January 30, 2004

Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

It is dangerous for a national candidate to say things people might remember.
-Eugene McCarthy

Random quote of the day...

There are different Klans--just like there's different fraternities at a college.
-David Duke, explaining his KKK membership

Posted by Jennifer at 07:45 AM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2004

Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

A democracy is a government in the hands of men of low birth, no property, and vulgar employments.

Random quote of the day...

All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.
-Oscar Wilde

Posted by Jennifer at 05:00 AM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2004

January 28

In 1986, at 11:39 a.m. EST, the space shuttle Challenger exploded. Crewmembers Francis R. Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith A. Resnick, Ellison S. Onizuka, Ronald E. McNair, and Gregory B. Jarvis were killed along with "Teacher in Space" Christa McAuliffe.

Space flight had become almost routine in the media and with the public, but McAuliffe made the Challenger mission newsworthy. Millions of American schoolchildren saw the explosion live.

I remember the event very well. I was in the school library, taking a sixth grade science test that I had missed. The librarians hooked up a television so they could see the liftoff, and when it exploded one of them said "Oh my God!" loud enough that I looked up to see what the commotion was about.

When I returned to my classroom with the test, I told my science teacher (Mrs. Dube) what had happened. She didn't really want to believe me, but she was obviously distressed. I went to lunch, and the administration had set up televisions throughout the cafeteria for everyone to see. Counselors made announcements and speeches, trying to help us make sense of what happened.

It was an early dismissal day anyway, so we all went home early. I sat on the couch and cried as the news replayed the event over and over.

I saw the "I Touch the Future" book sometime after that and bought it. I still have that book. Every now and then I still get teary over the Challenger, too.

Almost a year ago, we lost another shuttle and its crew. It's hard to believe a year has passed since the Columbia disaster. I was watching Saturday morning cartoons when the news broke in that the shuttle was overdue to land. Anyone who knows anything about NASA knew that could not be good. I was irritated that the news anchors tried to come up with possible explanations that did not include a loss of the shuttle.

Space flight is anything but routine, and it's sad that it takes disasters like these to make people stop taking it for granted.

Posted by Jennifer at 06:01 AM | Comments (1)

Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

The Secret Service is under orders that if Bush is shot, to shoot Quayle.
-John Kerry, repeating a popular joke in 1988

Random quote of the day...

I'm all for Lawrence Welk. Lawrence Welk is a wonderful man. He used to be or was, or wherever he is now, bless him.
-George Bush the senior

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

January 27, 2004

Ask Jen: Whigging Out Edition

Reader Eddie wants to know where the term "Whig" came from.

The name was a shortened form of "whiggamor" which meant "cattle driver" and was a derogatory term referring to Scottish Presbyterians who opposed King Charles I (who was later deposed and beheaded). The Whigs were mostly merchants and landowners who supported a strong Parliament, in contrast with the Tories who supported the King.

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

Posted by Jennifer at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)

January 27

In 1967, Gus Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chaffee died when fire broke out during their Apollo I launch simulation.

Lewis Carroll, Mozart, and Mikhail Baryshnikov were born on this date.

It is the anniversary of the Vietnam Peace agreement, signed in 1973, which ended U.S. combat involvement in the war. The war itself would not end until 1975.

And of course, today is Thomas Crapper Day. Mr. Crapper perfected the flush toilet and founded Thomas Crapper & Co in London in 1861.

Posted by Jennifer at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

Every time I fill a vacant office I make ten malcontents and one ingrate.
-Louis XIV

Random quote of the day...

A woman is like a teabag--only in hot water do you realize how strong she is.
-Nancy Reagan

Posted by Jennifer at 07:59 AM | Comments (0)

January 26, 2004

Ask Jen: Hindenburg Edition

Reader Jeff wants to know, "Was the Hindenburg really that big of a tragedy?"

I suppose it is all relative...97 people were on board and 62 survived. Thirty-five people on the airship and one crewmember on the ground died. I think the fact it was caught on tape helped fuel (no pun intended) the horror.

Before the Hindenburg disaster, travel by airship had been going on for over 25 years, but the Hindenburg explosion ended blimp travel. Soon afterwards, the first passengers crossed the Atlantic via airplane.

Incidentally, the Hindenburg was designed to use helium, but the U.S. refused to sell any to Adolf Hitler's Germany. So hydrogen was used instead, flammable as it is.

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 10:01 AM | Comments (9)

January 26

Happy Australia Day to Pixy Misa and his fellow countrymen and women.

Happy birthday anniversary to General Douglas MacArthur.

Happy birthdays to Michigan, Ellen DeGeneres, Paul Newman, and Wayne Gretzky.

Posted by Jennifer at 07:53 AM | Comments (1)

Quote of the Day

Political Quote of the Day...

I lead with my heart and not my head and that's the only chance we have against George Bush.
-Howard Dean

Random Quote of the Day...

If Lincoln were alive today, he'd roll over in his grave.
-Gerald Ford

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

January 25, 2004

Missions to Mars

Missions to Mars
With all the talk about the problems with the Martian rover I thought it would be interesting to take a quick look back at the various attempts to study the planet.
The first US missions to Mars were flyby missions in the mid and late 1960s by the Mariner spacecrafts. Mariner 3 and 4 were identical spacecraft that were launched in the fall of 1964. Mariner 3 suffered a malfunction and never made it to the planet but Mariner 4 did make the 8-month journey and provided us with the first close-up pictures of the red planet. Mariner 6 & 7 followed up with launches in 1969. They flew over the equator and south Polar Regions of the planet.

The next attempt was to put a spacecraft into orbit around the planet and Mariner 8 and 9 were built to fulfill that need. However Mariner 8 failed to launch but Mariner 9 was able to make it and spent over a year in Martian orbit. Mariner 9 exceeded all primary photographic requirements by photomapping 100 percent of the planet's surface
In 1975 the next phase was launch in the form of the Viking Landers. The both arrived on planet the summer of 1976. They were designed to conduct biology experiments to test for the evidence of life. These experiments discovered unexpected and enigmatic chemical activity in the Martian soil, but provided no clear evidence for the presence of living microorganisms in soil near the landing sites.
In 1992 the Mars Observer was launched. The spacecraft was based on a commercial Earth-orbiting communications satellite that had been converted into an orbiter for Mars. The payload of science instruments was designed to study the geology, geophysics and climate of Mars. The mission ended with disappointment on August 22, 1993, when contact was lost with the spacecraft shortly before it was to enter orbit around Mars.
Launched in 1996 the Mars Global Surveyor became the first successful mission to the red planet in two decades. It entered orbit in 1997 and after a year and a half of trimming its orbit from a looping ellipse to a circular track around the planet, the spacecraft began its prime-mapping mission in March 1999. Mars Global Surveyor completed its primary mission on January 31, 2001, and is now in an extended mission phase.
1996 also saw the successful start of the Mars Pathfinder mission. Mars Pathfinder was originally designed as a technology demonstration of a way to deliver an instrumented Lander and a free-ranging robotic rover to the surface of the red planet. Pathfinder not only accomplished this goal but also returned an unprecedented amount of data and outlived its primary design life.
1998 saw the launch of the Mars Climate Orbiter. It was designed to function as an interplanetary weather satellite and a communications relay for Mars Polar Lander. The orbiter carried two science instruments: a copy of an atmospheric sounder on the Mars Observer spacecraft lost in 1993, and a new, lightweight color imager combining wide- and medium-angle cameras. Mars Climate Orbiter was lost on arrival September 23, 1999. Engineers concluded that the spacecraft entered the planet's atmosphere too low and probably burned up.
1999 also saw the launch and loss of the Mars Polar Lander. This was an ambitious mission to set a spacecraft down on the frigid terrain near the edge of Mars' south polar cap and dig for water ice with a robotic arm. Piggybacking on the Lander were two small probes called Deep Space 2 designed to impact the Martian surface to test new technologies. Mars Polar Lander and Deep Space 2 were lost at arrival December 3, 1999.
Launched in 2001 the Mars Odyssey is an orbiting spacecraft designed to determine the composition of the planet's surface, to detect water and shallow buried ice, and to study the radiation environment.
In 2003 the Mars Express was launched. The mission's main objective is to search for sub-surface water from orbit and deliver a Lander to the Martian surface. Seven scientific instruments onboard the orbiting spacecraft will study the Martian atmosphere, the planet's structure and geology. The Lander is called Beagle 2 after the ship in which Charles Darwin set sail to explore uncharted areas of the Earth in 1831. While the landing was a reported to be a success no data has been received from the Lander.

So there is a quick break down of the history of our attempts to study Mars. I covered only the US based launches. The former Soviet Union had also sent several missions to the planet with varying degrees of success.
Most of this information comes from JPL Mars Missions page
And JPL international Missions

Posted by Pete at 12:17 PM | Comments (2)

January 23, 2004

*Ask Jen: Dutchy Edition

Reader Beth writes, "Why do so many phrases have the word 'dutch' in them?"

Dutch treat, Dutch courage, Dutch auction, etc. are all phrases that were coined by the British. Hint: they are not meant to be flattering.

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 10:02 AM | Comments (1)

*Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

What we call public opinion is generally public sentiment.
-Benjamin Disraeli

History quote of the day...

With history one can never be certain, but I think I can safely say that Aristotle Onassis would not have married Mrs. Krushchev.
-Gore Vidal, when asked what would have happened if Khrushchev rather than Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

Random quote of the day...

I have no consistency, except in politics; and that probably arises from my indifference on the subject altogether.
-Lord Byron

Posted by Jennifer at 12:10 AM

January 22, 2004

*100 Years ago

This appeared in my mail box. Ok, so it's a year old but still interesting.

YEAR OF 1903..The year is 1903, one hundred years ago... what a difference a century makes. Here are the U.S. statistics for 1903....

The average life expectancy in the US was 47.
Only 14% of the homes in the US had a BATHTUB.
Only 8% of the homes had a TELEPHONE.
A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost $11.
There were only 8,000 CARS in the US and only 144 miles of paved ROADS.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
The average wage in the US was $0.22/hour.
The average US worker made between $200-$400/year.
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000/year, a dentist $2,500/year, a veterinarian between $1,500-$4,000/year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000/year.
More than 95% of all BIRTHS in the US took place at HOME.
90% of all US physicians had NO COLLEGE education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard".
Sugar cost $0.04/pound. Eggs were $0.14/dozen. Coffee cost $0.15/pound.
Most women only washed their HAIR once a month and used BORAX or EGG YOLKS for shampoo.
Canada passed a law prohibiting POOR people from entering the country for any reason.
The five leading causes of death in the US were
1. Pneumonia &influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke
The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii & Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.
The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.
There were no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
One in ten US adults couldn't read or write. Only 6% of all Americans had graduated from HIGH SCHOOL.
Coca Cola contained cocaine.
Marijuana, heroin &morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores.
According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and the bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."
18% of households in the US had at least one full-time SERVANT or domestic.
There were only about 230 reported MURDERS in the entire US.

Just think what it will be like in another 100 years.

