Insomnia Log

This is what keeps me awake at night???

Who needs sleep? (well you’re never gonna get it)
Who needs sleep? (tell me what’s that for)
Who needs sleep? (be happy with what you’re getting,
There’s a guy who’s been awake since the second world war)

-- words and music by Steven Page & Ed Robertson

Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States

Everything you need to know about me can be found in my posts

Monday, May 29, 2006

Miss Spelt Asks: To Bee or Not To Bee

Maithreyi GopalakrishnanLocal seventh grader Maithreyi Gopalakrishnan, who lives in Superior and won the regional spelling championships a few months back, is moving on to the national level this week, for the third year in a row.

I don't know about you, but I happen to think that anybody with a name like Maithreyi Gopalakrishnan has an unfair advantage in any spelling bee. Just learning to spell her own name has forced her to tap the full powers of the spelling section of her brain (called the cerespellum). Plus, she lives in Superior, whose residents are inherently better at everything.

Maithreyi won the regional round on the word "natatorium", so I expect the next round to go swimmingly.

However, a word of caution for this local word whiz. If the English-only folks get their way (see my earlier post), our monolingual children will be protected from the unfair advantage that Maithreyi (who was born in India) receives from being multi-lingual. She will be forced by spelling bee rules to forget all foreign words. In fact all words of foreign origin will be eliminated from the competition.

From now on, these kids will have to learn only good American words, like "iPod", "Kleenex", and "Pepsi".

Good luck in Washington Maithreyi, and remember to get a good night's sleep before the competition!

Labels: ,

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Coincidence? I Think Not!

Report of the Investigative Committee of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct at the University of Colorado at Boulder concerning Allegations of Academic Misconduct against Professor Ward ChurchillThe Poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld
Something bothered me about Donald Rumsfeld since the first time I watched him in a press conference. The way he treated the people asking questions, the way he belittled everyone who challenged him, the way he became defensive at the smallest perceived infraction.

Then, the Ward Churchill fracas happened. It was the same thing all over. Pure defensiveness, attacking his critics indiscriminately.

Suddenly it hit me. I had never seen them together in the same room. I looked carefully, at it stared me back in the face. Give Rummy a wig and a pair of stylin' shades. Had I ever seen the two of them together at the same time? No! I am convinced! They are one and the same, they are Dord Rumchurch!


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Will's Values

It's rare that I find myself agreeing with columnist George Will. However, in a column today he pointed out the fallacy of referring to evangelical Christians as "values voters". This usage implies that these people have a lock on values, and that everybody else somehow is without. I have to agree with this assessment.

I totally resent the fact that because my values don't coincide with those of Jerry Falwell they don't count to those who base their positions on so-called values. My positions are highly values-based, as, I'm sure, are those of most voters of all religious and political stripes.

For example, one of my values is respect for the Constitution. Clearly, many folks of both major political parties feel that the Constitution is merely an inconvenience when it contradicts their other values.

We have a Republican party that doesn't believe in separation of church and state. We have a Democratic party that sometimes ignores the right to free speech. And we have a President who feels that separation of powers is quaint, and pretty much ignores half of the Bill of Rights.

Well, folks, just remember. The person who votes oppositely to you believes just as strongly that they are right and you are wrong. And the person that votes opposite to me IS wrong.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Senator Allard Is Late but not Forgotten

Several weeks ago I wrote about a proposed sale of National Forest Service land to pay for rural schools. At the time, I sent a comment letter to the USFS and copied Representative Mark Udall and Senators Ken Salazar and Wayne Allard. Udall and Salazar responded to my comments shortly, but today I finally received a response from Senator Allard. In fairness, I reproduce it here:
Thank you for contacting me to express your thoughts on the FY2007 Budget. You wrote regarding a section of the budget which would authorize the sale of 325,000 acres of public land currently administered by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

This proposed sale would affect Colorado, as 21,000 acres of public land in our state could be sold under this proposal. Colorado's public lands are one of our greatest resources, and we should act carefully when we consider proposals that will affect these lands. There is currently significant opposition to this proposal in Congress, and I have a number of concerns about this proposal.

I would also like to share my general philosophy on establishing public lands. When there is a local consensus, I have consistently been a supporter of passing laws to set aside public lands for the protection of ecosystems, habitats and species. I would like to share with you some of the work I have done on behalf of public lands in Colorado.

I was the original sponsor of legislation known as the "Spanish Peaks Wilderness Act" which designated roughly 18,000 acres of land, including the West Spanish Peak and the East Spanish Peak, as wilderness. My legislation, which has been signed into law, permanently preserves the land for future generations.

I also authored a bill to re-designate the Great Sand Dunes National Monument as Colorado's and the nation's newest national park. This proposal increased threefold the amount of land preserved. It's enactment into law protects on of Colorado's greatest natural assets.

I am also currently sponsoring legislation which would establish the Browns Canyon wilderness area in Colorado. This area near Salida borders the Arkansas River, and will preserve a beautiful, pristine area for Coloradans and other Americas to enjoy.

I will be the first to state that the preservation of our nation's wild lands is important. I believe that by providing the Forest Service and BLM with additional management options we will, in the end, further the mission of protecting and preserving America's most precious lands.

Again, thank you for writing. For more information regarding this and other important issues, please feel free to visit my website at I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Labels: ,

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Can't You At Least Look Like You Care?

