December 31, 2003

Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.
-Henry Adams

Random quote of the day...

Do, or do not. There is no try.

Posted by Jennifer at 05:47 AM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2003

*Ask Jen: Attila's Dandruff Edition

Reader Jeff asks, "How did Attila the Hun die? Where is he buried"

As the story goes, he died while having sex on his wedding night. He had many wedding nights, but this was the last. The Huns buried him at night, in a secret spot in the mountains. When the funeral was over, they killed the slaves who had dug the grave. He died shortly after leaving Rome, so the location may be Austria. Check mountains "beyond the banks of the Danube"...that should narrow it down for you. I expect a fair cut if you find the treasure.

Reader James K. asks, "Why does your dander get up when you're angry?"

Dander is an old word meaning anger, possibly derived from the Dutch "donder" which means thunder. A second explanation is that dander is another word for dandruff, and when an animal is angry his hair stands on end...transferring this to humans, being angry would get our hair or dandruff up.

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 10:05 AM

It was a Stark and Dormy Night

So you've all heard of the awards for bad literature inspired by the writer who wrote a book beginning "It was a dark and stormy night", right?

The 2003 contest results are here. There are several gems, but this is one of my (many) favorites:

He knew that, at most, he had five seconds left to live, one one-thousand, two one-thousand, the gun barrel pointing at his face like a scolding finger, three Mississippi, four Mississippi, the hired assassin Ricardo's grip tightening on the trigger, five white elephantsS SIX white elephants, and then a bright blast of light as he wondered which was really the most accurate way to count five seconds.

Aw, heck, here's another:

Detective Inspector Mike Norman slipped six fingers into his overcoat pocket, five of them clad in a latex glove and attached to his palm, while the sixth was wrapped in a plastic evidence bag and apparently belonged to the kidnapped pianist Ricardo Moore, or, as it now seemed likely, the kidnapped ex-pianist Ricardo Moore.

I'll stop now before I quote all of them.

Posted by Jennifer at 07:00 AM | Comments (4)

Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.
-Gore Vidal

Random quote of the day...

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I've found it!), but 'That's funny...'
-Isaac Asimov

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

December 29, 2003

*Ask Jen: Bridge to Caligula Edition

Pete the Blogless, Monty Python Fan, asks, "Was the bridge ever completed between the 2 peaks of Mt. Kilimanjaro?"

Alas, there is only one peak, sir.

Reader Jeff wants to know, "What happened to Pontius Pilate?"

The best sources claim he committed suicide after Caligula ordered him to report to Rome on charges of cruelty in the massacre of Samaritans. It is possible he was ordered to commit suicide by Caligula, or he could have done so in anticipation of harsh treatment.

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 05:25 AM | Comments (3)

Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

Diplomacy --- the art of saying 'Nice doggie' 'til you can find a stick.
-Wynn Catlin

Random quote of the day...

I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me.
-Hunter S. Thompson

Posted by Jennifer at 05:23 AM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2003

*Happy Birthday, Iowa

On this day in 1846, Iowa became the 29th state.

Posted by Jennifer at 08:49 AM

December 26, 2003

*Ask Jen: Oz Census Edition

Trey wants to know, "How many people are there alive? How many people have died? How do you know?"

Despite what some people believe, there are not more people alive than dead. Today's population is around 6 billion...estimates I found put the total who have died at about 20 times that number. How do we know? We don''s a best guess.

Reader Shawna wants to know, "How did the Land of Oz get it's name?"

L. Frank Baum claimed a file cabinet with a drawer labeled "O - Z" inspired the name.

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 04:14 PM

Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president but they don't want them to become politicians in the process.
-John F. Kennedy

Random quote of the day...

I almost think it is the ultimate destiny of science to exterminate the human race.
-Thomas L. Peacock, in 1860

Posted by Jennifer at 04:14 AM | Comments (1)

December 25, 2003

Quote of the Day

Some religious flavah.

Political quote of the day...

If God had been a Liberal, we wouldn't have had the Ten Commandments--we'd have the Ten Suggestions.
-Malcolm Bradbury

Random quote of the day...

If Jesus were to come today, people would not even crucify him. They would ask him to dinner, and hear what he had to say, and make fun of him.
-Thomas Carlyle

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

December 24, 2003

Merry Christmas, Dear Friends


Posted by Jennifer at 12:59 PM | Comments (4)

You Asked, Trey Answers

Trey has answered your questions!

Zeno's Paradox, Gypsies, and Imaginary Friends!

Click it now!

Why did you decide to start a blog? Do the same reasons apply today?
I actually started to blog because of my friend JohnDavid. He started something like a blog, but he doesn’t update it very often. It was his idea to use his website as a forum for sharpening his writing skills.

With that in mind, I had been contemplating starting up something. I was thinking that I would focus more on nonfiction, whereas he wants to focus on fiction. So, I hemmed and hawed over the design, the purpose, the form, the topics, and everything from the ground to the heavens. Really, I just came up with every excuse to not just sit down and do it.

Finally, one night, JohnDavid was telling me about how hard it was to come up with the “100 things about me” list and I said, “That’s easy. I’ll do it right now.” And lo, my 111 things post was born.

I didn’t really have a site set up at that point, though, so I threw together the design you see today and launched the blog without really knowing what I was getting into.

I guess that doesn’t really tell you why I wanted to do this. The reason why is quite simply because I needed to join the battle of ideas. Philosophy is the driving factor behind every action a person engages in. When I look around, I see a lot of good things and I lot of bad things.

On bad days, I see mostly bad things. I see how Art has been abandoned by the general populace, philosophy is treated like pointless parlor chatter, and politics is a carnival of absurdities. It really looks like good ideas are losing.

I’m just not ready to give that up. My blog is a portrait of the mind of a hero. I am a person who thoroughly enjoys every moment of life. I have the right idea on most things and especially about the very basic things in terms of virtue. On a very basic level, I seek to inspire. On another level, I really do seek to inform. And that applies to my public life as well.

So, yes, these reasons do still apply.

Have any bloggers been influential or helpful to you?
I’ve mentioned in my blog it on my blog: I’m pretty picky about my blogroll. I put people up and I take people down. The people who are up there and stay up there continue to serve a purpose to me that I hope to provide to others who read my blog. In some way or another, I look to each of the sites on my blogroll as kindred spirits and fellow heroes. They’re my inspiration.

But if I had to say “Thanks!” to a few in particular, I’d say it to Suzie, Heather, Harvey, and J Quibbly. Suzie and Heather were the first bloggers to “find” me. They’ve both been very helpful in explaining blog conventions, terms, and practices. They’re also very encouraging and give me MT tips from time to time. Harvey and J Quibbly are “the guys” in my mind. I look at their websites so often (I’m a lurker. I’m trying to get better about it, though!) I feel like I spend way too much time sitting on the couch with them yelling at the TV, drinking, and playing video games.

You can only read one blog...whose is it?

I read my own blog several times a day and I find myself endlessly amused. I don’t know why because some of the posts are turbo-lame, but for some reason that amuses me, too.

I’m pretty open about being self-absorbed, so I really shouldn’t pretend to be surprised.

How did you discover that you were gay?
Oh that’s a really funny story, actually. It involves my boyfriend at the time, a hand mirror and a really awkward position in the buff. Decency, however, requires that I post the pictures on a password protected site.

What does the Good Doctor think of your being a lesbian?
I haven’t told him yet. I will ask him tonight after I’ve given him lots of alcohol.

Update: So, I took the Good Doctor (TGD) to my office Holiday Party. He’s a cheap date, so the two free drinks had him liquored up plenty. What follows is my version of the conversation. It’s censored in parts because it was an adult conversation about sexuality. And then there’s also my liberal use of imaginary friends.

Trey: So, how you feelin’?
Trey: Mm Hm… So, I have something to tell you. [I had to say this rather sternly and look him in the eye because you know how drunk girls are.] I’m a lesbian.
TGD: WOOOOO!!! – What? [More sober now. I think he was playing drunk to get me to take advantage of him.]
Trey: I’m a lesbian. I’ve been waiting for the right moment to tell you and I just can’t keep it a secret any longer, so now is as good a time as any.
TGD: What?
Trey: Lesbian. You know. Girl-on-girl action. I’m still gay, though. So that’s good, right?
TGD: I know what lesbians are.
Trey: Oh. Soooo…?
TGD: [Censored part]
Trey: [Censored part]
TGD: [Censored part]
Trey: [Censored part]
TGD: I don’t get it.
Trey: [Deep sigh] Don’t you read my blog?
TGD: You talk about your blog too much.
Trey: I know.
TGD: So?
Trey: So, I had to come out to you in order to answer one of the questions for my interview.
TGD: Oh. So can I still [Censored part relating to the first censored parts]
Trey: Great. I don’t think Jennifer wants me saying the word [Portion of the female anatomy referenced in Seinfeld and rhyming with “Deloris.”] on an interview that’s going to be on her site.

And it pretty much went downhill from there. All in all I’d say he took it rather well and accepts me for who I am.

If you could have ultimate power over the whole world for one day, what flavor of ice cream would you eradicate as an abomination?
A long time ago at church camp once, I had pistachio ice-cream and had the thought that it was a thing of the devil. It impressed me that they would be so brazen as to serve it at church camp right there in the social hall, ready to corrupt young, Christian bodies with the nectar of demons.

I’m also scared of “Dulce de Leche,” which I sometimes see in the freezer case.

I can’t say I’ve had much ice-cream that I really couldn’t bear, but if I had to name one flavor it’d probably be pistachio.

Birthday cake should come in one flavor. Is it chocolate, white, or marble?
Chocolate, of course. I guess I should qualify that by saying, I don’t really care for bread and unless cake has a certain water activity level (I learned that fancy way of saying ”moistness” from Food Scientist.) it registers in my brain as bread and, therefore not highly enjoyable.

So, I can see why someone might want birthday cake to be white or marble so as to be distinct from other cakes but chocolate is the best so I really just don’t care to waste my time on bad, almost-bread products.

How much of Ayn Rand's writings have you read?
I’m reading Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution now. I’ve read everything else that I know of except the Art of Fiction.

How do you refute Zeno's paradox?
It reminds me of when I was a kid getting cookies from the jar and say I dropped one. As I kid this was a near-catastrophic loss because I wasn’t the type to eat from the floor (often). So, I would reach in and get another to replace it. Immediately, I would think, “Well, if I hadn’t dropped a cookie, then reaching in the jar would have resulted in 4 cookies instead of the three I now have. To get the proper number, I will have to get another, but to make sure I don’t lose any, I will need to pick up two this time.” You can see where this is going. Soon, I had a shirt full of cookies and one on the floor and my mom asking me if I had lost my mind.

I guess that doesn’t actually have a lot of bearing on the question after all. I’m just saying that I am reminded of that.

Zeno’s Paradox is something I wouldn’t give very much thought to, really. It’s obviously foolish, illustrated by the fact that Achilles can outrun a turtle and the arrow does reach its destination.

If you pressed me, I would probably say something like, “Arrows, turtles, and people do not travel in fractions of distance.” Meaning, you may divide the distance into an infinite number of parts but the sum of the parts will always result in the whole of the distance.

And then I’d tell you to get out of my face with that foolishness. The true test of anything called a “paradox” is to see how it stands in reality. And in reality, Zeno’s paradox is barely an amusing riddle but I’m sure it must have been good for something to have persisted for so long.

This is why I am not a mathematician.

Does an unflattering exposure of stereotypes in media and entertainment precede or follow the appearance of similar behaviors in society?
Do you know I don’t care?

I hear lots of people whining about stereotypes but I fail to see how they really have any impact on my life. If someone is so foolish as to greet an individual, especially me, and apply a stereotype to them in place of observed fact, they’re not even worthy of being proved wrong.

But, since I feel obliged to actually consider the question, I would say this: Remember that the best fiction contains characters that are the very essence of some particular idea. That means that they are supposed to be the distillation of one particular notion.

Jack on Will & Grace is a cute example. I know a few people who act kind of like Jack but none of them are so non-stop insane/hyperactive/funny. Even still, Jack isn’t real although he is pretty close to one of the modern notions of a flamboyant homosexual.

I doubt there is anyone out there who says, “I want to be like Jack.” But there are probably people who say, “I want to be funny all the time.” Or “I want to be an actor” or “Working at the Banana Republic is the pinnacle of human accomplishment. Tell the Banana, here I come.”

So, in short, I think there’s a problem with the premises that lead one to consider precession or succession with regard to the media and behavior. And it upsets me more than anyone is thinking about this than the phenomenon itself.

Why don't black and navy blue go together? And why is an exception made for blue jeans?
Navy Blue isn’t a great color, in most contexts, by the way. It’s not that it doesn’t just go with black, it really just doesn’t go with much at all. By contrast notice how often you do see Black and Reflex Blue together.

I don’t really want to get into the aesthetics of fashion, but I am of the mind that black only goes with blue jeans when they’re rather light blue jeans.

The reason black and navy don’t go well together is because they are too alike and too dissimilar to peacefully coexist. Like Pink and Orange which I believe was once reported to send a certain lady into seizures faster than Mary Hart’s voice.

How come your dining room is so dirty?
Well, my dining room is empty and unoccupied. I think that dirt, being a part of nature, abhors the vacuum. So, because I vacuum the other rooms in the house, the dirt has fled to the one part of the house where the vacuum is not.