Posted by Pete at 11:36 AM | Comments (9)

*Ask Jen: Huh? Edition

Normally I am loathe to harvest questions out of the comments, but "Jackle" left the following: "I really like your site!*) Could you maybe tell me a little about France's Government. And i really like this one guy in my computer class,and if he keeps on messing with your mouse & one time he said I'm gonna get high. I'm gonna get high with Jackle? Please post it on your web site:*( P.S. Jacklw is a pretend name! Thanks"

This site will give you basic information on the French government.

As for the rest of your comment, I'm not sure there was an actual question. I think Pete does the Love/Relationship-type questions anyway. My only advice is Just Say No to Drugs, and say the same thing to boys. (Or at least use condoms.)

I want to re-visit one question Pete answered last week. Jim asked about the phrase "coon's age".

A lot of people assume anything with the word "coon" has racial connotations. The term originally referred to a white person from the country, but it did eventually evolve into a derogatory term for a black person. (It also was the American Whig Party's nickname, since the raccoon was their mascot.)

"Coon's age" predates the racial slur. It most likely was an alteration to the phrase "crow's age".

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 09:55 AM | Comments (2)

*You Asked, Captain Ed Answers

Despite being a captain without a ship (or dinghy), Captain Ed has provided a fantastic interview for you.

He gets bonus points for mentioning Bayfield, Wisconsin (an area near and dear to me) as one of the best places he's been.

Go to the extended and enjoy this wonderful interview.

Why did you leave southern California?

Unemployment is a great motivator. I'm a call-center manager, and I needed to find a better fit for myself. I couldn't find any opportunities in Southern California and I'd spent some time in Minnesota previously and really liked it. I don't regret moving here a bit; it's a terrific place to live and we've made some wonderful new friends. We both miss our extended families, though. I'd move back if I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I wouldn't go out of my way to do so -- I'd have to make at least three times what I do now to afford it.

Why would you leave California for Minnesota? Winters. Hello.

Yeah, well, that first winter was a real eye-opener! I tell people that there are four weeks in the winter and four weeks in the summer I could live without, but the trade-off is experiencing four seasons a year, and the bluest skies you'll ever want. Just bundle up and you're okay, and it it's too cold, don't stay outside. It's not as big a deal as people imagine.

Jesse Ventura: circus act or effective governor?

Circus act. In the end, he alienated both ends of the political spectrum, bringing true bipartisanship to Minnesota: both parties hated his guts. They combined to override his veto on their budget, finishing him politically in his final year. But look, the plurality that elected Jesse didn't do so because he made a great leader -- they voted for him to send a message that they were fed up with the decades-long direction of Minnesota politics. In the next election, they ignored the independent candidates and swung further Republican.

Could Jesse have won another term if he ran?

There are people who still think he could have, but I don't. He was a nine-day wonder, and like I said, that veto override really, really made him look foolish. He's descending back into well-deserved obscurity. A commenter on my blog told me that he's still a good wrestling commentator, and I think that's where he will eventually stay.

Minnesota is the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" but everyone knows they have 11,842 lakes. Why would they undersell themselves like that?

Typical Midwestern reserve and humility ... If it was California, they'd call themselves "Land of Over 11,841 Super-Fabulous, Lo-Cal, Atkins-Friendly Lakes!" And then they'd charge you $50 to go see one of them.

Do they hand out boats with every house they sell up there?

No, but they do give you steaks when they replace your windshield. Seriously. You're right about Minnesotans being serious outdoors enthusiasts. Everyone up here has a boat or a snowmobile or a Jet-Ski ... well, everyone but me, anyway. Maybe I should start a tip jar to raise funds for a fishing dinghy.

Usted admira Jonathan Swift?

Si, yo admira Jonathan Swift mucho gusto. And that's the extent of my Spanish, I'm sorry to say. Swift was a brilliant writer and an even better satirist. I first read "A Modest Proposal" as a high-school freshman in English class. I read "Gulliver's Travels" shortly afterward, but it's been so long I need to reread it sometime soon. The tagline I use is a corruption of the final couplet in a little poem Swift wrote about poets which I think is even more applicable to the blogosphere (especially when I'm scrounging for blogroll links!). I admire people who honestly and articulately speak their minds, even -- and especially -- if their thoughts go against the doctrine of the day. To challenge the English to take responsibility for the poor state of the Irish people at that time certainly did not increase his popularity.

Why did you start your blog? What did you hope to accomplish?

When I was younger, I often debated politics and cultural issues with my friends, until I realized that I was either (a) boring them to death, or (b) pissing them off. I've kept a lid on it since then, using the local Letters to the Editor pages to vent when I needed. I'm also a bit of a frustrated writer, too, so being opinionated combines nicely with the urge to write in blogging. I'm not sure what I hope to accomplish (what a great question!); I'd like to advance public debate and change some minds, if I can. Expressing my opinions in such a public manner forces me to research my assumptions a bit more and listen more carefully to the opposing arguments, a great opportunity for personal growth if I can keep my mind open long enough to take advantage of it. Maybe, as one of my family members suggested to me, I'm showing off a bit, too ... I hope that's not it, but if it is, I'll live with it.

Have there been any particular bloggers who have helped or influenced you?

I'm not sure if I've been influenced to anywhere near the degree I've been helped. If I had to pick an influence, it would probably be Power Line. I've received a lot of assistance, advice, and promotion from a number of people in the blogosphere and still continue to do so -- Jennifer's giving me a great opportunity with this interview to introduce myself to new readers, for example, and I really appreciate it. Blogs like Power Line, QandO, Politburo Diktat, Evangelical Outpost -- all these have linked back to me with very supportive comments urging their readers to check me out. I got a huge boost from radio talk-show host and blogger Hugh Hewitt, too, and it just demonstrates the collegial atmosphere in most of the blogosphere, as well as the fact that Hugh is a terrific guy who goes out of his way to help people out. But the first person who went out of her way to give me a hand was Alicia at Twilight Cafe, who not only was the first to blogroll me and the first to comment on one of my posts, but also designed my logo as a gift to me. I'd go on -- there are plenty more -- but I don't want to abuse Jennifer's hospitality.

Do you prefer reading personal blogs or political blogs?

I like them both, as long as they're well-written and entertaining. I read more political blogs, though, because I only have so much time in a day and I want to keep up with the politics. The first blog I ever read was Asparagirl's, which is now defunct, and that was more personal than political. Much of what I write is political, but I will sometimes write on personal topics. Hopefully it doesn't bore anyone!

What inspires you?

My family inspires me. I have a terrific family, and if I don't write more about them, it's because their stories are their own to tell, and I'd find it a bit presumptious to lay it all out on the Internet without their participation. My faith inspires me, too, but it's more of a comfort than an inspiration. Tough challenges inspire me. I've been learning Irish Gaelic for the past three years, just because I love Irish culture and because the language is pretty obscure. Fortunately, there's a significant group of Irish speakers in the Twin Cities, and they're great people.

Is being a grandparent better than being a parent?

You bet!! The responsibility is less and the enjoyment increases with age, I think. When you're the parent, you constantly second-guess yourself and stress out over the child's development. When you're the grandparent, you have the luxury of focusing on the fun of being with the child. (And of course, it doesn't hurt to have the cutest & brightest little girl in the world as a granddaughter ...)

What advice, if any, did you give your son when he got married?

Not to let family members get in between the two of them, and that's not to say that either family has a problem with that, it's just a common issue. They have to make their own decisions. It doesn't mean we can't give advice -- when asked -- but they need to rely on each other foremost. Except, of course, when I speak, because I'm always right.

M&Ms: plain or peanut?

LOL!! Well, I'm a Type II diabetic now, so unfortunately neither. Before, I'd lean towards plain, and green. When I grew up, green M&Ms were supposedly teen-age Viagra (as if we needed it back then!). I was more of a Butterfinger or Reese's Peanut Butter Cup guy.

What is the best place you've ever visited?

Ireland. What a beautiful country! We visited there in the summer of 2001, before 9/11, and we had a blast. We skipped the tour and I drove us around instead, so we got the chance to see most of what we wanted in a two-week time frame. I'd love to go back and spend more time there, going through places I missed the first time around.

In the US, I'd be hard-pressed to pick one place over another. I really enjoyed a week we took at Bayfield/Madeline Island, WI. Extremely relaxing and beautiful views.

What is the worst place you've ever visited?

Tijuana, Mexico, although in fairness I only went once when I was 11 years old, and my grandmother had her wallet stolen during the trip. I've never wanted to go back.

What is a Ponzi scheme?

A Ponzi scheme is a confidence game where cash is given up through a pyramid-shaped organization with the promise that attracting new members will bring you cash in the same way. Of course, you can't create wealth in this manner; it's a zero-sum game, and the suckers lose large amounts of money. In the late 70s, a wave of "Pyramid Parties" were staged in California that blatantly implemented these Ponzi schemes as social events, if you can believe it. (The allure of something for nothing may be the most powerful human force in the universe.) I've often referred to Social Security and various social programs as Ponzi schemes because they only work when there are more people at the bottom end of the pyramid paying in than there are at the top receiving benefits. As Western populations skew older, the economic fallacies become apparent and the money runs out -- leaving the suckers at the bottom wondering where their money went.

Howard Dean is an asshat. He won't get the votes of a lot of moderate Democrats. Why would prominent Democratic leaders endorse him?

First, I gotta admit, I love the term "asshat". I learned that one from the blogosphere, and it works sooooo well. It fits Howard Dean to a T. Don't get me wrong; there are plenty of Democrats and liberals who are passionate but responsible and want only the best for the country, within the parameters of their own belief system. I just disagree on the solutions as well as the philosophy. However, there are poseurs as well, and Dean's track record strongly suggests he falls into the latter category. Now that he laid an egg in Iowa, he may not get those moderate votes in the primaries. If Dean is the nominee in November, he will get most of them in the general election, but not enough of them to win more than about 10 states. The post-Watergate era is probably too polarized to count on a large number of crossover voters even when the nominee is unpalatable. I'd say Bush beats Dean in November 55-43 in a popular vote, and 3-1 in the Electoral College.

I've asked myself why prominent Democrats coughed up endorsements so early on, and I think it was because Dean looked so inevitable that they felt the need to establish themselves with Dean in preparation for his term of office, if elected. There are plenty of Cabinet positions available, and ambassadorships, and so on. Al Gore wanted to be the chairman of the DNC, I think, or perhaps an important diplomatic posting -- maybe the UK or UN. Don't forget that Dean raised an incredible amount of money and created the strongest national organization by far during this campaign. Unfortunately, all those endorsements haven't helped, and in Al Gore's case, it probably hurt.

Is there any way Bush can lose 2004?

Sure -- re-election is not a foregone conclusion. He's vulnerable in a few areas. He started the year off by irritating his base with his immigration plan, which I support in concept (I haven't seen a lot of detail yet). If he keeps doing that, he may get more of the center but he runs the risk of sending his base home on Election Night. The economy could sour before November, although that's very unlikely at this point.

In order for there to be a strong challenge, the Democrats will need to mount a serious candidate, and none of the current crop looks promising, except maybe Edwards. Dean, Clark, and Kerry have switched positions so often that regardless of which Bush faces, there will be a long string of commercials reminding people of the flip-flops. I think they would have done better with Lieberman, but for some reason he was abandoned by everyone early on. I'm surprised Diane Feinstein didn't run, to be honest. I wouldn't have voted for her, but she's more serious than most of these people. If she gets on the bottom of the ticket, she might get some serious centrist votes.

