November 28, 2003

*Ask Jen

Mookie wants to know, "Why is there anger and resmentment between the French and the U.S.? Why is it a love hate relationship? Please explain why. Also if you could keep it in the 20th-21st centuries."

I was a little suspicious of this question. First, Mookie never asked me anything before. Second, it sounds like a high school assignment. And it is. I'd hate to take away the joy of learning by doing your homework, but on the other hand this could be a golden opportunity for a (cough) real dialogue on the topic. So I invite my readers to leave their reasons for the French-American rift in my comments.

Jim asks, "Where did the term "Black Friday" (the day after Thanksgiving) come from?"

It's a retail thing. This is the day they generally are supposed to know if they'll make or break sales and pull out of the red into the black.

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at 04:46 PM | Comments (10)

November 26, 2003

You Asked, Tuning Spork Answers!

(Sorry this is a bit late. My fault, not Spork's.)

Tuning Spork has answered all your questions!

Click it and bask in the glory that is Spork's unique take on...well, just about everything.

Click it. Now. Seriously. I'm not kidding.

Have you ever eaten a baby?
None that I know of. [*snark, chortle*] Okay, bad joke. Actually, I made
some veal parmigiana once, but it was very old cheese.

Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?
Star Wars. I've never seen Lord of the Rings. Come to think of it, I've
never seen the recent Star Wars episodes either. (Well, I saw parts of
Episode 1 with my nephew; but he kept fast forwarding to the "good

Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Trek all the way. Old; new; happy medium; all of them! Well, maybe
not so much Voyager. I mean, the Doctor was the only interesting
character. I had great hopes for Tuvok but they never wrote anything
interesting for him. What a waste of seven seasons.

Are you bitter about Jen flaunting her affair with the PB?
Nah, I'm just happy that she announced it on her blog rather than tellin'
me first. If she'd let me know first I might have felt "singled out." I'm
just happy that my fiance feels free enough to know what she wants and
how to go for it. No, really I am! *glug glug glug*

Do you think your belonging to the Alliance of Fuschia Blogs or whatever
it is contributed to her straying?

*glug glug* Now lishen here: Shennifer ish the queen of all she shurveyzh
and that'sh m'kay widd me, m'kay? Sho, let'sh not hear
any*hic*...any*hic*..any*BRAAP* more of thish shillinessh. What! I'm not
chrunk, yyyeeeeeeeooo are!! Shhhhh......

Which blogs inspire you?
All of them! Okay, that's a cop-out answer. IMAO because it's hillarious
(though I haven't been able to read FrankJ in two months since my
monitor's color scheme is f'd up). Emporer Misha because he has the gift of kvetch and seems to be able to -- like his old army drill sargeant -- swear for two hours straight without ever repeating himself (though I can't read him much anymore either [easier than IMAO, but still too much of a strain in large doses]). DFMoore for his excellent posts about
science, politics and all things interesting (though he really needs to
post some more Science At Home stuff), and for being about the closest
thing I've seen (along with spinsanity) to my original concept of Blather Review.
The biggest inspiration I had when I started at BlogSpot, back in
February, was the writing of Peggy Noonan and Bill Whittle. I wanted to
write essays about what I believe, and why, and make it sound like a
Reagan speech or something. But that's both time consuming and limiting,
so I went ahead and did other types of posts as well. Now I just like to
go ahead and forget about having a coherent style of blog and just write
whatever the hell I feel like writing. So, in answer to your question;
None of them!

You have a flair for storytelling. Plan to use that more in the future?
Thank you! :D I don't really plan to do anything; blog posts, write with
a certain style, dental work... One day I'll write a psuedo-scholarly
thesis on the Constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act, the
next day I'll tell a dirty joke involving two snakes and a bass-o-matic.
(Oh, remind me to tell you that joke some day...)

How come there are never any Bartenders in your lies
stories? And where is the smoke-filled gin joint?

Hmm. Well, I don't have a lot of experience with Bartenders as I rarely
go to bars (especially since the *cough* smoking ban). I pretty much only
go to one bar, The Smoke-Filled Gin Joint The Windmill,
and only when my friends' band is playing. That's usually on a Friday
night, so my intereaction with bartenders usually goes something like:
"I'll have a pitcher of Louenbrau!" "You had a bitch of a colon plow?!"
"What was that?!" "No, she never showed up, but what can I get ya?!"

How many degrees between you and Kevin Bacon?
I know this: three! I met Marion Ross at the Atticus Book Store/Cafe in
New Haven back in college (circa 1983). She, of course, played Marion
Cunningham -- mother of Richie -- in "Happy Days." Richie was played by
Ron Howard, who directed Kevin Bacon in "Apollo 13".

What is your best childhood memory about the holidays?
It was Christmas Eve, I was six years old. I was in bed, but I wasn't
asleep. I leaned on the windowsill just beside my bed and stared at the
night sky hoping the glimpse Santa and his sleigh.
I saw a red light in the sky. "Rudolph!" I thought. It was Rudolph
lighting the way as Santa Claus made his way to my neighborhood and, any
minute now, my Christmas tree!
Then a streak of light crossed the sky. "AAAAAAHH!!!" I screamed. My
mother came rushing into the bedroom.
"Sporkster!" (My mother called me Sporkster) "What's wrong?!"
"Santa Claus re-entered the atmosphere at too steep an angle and burned
up on re-entry! I saw it!" I told her everything I'd seen, including Rudolph.
"Oh, honey," Mom consoled me as she stroked my hair. "That wasn't Santa,
that was just a shooting star. And the red light you saw was probably an
airplane; or maybe Mars."
"But how do you know? How do you know?!" I cried with tears streaming
down my face.
"Because Santa died three months ago. It was in all the papers." I wept
tears of sorrow for Santa and cried myself to sleep wondering if Mrs.
Claus was dating again. "Woe be to that guy," I thought, "She's on the
The next morning the living room was filled with toys, games, and even a
new bicycle!!
"But..." I stammered at my mother, "I thought you said Santa was dead."
"Psyche!!" she yelled, pointing at me. I'd been had! Santa was alive and
well and I had a new bike! I'll always remember that as the Christmas
that almost wasn't.

If you could hijack one blog and call it your own, which would it be?
Would it be a bloodless coup?

The Daily Dish. I mean, Andrew Sullivan has the gall to have pledge weeks and rakes in thousands and thousands of dollars. Just for asking! Like he's about to go broke or something. The cheek. The cheek! Yeah, I'd take that deal. Bloodless coup? Uh... not to get all disturbingly serious/morbid/morose, but the man is HIV positive. So, yeah, definately bloodless.

You can spend 3 weeks in a tent in the woods with one Munuvian. Who is it and why?
Oh, great, I have to pick one fantasy tent-mate and alienate the rest of
the babes. Well, I'm not gonna do it. Nope, you can't make me! Shut
up, I'm not playing! Okay, LeeAnn. She seems like a camper-type to me; good for laughs, could probably get the fire going, and maybe even stare down some bears in the meantime.

You have to put one celebrity on a spit to be roasted and eaten by
pygmies. Who is it?

Steven Segal. The guy's a frickin' jerk and his movies suck.

If you could pick between absolute knowledge and absolute power, which would you choose?
Power!!! I think absolute knowledge would be pretty paralyzing (I keep
thinking of Ray Milland in "The Man With The X-Ray Eyes"). I guess it's
kind of like a choice between being Q (from ST:TNG) or Christ. It'd be
much more fun to be Q.

Samantha or Jeannie?
Samantha. Jeannie's both too powerful and too stupid. Samantha is more
real, and we're talking about Reality here.

Pick three people from any era to have dinner with.
Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and James Madison. I've always wanted to
know what Madison thought of the static trans-conical collapse patterns
in gluon dynamics.

Who is your favorite Secretary of State?
Sticking with the post-War SoS's, and not giving this one a whole lot of
thought, I'm gonna say James Baker. He's smart, had great priorities, saw
the big picture, and didn't seem to be wrestling any demons.

What is one thing no one knows about you that you think everyone should know about you?
That I'm a very secretive person.

Any tattoos, piercings, or other distinguishing characteristics?
Tattoos: Nope. Tattoos have become a "chick thing." I recently saw some
show that had a "man/woman in the street" segment called "Tattoo, or no
tattoo." They asked a question or two of each passerby then asked you to
guess if they had a tattoo or not. More than half of the women had
tattoos; none of the guys did.
Piercings: Nope. I, for some reason, consider most piercings to be
vulgar. Earlobes are okay, I'm used to seeing those. But anything else?
Other distinguishing characteristics: Just a few uninteresting birthmarks
and this second head I have growing out of the side of my neck. You're
the second head, Dipshit. No, you are, Asswipe.

Have you ever had a moment of pure joy? If so, please describe it.
Ten and a half years ago I left work and ended up in a room in the
maternity ward of Bridgeport Hospital. My sister had given birth that
afternoon to my nephew. The moment I saw him I knew that he was the
cutest thing I'd ever seen.
As you can imagine, the room/hall/floor was completely silent. When
anyone spoke it was in very hushed tones, what with newborns trying to
get some sleep and all.
I just stared at him; wrapped in a towel/blanket thing; breathing and
sleeping. The wispy blonde hair and puffy lips on the end of this teeny
tiny adorable little bundle of a baby. I eventually turned to my sister.
"Well?" she asked with a sly smile. "Did I do good or what?"
You couldn't wipe the grins off of our faces.
He's ten years old now, and still tiny and cute.. and fiesty, just like
his mom.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:46 AM | Comments (4)

November 25, 2003

What Do You Know?

About Chicago and its history...

Chicago was originally founded by a Haitian, Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable. He was a black man, and not officially recognized as the city's founder until 1968.

Around 1772 or 1773, Du Sable left Peoria and explored north to an area called Eschikagou by the Indians. DuSable settled in the area and built the first permanent home on the north bank of the Chicago River. He established a trading post and became quite wealthy.

Du Sable's granddaughter was born in 1796--the first child born in Chicago.

The Great Chicago Fire started in a cow barn, but there is no evidence a cow started it. A newspaper reporter, Michael Ahern, admitted he made it up to make a better story.

The Chicago Stockyards were closed and demolished in 1971. Only the Union Stock Yards' gate still stands as a landmark.

The Chicago Tribune was the first paper to run regular movie reviews.

Dr. Scholl started out as a shoemaker in Chicago, eventually turning to podiatry.

Chicago is not the windiest ranks only 16th in the United States. Great Falls, Montana is actually the windiest city in the country.

The 10-story Home Insurance Company Building in Chicago was the first skyscraper. It was finished in 1885 and demolished in 1931. It was the first tall building to have a frame of iron and steel instead of masonry.

The Sears Tower is 1454 feet and 110 stories tall.

O'Hare Airport is named for Edward Henry O'Hare, who shot down five Japanese planes on November 27, 1943. He died in the battle, but was credited with saving the U.S. aircraft carrier Lexington. ***Update: a correction to the dates of O'Hare's battles is here.

Mickey Finn was a turn-of-the-century Chicago bartender who served a spiked drink to patrons he wanted to rob.

Al Capone is one of Chicago's most notorious sons, but he grew up in Brooklyn.

"Chicago overcoat" was a 1920s mafia term for coffin.

"Chicago amnesia" was a 1920s mafia term regarding witnesses who suddenly forgot what they had seen.

The first baseball All-Star game was played at Comiskey Park on July 6, 1933. The AL won, 4-2.

The original Big Ten Conference included the University of Chicago. They dropped out in 1946 when they ended their football program.

Posted by Jennifer at 08:00 PM | Comments (2)

*Ask Jen

Simon writes, "Can you please list the famous 'On this day events' for May 7 and May 8. This post will explain why."

I'm not sure I can add anything to your lifetime of knowledge accrued for the sole purpose of annoying your brother, but here are some main ones...

May 7: Birthdays...Sir Francis Beaufort (British naval officer, invented wind force scale), Gary Cooper (actor), Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky (composer), Tim Russert ("Meet the Press"), Johnny Unitas (football player). History...Vietnam's victory over France ended Indochina War, Germany's first surrender in WWII, Lusitania torpedoed by Germany in 1915, 27th Amendment ratified (forbidding mid-term pay raises for Congress).

May 8: Birthdays...Harry Truman (president), David Attenborough (author, naturalist), Ronnie Lott (football player). History...Beatles' last album released, Lavoisier execution ("father of modern chemistry" guillotined for role as tax collector), Germany's second WWII surrender or V-E Day.

Jim asks, "When did the hour become used? That is, when did the standard of 1/24th of the day become a popular unit of time? I was watching a special on the Giza plateau yesterday and one of the things they said just seemed wrong. In the temple in front of the Sphinx there were 12 podiums for statues and the narrator said these were for the 12 months and the 12 hours of the day and 12 hours of the night. Was the hour really used 5000 years ago?"

The Egyptian calendar of 12 months was developed in the 4200s B.C. and the Egyptians were one of the earliest to divide the day into 24 parts, but one difference between their hour and ours was that their hour could lengthen or shorten depending on the time of year. For example, their daytime summer "hours" were longer than 60 minutes and their nighttime summer "hours" were shorter than 60 minutes. My best educated guess would be that the program was correct, assuming the temple was built after 4000 B.C.

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:08 PM | Comments (4)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Continuing Presidential Quotes...