Children: angels on earth, or the devil in cute (if sticky) packaging?
Any child worth anything at all is a terror.

Ask my mom. I was a really quiet kid who never got into trouble (except the cookie thing and the sectional eating) and she was constantly threatening to sell me to the gypsies. I actually think she bought be from some gypsies sometimes but couldn’t fool them into buying me back so I’ve known her almost my whole life. But it goes to show that if I were more trouble then the gypsies would have made her an offer she couldn’t possibly refuse. As I was, though, I was worthless.

Which television shows do you watch?
I don’t have TV at my house, so I don’t get to watch many shows at all.

When I had television, I used to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Friends, Scrubs, Changing Rooms, Ground Force, Trading Spaces, While You Were Out, What Not To Wear, and Alias. I’m not good about remembering TV schedules, though, so usually I saw each of those by accident only.

And I love Saturday morning cartoons. Some people claim to also like cartoons, but I earnestly watch them. (Cartoons are very ready and explicit with their philosophy.)

What is the deal with SpongeBob SquarePants? The creators are on serious drugs, right? (Yes, it's on my television right now.)
The first think you need to know is that Nickelodeon cartoons suck. Surf on over to the Cartoon Network and get you some real ‘toons. Or better still, peep the WB on Saturday morning and hook up with some X-men or Teen Titans or Mucha Lucha.

I think that the inventors of Spongebob do have some serious issues and they very well may be drug related. I am just happy that I live in a country where a person can turn their psychotic episodes into a multi-gazillion dollar frachise.

Name your 5 favorite musicians.
I love Sheryl Crow. She is an absolute rock-goddess.

This is a really hard question for me because I don’t listen to much music these days and much of what I do listen to is classical. My favorite classical composers are Dvorak, Bach, Chopin, and Beethoven. My favorite pianists are Glenn Gould, Martha Argerich, and Murray Perahia.

How about your 5 favorite singers?
Again, I’ll lead with Sheryl Crow and I also really enjoy Fred LeBlanc’s voice.

But, it’s the same deal as above in that I don’t really listen to much music with singing any more. Kathleen Battle has a nice voice from what I’ve heard and so does Renee Fleming.

I used to listen to Wyclef Jean, Rufus Wainwright, Sarah McLachlan, Marcy Playground, No Doubt, Cowboy Mouth.

The decline of my affection for more mainstream music began when I started spending almost 2 hours every day in the car. Popular music was just too grating, frenetic, repetitive, and nerve-wracking to listen to for any stretch of time.

You can give a luncheon in honor of 3 historical figures. Who are they and why?
Ayn Rand. She was an intellectual powerhouse and I would love to give her my endorsement personally.

Alexander Hamilton. Cuz I got him on one of those online quizzes and he sounds like a hoot. No, seriously. Founding Father. Wrote some of the Federalist Papers. Rock star.

Gianlorenzo Bernini. Because his work is absolutely breath-taking.

What do you serve for the luncheon?
I like chicken and salads. So, maybe something like a Mesquite Chicken Salad with peppercorn dressing. Lemon Sorbet for dessert.

Is there such a thing as a truly benevolent act, or does every good deed have an ulterior motive?
Every act has a motive. Moral actions are the ones that help a person achieve or maintain one (or more) of their own values and that’s their only motive.

Given the above, I don’t see a whole lot of value in “truly benevolent” actions (if we mean by that ‘actions that benefit someone else’ and not just “good deeds.”) and as such I’d even go so far as to say those sorts of actions are morally reprehensible.

I expect that there are probably some people who actually try to do altruistic things. (I actually think that’s incredibly stupid.) I suppose that some of those eventually realize that unless they die and hope to go to hell for it actually do try just that. But I don’t give them much thought.

You can just bet that if I do something nice for you, I’m getting something out of it.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:01 AM | Comments (4)

Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

A conservative is someone who believes in reform. But not now.
-Mort Sahl

Random quote of the day...

Priests are no more necessary to religion than politicians to patriotism.
-John H. Holmes

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

December 23, 2003

*Ask Jen: Solitaire Tigers Edition

Kin is asking about "Tamil Tigers?"

A terrorism group in Sri Lanka, with some ties to the PLO. More information on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam can be found here.

Jim asks, "In a game of standard solitaire is it statistically better to play a card from the waste or play a card to uncover a new card in the tableau?"

Without having more specific information I can't tell you the probability of a particular play's outcome, so I'd have to say you should uncover a new card. After all, you can't win without exposing all the cards.

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 09:33 PM

Switch the Speed Limit Signs For Fun

Today marks a very important date in 1975, Congress passed a landmark piece of legislation that was destined to forever change the lives of every American.

That's right, they passed the Metric Conversion Act of 1975, or Public Law 94-168. The United States Metric Board was established to plan, coordinate, and implement our switch to the metric system.

Here it is 28 years later and the switch was a rousing success. You can not find an American educated after 1975 who still thinks in terms of inches, feet, yards, or miles. Not a one. Good on ya, Metric Board!

(end sarcasm)

From that link above:

The efforts of the Metric Board were largely ignored by the American public, and, in 1981, the Board reported to Congress that it lacked the clear Congressional mandate necessary to bring about national conversion. Due to this apparent ineffectiveness, and in an effort to reduce Federal spending, the Metric Board was disestablished in the fall of 1982.
(emphasis mine)

Of course, metric conversion is still (slowly) going on here in the States. But it might be easier just to continue taking take over the world.

(end Brain voice)

Posted by Jennifer at 05:06 AM | Comments (3)

Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

With Congress, every time they make a joke, it's a law, and every time they make a law, it's a joke.
-Will Rogers

Random quote of the day...

Stand firm in your refusal to remain conscious during algebra. In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra.
-Fran Lebowitz

Jen's algebra story in the extended...

The only thing worse than advanced algebra when you hate algebra is having to switch schools in the middle of the year...and the new advanced algebra class is working on something you have no clue about. Somehow (I assure you I have no idea how) I managed to get a C that semester. I thanked Mr. Petersen profusely when I ran into him later on. He said I had earned it. I laughed, and laughed...and laughed some more.

I'm laughing now.

Where was I? Oh yeah...algebra sucks. The End.

(And thank God for the grading curve.)

Posted by Jennifer at 12:41 AM | Comments (2)

December 22, 2003

*Ask Jen: Salty Terrorist Edition

Kin wants information on "Baader Meinhof?"

It was a West German terrorist group...more information can be found here.

Reader Jeff wants to know the origin and meaning of the phrase "Salt of the Earth."

The phrase can be found in the Bible (Mathew 5:13) where Jesus says to his disciples, "Ye are the salt of the earth..." This phrase probably precedes Jesus's time, however, as it can be found in Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, and Persian traditions. It means a valuable, reliable person or group of people.

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 09:33 AM | Comments (4)

You Asked, John of Arghhh! Answers

John has answered ALL of your questions!

Gun porn! Women in combat!

Great interview; read it now!

Why did you decide to blog?

Wonderwife™ who blogs as She Who Will Be Obeyed decreed that it be so. She was tired of having to replace the televisions when I put my foot through the screen, so she's trying to channel my excess energy and bad karma. Plus, with the pussification of the editorial board of the Kansas City Star, my letters to the editor weren't getting published any more. No, I won't accept the suggetion that they weren't worthy!

Who were the first bloggers you read? Did/do they influence you?

Instapundit, Misha, Frank at IMAO, Kim du Toit, Boots and Sabers all pointed out to me by SWWBO. From their blogrolls I started reconning for myself. Like Donnie I drew inspiration from them, as well as lessons like - I'm never going to be that popular. As I've developed my blogvoice, I realize that in order to get and have a large audience, you either have to provide a lot of info, like Reynolds, or be entertaining, like Lileks, Misha, Frank, etc. Misha and Frank use their passion to entertain. I'm more laid back than that, and I'm pretty narrowly focussed on things military and guns and such. Not much at Castle Argghhh! for the ladies, in general, though I have a fair number of fair lady regulars.

What the @#%% kind of concept is gun porn?

Gun Fearing Wussies detest guns. The very concept, much less the thought of someone not in the government actually owning one. And people like Senators Schumer, Clinton, Feinstein,, have, at one time or another, characterized gun owners in terms that match can be used to describe pornographers - though the left seems to like pornographers more than gun owners and makers. I decided to take my ownership out of the closet so to speak and to show people that it's not just nutcases who own a large number of guns, but people who live next door to you.

If "rude trash [is] thrown out unread", how do you know it's rude if you haven't read it?

Um, well, ya got me. I uh, live in a time-warp and I have poor short-term memory. Yeah, that's it! I just know when I look at it the second time that it's bad and so I throw it out... in fact though, I don't attract many trolls and the only rude trash I've gotten has been comment spam, which is easy to pick out from the subjects!

Why did your site make my browser lock up? Was it the dancing Cossack?

Nope. It was the fact that I have waaaaay too many pictures and graphics. My site is not slow-machine nor laptop friendly. Sorry. I work for the government and I'm here to help...

Are different guns better for different climates? That is, is there a "desert" gun, a "tropics" gun, etc?

Well, they all have to be taken care of. Wood stocks don't last well in jungle climates. Better to go with a synthetic stock there. Rule of thumb - the finer the tolerances, the less tolerant your weapon is going to be of rough climates. You can ameliorate the impact of that by cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, and using graphite or similar compounds rather than oil as your lubricant. Grease is only for storage! Most of us aren't good enough shots that the finely made weapons make that much of a difference (not true in the hands of experts) and if you are taking a weapon that expensive into the jungle or desert, you either are making a living as a safari hunter or you won the lottery and are now a member of the idle rich. Or you are an idiot. The last two can go together.

How come Cavalry Scouts are so much cooler than Artillery types?

Simple. God had to make up for them being stupid. He knew the rest of us needed 'em to breed like rabbits so there would be enough of them, but he kept 'em stupid so they would do the work and our mind control techniques would work (waving hand) "There's nothing to see here, move along".

How did you get your disability?

By playing soldier. More specifically, handling nukular weapons as a young soldier, and having a very large melon on my shoulders, and being a combat arms soldier. Suffice it to say, my thyroid didn't get along well with fissile material. As for my head, when the Army went to the kevlar helmet, my noggin is sooo huge that I had to have one custom made. The small and medium Fritz helmets weigh less than the steel pot. The large, extra large, and Pumpkin Head (mine) weigh more. A lot more. Spend several years in the desert driving a HMMWV cross-country like a bat out of hell trying not to get run over by Brads and Abrams in zero illum, well, that does a job on your neck and lumbar region. Then there are the large bangs inherent in artillery training and any kind of combat, so there goes your hearing. Then, as Donnie is finding out, falling out of the sky does not do good things to your spine. Then there's the marching... the miles and miles of PT runs, it all adds up. I have three 60 percenters, one 30 percenter, and a 10 percenter, which in VA math adds up to %70. That actually makes sense, since the impacts overlap and are not additive.

How do you get the military information that you post so quickly if you are a civilian?

I'll argue I'm not really a civilian. Technically, I'm in the Retired Reserve, and as a Regular Army retiree, my commission has a slightly different legal status as well. I'm a beltway bandit who does government contract work. I essentially do what I did before I retired, except I don't have to do PT any more and the money is laundered through one more set of hands before it gets to me. Plus, many warriors I worked with, for, and who worked for me still serve, and we are still in communication. The frustrating part of it is that I get lots of info I can't share because of the source - regardless of whether it's classified or not. Which get's me scooped by guys like the Strategy Page or Matt at Blackfive because they aren't "Read On". If you understand that last, you understand. Plus, I don't use anything I get directly as a result of work as a courtesy to my employer and client, and to avoid any conflict of interest that might arise. I still have my sources elsewhere though. As an example for this long-winded answer - the M1 tank that got hit by the mystery round. When I got that info, it was classfied FOUO, For Official Use Only. Little quirk of the system. It's not illegal for you to disclose classified information if you find it legally and you yourself do not have a clearance. But if you have a clearance, even if you get it from an unclassified source, it's illegal to release it. There. Confused?

What was the single worst experience that you ever had in the military?

Killing someone. It was also the best, as it saved a buddie's life.

What was the best?

See above. In the non-combat arena, turning around a hard-case troop into a good troop.

Women in combat? Explain.

That's when you let women fight. I thought that was simple. It has it's good points and bad points. I just point out that no one has made it work well yet, in terms of female combat units. But, as OIF showed, women in the combat zone are going to fight, and in fact have to learn to do so. That still doesn't answer the question of whether they should become significant members of the direct-combat elements. As I said, everybody who has tried it so far has not made it work. I think that's significant. And the Brits and Canadians and Israelis made serious attempts, and the Soviets did too, during WWII. But none of 'em are doing it now.

Would you rather babysit 4 three year olds or face enemy fire?

The enemy. It's legal to hurt 'em.

Have you ever killed an animal with your bare hands?


How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Depends. How big is this sucker? How big is the wood in question? Has he trained for the event, or is he just winging it? What's his motivation level? Has he been under fire for weeks, with poor rations, or is he fresh from boffing Ms. Chuck and feelin' chipper? Are Ms. Chuck and/or his drinking buddies watching, or is he having to do this as punishment from his parents on a hot August afternoon. In the words of HAL, "Insufficient Data for a Meaningful Answer." Did I mention I was a contract analyst working for the government?