I think the biggest way Bush could lose is to take re-election for granted, and from what I'm seeing, that's not going to be a mistake that either Bush or Rove intends to commit.

Thanks -- this was a blast!!

Posted by Jennifer at 12:08 AM | Comments (1)

*Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

If there had been any formidable body of cannibals in the country he would have promised to provide them with free missionaries fattened at taxpayer's expense.
-H.L. Mencken, regarding Harry Truman's 1948 campaign

History quote of the day...

History repeats itself. Historians repeat each other.
-Philip Guedalla

Random quote of the day...

The man who is denied the opportunity of taking decisions of importance begins to regard as important the decisions he is allowed to take.
-C. Northcote Parkinson

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 AM

January 21, 2004

*Ask Jen: Bling and BoomBoom Edition

Reader Jeff writes, "All the pictures of the Iowa capital got me wondering how thick is gold leaf?"

Typically a single gold leaf is 0.0000035 inch thick, but this varies by manufacturer. Gold leaf is pure gold and therefore quite pliable for use in architecture.

The Iowa capitol dome gold is 23 karats (pure gold is 24 karats), weighs a total of 100 ounces, is 1/250,000th of an inch thick, and originally cost $3,500 to gild in the 1880s. When it was regilded in 1999, it cost $400,000. If you've never been in the capitol building and have a chance, you should go. It's actually pretty cool. (Online tour here.)

My Anonymous Reader Who Likes Bombs writes, "Where can I find urnaium?"

Urnaium? Never heard of it. But if it is natural uranium you're looking for, it's all over the place. The best deposits are in Canada and Zaire; but the U.S., Australia, France, South Africa, and the former Soviet Union all have substantial uranium sources. In the U.S. your best bet is to look in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina, or Utah. Of course, if you're looking for uranium-235, it only occurs in one of forty uranium molecules. Good luck!

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

Posted by Jennifer at 11:19 AM

*Interesting Site

Found an interesting site, I Used to believe .

I used to believe is a collection of ideas that adults thought were true when they were children. it will remind you what it was like to be a child, fascinated and horrified by the world in equal parts. the following pages will reassure you that the things you used to believe weren't so strange after all...

They allow readers to post their own beliefs as well. Check it out.

Posted by Pete at 09:57 AM

*Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

(A good politician needs) the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen.
-Winston Churchill

History quote of the day...

History is more or less bunk.
-Henry Ford

Random quote of the day...

I look upon Switzerland as an inferior sort of Scotland.
-Sydney Smith

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 AM

January 20, 2004

*Ask Jen: Superman is Always Late Edition

Reader Jeff asks, "Why doesn't Superman wear a watch?"

I'm going to guess it has something to do with the use of Krypton 85 to make watches glow in the dark. As far as I know, Superman has no super-time-telling-power.

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 07:30 AM | Comments (3)

*Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

Politicians are interested in people. Not that this is always a virtue. Dogs are interested in fleas.
-P.J. O'Rourke

History quote of the day...

The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it.
-Oscar Wilde

Random quote of the day...

Canadians are Americans with no Disneyland.
-Margaret Mahy

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 AM

January 19, 2004

*You Asked, Nick Answers

Nick from Patriot-Paradox answers your questions about the Blogdom of God and the Paradoxicality of Patriotism.

You know you want to, so...

Click it!!

How did the Blogdom of God get started?

The Blogdom of God, as far
as I can tell, was the brainchild of Adrian Warnock, though he of
course received help from a few others that I do not know of. I was a
member of the Alliance of Free Blogs at the time, but Adrian invited me
to come over, and since I am closer aligned spiritually and such with
the Blogdom I joined.

What is the purpose of the Blogdom?

The purpose is to help Christian Bloggers join together, discuss ideas,
and help the greater cause we should all focus on, leading others to
Christ. We, of course, will have fun along the way.

When will we be seeing a "God Carnival"?

The first one will be coming on January 21. To get entries into me email
the entry to carnival@patriot-paradox.com

You are for school prayer...what are your thoughts on the "under God"
part of the Pledge of Allegiance?

I think it is something we need to leave in. We were founded as a
Christian nation, and at this point the biggest group being
discriminated against are Christians. I have no problem with other
religions having public displays for their faith, as long as the largest
group can play too.

How did you meet your wife?

My sister introduced us over the phone September 2, 2001. We talked for
an hour, and a little over a month later, after a constant flow of
emails, instant message chats, and phone calls, we met.

How long until you knew she was the one?

I knew well before I met her face to face.

You once described the Democratic presidential candidates as a "Sorry
bunch of clowns" and said they had no chance in 2004. Any change to
those sentiments?

There are a few that are pushing the limits, but my biggest concern is
that none see the issues as they should. The focus needs to be on what
is best for America, not what will get me votes, or look at me, I can
bash Bush better then the other guys.

Do you think patriotism is partisan? i.e. Republicans are patriotic and
Democrats are not?

I feel that most on both sides are patriotic. What many people forget is
that this is America. We are free to dissent, and argue, and tear up the
other guys. Both sides are using a right that many patriots have died to
defend, and it is patriotic to use that right. The question could be
turned around though, and I would love to find out how many Republicans
or Democrats consider themselves patriotic. I would bet that many
Democrats would feel bad if they were seen in that light.

Do you think we'll have another 9-11?

If we don't keep the pressure up as we are now it is a certainty.

What steps would you like to see taken to prevent another similar attack?

I think Bush is doing a great job thus far. If Dean or another gets in
that would, I feel, put us at great risk. I feel Lieberman is the only
one who would stand firm on terror. The others would cater to whatever
would assure them the most votes.

As a Creationist, how would you like to see creation/evolution taught in
public schools?

At least as an equal to evolution. Most teachers put evolution on some
platform when it is a faulty theory at best. I still remember when the
word evolution was always accompanied by these two words in front:
"theory of". Now in every class I take in college it is thrown around as
the one and only idea.

How much longer until you graduate?

Ages it seems. I will guess an easy 6 or 7 years.

Will you teach right away, or go on to graduate school?

This all depends on my chances at getting my graduate school education
funded. Currently I still hold a 4.0, not shabby, but I still have a
ways to go.

What kind of book would you like to write?

I have always wanted to write a novel, but I get severe writer's block
each time I try to flesh out the ideas. I will probably attempt a book
on politics or history at a later time once out of school, but who knows
what the future truly holds.

Why did you start your blog?

My biggest influence was actually a blogger most should know, the King of Fools. He gave me the
time of day, and finally I took the plunge. During my formative days as
a blogger he truly was a welcome voice to keep me going, and encouraging
mentor to keep my head up and keep chugging along. I started the blog
for the same reason many do, to have an outlet for my opinions, and to
have a place to write. It has been a great place for both.

Do any other bloggers influence you?

King of Fools, Evangelical Outpost, Adrian Warnock, ChristWeb and everyone who
keeps helping with the King of the
, the blog contest I started despite many emails saying it
couldn't work without support from much larger blogs. Those bloggers who
have helped me by judging or entering the contest have been a blessing.
A few that I really want to thank are Southern Musings, Wizbang, Bad Money, Angelweave, Practical Penumbra, Madfish Willie, and last but not
least Rick's Cafe. All were,
and still are, a great help. If anyone wants to enter the contest, or
help out in judging drop me an email at

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

At this point, where I am. I am close to family, able to go to school
with no trouble, and the area is close to two urban centers: Columbus
and Pittsburgh.

What's paradoxical about patriotism?

Well paradox means:

a tenet contrary to received opinion

and a patriot is:

one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests

A patriot paradox then would be a person who loves his country and
supports its authority and interests contrary to received opinion. I
take it as someone who is skeptical of the media, and the bad reports
from most Democrats. the received opinion says we are going the wrong
way. I see that we are doing fine.

Complete this comparison: Politics is to politicians as ...
economy is to economists.

Neither are able to control the beast, only to ride it where ever it
takes them.

Posted by Daniel at 08:40 AM | Comments (1)

*Quote of the Day

Political Quote of the Day...

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Random Quote of the Day...

The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important.
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:06 AM

January 17, 2004

*Don't Look Ethel

This is too funny

Three young men in Spokane, Wash., decided to "streak"--that is, run naked--through a Denny's restaurant. To make a quick escape, the Associated Press reports, they left their car running in the parking lot. "But a man eating inside the restaurant saw the running vehicle and stole it, along with the streakers' clothes."
This left the three men huddling in an adjacent parking lot--naked in 20-degree weather. They must've heard Al Gore's "global warming" speech and figured it'd be nice and balmy out.

hat tip to Best of the Web

Posted by Pete at 09:43 PM | Comments (2)

January 16, 2004

*Ask Jen Pete

Reader Shawna asks: "Why are station wagons named that?"

The crack internet research team found the following site Station Wagon History that covers it pretty well. Here is an excerpt:

Well, the very first station wagons were called 'depot hacks' - they worked primarily around train depots as hacks (taxicabs). The modified back ends that made them depot hacks were necessary to carry large amounts of luggage - everyone traveled by train then, remember, and you needed a car that could comfortably carry people and large amounts of luggage from the train station to home. They were also called 'carryall's' and 'suburbans' (a name Plymouth used on their wagons until the late 1970's). 'Station wagon' was just another derivative of 'depot hack'; they were vehicles that were used as wagons (to carry passengers and cargo) from (railroad) stations.

The site covers it in much more detail and gives a brief history that comes up to the present day. Of course they don't really mention that the biggest draw back of station wagons is they suck the cool right out of a person. This even goes for the modern day station wagon, the minivan. No matter what you do to them, dvd player, big tires, (yes I have seen ones like that) they are still a station wagon.

Jim at Snooze Button Dreams asks "How long is a coon's age"? As in "Why Emma Lou, I ain't seen you in a coon's age!"

I didn't have a lot of luck with this one. The best that the crack Internet research department could come up with is that the origin of this term is not clear. One thought is that it is derived from the average age of a raccoon. This, of course, is nonsense as most people know that raccoons get killed all the time on the highways of America and thus don't lead particularly long lives. I have begun to wonder about the competence of my research team.
Another idea that was floated is that it is derived from the premature aging of African American slaves who were referred to using the derogatory term "coon". I don't know how premature aging could be a sign of longevity, so I am forced to conclude that my research department is incompetent.

Posted by Pete at 10:15 AM | Comments (2)

*You Asked, Roxette Bunny Answered

Ever wonder why more bunnies don't blog? What it's like to blog without opposable thumbs? Well, if you have then this is the interview for you!
The ever-lovable Roxette Bunny answers your questions!

Click It!!

Are you really John/SilverBlue's alter ego?

NO! I'm an "Unaltered" blue bunny. (Besides, have you seen Silver Blue's ego? There's not room for anything to be "alter" to that.. I think sometimes he's schitzo, but I digress, for fear he'll cut off my carrot supply. LOL) There's a bit of a lot of people's personality (PoloRandy , Tink , Revog , Susie, Punchbuggy, Tiger, ) that I've latched on to when creating my "utopian" state of being.

SilverBlue said the two of you met when you showed up in his car. Do you make a habit of breaking into vehicles?

