my spare computer to connect to the Internet, that back computer has been flooded with spyware that my spyware detecting software isn’t finding, I just bought a CD player from the Sharper Image yesterday that won’t turn on, my Internet connection on my primary computer has suddenly gotten incredibly slow, and I can’t get Photoshop to print anything.

I don’t know, maybe that’s normal? I’m always hearing technophobes say how nothing ever works for them, and I always believe them, that the problem is them and not the technology. Indeed, practically all these things can be repaired, but I don’t know how to repair any of them. And I can fix some things that are easier to fix, enough to the point where things usually work for me, and that’s probably why I’m technofile instead of a technophobe. And when nothing will work, all at once, it’s very easy for me to turn inward and think the problem must be me. But it’s not me; that’s crazy. I’m still the same person I was a week ago, and I’m going to fix every single one of these problems or have them fixed by somebody else.


I love Textaloud MP3 from nextup.com/. It translates any text into computer generated speech. The newest voice from neospeech, Paul16, is absolutely amazing, and could easily convince most anybody that he or she was listening to a human speaker, under the right circumstances.

Here’s my problem with it.

When it comes across a “curse word” it says “beep” instead of the word. It doesn’t make a beeping sound– it says the word “beep,” as though that’s what the letters F-U-C-K or S-H-I-T spell. Now I’m a grown-up, who doesn’t need to be protected from the text files he already has access to. But I also don’t need to be sitting up late at night trying to think of curse words that might be beeped out, and then checking them to see if they’ll be pronounced or not, and then spelling them out phonetically, so that the things I read or listen to won’t be censored. I’m a sensitive guy, and I don’t need that beep in my life. Seriously, what the beep, man? Ah. Beep this.

No, seriously, I had to come up with alternate-yet-correct pronunciations for “fuck”, “shit”, “cum”, “ass” and such words. Fair enough, I guess, maybe. But it actually beeped out “cock” (a male chicken), “bitch” (a female dog, and a word I truly, truly hate when used in any other context), and “rape”– seriously, it said “beep” instead of “rape.” These are non-profane, English words. I shouldn’t have to think about them, much less think about spelling them “fuhk”, “shitt”, “come”, “ahss”, and so on, so that they’ll be pronounced correctly, and I won’t be treated as a child by my computer.



I was watching Inside Politics on CNN today, and Judy Woodruff asked how she could be sure that Iraq had turned a corner (i.e., and are ready to assume sovereignty). In her answer, Condoleezza Rice said “The Iraqis don’t like occupation any more than we would like occupation, and it is time for that occupation to end.”

She sounds like an anti-war activist to me! Where was that thinking when the US decided to invade, and we were promised that they would greet us with open arms? This really re-enforced my impression of an administration that will say anything and twist any fact to make it support their viewpoint.

This broader statement is my number one complaint about the Bush administration.

For example, when the economy was obviously getting worse, that proved that we need to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, in order to help the economy. But when some data showed the economy improving, that proved that we need to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, because they are working. When victory in Iraq seemed at first to have been easy and quick with a minimal loss of life, that proved that we did the right thing to invade. But when attacks against Americans increased after the “end of major combat operations”, that proved that the enemies of freedom were getting more desperate, and we therefore had done the right thing to invade. Obviously, if we had found proof of WMD before the war, that would have proven their existence and that we needed to invade. But when we didn’t, we were assured that the absence of a smoking gun was because you can’t see the smoke from guns that are hidden– in other words, our failure to find WMD before the war proved that they were well-hidden, and that we needed to invade.

It’s like that with them, with everything. Like words are just weapons that can be pointed in any direction with identical effect, and are totally disconnected from the truth or even from meaning.


The second anniversary of this blog, The Official Record, came and went on May 31. It’s third year is well underway. Where does the time go?

UPDATE: I don’t know what I was thinking. My anniversary is July 31, not May 31. That’s probably why it flew by so quickly.

MOVIE REVIEW: GOOD BYE LENNIN! * * 1/2 (2 and a half stars out of 4).

This German language farce is about a son who pretends that East Germany is still comunist in order not to shock his frail mother, who has just emerged from a coma. It’s cute, and funny, but, I think, really misses the opportunity to say anything really important or profound or terribly clever.