"I don't see what's wrong with giving Bobby a little experience before he starts to practice law."
-John F. Kennedy, responding to criticism his brother was too young to be attorney general.

"I've never known anyone from Minnesota that could keep their mouth shut. It's just something in the water out there."
-Lyndon Johnson, whose vice president (Hubert Humphrey) was from Minnesota.

"I would have made a good Pope."
-Richard Nixon.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2003

*Ask Jen

Jeff asks, "Were there ever any alternative names for US States that got rejected?"

The thing is, most of the state names were already in use before becoming...states. Being a midwestern kinda girl, I'm used to native American names for my states. I mean, there was talk of naming Minnesota after Lewis and Clark, but calling a state "Meriwether" is pretty gay even for Minnesota. So they went with the native American word for "we'll say 10,000 lakes because it sounds good and you won't count them anyway." Of course, Iowa is the native American word for "death from boredom."

I suppose I should throw you one fact about US names. Despite popular belief, Plymouth, Massachusetts was not so named because the Pilgrims set sail from Plymouth, England. It had been named before that. Prince Charles replaced the "barbarous" native American name of Accomack with a nice English name about six years before the Pilgrims set sail.

Simon wants to know, "If a tree falls in the forest, and no-one here's it, has it really fallen or is it part of a global environmental conspiracy?"

Trees are stupid. I'm glad that one is dead. Who cares how or why it happened. The important thing is that it won't be falling on any poor, innocent loggers in the future.

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at 06:57 PM | Comments (2)

You Asked, The Smarter Cop Answers

Pietro has answered all your questions!

Learn why he wants to be Alec Baldwin and the two words every man needs to know.

Click it.

So what is your actual first name?

You think I'd lie about my first name? It's Smarter.
Just kidding... it's Peter; the 'Pietro' pseudonym is just the Italian variation.

Why aren't the "10" radio commands standard throughout the country? "10-04" is, but a lot of the others vary from area to area.

I think you have me mistaken for Jennifer. She's the one who answers those kinds of questions for free. And if you take me for an expert in radio, well, the only radio I know about is the one that keeps me awake on long drives.
If you're just dying for an answer: it's because in many regions of the country, people count with their fingers.. take '10-four', for example; police will sometimes drive by other officers holding up 4 fingers, as if to say, "Are you OK?"
Four fingers back usually means "Yes", but sometimes means, "Yeah, same to you, moron!" when scraped under the chin forcibly. The meaning of the codes is definitely culturally dependent.

Is Bart really as dumb as people say he is?

Undoubtedly. He readily admits to an IQ of 64. From exposure to his level of wit and logic, I have him pegged at 77. The only person dumber would have to be Barbra Streisand.

What's the whale bone connected to?

The harpoon, of course.

Peanuts: salted or unsalted?

{Looking around} OK, where's the camera? How did you know I was eating peanuts?
I like them salted, preferably dry roasted. The unsalted variety leave a paste in the mouth, and are more suitable for cooking dishes like Pad Thai... Mmmmmm.

How many licks til the center of a Tootsie Pop?

Barring any unseen Freudian psychoanalytic intent behind the question, the answer is three. Just ask the owl.

What ice cream flavor is your favorite?

I'd like to find out who conducts the stupid polls that suggest that 'chocolate' or 'vanilla' is America's favorite ice cream flavor. Give me a break. You want some ice cream. Do you pick out vanilla, or do you take some of that Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough? Mere chocolate or Rocky Road? The more stuff in the ice cream that's not ice cream, the better.
At this point, I'd like to make a confession. Liberalism is good for one thing, and one thing only... making ice cream. My favorite ice cream flavor happens to be Ben and Jerry's Phish Phood, which I enjoy consuming with one hand while I shamelessly lambaste their idiotic "True Majority" compost. Hey Ben and Jerry, keep smokin' em while you can.... losing your perpetual case of the munchies will cause serious damage to America's economy.

If you had to spend your life on a desert isle with one famous actress from any era (you can pick her age), whom would she be?

It would probably be Dawn Wells. She's already had extensive island experience, and I think I would make her life much easier and pain-free than Gilligan ever did.

If you could only watch 5 dvd's for the rest of your life, which would you pick?

1) Indiana Jones Trilogy
2) Lord Of the Rings, all extended versions.
3) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
4) Blackhawk Down
5) Evil Dead

If you could be ANY celebrity for one day, who would you be and why?

I'd be Alec Baldwin for a day, so I can totally confuse everybody by fully supporting the President, waving the flag proudly, owning a firearm, mooning Michael Moore at the Academy Awards, enlisting in the Army Reserves, and making sure that I was scheduled for a frontal lobotomy the following morning.

What is your least favorite vegetable, and would you choke it down to save Michael Moore's life?

My least favorite vegetable is the squash. I'm not sure if it would MATTER if I had to choke down squash to save Michael Moore's life. For one thing, squash is not conducive to choking; second, if Michael Moore were in the same room with me he'd have downed all the squash before I had an opportunity to take a bite.

You've heard the Marxist phrase: "From each according to his
ability; to each according to his needs." If that was policy: what would

All liberals would be out of a job, since the world has no need for them, and would be better off without them. They have absolutely nothing of value to offer.

Why did you start blogging?

Obviously not for the chicks, fame, or money; none of those have mysteriously appeared since I started blogging. I think the number one reason I started blogging was to be able to share my love of writing and creative thought. I've always enjoyed writing, the process of writing, and exchange of thought. Reason number two was to vent my frustration at all the antagonistic liberals out there who appear to be oblivious to all reason and logic. They're the ones who think they have a better plan but can never tell us what it is; it's just better. This is the perfect opportunity to present them with a better way, one that makes a great deal more sense and is not completely stupid.
Finally, while I feel my true forte' is in fiction and I would love to spend time in worlds of my own creation, real life is simply too pressing to ignore; the men and women of the blogosphere have shown themselves to be a community, supportive and respectful of each other, one that I'm proud to be a part of and help guide to public relevance and importance.

Do you think you get inspiration from any other bloggers?

But of course! What is blogging without mutual admiration? There are blogs that I truly enjoy and look forward to reading every day. First and foremost, Glenn Reynolds is the master. He doesn't really have a unique angle or style of writing like other bloggers; he just knows where the links are, and everyone wants to be like him. Then there's Kevin, who's inspired me to write at least one bona-fide rotten entry per week; Michele, who shares my love of Faith No More and has a sardonic sense of humor I haven't yet begun to fathom; Kate, who has a mastery of the alphabet unlike any Sesame Street character I've ever seen, and for whom the word "Snark" holds special meaning; and John, who manages to interview people we'd sell our left organ to pick brains with.

When was the last time you got an oil-change for your car?

When my indicator said "Check Engine Oil." That's what it's for, isn't it?

If you could have ANY car, what would it be?

It would be invisible, and it would be able to fly. In the absence of those attributes, a Dodge Viper is my auto of choice.

How did you find out there was no Santa Claus?

Just now, thank you very much! And to think I could have saved thousands in chimney cleaning bills! Next you're going to tell me the Easter Bunny is some clown dressed up in a bunny suit... but don't you dare. I want to keep one holiday sacred!

The holidays--fun or not worth the trouble?

They WERE fun, up until a few minutes ago!
Actually, in all honesty I think the more simple the plans for the holidays, the happier one will be. You don't need to spend a whole lot of money and time making everything fancy and extravagant, when time with family sharing happy memories and making new ones is more precious than any decoration. Also, during the holidays my family and I strive to maintain the true spirit and meaning of the occasion - thanksgiving, love, joy, hope, peace, everything that Jesus Christ represented... It sure beats confusion and crowds any day.

Women. What's the big mystery?

This is a trick question, isn't it - as if there were only one thing. The mystery is how to answer a question pertaining to women without one woman or another getting offended and seeking vengeance. Guys, we can joke about women all we want, but in the end we all know the two words that are most crucial in the day to day pattern of our lives are "Yes" and "Dear"...

What would be the perfect way to spend a weekend?

Well, having always loved to travel, I'd say the perfect way to spend the weekend is to go somewhere you've never been before, try some food you've never eaten, participate in a tradition or culture that had previously been unknown to you, and take lots of pictures along the way. I lived in Europe for several years, and have come to realize that it's not the tourist-laden sites that are the most worthwhile to visit; it's the places off the beaten path that don't try to airbrush the uniqueness of their culture and patronize the tourist. Why spend 40 bucks for a half-hour gondola ride in Venice when you'll have a much more surreal and picturesque experience riding a 2 dollar water taxi with a hundred other people crammed beside you in a boat the size of your bathroom at home? Use all of your senses to captivate your imagination. Smell the pungent cheeses and meats in the alleyway market; listen to the bustle of the evening crowd rushing to buy the evening meal and hurry home; feel the aquatic chill of the breeze coming off the placid water.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Continuing Presidential Quotes...

"He certainly is a wonder, and I wish we could make him president of the United States. There couldn't be a better one."
-Franklin Roosevelt, speaking of Herbert Hoover after WWI.

"All the President is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway."
-Harry Truman.

"If you give me a week, I might think of one."
-Dwight Eisenhower, when asked what administration decisions his vice president (Richard Nixon) had participated in.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2003

November 22

Somebody asked why I hadn't posted anything for the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.

The main reason is that I think the mainstream media has this one covered.

The second reason is...I don't know. No one asked why I didn't have a McKinley post up September 14. Or a Lincoln post up April 15. Okay, I didn't have a blog on April 15.

Kennedy was killed eleven years before I was born. No president has died in office during my lifetime. No president has prematurely left office during my lifetime for any reason whatsoever.

I could attempt some meaningful post about President Kennedy, but I think I'll pass. I will say I have been to his grave in Arlington. I have been to Herbert Hoover's grave as well. I was in solemn awe at both. Any man (and let's hope woman someday) with the courage to take on the presidency has my complete respect for that. There has been a president or two in my lifetime that I disagree with and even dislike, but anyone willing to assume such awesome responsibility is indeed a special person, regardless of their personal conduct--or political slant. I don't think anyone could take on such a job without understanding the importance of it.

So there you have Kennedy non-post.

Here is a "real" Kennedy post for you.

Posted by Jennifer at 06:48 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2003

You Asked, Stevie Answers

Stevie has answered all your questions!

Learn things you didn't want to know about cows; learn how she spends her, umm, relaxation time; and learn which male celebs she wants in bed.

Mmmm...Bret Hart.........huh? What?

Click it!

What's the grossest thing about cows?
My first thought was: Dealing with the people who own them, sometimes. But then, I remembered what it really is. They...I don't even wanna say, but...they eat about 150 lbs. of afterbirth, after giving birth. It is disgusting to see. *Shudders* Whomever asked that one...thanks. (*shudders again*)

You often mention meals that you've cooked in your blog, what is your favorite dish to prepare? And why?
Hmmm....I'd have to say ribs. Big, huge country ribs...browned lightly and left to finish cooking in barbeque sause. Then, garlic lima beans and baked potatoes. (Great. Now I'm hungry...) Followed up by a spice cake (grinning at Ted) with cream cheese icing. And, good Folger's coffee. (Okay...I just radioed George and Eric and now that's dinner tonight....excellent!) Next?

You seem to blog a mile a minute and I sometimes have to re-read an entry to keep up. Do you also speak this way or is it just your blogging style?
Nope, unfortunately, it's not just how I blog. What you see is stream-of-consciousness, pretty much, usually rattled off at the approximate speed of Wile E. Coyote on rocket-skates. My Dad is even worse. The two of us together have been known to cause rooms full of people to be either laughing their asses off or sitting in gape-mouthed wonder trying to figure out what the hell we're talking about. Let's put it this way...I had no trouble understanding that Federal Express (?) guy that talked 200 mph back in the 70's.

What's the perfect breakfast?
My personal favorite is pretty simple..pancakes and link sausage. But, the 'perfect breakfast' is (are?) really the ones where I get to make about 92 different things, then sit back and watch it get devoured by Eric's Sr and Jr, George and whomever else happens to be here. That is just...I don't know how to articulate it. It's just really cool to do and see. I really think I'd like to cook for guys on a ranch out West somewhere. The idea of feeding a buncha hungry, hard working men just makes me really happy. That'd be a cool 'job'. (They could pretty much pay me for that one by liking it, behaving, sliding me a horse and just a little cash. Maybe a place to live there, too, as part of the salary...hmmm...Eric's from Idaho...ooops. Sorry. This was about breakfast, wasn't it? Okay...back to the questions.)

Pork or beef?
You want me to chose between ribs and steak? Please. Both.