Actually, no. He left the window open (and the door unlocked), so I hopped in. It's totally his fault for not looking in the back seat when he got in the car. Have we learned nothing from these urban legend movies? I could have stolen his kidneys and NOT left him in a bath of icewater!

Have you ever served jail time?

Jail time? What on earth could a blue bunny possibly do that would cause her to have to spend time behind bars? Ladies such as myself get invited out to meet people (you'd have to ask Revog about k.t. curb) in bars, but I find the normal smoky atmosphere irritates my sensitive pink nose.

What's the best part about being you?

The fact that I can be anywhere at any time. I can ask that Tink, Silver Blue, or PoloRandy take me to work and I get to experience the vast wasteland that you humans spend your wakings hours doing. Or I can stay at home and play, or train the ever-growing number of bears that seem to be overrunning the house. At last count, there were 22 bears dressed in (I'm not kidding here) Ralph Lauren clothes, who like honey waffles and high tea. It keeps a girl hopping, but they look out after me and treat me well. After all, when going in public, it does a girl good to be seen with well dressed escorts (especially when she doesn't have to pay for those escorts!)

The worst?

The fact that I am a bunny with no opposable thumbs. Silver Blue had to purchase me a specialized keyboard, and a headset designed for my ears. That's really the easiest way for me to blog..but opening cans, dialing the phone, doing laundry..my paws just weren't designed for that kind of manual labor. Of course, that has its benefits as I can beg off duties to others.

I think raw carrots are delicious but cooked carrots are disgusting. Where do you stand on this issue?

Cooked carrots, if done properly (still crunchy with an orange/white wine reduction) are quite tasty. Nothing beats raw carrots (especially raw baby, peeled carrots - and no, I don't look at it as if I'm eating fetal food), except maybe PoloRandy's carrot cake with homemade cream cheese icing.

What do you think of Emperor Misha's "Kill a Bunny for Peace" slogan?

I think we should "Mince a Misha for Peace". (Hey, anything is better than the site I was directed to the other day, something about Mastrubation to End War. Personally, since I'm all about Peace, I don't understand why we have to kill ANYTHING in the name of peace. Except hate. Why not Kill Hate for Peace?

Are you and Kang A. Roo having a Munuvian affair?

Oh no. Over the sunny climes and verdant cow-puppy-dotted pastures of Munuvia, I've met Kang a couple times and we've shared a glass or two, but only as friends. I try not to date outside the species. (Did you see, on my blog, what would have been the outcome of a tryst between myself and Tiger?)

You're probably the only bunny with a blog. Why don't more bunnies blog?

Most bunnies are apathetic. Or just plain pathetic. They don't have the suave, savoir faire, and panache (three 50 cent phrases in a row should get me a free can of carrot juice) that I have. Besides, not everyone has someone like Silver Blue who will spend the extra money on reconfiguring a computer system so that a bunny CAN blog.

Why did you start your blog?

Well, I was guest posting over at Silver Blue's, and thought . why am I doing this? Because it's fun! So, I went to blogspot and started a blog, just in case I got bored with it. I don't post more than once or twice a week because it's to tiring for me (the computer's upstairs and I find it more comfortable, in the cooler downstairs. So, if I want to "glisten" (lady's don't sweat, thank you) I hop upstairs and blog. I think it's neat to give a bunny's perspective on the world to an unsuspecting visitor.

Is it true Frank J recruited you to be the Alliance mascot so he could save on mascot costume costs?

LOL. Actually, Frank J and I have never conversed. It's due to an abnormally large ego that I designated myself as "Official Mascot" (complete with Café Press gear to be purchased). Not only that, but some of the costumes I've been unfortunate enough to see Frank J in (the French Maid's costome, the "Cher as Viking Warrior" costume, the Vicky Lawrence on "Mama's Family" costume, and the ever popular "Hidden Secret" costume from the DiGiorno pizza (at least he could have shaved his chest or applied his makeup better) [Editors note: this is the commercial where the guy eating the pizza think's it's delivery, but it's not. The woman says she has a secret to tell him - he think's it's about the pizza, not guessing it's other person being a guy (with mustache and hairy chest) dressed in drag. "She" says it's "not delivery" and he says "oh, I can read you like a book" or something like that]

You are the only one of SilverBlue's circle to blog from Munuvia...is this because you are an independent bunny, or wouldn't he give you a blog?

(looking around: good! No Silver Blue around). To be perfectly honest, there's two reasons I'm over at Munuvia. (1) when my blog was born (on blogspot), Silver Blue didn't know how to configure MT to host additional blogs. (2) Susie suggested that Pixy Misa host me over in Munuvia. Pixy knew something about hacking DNS entries (something Silver Blue didn't have access to) and, well, that as they say is that.

Besides, it feels good to not be under SB's watchful eye all the time.

How do you pay for your room and board?

I clean, I train (can you imagine how unruly a great pack of bears can be?) I also guard the house. I'm an excellent 4th at spades, I keep inventory of the larder (pantry for all you Americans), I keep rodents away, and I exude exceptional charm, wit, intelligence, and beauty. All that and I'm modest, too.

Do you find that most people assume you are a boy bunny due to your blue fur?

Actually, no. The problem I find is that most people call me an IT. PunchBuggy has been guilty of this, as has Revog. That's only because they've never taken the time to really get to know me. If I were human, you might say my voice was the only thing that would have survived puberty. LOL.

Have you considered a dye job to go pink?

(SCREAMING AND HOPPING AROUND THE ROOM!) What? You want me to be cute, furry, and adorable like EVERY OTHER female pink bunny in the world??? I take great pride in my uniqueness, from the sky blue of my fur to my turned down ear!

It seems like every blogger around is working on a book these days. When can we expect to see yours?

"Hoppings and Droppings of Roxette Bunny: Paws Four The Definitive Bunny Tail" is currently being written by myself and Forester, my designated co-author from the pack of bears. It's not due out, however, until 2005.

You must come from a large family--why don't we ever hear about your brothers or sisters?

Actually, I was orphaned due to a fire in the carrot processing factory where my family worked. I was only a week or so old, and had been left at home, in the care of the Matronly Rabbit who had retired. I lost the entire family that day; fortunately, I was so young I don't remember any of them. Though I've been told I have my mom's beauty and charm and my dad's wit. Maybe that's why I longed to fit in somewhere that I could be special. It's also probably the reason I have a motherly instinct when it comes to the pack of bears I train. I can be ruthless when they step out of line, but in the end, they're better bears for it.

What's your favorite kind of music?

The kind of music with a beat that keeps me hopping. I like the Swedish group Roxette (after which I'm told I'm named after.

Bugs Bunny: over-rated?

Well, at least he's not a brown rabbit. Brown rabbits are common. I understand Bugs enjoys being called "Brushed Silver" in color. He's a bunny that's not afraid to go out on a limb (or out in drag, or whatever it takes to be the hero). He's a role model for the younger generation.

Did "Fatal Attraction" give you nightmares?

I had to ask Silver Blue about this one, as I didn't get the connection. Anything with Glenn Close in it scares me. First she cooks the family rabbit, and in later movies, wants to de-skin puppies. Someone should lock her away from society, or tell her to quit playing such stomach wrenching roles.

Posted by Daniel at 07:20 AM | Comments (4)

January 15, 2004

*You Asked, Guinness Answered!

One day early with this one (or a day late, depending on who you ask)!

Guinness from AllGuinness.com (where else?) answers your timeless questions about women, boxers, and killing spiders with your bare hand.

Click it!

1. Is Guinness your real name?
No, not really. I mean, what kind of dumb name is that? I remember
some football player named Tanqueray once, and that is silly enough,
but Guinness? Come on. Actually, yes it is my real name.

2. What made you start blogging? Was it the sunshine on your shoulder?
Helen's sex talk provided inspiration for something, it was not the reason I started blogging. I was actually started before that. I've had the AllGuinness.com domain for some time now, but really hadn't done anything with it. There were some things on it, but most of it was pretty simplistic. I was reading a blog by a friend of mine called Golublog, and he suggested Sedalina's I bounced around reading these and a few others, and finally decided to jump into it. I did everything by hand at first, and was really enjoying the design aspect of it. While I am certainly no design expert, I do like to do it, and this was one of my early goals. Before long though, I realized that I liked the idea of blogging as a community, and I was getting a kick out of my goofy posts. I decided to bail on my bare bones approach, and get Moveable Type. Since then I have increased the frequency of posts greatly, and I still feel free to throw a little design stuff in when I want to. It's the best of both worlds.

3. Exactly how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Let's find out. One. Tuhoo. Three. CRCKKCH. Three.

4. What DON'T you drink?
I reckon you mean besides battery acid and gasoline, right? Southern Comfort is awful. If you drink it, stop. How about this, next time you are preparing for a sip, just think, "fruitcake." It is foul. I also generally dislike things like rum and coke or jack and coke, though I'll drink them if they are free. I love Coca-Cola, but I don't want it in my booze. Try and stay away from things to sweeten booze unless you are really willing to commit and get a Zombie or Rum Runner or something. Be prepared for the after effects though. Fernet tastes just like dirt, but sometimes I drink it anyway on a lark. Pepsi (it's
the work of the devil. A cheap, second-rate, knockoff).

5. Boxers or briefs?
Boxers. I used to think it a good idea to go commando, but thankfully saw the error of my ways a while back. The rest of the world appreciates this I'm sure.

6. Can I get the key tonight, Buddy Boy?
I'm really sorry sir, but it's out of the question tonight. I hardly got any sleep last night, and now I have this fever, and I just need to get home and get some rest.

7. Ever considered becoming one of the nekkid bloggers?
Official like? I have actually thought about it, but mostly in terms of how absurd it would be. Who wants to hear about, or worse see something like that. Frightening. Unofficially, I am already a member. Hell, I'm not wearing any pants now, and I'm at work.

8. What the hell *is* pimpgnosis, anyway? Is it communicable?
Pimpgnosis mania is running wild! Pimpgnosis is the habits and
practices of pimpin'. This is not to say that to practice pimpgnosis
you must sell women's bodies, it's really more of an attitude thing.
Really though, it is like people who wear a shirt that says "Slut" or
some such madness. Pimpgnosis is on the border of a joke and an actual
way of thinking. It is also related to the latest urban poetry craze,

9. If you were an animal, which one would you choose to be and why?
Golly, I don't know. Monkey I guess. They get to be all agile and
swing around all quick-like. That seems cool. Plus I wouldn't want
give up the thumbs. I love to be able to pick up stuff.

10. Blonde, brunette or redhead?
Oddly enough I have never really had a particular type. I love all
the womens. I tend to evaluate as a whole, but if I am to pick only
one, I guess I would go with brunette. Juice, it's me, your beautiful
blond wife, Larry.

11. If you had to change lives with someone, who would it be (living or
I haven't the foggiest. How about Caesar, Julius? He lived a pretty
good life, except, you know, for the murder part. Still kicking ass,
then being ruler of the greatest empire on earth wouldn't be too bad.
How about Methuselah? I like the idea of living for a really long
time. I never feel like I have as much time as I ought. Really
though, it seems an impossible task to pick just one. Out of all the
people ever? Jesse Owens? Imagine running that fast. That would
kinda rule.

