The Chestnut Tree Cafe
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
She said yes

I asked Bonnie to marry me and... well, if you read the title to this post, you know what her response was.

FAQ's-- or more precisely, answers to FAQ's:
Date? Not yet. Sooner rather than later...but probably a year from now.
Place? Most likely the Monterey/Salinas/Big Sur/Santa Cruz area. That's where her family is.
Size? Small wedding most likely outside. She's Catholic...and I was more or less willing to get married in the church she attended in Castorville- until the Catholic church pissed us off (state of Mass and gay adoption). Nondenominational service somewhere yet to be determined.
How long have we been "dating"? We met in 2001- but tragically, she was attached at the time. Free by Jan of 2002, we started dating then. We moved in together... I think it was a year and a half later. Shorter answer: 4years.

Details. Months ago I went to a place called the Wedding Ring Workshop. I'd been discussing with them the possibility of making an engagement ring-- and they agreed to assist in the project even though they typically make wedding rings.

At the WRW- the client makes the rings while supervised by a jeweler- follow the link if you would like to know more.

Bonnie did come along for that manufacture- it helped to have here there for the fitting, as well as being fun and romantic. But she didn't get the ring that day: there's one step in the process that is deemed too difficult for the client to do- stone settings. As it turned out, my mother donated the stones from her mother's engagement ring (does that count as something old or something borrowed?) So off it went.

Once I had the ring back, I sought reservations in a wonderful little rustic town called Julian, which northeast of San Diego. Julian's a great town, and was the locale of one of our first dates, so it made a great setting for getting engaged.

Now- in honestly, I had what I thought was a pretty romantic plan. Our aforementioned date in Julian had been a hike in the Cleveland National Forest along the flanks of Mt. Laguna. In fact, during a picnic there along the trail- we'd shared our first kiss (I know, I know: too much info). I knew the trail and the place where this start to our relationship had happened and thought it would make a great symbolic start to the next phase of our lives together.

So I packed the ring in a box of carrots in a picnic lunch.....and was totally outflanked by Mother Nature.

But that's to come. I got us reservations at a bed and breakfast that overlooks the town of Julian called Orchard Hill Country Inn. For the weekend I selected the Sweet Bough Cottage Room.

Now- its been a dry and warm winter here in SD, so what could go wrong?

But of course, we got hit with the storm of the century.

We barely got up to Julian before the bulk of the storm hit. When we got to town, all the shops were closing (we barely got pie!). Soon enough the storm started to hit, our car got stuck in the Orchard Hill parking area, and we were settled in to weather the storm.

To make a long story short- we had a great time: we built a snow man, went for a walk through at least 12" of snow in downtown Julian, tossed a few snowballs, and had some really outstanding food. Orchard Hill is a bit overpriced in my estimation-- but their food is pretty darn good.

Oh yeah: we had some pretty good wine too.

Over dinner Saturday night- after the main course and before the desert- I pulled out my cellphone and passed it to Bonnie.

"Here," I said. "You'll be needing this."

"Why?" she asked.

"To call your mom."

"Why do I need to call my mom?" she asked.

"To tell her about this," I said, pulling out the box with the ring in it.

She smiled. And waited.

"Well, aren't you going to ask?" she demanded.

"I think it speaks for itself," I joked.

She'd have kicked me in the shins, if she could have, but fortunately for my shins, the table leg was in the way.

"I'm just kidding," I said. And then- honestly I can't remember my exact words- I asked. She said yes. It was great.

And now you know (if you bothered to read all of this) just about everything I can tell you. To my single friends in the audience: take this one bit of advice. Don't make a stupid joke in the proposal: it didn't really create any problems at the time, but it really looks sorta bad in the retelling.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
For the love of God!

Take action! Tell your Senators that Alito isn't your choice for the Supreme Court.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
I'll be

Miracles do happen: congrats to the survivors, their families and loved ones.

Now. How about legislating more power to regulatory organizations so we don't have to count on acts of God to keep people safe at work? You know, so God can do more important things.

Update: Unfortunately, miracles don't happen after all. Damn.
Fcuk Bush

Bush: I'll torture 'em if I wanna.