If you could re-live one day in your life that happened before you were 20 -- with the hindsight to appreciate it in a way you didn't at the time -- which would it be?
Hmmm....excellent question. Okay...I got it. It was the first day I ever spent around the guy, Michael Steven Robbins, to whom I eventually know. And, my heart. I was 16. It was the summer of '79. I was in the process of switching high schools. I lived right on the line of the districts and all I had to do was take courses at Woodstown they didn't offer at Salem, like Ag, so I did. Besides, my Dad went there. So, we went there one day, toward the end of the school year to get me enrolled. When I visited the Ag. building, I looked down into the shop from the teacher's office and saw Mike. I had gone to school with him before when I started school in the Woodstown system. (We had since moved, to within the Salem district...) Anyway, I saw Mike, he saw me and scarfed my phone number outta my paperwork when Mr. Coles wasn't looking. He called me that night and after bullshittin' for a while he announced that, since I was single, he was my boyfriend now. Well, he was cute. I did know him. I had nuthin else happening in that, okay. Why not? The next day was a Saturday and it was beautiful out. My Dad was going to a sale and agreed to drop me off at Mike's on his way. He lived in Alloway, where I grew up and my Dad kinda knew his Dad and it was cool. So, Dad drops me off and after I waved goodbye, I looked around. I could hear Neil Young playing in the house. It was a huge yard, surrounded by pastures with black steers. I could hear pigs, off in the distance and there were chickens and peacocks (!) everywhere. I turned and looked at the house and there, framed in the screen door, stood Mike. Tall, blonde, slender, shirtless...just gorgeous. I went inside, saw that he not only had Neil Young playing, but Looney Tunes on with the sound turned down. There was a beanbag chair in the middle of the living room floor. Nobody was there, except us. So, I remember plopping into the bean bag, chattering nervously, all silly, lighting a cigarette and then....Mike just leaned over and kissed me. That shut me up. He sat back and looked at me. I just smiled at him. He said " we can relax and quit wondering when that's gonna happen." I also remember getting...stoned that day. It was pure magic, from one end, to the other. We didn't do the deed that day, because I remember where that happened and it wasn't there. I still love Mike. He died in 1982. He was electrocuted. I miss him and it's because of him that dairy cows are a part of my life, which is a whole other story...

Where did you lose your virginity?
Under Mike.

What did you think of New Coke?
I don't like Coke at all, because it makes my teeth feel gritty, like all the enamal is gone, or something. Beisdes, it's rare that I'm drinking anything except coffe or iced tea (with no ice, thanks).

What are your favorite movies?
Got a year? God...Let's see...Max Dugan Returns, Weekend at Bernies, Porky's, Full Metal Jacket, the original Odd Couple, Sibling Rivalry, Norma Rae, Overboard, The Godfather, the Walking Tall Trilogy, Billy Jack and a PBS documentary called The Farmer's Wife. And, that's just off the top of my head. Really. I gotta include NatLamps Animal House and Christmas Vacation, too. Next question before I think of any more..quick!

What movie are you most confident that you could recite the dialogue verbatim?
Billy Jack, The Godfather...two I'd like to are the DI's ranting in the beginning of Full Metal Jacket and Chevy Chase's rant when he gets his 'bonus'. I will master both of those some day.

If you could secretly watch, who would you choose to send on a date with Paris Hilton? Don or Daniel?
Who thinks of this...stuff? Seeing as to how Ms. Hilton's life seems to revolve around being a rich bimbette, I'd say both of 'em. Make it a contest or endurance test or something. Whatever they felt like...You go guys.

How often do you give other drivers the finger?
My middle finger looks like Popeye's bicep from the work out it gets. I don't limit it to drivers either. Animals, the TV, the toilet...whatever pisses me off can easily get flipped off. Being inanimate doesn't exclude ya.

If you can live with one Munuvian in a penthouse suite which you can never leave, who would it be and why?
Hmmm...well, Collins is pretty quiet.

If you can live in bed with one male celebrity, who would it be and why?
Bret Hart or Kurt Russell...hmmm. How am I supposed to choose between these two? They both make me feel faint.

Do any other bloggers influence you or your writing?
Not influence me, no. No more than maybe a trackback kind of post or something. But, I do see where I've got things in common with other people. Acidman posts multiple times a day and so do I. Greg Beck goes from one topic to another at great speeds within a single post, so do I, sometimes. Stuff like that.

Why did you start your blog?
Rob 'Acidman' Smith. Plain and simple. I found him one day, started reading, eventually read his archives. I said once in his comments that it was like a Disney short of a flower bud. It opens, blooms, comes to life, then they pan back and blow your mind with a field fulla flowers. His blog saved him. Mine is saving me, too. I honestly believe that I've had depression, been depressed-whatever- since I was about 9, the first time my life blew up. I've never been medicated or anything, except 'self'. I do one thing, and only that one thing. And, it is NOT a gateway drug. Not in my experience. (For anyone still not sure, let me say that I adore Cheech and Chong, okay?)

Which blogs do you have to read every day?
God...again with the mile long lists...lem'me go look...I don't want to forget anybody. I don't read every one on the 'roll, every day, but there are a bunch I do make sure I get to...hang on. nearly alphabetical order, here are the ones I try to read first. I get annoyed if I can't get all the way thru in one sitting. There are several others I also try to read everyday, but those, I don't mind so much 'getting back to later'. For the sake of brevity (Hah!), this is the 'short list', okay?
Ain't Done It, Altered Perceptions, Bloviating Inanites, Dog Snot Diaries, Gut Rumbles, Jett Superior, Dax Montana, Ken's Page, Lobowalk, Light & Dark (except I keep keeping Paul from being able to post for IM-ing half the night, every night *hugs Paul*), Scooby Snax, Social Reject, Snowball and Velociworld. (pant, pant..whew)

Do you think comments are an important part of a blog? Either as a writer or reader?
To me, yes. I want the feedback and other perspectives. If I feel a strong enough need to comment somewhere else where there are no comments, there's always email.

What is one activity that you can do to relax yourself?
Legal? Singing. Not so legal? I'm sure you can guess. (Puff, puff, pass...)(cough)

Do you have any hobbies we don't know about?
Not that I'm aware of...hmmmm. Nope. None that I can think of.

Thanks again, Jen. That was great! You guys asked really good questions. Hell, if ya have any more, feel free to ask. My comments get emailed to me anyway. Feel free to use 'em.

Thanks everybody! This was a blast!

Posted by Jennifer at 12:42 PM | Comments (4)

*Ask Jen

Reader Don P. wants to know, "What was the original Pledge of Allegiance?"

Originally written in commemoration of Columbus Day in 1892, the Pledge was originally, "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands--one nation indivisible--with liberty and justice for all."

In 1923 "my Flag" was replaced with "the flag of the United States of America." In 1954, Congress added "under God."

Reader Kristin asks, "Did the Pilgrims eat Turkey for the first Thanksgiving?"

They did not. However, the pilgrims enjoyed duck, goose, venison, and seafood (including eels).

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:01 AM

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Continuing Presidential Quotes...

"I am in jail, and I can't get out. I've got to stay."
-Warren Harding, on the presidency.

"I think the American public wants a solemn ass as President and I think I'll go along with them."
-Calvin Coolidge.

"Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt."
-Herbert Hoover.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 AM | Comments (1)

November 20, 2003

Nuremberg Anniversary

In 1945, the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial began against 24 former Nazi officials.

One defendant committed suicide, one was declared unfit mentally or physically to stand trial, twelve were sentenced to death by hanging, three were sentenced to life in prison, four were given lesser prison terms, and three were acquitted.

The trial lasted almost a year, ending October 1, 1946.

Posted by Jennifer at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)

*Ask Jen

Reader Don P. writes, "The song 'Yankee Doodle' has always bothered me. I don't understand why someone would stick a feather in their cap and call it macaroni."

Excellent point. The macaroni in the song is not referring to pasta, but to a social club of dandy young men in England. ("Yankee Doodle dandy") The club was named the Macaroni Club, and the song was actually meant to be unflattering to the American revolutionaries.

Reader Jeff wants to know, "Why does a donkey stand for the Democratic Party? Couldn't they find something more flattering?"

In the 1828 presidential election, Democrat Andrew Jackson adopted the donkey as his mascot when his opponents called him a "jackass". Later on, cartoonist Thomas Nast used the donkey in his cartoons and made it famous. (Nast also introduced the Republican elephant in 1874, intending to show the strength of the Republican vote.)

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:06 AM

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Continuing Presidential Quotes...

"The most successful politician is he who says what the people are thinking most often in the loudest voice."
-Theodore Roosevelt.

"I have one consolation. No one candidate was ever elected ex-president by such a large majority."
-William Howard Taft, after losing the 1912 election.

"Prosperity is necessarily the first theme of a political campaign."
-Woodrow Wilson.

Posted by Jennifer at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2003

You Asked, Bob Answers

At long last...I present to you the Modular Interview!

Thanks to Bob Whaley for participating.

Click it and learn why "Modular Parrot" as well as a unique approach to eating M&Ms.

"Modular Parrot" is one of the more unique blog names...what's with the
Parrot? And why is he Modular?

The Modular Parrot name was conceived about the time Stan and I decided we would do a blog together. The name just fell out of my mouth like so much saliva after a couple scotches. Then I discovered Stan owned a 3 year-old African parrot named Darwin. Game, set and match. The modular twist is perfectly suited to Stan and me because we separately contribute material of our own choosing and cover for one another.

Actually, modularJON and my modularSISTER in California are silent partners in ModPar and contribute bits now and then. Collectively, we manage to cobble together entries but alone, none of us has the time to maintain a blog.

Unfortunately, we haven't hit full stride yet - maybe a blessing for readers. I mean, consider the possibilities with the assets we have at hand: a talking parrot, a couple of half-wit marketing types, modularity, a very clever and creative gun slinger and enough Photoshop expertise to be dangerous.

Why did you and Stan start blogging?

Actually, the decision to blog was made the same way all good decisions are made. Stan and I were sitting in a restaurant, each with an alcoholic beverage in our hand. We had just decided to quit our individual blogs for lack of time when we simultaneously had a drunken epiphany - we'd blog as one. I've known Stan for 10 years or so and Jon since he was an ugly 2 year-old so I introduced the two of them recently over glasses of Cabernet. Now we are three. The operative word here in case you haven't noticed is alcohol; the bane of any promising web venture. But, we've persevered. The rest, as they say, is historical tragedy.

Is your blog different from what you started out to do?

Don't know. Part of the reason, of course, is our modular approach but ModPar is a bit of an anomaly by design. We're looking to be different and are easily bored so are in a constant hunt for new themes. Maybe we'll hold a contest. Readers (shit, we don't have any of those) ... or friends (even fewer) could suggest a new site theme every week. "Stan, work on that will you?"

If it sounds like we're wandering around aimlessly at the minute, it's true. We haven't quite figured out where we want to take the site yet. Most bloggers are looking for that unique hook to draw people to their site and generally want to believe that the material on their site will be interesting enough to keep visitors coming back. Everyone wants to believe what they have to say is compelling. Not us. Probably because we're wickedly irresponsible reprobates by night and somewhat responsible citizens by day. We're not in this for the fame or adulation (although we can be bought for a price) so tend to put up anything that comes to mind, good or bad. There's that modularity again. And it shows in our audience response - we don't get many visitors.

We're just regular Joes with families, children and active lives. I'm a hair challenged sales/marketing manager, Jon owns an ad agency and Stan is a professional engineer with young children, many interesting hobbies and a nice gun collection. Stan also pilots the official modularPlane.

How would you describe a blog, and specifically yours, to someone who doesn't know what they are?

Equal parts fantasy, need to be recognized and pride rolled into a poorly written diary that anybody can read.

Do any other blogs influence you?

Not really. Well, actually that's not true. I read the blogs on the ModPar blogroll as often as possible but I'm a sucker for good prose. When I see what guys like Steyn, Lileks, Whittle and Den Beste do with their sites, I am envious but that's more about their talent as writers than anything else. Having said that, I'm a political junky so tend to favor sites with that particular slant.

What kinds of things draw you to sites you visit regularly?

Didn't I just answer that?

A sparkling personality and good graphics work, say, like your site, Jennifer. (That takes care of the gratuitous compliment). Seriously, though, unique takes on issues and events along with quality writing are the biggest draws for me. There are many good blogs and bloggers out there and more than a few poor ones. But that's what makes the blog phenomenon what is - everyone is a writer and can publish their work.

If you could choose between 5,000 readers a day and no feedback or 5 hits a day from people who comment and e-mail regularly, which would you choose?

Oh, the 5 hits and comments. We've already accomplished the first half of that equation by arm twisting relatives and threatening friends but we rarely get comments or feedback.

Just between the two of us, Stan is jealous of you, isn't he?

That's no more than Darwin whispering lies and damn lies into Stan's ear.

Which is better: dogs or cats? Parrots are not an option.

Dogs or cats? Cats are feral and evil creatures. I despise cats. I secretly carry a copy of Acidman's Free Cat Picture in my pocket. On the other hand, I live with a family of animal lovers so have always had a dog and, from time to time, more exotic creatures roaming the house or escaping in the car only to be discovered later in skeletal form. I should write about some of my pet experiences.

Which world leader would you like to see gnawed to death by mutated,
ill-tempered sea bass?

That would have to be Hitler or Stalin or any leader during France's Fifth Republic.

Brownies or fudge?

No contest, says Jon


Which color M&M tastes best?

I don't know. I peel them before I eat them.

Back to you and Stan: which one of you is Pinky and which is The Brain?

Actually we're more the Danger Mouse and Penfold types. We would switch roles every week, first as Danger Mouse and Penfold, then Baron Silas Greenback and sidekick Stiletto. We're interchangeable and damn cute in those great costumes.

You can pick one non-relative of the opposite sex to spend the rest of your life with you in that GeoDome thing. Who do you pick and why?

I'll say Lassy. Loyal, honest and mute.

What are your favorite books?