You can choose a super power: x-ray vision or the ability to fly. Which do you choose and why?

X-ray vision. Bloggers with Boobies! Silly question. Only a leg ranger would choose fly.

You are marooned on a desert island and need to pick one celebrity to stay with you. (You can not pick Michael Moore for cannibalism purposes.) Who is it and why?

Wonderwife™. All the celebrity I need, and I know I can get along with her and she with me.

Which alcoholic beverage do you bring to the island?

Tequila. What's that dear? Oh, I meant Irish Cream.

Who is the single most influential person in your life?


What is one thing you would like to do/see before you die?

Be the man my wife and puppies think I am. I ain't there yet - but don't tell them.

There, Donnie. I answered ALL the questions!

Posted by Jennifer at 12:01 AM | Comments (8)

Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

Anyone that wants the presidency so much that he'll spend two years organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office.
-David Broder

Random quote of the day...

Education is what you must acquire without any interference from your schooling.
-Mark Twain

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 AM

December 19, 2003

You Asked, Donnie Answers

Donnie has answered most of your questions!

Find out what Marines are good for, why he ate crayons, and much more!

Click it already!

Why did you start blogging?

A: I've been reading blogs since 7/01, but didn't find ACIDMAN'S place until last summer. Once I read Rob, I thought to myself "Whoa, if THIS guy doesn't scare off the
entire blogosphere, I might not either". Thus it began.

Why did you almost quit blogging?

A: I blame Sitemeter! ;-) It seemed to me that 60 hits a day or so after 4 months were hardly worth the effort...but Sitemeter only reports UNIQUE hits. Having moved to Typepad, I see that the ACTUAL hits are more like 600+ a day, and even if that's 6 people checking the site 100 times a day, that makes it
worth it. I'd like to write a collection of short stories some day (no patience for a novel), and this improves my writing skills (especially when MICHAEL WILLIAMS and JOHN DONOVAN castigate my grammar).

Which bloggers influence you and why?

A: ACIDMAN. That old goat keeps it REAL.
ZOMBIEBOY. Good writing, no inflammatory nonsense.
RICKY at North Georgia Dogma. Ditto.
BLACKFIVE. Similar backgrounds,
military perspective without chest beating.
JACK at Random Fate. Great
writing, smart guy, not much invective or vitriol.
STEPHEN GREEN. Says a lot without necessarily WRITING a lot.

Explain why/how you bond with other bloggers?

A: Pretty much the same way I bond with people in the "real world". If their
blogs reflect their personality (some don't), and their personality is attractive to me for whatever reason, I'll tend to initiate an email conversation, or comment often on their site.

Who is Bejus?

A: Ah, Bejus...Bejus is a construct of my imagination that occurred after two Tylenol PMs and a bottle of Gabbiano Chianti. He rapidly progressed from "Imaginary friend", to obsession, then possession. He torments me, yet he amuses me mightily. You never know when I'm channeling Bejus, or he's channeling me.

What the @#%& is a Bejus?!

A: See above.

How many Dorals a day does Bejus smoke, and how has Airborne School impacted his consumption of tobacco?

A: Bejus smokes Dorals incessantly...he lights one from the smoldering butt of
another, and giggles to himself about "Monkey f*cks". I don't think my attendance here at Jump school has affected his Doral consumption...he's probably working on major improvements to his fort in my garage while I'm here.

What would you rather do?: Talk to a dirty, stinking, Leg or masturbate with broken glass?

A: I'll answer that next Wednesday, should I no longer bear the "dirty, stinking leg" stigma myself ;-)

Why did it take you so long to go to Airborne School?

A: I thought I was out of the Army forever. I didn't go while I was on active
duty because I am *DEATHLY* afraid of heights, and I couldn't for the life of
me imagine jumping out of a perfectly good C-130. Having signed up with the
National Guard, however, I was offered a slot that had only just become
available, and given the reasons I signed back up, I thought it probably
behooved me to obtain Airborne qualification for a couple of reasons. First,
while I was toiling away in the civilian world, the Army changed it's policy
re. "Leg Rangers" -- volunteers for Ranger school must first be Airborne
qualified. Thus, there probably aren't many (if any) "Leg Rangers" on active
duty these days, and I certainly didn't want to be the butt of any jokes in
the Tactical Operations Center (TOC). Second, since I'm probably going to be
mobilized shortly, I figure the Airborne qualification, combined with my
Ranger, Air Assault, and Expert Infantry Badge qualifications might land me in
a unit where I can do some good. I'm an Infantryman...I can shoot, but I'd
suck at counting mess kits.

Why did you decide to go to Airborne School at your advanced age?

A: See above. And, "advanced age"? Grrrr....

Johnny Carson once told the studio audience that "In this Politically
Correct world we live in, there is only one thing left that an American
teenager can do to prove he is a MAN. Join the Marines". How do you feel
about this statement, and why?

A: I still hate Johnny Carson for handing his show to Leno rather than
Letterman -- or even Conan O'Brian. That statement makes me hate him even
more. Granted that "Every Marine is a rifleman", I still don't see where the
Marine Corps gets off thinking that they have an exclusive claim on physical
fitness or fieldcraft. I'd put an Army 11-Bravo (Infantryman) up against a
Marine any day. Besides, the Marine Corps only exists to provide something
soft for the Army to walk on when we hit the beach.

Describe the last fist fight that you were in.

A: I'll take the Fifth on that one. It's been 4 years or so, and my bride is
displeased with me over it to this day.

Is being a Hillbilly better or worse than being a Redneck?

A: Hillbilly's are MUCH better than Rednecks. Rednecks work on farms (mainly
owned by someone else), while Hillbillys, for the most part, don't work. They
roam the mountains of North Georgia, constantly searching for Burt Reynolds,
Ned Beatty, and Jon Voight. They want revenge. They drink heinous moonshine, play "if it flies, it dies" with .16 gauge shotguns, do experiments
involving "poison toads" and arrowheads, and torture recreational canoers and
kayakers on the Chattahoochee river. I don't know much about Hillbillys
though. Bejus might.

How did you meet your wife?

A: I met my wife in high school Algebra class in the 11th grade. There IS such a thing as love at first sight. I made a total and complete ass of myself for several months, showing off, and torturing her, before I finally secured my first date with her by buying her a hamburger from the school cafeteria. God, that was a long time ago.

Are there more pictures of her on the internet? Or any of you?

A: Not on the Internet. How much money do you have? ;-)

If you could be any kind of animal, what would it be and which human would you attack first?

A: A Bear. I watched a bear do things to a "water buffalo" that froze my blood during the Mountain phase of Ranger school, and then he chased 3 RI's into a tree. Bears scare me to death. The first human I'd attack would have to be Osama bin Laden, if he's still available to be chased, and not consorting with his virgins in paradise.

It snowed 6 inches and you are outside. Do you make obscene snowpeople, standard snowpeople, snowforts and snowballs, snowangels, or shovel the f@cking driveway?

A: My bride would command me to shovel the driveway first. Then, I'd make
obscene snow-porn stars and throw snowballs at my hated neighbors.

Did you eat the glue in kindergarten?

A: No, but I ate the hell out of the crayons. I figured they'd make cool colorful turds and scare the Bejus out of my Mom. They did.

Describe your ideal pet. I know that as far as questions go that isn't
actually a question. Humor me.

A: A Russian blue cat. Cats rule. They don't require rubbing or petting, they think they own YOU, rather than vice-versa, and if they were bigger, they'd eat you. I like mean little animals that harbor a deep resentment towards me.

You and the lovely wife are on a deserted island alone together. Who goes crazy first?

A: My bride has no bad habits. I, on the other hand, would soon run out of SKOAL, beer, and bullets, and become stark raving mad.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:03 AM | Comments (5)

*Ask Jen: Star Trek and Cambodia Edition

Kin wants to know about "Khymer Rouge?"

In 1975 Cambodia, the Khymer Rouge communist guerillas seized the capital city of Phnom Pehn. In 1979, the Khymer Rouge was overthrown, but fighting continued between the government forces and guerrillas.

Reader Brian asks, "What does the T in James T. Kirk stand for?"

Star Trek, eh? Tiberius.

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 12:02 AM | Comments (1)

Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

During an election campaign the air is full of speeches and vice versa.
-Henry Adams

Random quote of the day...

Literature is mostly about having sex, and not much about having babies; life is the other way round.
-David Lodge

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

December 18, 2003

*Ask Jen: Tupac Shake-r Edition

Kin asks, "What is Tupac Amaru?"

Tupac Shakur's illegitimate son. Or something.

Reader Pete wants to know "Why can't a human shake off water like a dog?"

I realize you are Italian and probably hairy as Yeti, Pete, but most of us are relatively hair-free. We use towels. It's evolution or something. ;-)

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 12:02 AM | Comments (5)

Quote of the Day

Political Quote of the Day...

It is inexcusable for scientists to torture animals; let them make their experiments on journalists and politicians.
-Henrik Ibsen

Random Quote of the Day...

I'm glad the old masters are all dead, and I only wish they had died sooner.
-Mark Twain, on art

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

December 17, 2003

*Ask Jen

Kin wants to know, "Who were the Tontons Macoute?"

The Tontons Macoute are the Haitian paramilitary force which used to support the dictatorial regimes of Francois Duvalier and his son Jean Claude, and their military successors.

Thousands of Macoutes and soldiers fled to the Dominican Republic when American troops invaded Haiti in September 1994 and reinstalled president Jean Bertrand Aristide, who was elected president in 1990 and overthrown in 1991.

Daniel, who--like Kin--enjoys asking questions he knows the answer to, writes, "What is figgy pudding? And why is that lady so demanding about it?"

Some kind of pudding with figs, Daniel. Hello. Here is a recipe you can try. And I assume she was demanding about it because who doesn't enjoy "solid white fat from the loin and kidney regions of meat animals"? (Although I was kind enough to provide a recipe that is suet-free.)

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 01:43 PM

December 17

This is a very important date in history. Why?

Because on this date, Americans were propelled into the future: The Simpsons made their television debut.

Oh, and some guys flew a plane or something.

Posted by Jennifer at 08:20 AM | Comments (1)

You Asked, Tiger Answers

Here it is! The Tiger Interview!

Not a single footnote to be found, but plenty of interesting questions thanks to everyone who sent them in.

Tiger graciously provided the interesting and entertaining answers.

Click it to see.

Why did you start your blog?
My therapist and I are still tryin’ to uncover the root of such decision. No, mostly it is because I am a lonely pathetic old man without a reason to live who decided bring down the rest of the world by supplyin’ them with the crappy thoughts of his inane brain. Whe the Hell came up with this question?

Who were the first bloggers you read? Do you still read them?
Wow, that was over six months ago ... I remember Volokh Conspiracy being the one I read the most for the first few days. I still read it, but mostly filtered through another blog.

Do any bloggers influence you?
They all do. The great thing about blogs is they shine with the personality of the blogger, or a good portion of them do. People influence me, their opinions and views and dreams and ideas enliven me.

Who was the first blogger to link to you?
I am thinkin’ it was DavidMSC.

What is the nicest compliment you've gotten from another blogger?
I liked this one: ""He Rags, He Rants, he's full of shit. Perfect." Kim Crawford.

What is the nicest compliment you've gotten, period?
I guess fuck you, if it is a really really sincere offer. I always assume it is.

When will Wicked Willie post again?
I never know with Willie. Last I heard he was chattin’ with Willie explainin’ the fine art of willie wettin’. Afterward there was a jam session, but Willie tol’ Willie to put his sax back up. Willie just sat back and wanked his willie.

Why is USURP headquarters still bare?
Ah! An easy one. I gave an assignment for some .css submissions and no one has yet completed the assignment. Also, Kang came for a visit and has become a constant houseguest. My time has been severely limited of late.

Why Dr. Pepper?
I been drinkin’ it since I first found in my great-gand’s fridge when I was a little boy. I have always figured if you found somethin’ you liked, you just stick with it. Kinda like gettin’ married, you made your choice, so why keep lookin’ for somethin’ better.

As a lawyer, would you ever defend someone if you weren't convinced of their innocence?
Sure, do it all the time. A person can tell me they are guilty and they are still entitled to be proven guilty. There are times that the State cannot do that and a guilty man goes free. Trials drag out for years and sometimes essential witnesses cannot be found because people move around too often anymore.

What is your favorite lawyer joke?
This one is way up the list.

Why do lawyers have such a bad publicist?
Because their egos make them think no one could do a better job of it than themselves.

Please take a moment to brag on Texas.
Lone Star Beer & Bob Wills music

Please take a further moment to rag on Texas.
All my exes live in Texas

What is the biggest spider you've ever seen?
Not big enough, I ‘spect, ‘cause I’m still here.

Have you ever been to Big Bend National Park? It is the least visited national park, you know.
I have been to almost half of the National Parks in my life. I have spent more time at Big Bend than any other. I am sure it is due to the drive because it is a great park, having three different ecosystems to study.

What is with the Kangaroo? How many hits does he get a day?
That kangaroo is a menace to the blogosphere and I have attempted to evict him from my test blog. I am not sure how or when he first hopped in there. As for hits, he doesn’t get too many because he ducks well and throws a mean right hook.

If you could read only one author...fiction, nonfiction, journalist, blogger, whatever...who would it be?
George but that is hard because no one is prolific enough to satisfy my needs. I suppose Jules Verne or Stephen King.