On my bike today near the end of a long ride, I was going west on Jay Rd, through the intersection with the Diagonal Highway (just outside of Boulder). I was sprinting because the light was about to change.

A woman in a small convertible (top down, it was a nice day) was coming the other direction and turning left, and cut me off. She could have just stopped and let me through (as the law requires). Instead, she tried to maneuver through, forcing me to stop in the middle of the intersection.

Ok, inattentive drivers happen, and near misses aren't that uncommon. But this woman saw me. She looked positively bored, like this kind of thing happens all the time, and it was so inconvenient. This woman is definitely not going to learn from her mistake.

On the infinitesimal chance that the driver reads this, here is your lesson:
  • You are in Boulder. People on bikes are out there. Get used to us.

  • We have the same rights as cars. Yield to us when you're turning. (Pretend the bike is an SUV.)

  • Normally, I might worry about going through someone's windshield in an incident like this. But with your top down, I would've ended up in your lap. How would you have explained that to your boyfriend?

  • How about you ride the bike next time and let me drive and see what the experience is like from the other side.
Anyway, have a great ride everybody, and enjoy the nice weather!

Ride of Silence

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Truth About Barbecues

A few years back, I wrote that:
... the Boulder City Council "accidentally" passed a law against barbecuing. This does not make sense to me. A law cannot be passed accidentally. I realize that our municipal code is complex, and a definition in one section might unintentionally impact a rule elsewhere. But, somebody wrote the words that created this law. That person should have understood the impact. I would hope that at least one person (and hopefully more) from the city attorney's office would review a proposed new law and understand any consequences. And, bottom line, the city council members are responsible for knowing just what they are voting for.

I have no problem with our city council discussing and voting on controversial subjects. But there is no excuse for this instance, in which a majority of the council members voted for a law they did not completely understand. I would like to hear from the council members on how this can happen. Additionally, I hope that this is a wakeup call to improve the process of creating and reviewing laws. Ultimately, I would hope that no council member would ever vote for any change without fully understanding what it means.
At the time, it appeared that the council had inadvertently banned barbecues in apartment buildings. When this was discovered, they had an emergency session and revoked the ban.

Well, it turns out that there was more to this story than meets the eye. A few days ago, a 16-year-old girl was killed in a traffic accident at 30th and Euclid here in Boulder. Her car was broadsided by an ambulance when she turned onto 30th Street. That ambulance was headed to what turned out to be a false alarm caused by, you guessed it, a smoky barbecue on an apartment balcony.

It turns out that the city council was prescient in this case. I apologize for not trusting our elected officials. If only we, the public, had given them leeway and believed in their ability to predict the future, Hannah Boemker might be alive today.

Who is Gary Hobson, and when did he get elected to the Boulder City Council?

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Ex-Prez Pushes Aspartame

How Dry I Am!President Clinton and his foundation, along with the American Heart Association, yesterday announced a deal with the three biggest soft-drink companies to pull their products from schools throughout the country. Under this plan, grade school and middle school kids will lose the soda completely from their cafeterias and vending machines, while high schoolers will only be able to get the diet versions of these drinks.

Hmmm. This deal was negotiated by the very model of a modern major heart attack. Do you think having quadruple bypass surgery a year and a half ago makes him more or less believable on this topic?

Think about those poor high schoolers for a moment. Regular soda has sugar, which (in moderation) at least has some nutritional value. Diet soda, which they will literally be forced to drink now, has aspartame (mostly), or saccharine, sucralose, or acesulfame potassium. None of them has any nutritional value, and all of them have either had questions raised about negative health effects or have no long-term studies.

All of this on top of a study a year ago that showed that people who drink diet soda actually gain weight, much more than regular soda! It's enough to make you give and just drink beer.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

He Killed Sudoku! You Bastard!

I don't usually write about myself in this forum. After all, a blog is not supposed to be about yourself, it's supposed to be about what you think about everybody else. And everything you need to know about me you should be able to learn by reading between the lines of my posts.

But here's something you need to know. I'm a bit obsessive. I don't do anything half way.

A while back, I started noticing this new type of puzzle in the daily newspaper, called sudoku. I tried one and eventually figured it out.

Well, it turns out that there are some rules you can follow and come up with the solution to any but the most difficult of these puzzles. I would find myself doing the puzzle and getting bored because it was becoming mechanical. Not to mention my hands getting tired from writing and erasing all those numbers.

Unsolved SudokuThen my wife bought me a book of sudoku puzzles. I didn't want to write all over the book (see, you're learning all kinds of things about me), so I thought of putting the puzzle on my computer. My sore hands were feeling better all the time.

Ready to SolveThe next thing I knew, I was creating an Excel spreadsheet to do the mechanical parts of solving the puzzle. I was writing little procedures to perform each of the little rules I'd come up with.

The Easy StuffWell, it happened. I ended up with a spreadsheet on which I could enter the original set of numbers, click a button, and after a while (maybe 20 seconds for an easy puzzle, another 2 minutes for the really hard ones) the solution would be presented to me.

All Done!So here's the dilemma. Solving the puzzle is just not fun anymore and it's not a challenge. I knew this would happen before I started, but I did it anyway. Ok, it's kind of cool watching the numbers fill in automatically. But I'm getting impatient.

I know, maybe I need a faster computer, so I can solve sudoku puzzles in just a few seconds. Yeah, that'll do it. I think I'll order one tomorrow.

Labels: , ,