12. If you went to Fantasy Island and your fantasy was to be in a
movie, which movie would that be and which character would you play
(one already existing)?
Another tough one. If I could only pick one, I guess I would choose
to replace Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in "The Maltese Falcon". I
want to be the kind of guy who feels comfortable saying things like,
"when you're slapped you'll take it and like it." Other choices would
be Cary Grant as C.K. Dexter Haven in "The Philadelphia Story", "I
think I once secretly wanted to be a writer", and Jeff Goldblum in "The
Tall Guy", but that's just for the sex scene with Emma Thompson.

13. Brains or personality?
This implies, I assume, a situation where one voids the other.
Brains, I guess. I don't know for sure. Lets say instead that I have
ten points to distribute on the scale. I suppose I'd go about seven on
the brains side and three on the personality. At the end of the day,
even the life of the party becomes dull when she has nothing to add.

14. Surprised or notified?
Notified. Always. I don't like surprises really. Especially
surprise parties. I don't even like to attend other people's surprise
parties. I show up late or go in the other room when the surprise is
about to happen. Little surprises are OK though. Like, "surprise! I
got some ice cream!" That would be OK.

15. If you could never go to Disneyworld again on vacation what >would
be your new favorite vacation spot?
Disneyland? I guess that isn't fair. I'm pretty easy to please. On
vacation I like to live a life of luxury, or at least convenience. I
like good restaurants, and good hotel service. I'm not much of a
traveller, and would never consider some adventure travel, unless there
were a Hotel at the end. I will commit to an answer and say Hilton
Head Island, even though I have never been there. Just sounds like I
could get what I wanted there.

16. If you killed a spider in your house would you use your bare hand?
Never. I require separation from any spiders I must kill. Touching
them with my hand pretty much negates the whole purpose of killing
them. I fear them, and know that, even now, they are plotting against

17. You said women should wear hats more often, what else do you feel
women don't really pay attention to?
I hate to say it, but high heels. I understand that they must be just
terrible to wear, and increase the risk of serious ankle, knee, and
lower back injury, not to mention the toe smashing, but the make legs
look so good, it may be worth it occasionally. I know that it isn't as
though nobody wears high heels,it is just something I like. Not that I
blame any woman for not wearing them. I'm sure, were I a woman, that I
would never wear them. I would be one weird looking woman.

18. Boobs, butt or eyes?
Again, not to much on a specific type, and this is especially true for
boobs. I like them and all, but just being there is pretty good for
me. Don't so much care about them specifically unless they are way out
of proportion with the rest of the body. That's too odd. I'd say butt
at first, I guess. Eventually though the eyes become the most
important feature. I'm not sure when that transition takes place for
me, and it can shift back with certain items of clothing.

19. Other than jalapeno ice cream what is another unique creation?
Habanero, actually, but I won't quibble. For Thanksgiving this year I
had some really outstanding cranberry salsa. There were some peppers
for a little heat, some fruit for a little sweet, and the cranberries
added some tart. Came out really well, and went well with turkey.

20. If you were to own a bar, what would you call it?
How about "It Happens". How about a Tiki bar called the "Lean-2".
"Quagmire's". "The Pit Stop" would be a sports bar in Indy, and if
there isn't already one, the people there should be ashamed.

21. Who is your favorite writer (either professional or on the web)?
I can barely read. I fear this question can only expose my ignorance.
I read about three books a year. I guess My favorite living writer,
of books and such, would be Umberto Eco. I got his newest one a while
back, but still haven't read it. Really liked "The Name of the Rose"
and "Foucault's Pendulum" though. As far as columnist and the like, I
really don't know. I read a column by Chris Erskine in the L.A. Times
regularly. Great writing? Probably not, but it is pleasant to read.
For the best of the web, I refer to my blogroll. These are the people
I read every day. They are my favorites. Admittedly I need to expand
what I read, but there is still time before I die. I may not know art,
but I know what he likes.

Thanks for all of these swell questions. I had a ball answering them.
I'm just glad that people got enough in to disguise the fact that I
only have three readers of my site. That could have been embarrassing.
Don't forget to tip the wait staff.

Posted by Daniel at 07:04 AM

*Guinness Commercial

There is a Guinness beer commercial that has been airing during the NFL playoff games. (I'd link it, but the website doesn't seem to have that one online yet. I'm not ambitious enough to locate it elsewhere. You've seen it or not.)

Three white guys wake up on St Patrick's Day morning, all excited. They rush downstairs to open their St Patrick's Day gifts...a keg and bottles of Guinness, of course.

Looks like Christmas, only better, right?

Well, that's what I thought. A friend of mine saw it a little differently. Said friend is 100% Irish-American, and insists the commercial is "racist." According to him, it plays on the stereotype that the Irish drink a lot.

I'm not sure how he knows those three white boys are Irish, but that's just me. If anything, I think the guys in the commercial are frat boys, but then that might offend another friend of mine.

His take on the matter was that it is equivalent to "three black guys rushing downstairs to open their gifts of crack" on the offensive scale.

I honestly thought he was just pulling my leg with his comments about the commercial, but the conversation escalated into an argument. After he said some nonsense about me being a liberal while he lives in the Real World (the South Bronx), I decided I had enough of the whole conversation.

He was probably just drunk anyway. Damn Irish. (That's a joke. Kinda.)

So...out of curiosity, does anyone else think that commercial plays on Irish stereotypes?

Woo-boy, will he be pissed off if/when he reads this. Heh.

Posted by Jennifer at 04:57 AM | Comments (42)

January 12, 2004

*My Case For Twain

I’ve been asked why I quoted Churchill in this post but not Twain. Notwithstanding certain similarities, Churchill and Twain, in my very humble opinion, were two of the most important figures of the 20th century, operating on very different but distinct planes.

Churchill, the figure we visualize steadfast against a genocidal Hitler across the English Channel, but Twain, seldom recognized as a player, if not one of the key figures, in the battle to abolish an equally evil human endeavor otherwise known as slavery.

Twain’s Adventures Of Huckelberry Finn, was the literary extension of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and, when all was said and done, an equally damning statement on slavery. Taking nothing away from Lincoln and the immeasurable sacrifices of the American Civil War, it took great courage and an inhuman literary talent to pull off what Twain accomplished.

So, at last, my favorite Twain quotation:
Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul.

‘nuff said, me thinks.

Posted by at 10:21 PM | Comments (8)

*Ask Jen Pete

Jim Peacock from Snooze Button Dreams asks, "Where did the phrase 'Going Dutch' come from? Is the source of "Dutch Treat" the same?"

The source is the same. It comes from a time when the Dutch and British were vying for colonial supremacy. It was actually a derogatory term used by the British as it really means that there was 'no treat'. There is a good explaniation at Word Detective . Scroll down a bit for for it.

Jim continues with the question "Why is it wrong for a coach or player to bet on his (or her) own team to win? Doesn't that just give them more incentive to win (which would be a good thing)?"

Generally speaking I would agree that betting on your own team to win is a good incentive, as long as it's only a one on one type of bet. But as we all know that there are many other ways to bet on professional sports. There are point spreads, over-under, god only knows what else. Plus when the bets are made to professional bookies it can take on a life of it's own if the gambler in question loses a large number of bets. Take the Reds for example. The bookie might have a large number of bets on the Reds to win a certain game. Pete calls up and is told that since he owes the bookie a large sum of money he can get some of it knocked down by losing the game. He hasn't bet against his team, but he sure as hell isn't going to manage the same way. The manager can control the game in so many ways to affect the outcome.
Another example would be to suppose that the Manager has a big bet riding on his team to win. He leaves his star pitcher in far longer than he normally would have in an attempt to win thus destroying the pitcher's shoulder and career. I think that there are enough questionable managerial calls without having to throw in the question of personal financial gain through betting. As a player I would want to know that my manager is thinking about the team first and not worrying that he legs are going to get broken if we lose.

Posted by Pete at 12:20 PM

January 09, 2004

Ask Jen Pete

Victor follows up the Teflon question by wondering: “if there was time when massive herds of cows roamed the earth”

After days of scouring the Internet my crack research team was unable to find anything on this topic. There were even muttered comments about sniffing to much Elmer’s glue or something to that effect. Failing that in the future they would appreciate Victor sharing whatever it is that he is smoking when thinking up these questions.

Reader Milots recently asked the following of Jen, “I guess you are a woman? Did you ever pop a balloon and how did you pop it.”

Answering this one is a bit tricky. While I am pretty sure that Jen is, in fact, a woman, I am not. I could go into a rant about being a woman who is trapped in a man’s body and I don’t know it because she is a lesbian, but I’ll pass. Although I will admit to feeling far safer on a girl’s bike. But where was I? Right the balloon-popping question. I will take a stab and say, yes, that she has popped a balloon. Knowing Jen like I do, and boy do I know Jen (wink wink, nudge nudge say no more), I would say that she generally uses her nails to do it. Unless she was in one of “those” moods and then she might use…never mind. This is a family blog. Well I hope that helps you. Please free to comment if you’d like more info.

Posted by Pete at 07:18 PM | Comments (3)

You Asked, Jay Answers

We're skipping one in line and we'll come back to Nick.

J from Musingsfromtheunderground has answered your questions for your blogging pleasure.

Discover all about getting Mad Cow from blogging and being a dom at age 12!

Click it!

First of all, did you forget you volunteered for this interview?

No, not at all. In fact it was nice to see the questions arrive.

Why did you decide to start blogging?

It provided me with an opportunity to write about items of interest to me. In the last two weeks, as a matter of fact, I have moved away from that and now am reorienting myself towards writing more to myself than to an audience.

What do you get out of blogging?

Heartache.Pain.Mad Cow. Just joking. It allows me to write, meet new people, albeit only electronically, and it provides an opportunity to experience other peoples beliefs, wisdom, and frailties. This in turn provides me a cornucopia of human nature.

Do any other bloggers influence you?

I laugh when I read moronic statements that come out with the author inferring that no one influenced them. This is rubbish. We all stand on the shoulders of giant, women and men who have gone before us, or are hard at work. Of course others influence me, but to name them would cause them embarrassment.

Who is the most underrated blogger you know?

Eliza at Fembat.

How is the goal of 25 posts per day coming along?

Not particularly well and for good reason;the goal is a joke.

What are you returning to school to study?

I have been tight lipped about this and shall remain so until I start.

What is a prion?

The recent news about mad cow brings prions to mind. Prions are disease producing proteins, first brought to fame by Nobel Laureate Stanley Prusiner. CJD, Scrappie and Mad cow are simply diseases where prions figure prominently

Your blog doesn't contain a lot of personal information. Are you hiding from something? Someone?

I am working on a page that will introduce more about me but it will not give my social security number. I am hiding nothing except that which needs not be known. Oh, I am not hiding from anyone.

What is the strangest e-mail or comment you've ever gotten regarding your blog?

I was asked if I would like to join in an orgy with a prominent blogger. She was not amused at my reply.

Besides blogging, what do you try to do in your free time?
Lift weights, hiking, helping my wife with her research, and reading.

How long have you been married?

Nine Years

How did you meet your wife?

Her then boyfriend and I were best friends....you can figure out the rest.

If you could spend your days on a beach/in the woods/whatever and not worry about bills or the "rat race"...would you miss the race?

Yes. It gives me something to bitch about.