My wife and I are voracious readers so I have a very long list of favorite books and authors. If you nailed my feet to the ground I'd probably admit to having a special place for Steinbeck, O'Brian, Twain and Churchill because of their unique blend of beautiful prose blended with an unusual grasp of the English language. The simplicity of their writing is overpowering.

When I go to the library, I spend most of my time scouring the new fiction section in search of budding new authors. I've found quite a few great ones over the years.

What is the worst movie you ever wasted part of your life watching?

Debbie Does Meatballs.

You HAVE to pick one celebrity to be dropped in a pit of fire ants. Who is it and why?

It would be a bundle. Duct tape the following people together and the ants would evacuate: Mike Moore, Ted Rall, Sean Penn and that dumb bastard of an actor who threatened to leave America if Bush got elected.

You win $100,000,000...what are the first five things you buy?

I'd commission Lileks or Steyn to ghost-write a bestseller for me; I'd buy France, sell off the paltry assets and turn all the people into the street with nothing but the clothes on their back. Lastly, I'd buy out Frank and make him crush rocks for the rest of his natural life. Kidding? Nope. I like Frank.

You win $10,000, you quit work?

No, I'd continue to toil away, put the money in a conventional savings account at, say, 1.5% return and fritter the rest of my life away as the doorman at Trumps. OF COURSE I'D QUIT. And put the money in a conventional savings account and fritter my life away as the doorman at Trumps.

Which people in your actual, non-blog life influence you and why?

I've had many wonderful mentors in my professional career and am blessed with many dear and fascinating friends. I'd have to say that they have all had a certain influence on my life but, I hold aside the two most important as my wife, who I've been happily married to for 26 years (child bride) and my son. You'll have to read my site to see why I have such admiration and respect for my son. He is a very special young man.

Posted by Jennifer at 04:28 PM | Comments (7)

*Ask Jen

Trey Givens wants to know, "Where does the dirt in my dining room come from?

In your post you don't indicate if it is a fine coating of dirt, a pile of dirt, random scattering of dirt, etc. So I'll just assume you meant dirty footprints. This means you have either a prowler or a ghost. You should move at once.

Victor asks, "Why is it considered rude to eat with your elbows on the table?"

It is not considered rude to have your elbows on the table if you're not actually eating, but the reason why you shouldn't have your elbows on table while eating has a historical meaning behind it. In the Middle Ages, people often ate in groups lined up at a long table. There wasn't a lot of room, and having your elbows on the table crowded your companions. The reason this piece of etiquette has endured may be because it doesn't seem very polite to sit hunched over your food.

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:07 AM | Comments (2)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Continuing Presidential Quotes...

"This office-seeking is a disease. It is even catching."
-Grover Cleveland, on politics.

"I am a plain Hoosier colonel with no more relish for a fight than for a good breakfast and hardly so much."
-Benjamin Harrison.

"Let them complain. It's too easy for them to get up here the way it is."
-William McKinley, laughing, when told congressmen were complaining the White House elevator was broken.

Posted by Jennifer at 09:29 AM | Comments (1)

November 18, 2003

*Ask Jen

Daniel wants to know, "What is best book ever to cover the subject of turtle stacking?"

Well, someone is a "Simpsons" fan. The answer to the question is, of course, Dr. Seuss's Yertle the Turtle.

Reader Noah asks, "How many airplanes carry mail back and forth to Hawaii every day?"

Well, this is a hard question to answer because mail and cargo often travels on passenger flights to and from Hawaii. I can tell you that when Hawaiian and Aloha airlines merged in early 2002, they agreed to keep 3 dedicated cargo planes in operation, but those are used for transporting goods not only to the mainland but between the islands and other countries. Sorry, but I don't have a more definitive answer for your question.

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:16 PM

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Continuing Presidential Quotes...

"Fighting battles is like courting girls. Those who make the most pretensions and are boldest usually win."
-Rutherford B. Hayes, on campaigning.

"My God! What is there in this place that a man should ever want to get into it?"
-James Garfield, on the presidency.

"I may be president of the United States, but my private life is nobody's damn business."
-Chester Arthur, a widower, regarding newspapers linking him with various eligible women.

Posted by Jennifer at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2003

*Ask Jen

Daniel writes, "In furlongs per hour, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?"

Damnit, Daniel, I told you to stop sending me complicated math questions. If you had asked the mass of the wood he could chuck in an hour, I would have been able to answer your question, but I'm not going to spend my time converting that into furlongs. I have things to do. Look it up on Google or something.

Alan asks, "Where did the democratic pres candidates go to college?"

In the interests of time, I'll assume you mean this/next year's "major" candidates...
LIEBERMAN--B.A., Yale University, 1964. J.D., Yale University Law School, 1967.
DEAN--B.S., Yale University, 1971. M.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1978.
GEPHARDT--B.S., Northwestern University, 1962. J.D., University of Michigan, 1965. (Ed. note: Whoo! Big Ten!)
KERRY--B.A., Yale University, 1966. J.D., Boston College, 1976.
EDWARDS--B.S., North Carolina State University, 1974. J.D., University of North Carolina, 1977.
SHARPTON--Attended Brooklyn College, 1973-75.
CLARK--B.S., US Military Academy at West Point, 1966 (graduated first in his class). M.A., Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University, 1968.
BRAUN--B.A., University of Illinois, 1969. J.D., University of Chicago, 1972.
KUCINICH--Attended Cleveland State University, 1967-70. B.A. & M.A., Case Western Reserve University, 1973.

Did I miss anyone?

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at 04:55 PM | Comments (2)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Continuing Presidential Quotes...

"Public opinion in this country is everything."
-Abraham Lincoln, in 1859.

"The goal to strive for is a poor government but a rich people."
-Andrew Johnson.

"I know only two tunes. One of them is Yankee Doodle and the other isn't."
-Ulysses S. Grant, when asked if he enjoyed the music at a concert.

Posted by Jennifer at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

You Asked, Sgt Hook Answers

Sgt Hook has answered your questions!

I have to say, in my opinion this is one of the best interviews yet...and not just because he says something nice about me. I'm even offering a money back guarantee if you disagree.

You. Read. Now. "And YES, that IS an order soldier!"

Why did you start a blog?

Two reasons really. First and foremost, after reading a couple of fantastic blogs (see next question) and figuring out what a blog actually is, I thought that this would be a great way to stay in touch with family and friends around the globe no matter where I happen to be at any give time.

Secondly, I’ve always harbored a strong desire to become a writer when I grow up, and I reasoned that blogging would help me to achieve such a lofty goal (writing, not growing up).

How did you find out blogs were around? Which were the first blogs you read?

While working on my Master’s degree, a professor sent me a link to a “blog” written by the now famous Lt in the sandbox. I first read Lt Smash and started thinking about how cool this blog thing was. Then I stumbled across DaGoddess, Electric Venom, and Sgt Stryker. I should add that Kate was instrumental in evolving Sgt Hook from Blogspot to MT and from experimenting with to actually blogging.

Do any bloggers influence you?

I find that I am influenced by several people, none of whom are bloggers. I am, however, inspired by Babalu Blog, Jennifer’s History and Stuff, and Blackfive.

Come on, seriously, the Jets?!

Must I remind you that the JETS were the AFC East Champs last season? If that isn’t enough, when I was a kid growing up in New York, Broadway Joe Namath was the man, hence I became a Jets fan and have been ever since. That and the fight song is pretty easy to memorize…J-E-T-S…JETS!…JETS!…JETS!

Any relation to the Captain? Do you think that crocodile was justified?

Funny you should ask. My father is a Commander (retired) in the United States Coast Guard and as skipper of his ship was often referred to as “Captain.” Alas, I am NOT related to the infamous Captain Hook of Peter Pan fame, and YES, the croc had his just desserts (pun intended). I’m reasonably sure that the melodic Doctor Hook is a distant cousin though, which might explain my being able to play a mean set of congas.

Why did you join the military?

Why for the money, right. Actually, there are two parts to this answer. The first addresses why I initially joined the Army, the second, why I continued to re-up.

I was a 23-year old college dropout on the verge of buying into a restaurant when I initially walked into the recruiter’s office. The restaurant deal went south real fast and I was tired of cooking my ass off for a couple of pretty good eateries in New York so I followed a long established urge to serve my country and called the United States Border Patrol. After hearing their exciting offer of sitting along deserted stretches of barren land with only cacti to talk to, I thought, “maybe the military.” Of course, the Coast Guard was my first choice having spent my entire life around it. I called the Commander (read Dad) and told him I’ve decided to follow in his footsteps and join the USCG. He talked me out of it (for reasons I’m still not sure of today but the Coast Guard is probably grateful for it) and into the Army. So I listened impatiently to the Army recruiter’s lengthy pitch, and finally said, “if you can pay off all of my gottdamned student loans and get me into the aviation field, I’ll join today.”

Three weeks later I was sitting in the barber’s chair having my head shaved. Hooah!

I have since reenlisted numerous times because I’ve found that there is nothing in life more rewarding than being a part of something greater than myself; that and the fact that I’ve traveled around the world and formed indescribable bonds between friends.

What is the best thing about a career in the military?

I’ve found that there is nothing in life more rewarding than being a part of something greater than myself; that and the fact that I’ve traveled around the world and formed indescribable bonds between friends.

What is the most difficult?

It is NOT the rain, mud, heat, freezing cold, lack of crappy food, cold coffee, sleepless days, or fucked up mission planning that I find most difficult. It is having to leave my family for extended periods of time to endure the aforementioned amenities that is most difficult.

There have been some comments that you'll be leaving. Will you be deploying soon?

Yes. Keeping in mind that “loose lips sink ships” let me say just this, I am deploying with my unit to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom in support of the Global War on Terror in early 2004 (how’s that for the party line?). Stay tuned to Sgt Hook for further updates.

How did you meet your wife? Please take this opportunity to tell us how
wonderful she is.

Mrs. Hook is this your question? O.K., some years ago I had the pleasure of serving this nation as a recruiter taking applications from America's sons and daughters who had expressed a desire to join the ranks of the United States Army.

Painfully aware of the fact that only 30 percent of all college freshman graduate with a 4-year degree, I set up a small table in the corner of the student lounge at a local college. Hey, one of the compelling reasons for me to join was to have my student loans paid off, so why not spread the wealth (pun intended). It never occurred to me that it would also be a great place to meet women- smart women. Then, as I was handing out flyers and answering questions I caught a glimpse of a knockout take-my-breath-away gottdamned gorgeous coed.

Suddenly oblivious to what the student in front of me was saying, I handed him a bunch of key chains and moved towards the goddess who had just come into the lounge.

Wearing my Dress Blue Uniform with all my colorful medals and my aviation crewmember wings, I stepped in front of her and introduced myself as the Army recruiter assigned to her college. I then asked, "Would you like to join the Army?" To which she replied, "No."

"Great," I said, "then would you like to join a soldier for dinner?" She didn't answer me, but her eyes sparkled and my heart skipped a beat or three as the bell rang and she walked backwards down the hall, and I stood rigid watching. She has made me happy ever since that day in the student lounge.

Do you two have "a song"?


What advice would you give to a groom-to-be?

Not knowing the “groom-to-be” or the “bride-to-be” I’m hesitant to give advice, so let me speak generally. As your heart throbs with love and lust, try to think about what it would be like to spend your days, nights, meals, ups, downs, and vacations with this woman after you’ve retired and your kids have grown and moved out on their own. Does it sound like fun? If yes, than marry her!

What about a father-to-be?

Pamper and love the hell out of the mother-to-be. Treat her like the goddess she is for she will soon deliver to you something you’ve never known before- unconditional love. Be there to hold mom’s hand (even if she breaks your thumb) and say stupid words of encouragement as she labors to bring your baby into the world and don’t be afraid to cry as you cut the umbilical cord. Then shut up and soak in the wonderfully beautiful moment that mother and child finally meet. Don’t worry, you’ll have ample time to bond with baby over the next couple of weeks, just make sure you take advantage of said time and bond. Sorry you asked for advice?

What are your three favorite movies?

Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, and Razor’s Edge.

Did you expect me to catch your Monty Python "unladen swallow" reference?

I fully expected you to catch it Jen. I was wondering how many of your readers caught what the hell we were talking about.

What kinds of things do you do in your free time, if you have any?

Free time? What’s that? I enjoy spending time with my wife and kids and if there is any “free time” left, I like to read, write, and cook.

Let's talk chocolate chip cookies. Nuts or no nuts?

Absolutely NO NUTS. I can’t stand nuts in my cookies, brownies, or casseroles. In a bowl on the bar are good to go though.

Ginger or MaryAnn?

Mary Ann, as long as she’s willing to put on that little French maid’s outfit once in awhile.

What do you think about kids today? Is our future safe in their hands?

To properly answer this question I ought to opine on what I think about the parents of kids today, but I’ll try to stay on topic. I’ve complete faith in our youth and their ability to grab the future by the horns and ride it successfully. And if they fail, it isn’t their fault, but ours.

If you could have breakfast with any 3 people who you have not had breakfast with before, who would they be?

George S. Patton, Ronald Reagan, and Audie Murphy.

You can trade lives with anyone for 48 hours. Who is it and why?

My grandfather Jack (God rest his soul) who at the age of 14 boarded a ship from Scotland sailing to the United States of America, alone. He was told that an uncle would meet him at Ellis Island and take him home to Pennsylvania and get him a job in the coalmines. He didn’t hesitate. He established the family that I know. He’s always been larger than life to me, and I’d love to know what it felt like to be him, even just for 48 hours.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 AM | Comments (3)

November 14, 2003

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Continuing Presidential Quotes...