Describe a perfect day.
Just sittin’ here watchin’ the cursor blink. Sorry but it has been too long since I had a day that was remotely close ro bein’ perfect. I am pretty sure that spendin’ time with an intimate loved one would be required. Other than that, the possiblities are wide open.

Describe a perfect woman.
Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina

Posted by Jennifer at 12:02 AM | Comments (5)

Quote of the Day

Political Quote of the Day...

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.

Random Quote of the Day...

A dress has no purpose unless it makes a man want to take it off.
-Francoise Sagan

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

December 16, 2003

*Ask Jen

Reader Adam writes, "As an undergraduate at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, I was very disturbed when the campus security changed its name from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to the misnomer Northwestern Police. Years have passed and I now work in downtown Chicago, near the Northwestern University Medical Center. I recently saw a patrol car marked 'Northwestern Police' driving around, marked with a Call 911 In an Emergency sign. I hope if I was ever in trouble it would be real Chicago cop who showed up to help. Can any group of security guards just call itself 'Police'?"

Campus police or campus security depends on the particular campus...if they can arrest people, issue summons, etc, then they are "real" police. Northwestern's campus police are "real" police...from their website: "All University Police officers are graduates of a state certified police academy, and have full police authority on and off campus." (emphasis added)

As for your 911 question, the dispatcher would send the appropriate help your way, and unless you were calling from the NU campus, it is not likely you would see NU campus police.

Security guards can not call themselves police. If you have a question about whether the person you are talking to is a cop or not, look at their uniform patch. It will say police, sheriff, security, etc.

Kin, who already knows the answer, asks: "Who were the Mau Mau?"

Sounds like a group of Muppets? I don't know.

(Anyone who really wants to know, can try this site to start.)

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 09:28 PM | Comments (2)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day...Not

My idea for the current round of presidential facts is a little more time-consuming than I can handle right now, so I am suspending the feature for an undetermined amount of time.

Instead, I'll have a quote of the day...not necessarily presidential, but political or historical.

"Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress, but I repeat myself." -Mark Twain.

Fun, huh?

Posted by Jennifer at 02:29 PM | Comments (3)

Happy Birthday!

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 AM | Comments (7)

December 15, 2003

*Ask Jen

Reader Jeff wants to know, "What are the Dodgers dodging?"

The Brooklyn Dodgers were named for "trolley dodgers" who needed to be quick-footed enough to slip between trolleys that were frequent on urban streets at the time. The baseball players hoped to be just as agile on the field.

Reader Brian asks, "Who came up with the idea that storks deliver babies?"

Apparently the ancient Scandinavians began the legend, but it wasn't until Hans Christian Andersen came along that the myth grew in popularity. The reasons the Scandinavians used the stork were observations that the storks were gentle to one another, monogamous, and nested in chimneys.

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 03:23 PM

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

The Jefferson Family.

Thomas Jefferson was a widower when he entered the White House, so he brought along more slaves than family members when he moved in. Over the years, however, he was visited occasionally by his adult daughters Martha and Maria.

Martha spent a couple of years in the White House, bringing her husband, five daughters, and son. The presidential grandchildren fascinated the press and the public alike. The president favored his grandson, named Thomas Jefferson Randolph but nicknamed “Jeff.”

Thomas thought the boy had great potential, and spent a lot of time preparing him for boarding school. He warned him about his public visibility, “You will be more exposed than others...because of the relation in which you stand with me.” (Despite his grandfather’s high hopes, Jeff did not further his education and was considered a disappointment.)

Posted by Jennifer at 03:14 PM | Comments (1)

You Asked, SilverBlue Answers

John of SilverBlue has answered your questions!

Music, blogging, and Roxette much more!

You cannot resist. You must click it!

Just how darn big IS that house of yours? It sounds castle-ish.

Well, it’s just a 1,600 sq. ft. dutch colonial that’s 75 years old. Believe it or not, there are only four rooms on the first floor, and four rooms on the second floor. The “Great Room” (as we call it) is 18 feet by 24 feet. The dining room is a more modest 12 by 12, while the kitchen is so small you have to go in the utility room to change your mind. A lot of smoke and mirrors makes the place look far larger than it is, but everyone who passes through my front door says the same thing: “It feels like I’ve just come home, the house is so comfortable.” (Ghosts and all! Yes, 3 ghosts live with the 3 human inhabitants and 1 blue rabbit.)

With all the problems you seem to have fixing things, would you recommend renting to others?

No. I never recommend renting unless one of two things is true: (1) you’re a helpless klutz that couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag and can’t reset a circuit or replace a light bulb OR (2) you have a lot of money to throw away. In that event, throw it my way. My house, sitting on half an acre, costs me $630 a month in mortgage (including taxes, etc., but not including utilities). Considering most rentals in this area go for $800+ (not including utilities), in 10 years, I’ll have a nice chunk in equity that I can cash out if I decide to move, while they will have paid $96,000 and have nothing to show for it if they move. Plus, I don’t have to get anyone approval to paint put in or rip out carpet, tile, or vinyl floors; I can put as many holes in the walls as I see fit, and I can play my stereo reasonably LOUD (which I do) and not have the neighbors on the other side of my living room wall call the police….

You have the best pictures on your blog. Where do you find them?

(Blushes) I have a great number of people who send me jokes, etc. and I’ve collected a number of them over the years. There are several good places (Jill’s Jokeline, etc.) on the web that have funny photos….and I love thinking of something funny and going into a Google picture search for it. My sense of humour gets strange from time to time, so… I’m glad people enjoy them! I decided early on that I liked to end my day on a light note, no matter how difficult the day had been or how angry I was, so I came up with the “Final Thought” of the day, which normally is something humorous, but may be off-colour. But it’s all a part of me.

Asparagus or squash?

Asparagus, definitely. The only time I like squash is in a casserole made by PoloRandy’s family. Of coruse, it’s got enough other stuff in it you don’t taste the texture of the squash (which is the only reason I don’t like eating it…) Plus, it’s easier to tickle someone with a raw asparagus versus a big, uncooked squash. (There’s something inherently phallic about squash that makes me turn my nose up.)

In baking, nuts or no nuts?

What are we referring to? Me? I always have nuts when I bake. OOOH. You mean items to be baked. Brownies? Nuts. Chicken? No nuts. I don’t particularly care for my baked bread to have nuts. But a black walnut chocolate cake can’t be beat.

You seem to listen to a lot of music...who are your 5 favorite performers?

You’re actually going to make me narrow it down? Ok. I’ll go with those I’ve been listening to the longest: Roxette, Eurythmics, Sarah Brightman, (If you don’t know these three, get out of your cave and down to your local music store); Sam Harris (1984 Star Search Winner, skinny white boy belting out a Patti LaBelle rendition of “Over the Rainbow”); and Jane Olivor (Columbia Recording Artist and “Lounge” singer). I’ve been fortunate to see all five live at different times.

What are your 3 favorite albums?

This changes almost daily, so it’s hard for me to answer. But, if I were trapped on an island with only Roxette Bunny™ and some way to play 3 CDs, they would be:

Roxette: Joyride; Kylie Minogue: Fever; and Enya: Paint The Sky With Stars. That would give me the proper mix of uptempo, ballads, and music to mediate by.

What are your 5 favorite blogs and why?

Ok…I know there’s going to be some feelings hurt here, but… Practical Penumbra (Susie) because she can take the worst in life and make it funny (not only that, but she takes ribbing so good naturedly!). The Cheese Stands Alone (LeeAnn), simply because she makes her life sound like a wonderful comedy script that would top the bestseller list. Caterwauling (Dawn), who isn’t averse to stating what’s on her mind regardless of how it comes out. How many other bloggers do you see writing lovingly about their best friends child, and then a few posts later discuss the mind-blowing consequences of a dynamic session of self-appreciation? Tiger’s Rantin’ & Ravin’ because I like his take on life. We don’t see eye to eye on everything, but for a lawyer, he’s got a great sense of humour. Maybe it’s because I used to work for a Law School that I can appreciate some of the things that go over Joe Average’s head. Finally, I’d have to say Rocket Jones’ blog because of the strange things he discovers.

(Honorable mention to Jennifer’s History & Stuff which has taught me much trivia (in fact, one of my nicknames used to be King of OUI [Otherwise Useless Information]), and to Tink, PunchBuggy, Roxette Bunny™, and Revog, who I talk to on a daily basis so therefore I disqualified from the list)

Why do you blog?

Well, it started out because I thought I could change someone, anyone’s mind. About something. Anything. Actually, I’m more vocal in my blog than I am in real life. I’ll sit down and rant about Mister Sister, Sister Mister, (and soon to be introduced, “Twisted Mister”) or an incident in PC Non-Support that I’d never have the guts to confront them in real life. I have very strong opinions, but an open mind. I enjoy off-colour jokes, things that make me think, and basically typing to hear my keyboard click.

How did you and Roxette Bunny meet?

It seems like so long ago, but it was April of this year. I was in my car when I felt something brush my ear. I turned around and almost jumped out of my skin. Here was this small, blue animal with a pink nose looking at me and said “Hi. I’m Roxette Bunny™. Do you mind if we become friends?” Of course, how could I say no? The look in her eyes melted my heart. So, she moved in, and has been all over the place ever since then. She’s got a keen eye, a quick wit, and is awesome playing spades.

How does RB type so well without opposable thumbs?

That was originally going to be a problem, then I thought of two solutions: Dragon Naturally Speaking (Mein Hare Edition) (some German company makes it, I think), or the special Bunny Keyboard by Microhop (hey, if there’s money to be made, they’re all over it). Depending on her mood, she switches from headset to keyboard.

Why did you join the Alliance?

Short or long answer? Short: Because Susie asked me to. Long answer? Because Susie asked me to, and I think that Evil Glenn’s blog is not a blog, but a branch of the internet, it’s so large. If a good storm blew through and that branch fell out, most of his followers would be lost for content! (Answer continued below)

Do you feel like the Alliance has helped progress your personal blogging agenda, whatever that may be?

Not really. I joined the Alliance for giggles and grins…and because I wanted to build traffic to my site, and it was a good way for me to find additional blogs to read and link. I really have no agenda for my blog. Though Rocket Jones had a hilarious agenda.

How many Frank J t-shirts do Alliance members have to buy to avoid being kicked out?

You mean if I bought Frank J t-shirts I’d actually have been listed in his blogroll of Alliance members? (Rustling through membership paperwork….reading fine print…. Lighting match… :-) Ooops! There went the membership paperwork!)

Instapundit: over-rated?

Instawhat? I think I’ve read that bloat, er, I mean blog on a couple different occasions, but just couldn’t get into it. I hope he makes a buck or two off it, however.

Should we all just stop commenting at Bloviating Inanities and watch Bill C. implode?

If we all stopped commenting at the old Blov-In, Bill C. would EXPLODE, not implode. (Doesn’t gout cause you to bloat anyway?) Actually, for as much as we spar, I think he’s a pretty ok guy. Except for that gout thing. I don’t know how Alice deals with it, knowing that one day Bill will think he’s a leprechaun, only to find out he’s a leper, and his arms and legs are gone.

Do any other bloggers influence you?

Yes, they do. Most by causing me to laugh. A few (Roxette Bunny™’s struggle for ASPCA funding, and the blog for the Boobie-Thon) helped raise my awareness for social issues. A few caused me to shake my head and go … why do they waste their time? (For examples, see my blogroll) It’s hard to keep myself from linking to every post (I’d be a link-slut then) that I found funny. Take my word for it… read. Laugh. Most importantly, Love.

What is the best thing you've ever done for a stranger?

Other than gratuitous sex? (Or, as we used to call it, a “Sympathy F*(&”) Let’s see… I’d have to say it was when I stopped and helped change a tire for a stranger; a week later, they were on my interview panel for a job I was going for (and actually was hired for!)

What is the worst thing a stranger has ever done to you?

Gratuitous sex. No, actually, it was when they broke into my car, sitting in my driveway, beside my house, and made off with my laptop, and a bunch of other stuff (I had arrived home from at trip at 11:45 the prior night and it was raining and I didn’t want anything to get ruined). I still feel my prior roommate was somehow involved, though all my evidence is circumstantial. If he was responsible, may he meet up with Lorena Bobbitt in a back alleyway.

If you had to sum up your personality in 10 words or less, what would those words be?

A vivacious, bubbly, all-out freakin fun person.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:01 AM | Comments (4)

December 14, 2003

Saddam Captured

I woke up kinda late this morning, and turned on the computer...and suddenly it was a great day!

If it was Osama, I'd be doing the giddy happy dance of celebration. As it is, I'll settle for giddy happy blogging.

***Update: Get the t-shirt!

Posted by Jennifer at 10:52 AM | Comments (1)

December 12, 2003

*Ask Jen Follow-Up

The lovely and talented Dave from Better Living Through Blogging sent an e-mail which answers Jim's question better than I did...

I have been able to find a few answers regarding the number of Generals in the military (including Navy Admirals)'s the link, followed by a breakdown by each service:

"Section 526. Authorized strength: general and flag officers on active duty

(a) Limitations. - The number of general officers on active duty
in the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, and the number of flag
officers on active duty in the Navy, may not exceed the number
specified for the armed force concerned as follows:
(1) For the Army, 302.
(2) For the Navy, 216.
(3) For the Air Force, 279.
(4) For the Marine Corps, 80."