It’s kind of unfair to Quenton Tarentino that every movie he ever makes will always be compared to Pulp Fiction. I mean, nobody says that, say, School of Rock was an okay movie, but it wasn’t as good as Pulp Fiction. Almost no movie can stand up to that comparison, and Kill Bill Volume 2 is no exception. KBv2 also wasn’t quite as good as Volume 1, either, I thought. There were some clever, violent scenes, and one very cool speech at the end, about Superman. But as cute as that speech was, it really illustrated how wrong it was that there weren’t a dozen more speeches and conversations that were just as good or better. All in all, it wasn’t Tarentino’s best, but an average Tarentino movie is a lot better than most movies.

MOVIE REVIEW: ENCHANTED ELLA * * 1/2 (2 and a half stars out of 4).

This movie was cute and fun. Basically, the gimmick is that it’s like the Flintstones, with all sorts of modern conveniences, but set in the middle ages, in a fairy tale kingdom. Also, there was just way too many times when even the dumbest person in the audience has to just throw his or her hands up, and say, “Why doesn’t she just do this?”


The weekend before last was my birthday.

David D. of Washington, D.C. and his girlfriend, Stephanie T. came to visit, and they took me out for dinner for my birthday at the Redeye Grill.

Saturday and Sunday, I went to Atlantic City for my birthday. See my previous blog entry.

Last weekend, on Friday, I tried to see a movie at the Tribeca film festival with Manny F.. But the line was too long and we didn’t get in, so we had dinner with Judy V. instead at Southwest New York.

On Saturday, Manny and I went to see Good bye Lennin!, review to follow.

On Sunday, Steve K. and I circumnavigated Central Park by bicycle, and then watched the sun set over the Hudson with a couple of drinks on the roof of my 32 story apartment building. Then we had dinner at Island Burgers and Shakes.


My birthday was Sunday, May 2. For my birthday, I hired a limousine to take me, Danny B., Alan B., Manny F., Steve K., Graham M., and Mei X. all to Atlantic City (and back), where we stayed one night at the Showboat. We all had a great time, and, before you ask, being 33 feels just like being 32. The highlight of the weekend was when my family surprised me by sending a birthday cake to the hotel, which was the one thing I had failed to arrange for.


From the Onion:

Bush To Iraqi Militants: ‘Please Stop Bringing It On’

WASHINGTON, DC–In an internationally televised statement Monday, President Bush modified a July 2003 challenge to Iraqi militants attacking U.S. forces. “Terrorists, Saddam loyalists, and anti-American insurgents: Please stop bringing it on now,” Bush said at a Monday press conference. “Nine months and 500 U.S. casualties ago, I may have invited y’all to bring it on, but as of today, I formally rescind that statement. I would officially like for you to step back.” The president added that the “it” Iraqis should stop bringing includes gunfire, bombings, grenade attacks, and suicide missions of all types.


I’ve been very lax about posting to my blog, while I’ve been working on another Internet project.

Here’s what’s been going on this month.

At the beginning of the month, I went to a business meeting for a company that I’m investing in that I can’t discuss at all, because I signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

Good ol’ Dav C. came to visit the following weekend. We did all kinds of fun things. we went to some good restaurants and saw Match on Broadway (reviews to come). We also went to this wild exhibit of musical instruments made out of toys and household appliances. My favorite was a printer that you could make play different tunes by pressing buttons to make it print faster or slower, and it printed out pictures while it was doing this, as a sort of exhaust.

Since then, I’ve seen Embedded and Matt & Ben Off-Broadway and the movies Kill Bill: Volume 2, Ella Enchanted (reviews to follow). I also saw a free screening of an unfinished version of the upcoming movie The Brothers Grimm (which I also can’t review because of an NDA). According to imdb.com, it was directed by Terry Gilliam and stars Matt Damon.


I wrote this the other day. I think it’s a little rough, but I really think it’s a great idea for something. I’d just love to see how they’d handle it if you tried to say it on TV.


A: Well B, I’m going to Washington. You know, the Presidential administration gave me a job as a political consultant.

B: Look A, if you’re their political consutlant, you must know the names of all the leaders.