What is the longest amount of time you've spent off the internet in the last 12 months?

three weeks

Is there any one place/thing you'd like to see before you die?

Not really. I take it as it comes. I have been fortunate to have traveled. Well...one thing comes to mind actually-I would like to visit Switzerland

Coke, Pepsi, or other?

Dr. Pepper

East coast, west coast, or other?

East coast.

Sub, dom, or other?

A Dom since age 12

Posted by Daniel at 07:58 AM | Comments (1)

Quote of the Day

Political Quote of the Day...

Elections are held to delude the populace into believing they are participating in government.
-Gerald Lieberman

Random Quote of the Day...

The difference between journalism and literature is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.
-Oscar Wilde

Daniel's Literary Quote of the Day...

The majority is always sane.
-Larry Niven

Posted by Jennifer at 06:54 AM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2004

Ask Jen Pete

Paige has a friend who wonders if is dangerous to take a shower during a thunderstorm. My first impression was to agree with him that it is nonsense. Unless, of course, you are a nature type who likes to use an outdoor shower. However after reading the wonderfully paranoid site Thunder Storm Safety I have to wonder. Of course the type of person who worries about getting electrocuted in the shower during a thunderstorm is probably paranoid about a lot of things and it’s a wonder that they ever leave the house. Personally I wouldn’t worry about it, if it’s your time to go you are going to go and it doesn’t matter where you are when it happens. I see that he is from Rochester so if I were his firend, I would worry more about getting buried in a snowdrift or hypothermia.

Posted by Pete at 06:05 AM | Comments (4)

Quote of the Day

Political Quote of the Day...

The U.S. brags about its political system, but the president says one thing during the election, something else when he takes office, something else during midterm, and something else when he leaves.
-Deng Xiaoping

Random Quote of the Day...

The best time I had with Joan Crawford was when I pushed her down the stairs in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
-Bette Davis

Daniel's Literary Quote of the Day

A man who moralizes is usually a hypocrite, and a woman who moralizes is usually plain
-Oscar Wilde

Posted by Jennifer at 05:13 AM | Comments (2)

January 07, 2004

You Asked, Pixy Misa Answers

The benevolent and fearless leader of Munuvia, Pixy Misa, has answered your questions!

If it wasn't for him this site would not exist in its current form and certainly not at its current address.

You are required to read this interview. I'll be checking. Fawning, swooning, and the like is optional but recommended.

Click it!

You are a man of mystery. Few know what you are really all about. Why do you hide behind your persona? We want to know all about you. For example, how old are you?

I turn 11 this year.

What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Hazelnut is probably my favourite. Chocolate is good too. So is
strawberry. And caramel. And vanilla. Boysenberry is a bit odd.
Butterscotch is good. Chocolate chips are fine, unless they are
embedded in chocolate ice cream, in which case they are pure evil and
the makers and distributors should be executed by being dunked in liquid
nitrogen and then struck over the head with a ball-peen hammer.
Macadamia is very good. Peppermint and spearmint are evil, though not
nearly as evil as chocolate chips in chocolate ice cream.
Citrus-flavoured ice cream is strange. Not necessarily bad, but
strange. Banana can be good, but cheap banana flavouring is somewhere


My idiot neighbours are setting off (illegal) fireworks from their
balcony, which directly adjoins mine. Stop that, you morons! I loathe
our state government for banning private firework displays, but what
sort of idiot sets off fireworks from a balcony?

Oh, yeah, that sort of idiot.


Cheap banana flavouring is somewhere between peppermint and chocolate
chips in chocolate ice cream on the Evil Ice Cream Flavour Scale of
Evilness. Makers of cheap-banana-flavoured ice ream should be struck on
the head with a ball-peen hammer, but we can dispense with the liquid
nitrogen. There is, after all, a better use for it: Making more ice
cream! See, for example, the Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream web page. Remember, use
a metal bowl, and Do Not Let It Touch Skin Unless You Are A Purveyor Of
Chocolate/Choc-Chip Ice Cream And Have A Ball-Peen Hammer Handy.

Not that ice cream holds any special position in my life, you
understand; it's just a critical matter of national importance.

Bubblegum flavour is disgusting.

We all know what a Pixy is. But what is a Misa?

Pixy Misa is the villain (villainess? villainette?) of the anime series
Magical Girl Pretty Sammy. Uh, I just googled to find some relevant web
pages. Guess what comes up? Aaaaanyway, Magical Girl Pretty Sammy is a
spin-off of Tenchi Muyo, sort of an extended fantasy life of the
character Sasami from Tenchi. Or a parallel universe, which is the same
thing when it comes to anime plots.

Pixy Misa is finally going to fulfill her mission and crush Pretty
Sammy once and for all [Hahahahahaha!]

See my Anime Top 25 post and scroll down to the section on Tenchi Muyo for some more information.

Which anime feature or series do you think is prettiest in terms of visual artistry and animation, not story or themes or anything else?

For visual artistry and animation, you simply cannot beat Hayao
Miyazaki. My favourite of his works is Kiki's Delivery Service, but My
Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away are also breathtakingly beautiful
movies. So too is Laputa (Castle in the Sky), though the story in that
movie just doesn't grab me like the others.

Curse my previous employer for spoiling my chance to see Miyazaki's
Porco Rosso and Nausicaa at the 2000 Sydney Anime Film Festival.
Particularly since I'd already bought tickets. Sure, I have them on
DVD, but it's not the same. It really isn't.

Which anime feature or series do you think has the best story and characters?

Magical Girl Pretty Sammy!

Well, no. For my personal preference, it has to be The Slayers. Not so
much Slayers Try, which is a new story created for the anime series and
doesn't come from the original novels by... by... Whoever it was who
wrote the original novels.

Lina Inverse. Dragon Slave. Megumi Hayashibara. Wonderful!

Anyone who thinks that brooding or whining adds depth to a hero can bite
my shiny metal ass, as it were.

Picotechnology. Discuss.

Is joke.


There are two points I was making with this joke: First, there are
fundamental limits to what nanotechnology can achieve because
nanotechnology is really just chemistry done very very carefully. It's
still based on atoms, and atoms have certain specific physical
properties that you have to work with - or work around - because you
can't change them. For example, atoms have a certain minimum physical size.

Except... They don't. The second point, which I was talking about when
I referred to my need for "smaller atoms", is that you can actually
make smaller atoms. If you replace one of the electrons in orbit
(yes, I know they're not really in orbit, but let's ignore that for the
moment)... Replace one of the electrons in orbit around the nucleus with
a muon, which a charged particle similar to the electron but much
heaver, the electron orbit - which is what we are talking about when we
refer to the size of an atom, as the nucleus itself is very much smaller
- the electron orbit - now a muon orbit, at least in part - shrinks
dramatically. So you get a smaller atom! You can then take the smaller
atoms and build smaller molecules, out of which you can construct your
Picotes (the slang term for semi-autonomous picotechnological constructs).

But you have to do it fast, because muons only have a half-life of about
a microsecond.

The muon is my favourite subatomic particle, but LeeAnn doesn't seem to
have found a quiz on that subject yet. It has not yet appeared as an
ice cream flavour here in Australia, so I can't comment on that.

If you had to move away from the Australia / New Zealand area, where would you prefer to live?

Curiously enough, when my grandparents were looking to emigrate back
before WWII, Australia was their fourth choice (if I remember the story
right). They considered South Africa, Canada and New Zealand before
Australia, all popular destinations in those days. I have a certain
affection for New Zealand, but I'm still glad they chose Oz in the end.

So where else would I live? Let's rule out a few areas to start with:

Antarctica is pretty but too cold. Leave it for the penguins, who seem
to like it that way.
Africa is a hell-hole. Sorry, but it is. I'm happy to send aid, but
there is no chance that I'm going to live there.
South America and Asia (mainland Asia) have their good and their bad.
But I'm a first-world kind of Pixy, and I need a steady diet of
technology and entertainment that would be hard to get in many of those
places. Also, I don't speak Spanish.

So, I'm down to North America, Europe and Japan.

I like Japan. I like it lots. I've never been there... But I find the
culture fascinating. I'd probably find it an alternately frustrating
and delightful place to live. I speak more Japanese than Spanish, but
there's still a long way to go.

On the other hand, in Japan I can get a 100Mbit unmetered internet

Europe seems to be, well, fading. It's not all bad, by any means, not
even in France or Germany, but on the whole Europe is living for the
past rather than the future. Scrub Europe.

Canada is suffering idiot problems, though this is correctable, I think.
Canada is sort of a reverse Australia, with scorching deserts replaced
by freezing tundra, and stuck at the top of the world rather than at the
bottom. This, along with the ties with England, has generated a
certain similarity in outlook between Australians and Canadians. If
they boot Quebec out, I might consider it.

Until then, if I were to leave Australia and New Zealand, it would
almost certainly be to live in the U.S. of A.

Or Barsoom, if transport is available.

Is soccer really all that important down there?

Soccer? What?

You're kidding, right? Or you have Australia confused with Argentina?

Soccer is at best the fourth most popular football code in Oz, after
Rugby League, Aussie Rules and Rugby Union.

Not that I know anything about the subject...

Summer in winter and winter in summer...do you ever dream of a White Christmas?

In fact, we have Summer in Summer and Winter in Winter, just like you.
And it actually did snow in the Blue Mountains (which border Sydney to
the west) on Christmas Day a few years ago. Which prompted an instant
exodus of people heading out to play in the snow.

But it amazes me that people choose to live in places where frozen water
falls from the sky and piles up on the ground! Every year it does this!
And they don't take the hint and move!


How many bottles of wine did you and Simon have at lunch?

Just the one. Mind you, that was enough. I don't drink alcohol very
often, because I can taste it, and don't like the taste that much. This
was a pretty good wine, though, probably the second nicest I've had.

Can you tell us what happened on the drunken night with Simon?

I got sunburnt.

MuNu, seriously. Give us the skinny on that already.

Well, over at Munuviana I've given a rundown on all the meanings of Mu
and Nu. Jen's already linked to those in one of her inimitable Ask Jen

What really happened is that back around 1996 or so, the tiny Pacific
island nation of Niue signed a deal to sell domains in its TLD
(top-level domain) of .nu. At the time, they were significantly cheaper
than .com or .com.au. I found out about this shortly after they
launched (a matter of days) and wandered over for a look, to see if I
could grab something cool.

I tried a few different things. All the single-letters were taken -
a.nu, x.nu and the like. Nu.nu was taken. And anyway, those are kind
of dull.

But mu.nu was still available. Mu.nu. It's good. I grabbed it. And
the rest is geography.

My second favourite domain name in the whole world would be dotat.at.
My second favourite email address is dot@dotat.at. Cute.

How did you first find "Practical Penumbra"?

Susie says we met in the comments at Frnaks. I seem to recall that I
found PP in the microbes on the Ecosystem when I was looking to do a
Blog of the Day.

We dined with friends. I remember it well.

How did all the Munuvians come to be citizens of Munuvia?


All Munuvians are inherently citizens of Munuvia. The one implies the
other, y'see. And vice-versa, an if-and-only-if. Necessary and sufficient.