"No man should in my judgment accept a degree he cannot read."
-Millard Fillmore, on his refusal of an honorary degree from Oxford University.

"There's nothing left but to get drunk."
-Franklin Pierce, after his party failed to renominate him for the presidency.

"My dear sir, if you are as happy in entering the White House as I shall feel in returning to Wheatland, you are a happy man indeed."
-James Buchanan, to his successor Abraham Lincoln.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:25 AM | Comments (2)

You Asked, the Bartender Answers

The Bartender has answered your questions.

Find out why he says he'd sleep with Streisand by clicking the extended.

Q. Are you a bartender in "real life"?
A. Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I was the fastest bartender that ever lived. Even years later when I got into the management end of the business, I could still beat 95% of my bartenders in speed pouring tests and can free pour exact measurements with either hand. Hell, I could still do it today and I haven't set foot behind a bar in 11 years. No brag… just fact. Damn, I was good.

Q. What is YOUR favorite drink?
A. All of em. Actually, I drink chilled Absolut straight up with lemon wedges for back up. I don't shoot it, I sip and enjoy! And eight ice cold beers after a long day working and sweating in the sun. Blackfive ain't got shit on me, I'm a professional drinker!

Q. What scandalous thing that you've committed while blitzed has had the farthest-reaching repercussions?
A. While blitzed? Maybe I have a different definition of blitzed, but I don't remember anything when I get blitzed. Now stoned is another matter.

Q. How did you come up with the name Madfish Willie's?
A. Madfish Willie is a character out of the movie "Snatch". They were going to substitute Madfish Willie or John the Gun in the underground fight after Brad Pitt broke their guys jaw. But apparantly Willie had gone Mad and John the Gun, shot himself. So they got Brad Pitt to kick some guy's ass instead.

Q. Who would you most like to punch in the nose?
A. Harvey, Eric, the last guy I worked for, the next guy I have to work for, and the jerk off who asked this question.

Q. Which Corner of the Bar Babe would you most like to see covered in whipped cream?
A. At one time or all together? I see them in covered in whipped cream all the time, you should see them too. [I see dead people] [Susie]

Q. What was your favorite entry you posted on your blog that everyone ignored?
A. There are many to choose from… nearly all of them have been ignored. My favorite post was the one I was bitching about no one paying attention but no one ignored that one.

Q. How much time do you spend on your blog everyday?
A. The Happy Hour Party and Dumb-Ass Jokes take about thirty minutes start to finish. Then the rest of the crap I just wing it… copy, paste, cragerize, post… it's pretty simple. I guess it shows huh?

Q. What the hell is your problem?
A. My main malfunction is some butthead always junking up the comments in my blog. As he is my only reader, I fear banning his IP would send my blog down the shitter!

Q. Which bloggers influence you?
A. Alcohol and crooked cigarettes are the only things that influence me. Bloggers? I don't need no stinkin bloggers! Does it look like anyone in particular influences me?

Q. Who do we have to blame for telling you to blog in the first place?
A. Blackfive was the first to ask if I had a blog when he was doing his"drinking theme week" Then, Harvey billied me into signing up with blog*spot and starting. Then he announced me before I was ready and I still haven't caught up. So you can all gang up on them and shit the beat out of em for inflicting such pain on your eyes and ears.

Q. Who is the worst blogger that you read regularly?
A. I don't read worst bloggers, I look at the pictures.

Q. Who is the best blogger that you read regularly?
A. I'll tell you who the best blogger I don't read regularly. Phrank. He doesn't even have all the members of his own stinkin Alliance blogrolled. That pretty weak if you ask The Bartender. Plus he has never given The Bartender a Phrank-a-lanche. If he doesn't straighten out, I'll join the Dark Side where I'll be appreciated by my fearless leader!

Q. What do you do if it's quittin time and a guy won't leave?
A. Oh, he's leavin alright.. I never have a problem getting them to leave… hell I have to lock the doors so they can't get away.

Q. How about if it's a chick?
A. She's gotta go too. She can wait outside in her car with the windows rolled up and the doors locked. If she's still alive after I finish countin the piles 'o money, she might get lucky.

Q. How about if it's a really hot chick?
A. Unless she's passed out in the coat room with her pants down around her ankles, she's gotta go too. No exceptions!

Q. What's the use of gettin' sober if you're gonna get drunk again?
A. I resemble that remark. And who's sober anyway?

Q. If you were captured by space aliens, force-fed Viagra, tied up in such a manner that suicide was impossible, and forced to mate with your choice between Barbra Streisand, Janeane Garofalo, or Hillary Clinton, who would you choose and why?
A. Barbra Streisand - she has the biggest tits! The other two are just friggin skanks. Plus I don't need Viagra - give it to Harvey he needs it.

Q. What's someone gotta do to get hired at Madfish Willie's? I've got ten years of bartending experience, and even more of sittin' on the other side of the bar, drinkin' my beer, being curteous to bartenders, and tipping well.
A.Customers make crappy employees so you have to go to work for Evil Glenn at Blender's

Q. Everyone expects the bartender to listen to their sob it's your turn. What would you like to get off your chest?
A. Bartender don't tell sad stories… they tell jokes. And kick the drunk's ass out the door - my favorite part of the job!

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 AM | Comments (4)

November 13, 2003

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Continuing Presidential Quotes...

"Yes, they cannot say now that I am a president without a party!"
-John Tyler, before a White House social reception. (Tyler was kicked out of his political party while president.)

"In truth, though I occupy a very high position, I am the hardest working man in this country."
-James Polk, workaholic.

"My daughter was a better judge of men than I was."
-Zachary Taylor, to Jefferson Davis after Davis was wounded at the Battle of Buena Vista. (Davis had married Taylor's daughter despite Taylor's refusal to grant them permission.)

Posted by Jennifer at 11:29 AM | Comments (3)

Fun With Quotes

I am one of those people who doesn't get too hyper about presidential politics ahead of time. I follow the candidates with some bemusement interest, but unless a candidate really catches my eye, I generally wait for the dust to settle.

I don't put a whole lot of stock in media or pundit predictions, either. Here is one I came across while putting together my presidential quotes:

"Absent a scandal or economic collapse, Clinton's a goner." From Fred Barnes in The New Republic in May, 1992; declaring Bill Clinton's presidential candidacy to be dead in the water.

It's not over until the fat man plays sax. Or something like that.

Wake me when the National Conventions start.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:01 AM | Comments (4)

November 12, 2003

Imagine if this happened today

Reader Pete asked how many Senators had become President...which made me think of another question: How many Senators drew a gun on another Senator on the floor of the Senate?

(Because, of course, that is the next logical leap. I digress.)

Just one that I've heard of, which occurred during debates on the Compromise of 1850:

Senators Henry S. Foote of Mississippi and Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri detested each other. The personal attacks upon one another had become so bad that Benton took the floor and forbade Foote from mentioning his name in Congress again.

After Benton's declaration he took his seat and Foote rose to launch an attack upon his colleague. As soon as Foote spoke Benton's name, Benton started for him. Foote moved to the aisle of the Senate where he drew his pistol, cocked it, and pointed it at Benton.

Two other Senators tried to stop Benton, but he kept walking towards Foote, who backed up to the Vice President's seat. Finally Benton stopped, opened his shirt, and yelled, "Let him fire! Stand out of the way! I have no pistol! I disdain to carry arms! Stand out of the way, and let the assassin fire!"

Foote was disarmed and later claimed he thought Benton was armed too. A committee investigated the incident, criticized both men, but recommended no action against the pair.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

You Asked, Alan Answers

Alan has answered your questions!

What he really thinks of Maverick!

What it's like to eat an eyeball!

Where you can find pictures of him sweaty, sandy, and shirtless!

Click it!

I'm sure you get this all the time, but if I agree to be your bodyguard, will you be my long lost pal?

You know, it's not so much that I mind being called Al, it's just that I never solicited it. So when I registered the domain, I was really just hoping that Paul Simon would buy it from me. Or that I could one day launch a web-based catering business called "You Can Call Meal".

But, if you're a big enough boy, we could work out a bodyguard gig for you. Maybe in the Secret Service.

Please explain more about the Misery Compromise. Because I have many of the same issues.

We all do, sister. But I think that there's some value in allowing ourselves to occasionally stray over the enemy lines. You could think of it as spying. You might gain lots of knowledge that could help you if, say, you ever got in a debate about foreign affairs with Tim Robbins. He might say, "America is a totalitarian regime." To which you could reply, "You're widely credited as being an intellectual. What was it like working with Howard The Duck?"

What are your top 5 all-time deserted island recording artists?

Funny you should ask. I plan for this eventuality every time I fly. I have, as part of my emergency survival kit, a 5 CD case with discs by Dave Matthews, Johnny Cash, U2, Beethoven and a selection from the Time-Life Do-It-Yourself raft building collection.

Which movies are your favorites?

Sabrina. Yes, honey, of course the original one. You know I can't stand that Greg Kinnear.

Seriously, though? Top Gun, Tombstone, Memento, The Princess Bride (and by the way, the book is way funnier), Band of Brothers, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Shawshank Redemption, Dumb and Dumber...

(I know, I know, two of those movies have Tim Robbins. But Top Gun also has Michael Ironsides, so it's really a wash.)

Do any movies make you cry?

Sure... Patton, Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan. The Alamo. Really, anytime you set an image of people acting with courage and honor to stirring, patriotic music I will have to excuse myself.

Oh yeah, and Old Yeller (Just for you, Shannon).

What are the top 5 reasons to own a crossbow?

Who has crossbows anymore? Let me give you five reasons not to own one:

1. The Colt 1911 A1 .45 (Not to mention the Sig Sauer .45 ACP)
2. They're sooo 1461 A.D.
3. It was invented by the Chinese, perfected by the French.
4. It takes 165 pounds of draw weight on a crossbow to match a 60 pound draw on a compound or long bow, making them unwieldy for the disable hunter or marauder
5. I think, and I'll have to check on this, that we can fight wars with precision guided munitions from relatively safe distances now.

Why did you start your blog?

I worked for two years as a web designer before I joined the Air Force. So as I was getting ready to ship out, I thought that keeping a website would be a better way to keep in touch with folks back home than sending out those long pointless emails that you sometimes get from people you never see. Really, it's nothing more than that now, except that people I don't know sometimes read it and get heckled by my friends from home. Originally, it was meant to be a collection of travelogs and photo albums and the blog was just a "here's what's new" thing. The earliest versions of yccma were built before I had heard of a blogging. I only added the comment feature last June.

Strictly speaking, my site is probably more of a journal than a blog since I don't actively link to many other sites and I never post more than once a day. And I don't use any blogging services, eg. Blogger, Blog Spot, MT. That's why my site is sort of non-standard, and behind the RSS/CSS times.

Do any bloggers influence you?


I only read three blogs with any regularity, namely IMAO, Right We Are, and Jen's History and Stuff. The majority of the quality blogs out there are punditry and, even though, I'm very political, I don't want to spend time reading things I already agree with. Plus I have a stack of National Reviews in my bathroom.

Do you have mad volleyball skillz?

Hmm... let's see. I'm 5' 11", 180 pounds and white. I couldn't jump over a sheet of paper if it got in my way. But I can see that what you're really asking is if I have any pictures of myself sandy, sweaty and wearing only jeans. Well, I did some digging...This is about as close as I can get.

Can you please elaborate on the showers you took after playing sand volleyball during flight school?

Heh, heh. There really was a Saturday game in the sand pit at pilot training. But, come on, this is the Air Force, not the Navy. We shower alone.

But I do wear my dog tags.

Is Maverick as much an ass in person as he was in that movie?

What most people don't realize about Pete is that he's short. I mean, I'm no giant, but he really looks up to me. That and the thing with his dad has really put a couple of chips on his shoulder. He's a good dude, but he can be a little bit of a moody bear at times.

So...can I get a ride?

Questions like this make smart-ass double entendres too easy.

What is the most important thing you've ever done?

You mean for myself or for society? Actually it doesn't matter. My life is basically a mish-mash of interesting, though ultimately irrelevant incidents. But I am hoping I can do something significant later.

I did give blood once, though. Once...

Why did you join the Air Force? Do you plan to spend your career there?

When I was in college, I was an intern at Alcon Labs (they make contact lens stuff). Anyway, I was in a grocery store one night and happened to see a big display of Alcon stuff. At first I was like, "Wow. I helped put that there. I am part of the team." And then it hit me that I was part of a team that puts salt water on grocery store shelves. This wasn't the lasting contribution to society that my classmates were expecting when they voted me "most likely to be president". So I started looking at alternate career fields.

I've got nine and a half years left on my ten year commitment. So, I'll have 12 years by the first time I can get out. Really, I think my decision at that point will be mostly based on what my prospects look like for the next ten years. Will I make general if I stay in? Could I
go to a good law school if I got out? Email me in 9 years and ask me the same question.

What do you do in your free time?

Right now I am working on a rock opera adaptation of Beowulf, a script for a techno/political thriller about, what else, an Air Force pilot and a series of essays on citizenship. I also volunteer with the youth group at my church, do speaking engagements for the bases' public affairs staff, volunteer with the base's POW/MIA committee and sometimes, I like to fly airplanes. But that's when I haven't any movies to watch.