A: I certainly do.

B: Well you know I’ve never met the guys. So you’ll have to tell me their names, and then I’ll know who’s running the country.

A: Oh, I’ll tell you their names, but you know it seems to me they give these politicians nowadays very peculiar names.

B: Well, what’s the President’s name?

A: Oh, I like Bush.

B: I do, too. But what’s the President’s name?

A: I just told you his name.

B: You just said you like Bush.

A: I certainly do.

B: Well, so do I, but what’s the President’s name?

A: You just said it!

B: I thought we were talking about Bush!

A: We are.

B: But I want to talk about the President.

A: Bush?

B: No the President!

A: You mean Bush?

B: No, I mean the President!

A: Uh, Bush.

B: Alright, alright, never mind. Does this President have a Vice President?

A: Of course.

B: Do you know him personally.

A: Oh, I don’t know Dick.

B: That’s how it seems to me.

A: Why, do you know him?

B: I don’t even know his name.

A: I just told you his name.

B: What??!? You just told me you don’t know anything.

A: Oh, I know I don’t really like him very much.

B: And the name of this dick?

A: Exactly.

B: Exactly?

A: Exactly.

B: So the Vice President’s name is Exactly?

A: No, Dick.

B: Hey, all I want is the fellow’s name!

A: Dick.

B: Are you trying to start something?

A: I’m trying to tell you the fellow’s name, Dick.

B: Well then just tell it to me, cocksucker!

A: Dick!

B: Stop calling me names, and tell me the Vice President’s name!

A: Dick! Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick!

B: You know what? Why don’t you just stick it up your colon?

A: What did you say?

B: I said stick it up your colon!

A: Oh, that’s our Secretary of State!



On Friday, I had lunch with my Cousin Michael and my first cousin once removed Howard, and all their children.

Friday night, I saw Silent Laughter with Jin K.

On Saturday, I went to the Children’s Museum of the Arts in SoHo with my cousin Michael, his wife Stephanie, and their twin children, Nick and Sabrina, and my cousin Barry, his wife Sara, and their younger two children, Joshua and Kayla

Saturday night, I had dinner at Hakata and had a drink with Alan B.

Sunday, I had Brunch at Town, with Manny F. and Mai X. Then we all went to the grand opening of the new Queenscenter mall in Queens, and had dinner at Red Lobster in the mall.


I’ve lately been TiVoing a lot of silent movies, and then watching them in triple speed, since there’s nothing to hear. A lot of Charlie Chaplin movies are only about 45 minutes to start with, so I can get through one in 15 minutes without missing a thing.

To find silent movies with your TiVo, do a wishlist for keyword “silent” and category “Movies.” You can also specify a sub-category, such as comedy or whatever. But don’t auto-record them, because then you’ll get movies with “silent” in the name or description, as well as silent movies.

THEATER REVIEW: SILENT LAUGHTER * * 1/2 (2 and a half stars out of 4).

This was a very clever idea that could have been done better. The idea is that none of the actors speak, and there are no sound effects. Plus, all the costumes, sets, and props are all black and white. It’s a very cute idea, and really original and different. And it was funny and entertaining, but not as much as a really good old silent movie. Plus, they really over-used the dialogue printed on the screen. A real silent movie typically has no more than a hundred words of dialogue, but this had more like a thousand or so. If they’re just going to have an ordinary conversation, then what’s the point of making it silent, anyway?

MOVIE REVIEW: EUROTRIP (2004) * * * 1/2 (3 and a half stars out of 4).

I was expecting very little from this movie, which I only saw because it was about to start just as Andy M. and I were walking by the theater. But I laughed and laughed again and again at this very funny movie. Be warned: there is quite a lot of gratuitous nudity in this movie, both male and female.


The new Jim Carrey/Kate Winslet high-budget art film, written by Charlie Kaufman takes a bizarre premise, but doesn’t bring on any too-clever twists and turns. It is about a product that lets you erase your memories of your relationship with someone that you’d rather forget. I suppose its a criticism of the current trend of taking a pill when you are depressed instead of dealing with your memories and feelings the old-fashioned way. In the end, I am left with a serious question about the plot, that I think is a problem on their end. I left it in the comments section, so only look at that if you’ve already seen the movie.