If you are asking for a detailed history of each of the individual
Munuvians' escape from Blogspot (or in Jen's case, Blog City), and their
trek across the endless howling wastes of the Internet to the sunny
climes and verdant cow-puppy-dotted pastures of Munuvia, then I dunno.

If you find a Mrs. Pixy and then she becomes an ex-Mrs. Pixy, would you get custody of the mu or the nu?

Both. It's in the pre-nups.

I have the domain registered right through to 2011, by the way.

When does the plan for world domination go into effect?

October 5. Be there.

Where do you stand on the latest news from Cow Puppy Campaign Headquarters?

I stand very carefully. It's important to watch your feet when you're
dealing with cow puppies. Especially if you're wearing good shoes.

When does PixyBlog or MovableMisa or MunuvableType or whatever it is going to be called come in to being?

I'm hoping to have Ambient Irony migrated by the 10th of January, and a
version for the Munuvians to play with by the end of January or the
first week of February.

I've been doing some stress-testing of the back-end system to make sure
it will cope with a couple of hundred Munuvians, and it looks like it
will do just fine, so I'm full steam ahead right now.

How does Minx sound as a name? Short for Mind Exchange, if it needs to
be short for anything.

What kind of qualifications does Mr. Hypothetical have?

Mr. Hypothetical has PhDs in Mathematical Physics and Endocrinology, and
a graduate diploma in Needlepoint. He has appeared in such popular
television dramas as The Bold and the Beatified and Daves of our Lives.
He has also played a doctor in a well-known series of advertisements.
He has been nominated twice for the Emmy Award and was named in People
Magazine's Best Dressed List in three of the past five years.

Is it all worth the headaches?

Yes. Also, I have tablets I can take.

Posted by Jennifer at 07:58 AM | Comments (9)

Quote of the Day

Political Quote of the Day...

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other.
-Oscar Ameringer

Random Quote of the Day...

Song is the licensed medium for bawling in public things too silly or sacred to be uttered in ordinary speech.
-Oliver Herford

Daniel's Literary Quote of the Day...

The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.
-Douglas Adams

Posted by Jennifer at 05:13 AM | Comments (1)

January 06, 2004

Ask Jen Pete

Rick, who doesn't seem to read this blog on a regular basis, asks "Who, where or what is nu or munu? What is the "axis of naughty"? And/or what, in Thor's name, is that all about?"

Now if he did read he would have known about this post munu link . A good link to all the Axis history can be found at War! Recap

As for what Thor has to do with all of this, I have no idea. Most of the nu or munu stuff is from the South Pacific so unless the Vikings made it a lot further than currently believed he wasn't involved.

Posted by Pete at 12:55 PM | Comments (2)

Quote of the Day

Political Quote of the Day...

Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hard working, honest Americans. It's the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then--we elected them.
-Lily Tomlin

Random Quote of the Day...

A man in love is incomplete until he has married. Then he's finished.
-Zsa Zsa Gabor

Daniel's Literary Quote of the Day...

I hope she'll be a fool - that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.
- Daisy in The Great Gatsby

Posted by Jennifer at 06:12 AM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2004

You Asked, Dana Answers

Dana has answered your questions.

Boobies, kids, and some guy with the initials H. D.

Click it!

Who's your favorite muppet?

Not that I have a particularly strong opinion on Muppets or anything, but I suppose it would be Kermit. He's pretty optimistic and compassionate, and the only female Muppet has the hots for him, so even if I can't see the sexual appeal, there's got to be SOMETHING happening under all that green felt, right?

Peeps: chicks or bunnies?

Ew, GAWD, Peeps, YUCK! Neither. Gelatin, sugar, and coloring. Gross! Now, give me a nice, smooth, milk chocolate bar with almonds, or some chocolate-dipped cherries, or (best of all) some Godiva truffles, and I'm a happy girl!

What's your poison, little lady? (If you weren't pregnant right now, of course.)

To be honest, I never was much of a drinker. The only times I ever got so drunk I passed out was on cheap pink champagne (16th birthday party) and some milky, kahlua-y stuff I drank from the bottle (backseat of a boyfriend's friend's car in college). The tastiest drinks are the wussy ones, I think - wine coolers and strawberry daiquiris. But I haven't had any alcohol since I was 18, believe it or not. It just isn't something I miss.

What's your favorite brand of power tool?

This might surprise you, but I actually LOVE power tools. For awhile, I did some woodcrafting (decorative stuff, not furniture). I have a scroll saw, a belt sander, a Dremel, a hand-saw, and tons of other stuff. You really can't go wrong with Craftsman. (insert Tim Allen-esque grunts here)

What the most expensive thing, if anything, your kids have destroyed so far?

My sanity. That's worth something, right?

Why aren't you worried some sicko might harm/take your beautiful children if you expose them on the Internet? I can't understand all of you who do this (lileks, nancynall) not worrying about pedophiles.

Well, cuz, see, you can't GET to my children through the Internet. You can see their pictures, and if you were determined you could find my address and phone number, but a) we live on a farm in the middle of eastern Washington (aka nowhere) and my guess is if someone were inclined to steal children they'd take some that were closer, b) my children are NEVER unattended, anywhere, ever, and c) firepower. Lots and lots of firepower. I'm generally a mild-mannered, affable, laid-back kinda chick, except where my children are concerned. Nobody - NOBODY - fucks with my children.

Who has the redheads on their side of the family, you or your husband?

That would be me. My mother's family is Irish, hence the green eyes and auburn/red hair, plus that pale, pasty white skin. I assume this question got asked because of pictures of my Kayla. Ever since the day she was born, people have commented on her red hair. In truth, it's not really red, but strawberry blonde. I've heard from my mother-in-law that someone, way back in my husband's family, had reddish hair, but I've seen no proof of that.

Does your baby's daddy know about your infatuation with Harvey of Bad Money?

Where Harvey is concerned, my husband is on a "need to know" basis. That is, hubby doesn't need to know. Besides, everyone knows that Harvey is a happily married man - why else would he write so many love notes to his wife - unless ... maybe he's WAAAAAAAYYYY back in the dog house? Hey, Harvey, she didn't find that picture, did she? Er.. um... never mind. Moving on!

If you could read only one blog for the rest of your life, whose would it be, and why?

Gawd! Everybody hates answering this kind of question, because you're inevitably going to hurt feelings, and lose links and readers and... and... aw, what the hell. I know everyone expects me to say Bad Money, and frankly Harv runs a very close second. But if I could only read ONE blog, ever, it would have to be Late Final. In my humble opinion, Ed is the most underrated blogger in the 'sphere. He has interesting, thought-provoking political analysis, as well as lots of posts on lots of subjects that interest me - everything from who's on death row, to what the NY Times "Correction of the Day" is, to captured Nazis - stuff you don't read just EVERYWHERE else (though he manages to comment on the "big news" stories, too). He gets very few comments or trackbacks (even from me, sadly), but he's got the most solid content-to-bullshit ratio of any blog I've ever read. I don't link him as much as I should, but I probably "click through" his posts more than any other blogger.

How did you first find "The Cheese Stands Alone"?

I didn't find him; he found me, probably through the whole Bloggers With Boobies thing, though I've forgotten for sure.

Did you ever visit Trey in the hospital after strangling him during the Howard Dean Rampage of 2003?

"Rampage" is such an ugly word.... I didn't go on a "rampage"... I merely... provided some sensitivity training. Anyway, yes, I visited both Trey and Harvey during their recovery. Helped that they were in the same room, but guys, next time... put out a "Do Not Disturb" sign if you're gonna be exploring your inner lesbians, k?

Athletically speaking, could you beat Heather of Angel Weave at anything? If so, what? If not, why haven't you tried? Are you willing to put money on that?

Athletically? Well, maybe if we stretch the definition of that term a little bit (it's been over ten years since I last played basketball). *Moseying over to Heather's to scope out any possible weaknesses.* Hey, lookie there! She got married the day before I did! And she'll share an anniversary with my niece when she gets married this year! Hey, that's cool! Wait... I'm supposed to be kicking her ass. Hmmm... shit. She's a bodybuilder. Things are not lookin' good here... ooh! Score! She "can't drink soda because of the carbonation." There it is! I could KICK HER ASS in a soda-drinking contest. Damn straight! That's athletic, right? No? Hm.... well, after reading through Heather's entire "100 things about me" list, I have to say I think she would kick my ass. The only advantage I can see is that I have about 5 inches on her, so like her mom, I could put things on very high shelves, out of her reach. I don't think that qualifies as athletic, though. Damn.

You recently had your 6-month blogiversary when you claimed that you "found your voice". How did you do that? Any tips for us younger bloggers?

My husband has been blogging for four and a half years, so it's hard for me to take myself seriously, after only six months, giving blogging advice. Still, the question is here, so what the hell? I guess it would be more accurate for me to say I rediscovered my initial purpose with the blog. See, like many others, I started blogging because I had something to say, and I was starting to get accused of "trolling" in others' blogs. I don't like (nor condone) trolling, but still wanted to get my point across. Hence, Note-It Posts was born (actually, I wanted "Some Assembly Required" as the name, but that was already taken at Blogger; Note-It Posts was a stroke of pure luck). It didn't take long before I started obsessively checking my statistics and comparing them to other blogs I knew. I started to put too much emphasis on the numbers, and not enough on the content. That's why I participated in Frank's Permalink contest. I can't really say I regret participating, though. Even though I lost in the first round, that contest introduced Harv and I to one another, as well as to many other very good blogs. But the contest was the start of a "pandering" phase I went through; writing more to attract an audience, than for myself. I still wrote things I thought were interesting, but they weren't necessarily what I wanted to get across.

My only real advice to new bloggers is keep it real. Post frequently, link copiously (where appropriate), and comment often on others' blogs, when you have something meaningful to say. If your content is interesting, you'll get noticed. If your writing is good, people will come back.

How many states do you think Dean will carry in the 2004 election should he win the Democratic Primary?

Did you just use "Dean" and "win" in the same sentence? I'll strangle you dead!!! Rawwwrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Which Democratic candidate do you like the most of all and why?

That's like asking do you prefer a root canal or an enema. Neither one is really high on my list of "fun things to do." So I guess this is more a "lesser of all evils" kind of thing. I could most live with a Lieberman presidency, because he's least likely to back down from the war on terrorism, and he's not as inclined to tax-and-spend, not being of the socialist persuasion like most of the rest of the Democratic persuasion. Sadly, he'll almost certainly not get the nomination. Wait, come to think of it, that's not so sad, since everyone expects Bush to trounce Dean. Yay, Dean! Nominate Dean! Dean is the man! Dean for 2004!

Could you expand upon the Howard Dean = Sybil theme?

I've probably already beaten that horse about as much as is useful. On further reflection, though, there are some similarities between the behavior of Dean and my three-year-old. Both throw public temper tantrums when they don't get their way, both will completely reverse themselves during the course of a conversation for no apparent reason, and both have a lot of anger and frustration to get through. Luckily, my son's can be blamed on normal developmental factors, and he will likely grow out of it. I do not expect the same of Dean.

If you had to leave the United States forever, what country would you move to?

I don't wanna go, and YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!!! Man, that's a tough question. I guess it would have to be Australia. I know some people there already, and it's less socialist than many other places (*cough*California*cough*Canada*cough*France*cough*) I would consider moving to.