So Much for the President's Assent to the McCain Amendment

Marty Lederman

...Most importantly, as to the McCain Amendment... the President wrote:

The executive branch shall construe Title X in Division A of the Act, relating to detainees, in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power, which will assist in achieving the shared objective of the Congress and the President, evidenced in Title X, of protecting the American people from further terrorist attacks.

Translation: I reserve the constitutional right to waterboard when it will "assist" in protecting the American people from terrorist attacks. [UPDATE: Or, as Matthew Franck eagerly puts it over at the National Review, "the signing statement . . . conveys the good news that the president is not taking the McCain amendment lying down."]...

And if McCain doesn't make a stink about this- well fcuk him too.

Via the Booman Tribune- a great blog.
Science! (the dismal variety)

Bad news for GOPpers: tax cuts don't pay for themselves.

This will not please the tax cut fanatics and proponents of the Laffer curve... [a] report from the CBO discussed in this Economic View by Daniel Altman from the New York Times:
Even in his most generous scenario, only 28 percent of lost tax revenue is recouped over a 10-year period. The United States, it seems, is firmly planted on the left side of the Laffer Curve. Recent experience corroborates this prediction. In the second quarter of 2001, just before the first of President Bush's tax cuts took effect, federal receipts from personal taxes accounted for 10.3 percent of the economy. By the end of the post-recession slump, receipts had dropped to 6.4 percent. But in the third quarter of 2005, with the economy booming, they were still under 7.5 percent - an enormous difference.

Via Brad DeLong

So much for the "But SUV's are safer!" argument.

Children are no safer riding in sport utility vehicles than in passenger cars, largely because the doubled risk of rollovers in SUVs cancels out the safety advantages of their greater size and weight, according to a study.

Researchers said the findings dispel the bigger-equals-safer myth that has helped fuel the growing popularity of SUVs among families. SUV registrations climbed 250 percent in the United States between 1995 and 2002.


On average, the SUVs weighed 1,300 pounds more than the cars studied. The study found that the extra weight of SUVs enhanced safety, reducing the risk of injury by more than a third.

But that was offset by findings that SUVs were more than twice as likely as cars to roll over in crashes.

Children in rollovers were three times more likely to be seriously injured than those in non-rollover accidents, according to the study.
Not surprising

Support for the Commander and Chief's failed policies eroding in the military.

Support for President George W. Bush's Iraq policy has fallen among the US armed forces to just 54 percent from 63 percent a year ago, according to a poll by the magazine group Military Times.

In its annual survey of the views of military personnel, the group reported on its website that support for Bush's overall policies dropped over the past year to 60 percent from 71 percent.


Military Times... cautioned that its poll, of 1,215 active-duty servicemen, is not necessarily representative of the military as a whole.

The respondents were "on average older, more experienced, more likely to be officers and more career-oriented than the military population."
Sunday, January 01, 2006
The Amazing Flutie

First time in the NFL since '41. One for the record books.

Flutie took his position for a regular shotgun snap, then retreated to the 12 yard-line to await the ball; he caught the ball, dropped it to the grass and kicked it off the short hop straight through the uprights. After getting a hug on the field by his teammates, Flutie ran off to embrace Belichick.


"I was kind of pleased to know that somebody can still drop kick," Saban said. "Man, when I was a kid we all practiced that. Thought it was a lost art.

"But," he added, "you know Flutie showed his age on that one."

I got to meet Mr. Flutie a couple of times professionally: what a class act. On the field- well, I know its so over used its a cliche-- but no one that I've ever seen played with more optimism, more spunk, and more heart: he was (and continues to be) a lot of fun to watch. Only time I ever rooted for the Chargers, really, was when he took the field (in fact- I swear there was a great screenplay for a "fictionalized" football version of Bull Durham just screaming to be made of his season with the Chargers...ah well, it just wasn't meant to be I guess).

I know no record stands "forever", but I honestly wouldn't mind if, 200 years from now, some announcer notes on the HD/tri-d webcast of a game that only one record in the NFL has stood for 200 years- Doug Flutie's drop kick.

Sure its a small thing in the grand scope of things...but hats off to Mr. Flutie.

