Tuesday, June 30, 2009


maybe i should learn how to speak russian.

Monday, June 29, 2009

new student loan repayment plan

This information will be helpful to everyone who is poor with lots of student loans and no income... Steve and Libby brought this to my attention. Thanks, guys.

There is a new repayment plan available for your direct loans. The Income Based Repayment Plan. The name itself sounds tasty, doesn't it? It caps your monthly payment. At what amount?

Calculate it like this:

your maximum payment per month is 15% percent of:
Adjusted Gross Income (Taxable Money) minus 150% of poverty line (10,830)*1.5=16,245. lets round to 16,000 :-)

for instance:

my taxable income was zero
zero - 16,000 = less than zero
15% of less than zero....
i don't have to pay student loans

in fact, to pay any student loans, you have to have paid taxes on at least $16,000. Which means your income was at least $26,500 (your first 8500 aren't taxable) .


after 25 years of qualifying repayment, any remaining balance on the loan will be forgiven.

So, Ally, Steve, Self.... might as well get keep going. Maybe get that doctorate. $100,000 of student loans at $0 per month forgiven after 25 years isn't looking so bad


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Garden

So, I've been planning on posting pics of my garden. I've got some chili peppers and a tomato plant. It's not much of a garden. They're in pots, but whatever. In my eyes, it's a garden. I haven't got around to taking the photos yet. And what is a blog update about a tomato and pepper plants without photos. Worthless. That's what.

A couple days ago, my neighbor Ben notifies me that he has planted four wacky tobacci seeds that he has saved from his kindest finest in my pots! For the record, I haven't smoked in quite a while. I don't plan on smoking any of his "crop", anyways. Yet, I've taken up the task of planning the whole thing out with him. Why not? He knows nothing about gardening and needs some serious help. Besides, it's the neighborly thing to do.

So they've all sprouted like two days ago, and are already like three inches tall! So, I sent him to the store to buy pots of his own, and we are going to transplant them this weekend. (gonna let them grow taller on his back porch so mom doesn't pull the "weeds" before moving them into nature) We scoped out our backyard and found the perfect place. It's easy to get to. It's far enough from the grass that the lawn guys wont steal it like they did Julie's last year, and there's enough sun. it's close to the marsh but not too swampy.

This whole thing is really funny to me because I don't even smoke anymore, and here I am trudging through underbrush, filthy, legs scratched up: "This spot would be perfect!"


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

in retrospect...

She was catching tadpoles barefoot in the mud with a little girl. Some of them had already sprouted little hind legs. She told me so - and showed me so. She had these crazy silver eyes... I thought she was a mom, but thinking back, maybe she was the babysitter.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Voting Irregularities Announced!

Day 1, Ahmedinajad said it was like the frustration after a soccer match. I'm American, and I've heard people get pretty rowdy about soccer, but I think it's safe to say that he underestimated what he was dealing with. At least 50 deaths have been confirmed during the protests, which the government advertises as riots. Some put the totals above 100. Thousands have been injured

The Guardian Council, the body officially in charge of the election, officially charged with current task of finding out if there are any irregularities in this election, and officially taking its time, finally spoke up today.

50 of the 360 districts reported above 100% turnout. However, they argue that Ahmedinijad won by such a large number that it is inconsequential, and the high turnout is a result of people voting in multiple districts, which is apparently easy to do Iran if you can drive fast on election day.

They said that they would recount the ballots from the 50 districts if the candidates requested, but they are correct: It is mathematically impossible for Mousavi to overcome the deficit unless all ballots, from all districts are recounted. Of course, Mousavi will refuse the offer, but this does show that protesting for a week straight is the first step in bringing near absolute power to the bargaining table.

Mousavi, however, is refusing to bargain. It seems he's set his terms at lets-have-a-new-election-or 100,000s-of-people-will-protest-in-the-streets-of-Tehran-daily. And it is working. Police violence has escalated to the point that today, he stated he would stand by the people "until martyrdom".

And there are already many martyrs in this struggle. Every death is fuel for protest. And every protester is cannon fodder. The People, underestimated at each stage in this conflict, have far too much moment to back down anytime soon.