How did you get so gosh-darn cute?

Now, isn't that just the sweetest question, ever? *blushing* If I'm cute (or even gosh-darn cute, which is, of course, much better), I had nothing to do with it. I am not a "girly" girl - I pretty much only wear dresses when I'm pregnant and my belly hates waistlines, I never wear makeup or perfume, I think lace and frill are the devil - so I've never really considered myself cute. But hey, it's a compliment, so I'll take it! Thanks. :)

Are you truly America's #1 pinup girl, or were you just in the right place at the right time?

Heh. Good question. The whole "pin-up girl" thing was Harvey's doing. During a very long outage at the hands of my old ISP (may they rest in hell), Harvey emailed me out of concern, asking if I was ok. I said that I was, and would be back in action as soon as my ISP took their collective thumbs out of their collective asses and restored my service. The site got restored, and Harvey happily reported he could see "entries, gif's, and a picture of America's #1 pin-up girl." I threatened to quote him on that, and hence, the tagline for the site was (re-)born. So in that sense, I guess you could say "right place, right time." As for whether I'm really a pin-up girl or not... well, Google doesn't lie!

Regarding the bikini area - shave, trim, sculpt, or jungle?

I'm more of a one-piece kinda girl. Bikinis are for chicks with no stretch marks. Nah, seriously. Shaving is for masochists, sculpting is for porn stars, and jungles are for Frenchwomen. Keep it trim, keep it clean.

What are your thoughts on Victoria's Secrets Silhouette line of garments?

I looked and looked, and couldn't find anything by Victoria's Secret called "Silhouette." Generally speaking, however, I'm opposed to undergarments. They are sometimes a necessary evil, like shaving your legs or weeding your garden, but they're not a favorite of mine. "Let the boobies roam free!"

There's lots about boobies on your site but no actual boobies to be found. What's up with that?

Nonsense! There are two pair right on the home page! Three, if you count mine (which aren't really visible, under two shirts). If you wanted to see my boobies, you should've been reading me in October. ;)

Your blog seems to have taken off since the Bloggers With Boobies founding. Any regrets that you've become somewhat synonymous with that meme?

I'm not really sure you could say it's "taken off" since then. I've gotten some more regular readers since then, but it's not like I've started challenging Instapundit for his blog-throne or anything. Anyway, no, I don't regret it. BWB was - and is - a statement of female empowerment, an assertion of female identity and will, and an expression of solidarity with other like-boobied bloggers. I don't mind its being know that I possess boobs, and if that gets people in to read my (honestly, mostly political) commentary, then all the better. If they were just looking for tits, they won't really stick around. I'm more disturbed by all the people I get who are Googling "beastiality."

Posted by Jennifer at 07:23 AM | Comments (11)

Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.
-Will Rogers

Random quote of the day...

A man without a woman is like a neck without a pain.

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

January 04, 2004

Ask Jen Pete

Victor asks, "How do they get Teflon to stick to pans?" Personally I think that he has been smoking some interesting herbs and spices because people on fresh air don't seem to worry about things like that, but in the interest of science I sent my crack investigative team out and they found the following from CECIL ADAMS:

Smart-aleck radio hosts think this one is sooo funny. Obviously they don't remember the first Teflon pans in the 1960s, which required special non-scratchy cooking utensils, lest you scrape the Teflon off. Fact is, the reaction when Teflon was invented pretty much consisted of, "Whoa, Teflon, the nonstick miracle! So tell us, genius, how do we make it stick to the pan?"

Teflon, known to science as polytetrafluoroethylene, is a pain to work with because it's nonsticky in all directions, the pan side (the bottom) as well as the food side (the top). Teflon is a fluorinated polymer, a polymer being a passel of identical building-block molecules linked together to make a long chain--the stuff of most plastics. Fluorine, due to certain electrochemical properties you'll thank me for not explaining now, bonds so earth tightly with the carbon in Teflon that it's virtually impossible for other substances, e.g., scrambled egg crud, to get a chemical-type grip or, for that matter, for Teflon to get a grip on anything else. In addition, the finished Teflon surface is extremely smooth, giving said egg crud little chance to get a mechanical-type grip.

So how do they get Teflon to stick to the pan? First they sandblast the pan to create a lot of microscratches on its surface. Then they spray on a coat of Teflon primer. This primer, like most primers, is thin, enabling it to flow into the the micro-scratches. The primed surface is then baked at high heat, causing the Teflon to solidify and get a reasonably secure mechanical grip. Next you spray on a finish coat and bake that. (The Teflon finish coat will stick to the Teflon primer coat just fine.) Works a lot better than the early Teflon pans, but you can still ruin Teflon cookware by subjecting it to extremely high heat. This causes the bonds between some of the carbon atoms to break, giving other undesirable stuff a chance to bond thereto and making the Teflon look like Jeff Goldblum in the last reel of The Fly.

Scientists continue to search for something better, and recent reports suggest they may have succeeded. Dow Chemical researcher Donald Schmidt has come up with another fluorinated polymer that can be used like paint and cured with moderate (as opposed to high) heat. Even better, you wind up with a coating that's nonsticky on only one side, presumably the outside. The only drawback: Schmidt's coating won't withstand heat. That doesn't matter if you're trying to make, say, graffiti-proof wall tile, but don't look for Schmidtlon-coated frying pans anytime soon.

So there you have it Victor. Hope that this helps to clear up the issue for you. My crack investigative team is still working on the second part of your question so stay tuned.

Posted by Pete at 06:20 PM | Comments (1)

January 02, 2004

*Ask Jen: Gravy Nose Roll Edition

Reader Jeff wants to know, "What's the explanation for the phrase 'gravy train'?"

As early as the 1930's, gravy was American slang for easy money. Gravy train became railroad terminology for an easy run with good pay.

Bonus fact: a doubleheader was a train with two engines before it made its way into baseball jargon.

Jim writes, "What's the button and who's nose are we talking about in the phrases 'On the button' and 'On the nose'?"

The button is the target and the nose is not a specific nose, Jim. Sheesh.

Susie wants to know "How did Tootsie Rolls get their name?"

On this site it says the inventor's daughter was nicknamed Tootsie and it was named for her. It also says they produce more than 60 million Tootsie Rolls a day. Cool.

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 03:22 PM | Comments (1)

You Asked, Jeff Answers

Jeff has answered your questions!

Find out what his plans are for France and much more.

Click it!

Who are you?
- I can't answer that. I tend to be about 19 years old, and am usually found inhabiting an apartment somewhere in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Which one of those guys and girl are you?
- This interview's for Jeff right, so assumably, I'd be Jeff?

If you had to pick between a big stick and an ice cream sundae of your choice, which would it be?
- Well, it's hard to imagine such a situation ever developing. Big Sticks are usually used by Theodore Roosevelt to beat the living shit out of Communists/Terrorists/Aunt Jemima Lookalikes, and Ice Cream is just one way to quench a summertime heat problem. However, if confronted with a communist or something, who's to say that a nice cone of Chocalate Chip Semtex© wouldn't straighten him out? (Look it up.) I guess I'd pick the Big Stick... You can use it for so many things! Like clubbing seals!

You sort of disappeared from Survivor Island. What happened to you?
- I don't like donkeys. Plus, it started to suck once Don pussed out.

If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- Hehe... there's an obvious and dirty answer to this. Cheese. CHeese is the lifeblood of all of my species. Or something. Actually I love to cook, and I if I was ever forced to eat one thing, I'd just probably bust out my emergency Chinese Invasion arsenal and blast my way to the nearest Japanese Steakhouse and eat Stir Fry until my heart exploded.

Flavored vodka: genius or the work of Satan?
- The work of Satan consists of mainly corrupting the Church and rewriting the North American Free Trade Agreement. However, a genius would never invent something so godawful unless he invented it as a poison. It coulda happened.

What is the first thing you plan to do when you get to France?
- Well, after doing all of the necessary paperwork and finding my host family's house, I'm going to unpack my huge American Flag and put it up on the wall of my room. So there.

Have you gotten enough donations for a camera yet?
- Well, not really. I got 20 bucks. My grandpa loaned me some money to buy one though, so I think I'm going to pick up a Canon A70.

Will you be blogging from France?
- Of course! That was the original purpose of the blog. I'll be posting probably slightly more than weekly, with pictures and anecdotes. Visit often, and link it up!

Do you have plans for what to do with all the Frenchies who surrender to you at the airport?
- Not really... I hadn't considered that. I'll try to keep a low profile, I mean, they'll outnumber me quite a bit. Wait, nevermind. I'll just round them into pens.

How do you say "I accept your surrender" in French? Oh, wait, they probably don't have words for that in French. How about in German?
- J'accepte ta reddition. I think. Don't know in german, maybe... Flockiges Kleines Häschen?

Have you guys ever given much thought to writing 2015 seriously, as if the US did withdraw from the UN and give all those moonbats and cowards what for?
- I think that my plans for 2015 will change. When I get back from France, the blog is going to need new original content, and I may redo the 2015 series as a serious dramatic work. Or, I might just get drunk and mash on the keyboard.

Don't you think it's sad that we live in a country where they can have Saddam Hussein in custody for months without letting anybody know about it until the "opportune moment"...but we didn't put a bullet in his skull or beat the living hell out of him during that time?
- What the shit are you talking about, you loon? It was my understanding that we pulled him out of a goddamn hole near Tikrit, and until then had no clue where he was. Conspiracy theories are a goddamn waste of time.

Do you think we already have Osama bin Laden in custody but are just waiting for the "opportune moment" to plant him in Paris?
- I think you're a raving tard.

What'd be your weapon of choice if confronted with Osama bin Laden?
- A wood chipper. I think there's been enough elaboration on this already though. Anyway, I've been around long enough to realize that what I want to do doesn't matter, only what the idiots in charge want.

How many states do you think Dean will carry in the 2004 election should he win the Democratic Primary?
- 3. Alberta, California, and New York. He's big in them liberal shithead areas.

Which Democratic candidate do you like the most of all and why?
- Sharpton.

Why do you think it is so rare to find an American presidential candidate with facial hair?
- I think that it's a function of us getting away from our roots. Lincoln had a beard, and look how kick ass he was. If I was running, I'd definitely grow one, although Al Gore looked pretty damn stupid after he did. He looked like some kind of South African reject Lumberjack.

The cost of one campaign commercial can feed and clothe the nation of Zaire for one year (alternatively, it can feed and clothe one American farmer for three months)...should there be some cap on campaign spending?
- I definitely think so. I think the campaign should be a series of cage fights involving grander and more complicated weaponry each time, until only one remains.

Can we at least talk about a cap on the number of times I have to watch a campaign commercial in a given hour?
- No. Now go away before I taunt you a second time, you lousy secondhand animal food trough wiper.

Posted by Jennifer at 04:34 AM | Comments (3)

Quote of the Day

Political quote of the day...

In politics stupidity is not a handicap.

Random quote of the day...

Women have their faults. Men have only two: Everything they say. Everything they do.

Posted by Jennifer at 04:23 AM

January 01, 2004

Quote of the Day

Political Quote of the Day...

It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress.
-Mark Twain

Random Quote of the Day...

Women are made to be loved, not understood.
-Oscar Wilde

Posted by Jennifer at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)