And here is a site which presents (I believe) a very credible breakdown of the number of 1, 2, 3, and 4 star officers according to service branch.

Hope this helps.


The Army numbers are: 9, 43, 99, and 150 for 4-star to 1-star generals according to the second site. Follow the link to see the breakdown for other branches.

Thanks, Dave!

Posted by Jennifer at 07:49 PM | Comments (2)

You Asked, LeeAnn Answers

LeeAnn has answered your questions!

Find out where the boobie pictures are, what she snuck onto the island, and much more!

Click it now!

You say 'you learn from your mistakes'..what was the biggest one you made, why did you make it, and what did you learn from it?
My very biggest mistake was not going to college right after graduation from high school. I've attended several universities on and off since then, when the finances were right, but never long enough to get a degree. Just long enough to tease me with the possibilities. I was stupidly convinced that I was truly in love at the time, and the BF was so intimidated by the thought that I might meet someone else while in an environment that didn't include him that he persuaded me not to go. What did I learn? Don't let the loins heart rule the head.

What is your favorite conspiracy theory?
That Elvis is still alive and performing in Las Vegas as a Himself Imitator.

What actress, in what role, most closely reflects the true "LeeAnn". If that's too hard.....pls tell us which character in Breakfast Club most closely represents your HS persona?
Ideally, I would be the Lucy Lui character in "Charlie's Angels". In reality, I'm more like Skrat in "Ice Age." It's easy to pin me down in high school.... I was the Ally Sheedy character, right down to the Converse sneakers.

Were you the class clown in school?
I was the class clown in junior high. By high school, I was eating my lunch in a hidey-hole under the stairs, and avoiding as much human contact as possible. Puberty is a cruel mistress.

If you are one of the last two Survivors, what will you offer the ex-survivors to convince them to vote for you to be the winner?
Well, I have that secret Snickers bar that I smuggled in, hidden.... you don't really need the details, do you?

You're on a deserted island with Emily, Helen and Jim. What are the sleeping arrangements?
Rotational, of course, like volleyball.
Unless Jim snores, then he's on the other side of the dune by himself. Sorry, dude, we need our beauty sleep.

Where are the boobie pictures?
In a secret vault under the Cheyenne Mountains, guarded by Batman and the X-men.

Does GM1 stand for anything?
It stands for his rate in the Navy, Gunner's Mate First Class.

What would you change about the GM1? What wouldn't you change about him?
I'd change his snoring. We get calls from the airport that he's making the jets feel inadequate.
What wouldn't I change? His complete acceptance of and patience with me. That man is a saint. A saint with bad adenoids.

Have you forgiven him for the comment about, "How pretty young girls are?" yet?
Oh sure, I forgave him a long time ago. Did I tell him I forgave him? How blonde do you think I really am?

A while ago, you had a little memorial picture of Stuart the Guinea Pig. Can you tell us a bit about Stuart?
Stuart was an attempt to have a cuddly pet in an apartment where I couldn't have cats or dogs. Unfortunately, Stuart was xenophobic and hated to be touched. He was a bundle of nerves in a cloud of fur, he freaked out at the smallest thing. Changing his water bottle would send him into shrieking whistling fits that lasted 30 minutes. He was also the most expensive pet I've ever had. He had allergies, rashes, skin disorders.... all due to his hysterical personality. A typical vet visit cost me $350 dollars in oinments, creams, and special soaps.
Stuart also lived for the joy of piddling on me on any occassion I had to hold him.
I miss him a lot.

Do you have any pictures of your rats you could share with us? I mean your former pets, not your neighbors.
I have a picture of my favorite rat, Alan, which I'll post on my blog later, on his birthday. He was the best rat ever. He was the Sidney Greenstreet of rats. I've never seen a common pet rat get so huge. Eventually he was so fat his legs would only support him for short distances, and when he'd lie on his belly, he was the same size as a dinner plate. He had a heart of gold and the digestive system of a garbage disposal.

You've taken roughly 81 different internet polls in an attempt to find out, "What kind of (noun) are you?" Have you discovered yourself yet?
Several times. And all of them entirely different. Some say "schizo." I prefer "multi-layered'.

Do you think the rule barring sex in the Champagne Room would be lifted if someone tried to have sex with the bartender?
I heard that Harvey tried to put the moves on The Bartender, and the pictures that showed up in the Weekly World News the next week were the cause of the rule. Just something I heard. Not that I saw the pictures. Or went blind and had to spend all my tip jar on a seeing eye monkey. Yeah, thanks a lot, guys!
Uh, I mean.... just something I heard.

Why didn't you call your blog "Heigh Ho the Derry-O"?
Because I didn't wake up with the complete rhyme stuck in my head, just that one line. "The Cheese Stands Alone." But now that I think about it, "Heigh Ho the Derry-O" is a creepy phrase. "Heigh-ho" is what the seven dwarves sang, and few things are as scary as a midget with a pick-axe. Derry is the town in the Stephen King universe where all the Bad Stuff happens. Like clowns in sewers, luring little children to a gory end and then you wind up a grown woman afraid to sleep without a nightlight.

Do you really wear glasses?
Oh yeah, I'm blind as the proverbial bat. I normally wear contacts, though, the odd colored ones. I mean like one violet and one emerald green. I wish they made plaid contacts.

What is your stance on pumpkin pie?
Blech. Icky. Squishy trick of vegetarians cookery villains.
Give me French silk chocolate pie any day.

How did you find out Santa Claus was a fraud?
What do you mean, a fraud? Huh? Did the Tooth Fairy put you up to this?

You are in jail. Who do you make your one phone call to?
I'd have to call my mom, because she is the best in the world at saying "I told you so."

Why are you in jail to begin with?
I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you..... too.

Posted by Jennifer at 08:10 AM | Comments (15)

*Ask Jen

Jim writes, "How many generals are there in the Army? Can you delineate the answer by number of stars? (How many 1 stars, how many 2 stars, etc)"

Each site I was able to find that looked like it would have this information was secured. If any readers know the answer, please pass it on.

I can tell you there have been four five-star generals in the Army: General George C. Marshall, General Douglas MacArthur, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and General Omar N. Bradley.

I'll let Jim ask another question since I couldn't answer the last one...he also wants to know, "What's the story behind the 'bad penny'. You know, the one that's always showing up?"

The phrase "A bad penny always turns up" means that a no-good person can be counted on to come back again and again. The expression was originally English and the unit of currency was the shilling. Sir Walter Scott wrote, "Bring back Darsie? Little doubt of that. The bad shilling is sure enough to come back again."

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 07:52 AM | Comments (3)

December 11, 2003

*Ask Jen

Reader B. writes, "Why do we use the phrase salad days to talk about being younger?"

It's an analogy to salad greens--when you are young you are said to be inexperienced and green. Shakespeare used this in Antony and Cleopatra when Cleopatra says, "My salad days, when I was green in judgment; cold in blood."

Reader Steve wants to know, "Was the Twinkie filling ever banana flavored?"

Originally, yes. During WWII America had a banana shortage and the flavoring was changed to vanilla.

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 07:51 AM

December 10, 2003

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

The Adams Family.

John Adams was the first inhabitant of the White House. After he decided the place was habitable he sent for his wife Abigail, who brought along their granddaughter Suzannah and their niece Louisa Smith. Their nephew William Shaw was already in residence as John’s private secretary. Thomas, the Adamses’ adult son, would also move into the home.

On the way to Washington, Abigail had stopped to see her son Charles on his deathbed. Besides the grief of losing her son, Abigail also knew it was quite probable she would not live in the White House for long. Former family friend Thomas Jefferson was challenging John for the presidency.

The same day Abigail arrived in Washington, Jeffersonian Margaret Bayard Smith also arrived. Smith would chronicle the First Family’s public and private exploits for the National Intelligencer. All social events became political targets...the Adamses’ receptions were criticized as lavish and monarchical.

When son John Quincy Adams married a French-educated and British-born woman, the press nicknamed her “Princess Royal” and used her in their attacks against the president. It was said that John was trying to marry his sons to the daughters of King George III to create a pseudo royal family in America.

Upon leaving the White House, Abigail said, “I am sick, sick, sick of public life.”

Posted by Jennifer at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

You Asked, Ted Answers

Ted, aka Rocket Jones, has answered your questions.

He defends poodles and talks about rockets (of course). He also has some great advice.

Very good interview, read it!

Can you tell us why the police dog was standing on your chest? If so, will you?

Well, you may have noticed that I like to tell stories. And I had been planning to tell this one eventually. For now, the important points are:

1. I woke up with the dog standing there, breathing into my face.
2. The attached policeman was reading me my rights.
3. My roomie, who I’d known for less than three hours, jumped out of his bed and helpfully proclaimed that any drugs found in the room were his.
There were no drugs, but my roomie did get busted.

From reading about you on your blog, it seems you may well be one of the most content persons on the planet. However, I'm sure there's one thing about your life you'd like to change. What is it, and why?

This one surprised me. Content, really? Wow, I kinda like that… Thank you, to whoever said that, it made my day.

Well, there’s always the ‘more money’ thing, because I never have enough to give my family all they deserve. But I’ll say it in a word: sex. Without going into details (no kiss and tell, remember?), that would be the one thing I’d change.

Think you'll return to finish a degree? Just for the heck of it?

Nope, not for the heck of it. I’ll finish it if I have to for my teaching credentials, and I’ll probably take classes here and there just because a subject interests me, but I don’t feel the need to complete it.

Has Mookie picked up the doggie-doo in the backyard yet?

Yep. She’s good about doing that daily chore. Every time I remind her.

Poodles aren't very manly. I'm just saying.

I’ve had all kinds of dogs, and I have to admit that I felt the same way about poodles until I met this one. He has the soul of a lion, absolutely fearless and protective of the family. He loves to rough-house with me, and bites hard enough to let me know he could rip my arm off if he chose to do so. And just because I love this little guy so much, I’ll also let on that he’s half Chihuahua too.

How long is Mookie going to see dead people?

She’s about run the course of that I think. She’ll find something else that she thinks is weird enough to get a reaction out of people and move on. I’m hoping that she’ll become obsessed with cleaning her room or picking up dog doo. Or using a spell checker.

You link to adult sites and cover adult topics now and then. Do your kids react to that?

My kids are used to that. I’ve never tried to shield them from the facts of life. Kind of hard to do when they see mom and dad constantly smooching and holding hands. It’s no secret that I’m a perv, I like porn, and know lots of dirty jokes. I have also had constructive talks about sex with my kids.

You can pick one Munuvian to live with on a space station for 5 years. Who is it and why?

Just one? Didn’t I say I was a perv? I can imagine all kinds of interesting gravity experiments

Instead, I’ll list a completely non-comprehensive list of reasons I’d consider for a few Munuvians:

Tim – to see if I could make him an atheist in that time. The debates would be wonderful.

Pixy – He deals with technology like I deal with twisty ties – deftly and skillfully. Very handy. Plus, he’s got lots of dirty cartoons to watch.

Daniel – talking to him would never be boring.

Spork – same reason as Daniel. The conversations we could have to while away the time...

LeeAnn would keep me laughing. We could sit at the porthole and make fun of earth for weeks on end.

Victor – null-grav hockey and cuisine. Life couldn’t get much better. Plus, we’d get the bonus of watching blood in zero-g!

You can take 5 cd's with you to the space station. What are they?

Pablo Cruise – World’s Away

Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life

Earth Wind & Fire – Spirit

Glenn Miller – Greatest Hits

Those were simple enough, the last one is tough. Any of the following (and probably ten more I didn’t think of right at the moment):

Molly Hatchet – their first album

Bachman-Turner Overdrive – Not Fragile

Jethro Tull – M.U.

Alan Parsons – Turn of a Friendly Card

Chicago II

Something classical or jazzy

The Sopranos. Over-rated? Forgotten?

I’ve never seen it. I know it’s about a mob family. That’s about it. I’m a History/Discovery/DIY Channel kind of guy. Old horror movies. Hockey or football.

I don't get the hype over The Matrix. Do you?

I liked the first one because it was something new and original. Not the story, but the effects and where they went with it. I never saw the others, because it was just more of the same. I’m always leery of the Dune progression, where a wonderful story is ruined by later, lesser efforts.

What's your favorite adult beverage?

Dewers White Label scotch, but I can be very happy with rum, tequila, Ausbach brandy, or even a beer. Wine on occasion, but I’m a barbarian and easy to please.

Pizza...thin or thick crust?

Thin. Sorry Heather, but to be a Phipps is to love cheese. Extra.

Denim or khaki?


How did you come to have this fascination for rockets?

I did the usual stupid shit as a kid with rockets and fireworks, stuff you aren’t supposed to do. In the Air Force I teamed up with another guy and we built a working bazooka that used rocket motors and beer can missiles. It worked well enough that one New Years Eve we sat in my front yard (on-base housing) and shot flaming beer cans over a warehouse and into the parking lot of the base police station.

Years later my oldest daughter had to do a shift in front of a grocery store selling Girl Scout cookies. To keep from dying of boredom, I went into the adjacent craft store and eventually wound up looking at the model rockets. Thinking it would be a great way to spend some time with the kids, I did some reading over the next few weeks, then bought a few rocket kits. We built them, launched them, and I was hooked.

What's the highest you've ever launched something?