Sunday, June 21, 2009



Supreme Leader - Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
  • commands the armed forces / declares war
  • appoints the Chief Justice, head of TV and radio, the 6 clerical members of the Guardian Council
  • can fire the President
  • can pardon the convicted
  • is the voicebox of Islam
  • people do whatever he says to do just because
  • executes the constitution
President - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
  • 4 year term, popular election
  • appoints the "council of ministers" which is like the cabinet, but way bigger. its his posse
  • writes the budget
  • appoints governors, diplomats
  • executes the constitution (teamwork!)
Assembly of Experts - Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
  • 86 Members, 8 year term, popular election
  • elects the Supreme Leader
  • can also dismiss him


The Majlis
  • 290 members, 4 year term, popular election
  • writes legislation
  • ratifies treaties
  • approves the budget
The Guardian Council (pretty much its own branch of government)
  • 12 members, 6 year terms
  • 6 clerical members, appointed by the Supreme Leader
  • 6 elected by the Majlis from candidates nominated by the Chief Justice
  • can veto legislation passed by the Majlis on the basis of unconstitutionality or conflict with Islamic law. (conflict with Islamic law is only reviewed by the 6 clerical members) the vetoed legislation is then returned to the Majlis for alteration and re-submission
  • can hear court cases, but not criminal cases - only those that deal with the constitutionality of a law
  • are specifically granted the power of supervising elections:
  • they get to pre-approve EVERYONE who runs for President, Majlis, or Assembly of Experts
  • they officially run elections, are charged with supervising the counting of the ballots, etc...
  • which is why they hold most of the cards in the current situation in Iran. As much as the Supreme Leader, I dare say.
The Expediency Council
  • rag-tag bunch of people from each branch + the 6 clerics from the Guardian Council
  • defined as "advisory board to the Supreme Leader"
  • solves legislative tie-breakers between the Majlis and the Guardian Council


The Courts
  • Chief Justice appoints most of the top positions
  • rest of branch functions pretty independently from the rest of the government and is really complicated

Conclusion: Supreme Leader aside, The Guardian Council wields uncompromisable power.

Have a nice night

Why is February so short?

A long time ago, a guy named Romulus, who I'm certain existed, founded Rome, and codified the calender:

Martius (31 days)
Aprilis (30 days)
Maius (31 days)
Iunius (30 days)
Quintilis (31 days)
Sextilis (30 days)
September (30 days)
October (31 days)
November (30 days)
December (30 days)
total (304 days)

Winter, of course, had no months. They just started March when springtime came.

Then, his son, Numa Pompilius, fixed everything!

First, he decided that all days deserve a month!

Second, he made the year 354 days long! A lunar cycle is 29.5 days, so if the months average 29.5 days, that adds up to 354. That's pretty cool, but they did have to add an entire month during leap years...

He also took the opportunity to change the amount of days in each month. Because odd numbers are lucky and even numbers are bad omens, all of the days with thirty days were reduced to 29. This left 57 to distribute between the new months, Ianuarius and Februarius. 29 went to January and 28 to February, the only month with an even amount of days. February was a month when Romans honored the dead and performed rites of purification - Overall, it was generally "dark", and presumably OK to be the one with an even number of days.

Iaunuarius (29 days)
Februarius (28 days, sometimes 23)
Mensis Intercalaris (leap month, 23 or 24 days)
Martius (31 days)
Aprilis (29 days)
Maius (31 days)
Iunius (29 days)
Quintilis (31 days)
Sextilis (29 days)
September (29 days)
October (31 days)
November (29 days)
December (29 days)
total (354 days)

The religious year started on the 24th day of February.
when leap years occurred, February was 23 days long, followed by the leap month. The next year started on March 1.

By the time Julius Caesar came around, everything was all messed up, people lost track of when the leap years should happen. Not only was the calendar generally unstable, politicians controlled the calendars and began to omit leap years, to elongate terms in office, for instance. It is well documented that over the turbulent decades leading up to Caesar's calender, January had shifted all the way to early autumn.

So the big man decided to do something about it. Julius decided that a solar calender would be better than a lunar calender. he had to add 11 days to the 354 day calender to get it up to 365. so, he brought the totals up to 31s and 30s, with the exception of February, because the religious year began on the 24th, and you can't change that around. Bottom line - don't mess with FEBRUARY


Caesar's Calender:
(or just look at the one on your wall)

btw, it was Augustus who changed quintilis and sextilis to july and august

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day. I am trying to think positive lately, so I've decided to take today to reflect on the fact that I have no children, and that is just fine with me.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

reverse amnesia

once again, the media has forgotten what may very well happen tomorrow... or at least feel it important enough to mention that the minnesota supreme court will decide any day now that al franken won, and it is unlikely it will go to the supreme court. all the pundits are still saying "the dems dont have 60 votes, theyll never pass health care" and no one is mentioning minnesota.

what the hell? next week it'll be the big story, like it came out of nowhere, as if nobody saw it coming - "OMG, the dems can do whatever they want now!"

just like iran. dont say i didnt tell you so


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

tree stuff

in late may/early june you see them flying around in the air. my mom hates them. we always called them "fuzzies", so i still do, but they're actually seeds from the trees of the willow family. In the eastern US, that usually means they come from cottonwoods or poplars.