- and a second doff to the coach that let him go for it. In today's corporate- no -risk game, its nice (even in a game that didn't mean anything) to see someone take a risk like that. I wish I'd seen it: I bet it was a hoot.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Feingold '08

Reasons to leave Hillary in NY:

Hillary Clinton: Defender of Family Values.

Hillary is spinning herself silly to broaden her base in preparation for her 2008 presidential run. Most irritating is her campaign against the "silent epidemic" of media sex and violence. The "epidemic" isn't really silent, of course; it's blasting out of every radio speaker and cineplex. It's the politicians who are silent -- except when it suits their purposes to squawk.
Not above the law

(click on image to expand)
Monday, December 26, 2005

Even out of the administration, Powell is doing his best to blow for Bush.

Former secretary of state Colin Powell has defended the US administration arguing there was "nothing wrong" with President George W. Bush's not seeking warrants before engaging in domestic spying.

Nothing wrong with it except that the Constitution prohibits such things. And the issue, Colon, is that Bush didn't seek a warrant at all. FISA allows for monitoring to start before a warrant is issued, as long as the warrant is secured within 72 hours.

"I see absolutely nothing wrong with the president authorizing these kinds of actions," Powell told ABC television Sunday after revelations last week that Bush authorized the National Security Agency to intercept communications by Americans with no approval from a special foreign intelligence court.

"The president made a determination that he had sufficient authority from the Congress to do this in the way that he did it, without getting warrants from the courts or reporting to the courts after doing it," Powell said.

All I can say is that I'm very very sorry I ever said I would have backed this guy for the Presidency. Clearly he is unfit for the role.

Champollion at Rising Hegemon has much the same.
America haters

Why do they want the terrorists to win?

The top US military commander admitted that Iraqis wanted US and other foreign troops to leave the country "as soon as possible," and said US troop levels in Iraq were now being re-assessed on a monthly basis.

Bush has said repeatedly that we won't leave til the job is done and those that want our troops out of Iraq want the terrorists to win- so, by Bush's logic, the Iraqis want their country to descend into an al Qaeda training ground?

Watch most of the troops come home right before the mid terms in an attempt to boost flagging GOP Congressmembers up for reelection. Returned to America because Iraq doesn't want us anymore.

Frankly- I don't care. If that's what it takes to get them home- fine. Hopefully people will see through the shameless politics of it and not give the bums more time in office.

And I also can't blame the Iraqis for wanting us out. 30,000+ Iraqis dead - and that's the low estimate- because of the war is an awfully steep price to pay for them.
Surprise surprise surprise

Bush tried to deceive us about the amount of domestic spying?

The volume of information gathered from telephone and Internet communications by the National Security Agency without court-approved warrants was much larger than the White House has acknowledged, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

Gee. What a surprise. Not.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Feingold '08

As much as I like Bill (which is tepid at best), Hillary is going to have to settle for VP- if anything- after this exchange;

Sen. John Cornyn: "None of your civil liberties matter much after you're dead."

Sen. Russ Feingold's retort: "Give me liberty or give me death."

In case you can't tell, Cornyn is one of those poopy-headed liberty haters that make up so much of the GOP these days. Feingold gave him the smackdown he so richly deserved.

Trust Russ, I say (so far anyway).
The coming war

Already coalition building.

During his recent visit to Ankara, CIA Director Porter Goss reportedly brought three dossiers on Iran to Ankara.

Goss is said to have asked for Turkey’s support for Washington’s policy against Iran’s nuclear activities, charging that Tehran had supported terrorism and taken part in activities against Turkey.

Goss also asked Ankara to be ready for a possible US air operation against Iran and Syria.
[emphasis mine]

Just in time to become 2006's midterm election issue: Dems, of course, being soft on terrorism because they won't back airstrikes on Iran.

Worse yet, Dems will call for the airstrikes on Iran to appear tougher than the GOP.

What a f*ing lovely world war we are developing.

Via Suburban Guerrilla

Terror Alert Level
"And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grams a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it..... Was he, then, alone in the possession of a memory?"- 1984 "The 'Mission Accomplished' sign, of course, was put up by the members of the USS Abraham Lincoln, saying that their mission was accomplished." -G.W.Bush, 10.28.03

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