Sorry for the delay in posting. Anyway, my brother’s wedding was beautiful. As best man, I had make a toast, which I was very nervous about, until I gave it, when it went smoothly, and I was finally able to relax. I won’t bore you with the whole toast, but some people told me they thought the opening was cute. I said, “I think it’s been really unfair to Greg, having me as a brother. In any other family, everybody would have called Greg ‘the smart one.’ Instead, he grew up in the only family where he could be the emotionally well-balanced one.” The other toasts were at least as touching as mine, and the whole affair was just spectacular. There was this amazing ice sculpture of a couple of dachshunds leaning against a table, and atop the ice table was a martini bar, including a bowl of ice, where the bowl itself was made of the single piece of ice that comprised the sculpture. The food was top notch, with too many top notch items to list all of them, though the sushi and the steak were both exceptional, and I’m not a big steak fan in general. The dessert deserves a special mention, as it might have been the best dessert I ever had. It was ice-cream in a warm fudge chocolate cookie crust that I am failing adequately to describe. The ceremony itself was lovely, with several cute, untraditional touches, such as asking seven guests/couples to each give a blessing. Mine was, “may you be blessed with wonderful children who make you very proud.” Plus, all my cousins’ children who were old enough to walk marched down the aisle at the beginning of the ceremony. That was fifteen children walking, plus another four pre-toddlers. Plus, their dog, Katie (a tiny mini-dachshund) marched down the aisle as well, in a doggie-bridesmaid gown. Oh, and I’ve never seen so many roses in one place before, including florist shops and rose gardens.

The whole wedding weekend was filled with non-stop family activities for both sides’ huge extended families who came together for the celebration, and other close friends. On Thursday night Greg and Rachel (oh that’s my brother and sister in law’s names, by the way) rented ten lanes at a bowling alley for everyone, which was a lot of fun with the many, many young children. Friday was the rehearsal, plus the rehearsal dinner at Dave and Buster’s which has surprisingly good food. There was also a show, in which a few fun-loving couples played a version of the Newlywed game. Saturday was the wedding, of course. Then Sunday was a lovely out-door buffet brunch at my parents’ house, with live entertainment for the all the kids. It was also my “sister-in-law-in-law’s” (i.e., Rachel’s sister’s) birthday, so I made sure we got a cake for that, too.

Greg and Rachel missed the brunch, because they left that morning for their honeymoon in Hawaii. They just got back yesterday.


I just got back from Florida, where I went for my brother’s wedding. More to come on that.


You are a BUFFOON. Why must you always be the
center of attention? Don’t you know you’re
making an ass of yourself?

Just What Kind of an Idiot are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


Just what kind of an idiot are you? Take this simple quiz and find out.

I wrote it myself, at quizilla.


Here’s how I score the next election right now, off the top of my head. Since I haven’t looked at polls in every state, this is sure to be highly inaccurate, so I’d appreciate any suggestions anybody has.

John F. Kerry (blue) wins 223 votes in AZ, CA, CO, DC, DE, HI, IL, ME, MD, MA, MI, NJ, NM, NY, VT, WA, and WI

George W. Bush (orange) wins 137 votes in AL, AK, GA, LA, MS, NV, NH, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV.

The green states, totaling 178 votes, are too close (or I’m too ignorant) for me to call them: AR, CT, FL, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, MN, MO, MT, NE, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, UT, WY.

Obviously, in addition to any mistakes I’ve already made, it’s also true that much will probably change between now and November.

To make your own electoral map, go here.


My Results actually sound about right:

“YOU ARE RULE 11! You were designed to make sure that attorneys in federal cases make reasonable inquiries into fact or law before submitting pleadings, motions, or other papers. You were a real hardass in 1983, when you snuffed out all legal creativity from federal proceedings and embarassed well-meaning but overzealous attorneys. You loosened up a bit in 1993, when you began allowing plaintiffs to make allegations in their complaints that are likely to have evidenciary support after discovery, and when you allowed a 21 day period for the erring attorney to withdraw the errant motion. Sure, you keep everything running on the up and up, but it’s clear that things would be a lot more fun without you around.”

Take the quiz!

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