FUZZIES (seeds)

cottonwoods and poplars are pretty easily identifiable for about a week, when they are unleashing hairy shit everywhere and before then, when the fuzzies are growing. The rest of the year can be a little more tricky, but they are easier than most trees, if you know what to look for. In general, they have distinctive leaves that look like kind of like playing-card spades, but with teeth and a really pointy point at the end, especially the cottonwood.

Telling the difference between the two can be a little tricky. The two trees are almost identical. In fact, they are even sometimes crossbred. Luckily, most poplars where i live are white poplars. The white poplar is easy. It has white, smooth bark. Simple enough.


Cottonwoods, on the other hand, always have rough bark. Unfortunately, for identification purposes, so do some poplars... so if you're looking at a tree with rough bark and fuzzies, a quick check is to regard the shape of the tree.




poplars are tall. cottonwoods are fat.

btw, don't be fooled if you're in a forest, because the cottonwoods can't spread their wings! but their branches will still be fatter relative to thier trunk.


house arrest

exciting couple days

tried to ride my bike again. my brain malfunctioned

and so much for OFA. Drew wont call me back. ive calling him twice a day telling him ill help organize the natl day of health care - its no wonder they can't get shit done

wandered around drunk last night. fell asleep in the grass. nice change of pace.

writing music. dissatisified. but writing.

wore my new sambas. stepped in dog shit

on the bright side. i got a tomato plant and some chili pepper plants at the store recently and planted them. they aren't dead yet.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

no one follows my blog

if no one follows your blog, how do you get people to follow it?

put cool pictures on it? actually write about something?


Monday, June 15, 2009

health care

got a phone call last night... looks like im gonna be helping to organize organizing for america's national day of serive for health care. (good timing, right?) i really dont know what that means, yet. OFA has tried some weird stuff in the past... when the budget was getting passed they canvassed/phonebanked to try to get pledges of support with awful results. I hope that's not what we're doing. I went to the OFA website, and from what I could tell, they don't even know what they are doing yet for this thing, which is on June 27th, twelve days... Should have called me sooner. I think we might do blood drives and healthy food drives and stuff, instead. Hand out info on how to get your kids health care if you have no money. Actually help people. Go steal their cigarettes when they aren't looking, maybe? I dunno.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009


more frustration with the US News

so i checked the news today, and suddenly everybody is interested in the election in Iran. Yes, The press is notorious for expecting Americans to have short attention spans, and yes, most of us do, but what is frustrating to me is that Obama gave a hugical speech in Cairo last week and no one seemed to even mention it. first of all, he only indirectly alluded to it in his speech, via "we support democratic governments, womens rights, yadayadayada".... Ii you were watching TV, you had to be at the right place at the right time, the night OF, or the morning after. newspapers and internet articles mentioned it, often in a single sentence. if you didn't know before you read this blog, and ask yourself "the elections are when?" I had to go to BBC to find a complete paragraph about the Iranian election, and Al Jazeera to find a "subarticle" (or whatever, i dont know what to call it. the newspaper divedes articles into sections)

most of the coverage about Iran was focused on: right says, "He talked about the CIA take over!" left says "Who cares?" right says, "Obama is the ME's bitch!" left says "nuh uhhhh!". anchorman with microphone says, "in fact Obama dedicated hardly any time in his speech to Iran, in comparison with Israel/Palestine, Iraq, and Iraq/Pakistan." did they not realize a whole bunch of stuff in the speech was aimed at the Iranian electorate! serisously, though, these are reporters, not meteorologists. can they not see six days forward?

we might be able to get some real change (ha ha) in Iran and no one is talking about it but the Middle East and The BBC???????


dear diary

made food. ate it. contemplated leaving long blog post. didnt.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

on second thought

i was thinking: some people who have severe digestion problems, etc. dont poop. for instance, their waste may be diverted into a bag before entering the colon if their lower digestive track is diseased. FYI - you are also welcome to my blog even though you dont technically poop.

welcome to my blog

i recently bought a computer AND an ipod. now i blog. i am really moving up in the world. everyone. welcome to paul poop. if you poop too, you are welcome here. later dudes. -p