Empty-walleted homeowner

Microwave oven stopped heating. No appliance repair shop on Oahu fixes microwaves. Purchased new microwave. $157.06 with tax at Sears.

Pool pump making screeching noise. Analysis: bearings gone bad. Solution: replace pump. Pump replaced. $420.94 from Precision Pools.

Extended warranty charges for dishwasher, refrigerator/freezer and oven all due for renewal this month. $775 or thereabouts. Has not yet appeared on Sears bill.

Pest/rodent exclusion job scheduled (seal holes, entry points above and below house). Team arrives Wednesday morning.

Harried homeowner

Microwave oven stopped heating. No appliance repair shop on Oahu fixes microwaves.

Pool pump making screeching noise. Analysis: bearings gone bad. Solution: replace pump.

Extended warranty charges for dishwasher, refrigerator/freezer and oven all due for renewal this month.

Pest/rodent exclusion job scheduled (seal holes, entry points above and below house).

Woe! Woe!

Dear NCAA

I know you won’t listen to me, but will you listen to nationally-known sportswriter John Feinstein and fix your damned game?

Lookit. The shot clock should be the same at all levels of the game above high school. That would make it simpler for the fans, the players, the coaches and the broadcasters. Right now it’s 24 seconds for both the NBA and the WNBA, 35 seconds for the NCAA men and 30 seconds for the NCAA women. Shorten it to 24. That would improve offense, which is down considerably from what it used to be.

There are too many timeouts. In addition to the four TV timeouts per half, each coach has five per game, one for a full minute and 4 for a half-minute apiece. That’s 18 per game! Cut down the number coaches get.

I don’t know how to solve the endless parade to the foul line at the end of games when the losing team has to foul to try to get the ball back, but better basketball minds than mine should try to find an answer to that, because what ought to be the most exciting part of the game is now the dullest.

Don’t sit back and count the dollars as they roll in and conclude your game is in great shape, because it’s not. TV ratings have dropped from 9.4 in 1993 to 6.7 two years ago. That’s not good.

The game is getting more and more dull. Listen to Mr. Feinstein. Fix it.

Pull the other one, Bibi

So now Prime Minister Netanyahu insists “I didn’t mean it” when he said he was abandoning the two-state solution to the Israeli – Palestinian conflict.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Thursday tried to backtrack from his pre-election declaration that no Palestinian state would be established on his watch…

[snip]

Mr. Netanyahu also said he had not been trying to suppress the votes of Arab citizens with an Election Day video warning that they were being bused to polling stations in “droves,” remarks that had also caused outrage at the White House and around the world.

Apparently no one in the White House believes that. I’d argue that no one in his right mind other than slavish supporters of the man should believe it. He took a policy that’s been in place for years, one that has been the stated policy of both Israel and its biggest (and almost only) ally, a policy that was unanimously agreed to by the US House of Representatives as recently as last year, and casually dumped it just to get re-elected. That dumping had the desired result, so now Bibi is trying to crawl back from his own words. Someone should remind him about videotape and cellphone cameras.

He’s a really nasty piece of work. He’d fit right in with Mitch McConnell in the Republican caucus of the US Senate.

Bibi and the Southern Strategy

We now know that Netanyahu and his Likud party won more seats in the Israeli Knesset than any other party. But he has to form a coalition (you need 61 seats/votes to hold a majority in the 120-seat parliament, and Likud won 30), which might be possible if he finds common cause with the smaller ultra-nationalist parties which got 10, 7, 6 or fewer seats.

Doing so, though, means he pretty much has to abandon the two-state peace process the Palestinians, the Americans and the United Nations have been pushing for what seems like an eon. He said so while campaigning. The other reprehensible thing he did while campaigning was post on Facebook “Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls. Left-wing organizations are busing them out.”. That’s straight out of the playbook of some Southern American GOP party chairmen.

So now the Palestinians find themselves without an Israel to partner with for a two-state solution, and they find instead a man and a country which seemingly wants to continue to occupy the West Bank, continue to settle more and more settlers on Palestinian land, and keep the Palestinians from moving freely about the land they do control.

Those being the circumstances, I expect them to continue to take their case to the United Nations.

With Mr. Netanyahu having dropped, for now at least, the pretense of seeking a two-state solution, the Palestinians can argue to Europe and the United States that they no longer have a negotiating partner, strengthening their case for full statehood and recognition in the United Nations, as well as membership in important international bodies. They are already members of the International Criminal Court and Unesco.

“If somebody said, ‘We are with two states, and real negotiations,’ we would return to negotiations,” said Assad Abdul Rahman. “But there is no partner for that.”

One wonders if they might try to get the UN Security Council to recognize them as a state.

Palestinian officials said they were still weighing whether to try to seek full statehood recognition from the Security Council. They failed in a previous bid, in December, for a Council resolution that would have set a deadline to establish a sovereign Palestinian state. The United States and Australia voted against it.

Would the US and Australia vote against it again, now that Netanyahu has declared the peace process dead? The entire Republican party in this country would explode with anger if the Obama Administration did concur or even abstain, I imagine, and the Israel lobby AIPAC would throw seven kinds of fit, but Congress can’t override a UN Security Council vote, so what could they do? Impeach Obama? Hardly.

We live in interesting times. Again.

Another domino falls

Headline: Presbyterians approve gay marriage in church constitution

The new wording for the church Book of Order will read, “Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives.”

That’s roughly 10,000 congregations and about 1.8 million members.

That makes the Presbyterians “the largest US Protestant group to formally recognize gay marriage as Christian and allow same-sex weddings in every congregation.”

“Wait,” you say. “What about the Episcopalians? They already ordained a gay priest, right? So what about them?” They don’t have a formal position on gay marriage. Bishops can instruct their priests whether they can officiate at the ceremonies. They’ll take up gay marriage at a national meeting in June.

Surprisingly to me, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America eliminated barriers to gay ordination in 2009 and allows some discretion by clergy and congregations to officiate at same-sex ceremonies without formally recognizing same-sex marriage as a denomination.

On the other hand, the United Methodist Church, the second-largest Protestant denomination in the US, “bars ‘self-avowed practicing homosexuals’ from ordination and prohibits gay weddings.”

Small steps, small steps.

New passphrase ideas

A while back I read somebody’s suggestion that sentences make better passwords than the usual “combination of 8-12 letters and numbers and special characters.” I never did anything about it with my own codes, but it made some sense to me.

So today I’m reading Facebook and run across Kim Baron’s post about a meatloaf she was cooking, and then Lester Norton (Solonor) commented:

“The weird meatloaf is in the oven.” is my new passphrase.

Well now. Suppose you take a well-known phrase you’re going to remember and change a single word:

  • You killed my meatloaf. Prepare to die. (Princess Bride)
  • My meatloaf is full of eels. (Monty Python)
  • I think we’re all bozos on this meatloaf. (Firesign Theater)
  • You’re gonna need a bigger meatloaf. (Jaws)
  • Of all the meatloafs in all the world… (Casablanca)
  • Meatloaf! (Citizen Kane)
  • I’m gonna make him a meatloaf he can’t refuse. (The Godfather)

Any one of those might be an easily remembered passphrase and probably reasonably secure too.