Ford or Chevy?

Gerald Ford or Chevy Chase? To play golf with? Chevy's got a funny way of addressing the ball ("Danny", I've heard) and nobody ever chose Ford as part of their foursome, but he always shows up halfway through.

For the record, I like Chevy trucks and SUVs, but my first love was my 1967 Mustang.

OU beat Texas A&M 77-0. Any thoughts?

I'm taking the Texas Flag-pumpkin down for a while. But I have faith in Franchione. Everything TCU has is because of him and Alabama owes him a thing or two as well. Most of his players are true freshmen and sophomores and they had the hardest schedule in the NCAA this year. With that kind of experience and coaching, they will be a force to be
reckoned with... the year after next.

Which is not to take anything away from OU. After all, 55% of their players are from Texas. What else would you expect?

What is the best thing about Texans that non-Texans don't appreciate?

Our utter sublimity.

On your site you wrote, "I've eaten pigeon, ants, duck tongue, rabbit eye and something that I think was pig brain." Did they all taste like chicken?

I don't know I've never eaten chicken. Actually, it's not the taste of weird foods that is disgusting (except for Durian which tastes like month old guacamole)... it's the texture. Duck tongue is extremely rubbery and has a corpuscle that pops out into your mouth when you bite down. The you have to scrape the meat off the tendon with your lower teeth. Eating an eye is like chewing on one of those Super Bounce Balls that suddenly oozes a warm liquid.

If you had to sum yourself up to a stranger in 5 words, what would they be?

Does it need to be a complete sentence? Honestly, I don't even know how to do this and I've tried several different options, all of which sounded needlessly self-congratulatory or excessively average. So I guess, like the other Al (from South Park), "I'm super, thanks for asking!"

Posted by Jennifer at 04:48 AM | Comments (5)

*Ask Jen

Reader Jeff wants to know, "How far away can thunder be heard? What causes it?"

Thunder can be heard easily six to seven miles away, and occasionally as far as 20 miles away. The sound waves of thunder are the result of the expansion and contraction of air heated by lightning. Intense claps of thunder are caused by repeated lightning in a previously heated path of air.

Reader Pete writes, "How many senators have been elected President?"

Fifteen. For the list, please look in the extended entry.

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

(Source:, which doesn't have good working links to individual pages.)

James Monroe

Senator, 1790-1794

President, 1817-1825


John Quincy Adams

Senator, 1803-1808

President, 1825-1829


Andrew Jackson

Senator, 1797-1798; 1823-1825

President, 1829-1837


Martin Van Buren

Senator, 1821-1828

President, 1837-1841


William Henry Harrison

Senator, 1825-1828

President, 1841


John Tyler

Senator, 1827-1836

President, 1841-1845


Franklin Pierce

Senator, 1837-1842

President, 1853-1857


James Buchanan

Senator, 1834-1845

President, 1857-1861


Andrew Johnson

Senator, 1857-1862; 1875

President, 1865-1869


Benjamin Harrison

Senator, 1881-1887

President, 1889-1893


Warren G. Harding

Senator, 1915-1921

President, 1921-1923


Harry S. Truman

Senator, 1935-1945

President, 1945-1953


John F. Kennedy

Senator, 1953-1960

President, 1961-1963


Lyndon B. Johnson

Senator, 1949-1961

President, 1963-1969


Richard M. Nixon

Senator, 1950-1953

President, 1969-1974

Posted by Jennifer at 04:41 AM | Comments (2)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Continuing Presidential Quotes...

"(Russia) was as far as I could send him out of my sight and where he could do the least harm! I would have sent him to the North Pole if we had kept a minister there."
-Andrew Jackson, talking about James Buchanan.

"Why the deuce is it that they have such an itching for abusing me?"
-Martin Van Buren, regarding the press.

"I give my aid to it by renewing the pledge heretofore given that under no circumstances will I consent to serve a second term."
-William Henry Harrison, during his inaugural address. He died one month later.

Posted by Jennifer at 04:35 AM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2003

Veteran's Day

A huge and heartfelt thank you to the men and women who have risked their lives to protect ours...and those who continue to do so. Please take a moment out of your day to remember the ones who gave their lives for your freedom.

Paul has a good post up about today. I'm a fan of the last line in particular.

Today is a nice day to visit Front Line Voices to read letters from our servicemen and women.

I didn't have time to write anything particularly significant for today, for which I apologize...please visit the links above instead.

Posted by Jennifer at 09:32 AM | Comments (1)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Continuing with Presidential Quotes...

"The more simple, the more republican we are in our manners, the more rational dignity we shall acquire."
-James Madison, speaking on the debate over what to call the nation's leader.

"A little flattery will support a man through great fatigue."
-James Monroe.

"No election or appointment conferred upon me ever gave me so much pleasure."
-John Quincy Adams, speaking of his election to the House of Representatives after his Presidency.

Posted by Jennifer at 07:42 AM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2003

You Asked, Susie Answers

All the questions you were willing to ask about Susie have been answered!

What does she like to drink? Which male blogger would she make her cabin boy?

Click it and find out.

Where do you find the time for your own blog with all you do at The Alliance, the Munuviana thingy, over at Madfish Willie's getting in trouble, raising
hell with Harvey, and yet your blog is... well, it just "is".

I think the word you're looking for is "neglected". Actually, I have no
life. I blog, go to work, blog, sleep, blog, go to my spare time I

Who is your favorite blogger: Harvey or Madfish Willie?

You mean after Frank, right? Now this is the kind of question that's going to make somebody's feelings hurt. I don't like to hurt people's feelings. Sorry Michael.

What's your favorite alcoholic beverage?

My all-time favorite drink is kaluha and cream. I don't drink them very
often though because they taste so good it's hard to keep track of how many
there've been, and before you know it, somebody's naked. For everyday
socializing I like beer. One of my brothers has a kegerator that he keeps stocked with Michelob Amber Bock (which seems to be easier to buy by the keg than the six pack). I like going to his house.

What would you buy as a gift for Daniel?

I would get Daniel a wallet made out of duct tape, since there's a pretty good chance he doesn't have one already.

What is one thing you would change about yourself?

My spinsterhood. I hope in some alternate universe I'm happily married with
a houseful of kids.

You have to spend the rest of your life on a luxury yacht with a full staff
and one Munuvian. Who is it and why?

This is too easy! It would have to be Pixy Misa--he's such a Renaissance Man that there'd always be something to talk about so it would never get boring. Plus he deserves luxury for all the generousity he has shown to other bloggers. And he likes cats.

You can make one non-Munuvian blogger the cabin boy. Who is it?

LOL! Bill C, because his complaints would keep us in stitches.

Which bloggers influence you the most?

Tough question. Frank J, Rachel Lucas and Misha are the reasons I started blogging, but the query is phrased in the present tense...Who has the power to sway or affect me? The Munuvians mostly, I think.

You inherit millions of dollars...what is the first thing you buy?

Well, I would buy a house, but that would take some shopping time, and a
Dell computer, but that would take some shipping time, so I guess health
insurance would be the first thing I'd buy.

If you could have any car, what would it be?

A Hunter green one--I'm kind of tired of blue. I suppose the person who
asked this wants an answer like "a Splenda ZT 360 with overhead shocks and
titanium cam protector" but I don't speak automobilese. Someone asks me "what kind of car was it?" and I answer "white". I know the difference between a pick-up truck, a mini-van and a sedan, but that's about it. So I would like a Hunter green sedan with a conveniently located ashtray and air-conditioning. If it has a radio, too, that would be good.

You can only read one blog a day and it isn't Frank J's. Whose would it be?

This is just mean. But if I have to choose, I'd pick my own, so I
could check for spelling and grammar errors.

Let's say you have to choose. Someone's holding a gun to your head. Alliance or Munuviana?

Who asked this? Jennifer? Daniel? Fear not, I would choose Munuvia over the Alliance if forced to. But I would be really grumpy....

So, because you work in a theater, what's your favorite movie?

The really sad thing is, I used to see way more movies when I worked
at the video store than I do now that I work at a movie theater. At the
theater we usually only get one or two new movies a week--at the video store
we averaged 5 or 6 new ones a week, plus we got demos of upcoming videos,
some of which we never bought, so I got to see lots of good but obscure
movies like "The Broken Hearts Club" and "Blow Dry". And at the video store we could take the movies home to watch, whereas if I want to see a movie now I have to go into work on my day off. Just the other day I went to see "Matchstick Men" and had to handle about five problems just because I was there. So I have gotten to the point where I take a pass on anything that only marginally interests me.
Um, what was the question?

What do you think about movies with intermissions in them?

They're long.

Of the blogs you read regularly, do you think any will get huge?

Well, Silver Blue posts a lot every day, and so does Tiger, so they're pretty big already.

Kermit or Grover?

I've never understood the appeal of frog legs, so I guess I'd have to go
for a nice thick Grover steak medium-well and hope it doesn't taste too gamey.

What's more important, a sense of humor or a sense of confidence?

Humor. People with a good sense of humor will gain confidence every time
they make people fall to the floor laughing.

Who was your first crush?

When I was in kindergarten there was the most gorgeous boy named Bob Vertin in my class. He was blond, blue-eyed and very studly for a 6 year old. I
worshipped him til my family moved away. Bob, if you're reading this, we were
in Mrs. Garrett's first grade class together at St. Paul's--email me! These days I am attracted to brunettes, because all other blondes seem insipid after Bob.

If you could sleep with (but ONLY sleep, no sex) with any man, who would it be?

You people are NO fun! Hmm...someone warm, cuddly and hirsute--Tom Selleck.

Will you be posting any more boobie pictures?

Only for special occasions, like Bill's second blogiversary.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 AM | Comments (6)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

For this round I present Presidential Quotes...

"This will be the commencement of the decline of my reputation."
-George Washington, upon learning he was unanimously voted commander-in-chief of Continental military forces.

"I have accepted a seat in the House of Representatives, and thereby consented to my own ruin, to your ruin, and to the ruin of our children."
-John Adams.

"I have no ambition to govern men; it is a painful and thankless office."
-Thomas Jefferson.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 AM | Comments (1)

November 09, 2003

November 9

In 1938, more than 30,000 Jews were arrested and 91 killed in Germany as a mob carried out a pogrom against them. Synagogues were burned down or demolished, prayer books and Torah scrolls fed bonfires in Jewish neighborhoods, and thousands of Jewish shops and homes were destroyed. The night was named Kristallnacht (Crystal Night) for all the smashed glass.

In 1989, the Berlin Wall was opened after 28 years of separating East and West Germany.

Posted by Jennifer at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2003

You Asked, Simon Answers

Simon has graciously risked public humiliation to answer your questions!

For those of you who have not met Simon, he is an Australian...but he lives in Hong Kong. Now is your chance to find out why.

Plus you can learn why he refuses to hang out in a cave with me (and most of the rest of you people) by clicking below.

Are you nervous?

Umm, is this microphone on? Is my tie straight? Did I put pants on this morning? It's really hot in here. Can I get some water please.

How did an Aussie end up in Hong Kong?

It's your usual story. Boy slogs guts out at university. Boy gets job at multinational corporation. Multinational corporation sees opportunity to exploit proletariat by shipping cheap labour to Hong Kong. Said corporation discovers such cheap labour in Australia and ships it (well, we flew, but you know what I mean) over. Sort of ironic, what with 1.2 billion Chinese next door.

What are three things that you love about living in Hong Kong and three things you wish you could change?

Three things I love about living in HK:
1) the Government will throw taxpayers money at just about anything
2) the tax rate is lower than Pamela Anderson's cleavage.
3) it is a fascinating mix of cultures, a Western city right in the middle of the most dynamic and varied region in the world.

Three things I wish I could change:
1) the attitude of the people, just introduce them to some Western ideas of personal space and courtesy.
2) the weather. Summer is 3 months of 90% humidity and 33 degrees Centigrade daily (look it up, my non-metric friends). And at night it only dips to the mid 20s and still is 90% humidity. I miss the cold.
3) the slightly smug superiority complex Aussie expat bloggers in Hong Kong seem to exhibit. That really gets me.

Translate the following into Chinese: I would gladly pay you Tuesday, for a hamburger today.

The quesiton shows an appalling lack of understanding. There is no one Chinese language. There are many dialects, with Mandarin the main language, but Cantonese the language of Hong Kong and the one I am grappling with. Neverthless, I will try to translate:

"Hey, Giles, it's your shout for lunch, McDonald's is across the road."

Do JC and PB speak Chinese?

JC speaks English. She can say Barbie pretty well. PB I think speaks Chinese because I'm not really sure what else it is. Disturbingly Misti the dog seems to understand her best.

Marmite-friend or foe?

Like all good Australians, Marmite is nothing to me. However Vegemite is one my essential five food groups, the others being (in order) pizza, chocolate, alcohol (it can be a food if you try) and fried.

Why are you so crap at backyard cricket?

Ah, I see my brother has entered the arena. For those not blessed with an understanding of this game, try this. Now like all little brothers, mine could never win unless I let him. This remains the case. So if I am "crap" at this game, I dread to think what words describe his performance.

Given my little brother has no blog nor right of reply, I have realised how I can release years of repressed anger...

How did you react when you broke a window playing indoor cricket?