Around 4000’ feet (~ ¾ of a mile). Going higher isn’t the problem, getting it back is. My level 2 certification rocket (parts acquired, construction not started yet) should easily break a mile. Altitude and speed really aren’t that hard to do, and not that expensive. A rocket that will break the speed of sound can be built and flown for less than $50.00. The trick is verifying the actual speed. A lot of people just run computer simulations, deduct 25% off the numbers, and call it done.

Ever get injured by a rocket?

Nope, although I have had to holler for a kid to come into the workshop to debond dad’s fingers from something when I used a bit too much superglue.

You can have lunch with 7 people, dead or alive. Who are they?

My best friends Paul and Dave, because it would be so cool to watch them interact with:

H.G. Wells. What a visionary!

Douglas Adams – I’ve gotten a whole new appreciation for him after reading his last book, Salmon of Doubt.

Zarathrustra – because Paul is fascinated by him.

Gene Cernan – astronaut from Apollo 17, and last man to walk on the moon. He’s fun and interesting and a little bit off the wall.

Copernicus – who turned the entire universe upside down.

What is the most important thing you ever learned how to do?

Count my blessings. Stop and smell the flowers. Appreciate the little things. Whatever you want to call it, it’s the ability to see the good and not be bummed by what you don’t have. There’s always something that could be better, that’s just life.

What is the most important thing you ever taught someone else?

To my family, it would have to be how to communicate honestly and openly, in every sense. We can talk about anything without (much) embarrassment, although privacy is respected. If someone is being stupid, they get told, without name-calling or malice. Praise and support is lavish when called for. We are also a very affectionate family, where "love you’s" are common and hugs, kisses, and holding hands are frequent. My wife didn’t grow up in that kind of family, so it took her a while to get used to me.

Posted by Jennifer at 07:22 AM | Comments (7)

December 09, 2003

Senator Simon Dies

One-time presidential candidate and former Illinois Senator Paul Simon has passed away.

I lived in Illinois for most of my childhood (and most of my life), and Senator Simon ran for president when I was in eighth grade. That election helped elevate my interest in politics and history.

Simon was a bespectacled, slightly rumpled man with a strong reputation for honesty, a politician who began disclosing his personal finances in the 1950s. He had the sober, straight-laced bearing of a Sunday school teacher and wrote 13 books.

Simon blended fiscal conservatism and social liberalism. Raised during the Depression, the son of a Lutheran minister, he saw the great needs facing the country and how government responded through New Deal programs.

"Government is not the enemy," he said in 1988. "Government is simply a tool that can be used wisely or unwisely. We can do better, my friends."

He always seemed like a very nice man. Not sure how many other politicians I can say that about.

Posted by Jennifer at 03:53 PM | Comments (3)

*Ask Jen

Reader Jeff wants to know, "How are Indira and Mahatma Gandhi related?"

They're not. Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi (1869-1948) and Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) share a last name, but are not related at all. Indira's married name became Gandhi (her husband was no relation to Mohandas Gandhi) in 1942. Her father was the first Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharial Nehru, who was a follower of Mohandas Gandhi.

Reader B. writes, "Why do we say someone is on the wagon or falling off the wagon?"

This comes from the days when a water wagon was commonly used to keep the dust down on dirt roads. A water wagon sprayed water on the roads. Someone abstaining from liquor was said to be on the water wagon (drinking mainly water instead of alcohol)...over time, the phrase was shortened.

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 03:14 PM

December 08, 2003

You Asked, Don Answers

Don of Anger Management has answered your questions!

Inappropriate Lindbergh baby jokes! His thoughts on stuffed bear sex! Lots more!

Click it. You know you want to.

Why did you announce you were quitting your blog only to start blogging again 15 minutes (or so) later? First you're blogging, then you're not, then you are. Can't you make up your mind?

No, no I can’t. And anyone who has read my blog for any significant period of time should know that. I am as flighty as Charles Lindbergh, although less so than his baby.

Have you always had the fantasy of being Jeff Probst?

Is he the Survivor guy? In any case, no. I never fantasize about men because that would make me a homosexual and I’m not comfortable with my homosexuality. Wait. Is that what I meant to say?

You've been late for Blogosphere Survivor so many times the contestants thought the game had been suspended. You were probably born late. Do you plan to be late for your own funeral? If so, how are you going to arrange that?

In real life, I am never late. I am the most punctual person I know. No, seriously. But in the blog world, I am like a woman, only without the estrogen. Speaking of which, why is it women who are always late when they are the ones so frightened of being late?

Who is John Galt?

Don’t ask me. I just blog here.

What is sex with a stuffed bear like?

That’s kind of redundant, isn’t it? Any bear having sex is thereby stuffed.

Besides Frank J, who are your favorite bloggers?

This is an unfair question, because I know I’m going to leave people out and make them cry. So I’m only going to name three with the understanding that I have many more favorites.

First, of course, is Helen from Everyday Stranger. She is one of the best writers on the Internet and has accomplished in her own life the one goal I’ve set for myself in mine: to live a life worth writing about. Also she says “vagina.”

Second, there’s Radley Balko from The Agitator. Radley’s was the first blog I started reading regularly and his remains the best libertarian blog on the Internet. Plus he bought me a beer once.

Finally, Rachel Lucas. Even though she’s not around, she will always have a special place in my heart – not only a great writer but funny as hell and quite the looker I might add. It was her endorsement that really helped my blog to take off, and for that, I am forever thankful.

You can invite 5 bloggers to a kegger. Who do you invite?

This one is easy. First, of course, The Bartender, because someone has to serve the drinks. Next, my pal Pylorns, just because I think he’d be fun to drink with. Third, Julian Sanchez from Julian’s Lounge, with whom I’ve already drunk and had lots of fun. Besides, I need someone around who smokes as much as I do. Fourth, Harvey from Bad Money just because, who wouldn’t want him around? And finally, of course, Helen because no kegger is complete without wild monkey sex. By the way, I would have invited Jim from Snooze Button Dreams, but I don’t want the competition.

If the only way Frank J could continue blogging was to become a MuNu but the only way he could become a MuNu one would be if a current MuNu was evicted, would you vote for Frank or a random MuNu?

With all honesty, I would sacrifice any blogger to Frank J. He absolutely amazes me.

What made you decide to start blogging?

I was forced to take an introductory writing class for my business degree about a year ago. The first day of class, the professor asked us to answer questions about our favorite authors, our interest in writing, etc. After reading my answers, he asked me if I blogged, and for some reason I lied and said I did. Not wanting to be a liar, I went home that night and started a blog. I’ve been addicted ever since.

I find your writing more interesting to read when you are trying to convey something serious rather than trying to be funny. What style do you prefer, and what are the reasons that you switch so dramatically from post to post?

That’s actually a good observation, but there is a third mode in which I write, in which I make a serious point, but interject humor where appropriate. That’s my favorite style, but it’s difficult to pull off on a consistent basis. As to why I switch between styles, there are actually a couple reasons for this. The first is that, I don’t have enough real insight into life to sustain a blog full of daily insights. But more than that, the primary purpose of my blog is to give me a forum from which to say the things I want to say. Sometimes I want to be funny, sometimes I want to be serious, but I always want to be entertaining. And that is my only promise: no matter what I write, I will always strive to make it interesting. By the way, thank you for that question – it’s good to know people enjoy the serious stuff I write.

Is it bad manners to have phone sex and go to sleep right after the big payoff?

You don’t know how often I get asked that question. The truth of the matter is, it’s best to go to sleep right after the big payoff, whether the payoff proceeds from phone sex or real sex. The reason for this is, after a payoff, a man becomes more honest than at any other time in his life. If he does not go to sleep, it is quite likely he will say something he’ll regret, like, “That was nice honey, but your sister was better,” or, “Let’s get married.”

What is the real deal with you and Helen? Will you be the first inter-Munuvian marriage?

Time will tell, but I can say that we aren’t flirting for the sake of flirting. Helen and I truly admire one another, if I may be so presumptuous as to speak for her. Let’s put it this way – if the opportunity arose, I would very much like to meet her in person, and then take her out to dinner in person, and then rip off her clothes and have passionate sex with her in person. [Insert “Third Person” grammatical pun].

You need to pick one Munuvian who is not named Helen to accompany you to Mardi Gras. Who is it and why?

No question – Jim from Snooze Button Dreams. Here’s a tip: always attend Mardi Gras with a guy who is willing to have himself photographed sucking on a cow’s udder.

Do you have a favorite breed of dog?

Pitt bull.

How about a favorite breed of cow?


And what is your favorite flower?

I don’t know. What kind of flowers did Georgia O’Keefe paint that were supposed to look like female genitalia?

Do you prefer Mexican or Italian?


Which South Park character best epitomizes your personality?

Stan, I think. He’s the one who’s in love with Wendy, right? Yeah, I’m a Stan kind of guy because, even though he can trade insults with the best of them, he has real emotional depth. Plus he’s not Jewish.

You are a trained assassin who can get away with murdering anybody. Who do you take out first?

That’s an awful question! Now if I meet a trained assassin, I won’t be able to kill the person I want to kill because the police will know right away who did it. Don’t you people ever think things through?

Monopoly. Do you cheat?

No, but if I fall significantly behind, I have been known to bring antitrust lawsuits.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:01 AM | Comments (4)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Washington Family

The Washingtons were the first First Family. George, his wife Martha, and two of Martha's grandchildren made up the first presidential family. When George was inaugurated, Nelly Custis was ten years old and George "Little Wash" Custis was eight. The family lived in New York City, which was the temporary capital of the nation.

Before his inauguration, George refused to take the title of King, but he did take on some courtly manners when dealing with people. George and Martha did not have conversations with everyday people beyond pleasantries, and George bowed to guests but would not shake hands or touch them.

Most of their behavior was meant to earn respect for the infant nation, but it didn't take long for George's political opponents to attack the First Family. While doing this, mundane details about the family's life became public fodder. A precedent was set.

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

December 07, 2003

Pearl Harbor Anniversary

Today is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor...and military bases at Guam, Wake Island, and the Philippines. The attack on Pearl Harbor became a rallying cry for the American people throughout World War II.

Since this is the 62nd anniversary and not some nice, round number, the media doesn't seem to be paying much attention to the anniversary.

MSNBC has a short story, including a bit about an Iowan who served on the USS Nevada.

FoxNews has the nearly identical story on their site. Let me check. Yep, it's an AP feed.

CNN has a story on dive expeditions to the USS Arizona, site of 1,177 fatalities.

If you're reading this, please take a moment to remember. Then take a few more to see Sgt Hook.

Posted by Jennifer at 03:37 PM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2003

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Campaign quotes...

"Don't buy a single vote more than necessary. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for a landslide."
-John F. Kennedy in 1960, "quoting" his father's instructions on what to do with the family funds used for the campaign.

"From here on, LBJ means Let's Back Jack."
-Lyndon Johnson in 1960, after being chosen as Kennedy's running mate. The two loathed each other.

Next week will be the start of a new round of Presidential Fun Facts.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

You Asked, Tim Answers

Tim answers your questions!

And attempts to alienate a whole country of women!

Find out which and much, much more!

Why did you decide on Canadian university?

I wanted to go to a small school that was theologically conservative Reformed (otherwise I would end up spending all my time arguing debating :)) and I really liked Redeemer University College when I visited it; everything I heard was positive about it and it really seemed like the place God wanted me to be.

Also, the exchange rate basically means a 30% discount on everything. That’s a definite plus.

What's the biggest difference you've noticed between American women and Canadian women?

Canadian girls are, I think, better-looking and more intelligent. Though they tend to be politically more liberal. There’s not much difference though; we’re so alike culturally.

Seen any Mounties?

I don’t think so although I suspect they go undercover and just wear suits and ties a la Men in Black.

How often do you say "ay" a day now?

It’s ‘eh’, and I’m not sure. I do use it quite a bit though. It’s quite disturbing how fast I’ve picked up the accent, eh?

What's the name of that crappy Canadian beer with the card suit? It's a diamond, spade, or something on it.

I dunno – I can’t drink for another couple months yet.

What is with Canadian liquor laws?

Apparently Canadians feel that eighteen-year-olds (19 in Ontario) are really no stupider than a twenty-one year old and so should be allowed to drink. Quite sensible, eh? I have a feeling I’m going to be very popular among some guys from my high school.

“Hey Tim, we came to see you. How you doing? Let’s go to a bar.”

So thousands of Americans died for independence from the crown and you voluntarily went back. What do you have to say for yourself?

I’m still a loyal little-r republican (and big-R, too, of course)… but I don’t have too many problems with the Crown. I think the Anglosphere would be better off if we had worked within the system – it would have been a longer process but in the long run it would have led to greater economic prosperity.

You have to spend three months in an igloo in the Northern Territory. You can bring one Munuvian. Who is it and why?

Pixy, so he can rig up satellite Internet for me (if that’s possible?). As if I’m going to be internet-free for a quarter of a year, yeah right. Also because then I can pick up his cool accent, without having to go down under and deal with the poisonous snakes, spiders, jellyfish, etc.

Which 3 dvds do you bring to the igloo (assuming it is furnished with a dvd player)?

I think I would need some Monty Python goodness to see me through, so The Holy Grail, how about a season of South Park and, oh, let’s go with the French movie Amelie, which is probably my favourite movie and about the only good thing to come out of France since French freedom fries…

Wool. Wonderful or itchy?

