Friday, October 29, 2010

Cutting the Clichés

A new rule of thumb that I predict will save me time in 2011: Whenever I come across a writer using the word "slash" to describe a reduction in government spending, I will immediately stop reading the piece.

Happy Halloween Weekend

We have pumpkin-carving plans, but I'm actually loving these painted beauties. Maybe next year.

Image and instructions at Country Living via Censtational Girl.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

2011 Calendars

Decor8's annual calendar round-up starts here and continues here, here, and here.

There are lots and lots of lovely ones to choose from if you're sick of "America's National Parks" or "Adorable Puppies" from that tacky seasonal store in the mall.

For the past several years I've bought little desk calendars like this one. I love having something small and pretty close at hand. But for 2011 I bought a blank mini-calendar from Impress, and I'm going to embellish it myself (like they've done here and here.)

[Image from Decor8.]

Voting Irregulatiries

In Falls Church?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Think happy thoughts"

David Brooks on the Democrats' healthy self-esteem:
Democrats and their media enablers have paid lavish attention to Christine O’Donnell and Carl Paladino, even though these two Republican candidates have almost no chance of winning. That’s because it feels so delicious to feel superior to opponents you consider to be feeble-minded wackos.

On the other hand, Democrats and their enablers have paid no attention to Republicans like Rob Portman, Dan Coats, John Boozman and Roy Blunt, who are likely to actually get elected. It doesn’t feel good when your opponents are experienced people who simply have different points of view. The existence of these impressive opponents introduces tension into the chi of your self-esteem.

I imagine there will be plenty of witch and masturbation jokes at this weekend's Stewart/Colbert rally, and not so much about Rob Portman.

Falls Church BJ's: Review

The classic above (from PostSecret) pretty much sums up my feelings about large discount stores. But when a BJ's opened practically in our back yard, I thought I might as well check it out. Here's a review.

BJ's is offering two limited-time membership deals at the new store: $35 for a 15-month standard membership (normally it's $45 for 12 months) and $70 for a 15-month membership where you earn 2% cash back on most purchases (normally it's $90 for 12 months). I chose the $35 option. I signed up online and immediately got a printable page with a bar code that I could take to the store for my official membership card.

The tyke and I made our first trip the other day. The parking lot was easily navigable, with lots of carts available. I noticed immediately that the carts have seats for two kids in the front basket — apparently everything is bigger at BJ's.

We headed first to the customer service counter to get my card. There was a short wait, but once I got to the counter and presented my print-out it took about 15 seconds to get the card. The guy took my picture while I was standing at the counter, with what looked like a bar-code scanner (and oh, what a lovely picture).

Then we were off to explore the premises.

Main impression: Their merchandise is cheap. And big. I realize that this is the entire concept of these places, but somehow I was unprepared for the scale of some of the products. I would see a giant bottle of shampoo, for example, and think "Well, $7.99 — that's a decent deal." And then I'd realize that the price was actually for a case of three giant bottles.

So I kind of get why people are crazy for these stores. I just don't know where I would put all that stuff. My pantry is not set up to accommodate five-gallon drums of pickles, no matter how wondrously cheap they are.

My purchases:
- Enormous jar of Nutella. I mean, enormous. For $4.69. Insane.
- Giant box of frozen pumpkin ravioli. This was probably a mistake, as it takes up an entire shelf in our freezer. But it's October, and I've got pumpkin on the brain.
- Package of six Brita water filters for $28.99.
- Four-pack of Secret deodorant for $7.49. My deodorant needs are taken care of until roughly 2015.
- One home decorating magazine (regular size, but 20% off the cover price).

Check-out was quick and easy. Apparently they don't provide bags, which is weird but I suppose makes sense given the scale of much of the merchandise. I could have used a bag, though.

The store has a Verizon Wireless kiosk, an eyeglasses center, an auto service center, and a small cafe. I didn't look closely at the electronics section, but I saw lots of TVs and iPods. I would definitely check out the BJ's prices if I was in the market for a TV. There were plenty of DVDs and a smallish books section.

Oh, and now I know the answer to the question I ask the universe every December: "Who is selling our neighbors these giant inflatable snow-globe lawn ornaments?"

The place was clean, neat, and not overly crowded. The employees were helpful and reasonably friendly.

Bottom line: BJ's will not replace my regular grocery store (Safeway) for routine grocery purchases. At this point in our family life, it doesn't make sense for us to buy a lot of our food in bulk. But for some non-perishables — diapers, batteries, detergent, toiletries — we can definitely save money at BJ's. I just need to keep in mind that we don't have unlimited space at home to store those items.

If we had five ravenous teenagers and a McMansion, I'd be there once a week. Since we don't, it'll likely be more of a once-every-six-weeks stop.

Amy Butler Bag

Any of my various acquaintances who sew should feel free to make me this bag.


Free pattern here.

Deep Enough?

Chevrolet's new slogan is apparently "Chevy runs deep."


Mickey Kaus: "What is there about Chevy that runs deep? Red ink? Work rules? Influence in the Obama administration?"

UPDATE: The slogan also reminds me of the Live song "Deep Enough," part of the time-honored driving-is-like-sex genre (it's in The Fast and the Furious). Sample lyric: "Does he run it deep enough / to take you there?"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Retaliation Against Whistle-Blowing Cops

"Isn't the Blue Wall of Silence really just the most successful Stop Snitchin' campaign in history?"

Chair Seats

Here's a nice tutorial on recovering chair seats from Southern Hospitality. I love the fabric she used.

Doesn't that make you want to run out to a yard sale and find some old chairs?

[Photo from Southern Hospitality.]

Sunday, October 17, 2010

God and Government

Nice rant from Nick Gillespie on conservatives who don't really seem to want government out of our lives:
Why oh why does it seem that everyone who wants to save a nickel in federal spending has to also have a fixation on gay- and single-woman sex when she is not calling for drug testing for losing your job in the worst recession in years? Is there a necessary connection between wanting to cut Washington spending and hating on the gays (even or especially when your argument is that the federal government shouldn't be concerned with the places said gays may be working)?

What the hell is wrong with this country - and the Republican Party - that it can't generate more pols like Gary Johnson, who is actually libertarian as opposed to playing one on TV? Is it that hard, or that off-putting to simply admit that getting the government out of the boardroom and the bedroom (and the classroom!) is part of the same process?

Apparently it is off-putting to a lot of people, unfortunately. Witness the attempts to make the Tea Party all about religious revival.

"And the country's scared"

Mickey Kaus on Obama and those "scared" voters who are about to show that they reject "facts and science and argument" by voting against his agenda: "A little humility is in order. If true humility is unavailable, false humility will do."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Democrats peddle an unproven claim" on Democrats' foreign-money accusations about the US Chamber of Commerce: "Accusing anybody of violating the law is a serious matter requiring serious evidence to back it up. So far Democrats have produced none."

Saturday, October 02, 2010

"The Chief Water Bug Departs"

Bill Kristol sums up Rahm Emanuel's tenure at the White House:
Emanuel reinforced rather than tempered Obama’s oversized self-confidence and self-referential arrogance. This is clear from the only memorable comment from Emanuel’s tenure, the one he made right after being selected: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” This may well go down in history as the most foolish and damaging pseudo-clever statement ever made by a chief of staff.
Well, it's possible that he didn't mean it quite the way it sounded. But it certainly sounded bad.

Friday, October 01, 2010


Peggy Noonan: "People don't really expect high character from their political figures anymore. 'Congressman Smith cheated on his wife.' That's her problem. Cut my taxes."