It was a windy day, that day, my friends. The storm was blowing in from the west and a wicked wind 'twas it. 'Twas it the ball or an errant branch from a tree? Can we ever "know" anything? What is truth? Have I thrown out enough red herrings to distract you yet? Look over there! Quick.

What was your favorite childhood toy?

My little brother. He bounced. He rolled. He lost a lot. But somehow he learnt how to talk and fight back. I still can't get the store to take him back.

Why did you write a constitution for a made up country when you were 8 years old?

It was destined to become Munuviana so it was all worth it. Plus if you knew my brother you'd understand.

Why did you start a blog?

Someone at work first put me onto Gweilo Diaries and that got me into the whole world of blogging. Next I dabbled via Blogger but thought it was too much effort. Then I came back to it and realised it doesn't take a lot to get a blog going. Plus it makes communicating with the family back home much easier. Instead of Mrs M writing a weekly email to family and friends, I do the blog (hence the weekend updates). Then I can fill in the rest with all my random thoughts and observations. There seem to be enough.

I just realised none of that was funny or intersting. I'd better put something mildly amusing in the next answer or I'm toast.

Which bloggers influence your writing?

Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Jesus. They've all had an impact. Actually given there's already Allah and now Yahweh Jesus might have one next anyway. (phew)

Seriously I wouldn't be able to put a finger on any one blogger that influences my writing. I think everytime I read another blog I like a little bit of that blogger's writing and technique stays with me. You call it plagarism. I call it influence.

Heh. Indeed.

You have to spend the rest of your life in an underground cave with one Munuvian. Who is it and why?

This is tough. Munuvia is so full of intelligent, good looking and interesting people that picking just one would be hard. Helen is an obvious one but I'm not sure we could deal with all those issues. She would bare her soul and I would make pithy sarcastic unrelated remarks. And no doubt Jim and Don would be after us with their cows and Objectivism. Pixy would be fretting about his crashed computer. If it was Jen I'd learn way more trivia that I need. Don't even get me started if it was Kang A. Roo.

The truth is there is only ever one Munuvian I could spend the rest of my life with in a cave. Luuk the Everyday Bear.

Tell us about your troubled past. Specifically that mess with Madonna and Britney. How is it that you've escaped the paparazzi on this one?

I am tempted to walk out of here right now. I said to those two that if they want to do for the world what they did for me nightly for 3 years in private then the whole threesome thing is off. I'm not selling out for anyone. Well, at least not until the last question.

As for the paparazzi, if you saw how many photos Mrs M takes of me you'd understand how used to the attention I am. The whole thing paparazzi thing is so 1998 anyway. It's all about blogging now, duh.

Why is carrying hot coffee between your legs while driving not a good idea?

It's just not. Ok. Trust me.

That Steve Irwin guy is insane, right? Not all Australians are like that, are they? Just the crazy ones?

No, all Australians think Steve Irwin is normal. Actually most Aussies have never heard of Steve Irwin.

Personally I think he's a wuss. Wrestling crocodiles is nothing compared to taking on two little girls and a dog all at the same time.

If you could travel back in time and change one thing that happened to you, what would it be?

The easy answer to say something damning about my brother. So here it is: I would make change my brother's personality so he was my personal slave. Otherwise I would go back about 5 years, hunt down Evil Glenn and prevent him from becoming whatever it is he has become.

You get three wishes. What are they? (And ix-nay on the wishing for more wishes.)

1. Bill Gates realises he should give US$5 billion to an Aussie expat blogger in Hong Kong so he can blog full-time.
2. He decides it should be me.
3. This interview was over.

Ummm, is that it? Is that camera off now? (Phew) Well that went pretty well Jen, didn't it? I don't those little SoBs suspected a thing. Heheheheh. Indeed. (Bhuwhahahahahahahaha)

(Insert men in white coats here.)

PS: this is all off the record, right? No one will ever really read this? Right? that case, hi Mum.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 AM | Comments (13)

November 06, 2003

*What Do You Know?

About planets...

My "What Do You Know?" posts have some facts I find interesting/obscure/whatever about a given topic...and you are encouraged to debate or add to them. I never claim to know it all. ;-) So click to continue and leave a comment.

The Big Bang theory basically states that about 15 billion years ago there was a cataclysmic fireball, and a few billionths of a second after that was the first matter. When the universe cooled enough, more familiar particles formed...the neutrons, electrons, and protons that make up everyday matter. Gradually these particles formed atoms--mainly helium and hydrogen, which collapsed under the influence of gravity and created stars and planets.

The Big Crunch theory is based on the finding that gravity is slowing the universe's expansion. The pull of gravity may cause the expansion to stop and reverse back on itself...slowly at first, but then speeding up until the last moment when all matter will coexist as a single point.

Mercury has wide variations of hot and cold temperatures because it has virtually no atmosphere to protect it. The sunny side of the planet is as much as 750 degrees F, while the dark side drops to minus 330 degrees F.

Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system...approximately 860 degrees F regardless of time of day. This is because of it's thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide...the Sun's heat warms the planet, but the heat cannot escape into space.

Earth is the only planet in the solar system with liquid water. Our atmosphere is so thin that if Earth were the size of an apple, the atmosphere would be as thick as the peel.

The favored theory of the Moon's creation is that about 4.5 billion years ago a giant object struck Earth and produced a cloud of rocky debris that eventually collected itself together to form the Moon.

Mars has four seasons and used to have water running on its surface. Now frozen water can be found there. Olympus Mons is an apparently dormant volcano on Mars which is larger than any mountain we have here.

Jupiter has more mass than the other planets put together. Its makeup (75% hydrogen and 24% helium) is similar to the Sun, and its gravitational pull controls 16 moons as well as assorted comets and asteroids that come too close. For all its size, Jupiter has a quick rotation period...less than 10 hours, which turns its cloud features into east-west stripes.

Saturn's rings are no more than a few hundred yards thick, but can be seen through a backyard telescope. Scientists think the rings will disappear eventually as the particles fall into Saturn.

Uranus is tilted almost completely to its side (by comparison, Earth has a 23 degree tilt). One theory is that an object the size of Earth crashed into it and more or less knocked it over.

Neptune is believed to be mostly frozen water, but the reason it is the blue planet is due to a layer of methane in the top of its atmosphere. It also has the only large moon that revolves backward...possibly due to a collision with another, long-gone moon.

Pluto was named after the Roman god of the underworld and has a moon that is about half its size. The moon, Charon, is only 12,100 miles from Pluto (our Moon is 239,000 miles away), and orbits the planet every 6.4 days.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:46 AM | Comments (5)

*Ask Jen: Cedar Rapids is Dead Edition

Natalie of Pickle Juice left a comment asking why Cedar Rapids is the city of five seasons...and what the fifth season is supposed to be.

Because CVBs are good at explaining the stupid unique things about their towns, I went here and it appears the fifth season is "the time to enjoy" there you have it.

Posted by Jennifer at 04:27 AM | Comments (1)

Ask Jen

Jim wants to know, "Where does 'In a jiffy' come from?"

This one I am not sure I can explain...jiffy is in the dictionary as meaning a "moment or instant" but the etymology is listed by Webster as unknown. None of my cliche sources have it listed. One source says jiffy used to be thieves' slang for "lightning." The reputability of this source is questionable, but it sounds good. :-)

Daniel asks, "When is the Feast of Stephen and who is this Stephen guy anyway?"

St. Stephen's feastday is the day after Christmas Day. He was apparently the first Christian martyr, and if you want to read the Catholic church's story about him, try here. Religion gives me a headache. (ducking)

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:05 AM | Comments (2)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Presidential Last Words.

John F. Kennedy (5/29/1917-11/22/1963): some reports say he said, "My God, I've been hit."

Lyndon B. Johnson (8/27/1908-1/22/1973): unknown.

Richard Nixon (1/9/1913-4/22/1994): unknown.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:01 AM | Comments (2)

November 05, 2003

*Ask Jen: Des Moines Edition

Des Moines (pronounced DE moin, by the way) has a somewhat confusing name origin. I have been told various different meanings and histories for the name, but I believe I have finally found a reasonable answer to the question that keeps me up nights:

The name "Des Moines" comes from the river of the same name. Indians called the river Moingona, meaning "river of the mounds." Early French explorers later translated this into La Riviere de Moingona, which, over time became Des Moines.

I've been asked about Des Moines enough that I figured I'd just post this information so y'all can sleep better at night, too.

Posted by Jennifer at 04:26 PM | Comments (4)

*Ask Jen

Reader Amy asks, "Was there a Mother Goose?"

Good question. Legend has it Elizabeth Goose was a New England widow who married Isaac Goose, adopted his 10 children, and bore 6 children of her own. In 1719 her book Mother Goose's Melodies for Children was supposed to have been published by her son-in-law, but no copy of the book has been found. More likely, French author Charles Perrault was the actual "Mother Goose."

Reader Jeff asks, "What are close encounters of the first, second, and third kind?"

First=a UFO sighting.
Second=physical evidence of a UFO.
Third=physical contact with a UFO.

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at 08:20 AM | Comments (2)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Presidential Last Words.

Warren Harding (11/2/1865-8/2/1923): "That's good. Go on, read some more."

Calvin Coolidge (7/4/1872-1/5/1933): unknown.

Herbert Hoover (8/10/1874-10/20/1964): unknown.

Franklin Roosevelt (1/30/1882-4/12/1945): "I have a terrific headache."

Harry Truman (5/8/1884-12/26/1972): unknown.

Dwight Eisenhower (10/14/1890-3/28/1969): "I want to go. God take me."

Posted by Jennifer at 08:19 AM | Comments (1)

You Asked, Jim Answers

Jim has answered your questions!

Click it and learn what the giant cow udder is all know you've been wondering.

Do any other bloggers influence you and how?

Absolutely. Most of the blogs I read influence me in one way or another - that's part of what a community is all about. I'd say the biggest influences are Don Watkins, Ryan Rhodes, Venomous Kate and Helen Adelaide. Don is funny as all get out and he spurs me to be funnier than he is. Ryan is a fantastic writer and makes me want to write well. Kate is...real. She's like a blog anchor that keeps me from wandering out of my field. She's also taught me all I know about link whoring. Helen is a constant reminder that a portion of my audience have vaginas is a study in cut-throat self appraisal. I might never attain the state of openness that she has on her blog but the personal items that I have shared are largely due to the example she has set.

If you could secretly have sex with one person, who would it be?

I've had a thing for Annette Bening since my first episode of man to gland combat.

If you could publicly have sex with two people, who would they be?

Public sex? I don't know that I could perform well with an audience. Oh wait, I get it. You mean where it's public knowledge. I think a threesome with Lovely Wife and Helen would be a little slice of Heaven itself. Unfortunately Lovely Wife has only two women on autoaccept for a booty call and they are Brooke Shields and Demi Moore so I'd be picking Demi to join us in the bedroom.

When you feel like annoying your wife on purpose, how do you do it?

How do I annoy thee? Let me count the ways. One. Two. Three. Yup, there are three different ways that I annoy Lovely Wife. The first is tickling. She's horribly, horribly ticklish. I'll sneak in "accidental" tickles during backrubs and other modes of fondling until she figures out that they aren't accidental. Then I usually get a finger in the ribs. The second is finishing her sentences for her. This usually starts out unintentionally until I realize that I'm doing it. When I do, I start finishing her sentences with nonsense. "Don't forget that tomorrow is..." "...blow job day? I know, I know." Third is cracking jokes when she wants to talk in a serious manner. This is naturally dangerous territory as I am afflicted with incurable whimsy and Lovely Wife has what is generally referred to as a "normal" temperment. The key, of course, is stopping in time before annoyance at my flippancy turns to fury. I have mixed results there.

How did you meet Lovely Wife and how long before you knew she was the one?

We met over the [gasp] Internet. On a [gasp] chat program. ICQ? I don't remember for sure which one it was. I had been playing around with chat programs and then abandoned them when i discovered that I had little to no desire to randomly talk to people that I had nothing in common with. Unbeknownst to me, the ICQ (or whatever) was still running in the background and logging on anytime I went online. Imagine my surprise when a chat request popped up out of nowhere. It was Future Lovely Wife, looking to know the answer to the question I had used in place of a tag line in my profile ("If you choke a smurf, what color does it turn?"). We chatted, chatted more, emailed, called, called more and eventually fell in cyber love. She came to the USA to visit and we fell in love for real. So how long did it take? About a year and a half after we met but it was love at first sight.

Aaron Spelling shows-horror or heaven?

Hart to Hart was ridiculous but entertaining. TJ Hooker was hillarious, though it wasn't intended as such. Seventh Heaven is one of my current guilty pleasures. The rest of his creations are a big steaming pile of crap.

Which blogs are the ones that you must check in on?

Most of the blogs I follow give good RSS so my checking is done for me. My non-RSS must-reads get attention in the morning and that's usually it. Sorry but I'm lazy and busy so unless it's made easy for me I'm just not out there looking for updates.

Helen-to be adored or feared?

Both! Isn't she great? What a woman!

What's with the giant udder?

You'd prefer some wimpy little French udder, I suppose? Actually it ties into the "embarass Lovely Wife" thing. Can't believe I forgot this. My absolute favorite way to annoy Lovely Wife is to be myself. In public. AAAAAAGH! The cow thing was during a visit from Little Bro. I was casually walking towards the cow to check it out and Lovely Wife said something along the lines of "Don't you dare do what I think you're going to do", which of course made me think of what she was thinking I was going to do so I did it. Lil Bro captured the moment for posterity.

