Random Thoughts

Thought #37

No matter what franchise you order it at, what time of day you're eating, or who's manning the register, Taco Bell will always forget the nachos that come with your Grilled Stuffed Burrito combo. At first I thought this was one of life's great mysteries, and now I think it's one of life's reassuring little constants.

Thought #38

I've whined about Allegheny County's drink tax before, but there have been some interesting twists in the story lately. The tax has been wildly successful, raising millions more than anticipated, and the County Council figured it should go ahead and spend that extra revenue on shoring up our crumbling infrastructure. A great idea, but there's one problem — the legislation which authorizes the council levy a drink tax stipulates that the money so raised by the tax must be spent on public transportation. So when the budget was released drink tax opponents sued, and not surprisingly a judge agreed with them and forced the county to change its budget.

The response from the County Council has been downright predictable. A few hours after the ruling I heard Council President Rich Fitzgerald on the radio arguing that the decision was "judicial activism" and that the only alternative was to increase property taxes. I find this darkly amusing for several reasons:

  1. It shows a complete disregard for the letter of the law that's unbecoming in an elected official.

  2. It underscores that "judicial activism" only applies to decision you don't like. There's no activism here that I can see — the statute is fairly unambiguous Note that Onorato has decided not to appeal the ruling, which means that he knows that he doesn't have a leg to stand on.

  3. It highlights that the only way the Council responds to adversity is to fall back to knee-jerk property tax fearmongering. I'd love to put a moratorium on council members talking about property taxes — maybe then they'd stop throwing temper tantrums when things don't go their way and actually get around to doing their job.

Thought #39

Went to a friend's wedding the other day and thought it might be a good time to break out my LensBaby and see if I could get some nifty shots...

Dan and Kasia kill some zombies

More photos behind the cut...

It's way out of focus, but I kinda like it

The altar at the Immaculate Heart of Mary, all decked out for Christmas

More christmas decor

Jim gets all sparkly

Mmm, cake

Thought #40

Went to see The Spirit with Tom Scioli today. It's not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination — but it's not the steaming piece of crap that most sites are making it out to be. Don't get me wrong, it's still a train wreck — but it's an entertaining train wreck, filled with all sorts of WTF? moments that are alternatively amusing and horrifying. It definitely makes it clear that Frank Miller is all about style rather than substance, though, and I don't think his reputation may ever recover.

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