Wonderfully itchy. Actually, I don’t think I own any wool clothing. Sheep are good though, eh? I like sheep.

How many pairs of long underwear do you own?

One, and it has a US flag on it. I’m patriotic right down to my underclothes—and beyond…

What size shoes do you wear?

9, I think. Small, but I’m sort of a small guy (5 ft 6 in, 160 cm). You’ll never mistake me for a clown (shudder).

Are oranges really worth the effort?

They sure are. You wouldn’t want to get scurvy, eh? Plus it’s sort of fun to rip apart an orange. I always try to get the peel off in one piece. And the sort of twisting thing you do to get the top part off is uberfun as well. (hunger) I’m going to go check out the kitchen now… be right back. (/hunger) Yes! we have oranges (or as we say in West Michigan, “arr-nges”… got the peel off in five pieces plus the two ends. Dang, my orange-peeling skills have deteriorated. Now that I think about it, I haven’t had fruit for a long time. On to the next question.

Do you eat breakfast?

Never. Speaking of food, I now have citrusy goodness all over my hands which is good except that now there’s orange smell on my keyboard and when I take my laptop to class people will think I’m wearing perfume and that could be awkward.

Any allergies? Food or otherwise?

Um, I think I’m allergic to fresh-cut grass. I used to mow the long until I realized that I spent more time going to get a kleenex than I did behind the mower. Still on that food note, this orange is really hard to open. That nasty white stuff is clutching the sweet, juicy orange like a T-cell on a bacterium and it makes me mad. Stupid white stuff. You don’t even taste good, get off my orange!

Why did you start to blog?

I needed somewhere to rant.

Do any bloggers influence you?

No, I am completely independent of any influence.

Actually, no. I of course am dependent on my blogging-circle (Munuvia, Tiger, Bill, Frank J., etc) and the wider blogosphere for quite a lot of the news and fun stuff I link to, but I think I have a lot more independent, self-produced stuff than a lot of people. You see, I have these essays in my head but my profs don’t understand that and give me a lot of boring essays to write. So I procrastinate on those and do the ones I want to do. In the final result, my education, me and society as a whole are harmed by these actions but you, the blogger/reader, benefit. You owe me; don’t forget it.

Who was the first blogger to link to you?


If you could hack one blog, whose would it be and what would you do with it?

Frank J.’s I think, and I’d show those yokels what real humour is. Or maybe get myself assassinated by angry IMAO readers and/or monkeys. Whatever. I have liberated the orange from its oppressor the White Stuff and am presently consuming it. It’s very good.

Describe a perfect weekday evening in Tim's world.

No homework – or maybe an essay that’s fun to write, something in Prof. Koyzis’ Political Science class next semester? and a evening when everyone’s home (at our dorm) and maybe a few people over and we play Mafia or a board game and just have a lot of fun. I’m not a huge fan of big parties or eating out although I don’t mind the latter especially cuz it means food.

The perfect evening, however, just might be a Munuvia (re)union. That would be pretty sweet, eh?

The orange has now been liberated completely from the White Stuff and is freely and democratically digesting in my stomach.

Posted by Jennifer at 07:00 AM | Comments (4)

December 04, 2003

*Ask Jen

A reader who continues wishing to remain anonymous says, "Last time I asked if you knew how to make a bomb and you said yes but did not say how to make one. Can I get some more details?"

I believe putting that information up would open me to legal problems. Plus, if you don't know how to blow up mailboxes by now, I don't think I should be the one to teach you. But I'll give you a hint: 1 pound of something that has two words and ends in "ate", 3/4 cup of something else, and 1 cup of something else. Mix very carefully in a plastic tray so as not to create a spark, fill a small plastic container, add a fuse, and make sure to leave no fingerprints.

Reader Lisa wants to know, "Who was the first woman in space?"

Valentina V. Tereshkova from the USSR. On June 16-19, 1963 she made 48 orbits of the earth. It took exactly 20 more years for America to send a woman into space. Sally Ride flew aboard the Challenger on June 18, 1983.

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 04:48 PM | Comments (4)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Election quotes...

"The good news is we're ahead in the polls. The bad news is the election isn't tomorrow."
-George W. Bush, in July, 2000.

"Isn't that like calling Moe the most intelligent of the Three Stooges?"
-Bill Clinton, in 1992, when introduced as the smartest Democratic candidate.

"Boy, I'm glad that thing's over. I don't need anymore of that."
-George Bush, after a 1984 debate with Geraldine Ferraro.

Posted by Jennifer at 05:28 AM | Comments (0)

December 03, 2003

You Asked, Kin Answers

The wonderful, the fabulous Kin has answered your questions!

Kin was the first blogger to ask me to marry him and therefore holds a very special place in my heart.

You should read his interview.

I'll be checking to see that you did. :-)

Who is Christie and why is she diverting your attention from me?

She’s a wonderful girl, a fellow blogger, and someone who will remain nameless. Here’s hoping she gets some play soon.

Why blog?

Why brush your teeth?

Which blogs (if any) do you have to check every day?

Instapundit of course. Tim Blair is a long time favorite. The Bitch Girls was one of the first blogs I read and graces my browser regularly. For the daily dose of humor I check out The Yeti but since he has stopped chatting up the cute barmaids he’s less of a draw. If you consider Opinion Journal’s Best of the Web a blog then that’s actually my first read every day…on the wirless PDA and read on the way to work. I check out JenLars.Mu.Nu at least 8 times a day on the off chance that she’ll post some personal porn.

You only dated your wife 6 weeks before proposing. How will you react if one of your children ends up in a similar situation?

I’d be totally supportive. I’d be more worried if they dated for a year. If you don’t know after a month then something is wrong. Granted…I also don’t expect my kids to start dating until they’re ready to make a commitment.

How did you know she was "the one"?

When I realized that we had the same goals in life, that when we looked 10-15-20 years down the line, we both wanted to be in the exact same place. And you know what…we’re ahead of the game. Oh yeah…and she laughed at my jokes.

Why is your wife so wonderful?

Well, lots of reasons. I don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression, my wife is a very strong, independent minded person. She’s very much an individual who does things because she thinks they’re right and not to conform to anyone else’s opinion of how she should behave. With all that…she walks me to the door every morning when I go off to work. Sends me off with a kiss and stands by the door until I’m around the corner. She has breakfast ready for me in the morning and dinner when I get home at night. She knows when I need cuddling and puts up with me all grabbing her grabbable bits. She has a smile that radiates. If I’m happy…she’s happy. She’s the perfect mother, even handed, never snappy, always with a gentle word. And she laughs at my jokes.

You haven't had any pets of your own? Not even some goldfish from a fair that died after 3 hours?

Oh…one of those. I think I realized pets weren’t my thing when I did get a gold fish at the fair. I was changing it’s water and it slipped down the drain and died. Half the house stunk for a week. My sister had cat that lived 20 something years and a dog that could jump 12 foot fences. I was happy to have a book.

Why do you have such a problem being complimented?

I don’t know. Just makes me self-conscious. I know what I did. You know what I did. If there’s room for improvement, say ‘good job, here’s where it could have been better’. Anything else is wasting time.

Why were you kicked out of sleepaway camp?

Heh. Let’s see…I brought fireworks. And nunchakus. And shurekeins. And a Playboy. I also told a younger kid I’d beat him up if he told anyone about the Playboy. He told. I didn’t have the chance to follow through before I was on the next bus home. Granted, the camp director personally invited me to come back the following year. I never understood that. When I was a counselor and they kicked a kid out in my division I almost quit when they took him back for the second session. What idiocy.

Aren't you worried that Akira will show up to kick your ass?

That’s why I keep a Kaneda action figure on my computer.

Name your favorite constellation.

I was going to quip “that would require some knowledge of astronomy”, but could actually name a few dozen. None really stand out though. Orion I guess, because it was the easiest to spot from my granparents stoep( look it up) in Cape Town.

Who is your favorite "Sex and the City" girl?

The one played by Jen Lars.

Blondes, brunettes, or redheads? Or Sinead O'Connor?

All of the above? I always knew I’d marry a brunette with blue eyes, that’s been a given since about 2nd grade (thank you Amy). As a matter of fact all the girls I’ve ever dated have been brunettes (at least naturally…one was a bleach blonde and a bottle red head and black and she always made sure the carpet matched the curtains, needless to say I was a shocked little naïve boy). Red heads certainly are stunning, I can stair at a real red head for hours. But that also might have to do with having a thing for freckles. And blondes? Well…what guy doesn’t like blondes?

You can meet four people currently living. Who are they?

I’m not sure about this one. The number of people who stand out as truly great, in this day and age, is limited. We’re more a generation of lots of people doing small things that together makes us greater. I’ve had the privilege of being in the presence of some of the greatest Rabbis of our times so I really don’t feel lacking in the ‘people I’ve met’ department. I never had any great desire to meet famous people…well at least since I passed puberty and no longer lust after Linda Carter (mmmm…Wonder Woman fetish).

What is your favorite comic strip?

Hmmm…good question. I’m a big fan of Web Comics. Something Positive is one of my current favorites. It’s very irreverent and I get a tremendous kick out of it. It’s also exceptionally offensive, so come prepared. Chris Muir’s Day by Day also rocks. As far as syndicated strips go…all my favorites have been discontinued. Bloom County, Liberty Meadows, Frumpy the Clown. Siiiigh.

Is it difficult to keep kosher all the time?

Not really. Like anything else, once you’ve gotten over the initial willpower barrier it’s much easier. I wouldn’t say it was harder when I went to Japan, there is no kosher food there (except Haagen-Daz and M&Ms), but I adore Japanese food. So it was kind of annoying seeing all that amazing food all over the place and not being able to eat any. It wasn’t difficult in a – oh I gotta get me some of that now, kind of way. More like a – being thirsty on a boat in the middle of the sea kind of way.

What made you choose to live in Israel?

For 2000 years Jews have dreamed about coming back to Israel. It’s were we belong. I came after high school for the year and that was it. It was just the natural thing to do. I really couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

What adjustments did you have to make, moving from America to Israel?

When I first came it was very different. It was much more Middle Eastern, with less Western influence. You couldn’t get all sorts of things that are commonplace in the US, even two-ply tissues. But now there’s almost nothing you can’t get here. Though I came when I was 18, so I had no problem ‘roughing’ it. I’ve gotten used to it know, so when I go to the states everything seems so opulent and over done. Dealing with socialism is a bit more of a pain. Lots of bureaucracy, which is evil, strikes suck.

When did you leave South Africa for America?

When I was 3. My father was very active in anti-apartheid and had a young family. We had our phone tapped and lots of his friends were banned. I became a naturalized American citizen when I was in 7th grade. They threw a party for my sister (who was in 8th at the time) and me, which was pretty cool.

What changes do you remember between the two?

I was really too young to know the difference. I do know that my sister fell in love with coffee yogurt and my father was amazed to see the selection in the supermarket. I’m still amazed when I go into a Safeway and see an entire aisle of just water. America…what a country.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:02 AM | Comments (1)

*Ask Jen

Reader Shawna wants to know, "How many people are allergic to poison ivy?"

Reactions vary in severity, but 85% of people are allergic to some degree.

Reader Jeff writes, "In Finding Nemo the whale eats krill. What is krill and how big are they?"

Krill consists of 85 different species of small crustaceans that generally resemble shrimp and lobsters. They range in size from a quarter of an inch to two inches. When they are most abundant, a swarm of krill can contain as much as 35 pounds of animals per cubic yard.

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

I made it through the Presidential Quotes, but will throw out a few more election-type quotes to finish the rest of this week. Next week will start a new presidential "theme."

This is more of an almost-presidential quote...from the most recent loser, Al Gore: Al Gore's Top Ten Rejected Campaign Slogans (via his September 14, 2000 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman).

10. Vote for me or I'll come to your home and explain my 191-page economic plan to you in excruciating detail.

9. Remember, America, I gave you the Internet and I can take it away. Think about it.

8. Your vote automatically enters you in a drawing for the $123 billion surplus.

7. With Lieberman on the ticket, you get all kinds of fun new days off. Vote for us, we're going to work 24/6.

6. We know when the microphone is on.

5. Vote for me and I will take whatever steps are necessary to outlaw the term "Whazzzup."

4. Gore-Lieberman: You don't have to worry about pork-barrel politics.

3. You'll thank us in four years when the escalator to the moon is finished.

2. If I can handle Letterman, I can handle Saddam Hussein.

1. I'll be twice as cool as that president guy in the West Wing.

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

December 02, 2003

*Ask Jen

Paige writes, "What is a, anyway? And where the hell is Niue?"

Mu is explained here, and Nu is explained here. If you require further explanation, Pixy Misa will be victim subject to an interview one of these days...that might be a good question for him.

Niue is in the South Pacific, east of Tonga and northeast of New Zealand.

Simon asks, "Why are people from Holland called and speak Dutch?"

Dutch is simply the English name of the language, which is similar to German. The Netherlands is the official name of what most of us call Holland. Holland is an area of the Netherlands. Specifically, North Holland and South Holland are two of the twelve provinces in the Netherlands. People from the Netherlands call their language "Nederlands."

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 05:16 AM | Comments (2)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Continuing Presidential Quotes...

"(He) makes Lesley Stahl look like a pussy."
-George Bush, in 1988 after an interview with Dan Rather.