Would you say you have an oral fixation?

No. I'm not a pencil chewer and I can't stand gum. Generally the only things that go into my mouth are food products, cigarettes and clitori. And nipples. I love nipples.

Any plans for an encore performance of the Writer's Noose?

Probably not, but maybe. There will be other short stories (I currently owe one about a fairy with pirranha teeth) but the Writer's Noose delivery was pretty unique. I have been thinking about how I could have done it better. You know, things like establishing a real audience before oddities began occuring, a non MuNu domain so clever folks like Susie couldn't tie me to the site, working email addresses for the cast, stuff like that. It's possible that I might redo it "right" but I doubt I will because I already did it once.

Your children are nicknamed after meat products. Burger Queen and Sweet Meat were part of your storyline at Writer's Noose. What's up with the meat, man?

Bacon got his nickname because of bacon. It was the first food he begged for by name. Burger was sabotaged by my world famous "Jimmy Burgers". He's a Jimmy and we'd all been saying Jimmy Burger for years before he was born so he became Jimmy Burger and eventually just Burger. Burger Queen was an initials thing. Becky Q-name. Problem was I couldn't spell or remember the Q-name from one paragraph to the next so she became Becky Longcloud and her heritage moved from Panama to New York State. Sweet Meat is the most embarassing pet name I've ever heard a girl call a guy. Granted it's a compliment but it's not one that a guy lets out and about. That's what I was looking for to show that BQ had personal knowledge on Chuckie. But more than any of that it's because I am as close to a carnivore as you can get while still eating loads of bread and dairy products. I love meat. I could happily eat meat for every meal every day of my life. Beef, pork, chicken, veal, I don't care - as long as it was once chewing grass and producing methane. Excepting Michael Moore, of course.

Do you tan, freckle, or burn?

All three. I'm a mutt but a lot of the Irish came out in me. I'll get a plethora of freckles right away, then a nastybad sunburn. When that heals up I'll end with a decent tan and the freckles aren't quite as noticeable.

What are your thoughts on Munuvian world domination?

It is inevitable. MuNu is an elemental force that must ultimately devour all before it. Like Sally Struthers at a buffet.

Who is the most under-rated blogger you know?

There are a lot who I think should get more attention than they do but the topper is Ryan Rhodes. Consistently witty and entertaining and just an excellent writer. Go check out his blog. It's okay, I'll be here when you come back.


I was tempted to say me. Hell, I'm just a hack spitting out randomly manufactured anecdotes mixed with vitriolic attacks on modern stupidity and a dash of testosterone laden inuendo for flavoring. And there are 250 visits a day from people coming to look at what I write? Damn, people! Get a life! Then I realized that saying something like this could drastically reduce my traffic so I decided not to.

You have to spend the rest of your life on an island with one person and it can't be your wife. Who is it?

I'd like to say Steve Irwin, or some other outdoorsy-type person who could keep my sorry urbanized ass alive. Unfortunately I'm a horn dog so that would be a lie. I'd probably end up picking Helen or Oprah. With Helen I'd have a fantastic couple of days until starvation pangs set in. With Oprah the sex wouldn't be great but she'd get weak from hunger way before I did so I could kill her and then eat like a king for a month. Sound crazy? I'm serious, it takes a long time for that much meat to rot. Trust me.

What is the most selfless thing anyone ever did for you?

I'm an ingrate so I've probably forgotten the majority of things that people have done for me. Mom helping us out of financial problems was probably the most selfless. The was when we were still in Buffalo and I had a crappy job. With crappy health insurance. We got socked with massive medical bills after Bear was born. Mom helped us out. Mom doesn't have money - this was scrimped and saved over many years and she simply gave it to us to save us from serious financial problems.

Reality TV--would you do it?

Depends. Guaranteed pay-off? Then I'm the whore for you. One of these "who can eat the most worms in five minutes" contest deals where the winner takes all? Um, no thanks. Mess around on the French Riviera for a couple months? Hell yeah. And I wouldn't give a damn if she wasn't really a millionaire either.

If you were God for a day, what would you do?

What wouldn't I do? I've got a complete manifesto waiting for the day this happens. First thing to do would be an announcement that people are SERIOUSLY NOT GETTING THE MESSAGE. Knock off the murder in my name, people! New rule. Anybody who kills anybody in my name goes straight into the eternal shitcan. Don't lay that crap on my doorstep, Gumby. Second thing, where the hell are my virgins? Third thing, another new rule. Fags are cool, leave them alone. That's a rule now, dickwad, not an option! Fourth thing, I'm still waiting for my virgins. All I ask for are virgins with frikken lasers on their heads. What do I pay you people for? What? Oh. God doesn't typically demand virgin sacrifices, you say? Hell, screw this job then.

On a serious note, who really wants virgins? I've got needs and wants that a freshly deflowered maiden is just not going to meet. It should be 72 experienced ladies. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 AM | Comments (6)

November 04, 2003

Presidential Facts From Encarta

This article is titled "12 Things You Didn't Know About U.S. Presidents" which of course I viewed as a challenge.

I knew 1 and 2, did not know 3, knew 4, dispute 5, did not know 6, knew 7 and 8 and 9, am curious about 10...surely there aren't that many bad swimmers in tiny Dixon?, and knew 11 and 12.

Just in case you're keeping score.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:59 PM | Comments (5)

*Ask Jen

Reader Jeff D. asks, "Where do odors go? Do they dissipate beyond recognition or do the compounds break down after a while (or both)?"

Daniel takes this one: They dilute themselves in the natural air and in the wind. Odors are caused by chemical compounds being released into the air. When these chemicals land on the nerves in our nose, the resonant frequency of them is changed and this sends an electrical signal to the brain. Of course, each compound changes the frequency in a very specific way and the more of that compound that enters our nose, the stronger the smell. Of course, there is a limited amount of chemicals that can be released by the material (actually some of the compounds are formed through natural interaction with the air, but same idea...) and this material spreads out the farther away from it you are. It doesn't seem likely that the compounds would break down - that would take a large amount of energy - but I suppose it could happen, just not very likely.

Susie asks, "What's the derivation of the phrase 'Hobson's choice'?"

Tobias Hobson kept a livery stable in Cambridge, England, in the seventeenth century. He let out his horses in rotation only, and did not let customers choose. Hobson's choice was no choice at all.

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up. If you have a blog, please include a link in your e-mail.

Posted by Jennifer at 07:27 PM | Comments (1)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Presidential Last Words.

William McKinley (1/29/1843-9/14/1901): "It is God's way. His will be done, not ours. We are all going...oh, dear."

Theodore Roosevelt (10/27/1858-1/6/1919): "James, will you please put out the light?"

William Howard Taft (9/15/1857-3/8/1930): unknown.

Woodrow Wilson (12/28/1856-2/3/1924): "The machinery is worn out. I am ready...Edith!"

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2003

*Ask Jen

A reader who wishes to remain anonymous writes, "Do you know how to make a bomb?"

Yes. Do you?

Reader Jeff asks, "What does 'zip' in 'zip code' mean?"

It was named for the national Zoning Improvement Plan.

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at 05:51 PM | Comments (1)

You Asked, Helen Answers

The lovely Helen has answered your questions!

Click it and learn the top reason why you should move to Sweden, as well as her thoughts on shaving vs. waxing, Coke vs. Pepsi, and more importantly...Colin Firth vs. John Cusack.

How did you end up living in Sweden?

No extradition laws. And there is no such thing as “life in prison” here.

Wait! Wrong answer. Actually, it’s because I was flying over here for business two weeks out of every month, and I figured it was best to just up and move. That, and I have always been desperate to get out and about and see the big world.

If I moved to Sweden, would I still have to hear about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez? In other words, is pop culture different there?

God yes. That’s a blessing about living here-no Bennifer. How is it that you all haven’t ganged up and just killed Ben and Jen yet? I never hear about it here and I’m ALREADY sick of it. We get a blip of celebrity news every now and then, but ordinarily, the news is strictly that-news. Produced by ugly people.

How many languages do you speak?

Three and a half. English, Swedish, French, and I used to speak Russian but she be gone now. Impressed yet?

If you had to stay in one town for the rest of your life, where would it be?

Wouldn’t happen. I am not one for holding still. There are a lot of towns I truly enjoy-Sydney, London, San Francisco, and Mahe, but I couldn’t just stay in one place.

If you could have breakfast with 3 people from Ireland, who would they be and why?

Colin Farrell, James Joyce, and Kenneth Brannagh. Mostly, because I want to see who can hold their liquor the best and which of them is the biggest conceited ass. OK, I know Joyce is dead. But not like I will be having breakfast with any of them anyway.

Except Farrell or Brannagh. But then again, I am nothing if not an accommodating host the morning after.

You have to pick...Colin Firth or John Cusack?

John Cusack. No question. Simply because he can not only act, but he co-wrote “Grosse Point Blank”, and anyone that can come up with the idea of a union for hit men must be worshipped.

What are your five favorite movies and why?

“Grosse Point Blank”-absolutely brilliant and still makes me laugh.
“Fifth Element”-I find it so outrageously refreshing. That, and I love Luc Besson.
“Sense and Sensibility”-a Chick Flick with brains.
“Lord of the Rings”-I admit it. I was duly impressed. Confess that the books kind of bored me, since there were too many songs and hobbits related to hobbits.
The fifth? Probably “Goodfellas” or “The Godfather”. It’s a toss-up. I love mob films.

Waxing or shaving?

Depends on the area. My beaver? Waxing. My legs/underarms? Shaving only, please. My enemies? Both.

If you were to get another tattoo, what would it look like and where would it go?

It would be in the middle of my back, and would likely be something not of the Japanese persuasion this time. I think a lizard, a sun, or something like that. Could even go Celtic and make my ancestors happy.

How tall are you?

I’m 5”9. And I love heels.

Can one ever have enough socks?

No. And they must have funny characters on them. Plain black socks are for plain people. I want cartoons, dammit!

Coke or Pepsi?

Coke. Diet please. But Fanta if you have it (or any orange soda will do).

What's your favorite salad dressing?

Actually, none. I don’t like dressings. I think it comes from watching that Schoolhouse Rocks cartoon “Don’t Drown Your Food”, which no one seems to remember but me, so maybe it’s a fixation of my “I want to be thin” imagination. (“Don’t drown your food….in ketchup or mayo or goo…yuck, it’s no fun to eat what you can’t even see!) Maybe that’s why I obsess about trimming the minge so much….hmmmm…

Are these questions inane enough?!

Knowing some of the people that read me, I suspect they could be worse. Ironically, I notice they are suited to fit my blog topics. But come on darlings-I not only have a lot of sex, I am SMART, too.

My question is: why can't I get a date?

Sweet pea, maybe you aren’t asking the right questions when you are trying to chat them up. Be yourself. And if you aren’t very interesting, pretend to be someone else. Or, you could always pay her more by the hour.

And the fifth head on Mount Rushmore is......?

Don’t you mean “would be” (what are you trying to do? Trip me up?)? My money’s on Tony Blair (he’s more American than I am sometimes, I think). Or Walt Disney.

Which people in your life have been most influential to you and why?

Tough one. My grandfather is a definite-he loved me sincerely and without cessation, until his death. Kim, the first big love of my life, who taught me how to breathe. The second love of my life, Mr. Y, who then taught me how to fly and how to be myself. Jim Henson, since the muppets basically raised me. And I owe a lot to my Mom. The going has been rough sometimes, but I love her and get my independence from her.

Who is the sexiest muppet?

Don. No wait! He’s not a muppet. Knee-jerk response is Grover since he seems so shy. It’s the shy ones you have to watch out for, they’re nuts in bed (which is why so many men go for librarians). But with some thought, I have to go for Fozzie. He’s got “cuddler” written all over him.

What will you do if you get cut in the next round of redundancies? What will you do if you don't?

If I do-I will fucking fall apart and take to my bed for an indefinite period of time, perhaps not even surfacing to blog. Then I will start job hunting, and since over 20,000 people in my line of work have lost their jobs in the past year, I don’t expect to be successful in Sweden. I will likely look within the EU, but I have to wait until my Swedish citizenship papers come in, otherwise I need a work visa. Oh yeah, and it will likely break my Partner Unit and I up.

Minor details.

If I don’t? Well, actually I am going to keep writing. I have a book going on the side that’s pretty important to me, and likely the only way out of this revolving Company x redundancy nightmare.

What was the happiest single moment of your life?

I have thought about that long and often. To be honest, I don’t have a single moment, and I don’t mean that in any cop-out kind of answer. But I can say that I have a central person for all of the moments I hold close to my heart. Is that close enough?

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 AM | Comments (3)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Presidential Last Words.

James Garfield (11/19/1831-9/19/1881): "Oh, Swaim, there is a pain here. Oh, Swaim!" (David Swaim, chief of staff.)

Chester Arthur (10/5/1829-11/18/1886): unknown.

Grover Cleveland (3/18/1837-6/24/1908): "I have tried so hard to do right."

Benjamin Harrison (8/20/1833-3/13/1901): "Are the doctors here? Doctor, my lungs."

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 AM | Comments (3)