"My, that's got every fire hydrant in America worried."
-Bill Clinton, in 1992 after Dan Quayle vowed to be a "pit bull" to help keep the GOP in the White House.

"Growing up, she gave me lots and lots of advice. I gave her white hair."
-George W. Bush, speaking of his mother.

Posted by Jennifer at 05:15 AM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2003

You Asked, Jon Henke Answers

Jon Henke has answered your questions!

Learn a little personal info on a mainly political blogger. And a thought or two on the presidential election, of course.

Great interview. Bonus points for mentioning Space Ghost. Click it now!

Shouldn't it be "Quando"?

- - -That's how it sounds in my head, too. I call it "Q and O", but "Quando" is a better mental shorthand. In retrospect, "Substance. Abuse." may have been a better blog name, based on my blogging style.
I'm still debating a switch to my own .com so I may still switch it.

(already, the interview has suspense!)

Coke, Pepsi, or Shasta?

- - -Shasta. Not because of any particular love for Shasta, though. I can't even think of what Shasta tastes like.

I've long been tired of the regular sodas. They bore me. At this point, I'd far prefer something a bit different, than another godforsaken normal soda.

Frankly, I buy store brand sodas when grocery shopping. Not to save the 30 cents, either. I could afford to splurge on the good stuff....if I could tell the difference. Since I can't, I go with the stuff I haven't had a million times.

(But if I really have my druthers, I'll take sweet tea every day of the week)

What's your favorite flavor Ramen Noodle?

- - -How did you know?

First, I have to clarify.....I don't like the stuff that you get 8/$1.00. I like the Ramen in a cup....add water, 2 minutes in the microwave. Preferably one of the spicy varieties.

(note: How pathetic is it that I can have specific tastes in Ramen?)

What's your astrological sign? Do you know the personality traits that go with it?

- - -Capricorn...and no. The stars do not control our destinies, nor do they dictate our personalities. And before anybody asks, I also don't believe in alchemy, flying saucers, ghosts or Santa Claus.

Not that I'm mocking those who do.

(Wait. Yes, I am)

Do you have a favorite planet?

- - -GhostPlanet, home of SpaceGhost, Coast to of the best TV shows ever.
(uh, Earth, too. For obvious reasons. At least, I hope they're obvious)

Why did you start a blog?

- - -For quite a long time, I've participated in discussions groups. (Yahoogroups, for example) The never-ending debates forced me to think through my assumptions, refine my arguments and back up my opinions with facts. And, sometimes, I changed my mind.

A few months ago, the discussion groups were growing tiresome. We were having the same arguments over and over, and I wasn't learning anything new. The once-interesting war debates had been reduced to variations on "Bush lied, people died!" repeated ad nauseum. Debunking the myriad myths had become a Sisyphean task....I'd push the facts to the top of the hill, only to have some partisan (from either side) roll it back down. And I'd have to start all over again.

I'd been introduced to blogs via Dale Franks who was simply the most intelligent, effective debater I'd come across. His blog was my entry and I found many others from there. When the discussion groups grew tiresome, it occurred to me that I may as put all that research and arguments into a blog. I was doing the work already.

So, I deluded myself into thinking I had something valuable to add to political discourse and began to blog.

Have those reasons changed or evolved at all?

- - -To a degree, I suppose. I won't lie....there's a bit of satisfaction knowing that people actually read the blog. That's nice....and it's motivation, too.

I think it's important that political discourse be elevated, when possible. Too much of the criticism (and not just criticism of Bush. I've criticized him a lot, too) is based on falsehoods, strawmen, and other logical fallacies. I think it's important to point that out. So, I spend a lot of time meme-busting. I suppose that's a bit of an evolution.
I also began "blog rolling"....writing a post (a day, if possible) consisting of links, with commentary, to other bloggers I'd found interesting. I don't know if anybody actually follows the links, but it's become an interesting reason for me to read through my blogroll (and other blogs) to find interesting points and think about them.

So, I guess blogging is just another intellectual exercise.

Have any bloggers influenced or helped you?

- - -Damn straight. Quite a lot, too. Where to begin.
I'll list influences.

1: Dale Franks...He'd be my "blogfather". He has a muscular, incisive, intelligent writing style that I admire....and, yes, envy. I can't emphasize enough how good his blog is. Like me, he's a (small "l") libertarian, with a strong Realist approach to national defense.

2: Pejmanesque...Always find interesting stuff there, and he's smart to boot. A decent mix of aggregator blogging and commentary. Wish I could match his output. Both he and Dale have been very kind to me since I've begun blogging.

3: Instapundit...How can you not admire a guy who can process and link so much useful information every day?

4: IMAO...He's funny. Seriously, one of the funniest writers I've read, and I've read a lot. He's climbed my "funniest authors" ladder quickly....surpassed Dave Barry and rests just below Douglas Adams and PJ O'Rourke. He's going to be famous one day, and I wish I could do something to help that day come sooner. His work deserves it.

5: Econopundit...Fact-based economic commentary. Useful, and thought-provoking, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

6: Lileks...A national treasure. Lileks does the sort of writing that increases you. Common sense, expressed poignantly.

7: JustOneMinute...He does the sort of investigative blogging that I appreciate....and would like to do more often. He makes me work harder.

There are so many others that influence me...... Cointelprotool, The Belgravia Dispatch, Hobbsonline, etc. Too many to mention, but all good.

You have a "ranking" blogroll. (Blogs you like, etc.) Do you have any qualms about that?

- - -Well, heck, I do now. Thanks a lot. I hadn't really thought of it like that.

I guess I should explain the divisions.....
1: Council of Doom - the bloggers that I regard as the most important reads. The first blogs I read every day. The ones that influence, inform and increase me. They are also among the first blogs I discovered.

2: The Justice League - blogs that I find very valuable, in terms of news, information and opinion. They are (generally) my erudite editorial page.

3: The Loyal Opposition - Bloggers with which I disagree...but find worth reading, for one reason or another. Some, (Yglesias) I respect. Others, (Atrios) I think are just muckrakers. In either case, it's worth keeping up.

4: Blogs I like - Actually, many of these could very well be in the Justice League. I started it to include blogs that were more personality driven. Yourish, the Anti-idiotarian Rotweiller, etc. Blogs I just found interesting. Now that I think of it, I suppose it's become an odd category, since so many do belong in the Justice League.

5: Reciprocity - Bloggers that linked to me. I didn't seek these out, necessarily, although I did read some of them already. The reciprocity category is not, in any way, a "lower level" than the others. I enjoy all of them, to one degree or another, and I really enjoy some of them.

6: For My Consideration - Blogs I'm checking out for awhile, to see if I should add them to my blogroll. Some, I'm finding, are invaluable.

I should emphasize, there really isn't a "ranking" involved, except insofar as I find some blogs more valuable in terms of political/economic instruction. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy other kinds of blogs, too.
I gave very little thought to the categories when I set them up....mostly, they just sort of evolved. If I have an epiphany, a new idea, I may change it. I certainly hope nobody is bothered by their position on the blogroll. (and I'm always looking to expand it, too. Whether it be for valuable insights, or reciprocity)

Are there any TV shows you absolutely cannot miss?

- - -Not really. TV is just an appliance for me. I usually have it on in the background, but I don't necessarily watch it all the time. I do enjoy The Chapelle Show, Reno 911, SpaceGhost Coast to Coast, Kudlow and Cramer, Scrubs, Malcolm in the Middle, occassional C-Span, and a few others. Nothing is vital, though.

Oh....there is SpongeBob Squarepants....but that's mostly for my son, Alex, who will sit still for it.

Can you believe the whole Victor and Nick Newman thing?

- - -No! Who are they?

Quick Google search turns up references to soap operas. The names should have given it away.
Let me guess....square-jawed, good looking brothers. Involved in some sort of love triangle. Death, disappearance, identity swapping or serious medical problems are involved. Every scene ends with silence and long hard stares. They look, look away, and look back. That's the formula, anyway.

Who is your favorite actor? Actress? Performance animal?

- - -Hm....I'm almost as disinterested in movies as I am in music. Some people like sculpture, others don't. I'm the guy who doesn't like music....and movies aren't that great, either.

Having said that....I do appreciate Steve Martin. What great range....what a funny guy.
Actress? None would make me go out of my way to see her. None that I can think of, anyway.
Animal? No. Do people really have favorite performance animals? How many of them actually get more than one role?
Aren't you disappointed when your favorite pig never breaks out into dramatic roles? Bacon....that's their only real contribution, isn't it?

Which actor would you dip in a vat of acid? Actress? Performance animal?

- - -Uh, what sort of sadist do you take me for? Really, I can't imagine I'd dip anybody in a vat of acid.
I guess it worked well for Jack Nicholson in Batman, but otherwise, it's probably not a nice thing to do.

I know Kim Jong-Il is a big movie fan, and has commissioned movies, too.....has he been in anything? I don't think anybody would object if I dipped him.

Do you have any pets?

- - -I have three cats. Two of which are, my wife's. I've had Cleo for 9 years now and we've been through just about everything together. Hard to imagine life without her.

My wife wants to get a dog, but I'm just not sure I'm ready for that level of committment....or annoyance. I like animals that you can pet.....or not. Whatever. Dogs require too much attention.

How about pet peeves?

- - -Oh, yes. A few:

1: I am guilty of it, sometimes, but I hate ending a sentence with a preposition.
2: People who say "sherbert". No such's called "sherbet".
3: People who are willing to whine, but not willing to actually DO anything to fix their problem.
4: People who make logical fallacies, and defend them, even after it's pointed out that it's a logical fallacy. (correlation, for the last time, IS NOT CAUSATION!)
5: Geraldo Rivera, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity....the overrated trinity.
6: Reality TV. (good lord, people, you're pathetic. Please get off my television)
7: Musicians. (great. You care deeply about *fill in the blank*, AND you can rhyme it with something else, while somebody plays a what?)
8: Tabloid news. My god, Scott Peterson is not's "coverage". (Nor is Michael Jackson, Ben and Jen and assorted other celebrity 15-minute rule abusers) Don't we have important things going on in the world? Couldn't I be learning something instead?

There are more, but I'll leave it there.

Any thoughts on cigarette smoking?

- - -Smoking is like being gay. I don't do it, but I don't care if you do. Just don't do it in my house, please....there's a kid around. Also, I don't want the residue on my couch.

I've never smoked, and can't really understand why people start....but to each their own. If you want to die early, it's not my place to stop you.

Do you think the United States will ever legalize marijuana?

- - -Yes. The trend, I think, is moving in that direction. Like smoking, I'm not in favor of people doing it....but it's none of my business if they choose to do so.
I think it's going to become clear that the "war on drugs" is a miserable failure, and we could do a lot more, and more efficiently, if we didn't toss marijuana in the same category as cocaine, and other more problematic drugs.
I say legalize it....and regulate the hell out of it. I think it will eventually happen, first at the state level, eventually gaining momentum, and becoming the norm. I think it will be a de facto law, before it is an actual law. We'll just stop enforcing it, before we actually codify it.

What is the biggest weakness facing the Republicans next year?

- - -Bush's spending record. It's a no win thing, too. If he'd spent less, he'd be criticized for not spending enough, especially during a recession/post recession period. (counter-cyclical policy being the Keynesian solution to recessions) And nobody, but nobody, was suggesting we cut the military budget after 9/11.

I'm not worried that his fiscal recklessness will cost him votes among Democrats. They're not going to vote for him, no matter how much social spending he does, or does not, support. I'm worried that moderates and libertarians will support a candidate like Howard Dean, in the misguided notion that he will be fiscally responsible.
That's not a very good gamble.

By the time the next election rolls around, the economy will be a plus for Bush, and the Iraq situation should be more resolved. At least enough that Bush can point to some success, rather than the current, necessary "on the way" stage.

What is their biggest strength?

- - -Bush is the only candidate who is actually serious about national defense. I mean, my god, "let the UN handle it" is not a national's an abdication of responsibility. The UN is a nice organization, and useful at times. It is NOT an end,'s a means to an end. Sometimes, that "means" is useless, and should be discarded so that the end can be accomplished.

Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan realized that. Bush does, too. I'm not sure if the Democrats really don't, or if they're just picking sides and Bush is on the other side.....but it's dangerous wishful thinking.

What is the best thing that ever happened to you while you were school-age?

- - -I was once expelled from high school for some nonsense, by a principal who was eventually fired for that sort of thing. That was good for me, in the long run, although it didn't feel like it at the time. Built character, taught me to question authority, examine my assumptions more closely....that sort of thing.

Other than that, I'd say "just living through school" was pretty good.
I made it....I'd never want to do it again, but it was an important thing to do. Once.

Thanks for the questions. It was interesting, and it appealed to the narcissist in me.

Posted by Jennifer at 05:55 AM | Comments (2)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Continuing Presidential Quotes...

"You are."
-Gerald Ford, when Mexican-descended singer Vicki Carr asked him what his favorite Mexican dish was.

"These little guys, who might be making atomic weapons or who might be guilty of some human-rights violations or whatever, are looking for someone to listen to their problems and help them communicate."
-Jimmy Carter, in 1994 after speaking with dictators in North Korea, Haiti, and other hot spots.

"The thought of being President frightens me and I do not think I want the job."
-Ronald Reagan, seven years before being elected.

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